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Monday, 4 March 2013

O'Brien - 'woe to you hypocrites'

I am still waiting for an apology from the former Cardinal Keith O'Brien, an apology for the hurt he has caused millions of people with his anti-gay rhetoric. I am looking for some genuine repentance beyond simply 'having been found out'.

Frankly, his meagre apology to those he may have been 'inappropiate' with is not nearly good enough. O'Brien had been a staunch advocate of church teaching against homosexuality, calling same-sex marriage "a grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right" and saying that British government plans to legalise same-sex marriage would "shame the United Kingdom in the eyes of the world."

Last year, his outrageous comments caused Stonewall to name O'Brien "Bigot of the Year" for his hard line on homosexuality.

It doesn't look like his temporary successor, Archbishop Phillip Tartaglia has got the message either. he simply seems to care about the 'moral credibility' of the Church, and is not prepared to question whether the Church has got its teaching on sexuality completely wrong in the first place.

Jesus spent a lot of his energy warning about the perils of riches and materialism. He also spent a huge amount of time warning about the hypocrisy of faith leaders. But Jesus never once condemned homosexuality. Surely now is the time for the churches to do some serious repentance for their continued homophobia and relentless hypocrisy.

As for O'Brien, he needs our prayers more than most. He is clearly the victim of 'internalised oppresssion' and will not be the only one within the Church. We need to help people like him recognise the dysfunctionality of the Catholic churches teachings on aspects of sexual ethics.

Though I feel sorry for those repressed in the Church due to their sexuality, I find it hard to find any sympathy for O'Brien. As in most situations of such horrendous abuses of power, he only apologised when things got public. Jesus' warnings of hypocrisy to those with power ring as true today as they did 2000 years ago.

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