The cardinal snubs the government

BBC headline: Cardinal Keith O’Brien snubs gay marriage talks with Scottish government.

Snubs? The cardinal snubs? Talks on same-sex marriage with the government? Is Scotland a theocracy? Why was the Scottish government inviting the cardinal to discuss legislation in the first place?

Scotland’s Roman Catholic leader – Cardinal Keith O’Brien – has suspended direct communication with the Scottish government on gay marriage.

The move is in protest at the Scottish government’s support for the introduction of same-sex marriages.

The cardinal has turned down an invitation to discuss the issue, leaving any talks to officials.

This is all backward. It assumes that the normal and good state is that the Scottish government and the Catholic church collaborate on legislation, and that that normal good state is disrupted when the cardinal protests the governments plans by refusing to collaborate.

That’s wrong. The normal and good state would be if cardinals concerned themselves with church affairs and the people who care about them, and refrained totally from interfering with the duly elected government. Cardinals are not elected by the citizens (or even the members of their church), and they are programmatically anti-secularist. They think they have instructions from god, and that fact makes them very unfit to interfere with governments.

So it’s good news that the cardinal is not interfering with the government.


  1. 'Tis Himself says

    The one good bit about His Cardinality’s boycott of the talks is that he’s decided whatever he says will be disregarded.

    But overall I agree with Ophelia. Why is a professional homophobe asked to discuss his cult’s homophobia with the government? Everyone knows he’ll say that gays and lesbians shouldn’t get married because Gawd thinks buttsecks is icky. His Cardinalship doesn’t care about marriage because, as a virginal bachelor, his views on the subject have little or no relationship with reality but instead are influenced by what Augustine of Hippo* said 1400 years ago.

    *Augustine had a conflicted attitude towards sex. He had a couple of mistresses but was never married. Perhaps if Augie had been married, the Catholic Church’s views on sex would be more rational. His most famous quote is: “Grant me chastity and continence, but not yet” (Da mihi castitatem et continentiam, sed noli modo).

  2. says

    Good: if he refuses to provide official input, then the government can ignore everything he has to say through unofficial channels. If they knew that The Man in the Red Dress was going to decline anyway, then inviting him was the smartest thing they could have done to move the talks along.

  3. Jessie says

    Good. That should make it faster to pass the legislation. Let’s hope England follows quickly.

  4. anubisprime says

    Yep a hissy fit and a flounce…sums the RCC up these days!

    O’Brien knew his delusion was on a losing streak on this one.
    It must come as a terrible shock to geriatric pedophile enablers that no one is particularly interested in their bigotry and intolerance.

    A sure sign that traditional RC doctrinal rule by fear and threat are busted flushes, the shock that hardly anyone can be bothered with them must be bitter and confusing…after 2000 years they are being shunted to the crazy fringes of society…where they belong as it ‘appens.

    But whatever…’don’t let the door slam ya butt on the way out!’

  5. sailor1031 says

    There is no reason why the government of Scotland, or anyone else, should pay any attention to the cardinal – he doesn’t even represent the position of most catholics on this issue. Unfortunately we can now expect a long round of pouting, whining, threatening and complaining that RCC Inc is being persecuted yet again. Oh how I wish…….

  6. coleopteron says

    I’m not sure why they’re bothering having any sort of dialogue with faith groups about anything not specifically religious either. I suspect they want to appear to be sensitive to their concerns, even though the introduction of gay marriage seems a foregone conclusion at this point. Even the Tories are for it – though they wouldn’t be capable of mounting serious opposition here anyway.

  7. says

    Scotland’s Roman Catholic leader – Cardinal Keith O’Brien – has suspended direct communication with the Scottish government on gay marriage.

    This is a feature, not a bug.

  8. says

    Unlike Northern Ireland, Scotland does not have a blatantly sectarian constitution, nevertheless there is a sectarian undercurrent to politics there. Although the first minister, Alex Salmond, seems not to be religious himself, he comes from the protestant community. (His full name is Alex Elliot Anderson Salmond, the name Elliot Anderson being that of the local Church of Scotland minister.) He is a very wiley politician who knows that he has to avoid gay marriage proposals being labelled as “anti-Catholic bigotry.” The fact that the Church of Scotland is also against these measures is irrelevant; sectarianism doesn’t work like that. The success of the Scottish National Party is due, in no small part, to the fact that it has managed to keep out of sectarian disputes.

    Asking the Cardinal’s opinion on the matter was actually a very shrewd move. It signals that he in not being anti-Catholic as has consulted “their man” and allows him to say that it is a matter of an “honest disagreement over policy.” I suspect that most Scottish Catholics would be on Salmond’s side in this disagreement.

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