Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien RIP

Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien

From Scottish Catholic Media Office – press release…

His Eminence Archbishop Vincent Cardinal Nichols of Westminster used his homily during the Requiem Mass for the Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien RIP (1938-2018) to urge those present to pray for the repose of his soul and also for those he offended during his life…

The Requiem Mass was held at 1pm at St Michael’s Church in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, just yards from the home for the elderly where Cardinal O’Brien resided until recently. The 80-year-old cleric died on 19 March at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle. The subsequent funeral arrangements were drawn up between the executor of his will, the O’Brien family and the Holy See as represented by Cardinal Nichols. Cardinal O’Brien will be buried at Mount Vernon Cemetery, Edinburgh, on Friday 6 April where he will be laid to rest with his mother and father. Cardinal Nichol’s homily is reproduced in full below:

Homily of Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster
(Catholic Truth Editorial comment in bold)

There is a truth, deep in our Catholic tradition, often forgotten in our days, yet very relevant to this moment. It is this: that every funeral Mass is above all else a prayer for God’s mercy for the one who has died.  So often services after a death are seen to be a time for celebrating a life, for recognising the great achievements of a life now ended and for treasuring happy memories. Yet the emphasis of our tradition is somewhat different. Always, we gather to ask God’s mercy for the one who has died, today for Cardinal Keith O’Brien. We do so with trust and love, knowing that God’s promise of mercy is enduring and that our prayers, entering into the presence of the Father through, with and in Jesus, the beloved Son, will be heard.
[Ed: well, that’s a first. First in the long time that that, elementary Catholicism, has been said at any funeral, to best of my knowledge, since the onset of the modernist take-over of the Church. Alleluia! Difficult to explain, really, though, because we’ve “celebrated the life” of those who have committed suicide, who have cohabited, lived in same-sex partnerships – interesting that the life of Cardinal O’Brien has been singled out as one requiring the ancient tradition of praying for the salvation of the soul. Very interesting. A cynic might wonder about this.]

In recent days, the life of Cardinal Keith has been laid bare. We all know its lights and its darkness; we need not spend time talking about them even more for he has given us the key words. In his last will and testament he wrote: ‘I ask forgiveness of all I have offended in this life. I thank God for the many graces and blessings he has given me especially the Sacrament of Holy Orders.’ Today, as we prayer for the repose of his soul, we also pray for all those he offended and ask God to strengthen them at this time.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols

In seeking the mercy of God, Cardinal Keith follows in the footsteps laid out for us in our faith. St Patrick, whose name Keith Patrick O’Brien was proud to bear, wrote in his Confessions these words:

‘It is with fear and trembling that I should be awaiting the verdict that’s coming to me on that (judgement) day, when none of us can go absent or run for cover; and when every last one of us will have to answer for even our smallest sins at the court of Christ the Lord.’ (8) This is, indeed, the pathway we all have to trace.
Pondering on the mercy of God is what we should do today. You will recall the Year of Mercy. During it, Pope Francis encouraged us to ‘rediscover the infinite mercy of the Father who welcomes everyone and goes out personally to encounter each of them.’ The Pope also explained to us that ‘Jesus Christ is the face of the Father’s mercy’, adding, ‘Jesus of Nazareth, by his words, his actions, and his entire person reveals the mercy of God.’

Now this is what we have heard in this morning’s Gospel passage taken from St Luke. The two disciples are making their sad journey away from Jerusalem, a name that [is] used to represent the Church, the presence of God among His people. The two disciples, then, are walking away from the Church, disappointed in all their hopes, disillusioned by what they have seen and heard. But, see what the Risen Jesus does: he goes to walk with them, continuing their journey in the direction that they are going, away from Jerusalem. He does [not] simply tell them to turn back. No, he walks with them. He accompanies them. He listens fully to their dismay and their sense of being let down. Only gradually does he invite them to see beyond that dismay and begin to speak to their hearts. Even when he sits at table, he does not tell them to return to Jerusalem. He simply shows himself to them. The decision to return is one that they make, moved by the compassion they have found in him.
[Ed: this is a misinterpretation of the Gospel, whether mischevious or not one can only guess, to fit the new “theology of accompaniment”, but even a cursory examination of the passage shows that it doesn’t work, Cardinal Nichols, take note. For one thing, the two disciples were NOT “walking away from the Church” because they were guilty of no public sin – they were merely pondering the events surrounding the Passion and Death of Christ, downcast, at his death. It is preposterous to suggest that Christ would walk in the same direction – i.e.  actively tolerate sin – without “telling them to turn back from sin”. Indeed, as they recounted the story of the events in Jerusalem, Christ rebuked the pair:  “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke!”   You left that bit out, Cardinal Nichols!
The tortuous attempt by Cardinal Nichols to link this Gospel account with the heresy in Amoris Laetitia  is underlined by the claim that “Even when he sits at table, he does not tell them to return to Jerusalem. He simply shows himself to them.” The implication is clear: Holy Communion for public sinners, adulterers et al, no problem. That’s what Our Lord did/would do.  Outrageous. And this is supposed to help the deceased Cardinal O’Brien … how?  Leaving his family and friends thinking that, well, he’s met with the God of Mercy, so let’s not worry about satisfying God’s justice?] 

