INSIDE THIS WEEK’S PAPER
ARCHBISHOP PATRICK KELLY OF LIVERPOOL ON THE MEANING OF THE LAST SUPPER PAGE 9
CARDINAL CORDESON POPE BENEDICT AND HIS CRITICS PAGE 6
March 132009£1.20 (Republic of Ireland €1.70)
Cardinal: confront secular intolerance
Liberalism has ‘totalitarian tendencies’, says Cardinal Pell
CARDINAL George Pell has said a crucial task for Christians today is to “regularly and publicly” confront secularists who want to push religion out of the public sphere. The cardinal – one of the Church’s most influential voices – said Christians needed to show secularised societies that “there are better ways to live”. He made the comments at a lecture at Oxford last week on “Varieties of Intolerance: Religious and Secular”, organised by the Oxford University Newman Society and sponsored by The Catholic Herald . He spoke of a “dangerous” new trend across the English-speaking world to use anti-discrimination legislation to curb religious freedom. To fight this intolerance, he said, Christians needed to regain their “self-confidence and courage”. “Put simply, Christians have to recover their genius for showing that there are better ways to live and to build a good society; ways which respect freedom, empower individuals and transform communities,” the Archbishop of Sydney said. “The secular and religious intolerance of our day needs to be confronted regularly and publicly. Believers need to call the bluff of what is, even in most parts of Europe, a small minority with disproportionate influence in the media. This is one of the crucial tasks for Christians in the 21st century.” As a primary example of intolerance Cardinal Pell cited the treatment of Christians and Mormons who supported Proposition 8, the amendment that reversed California’s gay marriage law last November.
He described how churches and temples were subjected to violence, vandalism and intimidation, and how supporters of the amendment were forced from their jobs and blacklisted. He then argued that criticism of violence by Muslim extremists was being proscribed by western democracies by punitive legislation. “What do these two tales of intolerance tell us?” the cardinal asked. “We should note the strange way in which some of the most permissive groups and communities, for example Californian liberals in the case of Proposition 8, easily become repressive, despite all their high rhetoric about diversity and tolerance. “There is the one-sidedness about discrimination and vilification,” he said, because “Christianophobic blacklisting and intimidation is passed over in silence”. He added that in a healthy democracy people should be free to discuss and criticise each other’s beliefs. Reciprocity, he said, was essential to this but “some secularists seem to like one-way streets”, seeking to drive Christianity from the provision of education, healthcare and welfare services. He said that courts in the US were winding back exemptions for religious groups to provide services in line with their own beliefs. In Australia, he said, a law decriminalising abortion in the state of Victoria “made a mockery” of conscientious objection by forcing doctors to refer patients to healthcare workers who would provide it. “Clearly there is an urgent need to deepen public understanding of the importance and nature of religious freedom,” he said. “Believers should not be treated by
government and the courts as a tolerated and divisive minority whose rights must always yield to the minority secular agenda.” He explained that the effect of the “totalitarian tendencies” of modern liberalism was to “enforce conformity” and to strip Christianity of the power of its public witness. “There is no need to drive the Church out of services if the secularisation of its agencies can achieve this end,” he added. The pressure against religion in public life, he argued, stemmed mainly from a misplaced belief in “absolute sexual freedom”. The cardinal said: “At the level of the individual, the possibilities of happiness are greatly restricted by the lovelessness, fear and despair that the assertion of the autonomous self against others usually leaves in its wake.” In a press conference before the lecture the cardinal discussed a number of subjects, including the crisis afflicting the Legion of Christ, a congregation which recently admitted that its late founder, Fr Marcial Maciel, had secretly kept a mistress and fathered a child. Cardinal Pell said it was not reasonable to expect the Legion to deal with the revelations without outside help. He said an authority in the Church should intervene to investigate Fr Maciel’s corruption and potentially to re-examine the Legion’s charism. On Europe, he said that in the Netherlands “radical liberalism has been tried for 40 years and has almost destroyed the Church”. He said: “I think we’ve been tempted in the past to try to make Catholicism more attractive by going quiet or softly on the socalled hard teachings, the call to faith, the call to forgiveness, the
call to sexual fidelity. Cut-price Christianity doesn’t work –it’s never going to be cost-free.” On the lifting of the SSPX excommunications, he said he supported efforts to reconcile the Lefebvrists with the Church, but that “it remains to be seen just how much this lifting will help”. He added: “The whole operation was not a brilliant success – and I think that’s understating it.” After his lecture in the Divinity Hall at Oxford University he answered questions on moral relativism, science and the role of the laity. He also clarified his opposition to gay marriage, saying he believed some recognition of gay relationships was “appropriate”. He said: “I would agree that in a long-term homosexual relationship, it’s appropriate for them to be recognised in law. I don’t think the rights should be equivalent to the state of heterosexual marriage because I regard that as the basic cell of our society which is truly important for the future and for the protection of children.” Cardinal Pell had been invited to Oxford by the Newman Society to launch its appeal for £100,000 to fund a lecture series, a scholarship programme and an alumni association. His lecture is available in full on the society’s website, www.newmansociety.org.uk. We will be publishing an exclusive interview with Cardinal Pell next week.
