I almost feel bad writing disparaging posts about the religion of my youth because it’s almost too easy. I don’t even need to write, say, or do anything to hasten the end of the Church — they seem quite content to do it themselves.
One would imagine that this time of year is every Christian church’s annual opportunity to spread a message of joy, celebration, and charity in an attempt to claw back punters who only plonk themselves in the pews once a year. Why do that, though, when you can re-enforce your own stereotype and spread a message of hate and bigotry instead?
The major movers and shakers in the Catholic churches of England & Wales and Ireland talked about either gay marriage or abortion. So much for Christmas cheer. The Catholic Church’s leader in England & Wales, Archbishop Vincent Nichols, is getting especially criticized after declaring government plans for gay marriage are a “shambles”:
Nichols told the BBC:
There was no announcement in any party manifesto, no Green Paper, no statement in the Queen’s Speech. And yet here we are on the verge of primary legislation. From a democratic point-of-view, it’s a shambles. George Orwell would be proud of that manoeuvre, I think the process is shambolic.
Nichols was then savaged by an editorial in The Independent:
Over in Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady thought Christmas would be the perfect time to remind the faithful which way they are expected to side in upcoming changes to abortion legislation. This in spite of the very recent and emotionally charged case of Savita Halappanavar, who died in October after being refused an abortion after a miscarriage. News of her death at the University Hospital Galway led to a series of protests against Ireland’s abortion laws and the Irish Government is preparing legislation when the mother’s life is at risk. Such legislation would have gone a long way to potentially saving Savita’s life.
No more of a shambles, it might be said, than the Archbishop’s Christmas message. His words might have given the impression that the Government would require the Roman Catholic Church to marry homosexual couples. But nothing is further from the truth. Indeed, one disappointing, even shameful, aspect of the proposed law is that the Church of England, the established Church, will be banned from conducting gay marriages, even though — as we report today — opinion is strongly in favour of letting individual priests do so if they wish.
Cardinal Brady called for Ireland’s Catholics to unite and fight against the proposals:
I hope that everyone who believes that the right to life is fundamental will make their voice heard in a reasonable, but forthright way to their representatives, reminding them that the right to life is conferred on human beings not by the powerful ones of this world but by the Creator.
Up in Scotland, Cardinal Keith O’Brien was unusually quiet. Perhaps he’s still grumpy at gay rights group Stonewall’s decision to unanimously award him the title of “2012 Bigot of the Year.” Earlier in the year, O’Brien described gay marriage as a “grotesque subversion” of the universal human right which defines marriage as solely heterosexual and has been vocal throughout the year in his opposition to government plans to legalize gay marriage.
Perhaps the cheer and joy that is hoped for at this time of year can be found in the ever more public suicide the Catholic Church seems to be heading towards. The future of their Church is in the young, and to the young, the church is an outdated and irrelevant.