|Scottish Catholic Bishops' Conference|
Ekklesia reports today that the Catholic bishops of Scotland are stepping up their national campaign to build a coalition of Catholics and other right-wing religious groups to try to force the Scottish government to rescind its plans to permit civil marriage for same-sex couples. But as Ekklesia notes, there's contention within the Scottish Catholic church over this unprecedented intrusion of the church into the political life of the nation.
Ekklesia cites a Catholic "insider"--presumably a member of the hierarchy or someone closely associated with the hierarchy--who fears that the action now being spearheaded by Cardinal Keith O'Brien may well backfire and alienate many Catholics and other Scottish citizens. As the Ekklesia report concludes,
Critics inside and outside the Catholic Church in Scotland say that its leaders are making a serious mistake in attacking provisions for civil society, and that they are underestimating the bewilderment and anger their stance is producing in the light of wider concerns about sexual abuse and other problems within Church institutions themselves.
As Terry Weldon notes at his Queering the Church blog, in many places in the world, lay Catholics strongly support the right of civil marriage for same-sex couples, and the leaders of the Catholic church will one day inevitably have to admit that their ethic regarding homoerotic relationships (and, I'd argue, the entire natural-law ethic about human sexuality in general, insofar as it's based on crude biological reductionism) has simply been wrong. And the longer that church leaders take to begin the revisionary discussion, the harder they make it for themselves when the inevitable happens.
I wonder how this works exactly, this praying for God to force people to believe as you do, or I guess, in Cardinal O'Brien's view, praying for God to make people "see the light". It's never really seemed to work for me (yes, I've tried), this talking God into changing other people - maybe I should ask the Cardinal for some prayer tips.
This talking God into changing other people: Crystal's writing about the situation in Scotland, but I suspect we're in for a week of that kind of talking right here in the U.S. as well, with the GOP convention starting today. I suspect that right-leaning Christians will be keeping God busy doing their will just as fervently in Tampa this week as they appear to be doing in Scotland now.
(Thanks to Dennis Coday at National Catholic Reporter for the link to the Ekklesia article in his "Morning Briefing" column.)