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Cardinal O’Brien often colourfully says what needs to be said; but his personal attack on David Cameron and his pronouncements on taxation were just embarrassing

Senior Churchmen should stay within their area of technical competence

By on Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Cardinal O'Brien with Alex Salmond, Scotland's First Minister (PA photo)

Cardinal O'Brien with Alex Salmond, Scotland's First Minister (PA photo)

“When I tell my American friends that anyone earning the equivalent of $66,900 a year in Britain pays income tax at 40 per cent”, wrote Janet Daly recently in the Sunday Telegraph, “they don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Any American politician who suggested such a thing would be vaporised before he could make his first TV advert. Even Mr Obama, the most Left-wing president in a generation, would think it outrageous.”

Earlier in the same piece, she asserted this: “Let me tell you why, whatever Mr Obama might do in a second term, America’s economy will recover: not just because its population has an indefatigable belief in success and self-improvement, but because its rates of income tax make it positively worthwhile to work hard. You may want to take a few deep breaths before you read the following sentences. US federal tax rates begin at 10 per cent and increase in increments through 22, 25, 28, etc up to a stonking top limit of – 35 per cent. If you earn between $34,500 and $83,600 you will pay income tax at 25 per cent.”

Now, suppose she is right — and many economically literate people agree with her. Suppose that punitively taxing the rich does in the end actually damage the economy, deterring international investment and encouraging the entrepreneurs we need to power the economy and drive unemployment down to move to Switzerland. Suppose that in time, you really do raise less money as people react to higher taxes, so that eventually, you reach a point where you’re actually losing revenue, a situation under which, in other words, the economy, rather than recovering, simply becomes progressively weaker.

Now, I’m not necessarily asserting here that this is true: simply that it is an argument with which many well-informed commentators agree. And certainly, under a tax regime under which the rich were taxed “until the pips squeak”, as Denis Healey did in the 70s under the last real Labour government, the country was brought to the edge of destruction, to a situation in which we had to go cap in hand to the IMF for a bail-out. That’s why the Blair/Brown governments never returned to such policies, only imposing the 50 per cent tax rate at the very last minute, for political and not for economic reasons, and as a temporary measure.

Now, one thing is certain, however: to assert the opposite sounds on the face of it more morally bracing: taxing the rich to help the poor is an altogether more oratorically satisfactory stance to adopt, even a more apparently Christian stance. But suppose it’s just wrong: suppose it doesn’t in the end help the poor at all: I simply put this as a hypothesis (though one supported by a wide consensus among economists).

Now, consider the words, this weekend, of Cardinal Keith O’Brien, not a man given to cautious consideration of such matters, a man whose moral instincts have so often in the past led him to make colourful utterances which turn out to be what actually does need to be said. Sunday saw him on top form: good swingeing stuff:

THE leader of Scotland’s Roman Catholic Church has unleashed a blistering attack on the UK Government’s economic policy, branding it “immoral”, and reiterating the criticism of David Cameron that he is out of touch with the needs of ordinary people.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, said yesterday the Prime Minister was helping his “very rich colleagues” in the City at the expense of the poorest in society and urged him to introduce a so-called Robin Hood Tax, a levy on share transactions, which, it is estimated, could raise £20 billion a year.

He said: “It’s immoral, it’s not moral, just to ignore them and to say – well, struggle along and the rich can go on sailing on their own sweet way.”

But suppose that George Osborne didn’t in fact lower the top rate of tax to help the Prime Minister’s “very rich colleagues” in the City (and incidentally, what “colleagues” would those be? Mr Cameron isn’t a banker and never has been: does he just mean that the aim of the Budget was to help the rich at the expense of the poor, and that being rich himself led Cameron to do this? If so, that’s a pretty grave accusation for a senior churchman to make). And as a matter of fact, the Budget can hardly be said to have ignored the poor: 24 million were taken out of paying any tax, the point at which people start paying income tax having been increased to £9,205 from April next year. The Chancellor told the House of Commons he wanted “the lowest paid to be lifted out of tax altogether”. “Our central goal is to support working families,” he said. Now, suppose he meant it: that that, and not helping the prime minister’s “very rich colleagues”, was actually the aim of the Budget, and even of lowering the top rate of 50 per cent? Shouldn’t Cardinal O’Brien have considered that as a possibility, rather than blithely wittering away about Robin Hood, who didn’t even exist, for heaven’s sake?

