Thursday, October 30, 2008

Cardinal O’Brien: Labour are like the Nazis

Before throwing around such accusations, one hopes the Cardinal has consulted with his boss who has first-hand experience of Hitler Youth. And if he did not, it is a curious hyperbole quite unbecoming of a man of his exalted status. Strong feelings are one thing – and they are feelings which, in the case of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, are shared by Cranmer and doubtless thousands of Christians – but writing an open letter to the Prime Minister, in which the policies of a democratically-elected government making law through the legitimate processes of a representative Parliament are compared to those of Nazi Germany, is not remotely acceptable.

The letter to Mr Brown (whom he addresses by his Christian name), speaks of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill as being ‘misguided’ and ‘potentially most harmful’. He complains that Schedule 3 (which ‘provides for taking tissue from incapacitated adults and children without their consent for the express purpose of creating embryos for research’) ‘has never been properly discussed in Parliament’.

Cranmer believes this was a focus in the House of Lords debate yesterday.

The Cardinal continues:

‘Should this Bill become law, removing tissue from incapacitated adults or children, without their specific consent in order to create animal-human hybrid or other embryos would be permissible, as would creating artificial sperm or artificial eggs from bone marrow or even cord blood.

‘The grotesque implications of these procedures are utterly horrifying. The proposals in this Bill represent a breach of 50 years of ethical medical research. They by-pass the Declaration of Helsinki, the Human Tissue Act, the Mental Capacity Act and the Human Rights Act. Removing parts of people’s bodies without their consent, utterly flies in the face of all BMA and GMC guidance on consent to research.

‘Such behaviour was last seen under the Nazis. Following the liberation of the concentration camps in 1945, the full horrors of the Nazi’s atrocities were revealed to a shocked world. The hideous savagery of their experiments convinced the civilized world that such practices must be outlawed forever. I am appalled that you are promoting a Bill which seeks, by stealth, to create a regime where extracting tissue and cells from human beings no longer requires their consent or involvement.

‘I am staggered that you would endorse legislation, which describes the creation of embryos from a person without their consent as 'non-invasive' and which enshrines the concept of ‘presumed consent’ in UK law. This legislation would set a nightmarish precedent, by allowing scientists to experiment on those lacking capacity - in the absence of explicit consent - largely as they see fit.

‘I urge you to amend Schedule 3 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill as a matter of great urgency and human decency.

‘Yours sincerely in Christ

‘+ Keith Patrick Cardinal O’Brien
Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh’

Now Cranmer wishes to make clear that he too finds the provisions of this Bill utterly repugnant, and has said so consistently since its inception, and has lauded Cardinal O'Brien for his contributions to the debate, with certain qualifications. But he has little time for the histrionic rantings of a cleric who believes that the behaviour of the Government is in any sense akin to that exercised in Nazi concentration camps; indeed, the comparison is insulting to the intelligence and manifestly demeaning to those who endured hell on earth.

But Scotland’s Cardinal has at least grasped some headlines from the Ross/Brand affair. Yet Cranmer would like to ask where is the all-too-quiet voice of England’s Cardinal? Or may now only a Scot rebuke a Scot, for fear of accusations of racism or stirring up English nationalism?

Moreover, where is England’s Archbishop of Canterbury?


Anonymous Asian Colonial Subject said...

"but writing an open letter to the Prime Minister, in which the policies of a democratically-elected government making law through the legitimate processes of a representative Parliament are compared to those of Nazi Germany, is not remotely acceptable."

I find this curious when I am reminded that Hitler was, as a matter of fact, democractically voted in, well, at least for the first round. He was appointed to as Chancellor in accordance with the law and legitimate processes of a representative body by the President, no Gestapo then.

I guess this tinsy-winsy omission is very common given the almost axiomatic 'truth' of the superiority of democracy.

But alas, who am I to say?

I'm an advocate of "Asian-style democracy"

30 October 2008 at 10:52  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Asian Colonial Subject,

His Grace is aware of this, which is why he included 'representative Parliament'.

One might observe, however, that 'democracy' appears to mean all things to all people. Was not Saddam Hussain elected democratically with a resoundingly marvellous 100% of the vote?

