The whole idea of self denial or even self-restraint was out of fashion, Cardinal Heenan said in his Lenten pastoral letter. It was good that Lent came to remind us of the teaching of Christ: "Unless you do penance you shall all likewise perish."
The Cardinal esoinucd:"We used to think that all reasonable people would acknowledge the Ten Commandments. But today some in responsible positions deny that there is such a thing as the moral law.
They go on to ask why a minority of believers should be allowed to impose their views on the rest of the population. There is a great deal to be said for this argument. But, of course, there is even more to he said against it.
Not only believers suffer when God's laws are defied. The fact is that the law of God is the voice of•reason hate. violence, dishonesty and killing destroy society whether or not people accept God and His law.
It cannot he by chance that the public has so quickly changed its outlook on morality. The explanation can hardly be the decline in religious belief. Some Christians and even some clergy support abortion. euthanasia and easier divorce because they regard them as enlightened.
"The change may have come about because things are no longer called by their proper names. We speak of industrial ac tion not of strikes, of fighting in flation not of denying the lowest paid workers a living wage.
We call poor people the underprivileged. and talk of' artistic freedom instead of corruption. This is the fashion of our times. That is why Lent with its message of self-denial is so salutary."
Cardinal Heenan gave as an example of the need for selfdenial a matter which was worrying millions of parents. many of whom were neither Catholics nor Christians. It was the pressure being put on schools to teach contraception in place of sell' control.