Monday, April 13, 2009

Card. O'Brien on social collapse

Briefing: is it just me or are bishops saying more interesting things these days?

Cardinal O'Brien tells the Scottish executive that if you wreck society - undermine the family, forbid schools to exercise discipline, encourage under-age sex etc. - you should not be surprised when things even liberals don't like start happening: vandalism, yobbery, drunkeness, public health problems etc.. And having destroyed self-restraint you can't solve the problem with headline-catching initiatives like making booze marginally more expensive.

From CFNews: The leader of Scotland's Roman Catholics today hit out at the way politicians are trying to tackle society's problems, saying Scotland is now "staring into the abyss of social collapse".

Writing in a newspaper on Easter Sunday, Cardinal Keith O'Brien accused politicians of being "paralysed by a chronic fear of moralising" as he called on them to stop passing "frenzied regulation" and do more to look at the underlying causes of social problems, such as drug and alcohol abuse.

He also described the government's crackdown on cheap alcohol as stemming from a "deeply flawed" and "utterly discredited" approach.

He said: "Scotland is staring into the abyss of social collapse. Too many of our young people are caught up in a maelstrom of drug-and-alcohol-fuelled promiscuity, hedonism, vandalism and outright nihilism.

"It is a whirlwind which we will reap for a long time to come. We are paying the price for denying too many of our young people security, stability and morality, a price paid in shattered lives and broken children."

And the Cardinal, in his Easter Sunday Homily, said that too often public policy deals with the symptoms of social breakdown rather than the causes.

He said: "When our fellow citizens err and lapse we seldom focus on them or ask why they behaved as they did. Rather we rush to impose legal restraints on such action forgetting dangerously that no external restrictions can ever match the effectiveness of self-restraint.

"When a toddler is shot with an airgun we regulate the sale of such weapons, alcohol abuse by our young people is met with legislation to restrict sales and sexual promiscuity with regulations aimed at ensuring contraception and abortion are widely available.

"In every instance we seek to mitigate the effects of bad behaviour and perhaps place barriers in the paths of such acts. We do not as a society take action to tackle the underlying motivation; instead we limit our action to blunting the impact of our excesses."

The Scottish Government last month announced plans to set a minimum price for alcohol and ban money saving promotions such as "three for two" deals.

Ministers say alcohol misuse costs Scotland £2.25billion a year.

Cardinal O'Brien added: "In recent weeks much coverage has been given to the decision by the Scottish Government to limit sales of alcohol to young people by increasing the selling price through restrictions on a variety of retail offers and by asking local authorities to consider raising the age for alcohol purchases.

"This policy mirrors the approach taken by this and previous administrations to drug use, vandalism, anti social behaviour, obesity even promiscuity and might usefully be called the 'command and control' model of public governance.

"Advocates of such a model take the view that 'bad behaviour' whether it be public drunkenness, health-threatening over eating or teenage promiscuity are all immutable and unchangeable.

"The urge and desire to commit acts of this type cannot be curbed far less removed therefore public, social and health policy must all be orientated towards mitigating the effects.

"It is an approach, which is deeply flawed and utterly discredited."

Cardinal O'Brien called for action to address what he believes are the underlying causes of social problems, such as marriage breakdown the fracturing of family life.

He said: "Scotland has one of the highest divorce rates in the Western world we also have one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates and STI statistics, which are both alarming and growing.

"In the face of all this evidence our Parliament has enacted legislation making divorce easier and quicker and giving greater legal recognition to cohabitation, while our taxation system ruthlessly penalises long-term legal commitment." [STV]

No comments:

Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen