Is The UK Population Thick?

Is The UK Population Thick?

talking_points-300x300Question Time is a TV forum for debate broadcast UK-wide from different locations on  BBC1 on Thursdays, after the 10pm news. I try to watch it, and manage to see it most weeks.  However, I find I’m watching it more and more merely to marvel at the sheer predictability of both questions, answers and the inevitable applause which follows the usual politically correct answers.  There’s a manifest lack of critical thinking in both panellists and audience.

In tonight’s broadcast, for example, topics included (as usual) the funding of the National Health Service (NHS) with the predictable complaining that we are an ageing population and so that brings lots of problems for the NHS.  Not a soul ever addresses the question of why we are an ageing population. Tonight was no exception. Nobody ever points out  that we’ve contracepted ourselves out of existence. Nobody.  There’s simply nobody in the public square who is joining up the dots.

Then, the subject arose of how to persuade women who smoke during pregnancy to stop, given that they are damaging their unborn baby. No voice in the wilderness said: “It’s not half as damaging as murdering them in the womb.”  It seems the UK population doesn’t DO joining up the dots.

AnywayClick here to view the show and make up your own mind. We’re into independent thinking, here at Catholic Truth. There’s no “politically correct” answers expected.  We’re interested only in the truth. I didn’t hear much, if any, truth from either the panel or the audience in tonight’s show – seldom do.  So, tell us your thoughts – am I being uncharitable when I ask the Question Time panellists and audience, from the safe distance of my own living room, if they’re really as thick as they seem to be – or what?

Comments invited…

Comments (51)

  • westminsterfly

    I think perhaps it’s not so much that people are ‘thick’ as that the majority of people since the 1960’s have had the contraceptive and pro-abortion mentality drummed into them at a very early age, and so these things have become ‘sacred cows’ to them, and can never be up for discussion. I remember Pro Fide Forum / CV Productions had an excellent speaker on the topic of reproduction and demographics some years ago. His talk was accompanied by a slideshow – I forget the speaker’s name but I still have the CD with the talk and slideshow. I wonder if EditorCT could upload it to the CT website? It really spelled it out, and was very thought provoking and enabled people to ‘join up the dots’. I can send it to you, EditorCT – can you upload it?

    January 30, 2015 at 9:52 am
    • editor

      Westminster Fly,

      Thank you for the offer of the CD to upload, but hold fire until I check with webmaster to see if that can be done. Will let you know asap.

      I take your point about the population not being “thick” but brainwashed. However, as someone who spent a lot of years attending meetings and in-service courses for RE teachers where the emphasis was on making sure that students were able to evaluate, use their critical faculties well, and not just accept what they are told, I can’t help wondering if “thick” is the word. And it seems I’m not alone in thinking that. Here’s a political commentator on the subject…

      By the way, the silent partner in that interview, David Aaronovitch, is not the brightest button in the box himself. Some years ago, when The Times published a disgraceful attack on my unworthy self in the context of our expose of homosexuals in Church employment, priests and laity, Aaronovitch took the article and re-presented it a day or so later, almost word for word with a few added personal insults thrown in, without doing any checks to ascertain the facts. So, yes, I stick by my chosen term: “thick”. Very few – whether members of the political, religious or any other social category in the UK, can think for themselves. Whatever the schools THINK they are doing to produce independent thinkers, it ain’t working.

      January 30, 2015 at 10:17 am
  • gabriel syme

    Yes, the UK population is thick. A nation of super-idiots.

    They would thoughtlessly swallow anything the media might care to spoon-feed them. I always thought the old saying “don’t believe everything you read in the paper” was more of a joke than anything – how wrong I was! People do glibly accept anything which appears in print or on television. Fools.

    Once you realise how stupid and unthinking most people are, its also easy to see how contrived everything in the media and political circles is. Media barons and politicians dangle stories and policies in front of the drooling public, in the same way a dog owner excites his pet by producing a tasty treat.

    In my debates with non-religious peers, it is routinely I who is able to use science to support my arguments defending Christian morality. For example, regarding homosexuality I can refer to biological science and regarding abortion I can refer to human embryology. In contrast, all my opponents can trot out is whatever drivel they have been fed by the media. Is almost amusing to see their furrowed brows trying to comprehend why its them being hit over the head with scientific facts, and not I – the supposedly “backward” religious person. Almost amusing, but far more frustrating.

    In a sense, the general public are similar in this way to mainstream Novus Ordo Catholics. Just as the general public would glibly accept anything which was on TV, or anything which came out of the mouth of a celebrity, so too will many Novus Ordo Catholics glibly accept any rubbish spouted by Francis or the local “right on” Parish Priest.

    January 30, 2015 at 10:18 am
    • editor

      Gabriel Syme,

      Got it in one. Spot on. Super post.

      And that’s my critical faculty speaking 😀

      January 30, 2015 at 10:23 am
    • Michaela

      Gabriel Syme.