30 October 2008 at 10:59  
Blogger Wrinkled Weasel said...

Your Grace,

In what way, exactly, does this Labour Government differ from the operational practices of the Nazis, apart from resorting to torturing its own citizens? (Oh, I forgot, it gets the USA to do that in Cuba)

The curtailment of the right to privacy, for example. In what way does this differ from any other repressive regime in which any local official can delve into the phone records, emails etc of any citizen, at will, without being made to account for his actions?

Or what about detention without trial?

In what way does it differ from the Nazis in committing to an agreement of such historical and international importance as the EU treaty, and then denying a promised referendum, and lying about its content?

Or perhaps the waging of a war on the grounds of regime change, but lying about that, and then being the direct cause of hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths?

Or, persecuting Christians so that they cannot work in certain sectors. In what way does than differ from the early persecution of the Jews in 30's Germany?

Or what about capitalising politically on a catastrophic financial meltdown?

It has started, dear Cranmer. It has started. Wake up and smell the cinders.

30 October 2008 at 11:31  
Blogger King Athelstan said...

English nationalism is here, its growing and it will remain here until it is appeased.

30 October 2008 at 11:37  
Anonymous Asian Colonial Subject said...

Your Grace,

There is a reason why I added the qualifiers of "at least for the first round" and "no Gestapo then". You have to admit, Hitler did win the elections fair and square when he was appointed chancellor, he was no military dictator, nor did he have his Gestapo then. He won "fair and square" with rabble rousing rhetoric and rousing speeches and playing on the emotions of the masses (evidently, little have changed since then). It was only AFTER that that he resorted to, erm, more "persuasive" tactics to secure power.

30 October 2008 at 12:08  
Blogger Holy Smoke said...

I'm surprised at your Grace's hysterical title to this article. "Labour are Like Nazis" The Cardinal does not say Labour are like Nazizs anywhere in his letter. What he says "... ‘Such behaviour was last seen under the Nazis ...". I suggest the issue is "behaviour" which refers to human experimentation of the most vile nature which the Nazis practiced. I think you need to reread the letter absent the blog on which it was posted.

As to the issue of why the Cardinal from Scotland wrote the letter you need to look at the RC organization for England and Scotland. There are two separate and distinct Conferences of Bishops. There is also a Catholic Bishops' Bioethics Committee which is made up of the Bishop Conferences of England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Maybe His Eminence decided or was nominated to take the lead on this issue.

30 October 2008 at 12:24  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Holy Smoke,

The headline 'Cardinal O'Brien: Labour's behaviour is like that of the Nazi's' is clumsy and encapsulates precisely what the present headline communicates succinctly.

In what other way could Labour be like the Nazis, save in its behaviour?

30 October 2008 at 12:34  
Blogger Holy Smoke said...

I do not think the letter is intended to read "Labour's behaviour ..." I think behaviour refers to human expermintation as in human expermintation was last seen under the Nazis

30 October 2008 at 12:43  
Anonymous Terry said...

Cranmer, I think you're unfair to the Cardinal. Looking at the whole picture, he has basically stood up to the PM and rebuked him for pushing through something clearly wrong. Let's not get to wrapped up in the niceties of it and miss the real point - he deserves the support of those who have the same moral compass.

30 October 2008 at 13:33  
Anonymous the recusant said...

I too would like to see a little more courageous Catholic social teaching from Eccleston Square, the silence at times is deafening.

30 October 2008 at 13:48  
Blogger Jomo said...

You may have overlooked the fact that Conrade Brown was not chosen by the electorate as PM.

His predecessor promised in 2005 to serve a full term before the coup d'etat, engineered by the great leader, that led to his removal.

In any case with Glasgow East already down, Glenrothes looks like the next target for His Eminence.

As for the comedians at Canterbury and Westminster, surely you must have given up on them by now.

30 October 2008 at 14:43  
Blogger Damo Mackerel said...

Of course it is only a matter of time when Mr Brown converts to Catholicism and is received into the arms of what passes off as the Roman Catholic Church these days? Just like Mr Blair?

30 October 2008 at 14:58  
Blogger Ernesto said...

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30 October 2008 at 15:27  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Labour and Nazis?
Did someone cry 'Godwin's Law!'?
Well, if the jackboot fits, wear it.
Brown is a disgrace to the Prsebyterian faith.

