I wonder if Scottish Cardinal Keith O'Brien is familiar with the story of how Thomas Becket later to become Saint Thomas Becket met his grisly end following this plea by King Henry the 4th. It wasn't pretty and there was blood and snotters all over the altar where he was slain, like today's cardinal he chose to follow his faith and conscience, still I digress.
The issue of gay marriage never seems to be far away from the headlines, it seems also to be impossible to discuss or write about the subject here in Scotland without Cardinal Keith O'Brien being involved. The Cardinal must feel like just staying in bed some days but of course he doesn't, he lives his life with his head always above the parapet, a "turbulent Priest" if ever there was one. He does not need nor I suspect would he take advice from me so I won't bother to offer it but, there is always a 'but' isn't there? What I am about to say might shock some people particularly those who know me well and also know my views on this subject, Cardinal O'Brien is getting a raw deal in the media and from commentators both professional and amateur here in Scotland.
Those who know me well will not be surprised however when I suggest why in my opinion he is getting such a raw deal here, the reason is what Jack McConnell once eloquently and devastatingly called "Scotland's secret shame" meaning of course 'Sectarianism' one half of Scotland's twin shames sectarianism and racism. He is not under such vicious personal attack because he is man of God he is under such attack because he is a high ranking high profile Catholic. There can be no doubt that religions of every stripe in Scotland have no shortage of members and indeed leaders who agree with Cardinal O'Brien and the stance of the Catholic Church, they however seem to be able to avoid the opprobrium visited on the Cardinal and the RC Church, have you ever wondered why? The answer is sectarianism.
Consider the point that in every corner of the world there are paedophiles and child molesters every religion has them, as do children's youth clubs, sports clubs, schools etc. they are devious and dangerous. Most of them are of course within those loving straight families which religious people so want to preserve. It is only in recent years that we have become aware of the scale of the problem hence we are becoming rightly more vigilant. Scotland however manages to give the impression that only the Catholic Church has this problem, there is nowhere else where such a feeding frenzy like this takes place targeted at one church, , why is that? It's sectarianism.
The coverage in the media is outrageously biased and the amateur commentators in press letters and internet sites in Scotland are as ugly and viciously sectarian as anything we have seen in the past, it means that Scotland is incapable of moving on and is still stuck with its dark ages reputation, sullen, pinch faced and bedevilled by Bible black proponents of the God of Wrath. "Thou shalt not whistle or be merry or travel on a ferry, that'll get ye hung on Scotland's Sabbath day" (Hamish Imlach)
I will now cut away the line of attack which I know is coming from some of the people I have just been criticising. If any religion were to claim me I suppose it would be the Catholic Church, perhaps with reservations though on their part. I believe that Gay people should be treated fairly and equally in all matters including marriage, I would make it a crime for anyone to treat any gay person unfairly or unequally; including churches of whatever brand. Having said that I do not believe that Cardinal O'Brien is as he has been described by many a 'bigot' on the issue of gay marriage I believe him to be 100% wrong but; I also believe that he is 100% sincere, this I suspect applies to all those who have so far managed to keep their heads below that parapet which the Cardinal looks out from with his head above it. He is driven by his faith not by hatred of anyone gay or not. The day will come when the Catholic Church along with the other churches and religions will follow the true meaning of their creeds which are all relentlessly good and kind, those who mistreat Gays and indeed others they disagree with will someday do the right thing. If you don't believe me check out Galileo who got an apology from the Pope last year approximately 370 years after the Church persecuted him for claiming the Sun was the centre of the Universe, the Church reckoned the Earth was the centre of the Universe. They now agree with Galileo or at least most of them do.
But the sun isn't the "centre of the universe". It's merely the centre, in the sense that our and other planets circulate around it, of our particular and very titchy solar system.
"Words, words, words", as that gloomy Dane was wont to mutter but they matter Councillor although you, being a politician by profession are thus a word-murderer by trade!
Your point regarding the issue of child abuse is correct in that it is not peculiar to one particular socio-economic section of society. I am not from the Catholic faith myself but as an outsider the issue that many people, including most Catholics themselves, struggle with is the church's policy of systematic cover-up.
On the substantive point about "gay marriage" it is clear that many people have valid concerns about opt outs for faith groups will, in time, be overturned in a court.
One thing is clear though the SNP are torn on this issue and are getting placed under enormous pressure by both the hierarchy of the Catholic church and the rank and file from their membership.
That's politics for you, eh!!
