March 22, 2018
CONGRATULATIONS to Rosemary Goring (“Cardinal O’ Brien’s tale was a betrayal of hope and trust”, The Herald, March 21) for stating clearly that Cardinal O’Brien’s sin was not his homosexuality but his coercive control of men over whom he had authority. His was not a mere peccadillo, a case of failing “to live up to the sexual standards to which he was committed” as Bruce Kent put it in his letter the same day: it was a case of repeatedly abusing other human beings. I suspect it is because of this abuse and the harm it caused that Archbishop Scicluna’s report has been suppressed, but I would welcome the chance to be proved wrong by its publication.
I am a believing Catholic, but no longer a fully practising one.
The persistent habit of the Catholic Church, particularly in Scotland, is to make token apologies and then sweep abuses under the carpet without allowing light to fall on their fundamental cause. For Keith O’Brien to have become head of the church in Scotland there must already have been a culture of coercive and controlling behaviour within the church, for his abuses were already known in clerical circles.
To quote the title of a recent article by the journalist Kevin McKenna in your sister paper the Sunday Herald last month, “a sickness has infected the Catholic church in Scotland”. An aspect of that sickness is coercive control. Coercive control is a key indicator of psychopathy.
Sruth Ruadh, Milton, Strathconon, Muir of Ord.
IN his ironic funeral oration for Caesar, Mark Anthony said: “The evils that men do live after them, the good is oft interred with their bones.” Students demand the names of philanthropists be purged from college buildings for their “evils” starting with the likes of Lee and Rhodes but soon progressing to Washington and Jefferson.
The death of Cardinal Keith O’Brien has evoked similar passions in obituarists and correspondents. Yet the announcement that this former scientist with the liberal views of Pope John and Vatican II was to be become only the third Scottish Cardinal since the Reformation was widely welcomed both in the Catholic Church and beyond.
The Christian church took on a harder edge during his career and while liberal ministers like me could afford to rattle the Kirk’s cage that wasn’t an option for the Cardinal. He argued a Vatican orthodoxy which did not reflect his kindly nature and I was heartbroken when he was engulfed in a scandal I still find hard to credit.
It is apparent some want to believe his work as a priest, his brilliance as a preacher and the good that he manifestly accomplished have all been lost in his downfall. He was a casualty of the Great Celebrity Witchhunt that has diverted the nation in recent years and I truly believe history will be kinder to him than his contemporaries.
Rev Dr John Cameron,
10 Howard Place, St Andrews.
MY thanks to Bruce Kent for putting his head above the parapet and admitting that Cardinal O’Brien did some considerable good in his life – like most of us he was a mixture of good and bad.
I can’t speak for those let down by the Cardinal but I think most people agree with this. However, Christ taught that no man is beyond redemption. God is merciful but also just –and only He knows the full truth of this sad tale.
Mrs E McDermott,
1 Fairfield Place, Bothwell.
Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.