Friday, February 27, 2009

The Lord Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor – ‘The Times has learnt...’

...that Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor is set to be first Roman Catholic bishop in the House of Lords since the 16th century.

Sorry, Times, but Cranmer learnt suspected this back in December, when His Eminence began praising Labour and supporting key Government ministers against the criticism they were attracting from certain Anglican bishops.

His elevation to the House of Lords would require papal dispensation, but Cranmer noted that also. For according to Canon 285 §3. ‘Clerics are forbidden to assume public offices which entail a participation in the exercise of civil power.’

Since Lord Murphy-O’Connor would constitutionally be required to be styled a Lord Temporal (the Lords Spiritual being limited to 26 Anglicans), his elevation would ‘entail a participation in the exercise of civil power’. Unless Pope Benedict is minded to waive Canon Law, it is difficult to see how this may be circumvented. If his becoming a Lord Temporal might present His Eminence or His Holiness with difficulties, they would be no less significant than those for the British State to recognise a Roman Catholic as a Lord Spiritual. Indeed, it would be easier for the Pope to waive Canon Law than for Gordon Brown to try to amend this aspect of the Constitution.

Not, of course, that the time might not be ripe for such a development.

But the timing of all this is most convenient for the Prime Minister. Along with the proposed repeal/reform of the Act of Settlement 1701, the elevation of Cardinal Cormac to the Lords is simply a crass attempt to re-acquire all of those Roman Catholic ‘traditional Labour’ voters who have seen the light and switched to the Conservative Party en masse, largely in protest against the most anti-Christian government in modern British history. Labour has been no friend of the Catholic Church, or even of any church or ‘ecclesial community’.

By accepting a peerage from a Labour prime minister, there is a sense in which it may be perceived as a mutual affirmation. Yet His Eminence has questioned whether Roman Catholics can any longer be loyal to this Labour Government. He has objected to the imposition of 'a different version of our democracy' - one in which 'diversity and equality are held to be at odds with religion'.

Before he accepts (or before the Pope grants him the necessary dispensation), he might reflect on what Labour has done to this country and its people over the past decade: the anti-Christian legislation on the statute books; its intolerant secularism; its refusal to re-examine abortion legislation; the enforced closure of Catholic adoption agencies; and what they have attempted to do to Catholic schools.

The enduring presence of Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor on the religio-political scene will not overly please the more ‘robust’ Catholics, but he will certainly put to shame 25 of the Anglican bishops. And that cannot be a bad thing.

If his religio-political agenda accords with his preaching, his voice may well be sought before that of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and even before that of his successor at Westminister. He would become England’s Cardinal Emeritus, and with no constitutional precedent, he could carve out the role to suit himself.

Enlightened progress indeed.


Blogger Microcosm said...

Roman Catholics switching from Labour to Conservative and back again. Lions and Tigers and Bears oh my :0)

Madness your Grace, The Horror!

27 February 2009 at 16:53  
Blogger Catholic Observer said...

Clerics are allowed to partake in politics if the ”competentis auctoritatis” permits it (cf Can 287 § 2). Being himself an ordinary, there is a question mark over whether this would even apply to the Cardinal. The Bishop of Urgell for instance is ex-officio the head of the Andorran state. But even if said canon does apply, it only extends to when that cleric is ”in factionibus politicis”, a restriction easily surmounted if the Cardinal were to stand as a cross-bencher.

27 February 2009 at 16:57  
Anonymous The Grand Old Duke of Rotherham said...

Yes, but can he mobilise 10,000 drunken Irishmen to come and trash the House of Lords?

27 February 2009 at 17:08  
Anonymous len said...

What does it profit a man to gain a peerage and sell your soul?

27 February 2009 at 17:37  
Anonymous A Constitutionalist said...

I hope some one is keeping notes because when we get someone in No 10 who actually cares for this country and people we are going to have put our Constitution back together again when Jack's finished with it.

The British Constitution

27 February 2009 at 17:42  
Anonymous not a machine said...

i quite liked his stance on stem cell projects , was very convicing , must be hopping mad over catholic adoption agencies downgrading.

interesting to ponder if we can achieve a peace over the protestant and catholic church split , i dont quite understand the complexities despite your graces interesting explanation , but i do not deny its significance

27 February 2009 at 17:45  
Blogger Forlornehope said...

English, recusant, Catholics were always strongly Tory and were quick to take up commissions in the armed forces as soon as this was allowed. The situation in Scotland was similar. The different political outlook was one of the major causes of contention with the Irish.

27 February 2009 at 18:36  
Anonymous mckenzie said...

It makes me nervous. There are strange vibrations taking place all over. It is too difficult for myself to comprehend, but there is much maneuvering for sure.

Something feels wrong.

I would say you are best positioned to monitor the situation with a furrowed brow Your Grace. And do please share your thoughts.

27 February 2009 at 18:57  
Blogger the ink slinger said...

We'd seek the voice of the Mysterons before we sought the voice of the Archdruid of Dhimmi.

27 February 2009 at 19:45  
Anonymous Soul Eater said...

We are being herded down a dark and narrow alley of new religious insanity. The hunger pains of suffering call out again for the pure energy of its sustainment, and all that counts is energy. The world found its light only through the birth pains of agony and murder. Suffering is a journey to purity, and death is the midwife to eternal existence. The force is hungry and the feast is being prepared.

27 February 2009 at 20:00  
Blogger Theresa said...

I should be pleased but I'm not. Something smells bad about this..

28 February 2009 at 01:55  
Anonymous Cynical Gnostic said...

Okay, we've seen the "Gosh golly what ever can they be thinking?" diversion. Who wants to lift this particular rock to see what's really lurking underneath?

Or are we just looking at a blatant Labour hard sell? It's getting difficult to differentiate these days...

28 February 2009 at 08:37  
Blogger motuproprio said...

He will not be Cardinal emeritus - there is no such thing. He remains a voting Cardinal to his 80th birthday and then continues as a non-voting Cardinal. He will be Archbishop of Westminster emeritus (the first, since he will be the first not to die in office). Cardinal Hume had the good sense to refuse the peerage offered him by no less than three Prime Ministers. I pray that Cormac will have the same good sense.

28 February 2009 at 14:18  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

Who is the 26th bishop?

28 February 2009 at 18:31  
Blogger Cranmer said...


His Grace is surprised you need to ask.

28 February 2009 at 18:41  
Blogger Paul Halsall said...

Perhaps not a precedent, but Cardinal Manning (whose portrait by Lytton Strachey is a marvel), was accorded precedence, and was a great supporter of the dockers.

27 April 2009 at 19:55  

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