Yesterday a questionnaire asked me, 'Who are the most influential Christian leaders in Scotland?'. Somewhat tentatively, I put Cardinal Keith O'Brien at the top of the list. Then I discovered that he will give a pro-life sermon today, in which he apparently castigates politicians who support abortion.
The Roman Catholics don't mess about when it comes to these kind of hot issues. One interesting thing about this one is that they seem to put their money where their mouth in order to support women through pregnancy. A few years ago, I met a young woman at a wedding at St Silas', who was there with her mum and little girl. They needed a lift to the reception, so I offered to help. She told me her story, which involved a teenage pregnancy. The church had helped her through this by paying for her to study for a law degree. This was under Cardinal Winning's tenure. She told me that she was absolutely convinced that this was the right thing to do: to have the child and pursue a career, but that she could only have done it with the financial, spiritual and moral support of the Church.
People might not agree with the stance taken by the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church, but surely they have to respect their willingness to speak out clearly for what they believe and the practical ways in which they seem to back it up?