What would, like, Muhammad do?

By Diogenes (articles ) | Nov 17, 2004

From this morning's UK Telegraph:

The Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, described the killing [of hostage Margaret Hassan] as "a violation of the most basic value of Muslim mercy".

This really rankles. A Catholic bishop has authority to speak about Catholic doctrine. Murphy-O'Connor would be perfectly justified in expressing Christian abhorrence at this murder. But no, he lacks the guts to speak as a Catholic and instead does a BBC-3 multicultural number, back-flipping himself into Muslimdom so as to wag his finger at the killers from within (what he imagines to be) their own religious worldview. Call it "values clarification."

The Archbishop of Westminster may or may not be correct about the nature of Islamic ethics, but quâ bishop he speaks on the subject with no more authority than his housekeeper -- or, indeed, than the killers themselves.

Murphy-O'Connor's opinion on this issue gets a hearing for one reason only: because of his ecclesiastical rank. Yet, by consciously choosing not to speak as a Catholic, he further erodes the moral authority of the episcopacy. He makes himself into one more public striker-of-poses -- ill-informed, sanctimonious, self-congratulatory -- who pretends to wrestle with moral issues while, in reality, strutting before a mirror.

To compound the irony, that handful of American prelates who dared use their authority as Catholic bishops to hold Catholic politicians accountable to Catholic doctrine were lambasted by many of their peers for exceeding their due powers.

Of course, if it's your fate to be ignored by those you admonish, you save great face (if you're a bishop) by addressing your admonitions to the mujahideen in preference to the local Catholic legislator.

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  • Posted by: Fr. William - Nov. 18, 2004 12:51 AM ET USA

    Indeed, Diogenes, this Cardinal Cormac, a successor to the Apostles, clearly sees his position of authority more aligned with the likes of Ellen Goodman and Larry King. This is very disturbing to see and hear... i.e., does the cardinal know that he is a successor to the apostles? Does he even have a Roman Catholic conscience... you know, informed and formed by Jesus Christ, His Church and His Magisterium....? Then again, I'm just a lowly country priest... what do I know about being diplomatic.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 17, 2004 5:47 PM ET USA

    What’s the big deal, Di? The good archbishop was simply hoping to connect with the our “good” Muslim brothers. Isn’t this what JPII has charged us to do? After all, we all do worship the same God—the God of Abraham. No? Heck, even GW Bush has said that Islam is a religion of peace. Brother Cormac can see that. Why can't you?

  • Posted by: - Nov. 17, 2004 8:28 AM ET USA

    Teaching, of course, is one of the three primary responsibilities of a bishop. And, of course, they are charged to teach what Christ taught the Apostles. But, outside of an occassional teaching from Bp. Chaput, how often does your bishop teach anything? And when he does, how often does he do it by means of a press conference? Contrary to their assumptions, I have not bought a newspaper in 20 years, and have not watched TV news since shortly after Clinton was elected!