      I couldn’t agree more. The UK really is a nation of super idiots who believe anything they’re told as long as it’s been in print and on TV.

      January 31, 2015 at 11:42 pm
    • Antoine Bisset

      I’m late to the party as usual.
      The BBC in a report of unusual candour announced the approval of the three-party baby. By taking a bit of a donor mebryo and implanting it in the “family” the second embryo will develop as a healthy baby; the bad inherited disease stuff having been removed. This medical breakthrough will help maybe 150 couples a year.
      The BBC made no mention of how much this would cost the taxpayer lying on a trolley for endless hours in the A&E. It is called opportunity cost and we need to make hard decisions on how we spend our resources.
      Children who are born in current circumstances with distressing conditions often die young so the disease is not passed on but stops there. One of the major benefits of this new procedure is it stops the condition being inherited. So, in practical terms there is no benefit to society. The benefit is only to the amour-propre of the middle class people involved.
      The disposal of the donor embryo was glossed over. This is no different to abortion in that the donor embryo dies.
      One would have to be thick to think that this is a good idea.

      February 7, 2015 at 3:33 pm
      • Laura

        Antoine Bissett,

        Once again, thank you for your highly informative post. You have given me good ammunition today on the abortion/three parent baby issues.

        February 7, 2015 at 3:42 pm
  • Christina

    Agreed. The UK population IS thick, as long as you mean empty-headed and not necessarily having a low IQ. I’m sure that the population of today is as intelligent, if not moreso, than earlier generations. My only point of slight disagreement with Gabriel Syme is that I don’t believe that aa significant majorityof the population do drool about policies or anything else outside their immediate interests and spheres of knowledge. I have always liked to watch quizzes on TV, and it is quite remarkable how contestants, especially those under 60, reveal that questions, even the simplest, on English and classical literature, history, geography, sciences, languages, classical music, religion (especially Christianity) art, etc., elicit a ‘pass’. This used to be ‘knowledge’ imparted by the educational system in degrees appropriate to the individual’s abilities. We have a population that has largely lost the culture that made our nation great – and indeed the very memory of it. Our people’s ‘culture’ consists solely of leisure interests of the most intellectually unchallenging kind, although their knowledge of this ‘culture is often encyclopaedic. Pop music of all genres, celebrities, and all their vapid, amoral and immoral doings, and sport must be top of the list, and the very noticeable thing is that ‘serious’ questions on quiz programmes are, of necessity, increasingly giving way to questions on such ephemera. ‘Mastermind’ is a case in point, where ‘specialist subjects’ are often risible compared with those that were offered some years ago. In one quiz programme a team of four could not name a singe English poet, and the English graduate anong them said “I didn’t do poetry for my degree”! Totally unbelievable, unless you’ve understood what has been happening in the nation’s schools for more than 50 years

    And why this sea-change? The ‘liberal’ ideological policies that have driven education since the 1960s of course, coupled with the breakdown in family life, the ‘liberal’ social policies that made ‘discipline’ a dirty word and the consequent loss of all semblance of it in schools, so that the even the best of teachers now has little chance. Recently I watched a programme following starter teachers, and at the end of it concluded that not a single one of them had managed to impart a single piece of knowledge in a 40-minute lesson. The highlight was the exploding of a helium balloon in a ‘science’ lesson, which was uproarious good fun for all. The young teachers, themselves victims of the breakdown in education, are as pathetically ignorant as their charges, accepting abuse and appalling behaviour as normal and to be expected. Self, self, self, and self-esteem have become all-important for the whole of life. It’s as if that particular developmental phase which, should pass after infancy, has become arrested.

    So, as has been noted, people just go along with whatever they’re told, because a. they’re not interested, and b. their brains have been emptied of all that would enable them to question or apply a critical faculty. And so it is in the Church. A pop Mass, celebrity popes, dreadfully heterodox catechesis (even if RE fares any better than any other subject in the general mayhem existing in many schools) and priests who happily go with the flow – all these things explain why the population IS thick.

    Gabriel Syme – I’ll overlook your insulting my dog – just once!

    January 30, 2015 at 4:24 pm
    • Michaela


      This surprised me in your post –

      “The UK population IS thick, as long as you mean empty-headed and not necessarily having a low IQ. I’m sure that the population of today is as intelligent, if not moreso, than earlier generations.”

      Surely if they are empty-headed and can’t think for themselves, that’s not a sign of a high IQ?

      January 31, 2015 at 11:43 pm
  • cbucket

    I think the group behaviour you are describing is a consequence of the conditioning of people by TV. Historically the TV stations have had a virtual monopoly on public opinion. Although large numbers of people have the internet now to access alternate opinion I feel that most still use television as a benchmark.

    I have come to the conclusion that TV operates like Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave”.

