Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor: ‘religious belief is viewed as a private eccentricity’

Not quite.

In the UK, Christianity is viewed as a ‘private eccentricity’, but it is quite cool to be Hindu, Sikh, Muslim, Bahá’í or Buddhist. When the Cardinal asserts that Britain has become an ‘unfriendly’ place for ‘religious people’ to live, he seemingly ignores that the this unfriendliness is expressed principally towards Christians, frequently by this present government, invariably by the BBC, and it is manifest much more toward Protestant Christians than to their Roman Catholic cousins. So much so that the very word ‘Protestant’ has become synonymous with bigotry while ‘Catholic’ at least retains an air of respectability.

While Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor is right to observe ‘the rise of secularism’, it is bizarre to state, as he does, that this ‘has led to a liberal society’. Liberal it is not. Hostile to Christian morals and values it most certainly is, and keen to marginalise the voice of Christian groups most definitely. But it is a strange liberalism which manifests intolerance toward a single faith and seeks to render any expression of it such a jarring dissonance that ‘private eccentricity’ is not the half of it.

There are indeed ‘serious tensions’ between Christians and ‘secularist society’, but such tensions have existed between the church and the world since Pentecost. True Christians have endured persecution since the time of Christ, and the observation that atheists are becoming more ‘vocal and aggressive’ is a natural consequence of the postmodern obsession with giving every diverse group and sub-group a pulpit of ‘equality’ from which they may spout their creed.

But the Cardinal’s comments, of course, have nothing to do with his book ‘Faith in the Nation’, which was published on Monday. God forbid that he might be engaged in anything so base as granting interviews with the media in order to boost his sales in order to supplement his imminently-required pension.

Yet it is a curious tome if, as reported, he argues that immigrants ‘have a duty to adjust to British life’, but then he expresses concern that they are ‘faced with a culture that is increasingly repressive and intolerant’.

Just how does one ‘encourage’ immigrants to ‘adjust to British life’ if one is not prepared to express intolerance of what is foreign or repress what is alien?

Curiously, the Cardinal’s book has received the support of the Prime Minister, which is strange, because he and his predecessor have done more to relegate Christianity to the realms of ‘private eccentricity’ than any government in centuries. And one wonders why the Cardinal sought ‘the backing’ of the Prime Minister for this book on multiculturalism, when Mr Brown’s rejection of it would have made it a far more credible witness. What fellowship hath light with darkness? Unless the darkness comprehends it not. Which is quite likely.

The Cardinal says that the ‘unfriendly climate for people of all faiths’ has united the country's three major faiths - Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

It has?

Cranmer must have missed something.

He further claims that Catholicism has borne the brunt of ‘liberal hostility’ in its battles to fight for values it considers to be ‘fundamental pillars of a rightly ordered society’.

There are some who might assert that the Roman Catholic Bishops of England and Wales have brought this upon themselves, not least because they have been content to sup from the cup of liberalism themselves, which, while it may not equate with supping with the Devil, is, for their more ‘robust’ brethren, but a hair’s breadth from turning Protestant. Just what do the faithful do when the Pope speaks and is ignored by his English bishops? Is obedience due first to one’s bishop or Pope? To whom do the faithful owe their primary allegiance?

Cranmer is with the Cardinal in his concerns for the present government’s amoral and fundamentally anti-Christian agenda. And it is Rome which has articulated incisively and consistently against abortion and homosexuality, and in defence of faith schools and in support for marriage. It is Rome which confronted the controversial Embryology and Fertilisation Bill which permits the production of ‘saviour siblings’ and babies to be born without fathers.

There is indeed a current dislike of absolutes in any area of human activity, including morality, and one wonders, therefore, why the Cardinal manifests this dislike himself, especially towards His Holiness. The Cardinal observes that ‘the intolerance of liberal sceptics can be as repressive as the intolerance of religious believers’, but he appears oblivious to the damage caused by the tolerance of the liberalism of religious believers. Catholics are certainly not alone in watching with dismay as the liberal society shows signs of degenerating into the libertine society, but when one is a Catholic libertine it is difficult to be taken seriously by those with whom you wish to share this dismay.

Curiously, the Cardinal blames ‘the culture of individual rights’ which have been ‘encouraged by the Human Rights Act’, yet he is oblivious the elephant in the room which spawned the agenda. It is a curious cardinal indeed who berates his Holy Father for not being sufficiently pro-EU, yet seeks to blame the EU’s Charter of Human Rights for all of society’s present ills.

In his book, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor says that the need for defining limits of tolerance is particularly clear in the debate over multiculturalism.

Perhaps he would be kind enough to expound precisely at which point this intolerance should be manifest, and what form it ought to take.

And then perhaps he might consider how the imposition of his intolerant views upon those who are fundamentally antithetical to everything Roman Catholic might be a cause of concern to the heretic, to the separated brethren, or to those who have not yet seen the light of his ‘private eccentricity’.


Blogger len.allan said...

The cross of Jesus Christ is foolishness to those who are perishing,but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
Satan has done everything in his power to conceal this truth.

10 December 2008 at 08:33  
Anonymous The Elites ratchet up Control and censorship on the Internet said...

Censorship and Control Increases.

How the enemy used Censorship to Win the US elections.

