Sunday, 2 December 2007

Former Aide to the Cardinal reveals his true colours...

c/o Damian Thompson's Holy Smoke blog

The Catholic Church has turned away from the message of Christ and is heading towards “aggressive fundamentalism”, according to the former Principal Adviser to Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor.

Sir Stephen Wall's attack puts the Cardinal in a difficult position

Sir Stephen Wall, the senior diplomat who served as the Cardinal’s right-hand man from 2004-5, has written a blistering attack on recent Catholic moral teaching in the Tablet, a stridently Left-wing magazine regarded as the unofficial voice of the Bishops’ Conference.

In the article, Wall accuses the Church of “using the civil law to punish the sinner because of his or her sin. There seems to be nothing in Christ’s teaching to justify such an approach. Indeed, the whole of Jesus’ life, and even more so his death, point firmly in the other direction.”

According to Wall – formerly Tony Blair’s chief adviser on Europe – the Vatican is wrong to oppose gay adoption and IVF; it is “using, or abusing, its own moral absolutism to deny to people whose way of life it stigmatises the civil rights that a more generous state recognises as basic to their status as citizens”.

The Church portrays itself as the victims of aggressive secularism, but is actually heading towards an aggressive fundamentalism that is further from the Christian ideal than secular ideology.

Intriguingly, Wall also attacks the Vatican for threatening to excommunicate John Kerry because he “chose to exercise his own conscience and political judgment on the issue of abortion” (ie, voted for late-term abortions). Think about that, and bear in mind that Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor is getting ready to receive into the Church another politician who “exercised his conscience” on abortion.

You may or may not agree with some of Wall’s points; but what we have here is a comprehensive trashing of the Vatican of Benedict XVI by the man who, until recently, was the English cardinal’s senior adviser.

Not that I’m having a go at His Eminence, mind. No doubt, even now, the Cardinal is composing a statement distancing himself from these statements. I’ll keep you informed.

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