    — from the link above —
    Imprisonment in the Cave

    Socrates begins by asking Glaucon to imagine a cave where people have been imprisoned from childhood. These prisoners are chained so that their legs and necks are fixed, forcing them to gaze at the wall in front of them and not look around at the cave, each other, or themselves. Behind the prisoners is a fire, and between the fire and the prisoners is a raised walkway with a low wall, behind which people walk carrying objects or puppets “of men and other living things”. The people walk behind the wall so their bodies do not cast shadows for the prisoners to see, but the objects they carry do (“just as puppet showmen have screens in front of them at which they work their puppets”). The prisoners cannot see any of this behind them and are only able to see the shadows cast upon the cave wall in front of them. The sounds of the people talking echo off the shadowed wall, and the prisoners falsely believe these sounds come from the shadows.

    Socrates suggests that the shadows constitute reality for the prisoners because they have never seen anything else; they do not realize that what they see are shadows of objects in front of a fire, much less that these objects are inspired by real living things outside the cave.

    The most interesting part of the allegory to me is the part explaining the “Departure from the Cave”

    — again, from the link —
    Departure From the Cave.

    Socrates then supposes that one prisoner is freed, being forced to turn and see the fire. The light would hurt his eyes and make it hard for him to see the objects that are casting the shadows. If he is told that what he saw before was not real but that the objects he is now struggling to see are, he would not believe it. In his pain, Socrates continues, the freed prisoner would turn away and run back to what he can see and is accustomed to, that is the shadows of the carried objects. He writes “…it would hurt his eyes, and he would escape by turning away to the things which he was able to look at, and these he would believe to be clearer than what was being shown to him.

    Socrates continues: “suppose…that someone should drag him…by force, up the rough ascent, the steep way up, and never stop until he could drag him out into the light of the sun.” The prisoner would be angry and in pain, and this would only worsen when the radiant light of the sun overwhelms his eyes and blinds him. The sunlight is representative of the new reality and knowledge that the freed prisoner is experiencing.

    Slowly, his eyes adjust to the light of the sun. First he can only see shadows. Gradually he can see the reflections of people and things in water and then later see the people and things themselves. Eventually he is able to look at the stars and moon at night until finally he can look upon the sun itself. Only after he can look straight at the sun “is he able to reason about it” and what it is.

    I believe that the reason for the moronic behaviour is because people cannot face the consequences of acknowledging that the established view (BBC) might be wrong.

    The only hope is that somebody will “drag them…by force”. However, the allegory proposes that they will only recover slowly.

    What this force might be is anybody’s guess. On a personal level it might be an illness or losing their job or a death in the family. At a group level possibly only a big war which frightens people enough that they come to their senses (‘there are no atheists in foxholes’).

    January 30, 2015 at 6:21 pm
    • Christina

      CBUCKET that’s a fascinating link – thank you. It could well apply to the younger generation who increasingly live in a virtual world and find the real one less comfortable.

      January 31, 2015 at 12:30 am
    • Andrew

      Historically TV stations have been influential. But not now. My eldest are 15 and 12 and very rarely watch TV. To think it could be a factor in forming their thinking is a bit like out of touch adults thinking that Facebook is influential – nowadays parents can post want they want on FB confident it will never be read by anyone under 25.

      The internet is far, far more influential. And rather more difficult to control. In the past parents could use the off-switch on the TV. Today the more naive think they can monitor what their kids do on the computer, perhaps taking a peek at the browser history for those with IT skills on a par with the average 6 year old today, in blissful ignorance of proxy servers, TOR and encrypted services.

      In the age of the internet you have to trust your kids, like it or not. Which in practice only works if you can build that mutual trust.

      I personally don’t think the younger generation is “thick”. In fact the opposite. They work harder at school than my generation did. They achieve more, whether in sport, music, the arts, whatever.

      They are just as inquisitive, challenging, rebellious as previous generations. As parents, catechists, etc we have to rise to that challenge and give them good answers. Not beat it into them, but win the argument in the longer term, accepting the setbacks.

      The people that seem to me more “thick” are the older generation, who often seem to have lost critical faculties. It is notable that the support for UKIP, EDL, and other far right/facist parties come mostly from the over 55s. Those parties to me exemplify those who may be described as “thick”, albeit that the truth is somewhat more nuanced. Happily I buck that particular trend.

      And as for the snide asides on this post about education, I personally see it thriving in my kids’ (large Catholic comprehensive) school, with bright, motivated, talented teachers and well-behaved, motivated pupils.

      February 2, 2015 at 10:49 pm
  • Alex F

    I tend to agree that it’s not so much a question of the UK population being thick (many people may dismiss the contributors of this blog as thick), but more that they do not want to think outside of the little bubble that most people live in. People have been inoculated against critical thinking while at the same time believing that they are the only ones who are capable of it. It makes absolutely no sense to go to such great lengths to educate women on the dangers smoking can cause to the baby but make it legal to kill the baby, reciting the mantra “my body my choice.” Smoking is very harmful to health, but surely under their logic a woman has the right to do what she wants with her own body.

