‘On fire with indignation’
Publication Date: 2012-04-27
— Cardinal O’Brien urges Catholics not to be intimidated by persecution
The president of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland has called on Catholics to become ‘obsessed’ with defending their Christian values in a time of increasing ‘persecution,’ such as the backlash over the Church’s defence of marriage.
Speaking to the Knights of St Columba annual business meeting in Clydebank on Saturday, Cardinal Keith O’Brien praised the members of the lay Catholic group as fine examples of ‘what being a Christian is all about.’
He specifically cited their planned weekend of witness ‘in defence of Christian values’ that will take place at parishes across Scotland and the rest of the UK, beginning today.
Cardinal O’Brien said that bold action was vital at a time when Church leaders and other Christians were facing ‘verbal attacks and other attacks’ for their position on issues that challenge Christian values, such as same-sex ‘marriage.’
The cardinal also highlighted that the defence of marriage was just one of the many issues that Catholics had to give their full attention to.
“I am not obsessed about same-sex ‘marriage;’ I am on fire with indignation, as I am about poverty in our own country,” he said. “I hear about bankers’ bonuses and all these sorts of things seem to have crept back again, somehow or other, after all the furore just a short time ago about them.
“I am obsessed about poverty; I am obsessed about sectarianism and so on and so forth. We have got to be, as Christians, obsessed about these things and we have got to work together on them to try to do something about them.”
Allies on difficult path
Broad shoulders, the cardinal suggested, are something all Christians should try and develop.
“You have to be thick-skinned,” he said. “And I have to say to you that if you are aware that you are teaching the truth and are prepared to stand up and be counted and put your head above the parapet, often there will be attempts to chop it off.”
However, he also said that despite these attacks Christians would find allies in unexpected places.
The cardinal said he had been ‘most impressed’ with the way the Glasgow Knights of St Columba’s recent campaign against same-sex ‘marriage’ had been backed by local Muslims.
The Scottish Muslim community has been increasingly vocal about its opposition to same-sex ‘marriage’ and this week a group of Glasgow Imams urged Muslims not to vote for any candidate in next week’s council elections who endorsed any redefinition of marriage.
— Additional reporting, Tom Knight