I cannot, as my regular readers (if there are any such) will attest be described as an invariable supporter of this Government. And I have in the past greatly enjoyed and admired Cardinal O’Brien’s colourful interventions on the national stage. But this time, sorry your eminence, but you are not Nadine Dorries, and you shouldn’t behave like her. You should speak for the Church and be careful (for good pastoral reasons) what you say about individuals and their motives: your immoderate personal attack on David Cameron was unjustifiable and frankly embarrassing. On some political issues, there is more than one moral view: and disentangling them can require a certain degree of technical competence. And when it comes to economic policy, you might consider asking yourself whether you are entirely sure that you’ve actually got enough of it.

  • David Lindsay

    And out come the Cafeteria Catholics, the ones who think that they are bastions of orthodoxy merely because they happen to be against abortion without the slightest understanding of the circumstances under which it happens. The sort of people who vote for Rick Santorum. In reality, you are as much de facto schismatic as the American nuns.

  • W Oddie

    What ARE you talking about? If you have a point to make, do it coherently.

  • giorgo_a

    Apparently if you don’t support 40% income tax, you’re a cafeteria Catholic. That would doubtless have come as news to all the Catholics who lived before the rotten, socialistic 20th century.

  • Charles Martel

    Mr David Lindsay,
    You are utterly incoherent, and I can only assume that you were ‘tired and emotional’ at the time of posting your bizarre comment. Better luck next time, old chap.

  • Ian749

    The general point you make – that Church leaders should be cautious about pronouncing on areas which are technically complex – is sound. However, I get the feeling that you are inclined to think that the government’s policies are in fact right, though, as you admit, you cannot provide detailed arguments for this being so. 

    In fact, I don’t think it requires technical competence beyond the scope of an educated layman to make a judgement as to the impact of the government’s policies on the poor. The comparison you make with the United States is telling. It is well known that poverty rates are far higher, proportionally, in the United States than they are in most European countries. The clear reason for this (please correct me if I am missing something) is that the United States taxes less and spends less on welfare and public services than do European countries which have lower poverty levels.

    The consequences for the poor of moving to an American-style social model are in fact quite predictable – is it so unreasonable for a bishop to comment on them?

  • Bob Hayes

    I was wondering how long it would be before Cardinal Keith O’Brien fell from favour on here.

  • Bede Falconer

    In a Democracy each person has the right to a vote. That means that every person has the right to an opinion on how the government is working (or why vote, right?) and every person has the right to express their views in public, just like Mr Camerons beneficiaries do.  Tell me, if the Cardinal as a christian cannot speak out on behalf of those that modern politcs seems to have abandoned, then who will? Maybe thats why some would prefer the Cardinal silenced! 

  • Nisi prius nuisance

    Hear this, you who trample the needy
        and do away with the poor of the land, saying,
    “When will the New Moon be over    that we may sell grain,and the Sabbath be ended    that we may market wheat?” —skimping on the measure,    boosting the price    and cheating with dishonest scales,  buying the poor with silver    and the needy for a pair of sandals,    selling even the sweepings with the wheat.
     The Lord has sworn by himself, the Pride of Jacob: “I will never forget anything they have done.
     “Will not the land tremble for this,
        and all who live in it mourn?
    The whole land will rise like the Nile;
        it will be stirred up and then sink
        like the river of Egypt. (Amos 8:4-8)

  • Flam

    Where on earth did you read that the cardinal was asking for a heavier income tax ? The “Robin Hood Tax”, or Tobin tax, is a levy on financial transactions. This proposition seems economically sound to many specialists. It would cool down the system, and reduce speculation. In fact it would also reduce the sad and widening everyone can now see gap between hard work and revenues. Hence, even if you don’t put the needs of the poorest in the picture, it might be an option worth defending for moral reasons.
    And, like other commentators, I’m quite happy that a prince of the Church still cares about feeding the poors !

