Jiggery Popery

4 Mar

To hear Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor defending Cardinal O’Brien and the Catholic Church this morning was to listen to an ageing Canute demanding that waves of detractors recede – the church needs no reform, just ‘better governance’. It was a chilling self-exposure and John Humphreys didn’t need to be at his sharp-shooting best – the Cardinal kept slamming the own-goals in himself.

There is a curious sense of denial that increasingly dogs the corridors of power – whether politcal, social, business or, as in this case, moral. Tony Blair can’t get close to any public admission that he might, just might, have been wrong about WMD and Iraq – even to hint at equivocation would be to admit that there was the human need to exercise power, to go hand in hand with George Bush and show Saddam – and the UN – who was boss. On a playground level he was siding with the bully – or at least getting behind him – and enjoying the preening flush of the limelight. Tony claimed a spurious moral authority to gain a political end. In an odd way Cardinal O’Brien is worse. He claimed a supposedly legitimate moral authority to gain an illegitimate and immoral result.

Cardinal O’Brien has not only stood out against gay marriage but labelled gays as paedophiles and repeatedly, this last year, called for the church which he represents to take a hard line on celibacy, women priests and homosexuality. That is until the last fortnight and, sinner that I am, I cannot help but think that his advisors were telling him to back-track a little before the Sword of Damocles landed heavily on his hypocrisy.

Don’t we all sit in some wonderment as we hear the moral preaching of kiddy-fiddlers (and their supporters), gay-deniers, predatory senior clergy (as in the case of Cardinal O’Brien in his former life) and ‘celibate’ heterosexuals who father children and have affairs with some abandon? Wonderment, I say because they are telling their congregations to confess their sins, to follow the strict code that their moral betters (the priests) set out for them. The arrogance is breathtaking, the corruption seemingly endemic. Of course the Catholic Church isn’t the only representative of faith that does the do as I say, not as I do thing. All Faiths seem to demand, to a lesser or greater extent, that in following the rules, however wacky and counter-intuitive they may be,  we will find strength and ultimately be delivered into the Kingdom of Heaven. Well, as Brucie might have said, it’s a ‘Good Game’ innit? Trouble is the power brokers get used to wielding power and forget why they turned up for the race in the first place.

One such was Cormac Murphy O’Connor this morning. He has spent too long sipping wine at the top table and, like so many politicians and bankers, has lost his own compass, that compass which points we mortal sinners in the right direction, just rather more of the time than our moral leaders. That moral compass, which we plebs have in some measure, is called commonsense.

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One Response to “Jiggery Popery”

  1. Nick March 4, 2013 at 10:48 am #

    Excellent!

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