I suppose you know that Beckett was not a genuine priest? He was ordained by Henry, who then made him a Bishop the next day and then Archbishop the following day. Beckett followed this expedient line as his freidnship with Henry guaranteed him a good position and a degree of access to power. He was not stricly speaking, entitled to nedynbecome Archbishop, this is a matter of record. Also, Beckett supported the continued use of clerical courts as opposed to the new 'reformed' civil courts - he had previously supported the baronial court system. He was also an anti-semitic rabble rouser - not uncommon at the time to be sure and probably the reason that the anti-semite and reactionary T.S. Eliot admired him so much. In other words, just because Henry's knights did him in, does not make him a progressive figure. Quite the opposite in fact, Beckett was an arch conservative who wished to maintain church powers at a time when new versions of civil power were emerging. Just for the record Terry.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012 3:35:00 PM
“I suppose you know that Beckett was not a genuine priest”
I think you might find that at this particular time if Henry said you were a Priest then you were a Priest. That was in fact what all the arguing was about was it not?
Anyway it would be churlish of me not to thank you for going to such trouble, so thanks anyway.
Tuesday, July 17, 2012 11:44:00 PM
“the church's policy of systematic cover-up”
Cover ups were done by lots of organisations, no doubt by Catholics as well but; I find it difficult to accept that it was a systematic cover up by the Church..
“One thing is clear though the SNP are torn on this issue and are getting placed under enormous pressure by both the hierarchy of the Catholic church and the rank and file from their membership”
I think you are perhaps inadvertently displaying the bias I was referring to here, the Catholic Church did not and do not do anything which other groups do not do. Lobbyists of every stripe including religious ones are buzzing around these issues like flies.
Tuesday, July 17, 2012 4:01:00 PM
Yes, “"wild and whirling words” as Horatio said. But poor old Galileo although well ahead of his time did not know what dullards like us know today. And my mission in life Sir is to explain words not murder them.
"And my mission in life Sir is to explain words not murder them."
Hmmmn! 'E' for Effort, I think!
Or "Excellent" perhaps.
'I think you are perhaps inadvertently displaying the bias I was referring to here, the Catholic Church did not and do not do anything which other groups do not do. Lobbyists of every stripe including religious ones are buzzing around these issues like flies.'
Well said, on a number of counts. To nail my colours to the mast I was born and brought up Catholic, lapsed but strangely find myself attending mass weekly without knowing why. I don't believe there is a God, I'm pro-choice, I support full rights for LGBT people and to be frank, after total immersion in it I think Catholicism is bollocks.
So with that out the road, I shan't deny there is anti-Catholic feeling in Scotland- I'm old enough to remember certain workplaces being off limits to me and to have been attacked several times simply for attending a Catholic school.
However there is a lingering hangover from all this in Scotland, in the language we use. I've even caught myself saying I don't agree with Catholic schools, when what I actually mean is I don't believe in state funded religious education of any stripe.
Equally my mother used to fret that my children wouldn't get a proper education in a 'prod school'. What she was actually driving at was a concern that they weren't getting a religious education rather than any hatred of Protestants.
In terms of child abuse by the Catholic Church, you are correct to point out that they haven't behaved any differently to any other powerful group in history. I can fully understand the resentment towards the Catholic Church in Ireland where they had a degree of power but in the UK it's baffling.
And make no mistake this isn't just Scotland's shame, having spent a good deal of my life in England there is a good deal of anti-Catholic feeling there too, I'm afraid.
Anonymous said...Thursday, August 02, 2012 9:53:00 PM
“I think Catholicism is bollocks”
Only Catholicism? Not Methodism, C of E, C of S, Baptists, Jehova’s witnesses, Mormons, wee frees, big frees etc. etc.
Anti Catholic Sectarian Bigotry is alive and well in Scotland, so is Racism. More covert in a lot of cases but still thriving.
'Only Catholicism? Not Methodism, C of E, C of S, Baptists, Jehova’s witnesses, Mormons, wee frees, big frees etc. etc'
No not solely Catholicism but that's what I was brought up with so perhaps explains why I single it out for criticism more than other faiths. In any case the methodists never telt me aff for wearing shiny shoes, supporting CND or having *gasp* proddie boyfriends.
I don't believe myself to be racist or a bigot but if I am saying anything that feeds those vile perspectives then do correct me.
As someone of Irish Catholic stock I think I'm sensitive to bigotry but I don't see why I shouldn't have the same right that women of all faiths and none have to citicise their upbringing.
Anonymous said... Sunday, August 19, 2012 10:11:00 PM
“I don't believe myself to be racist or a bigot”
You could have fooled me then. You might feel justified in hating the Catholic Church, that is a matter for you, it seems to me that you have allowed that hatred to colour your thoughts to such an extent that it is now you who is the bigot.
I could hardly emphasize enough that I disagree with the catholic Church on this but, if you can look at what is going on here and think that anti catholic sectarianism is not playing a part then you have got a problem, were you bitten by a Nun when you were a kid or what?
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