  • Flam

     oops : I meant “the sad and widening gap everyone can now see between hard work and revenues”, of course

  • buckle

    Mr Lindsay’s argument makes sense to me. The pernicious role of the of the City of London in the collapse of the World economy is not fully understood. Most of the significant credit default swaps in the World go through the Square Mile. It is no coincidence that the Oligarchs and American financial elites launder their money through London. Indeed, one Icelandic criminal managed to purchase West Ham United with his stolen loot – no questions asked. ‘Hot money’ (stolen from tax payers througout the World) always gravitates towards this country.

  • Peter

    Hunger is a big issue in the US.

    “In 2010, 17.2 million households, 14.5 percent of
    households (approximately one in seven), were food
    insecure, the highest number ever recorded in the United
    States 1
    (Coleman-Jensen 2011, p. v.)”

  • Nat_ons

    To help the perplexed here – on the irony of a genuine and abiding love for an outspoken critic and yet experiencing a cringing pain when he puts the (inevitable) clod-hopping foot wrong – I wonder if it would help to make a link to the author who understands this abiding humanity more than most: Chesterton. 

    As an aside, but something I’ve longed to ask of the contributors here for quite some time: I wonder if there are any good souls (perhaps known to you and the CH staff) who would take the time to record readings of the great Catholic and orthodox authors now available on line. With decreasing clarity of eyesight, I find that having an audio-book reading is a tremendous blessing .. surely a corporal and spiritual work of charity waiting in the wings .. and much as I enjoy the wonderfully patient US volunteers at Libri Vox, they do not always capture that oddity of Englishness which England’s writers (of a now past era) had taken for granted. Not just the pronunciations – Balham, two pence, controversy – rather, if you follow me, I mean the sense of irony .. so well to the fore in Chesterton (and your own good self, WO); there are some fine UK English readers there already, yet the harvest is great ..

    PS: Scottish, Welsh and Irish readers would also make a great improvement to the treasury that could be unfolded on the e-world with the untapped wealth of British Catholic and Anglican material from the past just waiting to be read out aloud .. once more.

  • EditorCT

    Don’t worry about Cardinal O’Brien’s attack on the Westminster PM.  In no time at all he’ll be praising him and calling the oppositon names for asking for a Robin Hood Tax.

    That’s the Cardinal’s MO.  For example, he’s been all over the papers and TV for his opposition to “gay” marriage, as we all know.  Previously, he was quoted in The Scotsman newspaper saying he had no problem with gays who lived with partners, teaching in Catholic schools.  “Not a problem”.  There’s plenty more where that came from but it’s late and a gal needs her beauty sleep.

    I just don’t like to think of Oor Wullie losing sleep over the Cardinal’s “colourful” remarks. In fact, she said meaningfully, the only colour that informed Scottish Catholics associate with Cardinal Keith O’Brien is the colour yellow for his cowardice in failing to uphold Catholic doctrine and morals, and for his failure to remove from the airwaves a priest who, for YEARS,  has promoted (actively promoted) everything from abortion to cohabitation to the “gay” lifestyle.  Rumour has it that said priest has now abandoned his ministry, but all enquiries to confirm this rumour meet with no reply. Go figure.

    So, worry not Oor Wullie – based on his past performance(s), before you know it, Cardinal O’Brien will have about-turned to canonise David Cameron and denounce those who call for further taxation of the rich. Who knows, he may even follow the example of Mrs Thatcher of extremely unhappy memory and recite the St Francis Prayer to drive home his point (whatever it happens to be at the time).  You have to laugh.

  • David Armitage

    At least he isn’t the primate of all Ireland. Wasn’t anyone watch the telly last night?

  • buckle

    I love your contributions CT (and secretly wish to marry you if truth be told) but even St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher knew when to speak up and when to stay silent. The bishops have inherited a defective model from their immediate predecessors. In addition, the present secular context renders perpetual confrontation problematic. Reading William Oddie’s silly and uninformed piece suggests a hoplessly confused laity who pick and choose Catholic teaching as and when it suits which is what David Lindsay is suggesting. The power of the entire finanical services industry needs to to be in reined in. The Cardinal is simply suggesting (as the Pope did in Westminster Hall) that it isn’t just corrupt bankers who are “too big to fail”.

  • EditorCT

    I accept.  When do we go shopping for the ring?