10 December 2008 at 08:42  
Blogger Jomo said...

"Alas poor comic"

As Your Grace must knows from your position on the blogosphere the Catholic hierarchy in England is irredeemably liberal in belief and outlook.

The injustices of American imperialism or the failure of the West to endlessly bail out Africa interests them more than the doctrine of the faith. Most of them are closet Anglicans who lack the Protestant intellectual rigour that goes with the territory.

+ MOC like +Hume before him has pursued respectability and acceptance at all costs. He would much rather preside over empty churches that upset the political establishment.

His latest efforts to collude in the destruction of the Nation, as he tries to square the circle of integration and diversity, suggests that he has learned nothing from his alliance with Blair. Fortunately for all of us his new friend Brown may only last a little longer than he will.

10 December 2008 at 08:53  
Blogger Arden Forester said...

I'm not so sure that this is the case for Anglican Catholics. We sometimes have to put up with barbs from those in the Roman communion and quite a bit of torrid stuff from liberals in the Church of England. The BBC is disdainful of Forward in Faith. They are keen to promote women priests wherever they can. The present government is poised to make life intolerable for traditionalist catholics in the Church of England with their Equality Bill. And so on......

I'd say Protestants get off quite lightly!

10 December 2008 at 11:02  
Blogger Falco said...

"To whom do the faithful owe their primary allegiance?"

Um.... wouldn't that be God.

10 December 2008 at 11:11  
Anonymous John Reid said...

'I'd say Protestants get off quite lightly!'

Would you now. How nice of you to speak on our behalf.

Come up to Scotland and say that Arden Forester. We are most hated by the people and priests of Rome. I am not talking about non Bible believing 'protestants' who hold us (Bible believers) in the same disdain.
We are told we are bigots and huns. Have to use seperate entrances and toilets in 'shared schools'. Your priests made sure of that.

10 December 2008 at 12:46  
Blogger Matt said...

The world is a horrid place. Why should christians be exempt from hostility? Is it not hostile treatment that brings out the best in a follower of Christ?


10 December 2008 at 16:11  
Blogger The last cause said...

If the thrust of the Cardinals statement is that Christianity has been relegated to private nuttiness in the UK, he should be more interested in the road map to that destination then complaining in public over the relegation.

I can recall Christ saying that his revelation was hidden from the wise and manifest among the humble, that is a truism, perhaps one that the Cardinal may wish to consider for a time.

10 December 2008 at 16:13  
Blogger Christian-Jedi-Alliance said...

I agree with much of what you say here, and I have been a follower of Your eminent blog for some time now, but I can't pin down exactly where it is that you stand on the problems we face. And I can only assume that you do in fact agree that Christians face many problems of intolerance, and more.

You ask here for the Cardinal's explanations on the limits that should be set on intolerance towards things such as multiculturalism. While I have my own definite views on this subject, I would be very curious to hear the Views of Your Grace on such things.

There is extreme hypocrisy in what the Cardinal says, and out of a nurtured respect I have for your opinions and wisdom on such things, please can you shed some light on the way forward regarding the dilemma we Christians face. It is no longer enough to critisise EVERYONE ELSE if You cannot at least provide some kind of qualifying hypothesis of your own. You obviously have strong views, and I am sure many of us communicants would like to hear them. Now is the time to stand up and be counted because everybody is complaining but nobody seems to be offering any alternatives; that is to say no body within the faith.

Maybe we should get back to basics. I have many books in my house to do with religion and its many flavours, but the more I read, I don't seem any the wiser about my own position. Yet when I read the Good Book, The Good News, I always feel more enlightened and filled with the Spirit, wisdom and courage to move forward.

10 December 2008 at 16:21  
Blogger Theresa said...

Your Grace,

Perhaps we're all sensitive to critism of our own religion, and do not notice as much the persecution of others, but we Catholics have had a pretty torrid time of it over the past couple years. But what disappoints me, is not the attack of aggressive secularism, but the refusal of other Christian churches to stand shoulder to shoulder with us on moral issues that we agree on. The most recent example of this was the Embryology bill. Now, Gordon Brown is a practising member of the Church of Scotland, and the Church of Scotland are against hybrid embryos; they debated it and voted against it. Yet they did not raise their head above the parapet once in the whole debate. What effect would it have had on Gordon Brown, if his own church had turned round and condemned him? But it never happened. Instead Cardinal O'Brien was left to do the necessary and the others hid behind our skirts. The result of this was that opposition to the embryo bill was portrayed as a Catholic eccentricity not worthy of debate and the bill got through.We need to act together on these things, but when are you guys going to get over your dislike of us and act in common on the things we do agree on? If we don't hang together, we will hang separately.

10 December 2008 at 23:48  
Blogger McKenzie said...


What do expect from a bunch of poofs? Mean, nasty little spiteful things they are.

11 December 2008 at 12:55  
Anonymous David said...

I wouldn't be hostile to Catholicism if having known from the age of 14 that I was gay, and having a dreadful experience in school being regularly bullied for it (and in them days, school teachers were abusers too), that instead of religious leaders being supportive in favour of my human rights as a minority, they think I'm responsible for the destruction of mankind.

25 December 2008 at 11:53  

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