Iain Duncan Smith My reforms will lift up the poor
COMMENT, PAGE 12
Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor Norman St John-Stevas:
the wit who loved God
FEATURE, PAGE 9
Rachel Johnson The joys of a simple wedding
NOTEBOOK, PAGE 12
Cardinal: Scottish justice is a ‘wreck’ BY STAFF REPORTER
CARDINAL Keith O’Brien has expressed his support for an inquiry into the release of the Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, who died on Sunday.
The cardinal added his name to a letter, along with eminent politicians and journalists, which demanded a public inquiry into the freeing of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, convicted for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing which killed 270 people.
The letter said: “If Scotland wishes to see its criminal justice system reinstated to the position of respect that it once held rather than its languishing as the mangled wreck it has become because of this perverse judgment, it is imperative that its government acts by endorsing an independent inquiry into this entire affair.”
The letter appeared in the Scottish Review magazine with 42 signatories, including the war correspondent Kate Adie, Ian Hislop, editor of Private Eye, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Megrahi, who always protested his innocence, was released from prison in August 2009 on compassionate grounds as he was suffering from prostate cancer and had a prognosis of only a few months. He defied his prognosis and lived for almost three more years after his release.
At the time of Megrahi’s release, Cardinal O’Brien voiced support for the controversial decision. Writing in the Scotland on Sunday in August 2010, Cardinal O’Brien said: “In Scotland over many years we have cultivated through our justice system what I hope can be described as a ‘culture of compassion’.
“On the other hand, there still exists in many parts of the US, if not nationally, an attitude towards the concept of justice which can only be described as a ‘culture of vengeance’.’’
He added: “Scotland’s legal system allowed the Scottish justice secretary to release Megrahi on compassionate grounds, following due process and based on clear medical advice.”
Pope comforts a nation in a state of shock
BENEDICT XVI prayed on Sunday for Italians affected by an earthquake and a school bombing.
After reciting the Regina Caeli prayer with those gathered in St Peter’s Square, the Pope denounced the bombing of a school in Brindisi, southern Italy, calling it “a vile attack”. The bomb was detonated outside the school gates early on Saturday morning as teenagers were arriving for classes. One girl was killed and 10 others injured. Police said they suspected the attack was the work of a lone individual. The Pope said the girl was an “innocent victim of brutal violence”.
He also prayed for those hit by a 6.0 magnitude earthquake that struck near Bologna early on Sunday morning.
May 25 2012 £1.50 (Republic of Ireland €1.80)
Bishop Davies says Church needs celibacy more than ever
BY MADELEINE TEAHAN
THE BISHOP OF SHREWSBURY has said that priestly celibacy is needed now more than ever before.
Addressing seminarians and staff at St Mary’s College, Oscott, Bishop Mark Davies said: “The witness of the celibate priesthood is not something less needed today but is needed more than ever before.”
In a homily at Mass on the Solemnity of the Ascension, Bishop Davies said that celibacy should not be seen as an “absence” or “void” that left priests without the possibility of marriage. Celibacy, he said, was rather “a radical self-gift by which we give ourselves completely to Christ and make ourselves totally available to Him for the service of His Church”.
He said: “This is a l ife which constantly points, as does the celebration of this day, towards heaven, to the Resurrection and to the life of the world to come. In a culture today which often seeks to live as if God and eternity do not exist, this witness of celibacy is more needful than ever.”
He added: “Sometimes people will say to you celibacy is an unnecessary imposition, and it is often easier to explain celibacy on grounds of practicality. Yet this celibate life, this gift of self, rests on grounds of faith. Where faith is lacking, where the perspective of the Ascension and of eternity is lost, celibacy would indeed seem to be an incomprehensible imposition by ecclesiastical authority.”
Bishop Davies rejected the common claim that clerical celibacy was only imposed in the Church in the 13th century.
Celibacy was not an arbitrary imposition arising from conditions which have now passed
For the latest
Catholic news, visit CatholicHerald.co.uk
He said: “We know celibacy is not demanded of the priesthood by its nature yet we also see through the centuries that this intimate connection of celibacy and the priesthood is not a contrived one. Celibacy was not an arbitrary imposition of an ecclesiastical law arising from historical conditions which have now passed. The councils which enacted laws of celibacy in the earliest centuries, of perfect continence for the clergy, had no doubt that they were acting on an apostolic tradition and they explicitly declared this.”
Responding to Bishop Davies, Fr Christopher Jamison, director of the National Office for Vocation, said: “Church rightly asks its ordained ministers to be in a fixed state of life so that they can live out Christian chastity from a position of stability at the service of all men and women.
