Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Scotland's Cardinal O'Brien Throws Down The Gauntlet

The Scotsman reports that Cardinal Keith O’Brien, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, Scotland, has “thrown down the gauntlet” to Gordon Brown, the new Prime Minister of Britain, to take a moral lead and order an urgent review of Britain's abortion laws. The Cardinal has made some very strong and noteworthy statements in this latest effort to address legalized child-killing in Britain.

This is a significant and a bold move for the Cardinal. His outrage is fully justified and He is to be commended for his initiative. Let’s face it—dealing with the devil [and I don’t mean Gordon Brown!] is not a task for those with a weak stomach or frayed nerves. And launching a frontal assault on the devil’s most unholy sacrament—that of abortion—is particularly perilous.

But consider the backdrop to this setting for a moment.

There’s an old saying, a stitch in time saves nine. Likewise an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Catholic Bishops around the world, particularly in the Western world, are finding themselves squeezed hard by the truth of these sayings. When it comes to the demon of abortion, it would have been far better for the Bishops to have taken firm action about four decades ago when they could have routed a junior sized fiend rather than the full blown monster of today.

If the Bishops object to criticism in this matter, I say they need to review their commission and the person of their Leader. The Bishops are the Successors of the Apostles, the teachers of the faith, and the Earth’s giants in spiritual affairs. They have been given eyes to see spiritual realities and, by extension, to recognize spiritual dangers and devils. They are the human beings entrusted with the souls of Earth’s inhabitants and given the spiritual power and authority to succeed in their God-given task.

Think about that last statement for a moment. Jesus Christ Himself promised that the gates of Hell would not prevail against His Church. That’s some kind of protection! And what a promise! And indeed, the Church has been protected from the gates of Hell and the demons behind those gates.

So why does it appear that the societies of so many [Western] Catholic Bishops have been devastated by the demons of abortion and perverse sexuality? How could it have happened if they had divine protection? Why is it that these monsters from Hell simply mock Bishops today while voraciously devouring unborn children? Bishops appear helpless to do anything to turn the tide and near-totally resigned to the status quo on legalized child killing by the millions.

The short and simple one-word answer is: infidelity. Bishops who compromise the truth of Christ’s teachings or who are ashamed to defend them suffer the loss of His protection. It likewise follows that the society under the influence and authority of that Bishop(s) likewise suffers the loss of that divine protection and, to the extent that the Bishop is unfaithful to his calling or Church teaching, to that extent the devils gain entrance and a foothold in that society.

In the same way that God’s promises to ancient Israel were a sure path to prosperity and the protection of God, so too, and even more so with the teachings of Christ, are His promises sure for the prosperity of the Christian nation. But as exemplified by disobedient Israel, infidelity to the words and will of God brought judgment by God and the entrance of Israel’s mortal enemies who were only too happy to rule over, to enslave, and even to terrorize God’s people.

Thus we observe the tragic state in which Western societies find themselves. And thus we are helped in our understanding of the current circumstances in which England, Scotland and Wales find themselves.

Previously, just over a month ago, Cardinal O’Brien of Scotland had made big news in Britain. According to this report,

The abortion debate was rekindled with a vengeance recently in Britain. In a sermon May 31, Edinburgh's archbishop, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, strongly criticized the assurances given when abortion was legalized in Britain.
The Cardinal described the claims given when the 1967 Abortion Act was approved as being "lies and misinformation masquerading as compassion and truth." The full text of the Cardinal’s sermon was published online in a press release by the Scottish Catholic Media Office of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland. Cardinal O’Brien boldly declared,
In those 40 years the loss of life has been staggering. Around 7 million lives have been ended as a consequence of that one piece of legislation.

We were told that backstreet abortions were killing women and had to be decriminalized. We were told abortion would only be used in extreme cases. We were told medical scrutiny would be rigorous. We were told a pack of lies and misinformation masquerading as compassion and truth.

The scale of the killing is beyond our grasp. In Scotland we kill the equivalent of a classroom full of school children every day.
The Cardinal went on to make some very keen and relevant observations in the remainder of his sermon. However, the difficulty with the Cardinal’s approach is this: He introduced his sermon by laying blame squarely on the government for introducing the legislation forty years ago while at the same time admitting that the Bishops were hoodwinked into following.

If this is truly what the Cardinal and other Bishops believe it is not surprising that Britain is in its current crisis with legalized child-killing. As I noted earlier in this posting, the Bishops are the Successors of the Apostles, the teachers of the faith, and the Earth’s giants in spiritual affairs. They have been given eyes to see spiritual realities and, by extension, to recognize spiritual dangers and devils.

So how could they have been hoodwinked by government or by devils or by both? They have been charged with the oversight of their society and given the spiritual means to prevail over error, evil and the enemy. That was the promise from Christ. Why didn’t they see the danger, the “pack of lies” referred to by the Cardinal in his sermon? Why weren’t the Bishops screaming bloody murder in Britain forty years ago when there was talk of legalizing the killing of innocent children in the womb? Did they just recently discover that the unborn child is fully human and valuable to God?

We could ask the same question of the Bishops of Canada about forty years ago when child-killing was legalized in our nation. According to every report that I have examined the Bishops of Canada as a whole showed no great concern nor mounted any significant opposition to the proposed legislation facing Canadians. Why weren’t they screaming bloody murder? Vote Life, Canada’s recent Open Letter pointed to their long standing apathy and neglect.

Once again, the short and simple one-word answer is: infidelity. Of course the Church’s teaching was clear and firm. Of course the Church’s teaching had not changed. It was a pure reflection of the truth as Christ intended. The problem was that too many Bishops had compromised that truth and more in other ways and to varying degrees for far too long.

To cite one outstanding example in Canada particularly, the Conference of Bishops had been consulted on the question of legalizing contraceptives and offered no resistance at all to the prospect, instead promoting the deception that birth control was somehow permissible for everyone else except Catholics, yet at the same time offering Catholics the primacy of their conscience on the matter! Relativism seems to have been firmly entrenched in the Bishops’ minds for many years prior to the demon of abortion making its appearance. No doubt a similar scenario unfolded in Britain around the same time.

To return then to Cardinal O’Brien’s sermon of May 31, it is extremely disappointing that he would seek to play the victim card for the Bishops of Britain and try to blame other forces in society. Clearly the Bishops failed in their duty to proclaim the truth and to expose the evil confronting that nation and obviously they were very much hoodwinked and deceived. Their outstanding infidelities had brought on spiritual blindness and lethargy and as a result seven million unborn children have paid with their lives for this spiritual failure.

The Cardinal seems oblivious to this reality and and is now calling on the new British Prime Minister to take the "moral lead" in reforming the abortion laws. If the Catholic Bishops have neglected to take the moral lead for decades, is it realistic to call on a politician to do so?

Until the Cardinal and other Catholic Bishops are ready to fully acknowledge their guilt and failure in this calamity, without resorting to blaming other parties, there is, in my mind, no possible way to restore justice for the Unborn. According to Holy Scripture, repentance and an acknowledging of the truth go hand in hand for all men, including Bishops. The Bishops, in their hearts, must put on sackcloth and ashes. Then God will hear from Heaven, answer their prayers [and ours] and heal the land.

There is much more that needs to be said about Cardinal O’Brien’s recent entrance into the limelight. We can learn a great deal from this positive turn of events yet the surface has only been scratched.

I wonder are other bloggers covering the story?

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