Vatican Cardinal George Pell has accused British Prime Minister David Cameron of adopting a “poisonous form of radical moral liberalism”.
Writing in a foreword to The Nation that Forgot God, a collection of essays edited by Sir Edward Leigh MP and Alex Haydon, the cardinal criticises Cameron’s push to legalise same-sex marriage in 2014.
“Cameron has been formed by, or at least adopted, that poisonous form of radical moral liberalism which has sapped the religious vitality of many Christian communities as it endorsed the weaknesses and mistakes damaging, and even destroying, the family,” he writes.
“His confusion is typical of many Christians. It does not speak well of those Christian leaders who never lifted a finger to resist these siren voices.”
The cardinal, who is prefect of the Vatican Secretariat for the Economy, emphasises that he does not think that the Prime Minister is intentionally setting out to undermine Christianity. He writes: “In the words of Pope Francis, commenting on the move to introduce same-sex marriage in his own native country, ‘Let’s not be naive: this isn’t a simple political fight, it’s an attempt to destroy God’s plan’.
“I don’t mean to say that the prime minister is consciously setting out to do this. On the contrary, taking into account his many positive references to Christianity and, indeed to Our Lord Himself, he seems to believe he is actually co-operating with God’s plan by introducing this law.
“If Piers Paul Read was quoting from a reliable source when he attributed the statement to the prime minister that ‘the Lord Jesus would favour the gay rights agenda’, I can only say that this cannot be called ‘evidence-based policy-making’!
“Such a legal change is at odds with the core beliefs of all mainstream Christian churches, including his own.”
The cardinal explains that his remarks represent “a break from my usual practice outside Australia to refrain from commenting directly on the local situation”.
He says he has made an exception because the book is “destined largely for a home market” and “the victories and defeats in the ‘conflict of the soul’ of British society still have important consequences everywhere in the English-speaking world”.
“Losses in Britain make it harder in Australia and even in the United States, not to mention the many other Anglophone countries,” he writes.
The cardinal is currently embroiled in controversy in his native Australia over his decision to give evidence to a royal commission on abuse via video-link from Rome rather than in person for health reasons.