"The Cardinal Who Mixed A Mean Martini"



This year the Cardinal will be 75 years old and this is the expected retirement age in the Catholic Church.

He also reached some time ago the golden anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. So it seems that when in Rome some weeks ago he wore his (Cardinal) glad rags for a small banquet hosted for him and others by the Pope. Most of this was reported in an interview he granted to a London newspaper. He also touched on the previous controversial decision by the English Labour Government to coerce Catholic adoption agencies to place Catholic children to enquiring homosexual couples-he claimed that he would shut down such adoption homes before submitting to Government pressure. Some suggested this as a blackmail tactic from him and his church.

"I don't do blackmail. I'm my own man," he claimed with conviction.

"My priority is the children," he insisted adamantly. Now I would like to come back to that remark later.

In a long ranging press interview he discussed Tony Blair: "I haven't talked to him about his conversion. I have chatted to him about religion....a persons religion is a private thing."

(Mr. Blair later converted in 2007.)

The Cardinal also hinted at looming retirement by saying: "To be absolutely honest I would be content to retire. But if asked to stay on I would be content." Again we will see what Rome's future decision for the English Cardinal is.

But to an interesting question about failure in his life he responded: "I don't think any failures as such. Sometimes a failure of courage."

But wait a minute didn't he earlier say: "My Priority is the children." He did didn't he? And somehow these five words struck a discord with me.

Because I was further reminded of the damaging child sex scandals of the Catholic Church that have been exposed both in England and abroad.

Today in England the shame however is still there to touch and taste, as afflicted families struggle to fight the consuming torment and rage of priestly abuse. (We should not forget however that nuns were also named in these sordid scandals. Remember "The Sisters of Mercy" episode in Ireland and what they were doing to unmarried girls in the Church run laundry episode during the 1940-1960 era.) One such public case some years ago was of the systematic abuse by Catholic priest Michael Hill committed over many years even with boys in wheelchairs! Or as one father remarked of this sordid event: "I feel livid towards him." I am sure that parent wanted to say much more than this. Perhaps even do much more. And all of this was in the Catholic dioceses of Bishop Cormac Murphy O'Connor. (In the Book of Revelation chapter 17, we see a woman described as: "full of the names of blasphemy." I suspect this vivid description is indeed the Roman Catholic church. And in chapter 18, a voice from Heaven is heard saying: "Come out of her my people...receive not her plagues." So if you are a practising Catholic or a member of the clergy then heed these words from Jesus Christ Himself!)

And do you remember in recent years how two senior Catholic Archbishops in England were forced to resign under a dark cloud of child molestation. (In fact this week a priest from the Birmingham diocese will be in court accused of seven acts of sexual assault and rape. And so it goes on which is a shame for the many innocent clergy who have never committed such acts.)

So I have ask in all fairness was his first priority towards the innocent children in his pastoral care. Or did it all become an exercise of damage limitation from him and many others in the hierarchy of Bishops when details started to leek out to the national press. Sadly it seems the Catholic churches first antecedence is to themselves and their church and of course its future survival.

So did the Cardinal suffer a failure of courage in those previous days-however flimsy-as he placed wicked priests in other parishes, thereby placing vulnerable children in harms way?

Finally I fear this story is not ended yet. With even more shocking details to emerge, which might just spoil the Cardinal's retirement if and when he takes it.

P.S...Oh and the title of this article? Well some years ago on a popular radio show he was reminded that whilst rector of the English College in Rome he certainly mixed a mean Martini.

Now, I know little or nothing about Martini cocktails. But I did read some peculiar names given to these potent alcoholic drinks.

So keeping this in mind, I would suggest that whilst in retirement he might prepare and mix a new cocktail for his own solitary drinking. And perhaps...just perhaps he might like to Christian it:

"The sins of the fathers." Or am I being a touch cynical concerning such a sober matter?


19th February 2007

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