Scotland’s Senior Roman Catholic tonight strongly denied reports that he had called for the church to debate its teachings on celibacy, contraception and homosexuality just days after being appointed a Cardinal.
Speaking on the eve of his elevation to the College of Cardinals by Pope John Paul II, Archbishop Keith O’Brien said he had been hurt by the allegations.
He told a press conference in central Rome: “I would strongly object to the wrong reports that have been circulated about me round the World.
“I did not say anything against the Church’s teachings at that mass (at St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh three days after he was named a Cardinal).”
The original reports did misrepresent what he said about homosexuality in that they made it appear that the Bishop supported homosexual acts, but what he had actually said about homosexual priests. “If they are leading a celibate life, God bless the men.” This would be a prudential decision as part of the church and would have nothing to do with doctrine and the same goes for married priests. Contraception is another matter all together and it appears he did call for discussion of this topic. Back on September 30th he was quoted as saying.
“So there is no problem about that. What I would ask for in the Church at every level, including the cardinal’s level and the Pope’s level, is to be able to have a full and open discussion about these issues to see where we stand and what the need is and what the implications are.”
In this article it also said:
He later said that the issue of artificial contraception was one that should also be open for discussion.
Now if he is claming that the original stories misquoted him, then is is surprising that he would wait for three weeks to deny those reports. And if those reports were false why on Oct 13th did he add the following after saying the Nicene Creed?
“I further state that I accept and intend to defend the law on ecclesiastical celibacy as it is proposed by the Magisterium of the Catholic Church; I accept and promise to defend the ecclesiastical teaching about the immorality of the homosexual act; I accept and promise to promulgate always and everywhere what the Church’s Magisterium teaches on contraception.”
I would certainly like to give the Cardinal-elect the benefit of the doubt, but the apparent facts get in the way.