Friday 20 March 2008

Cardinal Keith O'Brien will   use his Easter Sunday Homily on 23 March 2008 to launch a
powerful attack on the Government's   "Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill"   currently  
going through Parliament.

In the homily, the Cardinal will describe the proposed legislation as "a
monstrous attack on human rights, human dignity and human life" adding "In
some other European countries one could be jailed for doing what we intend
to make legal"

Cardinal O'Brien will also accuse Gordon Brown of denying Labour MP's "the
right to vote according to their conscience" and backing a law which will,
"add to the 2.2 million human embryos already destroyed or experimented
upon.... (allow) scientists to create babies whose sole purpose will be to
provide, without consent of anyone, parts of their organs or tissues......
sanction the raiding of dead peoples tissue to manufacture yet more embryos
for experimentation..... deny that a child has a biological father, (by)
allowing tampering with birth certificates, removing biological parents, and
inserting someone altogether different. And this Bill will indeed be used to
further extend the abortion laws."

The full text of the Cardinal's homily is shown below.

ENDS

Peter Kearney  
Director  
Catholic Media Office
5 St. Vincent Place
Glasgow  
G1 2DH  
0141 221 1168
07968 122291  
pk@scmo.org  
www.scmo.org


Notes to Editors:

1. The homily will be delivered during the 11.30am Easter Sunday (23 March) Mass at St.Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh

2. An MP3 audio clip of Cardinal O'Brien commenting on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill is available for download at: http://scmo.org/categories/Pod-Cast/

3. For images of Cardinal O'Brien at St.Mary's Cathedral on Easter Sunday contact: Paul McSherry on 07770393960


SERMON FOR EASTER SUNDAY

ST MARY S CATHEDRAL, EDINBURGH

CARDINAL KEITH PATRICK O BRIEN

SUNDAY 23RD MARCH 2008


INTRODUCTION:

Just one week ago I began our Palm Sunday liturgy with the following words:

For five weeks of Lent we have been preparing, by works of charity and self
sacrifice, for the celebration of Our Lord s Pascal Mystery .

Today Easter Day we celebrate the culmination of that Easter mystery “ that
culmination in which we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the
dead.   Our celebrations continue during the fifty days of Easter time
leading to the great feast of Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit on
the Apostles “ and this Easter time our fifty days includes all of the month
of April.  

At Easter and during these fifty days of Easter time we think with great joy
of that glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead; and we remember
once more that during the first Easter time Christ clarified and confirmed
for his followers an essential aspect of their Christian vocation. They were
to be a missionary people: Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good
News to all creation!

DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST:

I think with you today first of all on the death and resurrection of Jesus
Christ himself.

A particular poignancy was brought to our commemorations this Easter in our
Cathedral. News was brought to us some two weeks before that Father David
the father figure of this Cathedral Parish had died suddenly and tragically
in Barcelona in Spain. It was on the weekend of Palm Sunday that his remains
were brought here to our Cathedral and remained until noon on the Monday of
Holy Week when our solemn liturgy for the dead was celebrated and followed
by his burial in the cemetery in Culross near Oakley in Fife.

Obviously there was much grieving here in our Cathedral Parish and indeed
throughout our diocese and all of Scotland as people remembered this gifted
young man who seemed to have the ability to relate in a very easy and
positive way with all with whom he came in contact.

However our liturgies of Holy Week reminded us of how natural everything had
been in David s life and death. Born as one of a large family with a devoted
mother and father he answered the call of God to the Priesthood and lived
out that call to the full until his death in Barcelona. The day following
his funeral, on the Tuesday of Holy Week, the priests of our Archdiocese
gathered to renew our own personal commitment to service “ all having in
mind, I am sure, that service rendered by Father David and our own ongoing
commitment to serve until the Lord calls us to himself.




One might say that when thinking of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus
Christ we realise that is what our own Christianity is all about. Brought
into the world by the love of two devoted parents, raised to adulthood in
our own families, every action is indeed in someway or another a preparation
for our new life in Christ.