    The other thing is that people do not want to be unpopular, so we adopt the prevailing opinions of the mob so as not to stand out. The health and social care sectors are struggling because people are living longer, and not having enough children. The only reason why health and social care is not in meltdown in the UK is because immigrants have filled in the gaps so far, but the crunch is coming. However, if any of the panellists or audience were to have blamed contraception for the crisis they would have immediately been angrily rounded upon by everyone in the audience who uses contraception, which would be almost everyone, and that would not be a pleasant experience.

    January 30, 2015 at 7:01 pm
    • Michaela

      Alex F,

      I think you are absolutely correct to say:

      “people do not want to be unpopular, so we adopt the prevailing opinions of the mob so as not to stand out”

      I think that’s a major reason why most people go along with the popular opinion. I also think it’s why newspaper editors find it so easy to form opinion – they just need to give the impression that this is what everybody thinks, and right away, the majority go along with it.

      January 31, 2015 at 11:46 pm
  • Spero

    Some of the most intelligent people I know unfortunately don’t believe in God, never mind hold views that the Catholic Church holds ( still holds ………at this time, and hopefully after October) so I don’t think it’s a question of intelligence in these things.
    I think time for comment on programs like Question Time is quite tight: annoyingly so in fact. The issue was about an ageing population. The reason for the predominance of an ageing population, in this, and other countries, is a different issue from the present NHS issue and it is so huge that to have a short comment as a sort of add on to this program, would have been even more frustrating I think. The reasons for the lack of babies being born are incredibly varied and worthy of a whole question and a lot of time being given to the problem: for problem it most certainly is.

    The same with the other issue raised. It’s. Its not the opportunity to raise the abortion issue because people only want to know about money being given to expectant mothers who can be bribed to care for their babies, but who don’t seem to care about stopping smoking otherwise ( I mean thats how some people see this pilot scheme)

    Raise the abortion question on such a show and they’ll shoot you down in flames. Better to choose a situation where you can make some impact: where people are not switched into a particular issue, which they have come along to hear about, and where they will be turned off completely if you, I, try to hijack the issue with your, my, particular heart sore.

    January 30, 2015 at 7:10 pm
    • Margaret Mary


      I think it is always good to point out contradictions – you can say you are not diverting the discussion to talk about abortion but it seems strange to worry about smoking damaging babes in the womb when abortion does so much worse. Also although there may be other reasons for lack of babies, I cannot believe that contraception hasn’t been a major factor in the ageing population. I know you say people won’t be switched on to these topics but it just might make them think. Also to say if the women who smoke during pregnancy don’t get medical help afterwards (someone in the audience said that) then the same should apply to people who get STDs because they are having more than one partner. I think it would be very good to point out the discrepancies in the way people think in the UK

      January 30, 2015 at 7:48 pm
    • editor


      I’m particularly curious about the supposed “incredibly varied” reasons for lack of babies. It certainly can’t be due to a lack of the method by which babies are conceived.

      I can’t pretend to have chapter and verse to hand on this, but friends with more knowledge on the subject that I have at my disposal tell me that infertility, e.g. is sometimes, can be, linked to contraceptive use and abortions. If, therefore, you are thinking that infertility is a reason for shortage of births, I would point out that there appears to be a link between the promiscuity around us and infertility.

      So – alleged infertility apart – what are the “incredibly varied” reasons which you think may explain the ageing population?

      January 31, 2015 at 11:28 am
  • Common Sense

    Strangely, the population crisis is exactly why Pope Francis said the experts say 3 children per family, as a starting point, is where families should begin and why they should plan, and exercise, responsible parenthood. I am glad that on this one topic are agreeing with The Pope.

    January 30, 2015 at 7:34 pm
    • Margaret Mary


      The Pope’s apologised for saying that and it was reported that when a man told him he was a father of 8, the Pope replied “Good. Keep going!”

      He’s also made comments since the mention of population experts and 3 children, to praise large families. So, it’s good that he is agreeing with Catholic teaching on the desirability of large families which are a blessing from God.

      January 30, 2015 at 7:45 pm
      • Common Sense

        The Pope clearly believes, and proclaims. Catholic Truth, and that is, unfortunately, why he has critics both within, and without, The Church, more especially from those who claim they know better than The Pope.

        January 31, 2015 at 6:20 pm
    • Therese

      1. Why strangely?
      2. What crisis?
      3. When and where did the experts say 3 children per family is a “starting point”?
      4. Who is agreeing with the Pope on what?

      January 31, 2015 at 10:29 pm
      • Common Sense

        I say “strangely” because some “Traditional” Catholics suggest the current Pope doesn’t teach the faith!

        The “crisis” is the world population is aging, and creating an imbalance in so many countries, with too few young people, so as to endanger future societies, and create economic and social difficulties.

        I do not know what specific experts .The Pope quoted, but essentially he is saying the world needs to produce more children, and the experts say that, on average, a woman should have at least three children, In Europe as a whole the average is 1.6 children, and in Catholic Italy, for example, it is 1.23 whereas it Ireland it is 2.6

        The Pope has never criticised large families, but was highlighting a global problem.

