Page 1, 20th November 1970

20th November 1970
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Page 1, 20th November 1970 — ETHICS IN THE PERMISSIVE AGE
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ETHICS IN THE PERMISSIVE AGE

Moral anarchy reminder by the Cardinal

BY A STAFF REPORTER

DECENT people were be-coming disgusted with the butchery of unborn babies in England and that was why the abortion lobby was now insisting that abortion and contraception were equally legitimate methods of birth control, Cardinal Heenan said on Tuesday.

In the Second Marlow lecture delivered at the London School of Economics on –Ethics-1970 style" Cardinal Heenan said that the concept of man's seli-sufficiency had serious moral consequences, and it was seen with particularly sinister effects in the modern attitude to life. The prevention and destruction of life had been removed from the traditional moral prohibitions.

The Cardinal also spoke of the moral anarchy which had accompanied the flight from religion and of men "exercising a fascination over the young by dressing up violence in attractive colours.

"Those who are loudest in their condemnation of war arc often the most powerful agents for civil war," said Cardinal Heenan. "They do not call it war. They call it revolution. But translated into terms of torn flesh and streaming blood it means murder, rape and arson."

And on pornography the Cardinal said that in a society which had to take seriously the threat of anarchy it was not puritanical to deplore the determined efforts of a small group of writers and impresarios to remove al l restraint imposed by modesty and decency.

THE ARTS COUNCIL Prominent members of the Arts Council seemed determined to play Shakespeare in the nude, and thoughtful men and women had become alarmed at the brashness of Mr. Kenneth Tynan and his friends "who, in all sincerity, believe that obscenity and indecency in literature and the theatre should not be banned.* Cardinal Heenan began his lecture by saying that the biggest problem in talking about the mores of our day was how to be interesting with out sounding outrageous. There were two obvious attitudes each of which was bound to attract one group while alienating another. "It is possible to demonstrate the moral laxity of our times with such a wealth of examples that no reasonable person could deny that our decline and fall is as certain as that of the Roman Empire.

"Equally it can be shown that for sheer compassion in the treatment of the young, the sick, the poor and the aged this country has never had a better record. It is therefore wise to agree that an objective sketch of the ethical scene cannot he made in black and white," -he said.

SELF-INDULGENCE Whenever controversy was splitting opinion, public figures — especially bishops — were urged by their disciples to issue pronouncements. "To do so can he an exercise in selfindulgence. It is only when congratulations pour in from undesirable supporters that we begin to wish that we had kept our own counsel. There are certain issues which are so emotionally or politically charged that it is virtually impossible to obtain a dispas• sionate heat ing, The desire for popularity must always be firmly restrained.

"Most people who clamour for guidance will accuse those in authority of preserving a cowardly silence. They do riot, in fact, seek guidance but only a confirmation of their own prejudices. Those who demand . pronouncements from the Church are usually asking for condemnation and denunciation."

• From time to time in every country the conduct of public affairs became a matter of personal interest to every thinking citizen. "It is clear that Americans are right to speak noisily about their government's foreign policy which has had such immediate effect on their own domestic happiness. But other public everit.




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