They cannot all be right, but they could all be wrong!
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Bishop George Pell’s relative ranking of abortion and priestly child molestation (see Meditation 53) was not the only annoying speech at World Youth Day. Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic of Toronto also weighed in by advising attendees to “refuse to feign the politically correct tolerance which imagines all religions are equally valid.”
That’s not particularly surprising. The official policy of the Vatican is that all other faiths are “deficient in salvation.”
What was surprising is that Ambrozic made these comments at the same time that members of several other religions and Christian denominations were assisting in beautifying the site where the pope was due to speak. While those others were showing an ecumenical spirit, freely offering friendly assistance, Ambrozic, in gratuitously insulting their beliefs, showed the arrogance which seems typical of those invited to wear red beanies.,
Obviously, it is not only the Catholics that feel their religion is the one true faith. It is a common attitude to nearly all religions, denominations, sects, and cults. If it wasn’t, we would not have so many variation on religious belief.
Billy Graham, in a recent column wrote “Every religion seeks after some kind of spiritual reality - but beyond that one similarity, all religions are not alike, and they differ very widely from one another. Often, in fact, their ideas contradict one another, and they can’t all be right.” His recommendation to determine which particular version had the truth was “open your heart to Christ and trust Him alone.” Considering the source, an unsurprising suggestion, but one which forecloses a large number of the alternatives suggested by his opening statement.
On one level, I do agree with both Graham and Ambrozic. All religions are not equally valid, and they indeed cannot all be right. But, that does not make either of their versions of belief correct.
While logically, all religions cannot be right, that leaves open the possibility (indeed the probability) at all religions can be, and indeed are, wrong.
- I think two Meditations arising out of this event are enough, even though there is subject matter for at least a dozen more.
- You want another example of arrogance? How about Cardinal Law blaming an anti-Catholic bias in the press when allegations of priests molesting children surfaced in Boston? (See also footnotes 3 and 4).
- While Ambrozic suggests the beliefs of others are inferior to his, he does not seem to regard their money as inferior.Having run a deficit of some $30 million on the event (managerial incompetence - 175,000 paid to attend out of 900,000 attendees,) Canada’s Catholic hierarchy is now begging all Canadians of all faiths to contribute because, supposedly, we all benefited from the pope’s visit. (A challenge to any Catholic - submit an article for Talk Back explaining how I personally benefitted, and why the 725,000 freeloaders aren't being asked to pay.)
- (One of my infamous footnotes to a footnote) This willingness to accept money from anyone represents different attitude than that of Cardinal Law who turned down a proposed donation of $10 million from Boston Catholics to help Catholic charities in his near bankrupt diocese, solely because they intelligently refused to channel the funds through his diocesan accounts. Even Catholic money isn't good enough for Cardinal Law if it has strings attached.
- Except, of course for agnosticism. When you honestly don’t know, then you are not wrong about your beliefs.