    And, having just got engaged, buckle, I hate to start our first argument but really one of the points I was making is that the Cardinal should stop trying to run the coutnry where he has no authority, and do, instead, what he is supposed to do by running the Church in his neck of the woods.  Let the PM deal with taxation rules and let the Cardinal deal with the Faith which is all but dead in Scotland – not least in Edinburgh where the Cardinal, rumour has it, tends to get lost when he goes for his morning paper because he’s so seldom there.  He travels the world and when he’s home, he’s lecturing the politicians.  Any religious input is generally addressed to our separated brethren or non- Christians, the exception being his recent exhortation to “all Christians” to wear a cross, which is, let’s face it, unlikely to lead to martyrdom.

    Anyway, let’s not argue. Should I have two bridesmaids or only one?  And will you ask Oor Wullie to be Best Man?  After all, he brought us together …

  • buckingham88

     Not wanting to interfere in your first argument and reluctant to comment as I come from the antipodes…Don’t you have a very high broad based consumption tax called VAT? That means the poor on fixed incomes,even if not paying income tax are still paying tax through their consumption.No Irish or Bermuda tax havens for them.
      Sometimes it is better that a bishop speaks out a bit.Its better than being ignored.As far as Edinburg goes in winter you would be stupid to go out in the snow to get the paper, you would go online.
     Just to keep on theme, which of you is the Maid Marion?

  • EditorCT

    No, buckinham88, what is “better” is that lay Catholics get involved in poltics – not like the alleged Catholic MPs we have at present who are about as Catholic as Ian Paisley’s granny.  We need REAL Catholics who know that Catholic Social Teaching means putting Christ the King at the head of every nation and therefore ALL policies, not just economic, need to conform to Christ’s teaching.  So far, we’ve had a string of MPs claiming to be Catholic but insisting that their religion won’t “interfere” with their politics, which tells you precisely now “Catholic” they really are. Stick “non” in front of the word and you’ve got the picture.

    Bishops, on the other hand should be doing all they can to ensure the sound teaching of the Faith to produce Catholics capable of the above.  Get it? 

    You’re invited to the wedding, by the way, just for calling Edinburgh “Edinburg”  – if only you’d added “er” onto “burg” you’d have been Guest of Honour.

  • Jason Clifford

    Some corrections regarding the BBC reporting on Cardinal Brady:


  • Conorcrrll

    Buckle, that is incredible how you have taken that from his post, as he doesnt mention anything that you said, in fact what he says is accuse people who he has no knowledge of of being cafeteria catholics, implies Abortion is not an intrinsic wrong and that not agreeing with his view on Abortion or voting for Rick Santorum makes you in de facto schism

  • Benedict Carter

    Another nu-Churchman who has replaced theology with politics. 

  • Benedict Carter

    Nail on head, CT.

  • EditorCT

    Nail on head Benedict Carter !

    You, too, are invited to the wedding – not a lot of people agree with “CT” about anything, so you’re evidence to show around at the reception!

  • Anon

     The good Cardinal is chairman of the Scottish Aid Agency SCIAF,which supports the small financial transactions levy; an update on the 1970’s Tobin Tax. A quick visit to shows its popularity. 
    One does not need the competence of a specialist to know that, for example, spending billions replacing Trident is immoral; but we may require both faith and charity to go stand in solidarity with campaigners at the Faslane gates; as Keith O’Brien does.
    The sign of the cross in our times.

  • EditorCT

    Yes, Cardinal O’Brien stands shoulder to shoulder with anti-nuclear protesters at Faslane and he’s demonstrated with the unemployed.

    When I heard him speak at the first (and last) SPUC Conference I attended he began to saying he wanted to make clear he’s not a “one-issue” man.

    Write again when he’s demonstrated outside an abortion clinic.

  • Bob Hayes

    It is amazing how many people – of whatever political outlook – wish to analyse and then position bishops, cardinals, our Sovereign Pontiff and indeed the Church somewhere on their own, made-made (and inevitably imperfect) political spectrum. (The political spectrum itself is, of course, a man-made and imperfect construct.) As a consequence – whether they realise it or not – people are creating their own false gods, be they ‘the market’, ‘equality’ or whatever against which they measure the Church’s and clergy’s ‘performance’. 

