By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Various secularist and gay rights groups in the UK are seething over comments made by an aide to the Archbishop of Westminster in which he called Britain “the geopolitical epicenter of the culture of death” where gay rights and the commercialization of sex has turned the country into a “selfish, hedonistic wasteland.”
London’s Guardian is reporting that Edmund Adamus, director of pastoral affairs at the diocese of Westminster, told Zenit News in a recent interview that there is an “aggressive anti-Catholic bias toward the Church and the pontiff” in England that exceeded even that of countries where Christians are violently persecuted.
“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,” Adamus said.
“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.”
When speaking about marriage and the role of men and women, Adamus urged Catholics to “exhibit counter-cultural signals against the selfish, hedonistic wasteland that is the objectification of women for sexual gratification.”
He added: “Britain in particular, with its ever-increasing commercialisation of sex, not to mention its permissive laws advancing the ‘gay’ agenda, is such a wasteland.”
The remarks sparked widespread outrage, including in the government where Lord Patten of Barnes hurriedly stressed that even though the UK is a secular nation, it is not anti-Catholic and that the pope is not flying into hostile territory when he visits the country later this month.
Peter Tatchell, a leading figure behind the Protest the Pope coalition, told The Independent: “The suggestion that gay equality laws make Britain a moral wasteland is insulting but not unexpected. The Pope supports legal discrimination against gay people. He says we are not entitled to equal human rights.
“[But] to claim that Britain is the centre of a culture of death is absurd. We are a world leader in scientific research to develop new medical treatments to save lives and we make a significant contribution to helping combat hunger and poverty in developing countries.”
Keith Porteous Wood, executive director of the National Secular Society, added: “This anti-Catholicism of which Adamus complains is shared by most British Catholics, sickened by their church hierarchy’s dogma-driven policies on contraception, homosexuality and even abortion. That is why mass attendance here has halved in just 20 years and why only a quarter of Catholics agree with the official line on abortion – and fewer still on homosexuality and contraception.”
Meanwhile, Adamus’ boss, Archbishop Vincent Nichols, who is the head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, has distanced himself from the controversy, saying through an aide that Adamus’ comments “did not reflect the archbishop’s opinions.”
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