Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the UK’s most senior Catholic has described gay marriage as a “grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right” and has campaigned vigorously against any change in the law – a letter condemning gay marriage has been read out in every Catholic church in Scotland.
Normally one might have some sympathy for someone who succumbs to weakness or temptation. But when I compare this bizarre and offensive analogy:
Imagine for a moment that the government had decided to legalise slavery but assured us that “no one will be forced to keep a slave”. Would such worthless assurances calm our fury? Would they justify dismantling a fundamental human right? Or would they simply amount to weasel words masking a great wrong?
with this recent statement from the Cardinal.
“In recent days certain allegations which have been made against me have become public. Initially, their anonymous and non-specific nature led me to contest them.
However, I wish to take this opportunity to admit that there have been times that my sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me as a priest, archbishop and cardinal.
To those I have offended, I apologise and ask forgiveness.
To the Catholic Church and people of Scotland, I also apologise.
I will now spend the rest of my life in retirement. I will play no further
part in the public life of the Catholic Church in Scotland.”
I can’t help feeling that Andrew Brown, writing in the Guardian, should save his sympathy for more deserving objects:
If the allegations are correct, you would need a heart of flint not to feel some sympathy for the cardinal as well as for his victims. Celibacy is difficult and sometimes lonely for anyone. The traditional remedy for loneliness, in Scots and Irish Catholicism, involved medication with whiskey and manly bonding. If your inclination is in any case towards men this is not going to be very helpful. Getting drunk in an atmosphere of sentimental affection with the object of desire is a tough test in self-control. We should not be surprised if some men sometimes fail it.
And agree with Catherine Deveney’s insistence that:
The church cannot face in two directions like a grotesque two-headed monster: one face for public, the other for private.