Friday, 17 February 2012

What Should We Do?

I found this video on the YouTube channel of someone called JackValero500. The video is of His Grace, Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster, answering questions after a lecture given by His Grace at the Thomas More Institute. It was at this lecture that His Grace described as 'mischievous' those miscreants who had misunderstood the nuanced position that His Grace adopted on Civil Partnerships. I agree with His Grace that the whole Church must now move on (because to keep going back to His Grace's nuanced view on Civil Partnerships is embarrassing for us all) and resist Government plans to change the definition of marriage.

I am interested by His Grace's advice. At one point in the video, His Grace seems to say that it is the role of the laity to ensure that every MP knows the Catholic position and therefore their constituent's position on this vital moral issue of the day. Archbishop Vincent Nichols suggested that it was important for the Bishops to 'do their bit' and for the laity to 'do their bit too' in the battle to stop this redefinition from becoming law. May I suggest, as a humble and loyal servant, that the Bishops Conference quickly produce an action plan on what the considerable number of Catholic laypersons should do before the Government ushers in the brave new world to come and once more proves to the Catholic Church in England and Wales that access to power and influence means nothing if you're the most unpopular guest at the party and that everyone pretends to like you and pretends to be interested in what you say, but really, you don't fit in. A public rally defending marriage? I'm in! Or do we have to organise one ourselves? Or do their Lordships recommend we all move to Poland?

I do not wish to be in the slightest bit uncharitable and I know how appalling I would be answering questions to a room of people, but I can't help feeling that His Grace, in this video, is rather diffident. This lack of confidence does not, unfortunately, lend itself well to the battle ahead, which requires boldness or perhaps even a hint of aggression. Our Bishops are put there by God to lead and shepherd their flock (us) and to deter wolves from coming near the Church established by Christ. Bishops are meant to strike fear into the enemies of the Church. This is made harder when Bishops take 'lines' which are 'nuanced'. I realise that all our Bishops cannot be Churchillian, but at what point do their Lordships stop getting mildly irritated and start getting rather justifiably angry and read the riot act to those in power.

Speaking truth to power is what Bishops should do - Ultimately, it was what St Thomas More and St John Fisher did. At this stage in history there is nothing to lose by doing so - far more is to be gained. Nobody in Government takes the Catholic Church seriously anyway - if it did, it wouldn't even think of creating this farcical law on 'gay marriage'. The very fact that the Conservatives are going ahead with this plan tells you exactly what they really think of Christianity's role in the public sphere of life in the United Kingdom, no matter how many delegates they send to the Holy See to pretend otherwise. Your Grace: think about what the Catholic Church was reassured would happen by the Labour Government regarding Civil Partnerships and think then of what is now happening. We were deceived, Your Grace. I can say 'we' because I'm a Catholic too. I too, was lied to. When people are deceived it is only just to be a little angry or, perhaps, even livid.

What has the State done to demand such timidity and supine loyalty from our prelates in the face of the State's gross injustice? All the Catholic Church (and Christianity in general) has received in recent years has been ridicule, mockery, resentment, Her beliefs subject to scorn, Her advice to be ignored blithely. When the Government introduced the Civil Partnerships Act, the Church was against it. Did the Government give a ha'penny what the Church said? No. The Equalities Act was brought in by the Labour Government and within a year or two any Catholic adoption agency which didn't go against the Church's position on homosexuality was closed. The ones which didn't continue to ask for money from the man in the pew despite the organisation's having sold their souls to a nefarious State.

When the Government decided to start using, abusing and destroying human embryos in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act, did the Government give two figs for what the Church believed or said at the time? No. I could go on. For exactly what, aside from invitations to various social gatherings, has the Catholic Church in the United Kingdom to thank the UK Government? The Papal Visit? Great! My Lords, have you not noticed how the Government are blithely ignoring almost everything the Holy Father said about the dangers of removing God from the public sphere and about the dictatorship of relativism? 'Gosh, you've really made us sit up and think', said David Cameron. Clearly, whatever it was Mr Cameron thought of the Holy Father's speeches, it wasn't, 'His Holiness has a jolly good point there.'

After all, not everyone who is not religious agrees with what the Government are doing. If the Bishops got a little angry and grabbed some headlines because, you know, they really mean it, His Lordship may even win over some converts were he to state the truth boldy and loudly or even fiercely. I don't know. Perhaps I am just a zealot, its just I can't help thinking that if Catholics don't get angry now, while we are allowed to, a future awaits us in which we are simply not allowed to say anything about matters that pertain to us, because in a democracy ran by the likes of Trevor Phillips and his ilk, that is what our society will look like. We've got nothing to lose, your Grace. Nobody in Government respects us anyway. They just pretend to. They won't kill us for being publicly very, very concerned. Not yet, at any rate, though who knows when the dictatorship of relativism will have assumed a total grip on our necks. I don't know. Perhaps the Bishops know something we do not know. Perhaps they know England will receive yet a Miracle. Is that what the Government are telling them?


gemoftheocean said...

Extremely well said. I especially liked this bit: 'This is made harder when Bishops take 'lines' which are 'nuanced'. I realise that all our Bishops cannot be Churchillian, but at what point do their Lordships stop getting mildly irritated and start getting rather justifiably angry and reading the riot act to those in power.'

You've hit the nail on the head. I can't for the life of me imagine St. Peter, for instance, being 'nuanced.' It is crucial for the bishops to band together an speak as a united voice. Everyone know the way to destroy you enemy is to foment a splintering within their ranks into factions. And that is precisely how your government is treating the church. Use their own internal strife against them. Speak NOW, or have a harder still time forever. I like your line regards 'at what point do the bishops get offended.' In the US musical 1776, which is about the run up prior to the Declaration of Independence, many of the delegates are fiddling and fussing over precise phrases, not wanting to be seen as 'offensive' and tweaking the king's nose too much. John Adams finally loses it with the lot of them and yells, 'It's a revolution, damn it -- sooner or later we're going to have to offend somebody!'

georgem said...

I always thought CMOC looked like a rabbit caught in the headlights. But his successor hasn't made it out of the burrow.
I'm undecided whether his diffidence and nuances are because he is frightened of the inevitable secular brickbats or whether he actually supports Govt. policy. Perplexed I certainly am.

Anonymous said...

Excellent, as ever!

(PS - Have the Papal rosaries for you.)

Lynda said...

You just get better and better! You ought to be spokesman for Archbishop Nicholls's diocese (or any ... or all of them!). His so-called "response" to criticism of his support of the CPA is embarrassing - wholly irrational. He doesn't seem to understand that the CPA introduced the radical, false and harmful principle, upon which the proposed new marriage law builds. With leaders of such weakness, uncertainty, passionlessness (and either culpable ignorance or coy dissent) will we NOT win the wars on objective reason, morality and faith!

Anonymous said...

We need a champion among the Bishops but not one of them has the personality for it. +VIn is a big disappointment. He looks tough enough from the outside but when he speaks he whithers like all the rest. God send us a champion!!


celia said...

I do find it interesting that Archbishop Nichols has recently published a book on St John Fisher, whom he describes as his 'hero'.

I wonder what aspects of Fisher's career he admires? Perhaps his closeness to the powerful in Henry VII's reign, when he was confessor to the King and his mother.

It could hardly be St John's distinctly un-nuanced refusal to recognise Henry VIII as head of the English Church,which led to his martyrdom, could it?

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