Scottish Cardinal on the uses of controversy

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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Frank Clyburn

posted May 3, 2009 at 4:55 pm

Murdering our babies is equal to any massacre anywhere in time…. The Cardinal is absolutely right!

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Steve T

posted May 3, 2009 at 6:13 pm

But murdering Africans is okay, Frank?

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posted May 3, 2009 at 7:14 pm

I’m pro-choice, so I disagree with the Cardinal’s stance on abortion, however I’d like to make sure a woman has no need for one…using all the various ways…sex education, availability of birth control, teaching personal responsibility etc. I also totally disagree with his stance against stem cell research…feel it has great promice. However, if I were back in Scotland, I’d go listen to him give a sermon…just to hear the Gaelic…understanding it wouldn’t be necessary!

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posted May 3, 2009 at 8:22 pm

Frank –
The Catholic Church actually believes that abortion is an intrinsic evil.
Murder is not an intrinsic evil.
So, actually, to Catholics abortion is not murder. It’s worse.
This is just one more bit of evidence that your stance is more Republican than Catholic.
Which is fine. But Catholics can get things muddied up pretty quickly if we’re not careful.

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Little Bear

posted May 3, 2009 at 9:28 pm

The tactics that Cardinal O’Brien utilizes wear a little thin after awhile. The trouble with the tactics that the Catholic hierarchy uses is an “All or Nothing” approach. I do not condone abortion—but there are times when it is necessary—and there should be a place where girls or women can have a safe proceedure.
In the meantime, there has to be a middle ground to slow down the pace—without making the woman and her doctors labeled as “murderers”. Steve T brought up the problems in Africa—the Church is against condoms—but seemingly has no problem about people (men or women) who contract HIV and other genital diseases from their sexual partner. Why all the rhetoric against one side of the problem and a refusal to consider the option to prevent the diseases?
And yes, CT, I also agree with you—-it’s OK to murder—but abortion is worse than murder—according to the official Church. So,
a minute or two after a person is born—their life is not as precious, valuable and sacred as it was in the womb? Nonsense! Life is EQUALLY valuable from womb to tomb—and any kind of murder should be looked upon the same way. Not abortion being MORE evil!

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Gerard Nadal

posted May 3, 2009 at 11:43 pm

Hi Pagansister,
I agree about Gaelic. I had an old Irish Carmelite Brother in high school who taught us all of our prayers in Gaelic. It’s a beautiful language, and I would love to learn it sometime in the next few years. Probably the Irish variant.
Certainly the cold rain today felt like Ireland! Well, I’m busy getting beaten up over on Waldman’s blog, so I’ll go and check out any more allegations of being anti-Semitic and gutless before I turn in. (I love the ad hominem attacks. It wouldn’t be Beliefnet without being villified on a regular basis for holding passionately to reasoned positions!)
My best to you and yours.
God Bless!

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posted May 4, 2009 at 9:03 am

There is in the USA a practice of sugar coating every thing, joblessness rises ,but the average wage of the employed increases.Unless of course the media wants to guide ,lead, or drag people in the other direction It is hard to understand how causing the willful death of an unborn infant is any thing but murder. The child was a living being and it is killed,murder made simple.The entire procedure in each of it’s gastly forms should be shown to middle school and high school students as part of the health and physical education program.This might very well prevent the death of many inocents, but if it saves even one life it would be counted as an success. If a parent doesn’t have to be notified when their middle school or high school child is having an abortion then it should be with in reason for them to see what actually takes place during the procedure. See how much better (the procedure) sounds than the murder?

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Your Name

posted May 4, 2009 at 9:18 am

A question we have to ask if why is it necessary to use ” colourful imagery” in the first place. Cardinal O’Brian gives us the answer, because “nobody pays a blind bit of attention.” I am sure I would use language in a similar fashion, to gain attention and then to educate, regardless of the issue. This is the responsibilty that has been given to the Body of Christ. “… go and make disciples of all nations….” Mt.28:19

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posted May 4, 2009 at 11:06 am

From the Catholic Catechism:
2261 Scripture specifies the prohibition contained in the fifth commandment: “Do not slay the innocent and the righteous.”61 The deliberate murder of an innocent person is gravely contrary to the dignity of the human being, to the golden rule, and to the holiness of the Creator. the law forbidding it is universally valid: it obliges each and everyone, always and everywhere.
It would be nice if outspoken critics of the Magesterium would actually take the time to learn official Church teaching before criticizing. On second thought why pass up on the opportunity to knock down a plethora of straw men to substantiate one’s case, while at the same time deviating from the original debate and actual substance?

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posted May 4, 2009 at 11:37 am

When the Dublin clergy abuse findings are published this month, I;m sure Cardinal O’Brien will get some wonderful ‘colorful ‘ words in both English and Gaelic from survivors and ‘fed up’ Catholics.. No whining please…I hope his subscription to the Irish Times is current..

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posted May 4, 2009 at 12:17 pm

You’d like to show middle and H S kids the pictures of an abortion? Guess what, many watch violent movies, play violent video games etc. so that probably wouldn’t bother them. Also, if indeed a girl did get pregnant and didn’t feel she had any alternative but to have an abortion…she has the right to a safe procedure. Other alternative are certainly better…but taking the rights away from females is not OK, IMO.

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posted May 4, 2009 at 3:22 pm

Gerard N:
Greetings to you! Hope all is well with you and yours.
I think I’m a tad jealous that you were able to learn prayers in Gaelic! What a great experience you had. I had a very hard time with French in high school. Memorizing in an language MIGHT be easier. For Gaelic…I’d give it at try.
Rainy here too…Irish weather! The rain there makes the country just like the advertisements…Emerald green. Lucky enough to have had 2 visits there.
Take good care.

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Vicente de la Fuente

posted August 24, 2009 at 3:39 am

I strongly propose abortion. ABORTION equals KILLING..Killing is a crime..and against the Law of God and people.

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