Blogger “Archbishop Cranmer” is calling for an “I’m Spartacus” response to this pending prosecution of Bishop Philip Boyce:
The Most Reverend Dr Philip Boyce is the Catholic Lord Bishop of Raphoe. He preached a homily on 20th August 2011, entitled ‘To Trust in God’. His Grace reproduces it in its entirety, for the two sentences highlighted in bold have landed the Bishop in a bit of hot water.
Apparently, they constitute an incitement to hatred, at least according to ‘leading humanist’ John Colgan. And so the Gardai have thoroughly investigated the complaint and compiled a file which they have handed to the Republic’s Director of Public Prosecutions.
So what horrible things did the Bishop utter in his “incitement to hatred” that has John Colgan so upset?
The moment of history we live through in Ireland at present is certainly a testing one for the Church and for all of us. Attacked from the outside by the arrows of a secular and godless culture: rocked from the inside by the sins and crimes of priests and consecrated people, we all feel the temptation to lose confidence. Yet, our trust is displayed and deepened above all when we are in troubled and stormy waters. It is easier to be confident when we ride on the crest of a wave, when the tide is coming in. Not so easy, however, yet every bit as necessary, when what is proclaimed by the Church namely the truth of faith with its daily practice and influence on behaviour, is under severe pressure.
[. . .]
Indeed unless we trust in a higher power, in God himself, what hope can we have? St. Paul told his converts at Ephesus that before they came to know Christ, they were “without hope and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:12). We need the radiance of a hope that looks beyond the horizons of space and time, one as Pope Benedict teaches “that cannot be destroyed even by small-scale failures or by a breakdown in matters of historic importance” (Spe Salvi No. 35). For the distinguishing mark of Christian believers is “the fact that they have a future: it is not that they know the details of what awaits them, but they know in general terms that their life will not end in emptiness…. To come to know God — the true God — means to receive hope” (Ibid, No. 2.3). We thank God for the faith, that enables us to trust in Him.
Perhaps I’m just particularly dense but the bold sentences above are apparently the “hate speech” nuggets in question. I don’t see it myself…
John Colgan said of these two sentences: “I believe statements of this kind are an incitement to hatred of dissidents, outsiders, secularists, within the meaning of the (Incitement to Hatred) Act, who are perfectly good citizens within the meaning of the civil law. The statements exemplify the chronic antipathy towards secularists, humanists etc, which has manifested itself in the ostracising of otherwise perfectly good Irish citizens, who do not share the aims of the Vatican’s Irish Mission Church.”