Cardinal O’Brien vs Professor Winston
Firstly, Cardinal Keith O'Brien has admitted making his ‘Nazi’ remarks to gain publicity. He told BBC Scotland he wanted people to pay attention to the issue, adding: "Yes, I want publicity and I use strong language so that I'll get publicity."
Well, if that were the objective, he could have attracted global attention for his cause if he had compared the Prime Minister to Adolf Hitler, or if he had himself referred to the Pope’s (however reluctant) Nazi past, instead of leaving it to Cranmer to take the flack. Puzzlingly, the Cardinal also said he did not see why people were offended by the comparison. Yet surely the offence was purposeful for it was this which generated the publicity, and without it there would have been none.
But the Cardinal’s allusions to grotesque ‘Nazi-style experiments’ have incurred the wrath of Professor the Lord Winston, who has said the Catholic Church knew about the Nazi’s experiments, but did ‘very little’ to prevent them happening.
This must be a reference to Pope Pius XII, whose path to sainthhood is reported by some has having hit a few problems, which is vehemently denied by Vatican sources.
The controversy surrounding this pope will doubtless endure through the centuries, not least because the Vatican is reluctant to open its archives on the era.
But even if/when they are disclosed, there will be allegations of censorship and conspiracy. By kicking this into the long grass ‘for six or seven years’ (the time it will allegedly take to catalogue 16 million documents), the Vatican has probably resolved the issue for Benedict XVI, who will probably be dead by then. And his death is even more certain to precede the opening of these archives when one considers that archiving 16 million documents in seven years necessitates a rate of 6,262 each day. And that is assuming the Vatican works seven days a week, 365 days a year, which it obviously does not. So this seven years is rather optimistic, or duplicitous, or both.
But Cranmer has a question for Lord Winston:
How does he know what Pope Pius XII knew, and how does he know he knows it? And if he does not know it, how can he publicly declare that his known unknown is a known known, when, to the rest of the world, the mind of Pius XII is a known unknowable unknown?
It is typical of a Liberal Democrat to wade into a debate and hurl rash generalisations and ill-considered statements in order to sound good, only for analysis and scrutiny to expose their shortcomings.
But back to this odious Bill.
Cranmer has been made aware of a clause within it of which he was not previously aware. Indeed, he is not sure how he has missed this, for it is every bit as morally repugnant as the creation of human-animal hybrids, ‘saviour siblings’ and fatherless children.
The Cardinal drew attention to the fact that this Bill will ‘permit cells taken from incapacitated adults and children on the basis of presumed consent to be used for embryo research’.
Taking cells from incapacitated adults and children on the basis of presumed consent?
This is grotesque. Indeed, it is utterly horrifying. Moreover, it flies in the face of all medical guidance on consent to research. Since when has the State presumed ownership of the bodies of the incapacitated? And how are they defining this incapacity? It is appalling, and Cranmer thinks such barbarism fully merits comparison with the evil perpetrated by the Nazis.
His Grace recants, and shall now go and burn the finger that typed his previous condemnation of the Cardinal.