    When our Church speaks out, surely what should be under our scrutiny is the subject not the speaker. Or have Dr Oddie and others been attracted to the bauble of permanent dissent that has captivated so many in Austria and Ireland?

  • EditorCT

    Bob Hayes,

    We live at a time of unprecedented crisis in the Catholic Church.  We have priests who are blatantly teaching heresy and – in this particular case – we have a cardinal whose name was NOT intended to be on the new cardinals list at the time, and who, therefore, was required to make a public statement retracting his previous public dissent on homosexuality, contraception, celibacy and that’s just off the top of my  head, as a condition for receiving said red hat.  Of course, Cardinal Ratzinger should simply have announced that an error had occurred, that Archbishop O’Brien was NOT being awarded a red hat (due to his public dissent) but that smacks of pre-Vatican II concern for souls over diplomacy. Can’t have that. So, forgive me if I don’t fall over myself in delight that he has a view on taxation.  So have I, but is anyone asking me what it is?  Basically, it is this:  I shouldn’t have to pay very much tax at all, and all the rest of you should cough up.  So simple, it’s a wonder nobody thought of it before.
    Anyway, to answer your question, and assuming you’re cognizant of the fact that we are “served” by priests and bishops who have largely lost the Catholic Faith, no, the speaker (not the subject) must come under our scrutiny today, so that we can tread carefully in approaching the subject. See what I mean?  So far, in the “gay” marriage debate, for example, it’s been OK – the Cardinal has dropped his previous public support for “gay” unions (although he still supports civil partnerships, but publicly his politican spokesman has done a sterling job covering that up) – but we have to listen very carefully to what the bishops are saying today because they are not sound, and that applies with bells on to Cardinal O’Brien.  Listen, if I woke up bucketing rain, switched on the radio and heard him say it was raining, I’d phone a friend for confirmation that I wasn’t seeing things. 

    As for your final, revealing, sentence – I’d say “horrified” rather than “captivated”.  Any Catholic worthy of the name is horrified at the public dissent of the priests in Austria and Ireland, supported, be assured, by their bishops.  Notice how Cardinal Schonborn immediately entered into “dialogue” with them like ten minutes after the Austrian bishops asked for the head, on a plate, of Bishop Williamson for daring to express a view on the numbers of Jews killed in the holocaust!  Gerrrrrrrrr outa here!

    So, wisen up, Bob.  Oh and leave Oor Wullie alone: he’s introduced me to my soon-to-be dearly beloved.  Now, I’m off to type up the pressie list…

  • Bob Hayes

    I am given to understand that anger is one of the Eight Deadly Sins, ECT. 

    But I probably have got that wrong as well and no doubt you will put me right with one of your bombastic and patronising put-downs, awash with judgement and venom for all who fail to endorse your views, which you evidently hold as the definitive interpretation of 2000 years of Christianity.

    I pray that the Holy Spirit will, one day, open your eyes to the ways of compassion, humility, manners and civility in communicating with your brethren.

  • Anon

    “write again when he’s demonstrated outside an abortion clinic”, what black humour. I was rather hoping to essay an occasional, diplomatic intervention to assist the Cardinal into the See of St Peter.

  • Richard A Imgrund

    The cardinal has a right to vote, a right to an opinion, even the right to speak his opinion publicly. It would be helpful, though, and I understand this to be the point of the article, to present one’s own opinion as an opinion, and not as a definitive moral judgement offered by one with authority to provide one. Surely the optimal tax rate is matter for debate, and even an issue upon which reasonable people may differ? Isn’t that in the realm of prudential judgement? Even the question of what we might mean by an optimal rate would be a question upon which reasonable people may differ.
    It is not helpful for a prominent moral teacher – for, for better or worse, that’s what the archbishop is in his diocese – to declare a public policy decision is immoral when it is a matter of prudential judgement, and to declare that the motives driving the policy decision are venal, when those motives are not known, assuming one has good reason for dismissing what were stated to be the motives by the ones who actually have the motives.

  • buckingham88

     We don’t have a problem with this in Australia.Thanks for putting me right.BTW I’v always dropped my Haitches.

