Monday, 25 February 2013
The Attacks Increase In Force...
I get the distinct impression that the attacks on the Church are increasing in vitriol and fervour, and that things are building up to a crescendo. The attacks are not just from human agencies - the devil is throwing everything he has at the Bride of Christ.
First of all, the Cardinal is accused of "inappropriate behaviour". He has denied the accusations. The law of this land still (notionally) accepts the idea of "presumed innocent until proven guilty," hence the idea that the prosecution has to prove guilt, and not the defendant having to prove innocence. False accusations have been made against priests (and others) in the past. So we must bear in mind that these accusations may be a vile calumny against Cardinal O'Brien.
Next, even if the Cardinal is guilty, it must be noted that this "inappropriate behaviour" did not involve children. The people involved were adults. In addition, it seems (from the vague and sketchy report in The Observer) that alcohol was involved. Human beings often get into inappropriate sexual situations when alcohol is involved. It is hardly earth-shattering news. It's a sin, of course, but not something unheard of.
I have certainly done things I regret whilst under the influence. When I sobered up, I regretted my actions, and resolved never to repeat them. Catholics have this wonderful Sacrament called Confession which allows them to express their sorrow for past sins to God, and He gives us absolution through the ministry of the priest. Then we can start afresh. We might repeat the sins, but as long as we intend not to do so, then that's all God asks. Even priests (and Cardinals) get to go to Confession.
This all leaves me with some very basic questions.
First of all, this happened about thirty years ago. Why have the accusations only been made now? If one of the men was in his 20s when it happened, why, at the age of 50 years, does he suddenly feel the need to complain? Why didn't he complain back in 2003 when O'Brien was made Cardinal? A quote in the Observer article said that the Cardinal's accusers "want the Conclave electing the new Pope to be 'clean.' " Oh really? In that case, why didn't they say something at the last Conclave? You know... the one where Pope Benedict XVI was elected.
Could it possibly have something to do with the fact that it's only since the last Conclave that Cardinal O'Brien has been speaking out forcefully on pro-life issues, and the defense of traditional marriage?
All this leaves a very nasty taste in the mouth. If you need an antidote, go and read Mark Lambert's excellent blog post.
And when you've finished that, pray for the Church. Then pray some more.
Oh yes... one final point, in case anyone is tempted to use the combox to accuse the Cardinal of hypocrisy for condemning homosexual activity while indulging in such behaviour himself. Please don't bother. One can be a sinner oneself and still recognise (and preach) about the Truth.