Sunday, October 15, 2006

William Wallace in Red?

Waving the Saltire, wearing kilts and swilling the legendary 'pipes, three years ago next week Scotland converged on Rome as the nation got its third cardinal since the Reformation with the conferral of Keith O'Brien's red hat.

The traditionally-outspoken cardinal -- who's served as archbishop of St Andrew's and Edinburgh since 1985 -- has done it again, this time lending his support to the movement for Scottish independence.
O'Brien, in remarks that will cause shockwaves north and south of the Border, said nations such as Ireland and Denmark benefited from the "prosperity which self-determination can bring".

The 68-year-old cleric also voiced his frustration with the Scottish Parliament and predicted independence is coming "before too long".

O'Brien's comments have caused deep dismay in Labour ranks, with party sources expressing disappointment the Cardinal has chosen to stray on to such controversial political ground months before the Holyrood elections.

But there was predictable delight among the SNP, who closed their party conference yesterday in buoyant mood, convinced they can persuade Scots of the benefits of full independence at the ballot box next May....

Asked if the Church could be indifferent to a move towards independence in Scotland, he declared: "I would not get too involved in the politics of independence, but I am happy that, if it is the wish of the people, Scotland becomes an independent country."...

"There is currently some frustration among the Scots about the say they have over what happens here, and that is part of what is pushing the independence movement. I can see this coming, perhaps not in the next few years, but before too long."

O'Brien concedes that, as the leader of a Scottish church which is itself independent from England, "it is difficult to argue that ecclesiastical independence is acceptable but political independence is not".
Very interesting -- especially as the heir presumptive to 10 Downing St is, himself, a Scot.