Cardinal Keith O’Brien has always had a knack for making headlines, and he recently explained why he likes to use “colourful imagery” in pronouncements on issues such as abortion and stem-cell research, as he has done lately:

“Churchmen have been speaking out against things which they feel are immoral for years but nobody pays a blind bit of attention,” he told a BBC reporter for the Gaelic language television series Cuide Ri Cathy. “But if I attack a proposed Westminster bill on human-embryo research as accusing the Government of backing ‘evil Frankenstein experiments’; if I liken the number of abortions taking place each day in our country as two Dunblane massacres a day going on and on, people take notice and so does the media.” In Cardinal O’Brien’s view, the ends justify the means and newspaper coverage means that he has got his message across.

I imagine speaking in Gaelic wouldn’t help. But I wonder is this strategy is as useful when it comes to internal church efforts, such as with the Notre Dame controversy.

–From the 25 April Tablet of London.

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