Cardinal claims politicians fail to set "objective standards of behaviour for a generation"

Cardinal O'Brien claims politicians fail to set "objective standards
of behaviour for a generation"

In a homily to be delivered at 3pm at St. Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh today (Sunday 31 May 2009) Cardinal Keith O'Brien will claim that in failing to set objective standards of behaviour for a generation,   "we have created a largely amoral society."

The full text of the homily is shown below.
ENDS

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

Note to Editors:

You are invited to send a photographer/reporter/camera crew to St. Mary's Cathedral, Broughton Street, Edinburgh at 3.00pm



MASS FOR PENTECOST SUNDAY

ST MARY S CATHEDRAL, EDINBURGH

HOMILY PREACHED BY CARDINAL KEITH PATRICK O BRIEN

SUNDAY 31 MAY 2009


Introduction:

I welcome you all most warmly to our Metropolitan Cathedral this afternoon
for our Pentecost Sunday Mass, invariably described as the ˜Missioning
Mass .

The reason for that name is that this is the Mass when those 115 people
baptised or received in full communion with our Church at Easter time are
now being sent out to live their faith in the Church and in the world.

As your Bishop, I am called upon to address words to you and the words
which I use on this occasion are the same words used by Jesus himself in
his address to his apostles following on his Resurrection from the dead.  
He said to them:   Peace be with you!   As the Father sent me, so am I
sending you! .

Consequently, I am sending you out now into the society of today in our
country to bear witness to Jesus Christ and his love and teaching as did
those first followers of Jesus himself.

With you on this occasion I wish to consider first of all just what
society of today is like in Scotland;   and then to consider how we can
indeed still bear witness to Christ in this world.

Society of Today:

Just seven weeks ago on Easter Sunday I also preached in our Cathedral and
suggested that society was losing the ability to set moral standards and
was suffering as a result.   There followed much media coverage of what I
had said, with many newspaper articles repeating my claim that too often
our politicians tend to focus on symptoms rather than causes.   I used
various examples, giving but three now:

When young people drink too much “ they try to restrict sales of alcohol;
When obesity levels rise dangerously “ they urge the food industry to use
less fat;
And when promiscuity leads to an explosion in sexually transmitted
infections “ they dramatically increase funding for testing and treatment.

Sadly it never seems to occur to our politicians that they might rather
encourage restraint and self-control.   How refreshing it would be to hear
our legislators say, even occasionally:   stop drinking , eat less ;  
don t steal ; don t kill “ in the womb, in the streets, in old age ;   or
abstain before sexual activity marriage and be faithful within it .

In other words I suggest that in society of today we do not hear our
political representatives moralise!   And when I preached that sermon, none
of my criticisms were countered or refuted.   I was left reinforced in my
belief that in failing to moralise, in failing to set objective standards
of behaviour for a generation, we have created a largely amoral society.  
I emphasised two areas of our life in society at this present time in a
particular way as they affect us so much at present.

First of all, I emphasise ˜love of money - as we think of the commandment,
  ˜Thou shalt not steal :

I know that very many so called ordinary people have been affected by the
love of money of so many in positions of responsibility in our banking
system and who have responsibility over pension funds.   Those who possess
a reasonable house, quite a good standard of living, and have arrangements
made for their children and their pensions in due course, have been quite
shattered at what has happened during this present economic recession “
when a bank fails or when they suddenly discover that they have no pension
funds available for their retirement.

Many other people have been equally shattered at what we might call the
˜fall from grace of many called to serve in politics and public life,
with money at the root of many difficulties.   Just a few years ago I was
preaching in the church of St Mary s Undercroft in the Houses of
Parliament at Westminster “ indicating to those gathered there that we
share a vocation founded on the desire to be of use to others and to serve
the common good .   I quoted words from the late Pope John Paul II in the
great Jubilee Year of 2000 when he declared that St Thomas More was the
patron saint of politicians and stated:   His life teaches us that
Government is above all an exercise of virtue .

On behalf of   very many suffering and bewildered people, I call on those
in public service of whatever kind who have failed us to reclaim the high
standards which we expect of them and to give the example required of them
to all in our country, however difficult it might be to implement this.

Just last year I visited Myanmar, visiting areas devastated by the Cyclone
Nargis.   I spoke to many survivors of that cyclone, with one in particular
speaking in a very articulate way of the loss he had endured of his wife,
his child, his home, his whole village.   He said at the end of his
testimony that perhaps God is teaching me that we human beings don t
really possess anything for ourselves .   Perhaps that lesson has been
brought home to us all in recent months.