I think that the words used in many European countries to describe a death,
sum up very beautifully our basic Christian belief: He has gone to the home
of the Father!

CALL TO BE MISSIONARY:

At this time as well as thinking of the death and resurrection of Jesus
Christ we are asked to consider again what I have described as the
essential aspect of a Christian vocation “ namely to be a missionary
people .   I think that there is a greater need than ever before for each and
every Christian to be aware of that call at this present time.

So many people are worried about the future “ the possibility of banks
failing; the increased cost of living with regard to food, petrol and many
of those things which we find essential; our concerns about climate change
and global warming; our increasing worries about the dangers of nuclear
disaster.  

But I think that a fundamental concern of all of our people at this present
time and one which we ourselves as Christians must take very seriously is
that concerning the future of human life itself.

The beliefs which we have previously held, and the standards by which we
have lived throughout our lives and by which Christians have lived for the
past 2000 years are being challenged at this present time in ways in which
they have never been challenged before!

The norm has always been that children have been born as the result of the
love of man and woman in the unity of a marriage. That belief has of course
long been challenged. However I believe that a greater challenge than that
even faces us “ the possibility now facing our country is that animal “
human embryos be produced with the excuse that perhaps certain diseases
might find a cure from these resulting embryos.

What I am speaking of is the process whereby scientists create an embryo
containing a mixture of animal and human genetic material. If I were
preaching this homily in France, Germany, Italy, Canada or Australia I would
be commending the government for rightly banning such grotesque procedures.

However here in Great Britain I am forced to condemn our government for not
only permitting but encouraging such hideous practices.

Our Prime Minister, Gordon Brown has given the Government s support to the
Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. It is difficult to imagine a single
piece of legislation which, more comprehensively, attacks the sanctity and
dignity of human life than this particular Bill.

With full might of government endorsement, Gordon Brown is promoting a Bill
that will allow the creation of animal “ human hybrid embryos. He is
promoting a Bill which will add to the 2.2 million human embryos already
destroyed or experimented upon. He is promoting a Bill allowing scientists
to create babies whose sole purpose will be to provide, without consent of
anyone, parts of their organs or tissues. He is promoting a Bill which will
sanction the raiding of dead peoples tissue to manufacture yet more embryos
for experimentation. He is promoting a Bill which denies that a child has a
biological father, allows tampering with birth certificates, removing
biological parents, and inserting someone altogether different. And this
Bill will indeed be used to further extend the abortion laws.

Further it seems that Labour MPs are not to be allowed a free vote on this
Bill and consequently are denied the right to vote according to their
conscience “ a right which all other political parties have allowed.

This Bill represents a monstrous attack on human rights, human dignity and
human life. In some other European countries one could be jailed for doing
what we intend to make legal. I can say that the government has no mandate
for these changes:   they were not in any election manifesto, nor do they
enjoy widespread public support. The opposite has indeed taken place “ the
time allowed for debate in Parliament and indeed in the country at large has
been shockingly short. One might say that in our country we are about to
have a public government endorsement of experiments of Frankenstein
proportion “ without many people really being aware of what is going on.

Many excuses are being made for this present legislation, particularly that
cures will soon be found for various diseases which afflict mankind through
this legislation. Rather the opposite seems to be the case when cells
required for ongoing investigation into cures through medical science can
take place through cells obtained in other ways from human bodies and
certainly not through the creation of animal “ human embryos.

I contend that matters of such concern to the peoples of our countries
should not be left quite simply to a vote by members of Parliament. Along
with my colleagues in England and Wales and my brother Bishops here in
Scotland I would maintain that the establishment of a single permanent
statutory national bioethics commission is something which would indeed
bring considerable benefits. As I indicated recently in a letter to the
Prime Minister: This would appear to be the only way that the issues raised
by the swiftly developing biotechnology industry can be adequately discussed
and weighed up in a body which engages with public concerns and informs the
government and parliament on matters which will continue to raise such
unimagined and complex ethical questions .

