Tag Archives: Keith O’brien

Leading constitutional academic criticizes the treatment of former Archbishop

News release – For immediate release – Sunday 6th October 2013

  • Leading constitutional academic criticises the treatment of former Archbishop.
  • Honorary President of Edinburgh Secular Society has issued a call for additional information about the safety and security of the former Cardinal, Keith O’Brien.
  • Edinburgh Secular Society speaks out against the treatment of the former Archbishop of Edinburgh and St Andrews by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church.

Professor Norman Bonney (pictured left – picture available here) is Honorary President of Edinburgh Secular Society, a position dating back to the mid-19th Century (see here).  Prof. Bonney is a social science researcher, specialising in UK constitutional matters (http://www.normanbonney.blogspot.com/).

Speaking on behalf of the Society, Prof. Bonney asked: “Is the man at liberty or is he being held under constraint? Does he know that he is entitled as UK citizen to live wherever he would choose in the UK and the EU.”

Prof. Bonney goes on: “As well as being excluded from the conclave of Cardinals that elected the current Pope he attempted to set up home in Dunbar (Scotland)  but was apparently coerced by the Church to go into seclusion and exile.

“This case bears all the hallmarks of the ‘kidnapped by a sect’ story that happens from time to time in relation to much less significant denominations. The public of Edinburgh and St Andrews that the cleric attempted to serve over a long period deserve assurance that the Cardinal is a free man who is fully advised of his options by independent lawyers and is not held unwillingly under constraint.”

Prof. Bonney continued:

“There are numerous disturbing aspects of the treatment of this individual that deserve investigation by journalists, and perhaps by the police. Probably he is entitled to an old age pension and as a homeless person the state and the local authority would have certain obligations to assist him to re-establish himself independently. There might even be a charitable congregation or organisation that might support him to live independently. Clearly, however, he will be under constraint. If he wishes to have a secure future with decent  living conditions he may feel constrained to accept the authority of the Church and continue in his current circumstances.

“But there are alternatives. He could write a candid biography, like the former Scottish Episcopal Bishop of Edinburgh, Richard Holloway, which might be a best seller and provide for a more comfortable and freer retirement. He could certainly perform a valuable public function by elaborating further on the idea that Roman Catholic priests might be allowed to marry that he floated in his farewell interview while still in office.”

***Ends***

  • Prof. Bonney is available for TV/Radio and other interviews.  For further information contact Gary McLelland – Chairman on 07813060713 or Neil Barber – Media Officer on 07986183977.
  • Prof. Bonney speaks on behalf of Edinburgh Secular Society.
  • ESS is a leading secular campaign group in Scotland, based in Edinburgh we cover a range of National issues relating to secularism.  ESS believes in freedom of religion and freedom from religion.
  • ESS is affiliated to the National Secular Society, although views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the NSS.