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January 2000



Among all the egregious Modernist prelates who populate and shame the Church in Britain and Ireland today, few have plumbed the treacherous depths as consistently as Edinburgh's Keith Patrick O'Brien. A man who has apparently lost all fear and mindfulness of God and the painstaking account a bishop must render to Him, the Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh has allowed dissent, disobedience and public scandal to flourish in his archdiocese throughout his tenure, harbouring and encouraging the likes of Fathers Andrew Monaghan and Steve Gilhooley - media priests whose crass and open rebellion against the Church makes one shudder to think what awaits them and their episcopal patron at Judgement. Among other things, Fr. Monaghan's radio show refers pregnant women to bastions of the culture of death like the Family Planning Association and the Brook Advisory Centre - "to discuss," as Monaghan's fellow 'counsellor' once told a caller, "all the different aspects of continuing or not continuing the pregnancy." The Vatican's outrage at Monaghan's "scandalous participation" in such a programme was duly ignored by O'Brien. There has always been something of the night about him; something of the sinister Weakland-Bernadin mould about his unflagging protection of such truly shocking dissidents. And when you add to this his complicity with Cardinal Winning in the Roddy Wright cover-up; his approval of a homosexual-friendly, condom-advocating AIDS study pack for use in his schools (until Rome censured him); his ecumania; the Social Gospel creed in which he wallows as Catholic orthodoxy becomes but a distant memory in his disappearing archdiocese … well, enough said.

And so O'Brien's typically graceless, dissident outburst following the European Synod in Rome last October would have surprised only the wilfully deaf and blind. First he cried poor about a "lobby" of curial bishops and papal nominees who during small group sessions, so he claimed, had intimidated him by their very presence and blocked discussion of his pet topics like married clergy and General Absolution. His Grace then went on to complain about the Pope appointing too many "right-wing" bishops "around the world" and indicated that a resolution to the considerable tensions on display at the Synod (i.e. between Modernist and Catholic bishops) which threaten Church life, would have to await a new pontificate. "The Pope obviously does not want things to change," he pronounced. He also claimed that the bishops of Britain and Ireland had agreed on the use of General Absolution in all the parishes in the British Isles and Ireland on the Saturday before Palm Sunday 2000 and expressed shock that "The Curia - the Congregation for Sacraments, would not approve of that, despite the fact that it was approved by the hierarchies of our countries."

Although ultra-dissident and looney-fringe liberals on both sides of the Atlantic rushed to embrace and praise the "courageous" Archbishop, a couple of Irish prelates questioned the veracity of his statements about the stifling of discussion in Rome. "We certainly didn't find that," said one. "That's not our experience, not at all." They also stated that the Irish episcopate had never given any approval to the proposal on General Absolution.

Such disquietingly different perceptions reveal the chasm which has opened within the hierarchy between Catholic realists and liberal fantasists, with the latter now established as one half of a deceitful, two-pronged assault on the Church: John Cornwell clones warping history for ideological ends on the outside, aided and abetted by episcopal ideologues telling 'porkies' on the inside. But while we may ponder who it is that funds the likes of Cornwell and these intermittent bouts of manic Pope-bashing, we need not think too hard about the source of episcopal mendacity. The sulphurous stench of schism emanating from western hierarchies reveals all. It is the mystery of iniquity; the Judas complex tightening its grip on episcopal souls.

The greatest lie of all, of course, is the denial of Modernism itself. The studied disregard for Pope St. Pius X's incomparable Pascendi underlies and gives rise to all episcopal fabrications aimed at bolstering the false foundations of the crumbling postconciliar edifice. Inevitably, this aversion to Pascendi has seen habitual economising with the truth escalate to ever more strident falsehoods. Two recent examples that spring immediately to mind are Bishop Vincent Nichols' barefaced denial of serial liturgical abuse in England and Wales [CO, Aug/Sept 1999, pp. 393-4], and the outrageous contradiction of Leo XIII's definitive ruling on the invalidity of Anglican Orders by the British and Irish episcopates in their joint document One Bread, One Body. As if to rub salt in these kinds of mendacious wounds routinely inflicted on the Holy Father and his Curia, O'Brien related that upon Cardinals Hume and Winning receiving strongly worded letters from the Vatican about the abovementioned General Absolution project, Winning went to Rome to defend his corner and, doubtless with his best straight face, told Cardinal Medina of the Congregation for Divine Worship "something to the effect that you won't get three more loyal hierarchies than our three". Medina, it seems, knew better!

In any event, it is within this overtly mutinous context that one must consider Archbishop O'Brien's expression of shock-horror at Rome's daring to overrule a clearly dissident proposal from three dissident hierarchies (or was it only two?). His whole post-Synod performance was merely the latest salvo in the increasingly forceful push for greater local autonomy ("decentralisation") under the guise of a spurious collegiality ("the full exercise of episcopal authority"). One need only consider the dissenting prelates who have led and/or are leading this campaign - Quinn, Weakland, Martini, Konig, Bernadin, Hume et. al. - to comprehend the agenda behind the verbiage. For these, like Winning and O'Brien, are Cardinals and Archbishops who have projected their own Protestantised faith onto everyone else and now - cheered on by their Lutheranised clergy and laity and by secular press headlines like "Church too big to be controlled by Rome" [Daily Telegraph, 5/11/99] or Cardinal challenges primacy of the Pope [The Times, 15/11/99] - appear to be just a conclave away from the logical endpoint of their campaign: formal schism. It may come in a rush or in dribs and drabs depending on the Catholic conviction of John Paul's successor, but their mounting frustrations, like their lies, must soon tell. Perhaps the sooner the better.

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