        I actually believe that many here, who have criticised most recent occupants of The See of Rome, including those declared to be Saints, are possibly, for the first time, “agreeing” with something Pope Francis has said, but as they have not understood his, Traditional, sound, Catholic, teaching they are oblivious to that fact.

        February 1, 2015 at 3:58 pm
      • Therese

        “I say “strangely” because some “Traditional” Catholics suggest the current Pope doesn’t teach the faith!”

        Oh, OK, I’ll come to that later.*

        “The “crisis” is the world population is aging, and creating an imbalance in so many countries, with too few young people, so as to endanger future societies, and create economic and social difficulties.”

        Excellent – we are in agreement (for a change!)- I had a horrible feeling you had bought into the myth that the world is overpopulated.

        “I do not know what specific experts .The Pope quoted, but essentially he is saying the world needs to produce more children, and the experts say that, on average, a woman should have at least three children, In Europe as a whole the average is 1.6 children, and in Catholic Italy, for example, it is 1.23 whereas it Ireland it is 2.6”

        *Following the logic of the Pope’s discussion in the plane, he didn’t comment adversely on how few children people were having, but rather on how many; thus he followed his outrageous chastisement of the alleged woman who was having her 8th child by reprimanding those who do not “responsibly” plan their families – he highlighted this by mentioning the “experts” who suggest 3 children per family. So, essentially, he was saying the opposite of what you infer.

        “The Pope has never criticised large families, but was highlighting a global problem.”

        Firstly, he criticised the woman he mentioned, who – IF she is a real person – must feel absolutely devastated that she has been held in opprobrium, on the world’s stage: and this because she has followed the Church’s teachings. Remember, there was no mention that this particular family (if it exists) cannot support the children it has brought into the world.

        Secondly, in light of what you have said in the second paragraph of your answer, what global problem was he highlighting?

        “I actually believe that many here, who have criticised most recent occupants of The See of Rome, including those declared to be Saints, are possibly, for the first time, “agreeing” with something Pope Francis has said, but as they have not understood his, Traditional, sound, Catholic, teaching they are oblivious to that fact.”

        How can one understand someone who says one thing one day, and something totally contradictory the next?

        Common sense militates against such acceptance.

        February 1, 2015 at 5:22 pm
      • Common Sense

        Having eight children can be detrimental to the physical and mental health of a particular woman, and her family, and so, logically, as The Pope says, individual women, and their husbands, should take advice counsel, and, through licit means plan their families, taking into their particular circumstances. That is what The Pope said, and that is what he meant. He was speaking of one person for whom eight children is too many. That is very Traditional teaching, and very compassionate. Clearly, The Pope is mindful of what Jesus would want, and is not a misguided self professed “Traditional” Catholic/ideologue.

        February 2, 2015 at 6:20 am
      • Therese


        It was unforgiveable of the Pope to chastise this woman to the world. Everyone in her locality will know who she is. If you cannot see that, and continue to defend his action, then there’s nothing I can say to engender any empathy, sympathy or compassion in you for her. I just hope you are never publicly humiliated.

        February 2, 2015 at 2:26 pm
      • Common Sense

        He didn’t chastise her. he told her, for her own good, to look after her own health.

        I imagine there are countless women from his former Diocese who has 8 children, and so she, rightly, remains anonymous.

        February 2, 2015 at 2:56 pm
      • Therese

        If you imagine that there are countless women from the parishes he visited who have had 8 C-Sections you are really desperate. He DID chastise her; he told her she was presuming on God’s goodness, which is a sin. He told her she was irresponsible; that’s a sin. He can’t judge active homosexuals, but he can judge this lady?

        It’s clear from your many statements on this and on other threads that you refuse to acknowledge what is before your eyes and ears.

        I’m putting away my brick wall now; the truth has been repeatedly explained to you and you refuse to accept it. So be it.

        February 2, 2015 at 3:16 pm
      • Common Sense

        No he said that she was slowly killing herself, and, in fact, to me her attitude appears to be more akin to that of a Muslim, on fate, than one a Catholic should have in terms of Divine Providence, and down to earth common sense.

        (I must admit I did not have as full a knowledge of her very particular circumstances, but that doesn’t alter the fact you are giving a spin to his words, which his spokesman denies.)

        February 2, 2015 at 3:22 pm
      • Alex F

        Common Sense,
        Possibly the pope wasn’t criticising large families as such, but the reports I read seem to suggest that he was. However, I accept that you have to be careful about the spin reporters put on things.
        I’m not a lefebvrist, but I don’t know if I agree with your last paragraph. There have been very bad popes in the past, and I don’t think any of them can be above criticism. They are the vicar of Christ, not Christ himself. I can’t see anything traditional about Pope Francis, and I’m actually quite disgusted at some of his decisions, for instance canonising JPII. I don’t think he should have done that when he turned a blind eye to the paedophile crisis and shielded Marcial Maciel despite having been told about his antics. He also promoted other bishops who are known to have covered up paedophile priests.
        I’m always cautious when the whole world seems to live someone and right now it seems as if everyone loves pope Francis. The only people who don’t love him are conservative catholics, who as it happens, seem to be the only people Francis doesn’t like judging by some of his vicious comments on them. The popes of the past would have been absolutely hated by the modern world.

