BY A STAFF REPORTER
CARDINAL BASH. HUME found himself face to face with America's redoubtable television evangelising nun, Mother Angelica, in London last weekend.
The Archbishop of Westminster encountered the woman Time magazine has called "probably the most influential Roman Catholic woman in America" at a meeting organised by a Catholic group called Faith of Our Fathers, where the two of them had been invited to speak.
The outspokenly conservative Mother Angelica (pictured on the right) was in Britain to promote her Eternal Word Television Network a cable TV station which already reaches over 43 million American homes and was on true form as she spoke out at the meeting against today's "sick, liberal Church".
She was backed up by other Rightwing Catholic groups attending the conference, such as Ex Ecclesia et Pontifice, and individuals including Catholic Herald contributors William Oddie, Alice Thomas Ellis and Piers Paul Read. The meeting passed various resolutions, two of which being of particular topical concern: that all Bishops should personally examine the text books used in their
schools for religious discussions, and that no sex education lessons should be given in primary schools.
But Cardinal Hume seemed not have expected such an extreme conservative approach to the conference when he accepted the invitation, and made it very clear that his presence was by no means an endorsement of the resolutions they passed.
"It was quite by accident that I discovered only two days ago that there might be resolutions put to the gathering later today," he told those present. "This came as something of a surprise to me.
"The introduction of resolutions at a meeting such as this changes its nature. It becomes a campaign rather than a celebration of our Faith. You will appreciate, I am sure, that I must dissociate myself from this aspect of today's gathering. As the Bishop of the Diocese, and President of the Bishops' Conference, I could never be identified with any campaign touching on Church doctrine, discipline and pastoral care, nor indeed could any of the Bishops."
The Cardinal did, however, speak of the Catholic's duty to remain faithful to the Church's teaching and to avoid becoming too liberal. "I defend the right of the people to explore and discuss, but at the same time I urge such persons to remember that it is always important to remain in communion with the successor of St Peter," he said. "There comes a point when obedience is required."
The Cardinal then went on to make several of his own points, reflecting on the Church today as we approach the new millennium.He spoke of the importance of handing on the Faith to future generations. "Young people can have an adequate knowledge of their faith," he said, "but still, alas, remain unmoved by and detached from its true meaning and significance."