Sadly again on this occasion I must speak of the sin of murder “ as I
think of the commandment ˜Thou shalt not kill :

The recently released abortion figures for Scotland have indeed frightened
us all with the figures going against the United Kingdom trend to hit a
record high.   Our Public Health Minister called the figures
disappointing , while I myself stated that The statistics confirm the
failure of the   'sexual health strategy', representing a human rights
violation, in our midst, on a massive scale .

One must see the rise in abortion figures as a component of a growing
anti-life mentality as we prepare for ongoing debate about killing the
elderly and less able with regard to assisted suicide or euthanasia.

Just two years ago I visited Cambodia and stood in silence looking over
the ˜Killing Fields of Cambodia , which have become so infamous.   I
shudder to think that now looking across Scotland we are all aware of the
˜Killing Fields of Scotland with such a tragic disregard for human life,
whether in the womb, on our streets, or in old age.

Solution of Today:

When Christ ascended into Heaven, he promised the gift of the Holy Spirit
on his followers “ and it is the giving of that gift which we commemorate
today.   Although we can look in a rather pessimistic way at society around
us, as Christians we must be inspired by hope, the Christian hope with
which Jesus Christ himself inspired his followers.

In answer to the evils, to the aberrations in our society with regard to
both money and murder, I would suggest firstly that we move from being a
largely amoral society to being once more a moral society.

I see so many people in our society now crying out for the guidance, the
guidance which can only come from having a moral compass.   I urge those in
positions of responsibility in our country   and in our Governments in
Scotland, Westminster and Europe to act and to lead us on the way ahead
before it is too late.   I call on them to respond to past criticisms and
failures in a tangible and positive way, praying that they will be
strengthened and emboldened, whatever has gone wrong in the past, so that
they will support and endorse the practical steps aimed at bringing
stability to our country, along with an ongoing hope for the future and
for the days which lie ahead for ourselves, for our children and our
children s children.

I think of those challenging words of the late Pope Paul VI issued almost
40 years ago:   It is not enough to recall principles, state intentions,
point to crying injustice and utter prophetic denunciations;   these words
will lack real weight unless they are accompanied for each individual by a
livelier awareness of personal responsibility and by effective action .

Secondly, I see too with regard to our solutions that before any society
can prosper and endure it must give support and encouragement to the
institution of marriage and the place of the family.

As a society we have failed utterly to do this and have instead in recent
years acted again and again to undermine marriage and weaken the family:  
in abolishing tax benefits for married couples;   creating tax credits
which favour couples who are not married;   giving legal status to
cohabitees;   speeding up divorce and creating same sex marriages.   In
these and other ways we have attacked and damaged the foundation stone of
our society, the foundation on which any stable society is built.

I think of the tuition and support available to young people as they
prepare to sit their driving test. Our government knows that a stringent
test and structured tuition at the start will pay dividends later in
better driving standards and fewer accidents.   I would hope that we will
now try to see marriage preparation in the same light; and encourage those
who are living together outwith marriage to consider preparing for that
great Sacrament.

What we require is nothing less than a nationwide programme of marriage
preparation courses and ongoing reconciliation services to help couples
who inevitably face difficulties and strains in their relationship.   This
must all be funded at public expense as a far sighted investment in future
stability and will offset the multi-billion pound cost of family fracture,
divorce, breakdown, depression and social collapse we currently pay for.  
I see this as not a competition between morality and money, but rather a
recognition that embracing morality can potentially save us vast amounts
of money.

Just a few weeks ago in Nazareth, the town of the Annunciation and of the
Holy Family, Pope Benedict XVI stated:   In the family each person,
whether the smallest child or the oldest relative, is valued for himself
or herself, and not seen simply as a means to some other end.   Here we
begin to glimpse something of the essential role of the family as the
first building block of a well ordered and welcoming society.   We also
come to appreciate, within the wider community, the duty of the State to
support families in their mission of education, to protect the institution
of the family and its inherent rights, and to ensure that all families can
live and flourish in conditions of dignity .





Conclusion:

I do indeed send you all out from out Cathedral today hopefully aware of
some of the problems which I see in our present society “ and pointing the
way to solutions which will help solve some of our problems.

I know that I am speaking in a special way to those just received into the
Catholic Church and who wish to bear witness to Christ and his love and
his teaching in a special way.

However, I am also aware that I am speaking to very many people of other
Christian denominations, as well as to many members of the worlds great
faiths.

Following on my Easter Sunday sermon, I received an email from a woman who
stated:

Doesn t it just make you want to weep, how many young people are
suffering because of their upbringing or should I say the lack of it “
broken homes, no moral guidance, parents not recognising their needs often
because of alcohol/drug abuse?   My daughter aged 16 has quite a few
friends in this position who drink or take drugs themselves or self harm
to forget their home circumstances.   Although I am not Catholic (I m a
Pentecostal Christian), we clearly have some things in common.   If only
people would turn to God for guidance in their lives and trust in him .