        February 1, 2015 at 5:35 pm
      • Common Sense

        Pope John Paul, like many others, was unaware of what Marcial did, as he fooled many, and in his time step major steps were taken to address other issues in general, and again, the evidence presented to him must not of been concrete as it later proved to be. Cardinal Ratzinger was given a better brief, and greater, responsibility to deal with the issue, by John Paul, and from that time there was a marked improvement on the issue.

        You must know every religion, and secular society, had previously dealt with issues of sexual abuse in exactly the same way, and for a time that was because the nature of the problem was not understood, and children were not believed. In the UK most recent reports have been about The Church of England, who did the same thing, on a similar scale, and with the cases being more recent. Further, the majority of abuse takes place in The Home (Fathers, Uncles, Brothers, Cousins, and in organisations like The Scouts. Further, almost universally, especially in the USA, the problem has been greater in other Christian denominations.

        Catholic priests gain greater notoriety on this because it is also used to seek to undermine celibacy, but most abuse is undertaken by non celibate males, often the parents/step parents of the children, who are outwardly in relationships with women.

        February 2, 2015 at 6:32 am
      • Alex F

        Thanks for your response, Common Sense. I’m not sure I agree with you that John Paul II didn’t know what was going on. One of the first actions Ratzinger took upon becoming pope was to open an investigation into the whole Macial affair, which would seem to suggest that he had been prevented from doing so by his superior. You are right when you say that other denominations have this kind of problem too, but they don’t honour people who are known to have covered it up. When Bergoglio became pope he made a lot of noise about how he was going to cleanse the church of this “filth” and then proceeded to promote people who had covered it up and canonised a pope who turned a blind eye to it, and is now in the process of canonising Paul VI who has other serious rumours circulating. So it’s all just words and no substance. All the theatrical garment-rending towards the victims of abuse doesn’t cut it when all the rot is still just under the surface.

        Now, it could be that none of this is true, and both were completely innocent. God will judge that. If they are in Heaven, then canonising them or not won’t make a bit of difference to the joy they are in. Canonisation is for our benefit not theirs. But even the suggestion of scandal should be enough to put a stop to their canonisations, and that’s before we open the whole can of worms that is their promotion of religious indifference. But that’s been discussed ad nauseam elsewhere.

        I also think you are partially right about this being used to undermine priestly celibacy, even though I think priests should be allowed to get married, but not for that reason.

        February 2, 2015 at 6:50 pm
      • Common Sense

        You have no evidence that Cardinal Ratzinger was stopped from acting on something. Indeed, as he is the one who fast tracked the process for his predecessor you are also accusing Card Ratzinger/Pope Benedict of being totally dishonest in helping to raise a corrupt/bully To The Altar.

        I know that in a typical parish where a priest has been convicted of offences half of the parishioners would still believe in his innocence, and the other half want to lynch him Apply that to JP2 who had evidence of the good works of Marcial – lots of priests, high vocations etc – why would he doubt the man?

        Their are rumours that Paul Vl died long before he did, and an actor took on his role.

        I find it interesting that for you mud sticks on those Church leaders you disagree with, and seemingly only those.

        Some of those have been canonised, or soon will be. With your own profound insights into matters you can only speculate about the public clamour for your canonisation will surely be unstoppable, in a Church made in your image.

        February 2, 2015 at 9:37 pm
      • Alex F

        I don’t have any profound insights. I’m just saying how I see it. Whatever rumours there are could be completely untrue, but if there is the suggestion of scandal that should be enough to stop the canonisation. The church has lost a lot of credibility through this scandal and it has done next to nothing to put it right.

        February 2, 2015 at 10:16 pm
      • Common Sense

        The scandal of child abuse has clearly affected the victims, and The Church.

        I assume you are British and so you will know that The UK Government is currently trying to investigate abuses in secular settings, e.g social service run homes, and in Westminster, and The Church of England., and The BBC faced similar difficulties.

        In each situation the problem wasn’t understood, and children were not believed, and most abuse is within the home anyway.

        And yet, as a presumably loyal faithful Catholic you want to believe that men less experienced in “worldly” affairs, and psychology etc should of grasped things sooner, when the rest of society was equally, if not more, tainted and equally, if not more, blind.

        As I have said one thing particular to your view, is you appear not to like the “modern” Church, or its leadership, and view that Church, and leadership through a blinkered lens.

