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Stonewall faces backlash over bigot award BY ED WEST

THE CHURCH in Scotland has criticised equality charity Stonewall after it named Cardinal Keith O’Brien as its “bigot of the year” at an awards ceremony in London.

Britain’s most senior Catholic churchman was nominated for the annual award after criticising Government plans to introduce same-sex marriage, calling it “harmful to the physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing”.

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow was also nominated after saying that the gay MP David Cairns death was shrouded in a “conspiracy of silence”.

Peter Kearney, director of the Scottish Catholic Media Office, said: “This award has turned out this year to be a spectacular own goal all its done is raise awareness of the level of intolerance that exists among some gay rights campaigners and has caused many people to at least start to question the basis on which they are publicly subsidised.”

At the event Ruth Davidson, the lesbian leader of the Scottish Tories, was booed after collecting her politician of the year award after calling on the group to drop the bigot category. She said: “There are many voices in this debate and just as I respectfully express my sincerely held belief that we should extend mar

Alex Salmond said Stonewall was ‘clearly wrong’ to call Cardinal Keith O’Brien a bigot riage to same-sex couples, I will also respect those who hold a different view.”

Barclays and Coutts, two of the sponsors of their ceremony, have also said they will withdraw their sponsorship for next year unless Stonewall withdraw the name.

Mr Kearney said: “The rhetoric coming out of these groups amounts to an incitement to hatred, the idea is to leave people cowed and intimidated. It is to stifle dissent and discussion, and it does do that. We are regularly emailed by people who support us but say ‘we can’t say that publicly’; teachers and council workers.

“They have succeeded in intimidating opponents the rhetoric becomes shrill and intemperate. There’s a stifling consensus in the Scottish political system, and LGBT groups are giving uncriticial assessment by all parties.”

Mr Kearney also criticised the way that pro-gay marriage groups like Stonewall and the Equality Network received money from the taxpayer.

“In contrast the Scotland for Marriage has been entirely funded privately,” he said. “We should ask the Scottish government whether they should be funding these groups – the reality is that without public support there is not the private support to keep them going.”

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said: “Stonewall were clearly wrong to describe Scotland’s cardinal in these terms, and in any case should reflect on whether pejorative titles like this do anything to enhance their cause. Personal insults are not conducive to a proper and dignified debate.” Mary Kenny: Page 12

Centre seeks raised voices

Cardinal O’Brien marks Year of Faith as he struggles with poor health


ETHICISTS are calling on people of all faiths and none to respond to a Government consultation on genetically modified babies.

The Anscombe Bioethics Centre is trying to galvanise people to raise their concerns about the ethics of cloning before the consultation deadline on Friday December 7.

Dr Helen Watt, who is the centre’s senior research fellow, said: “Mitochondrial replacement has been called ‘three-parent IVF’, but only one technique being considered would in fact produce three-parent babies. The other technique involves a form of cloning from an early IVF embryo, using a second embryo as a shell, to produce a third, clone embryo who might then be transferred to the womb of the first embryo’s mother to be born. The first and second embryo would be killed to create the third, clone embryo.

“One technique would split genetic motherhood and give the child three genetic parents. The other technique would produce a child with no genetic parents: a child cloned instead from ‘spare parts’ harvested from earlier living embryos.

“Both techniques would affect not only individuals conceived and born but also their descendants. Both should be urgently opposed.”

CARDINAL Keith O’Brien presided at Mass in Motherwell on Sunday to mark the opening of the Year of Faith in Scotland.

The cardinal cited Benedict XVI’s words that “there is nothing more beautiful than to know Christ and to speak to others of our friendship with him”.

“These words,” he said, “apply to us all, whatever our age or spiritual journeys, our faults and failings, known and unknown.”

Cardinal O’Brien, 74, announced on Tuesday that he would be stepping down as president of the Scottish bishops’ conference. He has been suffering from poor health.

Photo: Paul McSherry

Expelled bishop urges network of ‘Catholic resistance’


BISHOP Richard Williamson is preparing to set up a “loose network” of traditionalist groups after being expelled from the Society of St Pius X, it emerged this week.

Introducing the new St Marcel Initiative, the English bishop said: “It seems that, today, God wants a loose network of independent pockets of Catholic Resistance, gathered around the Mass, freely contacting one another, but with no structure of false obedience, which served to sink the mainstream Church in the 1960s and is now sinking the Society of St Pius X. If you agree, make contributions to the St Marcel Initiative; they will certainly come in useful. For myself, once my situation stabilises, I am ready to put my bishop’s powers at the disposal of whoever can make wise use of them.”

One former SSPX member wrote on his blog “The Sensible Bond” that the idea appears to be of a federation of groups “who are united in the faith, united in the sacraments, but – so much for St Robert Bellarmine’s definition of the Church! – not exactly united under a hierarchy”.

Bishop Williamson was one of four bishops consecrated by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in 1988. He has been controversial because of his views about Jews, the Holocaust and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion forgery. He was expelled from the SSPX after calling for the replacement of its superior general, Bishop Bernard Fellay and administering unauthorised Confirmation to 100 people in Brazil.

In a blog post Bishop Williamson said of the expulsion, writing about himself in third person: “It is a momentous decision on the part of the

SSPX leaders, not for any personal reasons, but because of the removal of what many people took to be the single biggest obstacle within the SSPX to any false reconciliation between Catholic Tradition and Conciliar Rome.”