We are privileged to have God in our lives.   Hopefully, we will indeed
trust in him.   On this great Feast of Pentecost, remember again that
mission Jesus gave to his apostles and keep in mind always those two
Commandments which summed up the other ten:   ˜Love God;   Love your
neighbour .

Subscribe to Updates

Subscribe to:
Like   Back to Top   Seen 134 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

Scottish Bishops offer support to Catholic Church in Ireland

| 28th April 2021 | Blogging

Scottish Bishops offer support to Catholic Church in Ireland   28 April 2021   Commenting on the recent decision by the Irish Government to enact restrictions which do not allow public worship, the President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, Bishop Hugh Gilbert has issued the following statement:   “As the Catholic Church in Scotland this year celebrates the 1500th Anniversary of the birth of St Columba who brought the faith from Ireland to Scotland in the 6th century, the thoughts and prayers of the Church in Scotland are now directed to our brothers and sisters in Ireland.”   “Recent developments that penalise the celebration of Holy Mass have been disturbing not only to the Irish Bishops’ Conference but also to the Bishops of Scotland. We all recognise the need for restrictions to protect the common good of all people in a pandemic but to enact legislation that criminalises those who gather to celebrate Holy Mass is indeed extreme and unjust.”   “May the strong bonds between the Catholic Church in Ireland and Scotland established by St Patrick, St Columba, the Celtic saints and the faith of our forebears reassure our brothers and sisters in Ireland that they are not alone and are always in our prayers.”   ENDS Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 0141 221 116807968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org      ...

Blairs Museum reopens

| 27th April 2021 | Blogging

Blairs Museum reopens     The Blairs Museum in Aberdeen will reopen on Friday 30th April 2021, after an extended period of closure arising from the COVID pandemic. Blairs Museum offers a unique insight into Scotland's Catholic history and heritage with spectacular collections spanning more than 500 years it is located on South Deeside Road, Blairs, Aberdeen, housed in part of the former national junior seminary.   A special exhibition this year is titled ‘Capparoni and the Papal Court’. It comprises a fascinating set of hand coloured engravings by the artist Guiseppe Capparoni depicting the people of the Papal Court and the religious orders in Rome between 1823 and 1846 (the year in which Pope Pius IX was elected). These colourful images all clearly depict real individuals and give a lively impression of life in Rome at this time.   Commenting on the reopening, Museum Curator, Elinor Vickers said:   “We look forward to welcoming visitors back to the museum this year and hope that they find our new exhibition, on the artist Capparoni, is of interest. It is exciting to be developing our new website which should let everyone, no matter where, enjoy the museum and its collections.” Elinor Vickers added;   “Guiseppe Capparoni (1800-1879) is an artist who deserves to be better known, whose speciality was his illustrations for a massive series of books on regional and local costumes of the world. The museum holds a large selection of his illustrations of the people of Rome. He also worked on paintings in the churches of Rome, including various Stations of the Cross and ‘The Holy Family’ and ‘The Marriage of the Virgin’ at the basilica church of Sant’ Andrea delle Fratte. This church later became the titular church of Thomas Joseph Cardinal Winning.”   A selection of the relics and unusual liturgical items held by the museum are also newly exhibited this year. The museum will also be displaying all the treasures from the Permanent Collection, such as the world famous Memorial Portrait of Mary Queen of Scots, the Blairs Jewel, the vestment collection and the Jacobite portraits. As well as the cloth of silver vestments of Henry Benedict; Bonnie Prince Charlie’s brother.   This museum has recieved a significant Recovery and Resilience Grant from Museums and Galleries Scotland to develop a new website. This will enable visitors to see the museum in 3D walkthroughs if they are currently unable to visit. The website we also bring together information on all the collections belonging to the Scottish Catholic Heritage Collections Trust, not just at the museum, but also those at the University of Aberdeen; and draw attention also to the Scottish Catholic Archive at Columba House in Edinburgh.   The new website will also host online retail and an online schools programme as well as providing a portal to visitor information and booking and online events.   ENDS   Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 0141 221 116807968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org   Notes to Editors:   Museum visiting information can be found at www.blairsmuseum.org.uk   The curators can be contacted at curator@blairsmuseum.org.uk   Images of some of the drawings by Capparoni can be viewed here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/139632090@N07/albums/72157719029073183        ...