        February 2, 2015 at 10:29 pm
      • Alex F

        I accept what you say about abuse scandals in British institutions and it is currently being investigated as you say. At least, I hope it will be a proper inquest and not a whitewash- but we’ll see. Could you imagine what would happen if an MP is shown to have protected abusers and is then given a Cabinet position or a knighthood? What kind of reaction do you think there would be in the newspapers?

        I know that mistakes have been made, and I’m not asking for a witch hunt, but there has to be more than just flowery words.

        I neither like nor dislike the modern church’s leaders, but you are right in assuming I don’t think much of their leadership. I can’t see them as anything other than career politicians. And I would not describe myself as a faithful and loyal Catholic. I am trying to stay Catholic, even though it is difficult in the current climate and there are so many things I don’t understand about the way things are presented today. I need someone to explain to me how it can be that the Church appears to have taught one thing before Vatican 2 and another thing after. I need someone to explain to me why many of the 19th century encyclicals contradict, or appear to contradict the documents of Vatican 2, among many other things. If that can’t be done, then Catholicism as a belief system has contradicted itself and must be rejected. That’s part of the reason why I use forums like this. I’m not trying to pick arguments with people but I will speak my mind.

        On the issue of clerical abuse I would say that, while very serious and damaging, these are sins of the flesh, and as such are a response to human weakness, and Jesus made it very clear that these can be forgiven. It’s a bit more when it’s matters of faith.

        February 2, 2015 at 11:02 pm
      • Common Sense

        I would advise you to speak to a priest, and not to seek the answers you want on websites not endorsed by any Ecclesiastical Authority.

        February 2, 2015 at 11:14 pm
  • Christina

    Margaret Mary, what you say is very true, but I think Spero is spot on when he argues that when people are ‘switched on to a particular issue’ they are not prepared to hear other issues raised, no matter how germane. I don’t think it would be possible to plan a programme where they might be heard for transmission on TV – it’s a medium, after all, that must appeal to the masses whose ‘thickness’ is being discussed here.

    January 31, 2015 at 11:09 am
  • Frankier

    I worked on the construction of a new secondary school near Kilmarnock a few years ago. There were still no signs on the pupils` toilets when the school opened. One of the teachers came along and pinned two cardboard ones up with Boy`s on one and Girl`s on the other.

    Or should that be teacher`s?

    January 31, 2015 at 11:19 am
  • Pat McKay

    Joseph Goebbels has been credited with following, a very shrewd observation….

    ….’If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State’….

    A classic example is ‘climate change’, which used to be known as ‘global warming’. People get this rammed down their throats at every turn from morning until night. When in company, even among the ‘learned’, the very suggestion that it’s all spin and lies just gets laughed out of court. The expression….’we all like sheep’…does rather spring to mind.

    January 31, 2015 at 12:18 pm
    • Frankier

      Before global warning was the hole in the ozone layer caused by cows drinking too much Guinness..

      January 31, 2015 at 12:30 pm
  • Frankier

    That should be global warming.

    January 31, 2015 at 12:31 pm
  • Pat McKay

    What about the dinosaurs, chomping through all those leafy plants? Good methane material…!

    January 31, 2015 at 1:40 pm
  • Spero

    Sorry for the delay. Many women today are not marrying at all. And though many people have children without marrying, a good number prefer still to be married. So they just don’t have children.
    Many marry in their late thirties and forties and even without contraception, are not able to conceive.
    That is just two reasons.
    I’m not saying that women and men don’t prevent babies being conceived. That would be ridiculous considering the world we live in.
    Bit there are other reasons.

    January 31, 2015 at 2:26 pm
    • editor


      Just about every reason given for the falling birth rate assumes contraception.

      If contraception were not readily available, all of the varied reasons given by women for not having children would be irrelevant. Only “no” would work.

      There is no mention of single women who are not married or cohabiting or simply promiscuous, being a cause of the falling birth-rate – we are in a definite minority these days. Here’s an interesting article on the subject.

      So, while you are correct to argue that there are different reasons for women taking contraception, that is not quite the same thing as saying that the falling birth rate is a result of varied reasons. The varied reasons per se have not led to the decline in births. Contraception and abortion did that. Big time.

      January 31, 2015 at 5:21 pm
      • Antoine Bisset

        Contraception has always been available throughout the 20th century, and before.
        The reason for the falling birthrate is the easy availability of relatively safe abortion on demand.
        I have posted the Scottish figures on abortion here before – I post them whenever I see an opportunity – and they are mind-boggling.
        If there had been no abortions carried out in Scotland since 1967 there would be a million more Scots on the planet. More than live in both Glasgow and Edinburgh.
        We have killed off more than 20% of our people, that is, one in five.
        That is surely beyond thick?

        February 7, 2015 at 3:38 pm
      • Laura

        Antoine Bisset,

        That’s amazing. Thanks for that figure of one million. I will quote it at every chance I get.

