Who says the pope has lost touch with reality?
A thoroughly practical solution to a very serious problem, I'm sure we'd all agree.
Meanwhile, in other news, the former Bishop of Oxford (and thoroughly good egg), Lord Harries of Pentregarth, points out:
Guardian: It is possible to be moral without God
Best kind of morality, if you ask me, M'Lud: none of that imaginary-friend-in-sky-looking-down-on-you-and-judging-you nonsense. I always thought that particular philosophy was a bit dodgy as the foundation for an entire system of morals.
I always wondered why choir boys had centre partings!
I have long maintained the same: Morality is doing what you believe to be right rather than what you are told will be beneficial for pichfork-dodging in the the everafter.
Same applies to people who take comfort in the loss of a loved one being part of some great design - we as people are morally above that (I will give you my identical-sextuplets example if you're not careful), so if there is a God then he has no respect for us and I want nothing to do with any grand plan he may have.
Sorry. Rant over.
Unfortunately, Richard Harries isn't really saying that a belief in God is irrelevant to our modern morality: even the most open-minded of ex-bishops couldn't really accept that. He quotes approvingly the myth about our goodness being inherited from religious grandparents, or stemming from "our Christian heritage".
I think it would be a bit much to expect a former bishop to say that belief in God is irrelevant, and not to give credit to our Christian heritage - but Harries is definitely one of the more reasonable churchmen. He and Dawkins send each other Christmas cards, apparently.