He wrote that if the SSPX dropped its opposition to Rome it would be “racked with silent dissension”. Editorial Comment: Page 13


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Sunday 18 November at 11.30 am

Solemn Mass celebrated by Msgr Gilles Wach, Prior General of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest followed at 5.30 pm by Vespers and Benediction with the Rt Rev. Mark Davies, Bishop of Shrewsbury

Icon stops off in England on journey around globe


AN ICON of Our Lady of Częstochowa has arrived in England as part of its journey from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean.

A thousand people came to pray beside the replica of the icon in Westminster Cathedral on Monday as its pilgrimage from Vladistock in Siberia to Portugal nears its end.

The icon was commissioned in January to be a witness to the “Gospel of life and to the civilisation of love”, and was blessed in the shrine at Jasna Góra in Poland before starting its pilgrimage. It will reach Fatima, its final destination, just before Christmas.

The Black Madonna, one of the most revered icons in Christendom, has two scars inflicted by the Hussites and a third by Tartars.

Auxiliary Bishop Alan Hopes of Westminster said: “The icon of Our Lady of Częstochowa , then, has been the object of desecration, abuse and contempt. Scarred by assaults the message of this

The replica of the icon in Westminster Cathedral sacred image is a reminder that in spite of anything man can do, the true beauty of God’s love will shine brightly.”

“How marred is our own world by such assaults on the dignity of human life – from the easy discarding of innocent lives in the tragedy of abortion, to the easy discarding of life as it nears its completion in the so-called ‘right to die’ and ‘mercy killing’.”

After Westminster the icon was due to be brought to the Pan Orthodox Assembly of bishops and priests in Britain and Ireland at the Church of the Royal Martyrs in Chiswick.

The pilgrimage came about after a meeting of Human Life International. In Britain it is being cared for by the National Association of Catholic Families, with help from Westminster diocese. Organiser Edmund Adamus said: “Orthodox and Latin Rite Catholics haven’t done this sort of thing, together, for 1,000 years.”

The icon will remain in England until Monday, when it travels to Edinburgh and then Glasgow before arriving in Ireland in November.

Short Mary’s Meals film is up for Oscar


A DOCUMENTARY about the food charity Mary’s Meals has been put forward for an Oscar.

The film, Child 31, has been entered in the Best Documentary Short category.

Produced by Grassroots Films, a company with links to the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal in New York, it explores the difference Mary’s Meals makes to the lives of children in Malawi, India and Kenya.

Gordon Brown said the film was “moving and emotive” and that he would be giving it to people around the world in his role as UN envoy for global education.

Singer Annie Lennox described the film as “stunning”.

Mary’s Meals feeds 700,000 children a meal every school day. Chief executive Magnus Macfarlane-Barrow said he hoped the film would bring the charity’s message to “new eyes, new ears, new hearts”.

A trailer can be viewed at


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NEWSBULLETIN Religion is not always a benefit, rules commission THE Charity Commission has ruled that religion is not always in “the public benefit” after it denied charitable status to the Plymouth Brethren for one of its churches in Devon.

In a letter to the sect the watchdog set out its most recent decision that “there is no presumption that religion generally, or at any more specific level, is for the public benefit, even in the case of Christianity or the Church of England”.

Until 2006 religions, like schools, were automatically considered a public benefit, but since then religious groups have had to prove their use to the public. Catholic lawyer Neil Addison said the ruling “demonstrates a state of mind”, but was not likely to be applied to mainstream churches.

Retired cardinal visits Bangladesh CARDINAL Cormac Murphy-O’Connor is visiting Bangladesh this week to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Archdiocese of Dhaka on behalf of the Pope.

Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, who turned 80 in August, will speak to bishops, seminarians, religious and Muslim leaders.

Celebrating Mass at a seminary in Dhaka on Monday he said: “When Christ becomes the centre of our lives, there will not be room for serious division among us – so make Christ the centre of your life.”

Addressing the Bangladesh bishops’ conference, the cardinal said: “Look after yourselves. Work hard but you need time to rest, to read, to meet with friends. Think also of your Nuncio as your friend. He is a good man faithfully serving the Holy Father, you the Bishops and the Church here.” On Friday he will attend the Mass inaugurating the country’s Year of Faith.

Parish marks 150 years ARCHBISHOP Vincent Nichols of Westminster celebrated Mass on Sunday to mark the 150th anniversary of St Charles Borromeo parish church in the West End of London.

In his homily the archbishop reflected on the life of St Charles Borromeo. He also blessed a new catechetical hall. The Mass was concelebrated by parish priest Fr Bryan Jones.

Charity names new director SCIAF, the overseas aid agency of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, has appointed Patricia Chalé as its new director.

Ms Chalé was previously executive director of Caritas Westminster, and has worked as a government adviser and as a management consultant.

Sciaf’s president, Bishop Peter Moran of Aberdeen, said the recruitment panel was impressed by her “drive and commitment”.

Pupils bring cranes to Cameron PUPILS at Maria Fidelis Catholic school in London were due to deliver a letter and 1,000 origami cranes to 10 Downing Street this week in a call to abolish nuclear weapons. The paper birds were made in Hiroshima, Japan.

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