On Wednesday Cardinal Keith O’Brien, Archbishop of Glasgow, spoke with members of Parliament at a reception at the Scotland Office. In his remarks, he defended the coherence of the Catholic pro-life stand and discussed the proper role of the Church in political debate.
Cardinal O’Brien said his message was pro-life “in the widest sense of those words”:
“A call to give life to those many thousands dying each day through lack of food and drink; by joining in the anti-nuclear campaign and also the campaign for a greater awareness of climate change; by entering into the debate with regard to our present abortion laws and the great moral issues coming to the fore recently with regard to the Human Fertilization and Embryology Bill.”
Noting that the Church as an institution has contributed to major debates over the centuries, the cardinal said, “We can offer a reminder of the foundational values on which any just society must be built, values which uphold the dignity of all human life, which assert the necessity of supporting family life, of recognizing the limits of subsidiarity and the demands of solidarity.”
Cardinal O’Brien quoted Pope Benedict XVI’s words about politics, saying, “A just society must be the achievement of politics, not of the Church.”
Pope Benedict has further described the role of the Church by saying, “The Church cannot and must not take upon herself the political battle to bring about the most just society possible. She cannot and must not replace the State. Yet at the same time the Church cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice. She has to play her part through rational argument, she has to re-awaken the spiritual energy without which justice, which always demands sacrifice, cannot prevail and prosper.”