Action Alert!

let's accentuate the positive!

By Diogenes (articles ) | Mar 30, 2005

Picture two Scottish Catholics. One dour lass always thinks the worst of bishops, either ignoring evidence of episcopal virtue and fidelity or else distorting it so as to present it as cloaked malice. Her cousin, by contrast, always thinks the best of bishops, either ignoring evidence of knavery and apostasy or else twisting it so as to present it as rectitude disguised ("if we only knew…").

Now take the recent incident whereby Cardinal Keith O'Brien of Edinburgh sawed the floor out from under Bishop Joseph Devine by declaring that Catholic schools will show no opposition to hiring and retaining gay schoolmasters:

Cardinal O’Brien said: "If there happens to be a gay teacher and he does happen to be living with a partner, that's their personal, private life. I don't see it as a problem." He added there would be no investigation into whether a prospective or practising teacher was gay or lesbian, saying there was no "witch hunt with regard to morality or lifestyle". Church insiders said the cardinal has stepped in to exert his authority and defuse what may be perceived as a row among the hierarchy over issues of faith and morals.

There are two ways to read this story:

  • Take One: In Scotland, Catholic schools are state funded. If the Catholic schools violate the state-mandated anti-discrimination code, they could lose funding and would close. Cardinal O'Brien does not believe what he said about the harmlessness of sexually active cohabiting gay teachers. He sold out the Catholic doctrine through an expedient tactical lie in order to maintain the good will of the government and keep the monies coming in.
  • Take Two: O'Brien truly believes what he said about sexually active cohabiting gays and would have said the same thing even if funding were not an issue or even if the statement worked to the detriment of such funding.
  • OK, here's my question: which one is the sunny interpretation, the reading that belongs to our Catholic Pollyanna?

    Correction: In the original post, Diogenes said that Catholic and Church of Scotland schools are state-funded. In fact, there are no denominational Church of Scotland schools, publicly funded or otherwise. Control of the Church of Scotland schools was handed over to the government in 1878.

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    • Posted by: fisherman129 - Mar. 31, 2005 11:13 AM ET USA

      To remain faithful to our Catholic teachings we need to reject the state funding - that's simple... And the Scottich Catholics will need to support their own schools - which will probably means most of their schools closing. I guess that's the price of faithfulness.

    • Posted by: - Mar. 31, 2005 12:51 AM ET USA

      The only part of Take One that makes it incorrect is, "Cardinal O'Brien does not believe what he said about the harmlessness of sexually active cohabiting gay teachers." The rest of that picture sound exactly like the real reasons. The Church had better get back to teaching the Doctrine, or no amount of state aid will be able to keep the schools open. The class sizes will be one-to-one at best.

    • Posted by: - Mar. 31, 2005 12:17 AM ET USA

      Catholics in this country often appear to be eager to accept some form of financial help for the tremendous educational burden the Church has. There is the sheckel and the shackle. When you take the money, no matter how, you also surrender your freedom and accept control. There is no such thing as a free lunch. As a priest, I oppose government control of our schools. If we are doing what the Lord wants us to do, the work will receive the support necessary and if not, we will close the school

    • Posted by: - Mar. 30, 2005 11:54 PM ET USA

      Once again ... who placed the red hat on the good cardinal's head? Who authorized his consecration as bishop and placed him in charge of the see of Edinburg? This malfeasance of office occurs throughout the Church because it is allowed by higher authority. One or two O'Briens and Mahonys can be winked at ... but not an entire episcopal college where the likes of Burke, Chaput and Bruskewitz are considered right wing and out of step with the "modern" Church.

    • Posted by: - Mar. 30, 2005 10:48 PM ET USA

      I admire the JP II as a great teacher. I wonder why JP II did not exercise more authority.

    • Posted by: - Mar. 30, 2005 5:38 PM ET USA

      No question at all. Take 2 is the answer. The evidence was there before he was elevated to Cardinal.

    • Posted by: - Mar. 30, 2005 8:39 AM ET USA

      Experience says Take 2 is the most likely explanation & I'm not holding my breath waiting for Rome to discipline Card. O'Brien. It seems to me that as the health of the Holy Father deteriorates the prelates & episcopacy in general grow bolder in their defiance of the Magisterium & the Holy Father. Once he does die who will possess disciplinary authority until the next Pope is elected? I'm afraid the patients will be in charge of the asylum if they're not already.