  • buckle


    The post-conciliar Catholic Church has effectively abandoned supersessionism because of (John 7:13). I am not convinced therefore that an endless critique of popes, cardinals and priests is getting us anywhere given the fundamental nature of our problem.

    The only way change will arise is following a complete meltdown of the economies in the West and subsequent revolution which such a meltdown will generate.Then the finger pointing will start … it will be messy. Not helped by the fact that our friends are themselves “armed to the teeth” with the most frightening weapons on the planet.

  • EditorCT

    “I am given to understand that anger is oe of the Eight Deadly Sins, ECT”
    Well, Bob, you are least right in that you’ve got that wrong. Or, more accurately, whoever gave you to understand that anger is a sin, got it wrong.  

    Wrath, not anger is one of the seven (or if you prefer, eight!) deadly sins.  There is an important difference.

    Wrath is uncontrolled rage; fury.  That is certainly destructive and sinful.  But, to quote one of the Church’s greatest saints, a Bishop and Doctor of the Church, St John Chrysostom, NOT be be angry when we should be, is a very grave sin: the saint writes:

     “…the person who does not become irate when he has cause to be, sins.  For an unreasonable patience is the hotbed of many vices: it fosters negligence, and stimulates not only the wicked, but above all the good, to do wrong.”  (see page 24, current May newsletter at for the precise reference).

    I’m sorry that you find my posts “patronising” – I’m no genius so I have no reason to patronise anyone, even if any justification could be made. I’m not even going to point out that there are those among us who might find your final sentence to be highly patronising and rather judgemental, to say the least. You’ll perhaps appreciate why I’m not going to take too seriously your condemnation of me as being “awash with judgement and venom…”  My posts are generally a mix of factual information and humour, but my enemies – the enemies of Catholic Truth in every sense of those words, can’t stand the facts, and choose, it seems, to misinterpret the humour.

    Like all my critics you give vent to the hatred of which, without any evidence, you accuse me of harbouring. So, since I think I’ve wasted quite enough time responding to your very nasty post, I’ll sign off now, asking that you respect my decision not to reply to any more of your comments.

    God bless.  

  • EditorCT


    If you even began to understand”the fundamental nature of our problem” (which is the widespread loss of Catholic Faith among the hierarchy) you would not worry your head about the meltdown of economies in the West because you would come to see that once Our Lady’s request for the Consecration of Russia has been obeyed, all these other things shall be given unto us…

  • Bob Hayes

    Touched a raw nerve…

  • EditorCT

    Did I ?  Oh dear …

  • Bob Hayes

    Dr Oddie observes, ‘On some political issues, there is more than one moral view: and disentangling them can require a certain degree of technical competence. And when it comes to economic policy, you might consider asking yourself whether you are entirely sure that you’ve actually got enough of it’.

    Does he believe the Holy Father possesses the necessary ‘technical competence’ to say this?

    ‘Exodus to the great cities, armed conflict, hunger and pandemics, which affect so many people, give rise to new forms of poverty in our time. The global economic crisis has caused an increasing number of families to live in precarious conditions. When the manufacture and increase of needs leads us to believe in the possibility of unlimited enjoyment and consumption, the lack of the means necessary to achieve these ends leads to frustration. … When poverty coexists with enormous wealth, a sense of injustice arises which can become a source of rebellion. Therefore it is necessary for States to ensure that legislation does not increase social inequality and that people can live dignified lives.’  [Address to new ambassadors to the Holy See this morning – ]

  • buckle

    My darling Patricia
    I agree with you although God is a God of reason as well as faith. It is my view that there has been a loss of reason and not just faith these last 50 years. Consider St. Thomas More. More was a saint AND martyr. His sanctity rested in his silence and not his martyrdom alone. He was canonised for trying to avoid death and not in the seeking of it. His silence was a pragmatic response to an impossible secular situation. In a similar way, the contemporary Catholic church now finds itself in an impossible position within the modern World requiring a smilar pragmatic response.

    Now about that ring. I must warn you that I am 52 and broke.

  • Bob Hayes

    What happened to your ‘decision not to reply to any more of your comments’?

  • EditorCT

    So, you are saying then that Our Lady got it wrong? 

