The Tablet criticizes Bishop Egan’s consecration address as ‘inflated, apocalyptic, impossible to follow’

Prof. Conor Gearty, The Tablet’s favourite Establishment figure, has written an article (27 Oct 2012) on secular law and morality that argues for the acceptance of the immoral status quo and ridicules bishops’ exhortations to take a stand against the law.  In the course of his cynical piece Prof Gearty takes a swipe at Bishop Egan, the newly consecrated Bishop of Portsmouth:

‘The British people, the bishop said, have been “betrayed by … legal … policy makers who, in the relativistic world they [and others are] creating, however well-intentioned, are sowing the seeds of a strangling counter cultureof death”. And he asked Catholics to “go forth from this Mass with joyful vigour, resolved in the Holy Spirit, to help bring about the conversions needed – intellectual, moral and spiritual” – to rejuvenate the country. But Christian judges have to collude in this “counter -culture of death”; democracy and the rule of law demand it. It would never occur to Mr Justice Cooke not to apply the law; his remarks were about a wrongful interpretation of the Abortion Act, not the fact of the law itself. Language like that of Bishop Egan –inflated, apocalyptic, but often impossible to follow – draws enthusiastic support from those without the power to implement it and is ignored by those who do.’

Here’s the section of text of Bishop Egan from unedited address:

We must offer this salvific message to a people, sorely in need of new hope and direction, disenfranchised by the desert of modern British politics, wearied by the cycle of work, shopping, entertainment, and betrayed by educational, legal, medical and social policymakers who, in the relativistic world they’re creating, however well-intentioned, are sowing the seeds of a strangling counterculture of death.’

Protect the Pope comment: Conor Gearty represents a generation of Catholics who argue for accommodation with the immoral laws of this country as being the realistic and acceptable path to follow. And they have been rewarded for their worldly wise approach by being accepted and promoted by the British establishment. But what Conor Gearty has forgotten or chooses to ignore is our baptismal vocation to prophecy, given us by Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The difference between Prof. Gearty and Bishop Egan is that the latter takes our vocation seriously, irrespective of the cost, and ridicule.

 

11 comments to The Tablet criticizes Bishop Egan’s consecration address as ‘inflated, apocalyptic, impossible to follow’

  • Bob Hayes

    The quote from Bishop Philip strikes me as a succinct and charitable analysis of the current state of civil society – and our need to turn to Our Lord Jesus Christ for guidance and salvation. If Professor Gearty struggles to comprehend such straightforward language he must have inhaled too much of the rarefied atmosphere at Matrix Chambers – and embraced colleague Cherie Booth’s wayward distortion of Catholicism.

  • Let us hope that they remove copies of “The Tablet” from the back of Portsmouth cathedral,and stop subscibing to it!

  • Joseph Matthew

    Conor Gearty would probably have laughed at William Wilberforce had he lived then. We need more Christians to follow the way of Wilberforce and of Bishop Egan. We need less cynical “academics” who are happy with the status quo.

  • Deacon Augustine

    As one who was present at Bishop Egan’s ordination I can say that his ordination address was well received by all the clergy and laity I spoke to afterwards.

    Any law that contravenes the Divine Law is no law at all and Catholics are obliged to resist it with all their capacity to do so. What does it profit a man to gain the whole world in this life if he loses his soul in the next?

  • Paul Smyth

    Sounds quite like Bishop Conry’s, “fight the battles we an win” and forget idealism, and anything which might not find instant worldly approval, so very Tablet!

  • amator Dei

    If you read Professor Gearty’s article carefully and impartially, what he is saying is that judges have to operate within the system of law as it is and how difficult this can be when the law of the land conflicts with Christian moral principles. This is not accommodation or collusion with immorality, nor is it cynical. It is recognising, as in the real world one must, that we can only operate within the constraints of reality. Bishops secure in their unreal religious world can indulge their lurid scenarios of a counter-culture of death if they wish to, but they would do better to help people to live their faith in the world as it is. Setting up false oppositions between the Church (all good and perfect – ha ha) and the secular world (irredeemably bad and only to be condemned) is no help at all.

  • “Language like that of Bishop Egan –inflated, apocalyptic, but often impossible to follow – draws enthusiastic support from those without the power to implement it and is ignored by those who do”.

    Surely in striving to follow our vocation to holiness with “joyful vigour”, we (those without power) not only walk by Bishop Egan’s “impossible to follow” path – the same narrow path of the Gospel. If each of us works for our own conversion (the first field of apostolate must always be myself) we will create a wave of holiness which will go far to rejuvenate this country. Life to the full is the necessary response to the strangling culture of death: ‘Only saints will change the world’ (Luis Fernando Figari).

  • Nicolas Bellord

    Language like that of Bishop Egan –inflated, apocalyptic, but often impossible to follow – draws enthusiastic support from those without the power to implement it and is ignored by those who do.’

    I count myself amongst the powerless. Conor Gearty can use his position of power to do what exactly beyond ignoring the teachings of the Church?

  • Matthaeus

    Why were my first thoughts on seeing the title of this post, “Bishop Egan must have said something meaningful and worthwhile, then.”?

    The Tablet is, at least, drawing out those who are willing to speak up for the Faith and who won’t succumb to its browbeating. Good on you, Bishop Philip!

  • Mark Thorne

    I don’t find Bishop Philip’s text impossible to follow at all – in fact, I lapped up every morsel of his ordination speech. The academics of this day and age are clearly the modern-day equivalents of the scribes that Our Lord encountered in his earthly ministry.

  • Robin Leslie

    Conflict is a part of life and always has been, for the secular State to attempt through law or any other coercive device to secure compliance to one particular and controversial ideology
    is as we all know, wholly counter-productive. If we are to live in future with numerous different often incompatible and incommensurate attitudes, beliefs, practices and ways of life, we have to learn how to live with conflict. It is possible to sustain peace in conditions of
    actual and potential conflict, and the search goes on throughout the world in Christian Churches as well as secular institutions to develop ways of life that recognise the primacy and origination of simply being human, of simply acknowledging our presence to one another and everything that follows from that, of mutual obligation, interpersonal responsibility etc.. This
    simple fact of recognising another’s existence precedes all considerations, prejudices and differences that emerge with our consciousness of the wider world of constructed identity etc.
    Heidegger reminded us of that, but Jesus went to His Cross to reveal to us our folly and violence in refusing this simple fact!

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