“As Bishop Mark says, celibate chastity is a Christian sign for our times. Young people understand this better than anybody when they look at the lifestyle of some of their peers. The challenge today is to offer priests all the support they need to sustain this generous response to the call of Christ. Celibacy is not just a discipline or a practical requirement. Evangelical celibacy is a vocation. It is encouraging to see increasing numbers of young men and women responding to this vocation.”
Fr Jamison also said that in his experience the vow of celibacy was not preventing young men joining the priesthood. But “they do say it makes them think carefully before applying, which is a good thing”, he said. Editorial Comment: Page 13
Medical guidelines may create an ‘atmosphere of fear’, says bishop BY ED WEST
BISHOP Tom Williams, auxiliary bishop of Liverpool, has criticised draft guidance by the General Medical Council (GMC) on the role of belief in medical practice.
The bishop, chairman of the bishops’ conference Healthcare Reference Group, said he would “strongly encourage Catholic doctors who work in the health service, and all those who have an interest as patients, carers or potential patients” to respond to a consultation on the draft.
The guidance, entitled “Personal Beliefs and Medical Practice”, was issued last month and is subject to consultation.
Bishop Williams said: “The draft consultation document does not have a balanced or positive appreciation of the value of religion for patients or for the importance of requiring, and hence permitting, doctors to make conscientious ethical decisions. Both religion and conscientious objection seem to be treated as problems to be minimised and circumscribed as much as possible. However, this attitude is incompatible with respect for the religious beliefs of patients and with a commitment to their best interests.”
He also spoke of an “atmosphere of fear” in which doctors were scared of expressing religious belief to patients.
Dr Pravin Thevathasan of the Catholic Medical Quarterly said that “Just and unjust forms of discrimination ought to be carefully distinguished. For example, it may be entirely just not to medically assist two individuals who want to become parents.”
Niall Dickson, chief executive of the GMC, said: “Our draft guidance seeks to balance doctors’ desire to practise medicine in line with their own personal beliefs, whilst ensuring that they are providing patients access to appropriate medical treatment and services.”
Italian friar signs major record deal BY MADELEINE TEAHAN
the Porziuncola Friary in Assisi, founded by St Francis.
A FRANCISCAN friar has made history by securing a major record deal with Decca Records.
The record label, which first signed the Rolling Stones, announced the signing of Friar Alessandro Brustenghi on Tuesday.
The friar, who cites Björk as his favourite artist, is from
He has taken a vow of poverty and will not accept any money for record sales. Profits from the sales will go to the Order of Friars Minor for its charitable works.
Mike Hedges, who has produced records for U2, the Manic Street Preachers and The Priests, discovered the friar while in Italy.
Historian considered joining Carthusians BY ED WEST
PETER ACKROYD, the celebrated historian and biographer, has spoken of his Catholic upbringing on BBC Radio 4.
and before meals. I was involved as an altar server in the local church and I enjoyed the ritual of the occasion, and I enjoyed the bells and smells. And the beauty of holiness.”
The author of books on Charles Dickens, T S Eliot and St Thomas More said on Desert Island Discs that he was raised in a “strict Catholic household... in the sense that we said prayers in the evening
He added: “At one point in my early life I remember being attracted to the idea of a closed order of monks, maybe the Carthusians. That was balanced by the fact that I always wanted to be pope.”
Paul Johnson Secularism doomed the EU to failure PAGE 20
Bishop Macram Max Gassis Help me to rid my diocese of war and slavery PAGE 7
& ( $ % ! $$ ! $ $ % # #!% # $ $% # ( ! #$ % # % % # # )%# $%$ ' # *( # ! # $% $+ & ,$ $ !" # #% ( %! &$ * " !" ' $& # $! & &% ! # $"! $ $ !& !% ! ! # &% ! ! " &$% + $ "#!' % $$ $% $ " ! # % !' ! # $%
'/*+-- 7'/6' 6550/ 633': ((( & !#
'7 3 3 34 +44 &&3'44 045%0&' ; ; ; 5*'3 ; '/%-04' # %*'26' 50 +& 50 5*' *63%* +/ ''& 1-'#4' &'$+5 .: ! #45'3 #3& .'9 #'4530 "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" +)/#563' 453+1 %0&' -#45 $-0%, 0( &+)+54 "" "" "" "" 91+3: #5' !#-+& 30. #5' 446' 0 #'4530 +)/#563'
&0 /05 8+4* 50 3'%'+7' +/(03.#5+0/ #$065 +& 50 5*' *63%* +/ ''&