Several Catholics have written in to implore us not to tar an entire faith with the same brush. Although by far the majority of your letters on the subject of Cardinal O'Brien have condemned him and his cover-up, some accused us of being one-sided in our coverage; even of an anti-Catholic agenda.
Let's be clear: that's nonsense. It is not anti-Catholic to report the revelations about the Cardinal's secret sex life, follow up with his cryptic denials and then print his too-little too-late admission that his sexual conduct had "fallen beneath the standards expected of me". It is not anti-Catholic to reveal that O'Brien, by his own admission "as a priest, archbishop and cardinal" had indulged in the same homosexual activity against which he had long railed from a privileged position of power.
People hear what they want to. On the news I watched a woman interviewed outside her church, insisting that somehow there would be a good explanation for it all. Well, just as with the cover-ups of the many paedophile priest scandals, the Magdalene Laundries shame or the cynical admission of married CofE vicars into the Catholic priesthood while continuing to deny Catholic priests the same right, there is no "good" explanation, just hypocrisy and cover-up.
I'm personally very aware of the good the Church does at its best. For those of the faith who believe in and practise this "good", there is an unambiguous, absolute need for the Church to reform itself and reappraise its attitudes to sex – including allowing priests to marry – and homosexuality. Why can the Church not see it? Stop the cover-ups, investigate fully, punish the wrongdoers and do it all in public.