Dr George Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury and a household name in Britain, is furious at what he sees as attacks on the rights of Christians.
And responding to complaints made against Bishop Philip Boyce from humanists about a sermon at Knock last year, Dr Carey said it was preposterous.
In an article for the UK edition of the Daily Mail, Dr Carey writes today: “In Ireland, a country where religion has played an even more central role than our own, things have gone further.
“Following complaints from a humanist, the Bishop of Raphoe was interviewed by police and a file passed to the Director of Public Prosecutions over comments the Bishop made as part of a sermon he preached at the Knock shrine.
“And what did he say that caused such offence? That the Catholic Church in Ireland is being ‘attacked from outside by the arrows of a secular and godless culture’ and that ‘the distinguishing mark of Christian believers is the fact they have a future; it is not that they know all the details that await them, but they know in general terms that their life will not end in emptiness’. For this, Bishop Boyce was accused of inciting hatred.
“Now that’s one case, brought in a foreign country, possibly by someone deliberately seeking publicity, but on that basis, I should be expecting a visit from the police for writing this article and, indeed, for many sermons I’ve preached over the years which, while always intending to be loving and inclusive to all, may well have contained similar sentiments.
“Should we be preparing ourselves for the sight of uniformed officers marching down the aisle of a church and dragging off a priest simply because of what he’s just said in the pulpit?
“It sounds preposterous, but that’s certainly the way Britain seems to be heading. We’ve become enslaved to multiculturalism, political correctness and so-called equal rights, so obsessed with the idea of minimising any possible offence to any minority group that we don’t seem to have realised that one of the great British human qualities — tolerance — has now been replaced by intolerance.”
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