Bishops urge politicians to put human life at centre of Scotland’s political discourse

| 11th April 2021 | Blogging

Sunday 11 April 2021 Bishops urge politicians to put human life at centre of Scotland’s political discourse.   Scotland’s Catholic Bishops have released a pre-election Pastoral letter, urging Catholics to play their part “in putting human life and the inviolable dignity of the human person at the centre of Scotland’s political discourse” and to warn politicians against imposing “unjust restrictions on free speech, free expression and freedom of thought, conscience and religion”.   In a 1,000-word letter distributed online and via Scotland’s 500 Catholic parishes, the Bishops ask Catholic voters to give consideration to six key areas, when selecting a candidate:   Beginning and end of life Family and Work Poverty, Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery Environment Free speech, free expression, and freedom of thought, conscience and religion Catholic schools   Pointing out that “society relies on the building block of the family to exist and flourish” the bishops add; “government should respond to this reality with policies creating economic and fiscal advantages for families with children.”   Voters are also urged to visit the website rcpolitics.org and to use the resources there to help them consider a range of election issues and to question candidates.     ENDS   Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 0141 221 116807968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org     Note to Editors:   The Election resources are available here:  https://rcpolitics.org/scottish-parliament-election-2021/   The full text of the Pastoral Letter is shown below:       Scottish Parliament Election 2021 - Putting Human Life and  Dignity at the Centre   A letter from the Catholic Bishops of Scotland   Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,   This election presents us with an opportunity to play our part in putting human life and the inviolable dignity of the human person at the centre of Scotland’s political discourse. As Catholics we have a duty: to share the Gospel and to help form the public conscience on key moral issues. It is a duty of both faith and citizenship.  This election is an opportunity to be the effective witness our Baptism calls us to be.  The new parliament and government will be tasked with leading the recovery from the damage wrought by the current health crisis and to tackle the significant impact it has had on many aspects of life including health care, mental health and wellbeing, religious freedom, and care for the poor. It must also build on the positives arising from the Pandemic, including caring for the most vulnerable, and a renewed sense of respect for human life, human dignity, and the value of community.   These are some of the issues you may want to consider in the forthcoming election:   Beginning and end of life It is the duty of parliamentarians to uphold the most basic and fundamental human right to life. Elected representatives ought to recognise the existence of human life from the moment of conception and be committed to the protection of human life at every stage. Caring for the unborn and their mothers is a fundamental measure of a caring and compassionate society; a society which puts human dignity at the centre.   We ought to be mindful of a further attempt to legalise assisted suicide in Scotland, likely to happen in this parliament. Legalising assisted suicide or euthanasia suggests that some lives are not worth living, contrary to the Christian belief that every life has equal dignity and value. It is incumbent upon our parliamentarians to show compassion for the sick and dying. This is not achieved by assisted suicide or euthanasia but by ensuring support is provided through caring and attentive politics, including investment in palliative care.   Family and Work Society relies on the building block of the family to exist and flourish. The love of man and woman in marriage and openness to new life is th...

Return to Worship in time for Easter

| 01st March 2021 | Blogging

Return to Worship in time for Easter 1 March 2021 Responding to last week’s statement on the reopening of Places of Worship by the First Minister, the Catholic Bishops of Scotland have issued a statement welcoming the move and calling for a removal of the cap, which limits the number of people who can attend. Instead, the bishops maintain congregation size should be calculated in accordance with the size of each church, a system similar to that used in the retail sector, which still maintains social distancing regulations.   The full text of the statement is shown below. ENDS Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 0141 221 116807968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org     As Scotland’s Catholic bishops, we welcome the recent announcement by the First Minister foreseeing a return to our churches for the most important celebration of the liturgical year at Easter. We also welcome the recognition of the status of public worship implicit in this decision. The Catholic Community recognises the seriousness of the pandemic and is committed to working with others to avoid the spreading of infection. At the same time, we anticipate ongoing dialogue with the Scottish Government regarding the requirement of a numerical “cap” on the number of worshippers. As we continue to observe social distancing  and the protocols on infection control and hygiene formulated by the Bishops’ Conference working group under the leadership of the former Chief Medical Officer Sir Harry Burns, we maintain that it would be more appropriate for each church building to accommodate a congregation in proportion to its size rather than on the basis of an imposed number. We echo here the timely words Pope Francis addressed to the representatives of countries to the Holy See on the 8th February 2021: Even as we seek ways to protect human lives from the spread of the virus, we cannot view the spiritual and moral dimension of the human person as less important than physical health. The opening of churches is a sign that the sacrifices endured so far are bearing fruit and gives us hope and encouragement to persevere. We pray that the Risen Christ, for whom we long during this holy season of Lent, will bless and bring healing to our nation.  ...