In this account, we see the mercy of God at work, in the person of Jesus, coming to us in our dismay, in the prison of sin which we construct around ourselves, and opening for us to door through which we can retrace our steps back to him.
[Ed: well, as already said, there is no “sin” in this passage, just human disappointment.]

In the life of Cardinal O’Brien, as well as his failings, there was goodness, courage and many acts of simple kindness. Not least was his determination to serve the poor of the world. But when we come to stand before God we do so best when we come empty-handed. No matter how great or slight our achievements might be, we cannot depend on them. No, we come before God empty-handed so that we can receive the one thing necessary: a full measure of Gods’ mercy.

Only in this way can we hope to enter into the promise that was proclaimed in the first Reading of the Mass. ‘On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all people a feast of rich food! A feast of well-aged wines, strained clear.’ This is an image we can all understand and one for which we long, notwithstanding our unworthiness.

But then we are consoled with the next words: ‘Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces and the disgrace of his people.’ This too is the promise of the Lord. The healing of the wounds we have inflicted and the wounds we ourselves bear, is his work. It is a work that cannot be accomplished without Him. Yet as His work, it is a task in which we are to be his active servants and never simply sit on our hands. The promise of the heavenly banquet is for all; the task of healing and finding forgiveness is also for all.
[Ed: The heavenly banquet for most of us will, more likely than not, follow a period in Purgatory.  Why not mention that?  There’s no better time to drive home the four last things, Death, Judgment, Heaven & Hell, those key truths of the Faith, than at a funeral, any funeral. A reminder that Purgatory is evidence of God’s great mercy, gives hope to the faithful and to family members of the deceased, not least in a case such as that of the much publicised disgrace of Cardinal O’Brien. ]

I started with words from the Confession of St Patrick. So let me end with some more. Here is St Patrick’s faith, loud and clear. Let us make it ours today. He wrote:

‘I haven’t a doubt in the world that, on the day appointed, we shall rise up again in the brightness of the sun; that is to say in the glory of Jesus Christ Our Redeemer…since it is from him and through him and in him that we are going to reign. But the sun he bids to rise, morning by morning, for our benefit, will never reign, nor will its glory last. Christ is the true sun whose glory shall not fade. We who believe in him, and worship him – in fact anyone who does his will – shall live forever, because Christ lives forever, reigning with God the Father Almighty and with the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be. Amen.’ (59-60)

This is our prayer today, especially for Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen
+Vincent Nichols

Comments invited…

23 responses

  1. It’s good that Cardinal Nichols mentioned the need to pray for the souls of the deceased, but you’d think he might have mentioned the consoling fact that Cardinal O’Brien died on the Feast of St Joseph, patron saint of a happy death. At one time, that would have been right at the top of things to say but he may not even have thought of it, he’s so modernist.

    Requiescat in pace.

    • Fidelis,

      Modernists seldom, if ever, mention saints, and devotions such as “patron saints” would probably be regarded as silly superstitions. Just a thought!

      Of course, I could be wrong. Bound to happen eventually 😀

      • One question frequently asked of me by young people is “who is the Saint of xxxxxx?”. (For example, the internet.) Saints are still very much in fashion. Indeed in recent decades The Church has canonised more than any time in the previous nearly 2000 years.