30 October 2008 at 15:44  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

"Nazi" or not, they are totalitarians and I loathe them. I'm with Cardinal O'Brien on this.

30 October 2008 at 16:50  
Blogger McKenzie said...

I am also in with the Cardinal on this one, but Labour are not like the Nazis.

30 October 2008 at 17:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Were not protestants in Ulster called Nazis by this prince of the church's co religionists - Fr Reid and the president of The Republic of Ireland.
Funny that, as the Nazis were catholic as was the present pope (his prior job to pope was as Grand Inquisitor).

30 October 2008 at 17:57  
Anonymous Ulster (Nazi) Prod said...

Unfortunately Protestants in Ulster were not just referred to as Nazis by a Catholic Priest in the form of Fr Reid, but also by the President of 'Ireland', and more latterly the former Police Ombudsman said she believed all Protestants were brought up to hate Catholics.

Bigotry seems to be an oddly one-way street for some people.

30 October 2008 at 20:26  
Blogger Holy Smoke said...

It is a shame that the letter is only signed by one prelate. Where is the moral outrage from the rest of the Christian leaders of the UK? Where is the signature of the ABC? The congregants of all the Churches and Synagogues should demand a joint letter of condemnation of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill.

31 October 2008 at 00:03  
Blogger Holy Smoke said...


Press release

Issued by the CBCEW
Statement from Archbishop Peter Smith on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (3rd reading)

It is deeply disturbing that the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill will allow the creation of human animal hybrid embryos and cloned human embryos. To make matters worse the government is now proposing that this can happen without the consent of the person whose cells are used.

The creation of a human embryo is a deeply personal human action. To use someone’s gametes or cells to create a human embryo without their consent is an infringement of basic human rights. It is an affront to human dignity. It shows disregard for the consciences of people who may not want their cells to be used to create an embryo. It is appalling that scientists could take cells from vulnerable people who cannot consent and use them in this way.

There has been no public consultation on this question. Indeed even the House of Commons have not had an opportunity to debate this, so short was the time given to the third reading of the Bill.

People have not been given a chance to say what they think of scientists using their cells, their DNA, without being asked, to make human animal hybrids. When people find out that scientists are taking cells without asking to make admixed embryos they will rightly react. Who can trust scientists, if they can do this with your cells without asking you? This is neither ethical nor beneficial for science. It will harm public confidence in science and will thereby harm the progress of science.

I urge the House of Lords to reject Commons Amendment 92 and to restore to the law the strict requirement for effective consent before human or human admixed embryos are created.

Archbishop Peter Smith

31 October 2008 at 02:03  
Blogger Tor Hershman said...

Now who was it that made The Vatican a legal 20th century country?

Lets see.....Mus..., ahhhh, Musso..., Mussolini, yep.....that's the guy.

Stay on groovin' safari,

31 October 2008 at 04:25  
Anonymous no nonny said...

Nice move, Your Grace. I love this blog strand!

It's beginning to look as if we should think ourselves lucky that even one or two clerics dare to speak out. Maybe it won't be so for long now: List'.. 'tis iron boots, stealing through the tunnel... [I can't believe we're all presumed to have forgotten about the Lisbo fraud.]

Another thing maybe we should remember is the euthanasia thing, and all those 'uncontrollable' infections that run through the hospitals...

I guess our masters learned their lesson: they don't want to have 'Nazi', or even 'Commie', writ large on their sleeves just yet. Best just to hide the 'fearful symmetry' of the Tyger under 'clothing of delight' (which they translate as "jouissance" !!).

31 October 2008 at 06:15  
Blogger King Athelstan said...

Damo Mackeral, If McBroon was allowed to become a left footer, I'd recant.

31 October 2008 at 12:40  
Blogger Mark said...

I'm also with the Cardinal on this one. This monstrous bill and its backers are indeed worthy of the Nazi label.

31 October 2008 at 12:58  
Blogger Theresa said...

Do you know that Gordon Brown is a Church of Scotland elder and that the Church of Scotland also opposed this technology? They were too feart to come out and say so to Gordon unfortunately..

1 November 2008 at 02:07  

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