Thursday, January 25, 2007

Why I like Matthew Parris

He's on good form in the Times today.

Starts with an amusing Ryanair anecdote and finishes with some interesting analysis of the Catholic church in light of the gay adoption debate. Fortunately it seems the homophobic forces of the Church and Ruth Kelly will not get their way this time (surely you've persecuted gays enough over the years, Fathers?).

Here's Parris:

If a moral sentiment becomes very widely shared, a society will find its truth “obvious” — and lose patience with those whose morality offends that sentiment. Though such people remain free to believe what they like, theirs becomes a rogue belief; and their freedom to behave according to it, treading on others’ toes, is curtailed.

So the question is this: is the acceptance of homosexuality now so widely shared that the Catholic doctrine has become a rogue morality? It’s a practical, observational question, not a philosophical one. On balance I think it is now a rogue opinion.

The paradox, which I do find beautiful, is that liberal, secular, moral relativists are acting (in this row) as though morality were objective rather than relative. And Catholics, who are supposed to believe their own ethical doctrines objectively true, are left pleading for moral relativism. Delicious.

Delicious indeed.

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