The most famous opponent of militant homosexuality in Scotland, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, resigned over alleged “inappropriate behaviour” towards other priests. His views were not bigotry, as some famously claimed, but it seems he was a hypocrite. It all reminds me of something I wrote last year — The Sins We Talk About.
(LATER NOTE: the earliest report did not make it clear that O’Brien is still contesting the charges, despite his resignation. This article was written before the BBC changed their article to clarify that point. Thus, without knowing the facts, I would not charge him with hypocrisy — though there are multiple witnesses, and it appears they are not driven by anti-Catholic bias. In any event, what follows is true whether or not Keith O’Brien is guilty of this particular sin, or other sins.)
Some worry about politics as the Scottish Parliament debates homosexual marriage — but anyone trusting the Catholic Church to stop bad laws hasn’t been paying much attention. That’s not the real problem. If God is going to spare this nation, He doesn’t need Keith O’Brien, and He isn’t likely to do it in a way that would let a man take the glory for it.
The real tragedy is that this poor, sinful man is surrounded by people who will perpetuate the lie he himself has always taught about God’s forgiveness. They’ll tell him to do what he has always told others to do.
Instead of confessing the full evil of his sin, it will be called “failures,” and he and his friends will remind people of all the “good” he has done. Instead of seeking the Heavenly Throne of Grace for mercy, he’ll go to an earthly confessional booth. Instead of looking to God’s finished work on the Cross, he’ll look to his own incomplete works of penance. Instead of believing God-inspired words of forgiveness, he’ll believe the human words of absolution spoken by some man just as fallen and sinful as he is.
All his life he has believed and taught something that never provided true forgiveness of sins, and no one around him will tell him it can’t help him now. He’s helped to build a religious edifice that will entrap him and spiritually entomb him, doing all it can to shield him from the truth that could have given him life and set him free.
That is the real tragedy of Keith O’Brien. Made in God’s image, he has yet listened to counterfeits of God’s voice, and suppressed His true Word. Who now will tell him the truth, now when his facade is destroyed and his own “goodness” is an ash heap?
Who indeed? The question burns.
We must believe that there are souls who will not be told, who will never hear.
But dare we decide who they are while they yet have breath?
O Lord, grant that we may hear you ask, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”
That we may know when and how to reply, “Here am I; send me.”
Romans 1:14 I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.
There is none more unwise than the one who teaches a false gospel, yet they too need to hear the true Gospel.