La Stampa is reporting the grim news that Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor is a close adviser of Pope Francis, confirming something that Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor said in his recent interview with The Catholic Herald when he boasted that Pope Francis greeted him after his election by saying jokingly, ‘It’s all your fault’.
La Stampa reports:
‘Then there is the over 80-year-old British cardinal Murphy O’Connor, who plays less of a centre-stage role. He certainly did not see eye to eye with Benedict XVI when it came to bishop-related issues but under Francis’ pontificate he seems to have gained in importance and Francis consults him often. The Nuncio to Great Britain seems to be conscious of this “hotline” to the Pope and the two apparently speak more regularly than before.’
Why is this grim news for the faithful and loyal Catholics of England and Wales? What kind of advice will Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor be giving to Pope Francis?
Cardinal Murphy O’Connor on English bishops
The Tablet reported in May 2012:
Bishop Davies appointment has certainly delighted conservatives; he recently handed the running of a parish to a traditionalist group, who exclusively celebrate the old rite. It would appear that Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor was absent when the congregation settled on Bishop Davies for Shrewsbury. “That’ll teach me to miss the plane”, he is said to have quipped.”
The Tablet explains the Cardinal’s attitude towards Bishop Mark Davies, who has courageously spoken out against gay marriage and the persecution of UK Christians, as stemming from his belief that ‘bishops will be more effective if they are diplomatic sorts rather than “cultural warriors”.
Cardinal Murphy O’Connor on Catholic hospitals compromising over abortions
Cardinal Murphy O’Connor required the entire orthodox board of Ss John & Elizabeth Hospital to resign in favour of his own candidates General Lord Charles Guthrie as Chairman and Sir Mark Allen (yes he of the Libyan renditions connection) to chair the ethics committee. The Code of Ethics was eviscerated at the request of the non-Catholic doctors at the Hospital and in particular the ban on referrals for abortion was removed. They were not going to allow a row over a few condoms to spoil the financial success of the Hospital.
Lord Guthrie and Sir Mark Allen went to Rome and came back saying Rome had approved. Cardinal Cormac gave the new code his blessing. However Rome had in no way approved and indeed had told them that this was a principle for which people should be prepared to go to the stake to defend, which apparently somewhat puzzled the General and Sir Mark as they mentioned to the British Ambassador. Rome was informed of their claims and subsequently the ban on referrals was put back. Whether anything in the Code is actually followed is a matter of speculation. Complete secularisation is anticipated; the Anscombe Bioethics Centre and the Catholic Medical Association were forced to leave the premises. The future involvement of the Order in Malta is now in some doubt.
Cardinal Murphy O’Connor on active homosexual life-styles
Cardinal Murphy O’Connor was responsible for establishing the Soho Masses organised by the Soho Masses Pastoral Council which included active homosexuals such as Martin Pendergast and Terence Weldon. About the conditions set by Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor for the Soho Masses, ‘Martin Pendergast (founder of the SMPC) said: ‘I can assure others who have commented that there was no demand on us to remain celibate and agree that homosexual acts are wrong’ and also Terence Weldon (Eucharistic Minister and SMPC committee member) said: ‘I agree with my friend and colleague Martin…who notes that during the extensive consultation process around the Soho gay Masses, Bishop Longley at no time expressed any demand that we remain celibate or agree with Church teaching.’” (Bishop Longley was acting on behalf of Cardinal Murphy O’Connor). http://www.faith.org.uk/publications/Magazines/Sep10/Sep10CommentOnTheComments.html
Cardinal Murphy O’Connor on condoms
When asked about the use of condoms in Africa to protect against HIV infection and death, the cardinal responded: “First, I’d say that it’s right for the church to preach chastity, that sexual intercourse is for within marriage. But God knows, people just do not live up to ideals. While we can say that, objectively, the use of condoms is wrong, there are places where it might be licit, or allowable, as when there’s a danger of intercourse leading to death. It would be wrong to take a special case and make it a universal law. There is such a thing as objective morality, where things are either right or wrong; but there are also subjective matters that affect whether a thing is slightly wrong or not wrong at all. That’s what we’re talking about in this case. So I would agree with Cardinal Danneels’s position.”
Compare Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor’s words on condoms with Pope Benedict’s in his interview ‘Light of the World’:
Mr Seewald asks the Pope about his statement on the way to Africa in March 2009 that condoms were not the solution to the Aids crisis.
‘Pope Benedict replies: “Someone had asked me why the Catholic Church adopts an unrealistic and ineffective position on Aids.
“At that point, I really felt that I was being provoked, because the Church does more than anyone else. And I stand by that claim. Because she is the only institution that assists people up close and concretely, with prevention, education, help, counsel, and accompaniment. And because she is second to none in treating so many Aids victims, especially children with Aids.
He continued: ”In my remarks I was not making a general statement about the condom issue, but merely said, and this is what caused such great offense, that we cannot solve the problem by distributing condoms. Much more needs to be done. We must stand close to the people, we must guide and help them; and we must do this both before and after they contract the disease.
“As a matter of fact, you know, people can get condoms when they want them anyway. But this just goes to show that condoms alone do not resolve the question itself. More needs to happen.
“Meanwhile, the secular realm itself has developed the so-called ABC Theory: Abstinence-Be Faithful-Condom, where the condom is understood only as a last resort, when the other two points fail to work. This means that the sheer fixation on the condom implies a banalisation of sexuality, which, after all, is precisely the dangerous source of the attitude of no longer seeing sexuality as the expression of love, but only a sort of drug that people administer to themselves.
“This is why the fight against the banalisation of sexuality is also a part of the struggle to ensure that sexuality is treated as a positive value and to enable it to have a positive effect on the whole of man’s being.”
He added: “There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralisation, a first assumption of responsibility, on the way toward recovering an awareness that not everything is allowed and that one cannot do whatever one wants. But it is not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection. That can really lie only in a humanisation of sexuality.”
Mr Seewald then asks the Pope whether he is saying that the Church is not opposed in principle to condoms.
The Pope answers: “She of course does not regard it as a real or moral solution, but, in this or that case, there can be nonetheless, in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality.”
Protect the Pope comment: If La Stampa’s report is correct then as faithful and loyal Catholics we had better steel ourselves for a series of decisions about bishops and other vital areas of the life of the church that will entrench the dominance of the liberal dissenters that we’ve lived under for the past 40 years. This is the irony of the times in which we live, dissenters like The Tablet and A Call to Action are reacting as if they have been freed from a Babylonian Captivity when their world-view has dominated the Church in England and Wales. And it looks like we’re going to be subjected to more of the Magic Circle.