Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bishops should have banned Lisbon 'No'-vote Catholic newspaper

Cranmer has received a missive from one of his most valued Roman Catholic communicants on matters Irish, and they concern a little spat between prelates and politicians, the sort of which entertains His Grace no end.

The ‘Alive!’ Catholic monthly newspaper carried an article which said a ‘No’ vote for the Lisbon Treaty was a vote for God. One only usually hears this sort of pronouncement from the brethren over the pond, and it appears to have been a little lacking in nuance for some politicians, who are strongly of the opinion that it should have been banned from churches.


There was a time when the Church suppressed the truth and silenced dissent, but now one looks to the more robust ‘right-wing’ Roman Catholic publications for a defence of liberty and truth.

The TDs and Senators on an Oireachtas Committee told Cardinal Seán Brady the ‘Alive!’ newspaper ‘confused and offended worshippers trying to make up their minds on the issue’. Members of the ‘Committee on Ireland’s Future in the European Union’ (is there a funded committee on Ireland’s future outside the EU?) also said Catholic Bishops ‘should have called for a definitive “Yes” vote instead of releasing a statement that was broadly supportive of the referendum’.

To general consternation among the Europhiliac politicos, the ‘Alive!’ newspaper ‘was freely available in Dublin’s Pro Cathedral for several weeks during the national debate’.

What an unacceptable blasphemy. What an appalling manifestation of heresy. What an abomination before the higher purposes of the omnipotent divinity which resides in Brussels. How dare a cathedral peddle such propaganda ‘freely’.

Cardinal Seán Brady worked in Rome for 20 years, and says he ‘believes passionately in Europe’.

This is encouraging, for Europe most certainly exists.

Indeed, it would be a little concerning if the Cardinal did not believe in a geographic entity, for the evidence for its existence is a little stronger than that for the Immaculate Conception or transubstantiation.

But The Cardinal undoubtedly has a point when he observes that ‘the aspirations and visions of the founders of the EU may have been suffocated by layers of bureaucracy in recent years’. Dr Brady asserts that ‘the EU actually promotes “a common evil” rather than a common good’, and this is manifestly a little unpalatable to those in the Republic desperately working towards a ‘resolution’ to the present ‘stalemate’.

Yet Cardinal Brady is a voice crying in the wilderness, and there is no shortage of religio-political forces which are seeking to isolate and silence the meddlesome priest. The ‘Catholic attacks’ on the EU are simply not acceptable: not only are they misplaced, but it is asserted that the EU ‘has never threatened the place of faith in Irish life and politics’.

So Dr Brady is delusional to talk of the absence of God in an ever-increasingly secular Europe, and is positively hyperbolical to talk of the EU’s ‘anti-family, anti-life and anti-Christian decisions’. Of course there is absolutely nothing in any EU law, directive or in its human rights agenda which would interfere with the Republic’s banning of abortion, the fact that the state broadcaster tolls the Angelus Bells at 6.00pm every day (this is the Catholic call to prayer Shhh! Don’t tell the Muslims), and nothing would ever encroach upon church control of the vast majority of Ireland’s schools.

According to The Guardian: ‘In Cardinal Brady's universe there is a simple black/white distinction between the good religious world and the very bad, nasty secular one. In his and the minds of other senior figures in the Irish Catholic church the historic crimes of the 20th century – the Holocaust, the gulags, the Great Leap Forwards, Year Zero – are merely the toxic by-product of European secularism. Of course, this ignores entirely the role of both Catholic and Protestant theology in the antisemitism preceding the Shoah or sectarian slaughter from the Balkans to Ulster.’

Unsurprisingly, The Guardian appears to be a little muddled on the issues. But then distinguishing between black and white has never been its forte, except, of course, between the good world of Socialism and the very bad, nasty Conservative one.

Yet Cranmer is taken with the Cardinal, most especially for his pronouncement that ‘the EU actually promotes “a common evil” rather than a common good’.

Let us today contemplate this, and also the limits of what Christians might do to limit the evil, for it indeed flourishes when good people do nothing.


Anonymous Damian Hockney said...

So beautifully said and brightened my morning reading this. I can add nothing except praise for style and content.

12 November 2008 at 09:26  
Anonymous Preacher said...

Lets be honest about the EU, it was founded on a deception, it has flourished on the vanity of unelected (possibly unelectable) mini mandarins its main aim seems to be to pander to the would be dictators of Europe (the absurd idea of unelected European PM) it does not even operate to its own democratic (ha ha!) rules. The Irish people said NO! to the Lisbon treaty, was that the end of it? No according to the EU's own rules it should of been binned, but no, they are currently re-working it probably as the treaty of never never land or some sutch rubbish in order to get the Irish to vote yes. You couldn't make it up! good on the Irish. Away with the EU, "You have been weighed in the balance and found wanting". FIN.

12 November 2008 at 10:28  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

May the Lord bless the Irish for voting no!

Excellent blog Your Grace. You should be on mainstream TV!

12 November 2008 at 13:12  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know about mainstream TV, but this blog is so far above most of the superficial dross you get that it sould get a much higher profile. It's not just a news source - it's intelligent and perceptive comment with incisive wit. Have you heard of the Orwell Prize? There's a category for blogs this year, and this would stand a really good chance of winning. Have you received offers from a mainstream platform? Why are you preferring to hide your light under a bushel? (Your Grace will appreciate that analogy).

12 November 2008 at 13:22  
Anonymous judith said...

Your Grace - no posting on the slaughter of the innocents in the Congo and Haringey?

12 November 2008 at 19:40  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Miss Judith.

Please understand that His Grace is not a news service. Each day there is a plethora of most worthy stories which demand his attention and upon which he wishes to make erudite and intelligent comment.

As the (most kind) anonymice above observe, His Grace does not have the salary of Jonathan Ross and neither does he have the support staff of a newspaper.

Regretfully, the Congo and Haringey must therefore give way to other issues. Unless, of course, the Lord directs him otherwise.

12 November 2008 at 19:56  
Anonymous judith said...

Your Grace, I acknowledge the many corporeal and incorporeal restrictions that preclude your commenting on every news story.

What concerns me is that while so much space is given in your writings to the issue of abortion, far less is devoted to the consideration of inhumanity to the living.

I say this in the spirit of finding your musings intellectually stimulating and thought-provoking.

12 November 2008 at 22:28  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


13 November 2008 at 04:02  
Blogger McKenzie said...

I have been contemplating this for a day, but still no light can I shed on the problem of what to do in order to avoid doing nothing.

Inhumanity to the living is at the essence of concern about abortion, at least I would assume so anyhow.

13 November 2008 at 08:44  

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