Saturday, November 01, 2008

Cardinal O’Brien vs Professor Winston

More ‘Science meets Religion’, though not as congenial as Pope Benedict meeting Professor Hawking.

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.


Blogger PG said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1 November 2008 at 10:20  
Anonymous PG said...

Sorry, I went and deleted my last post. What I meant to say was:

Lord Winston seems to be arguing that one mistake by the Church (if mistake it was) prevents any further comments in the future. Surely if the Cardinal believed that the Church was too silent in the face of Nazism that would compel him to condemn this evil even more, so that he could not be accused of the same.

Do any of Lord Winston's fellow politicians, or doctors even, follow the policy that one mistake by someone else in the organisation prevents you from commenting on anything ever again?

1 November 2008 at 10:26  
Blogger McKenzie said...

Dear Cardinal O'Brien,

I don't know if you ever read this esteemed blog, but I would like to send you my regards.

I know full well why you said what you said, and I myself have a similar attitude. The frustration and anxiety that one feels is beyond words, and such emotion is too strong to keep hidden away.

We seem hell bent on treading a hellish path to destruction, and at times it seems that the only way to fight this evil which pervades is with a different kind of evil, one which wil stir the hearts of men, and awaken the good soul within; but always on the battle ground we wear the armour of God to shield our hearts.

1 November 2008 at 10:50  
Anonymous tiberswimmer said...

But isn't Your Grace's finger already a pile of ash? Now I'm confused . . .

1 November 2008 at 11:47  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Lord Tiberswimmer,

Your impeccable logic is matched only by your peccable literality.

His Grace has quite obviously had to reconstitute himself to a degree in order to apply pressure upon the letters of his keyboard.

1 November 2008 at 11:54  
Blogger ultramontane grumpy old catholic said...

Your Grace

On this and many topics debated in this country, hyperbole rules. To be heard at all, you have to use strong language. For example: people are not overpaid - they have 'obscene salaries'; man made global warming has 'broken the planet'; AIDS, CJD, Bird Flu will kill us all... Blah blah blah.

So I don't blame the Cardinal for his use of language. I only ask where is the other Cardinal in this debate, and that matter the Archbishop of Canterbury (hmm perhaps not!)

When you consider that since the 1967 act, approximately 6 million unborn children have been aborted in this country alone, it is hard not to draw analogies with Nazi Germany.

There are of course differences between the two which stop us making an exact analogy. Some of these are

a) The people who suffered under the holocaust were fully aware of their surroundings, were fully aware of what was going to happen to them and their loved ones, could feel terror of the anticipation and experienced the humilation and degradation involved.

b) The people who perpetrated these outrages were filled with hate and knew exactly what they were doing.

Nevertheless, since 1967, approximately 6 million human beings have been lawfully killed in this country, and this has been mostly paid for by the likes of you and me.

It is now known that unborn children aborted mid-term can feel pain, though hopefully they would not know what was happening to them. That should be enough to stop all mid term abortions, but all the pro choice lobby can answer is to propose an anaesthetic!

I cannot understand how anyone, even the most vigorously prochoice advocate, however caring and concerned they claim to be can reconcile their conscience with late term abortions, live abortions and partial birth abortions.

With the abortion industry, the people who are involved say that they are doing this for no other reason beyond the well being of the reluctant mother. However, that does not excuse the evil of the act.

1 November 2008 at 11:59  
Blogger King Athelstan said...


1 November 2008 at 13:18  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace, I contrast the vociferous support of this Bill by Lord Winston with the actions of Dietrich Bonhoeffer who saw refusal to participate in injustice as not only his moral duty but his human right. He wrote in this context that "the destruction of the embryo in the mothers womb is a violation of the right to live which God has bestowed on nascent life to deprive it of which is murder"
Dietrich, as you will know, was a Lutheran Pastor and Thelogian hanged by the Nazis for his opposition to and alleged involvement in a plot to overthrow Hitler.
He had some first hand experience of totalitarian regimes and I am content to be guided by Bonhoeffer rather than Lord Winston in this matter.
I suggest the Cardinal believes in the same moral obligation as Bonhoeffer

1 November 2008 at 14:37  
Blogger Holy Smoke said...

Apparently the purpose of this bill is all about jobs.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Tavish Scott claimed the remarks could have endangered Scottish jobs in the life sciences industry.

1 November 2008 at 14:51  
Anonymous lunartalks said...

Your Grace,

I think you will find that Lord Winston is a peer in the Labour interest.

1 November 2008 at 16:42  
Blogger Christian said...

God bless and keep Your Grace! Ave! Ave!

1 November 2008 at 18:18  
Anonymous len said...

When man rejects God (Jahweh) he starts a long,slow descent during which he constantly affirms and re-affirms that what he is doing is ok.The gap is constantly widening and man is constantly falling with no way to judge his descent.
We justify our actions by using impersonal words like termination,feotus,euthenasia,abortion,etc.
What will it take for man to realise what he has become?,how far he has fallen?

1 November 2008 at 19:07  
Anonymous dearieme said...

The case against "Taking cells from incapacitated adults and children on the basis of presumed consent" is so strong that one of the few ways it could be weakened is to have it clumsily supported by some Roman bully-boy.

1 November 2008 at 19:56  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And Raphael now, to Adam's doubt proposed,

Benevolent and facile thus replied :

"To ask or search I blame thee not, for heaven
Is as the book of God before thee set,
Wherein to read his wondrous works, and learn
His seasons, hours, or days, or months, or years —
This to attain, whether heaven move or earth, 70
Imports not, if thou reckon right — the rest
From Man or Angel the great Architect
Did wisely to conceal, and not divulge
His secrets, to be scanned by them who ought
Rather admire ; or, if they list to try
Conjecture, he his fabric of the heavens
Hath left to their disputes, perhaps to move
His laughter at their quaint opinions wide
Hereafter ; when they come to model heaven
And calculate the stars, how they will wield 80



1 November 2008 at 22:08  
Blogger Theresa said...

Your Grace,

Lord Winston may be a good scientist, but he is not a good historian. Pius sheltered Jews in the Vatican and Castel Gandolfo and employed two Jewish historians to look after the Vatican library as a deliberate snub to Hitler. He also arranged an escape network across Europe for refugees fleeing from the Nazis. At the end of the war, the Jewish consul in Milan estimated that 860 000 were saved through the direct intervention of Pius and at the holocaust memorial in Israel, Roncalli, (who was the second in command for the network, and became Pope John XXIII) is named as one of the Righteous Amongst Nations. Oh, and the Chief Rabbi of Rome became a Catholic and took Pius' name as his baptismal name. But I will leave the final say on the church's role to a Jewish scientist who lived in Nazi Germany;

Being a lover of freedom, when the revolution came in Germany, I looked to the universities to defend it, knowing that they had always boasted of their devotion to the cause of truth; but, no, the universities immediately were silenced. Then I looked to the great editors of the newspapers whose flaming editorials in days gone by had proclaimed their love of freedom; but they, like the universities, were silenced in a few short weeks...

Only the Church stood squarely across the path of Hitler's campaign for suppressing truth. I never had any special interest in the Church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration because the Church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual truth and moral freedom. I am forced thus to confess that what I once despised I now praise unreservedly.

Albert Einstein.

I predict that in a few years time, the same will be said about Cardinal O'Brien with regard to this bill.

1 November 2008 at 23:47  

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