    Incidentally, St Thomas More was only silent until he was condemned  – then he spoke out loud and clear in defence of papal supremacy.  Better, buckle, always to tell the truth, the WHOLE truth and nothing but the truth.

    That’s OK – I’m 21 and loaded.

  • buckle

    “Only silent until he was condemned”? More than 5 years of the most appalling suffering leading to total isolation and eventual imprisonment. Only at the very last did he express his true opinions. It was those 5 years which affirmed his sanctity. A sanctity crowned by his martrydom.

  • buckle


    stop flirting with Patricia! Can’t you see we are engaged? She is gorrrr-geous!

  • Bob Hayes

    She’s making all the moves!

  • Speakmymind

    I think the cardinal was spot on! What’s embarrassing about speaking up against the rich getting richer! The poor getting poorer?!
    I’ve come to really dispise the torrie gov. They have cruelly reformed the welfare in a way that has seen a man just last week commit suicide! The disabled are being treated so bad by a man who lost his disabled son, a man who in his media powered manifesto ‘promised’ the disabled and mentally disabled would NOT be harmed infact they would get more help, hahaha he has done that has nt he!
    Cameron is an immoral man, as is his silly sidekicks! Trying to make a name for himself in history ….he is a weasel a snidey immoral weasel!
    I think your article is embarrassing

  • EditorCT


    I am struggling to see your point (darling).

    Everybody who was anybody at the time, knew perfectly well what Thomas More’s position was on the subject of King Henry’s attempt to appropriate spiritual authority to himself over the Church in England.  Everybody. Ask anyone what Cardinal O’Brien believes about any Catholic doctrine you care to name, and you’ll get puzzled looks. As I’ve already intimated above, when he spoke (in my disguised presence) at the SPUC conference some years ago, he denounced nuclear weapons and world poverty. His nod towards abortion consisted largely in informing us all that he wasn’t a “single issue” (i.e. anti-abortion) man. I exaggerate slightly, but then I have to have SOME fun.

    For prudential reasons, as you know, Thomas More refrained from spelling out his position because that is what the powers that be were trying to trap him into doing.  That does not mean that it is always right to remain silent. And it does not hold for those who have a responsibility to publicly uphold the Faith, bishops springing immediately to mind. There’s no death threat hanging over Cardinal O’Brien.  He can discipline his dissident priests without fear of anything worse than a bad press in The Tablet (and Catholic Herald!)

    So, if as seems to be the case, you are using the example of Thomas More’s prudential silence to excuse Cardinal O’Brien’s (and other bishops’) negligence (in the various scandals prevalent today) then that is the wrong application of the saint’s prudence.  After all, in his very first television interview after receiving the red hat, when Cardinal O’Brien was asked by the BBC TV presenter what he would say to Catholic Truth who objected to his appointment, he did not, believe me, maintain a prudential silence. The mountains shook. Ben Nevis ran for cover.

    And I really am astonished that you would take it upon yourself, buckle, to specify precisely what it was and when that “affirmed” More’s sanctity.  Heroic virtue is the criterion (or was before the current madness took hold) for canonisation and in the case of St Thomas More, it is clear that he displayed heroic virtue in upholding the truth of papal supremacy, to the point of giving his life. You won’t find that in popular lives of the saints where he is presented as a man who died “for the rights of conscience”.  Baloney.  He died to uphold the key Catholic doctrine of papal supremacy. 

    Now, unless you want to find yourself in the doghouse before we’ve even set the wedding date, I’d say “sorry, EditorCT, I got it wrong” and we can start afresh.  OK?  By the way, you WILL wear a kilt on the big day?  You and oor Wullie?

  • EditorCT

    I just can’t help myself.  You’re irresistable!

    Seriously, I’ve had to go onto the Catholic Truth blog earlier this evening to explain that I’ve abandoned them these past couple of days because I’ve been over here, organising my wedding.  So, I’ll have to bow out now although  I do like to keep an eye on the CH blogs, especially now that I’m engaged to buckle.  

  • EditorCT

    Oh dear, buckle, you’ve let the cat out of the bag – now everyone will know we’ve never met…

  • buckle

    I merely stated that I can understand why the hierarchy maintain a prudential silence on many subjects. Theire lives may not be on the line

  • buckle

    The TLM attracts the most beautiful women on the planet!