EDINBURGH, October 11, 2005 ( – Keith Cardinal O’Brien addressed the civil leadership of his Archdiocese of Edinburgh on Sunday, saying that the Scottish Parliament is passing “unjust and immoral laws” that have no “natural or rational basis” and are destroying Christian culture.

The laws O’Brien referred to are in the same line as those being enacted in other countries to grant homosexual couples equivalent status to genuine marriage and to allow homosexual partners to adopt children. Perhaps most alarming was a recent move by the Scottish Parliament to prohibit public criticism of homosexuality by religious leaders.

The occasion for the Cardinal’s speech was the annual Red Mass, an event that has its history in 13th century England. The Mass is offered for Catholic judges, lawyers and public officials who traditionally were dressed for the event in brilliant red robes of office.

The secularization and liberalization of civil society, particularly in the areas of life and family, has created a perception of a conflict between the public duties of these officials and the requirements of their religious beliefs. O’Brien said that the fundamental values upon which civil society rests that are under attack are not exclusive to Christianity but are universal. “There are many who consider it fashionable to attack arrangements previously considered as being ‘good’ for society on the flawed assumption that they are relics of some outmoded Christian dogma.”

O’Brien added, “Throughout history, certain fundamental civil arrangements have been shared across many societies, faiths and traditions. Among them are: respect and protection for marriage, the family, and human life itself.”

“The new iconoclasts of contemporary society are determined to destroy any law which they consider may be associated with the Christian culture and heritage, an inheritance which has both served and defined Europe for many centuries,” he continued.

Cardinal O’Brien concluded with a call for Christians to continue to be involved in public life, a favorite theme of Pope Benedict XVI. “It is imperative that we take our Christian beliefs into the workplace. Rather than just ‘being a Christian’, we also need to realise our call to evangelise … to carry the teaching of Jesus Christ into the world in which we live.”

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