Our voice must be heard and that voice must be listened to especially by the
members of Parliament who will soon vote on this issue in the House of
Commons. Sadly many members of Parliament do not seem concerned “ or rather
are in a certain ignorance of what is going to happen. In January of this
year our Catholic Parliamentary Office wrote to all of Scotland s 59 members
of Parliament asking them how they intended to vote. As of today only 9 have
bothered to reply. Over three weeks ago Bishop Philip Tartaglia of Paisley
wrote to Gordon Brown urging him to allow all his MPs a free vote “ as of
today he has not even had an acknowledgement!



Our Church, and I personally, have, I think, done all the ˜right things .
We have responded to the consultation document; we have sent letters to all
of Scotland s Members of Parliament; we have written to the Prime Minister;
we are speaking publicly about what is going on in our name and in our
country.   Further, I recently signed a letter with other Church Leaders
which concluded:   This Bill goes against what most people, Christian or
not, reckon is common sense.   The idea of mixing human and animal genes is
not just evil.   It s crazy! .


CONCLUSION:

Today as we celebrate in the resurrection the triumph of life over death I
urge you to ensure that life continues to triumph over these deathly
proposals. I know that many of you have already made your views known to
your members of Parliament. I ask you to continue to do that.

Being a Christian and acting as a Christian must be one and the same thing.
Gathered here on this Easter Day we realise that we are indeed followers of
Jesus Christ and with that comes responsibilities. One of those
responsibilities is as I have indicated to be missionary . May God indeed
help us all to be missionary at this present time and to hand on the saving
message of Jesus Christ in a world which does not seem prepared to receive
it.  

Subscribe to Updates

Subscribe to:
Like   Back to Top   Seen 123 times   Liked 0 times

Subscribe to Updates

If you enjoyed this, why not subscribe to free email updates ?

Subscribe to News updates

Enter your email address to be notified of new posts:

Subscribe to:

Alternatively, you can subscribe via RSS RSS

‹ Return to News

We never share or sell your email address to anyone.

I've already subscribed / don't show me this again

Recent Posts

Statement on nuclear weapons from the Bishops of Scotland and England & Wales

| 04th August 2020 | Blogging

Statement on nuclear weapons from the Bishops of Scotland and England & Wales Tuesday 4 August 2020   During his historic visit to Japan last year, Pope Francis declared that “the use of atomic energy for purposes of war is immoral, just as the possession of atomic weapons is immoral”. Seventy-five years on from the unprecedented and horrific destruction of life at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we are called to reflect prayerfully upon the UK’s own possession of nuclear weapons.   Pope Francis reiterated that the threat of mutual destruction, the massive loss of innocent lives and the annihilation of any future for our common home, is completely incompatible with our efforts to build peace. “If we really want to build a more just and secure society, we must let the weapons fall from our hands”, said the Pope.   He also reminded us that it is unjust to continue squandering precious resources on manufacturing, maintaining and upgrading ever more destructive technology. The cost of nuclear weapons should be measured not only in the lives destroyed through their use, but also the suffering of the poorest and most vulnerable people, who could have benefited were such vast sums of public money invested in the Common Good of society instead. The Scottish and English and Welsh bishops' conferences have in the past called on the UK government to forsake its own nuclear weapons.    We therefore recommit ourselves to the abolition of these weapons and to the Holy Father’s call to pray each day “for the conversion of hearts and for the triumph of a culture of life, reconciliation and fraternity. A fraternity that can recognize and respect diversity in the quest for a common destiny.”    +William Nolan,  Bishop of Galloway and on behalf of the Commission for Justice and Peace of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland.   +Declan Lang,  Bishop of Clifton and Chairman of the international Affairs Department of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales    ENDS   Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 0141 221 116807968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org  ...

Freedom to disagree must be protected, say Scotland’s Bishops

| 29th July 2020 | Blogging

New Hate Crime Bill – the freedom to disagree must be protected, say Scotland’s Bishops Wednesday 29 July 2020The Bishops’ Conference of Scotland has responded to the Scottish Government’s new Hate Crime and Public Order Bill. In a submission to the Scottish Parliament Justice Committee the Conference has stated that any new law must be ‘carefully weighed against fundamental freedoms, such as the right to free speech, freedom of expression, and freedom of thought, conscience and religion.’ The bill proposes to modernise, consolidate and extend hate crime legislation in Scotland, including introducing a new offence of stirring up hatred, possession of inflammatory material, and new protection of freedom of expression provisions in relation to religion and sexual orientation.  Commenting on the submission, the Director of the Catholic Parliamentary Office, Anthony Horan said;“Whilst acknowledging that stirring up of hatred is morally wrong and supporting moves to discourage and condemn such behaviour the bishops have expressed concerns about the lack of clarity around definitions and a potentially low threshold for committing an offence, which they fear, could lead to a ‘deluge of vexatious claims’.”  “A new offence of possessing inflammatory material could even render material such as the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church...inflammatory.  The Catholic Church’s understanding of the human person, including the belief that sex and gender are not fluid and changeable, could fall foul of the new law. Allowing for respectful debate, means avoiding censorship and accepting the divergent views and multitude of arguments inhabiting society.”Mr Horan added; “The Church believes that fundamental freedoms must be protected, as the right to exercise freedom, especially in moral and religious matters, is ‘an inalienable requirement of the dignity of the human person’ and ‘a right that must be recognised and protected by civil authority, always within the limits of the common good and public order’. The courts have noted that the freedom to shock, offend and disturb, as well as the contentious and unwelcome are protected by the right to freedom of expression, and the bishops have declared that freedom of expression provisions must be robust enough to protect the freedom to disagree.Mr Horan concluded; “The bishops decry so-called ‘cancel culture’ in their submission, expressing deep concern at the ‘hunting down of those who disagree with prominent orthodoxies with the intention to expunge the non-compliant from public discourse and with callous disregard for their livelihoods’. They say that ‘no single section of society has dominion over acceptable and unacceptable speech or expression’ and urged the law to be proportionate and fair and allow for respectful debate and tolerance lest we become an ‘intolerant, illiberal society’.”ENDSPeter Kearney 
Director 
Catholic Media Office 
0141 221 1168
07968 122291 
pk@scmo.org 
www.scmo.orgNote to Editors:The full text of the submission to the consultation is shown below:Catholic Church responds to Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill ConsultationJustice Committee – Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) BillConsolidation2.    The Bill brings together the majority of existing hate crime laws into one piece of legislation. Do you believe there is merit in the consolidation of existing hate crime laws and should all such laws be covered?We agree that there is merit in consolidating existing hate crime laws.Other forms of crime not included in the Bill5.    Do you think that sectarianism should have been specifically addressed in this Bill and defined in hate crime legislation? For example, should a statutory aggravation relating to sectarianism or a standalone offence have been created and added?Existing legislation, including existing statutory aggravations, adequately covers offences relating...