        • Petrus Regnat

          I have no doubt that what you say is correct. I always find young people to be very interested in all the things that the modernists scoff. They love various devotions and are enthralled by the lives of the saints. Youngster in the non-denominational schools – in my experience – are strikingly interested in and even moved by Catholic devotions.

  2. I’m just amazed that Cardinal Nichols said at the very start of his homily that the Catholic tradition is different, not about celebrating the life of the deceased. He’s taken his time about it, but better late than never, as they say!

    I will pray for the soul of Cardinal O’Brien. It sounds like he’s been to Confession and made his peace with God and that really is something to celebrate!

    May he rest in peace.

    • Lily,

      Who knows, this idea of praying for the soul of the deceased and not celebrating the life of the deceased might catch on! Maybe Cardinal Nichols has started a brand new fashion! 😀

  3. I think the sudden about-turn to praying for the soul of the deceased as opposed to the usual “celebrating the life” is due to this comment from Cardinal Nichols:-

    “pray for the repose of his soul and also for those he offended during his life…”

    I think that’s possibly the reason. The Cardinal’s fall from grace was very public due to accusations from some of his priests, and the major crime these days is to offend other people, God not so much!

    I also will pray for the repose of his soul. RIP.

  4. Twisting the Scriptures is the specialty of Cardinal Nichols’ boss, so it’s not surprising that this LGBTQRSTUVWXYZ sycophant would also be a Francis sycophant and try to justify the heresy in That’s Amoris. Just another attempt to advance (or shore up) his career, influence, etc.

    I have to wonder, when his time comes, whether Cardinal Nichols’ Confessions will bear any resemblance to Catholic contrition for his numerous sins against the Church and against souls. And I think Margaret Mary is on to something, above…

  5. I meant to ask, wasn’t Cardinal O’Brien a member of the “St. Gallen Mafia,” and/or wasn’t he involved in the behind-the-scenes maneuvering to elect Bergoglio Pope?

    • RCA Victor,

      Don’t think so – he was banned from participating in that conclave – either banned or decided not to go, can’t quite recall which, but he didn’t participate, that’s for sure.

  6. Well folks,

    Something struck me a little while ago, and I went Googling in case I’d missed something. Here’s a report in the Scottish Catholic Observer about the Cardinal’s death…
    http://www.sconews.co.uk/latest-edition/55125/prayers-and-tributes-on-the-death-of-cardinal-keith-obrien/

    Reading the above report, and further Googling, confirmed my observation that, while there are plenty of politicians “lamenting” the Cardinal’s passing, saying nice things about him, and, of course, the expected soundbites from his episcopal brothers, there is not a peep from the priests whom he defended so ardently against the reports of those nuisances, the concerned Catholics of Scotland, represented by none other than Catholic Truth.

    Not a word of sadness from Father Steve Gilhooley of Edinburgh Evening News infamy, close friend of the Cardinal for years, well before he received the red hat, seen strolling through the Edinburgh Festival eating chips with him… Duly reported in the newsletter. Strange, then, that Fr Gilhooley has not publicly offered his condolences and happy memories of the Archbishop/Cardinal to whom he was so close that he once managed to get him to “ban” us from an Edinburgh church where we’d planned to hold a celebration in honour of Our Lady for the Month of Mary. A headline in the next newsletter read: Gilhooley says ‘jump’ and the Archbishop asks “how high?”

    Not a sentence, either, from Father (later Canon) Call me Andy Monaghan , infamous Agony Uncle on Radio Forth late Saturday nights into Sunday mornings, heard dishing out sympathetic murmurs to Robert whose attraction to horses worried his family (but not Father Call me Andy Monaghan), offering his congratulations to cohabitees expecting their first baby, encouraging 14 year old Laura to get to the abortion clinic despite the teen explaining she had exams and couldn’t spare the time; and my own all-time “favourite” – his advice to “Karen and her friend who run three-in-a-bed sessions for both men and women and is afraid their day-job boss will find out, so get yourself down to the Citizens Advice Bureau right away to get your tax sorted out.” I mean, could you make this stuff up? Yet, Despite Cardinal O’Brien responding to our complaints by insisting that Fr Call me Andy Monaghan was doing “God’s work and the Pope’s” there is no public expression of sorrow from “Andy” at the Cardinal’s passing, Odd. But then again, perhaps not.

