Archbishop's aide calls Britain a 'hedonistic wasteland'
Edmund Adamus under fire from equality and secularists groups for criticising the UK's 'gay agenda'
religous affairs correspondent
Wednesday 1 September 2010
The Roman Catholic archbishop of Westminster has distanced himself from an aide who said gay rights and the commercialisation of sex had turned Britain into a "selfish, hedonistic wasteland" and "the geopolitical epicentre of the culture of death".
The comments from Edmund Adamus, director of pastoral affairs at the diocese of Westminster and an adviser to the Most Rev Vincent Nichols, have angered gay rights and secularists groups and provoked embarrassment among the Catholic hierarchy weeks before the pope visits Britain.
Senior figures, including Lord Patten of Barnes, have been keen to stress that the UK, while secular, is not anti-Catholic and that the pope is not flying into hostile territory.
Adamus told the Catholic news agency Zenit there was an "aggressive anti-Catholic bias towards the church and the pontiff" in this country that exceeded even countries that violently persecuted Christians.
"Historically, and continuing right now, Britain, and in particular, London, has been and is the geopolitical epicentre of the culture of death.
"Our laws and lawmakers for over 50 years or more have been the most permissively anti-life and progressively anti-family and marriage, in essence one of the most anti-Catholic landscapes, culturally speaking, than even those places where Catholics suffer open persecution."
He also talked about marriage and the role of men and women, urging Catholics to "exhibit counter-cultural signals against the selfish, hedonistic wasteland that is the objectification of women for sexual gratification."
"Britain in particular, with its ever-increasing commercialisation of sex, not to mention its permissive laws advancing the 'gay' agenda, is such a wasteland."
A spokesman for Nichols said the views expressed by Adamus "did not reflect the archbishop's opinions".
Ben Summerskill, from the gay rights group Stonewall, said the comments were "gratuitously offensive".
He told the Independent: "The gratuitously offensive comments being made by the archbishop's adviser are hardly likely to promote sensitive debate about respect for religion in the 21st century. You would think that, given its present status, the Roman Catholic church in Britain would be slightly more sensitive about wagging its finger at other people".