Edmund Adamus, Director of Pastoral Affairs for the Archdiocese of Westminster, has been hung out to dry as a result of comments he made in an interview for Zenit: England, The Pope, and Marriage. He has some good things to say about how people reject what they think the Church teaches rather than what it actually teaches, about England as the Dowry of Mary, and about the importance of marriage and the family. Along with these, he makes some particularly trenchant remarks which have caught the attention of our broadsheets the Telegraph, the Independent and the Guardian.
The media focus on the Pope, his message and the Catholic Church becomes frenetic for the people of a nation where he visits.Hear! Hear! In a talk for Faith a while back, Fr Roger Nesbitt referred to South East England as "the most secular corner of the planet." Edmund caps this with his expression "geopolitical epicentre of the culture of death" which would be a good soundbite for mugs, keyrings and t-shirts. I agree too, with his judgement that culturally speaking, England is more anti-Catholic than countries where there is open persecution. The culture of the London-centred secularist elite in Britain is more radically and comprehensively opposed to fundamental Catholic values than Islam, Hinduism, military-junta-backed Buddhism or even communism. As a culture, its advocates show more intelligence than to persecute Catholics too obviously, but they relentlessly work to draw us into collaboration and compromise until we are unable any longer to speak out for the truth - or more pertinently, for the sanctity of the life of those who are the smallest and weakest of all.
Great Britain is no different, but there is a certain frisson about the nature of the attention the visit will generate in the media here and in the public consciousness.
Why? Because whether we like it or not as British citizens and residents of this country -- and whether we are even prepared as Catholics to accept this reality and all it implies -- the fact is that historically, and continuing right now, Britain, and in particular London, has been and is the geopolitical epicentre of the culture of death.
Our laws and lawmakers for over 50 years or more have been the most permissively anti-life and progressively anti-family and marriage, in essence one of the most anti-Catholic landscapes culturally speaking than even those places where Catholics suffer open persecution.
We live in a country which promotes abortion, the destruction of human embryos for research, the withdrawal of food and fluids from dying people, the idea that it may be in a person's "best interests" to die, and, little by little, assisted suicide. Explicit sex-education for young children ensures that a future generation will continue to experiment sexually, and be drawn into the tragedy of killing the inconvenient human life that results from their activity. There is increasing pressure on schools and charities to give "accurate information" about abortion, to avoid any expression of Christian belief about the sinfulness of homosexual activity, or the value of marriage, and to treat all religions as if they were alternative approaches to a generic and ineffectual "spirituality".
Edmund's article will receive a predictable response from liberal Catholics. For an example straight out of the gate, see Paul Vallely's Airing these extreme views now is spectacularly unhelpful. It is disappointing to see Patrick Madrid, whose apologetic work I highly respect, failing to appreciate just how advanced things are over this side of the pond. He is of the view that Edmund Adamus will make the Pope's work even more difficult. He naively suggests that someone should have spoken to Edmund before he gave this interview. My guess is that Edmund studiously avoided speaking to anyone in the ecclesiastical or secular establishment because he would have known precisely what reaction he would get. Now that the interview has gone loud, the broadsheet articles all have a very similar story to tell of the support that Edmund has received:
A spokesman for Nichols said the views expressed by Adamus "did not reflect the archbishop's opinions".Edmund's remarks will not make things more difficult for the Holy Father. When he has landed on British soil, Pope Benedict will give a series of addresses that will undoubtedly challenge and provoke the geopolitical epicentre of the culture of death. He will do so with erudition, courtesy and a keen understanding of just what Edmund has summarised. At the moment, I don't get the impression that many people are really ready for that - except the secularists.