Cardinal Keith O'Brien will tomorrow (Sunday 9 October 2005) use the occasion of the annual "Red Mass" (Mass for the legal profession) at St.Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh to launch a strongly worded challenge to Scottish parliamentarians "intent on enacting unjust and immoral laws."
In a homily to be preached to a gathering of Catholic, lawyers, judges and prosecutors, he will point out that while the separation of church and state is important and laws should not be based on religious beliefs, they should still be based on universal moral standards.
Cardinal O'Brien will claim;
"there are moral approaches to the ordering of civil society that have been proved to lead to the common good, irrespective of the religious beliefs or traditions of the societies in which they apply. The clearest proof of that is that throughout history, certain fundamental civil arrangements have been shared across many societies, faiths and traditions. Among them are: Respect and protection for marriage, the family and human life itself."
Lamenting current approaches to lawmaking, he will add;
"Sadly, in our post “ Christian world there are many who consider it fashionable to attack arrangements previously considered as being good for society on the flawed assumption that they are relics of some outmoded Christian dogma rather than pragmatic and proven arrangements which have delivered stability and security to many societies.....................
The new iconoclasts of contemporary society are determined to destroy any law which they consider may be associated with the Christian culture and heritage, an inheritance which has both served and defined Europe for many centuries."
Cardinal O'Brien continues;
"we are now faced with legislators intent on enacting unjust and immoral laws which do not stem from any natural or rational basis. It is all too easy to think of laws and proposed laws of our own Scottish Parliament on marriage, the family, and the adoption of children, which come into this depressing category."
Concluding Cardinal O'Brien will say;
"it is crucially important that as Christians we are active in public life. It is imperative that we take our Christian beliefs into the workplace.....
this is a new challenge for many Catholic Christians....... Rather than just being a Christian we also need to realise our call to evangelize,.........
to carry the teaching of Jesus Christ into the world in which we live."
The full text of the homily is shown below.
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NOTE TO EDITORS:
1.The Mass will take place at St.Mary's Cathedral, Broughton Street, Edinburgh at 11.30am on Sunday 9 October 2005.
2.For photographs please contact Paul McSherry on 07770393960