Michael Kelly: Cardinal’s crisis is not whole faith’s


Published on Thursday 28 February 2013

ALLEGATIONS against Keith O’Brien elicit more compassion than anger from Catholics. The Church faces far more important issues, writes Michael Kelly

I never realised that there were so many opinion formers who were Catholics. However, this week I’ve met them all traipsing in and out of radio and television studios pontificating on the sensation that has surrounded the resignation of Keith O’Brien as Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, squeezed between the horsemeat horror and balloons in Egypt. For the few remaining conspiracy theorists, I should emphasise that I did not previously know them all to be Catholics, much less agree a party line with them to defend the Church. But I found a common thread among those gurus that I did manage to say a brief hello to as we passed each other on the way to and from the cameras.

There were no funereal tones or glum faces. This was to the grave disappointment of producers and the puzzlement of presenters, who clearly were expecting a flagellation of all things Roman. But the O’Brien scandal is not the crisis for the Church that the media is portraying. The main reaction I have had from “ordinary” Catholics is one of sorrow and compassion for all of those involved, which is exactly what one would expect from any Christian. There is, of course, shock and disappointment and some anger. But most are able to distinguish quite clearly between the dogma and doctrines of the Church, which we are all obliged to follow, however errantly and despite human frailty.

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