        February 7, 2015 at 3:40 pm
  • Spero

    The other situations have added to the decline. Contraception may well be the main reason for families being able to limit the number of children born to them, but the big issue is the reason for the loss of faith which allows them to see their prevention as not being contrary to Catholic belief. the reasons for that are a whole different topic.
    Anyway, I don’t think the Question Time program is the place to try and present such important issues as you raised at the top of the site. They would be belittled and disparaged in such a setting and the PERCEPTION would be that they are matters worthy of no serious debate.
    The fall in the birth rate and the abortion tragedy demands a bigger platform.

    January 31, 2015 at 9:27 pm
    • editor


      With respect, you are missing the point. I have never said that the issues I highlighted are not worthy of a bigger platform but the fact is they are given NO platform, and if a hall full of allegedly intelligent adults can sit with straight faces and talk about their alleged concern for unborn babies when the state routinely murders unborn babies, then I think there’s something lacking when nobody even bothers to point that out.

      If It’s a fear of being mocked and ridiculed that is keeping audience members back from pointing out these contradictions during the one and only UK-wide alleged debating forum, then that is lamentable, to say the least. We’ll have to wait for quite a wee while, it seems, before we will find a companion for St John Ogilvie in the list (of one, to date) Scottish martyrs. But I don’t think it’s that. I think they’re simply not joining up the dots. “Thick” I believe is the word I used and the word I’m sticking to like glue.

      Personally, I would be unable to remain silent in the face of these contradictions. And if my words resulted in a round of silence instead of the usual thunderous, if unthinking, applause for all sorts of nonsense, then I can live with that. At my judgment, I won’t be asked to account for any lack of applause from the UK population in the Question Time studio. I would definitely be asked for an explanation of my silence when I could have spoken out to defend God’s moral law – however apparently futile it may seem – and perhaps touched even one conscience. We’re not asked to be successful – we’re asked to make every effort to spread the truth.

      Let me ask you this, Spero. I’m never going to make it onto Question Time, but if I – or any member of the Catholic Truth team – had been on that panel, would you have been surprised if we’d stuck to the narrow issues, without going deeper, as we have done on this thread? Would you have thought nothing of it if we had failed to publicly join up the dots?

      January 31, 2015 at 9:53 pm
  • Michaela


    Your comments on this have surprised me because on Question Time, which I watch every week, the panellists, especially the politicians on the panel, constantly go off at a tangent to make their point. They want to show how the opposition are contradicting themselves, so that’s just the same as someone answering a question about ageing population and saying but why are we an ageing population, shouldn’t the government encourage people to have more children instead of dishing out free contraceptives? I don’t see how that’s any different from what the politicians do.

    I do agree that it won’t be what the audience want to hear and David Dimbleby would probably do what he does to the politicians, tell them to stick to the subject but at least it will have been said and heard.

    Also, although I agree that the abortion issue demands a bigger platform, the news media haven’t even reported massive pro-life marches taking place in various locations, so they obviously don’t want the issue highlighted. It would only be a member of a panel on such a discussion programme who could get the issue out there. It would be worth a try, IMHO.

    January 31, 2015 at 11:50 pm
  • Spero

    Thickness is generally thought of as a lack of intelligence. I don’t think the fact that many people use contraception or think abortion is acceptable, is due to these people having a low intelligence.

    Obviously it isn’t the fear of ridicule that stopped people from voicing views like your own, because they don’t hold these views, on the whole.

    In fact I was not so concerned about the individuals being ridiculed, as the subject matter itself.

    For instance, say the word ” contraception” and the knee jerk reaction is ” oh here we go.”
    So at all costs, such a topic has to raised where there is an audience and a venue conducive to some gains being made on the part of the persuader.

    The question about your good self being on the panel is another issue. The panellists are well known for their convictions …… Political, religious ………and they would be there for those very reasons. You would no doubt stick to your guns. But if you were asked on to the panel, it would be for that very reason and say, abortion, on that night, would be the hot button topic.

    Michaela, the politicians going off at a tangent is a bit different from an audience member “sticking in” (that’s what I’m really wary of ) a comment on , say, abortion. But O K if it were a natural lead on, it might not do any harm. My real concern is that it would do no good, and worse, that it might do more harm than more of a turn off, in the end.

    February 1, 2015 at 10:44 am
    • Margaret Mary


      I didn’t interpret the article that way. It’s not using contraception or having abortions that makes people thick, I thought editor meant the lack of intelligence was in not being able to see the contradictions in their position. People do talk all the time about ageing population and don’t link it to the contraception issue, and the same goes for abortion. They want to pass laws to stop women smoking during pregnancy to keep the baby safe but don’t seem to realise that abortion is not that safe for babies!

      I don’t actually think the issues are raised at all during discussions so I can’t see how people could say “oh here we go.”

      Also, I think we should leave it to God to make sure people are not turned off – our job is to speak the truth at every chance, If I was an unborn baby today, I’d want people doing that, without bothering about reactions, If even one life is saved, that’s good,

      February 1, 2015 at 10:42 pm

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