I went to Sweden at the weekend, it was great fun! The choir of Holy Trinity Ayr was invited to sing Choral Evensong in Gothenburg cathedral as part of an inter-diocese conference on liturgy and worship.
We sang my little brother Andrew’s fantastic arrangement of the Magnificat and Nunc Dimitis among other things and it was all very well received. A marvelous time was had by one and all and the people who invited us, and indeed put us up in their homes, were all absolutely lovely.
Pictures of the weekend are to be found on my Dad’s Flikr pages.
Another Catholic bishop has joined the fray on saying that Catholic politicians should abstain from receiving communion if they support abortion legislation and not expect to remain full members of the church.
The only comment I will pass on Cardinal O’Brien’s remark “Two Dunblane massacres a day in our country going on and on. And when’s it going to stop?” is that using the Dunblane massacre as a macabre measuring rod is deeply crass and upsetting. He should be ashamed and if he thinks invoking those memories will help his cause he is sorely mistaken.
I don’t think abortion is particularly pleasant and I know it can be traumatic for women who have to use it, but the key to reducing it is surely sexual education and the promotion of pre-conception contraceptives. Outlawing it would only drive it back into back alleys where people will be mutilated and killed.
Of course contraceptives are similarly frowned upon by the Catholic church and condom use is actively discouraged in Africa where HIV infection could reach 10% of the population by 2025 if the current trends are not curbed.
So on the one hand excommunication if the punishment for aborting a cluster of cells while becoming Pope is the reward for pedaling an outdated doctrine that abstinence is the cure for HIV and AIDS, a policy that will help to contribute to the deaths of 80 million people by 2025. The impact on the economies in Africa of the disease is such that all of the West’s (admittedly inadequate) attempts to alleviate poverty are frankly pissing against the wind.
The problem, not just for the Catholic church but for others as well, is that Secularism is ahead of the curve on morality by a long way. From discrimination against women or homosexuals to how we should react to horrific diseases.
I seem to recall that Jesus Christ’s teachings centered on two commandments:
- Love the Lord thy God.
- Love they neighbour as thyself.
The churches have the monopoly on the former.
They have lost their way on the latter. Christ illustrated this commandment throughout his life by associating himself with outcasts, lepers, prostitutes and even tax men. He also illustrated it with the story of the Good Samaritan.
Who then is a good neighbour to the HIV stricken in Africa or women in the desperate situation of having an unwanted pregnancy? The Priests who raise their nose and pass by on the other side or the secular politicians who act to help them?
As soon as the West starts pouring a decent amount of our sickeningly large wealth in the direction of the poor, it really will have taken up the cross and followed Christ.
It is really sad that the churches have become an impediment to healing the world’s woes and not one of the leaders where they really should be. These sorts of comments from Catholic bishops reinforce the fact that they are way behind the curve on Secularism’s moral fibre and the gap between them and the rest of the world will continue to grow.
This christian is on the side of the politicians and they can take communion with me any day they please.