    Yes, of course, we must all pray for the repose of the Cardinal’s soul. That is a given.

    • That is very interesting, that Fr Gilhooley and Fr Monaghan have not been reported extending their sympathy – I wonder if they attended the funeral?

      • Josephine,

        I’ve no idea whether or not they attended the funeral. Somehow, I doubt it.

        For those interested in reading our reports on the resignation of Cardinal O’Brien, including our “joining up the dots” piece about his anonymous priest-accusers, whose identities have been protected to this day, go to our Archives section on the Newsletter page of our website, and download/select the May, 2013 newsletter…

        • I dipped into that May 2013 newsletter and found it fascinating – the front page headline says it all (What Future The Catholic Church in Scotland?)

          None, as it has turned out.

          It’s pretty clear from those reports who the priest-accusers are likely to be. I doubt they’d be attending the Cardinal’s funeral.

          Rest in peace.

          • I am finding the May 2013 newsletter fascinating as well, especially the article on page 11 “Anonymity, Cowardice & Credibility”.

            So the Rev Gilhooley thought the messages from “the hereafter” like Fatima “tripe”? His comment about Viagra on page 12 is also outrageous. You are left with only one question, really – why on earth did he become a priest?

    • Editor,

      Neither has there been any statement from the Cardinal’s accusers, not that I’ve seen anyway.

      It’s interesting that much has been made of those “Cardinal O’Brien has offended”. I assume this means his accusers. The same accusers who cared nothing for the Church and chose to expose the Cardinal’s sexual misconduct at the time that would cause maximum embarrassment to the Church whilst protecting their own identity.

      • Petrus,

        Agreed. And if you recall our May 2013 newsletter where we played detective, it seems clear (to me, at least) that the accusers, so offended by the Cardinal’s misbehaviour, may well have been among those causing offence and scandal in the Church, as reported in our publication. If so, they used his support to engage in their savage attacks on Catholic doctrine and morals, all the while keeping their powder dry, to use against the Cardinal if and when they deemed it necessary.

        Scoundrels.

    • RCA Victor,

      Yes, I don’t suppose any of us thought it newsworthy, since he was basically thrown out of Scotland at the time of the scandal. He had planned to stay in Dunbar but there was an outcry, and he decided (or was “encouraged”) to move south to England. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-22542597

      There was a fear that the media here would constantly refer to him for comment on Church matters, but I remember thinking how shallow they all were, because before the scandal broke he was popular with the unwashed masses, and his open support for the dissenting priests who regularly featured in our newsletter didn’t bother anyone (except us!) Yet, once he had been caught in disgrace, the tables were turned and guess who was on radio expressing sympathy for his plight?

      Laugh? I thought I’d never start!

  7. I think Cardinal Nichols included some traditional flavours because – unusually – that allowed him to establish the tone the secular world was demanding. And because it is orthodox catholicism, he also satisfies Catholic ears and thus kills two birds with one stone.

    Talking about asking for mercy for Cardinal O’Brien is highlighting his actions and disgrace, and that’s what the newspapers want (They are certainly not interested in any good he may have done)..

    Had O’Brien not left office in disgrace, I expect the funeral would have been the usual ecumenical disco-dancing with a side-buffet. White albs freshly laundered, balloons inflated etc.

    I have felt sorry for how O’Brien is already being remembered, the herald newspaper in particular works to falsely conflate his actions with abusive clergy who have preyed on minors.

    I see Cardinal Nichol’s speech reverts to type later on though, with clumsy attempts to mis-represent the Gospel!

    • Gabriel Syme,

      My attention was drawn to this newspaper report about Cardinal O’Brien and I thought of your remarks about The Herald.
      https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/opinion/john-mclellan-o-brien-used-confession-to-silence-priests-he-abused-1-4710107

      I was sent the link because of the author’s mention of Catholic Truth, but I noted the whopping falsehood about Confession in there, which can have absolutely NO basis in fact because, obviously, the priests allegedly abused knew about their abuse OUTSIDE of Confession and so were free to speak about it as they pleased. The idea that the Cardinal confessed to them under the seal with a view to silencing them forever, is ludicrous in the extreme. It’s this sort of false information that reveals the true motive, which, sadly, appears to be simply anti-Catholic Church-bashing, and using any old stick with which to conduct the bashing.

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