'Engage with Media', says Cardinal
posted on 03 May 2005
The Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, Cormac Murphy O’Connor, is calling upon Catholics throughout England and Wales to support World Communications Day on 12 May. In a personal letter to parish priests, the Cardinal talks about the need to engage more actively with both the specialist Catholic and secular media. His call coincides with the creation of the Catholic Communications Network of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.
'The Catholic Church has a duty of public witness to our faith and if we are to proclaim the good news of the Gospel,” the Cardinal said. “We need to use all the good means at our disposal and to be coherent, modern and professional about it.'
In an interview this week with the Italian daily Avvenire, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor said voters in tomorrow’s British General Election should ask 'what is their point of view regarding immigrants, the manner in which they think we should meet the AIDS crisis, what portion of our GNP should be devoted to the Third World.'
On the abortion issue, the cardinal said that public opinion had been shaken by the televised broadcast of images of unborn children killed in the womb. While in the past the discussion of abortion concentrated exclusively on women's choices, he said, today the public is beginning to ask about the rights of the unborn baby.
The issue became front-page news when Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor made comments that were interpreted as backing the Conservative Party leader, Michael Howard. But a statement on 15 March made clear that the Cardinal has welcomed similar calls by MPs in other parties, and that this was not a party-political issue.
Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor returned to the theme with an opinion article in the Sunday Telegraph on Easter Sunday. Reflecting on what the Lord's resurrection means in Britain today, the cardinal said that 'the best way to know if Britain is still in any way a Christian society is to see how it treats its most vulnerable people, the ones with little or no claim on public attention, the ones without beauty or strength or intelligence.'
Among the vulnerable, he noted, are the unborn. There are now around 180,000 abortions annually in Britain, he observed, and about 6 million in total since the procedure was legalized in 1967. 'Have the millions of abortions carried out since 1967 corroded our consciences, as well as our institutions?' he asked.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, also called on politicians to review the current law. In an article published by the Sunday Times on 20 March, he said: 'For a large majority of Christians -- not only Roman Catholics, and including this writer -- it is impossible to regard abortion as anything other than the deliberate termination of a human life.'
Rejecting criticism that religious leaders should not intervene in the political arena, the Anglican leader said: 'The idea that raising the issues here is the first step towards a theocratic tyranny or a capitulation to some neanderthal Christian right is alarmist nonsense.'