A New Lectionary for Scotland

| 24th July 2020 | Blogging

A New Lectionary for Scotland 24 July 2020 Scotland’s Catholic Bishops have approved the preparation of a new Lectionary (a book of readings used at Mass) to update and replace the three volume Lectionary in use in the dioceses of England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland for almost 30 years. The current Lectionary was first published in 1981 using the Jerusalem Bible (1966) as its base text. Commenting on the publication, Bishop Hugh Gilbert, President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland said; “In reaching a decision about a translation for the Lectionary, the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland itself considered the values they would most expect a Lectionary to embody, for example, accuracy, dignity, facility of proclamation, and accessibility. The Catholic Edition of the English Standard Version (ESV) Bible, published in 2018, will be used as the base text for the new translation, it has been accepted by the Bishops of England and Wales as the basis for their own Lectionary and the Scottish Bishops voted at their July 2020 meeting to use it as well. It makes practical and pastoral good sense for the same translation to be used in Scotland, England and Wales.” Bishop Gilbert added; “The National Liturgy Commission has looked closely at the issue of a new Lectionary and hope that its publication will keep the biblical word alive and active for the holy People of God and shape thought and culture in our changing world.” ENDS Peter Kearney 
Director 
Catholic Media Office 
0141 221 1168
07968 122291 
pk@scmo.org 
www.scmo.org Note to Editors: 1. The work of editing and publishing the new Lectionary is expected to take several years. 2. A full statement on the new Lectionary from the National Liturgy Commission is shown below. The Lectionary and the Word of God The Church, throughout her history, sets before the faithful the riches of Sacred Scripture to be read and broken open in worship and for use in private devotions. The Second Vatican Council, in an effort to restore the practice of the early centuries of the Church of a continuous reading of a breadth of Scripture,  promulgated a new lectionary for the Roman Rite, with a revised structure and a wide selection of Scripture texts. St Paul writes: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim 3:16-17). Thus, the Church has always venerated the divine Scriptures as she venerated the Body of the Lord, in so far as she never ceases, particularly in the sacred liturgy, to partake of the bread of life and to offer it to the faithful from the one table of the Word of God and the Body of Christ (Dei Verbum, 21). By listening to and understanding the Scriptures we encounter God and understand how he reveals himself to us, enabling us to grow in faith. But we do not listen alone. Through a faithful proclamation of the word of God within the tradition of the Church we benefit from the holiness and wisdom of all the faithful who have gone before us. According to the General Introduction to the Lectionary: through his word, God unceasingly calls to mind and extends the plan of salvation, which achieves its fullest expression in the liturgy. The liturgical celebration becomes therefore the continuing, complete, and effective presentation of God’s word. Developments leading to a revised translation of the Lectionary The three volume Lectionary in use in the dioceses of England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland was first published in 1981 using the Jerusalem Bible (1966) and the Grail Psalms (1963). It was subsequently re-printed, although is presently out of print. In recent times, English-speaking Bishops’ Conferences worldwide have approved a new translation of the Book of Psalms – “The Abbey Psalms” – for the Liturgy of the Hours. This new translation is the w...

Catholic Bishops announce resumption of communal worship

| 09th July 2020 | Blogging

Thursday 9 July 2020Catholic Bishops announce resumption of communal worshipScotland’s Catholic Bishops have welcomed the First Minister’s comments today (Thursday 9 July) on places of worship and have announced the resumption of communal worship in Catholic parishes from 15 July. Commenting on the move, the President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, Bishop Hugh Gilbert said;“Over the past month, our parishes have been preparing for the safe resumption of communal prayer and the celebration of Mass, which is at the centre of the life of the church. To have been unable to attend Mass for many months has been a source of real sadness for Scotland’s Catholics and I am sure there will be great joy at the prospect of returning.”“Thanks to the widespread implementation of the church’s Infection Control protocols, Catholic parishes will begin the resumption of public Masses and other communal activities from 15 July.”Bishop Gilbert added;“The bishops are extremely grateful to all those who have worked tirelessly to prepare our parishes for public worship and to those who made their views known to their parliamentary representatives and the government on the subject of communal worship.While thanking the Scottish Government for listening to these calls, we would remind parishioners that the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains suspended and ask those who return to do so in accordance with the infection control measures in force in each parish, mindful always of the need to protect themselves and others.”ENDS Peter Kearney 
Director 
Catholic Media Office 
0141 221 1168
07968 122291 
pk@scmo.org 
www.scmo.orgNote to Editors:The Infection Control Working Group’s Report can be viewed here:https://www.bcos.org.uk/Portals/0/Documents/COVID-19%20Infection%20Control%20Advice%20230620.pdf...