As we went to press, the Pope was expected to issue a letter to the world’s bishops about the lifting of the excommunications of the SSPX bishops. Visit our website, www.catholicherald.co.uk, for the latest updates.
Catholic Life: Page 11 Editorial comment: Page 13
Cardinal Pell delivers a lecture in the Divinity Hall at Oxford University Br Lawrence Lew, OP
Vatican paper says the washing machine liberated modern women
THE WASHING machine did more than the contraceptive Pill to liberate women, the Vatican newspaper has said. In the week that International Women’s Day was celebrated around the world, an article in L’Osservatore Romano argued that the kitchen device had done more for women than the drug that revolutionised women’s sex lives. The article, headlined “The washing machine and the emancipation of women: put
in the powder, close the lid and relax”, asked: “In the 20th century, what contributed most to the emancipation of western women?” The paper answered: “The debate is still open. Some say it was the Pill, others the liberalisation of abortion, or being able to work outside the home. Others go even further: the washing machine.” The tribute to the washing machine highlighted “the sublime mystique of being able to ‘change the sheets on the beds twice a week instead of
once’,” quoting the words of late American feminist Betty Friedan. While the machines were at first unreliable, technology has developed so quickly that now there is “the image of the super woman, smiling, made-up and radiant among the appliances of her house”, wrote L’Osservatore . Last week Cherie Blair, wife of the former Prime Minister, criticised the Vatican for its stance on birth control and said she could not have progressed as a successful lawyer without the Pill.
The combined oral contraceptive Pill was first introduced in Britain in 1960 and was made available on the NHS the following year by Health Secretary Enoch Powell. The Pill had an enormous impact on social and sexual relations, leading to an increase in extra-marital sex and a decrease in the birth rate. The washing machine helped more women to enter the workforce by freeing up domestic duties, and also helped to reduce the number of servants in Britain.
Pro-lifer is run over and then saves a life
Newt Gingrich to become a Catholic
ANAMERICAN Catholic was run over by a man driving his wife to an abortion clinic last week, but then talked the couple into saving the unborn child’s life. George Krail was walking towards the entrance of the South Jersey Women’s Centre in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, last Saturday when he was accidentally hit by a man driving
his pregnant wife to the building to have an abortion. Mr Krail, who had been there to distribute literature, was left with serious injuries, including a crushed and twisted leg, and several broken ribs. However Mr Krail’s wife, Tina, said she believed her husband had talked the couple out of having the abortion. Mr Krail was taken to Cooper Hospital in nearby Camden, where he is in a stable condition. Mrs Krail said: “His leg’s really messed up... his leg is pointing backwards.” But she added: “George is fine spiritually.”
NEWTGINGRICH , the former Speaker of the US House of Representatives, is to be received into the Church this Easter. The Republican politician and author, best known as the man who tried to impeach President Bill Clinton in 1998, told the New York Times of his decision last weekend. Mr Gingrich, who grew up in Pennsylvania in a
Southern Baptist family, married a Catholic, Callista \, in 2005 and said in the newspaper interview that he would soon be joining her in the Church. Mr Gingrich was once a favourite to run for the presidency, but the failed impeachment process backfired and Gingrich resigned as the Congressman for Georgia in 1999 after 20 years. Since then revelations of an extramarital affair have cost him support among social conservatives.
DON’T MISS: A PREVIEW OF THE POPE’S VISIT TO ANGOLAPAGE 8
Never lose hope
In times of conflict – war and devastation – priests risk their lives to minister the hope of Christ. With your help, Aid to the Church in Need can enable priests to stand by their people.
Image shows Fr Andrew ministeringinIraq
Speaking from Gaza Fr Manuel Musallam told ACN: “We are testifying to Christ in this terrible situation. The suffering continues but what I preach is the same: never lose hope.”
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