Sunday, 3 February 2013

Opportunities Missed

As we know, this week will see the House of Commons debate and vote on the introduction of 'same-sex marriage'. I hate to sound pessimistic but I feel pretty downbeat about how this vote is going to go in the Commons.

However, I don't only feel pessimistic about that. In a country as drawn towards atheism and secularism it is perhaps not surprising that the Government will be able to do in this country something which would, I believe, be far more difficult in a country like Poland.

As far as the Church's campaign for the defence of marriage is concerned, the problem is that not only has it failed to get the message of the excellent Campaign for Marriage out to people in the whole country, but it has failed to get across the message to people in the pews.

After Mass this evening, I heard some mutterings by a Catholic family on the way home, about 10 yards in front of me, who seemed to be saying something like, 'I agree with it.' I don't know whether they were talking about 'gay marriage', but I expect that they were. Perhaps I should have run up to them and said, "What did you say!?" but I thought that, frankly, if Catholic families are going to Mass and are still coming away with the idea that marriage and the family is the same under same-sex conditions, then why should I harangue them?

'Greetings from Brighton: It's been a bit chilly, the food is okay...'
So, that was a failure on my part. Another failure on my part was that I didn't send a postcard to my MP. This is because my MP is Caroline Lucas, a woman (this unfortunate soul voted for her) who is ideologically committed to 'gay marriage' and who most likely believes it will be a wonderful way of reducing the human population of the western World some more.

As a matter of fact, the postcard idea, I thought, was pretty good, apart from the fact that the debate and vote are on Tuesday.

The family who are/might be in agreement with 'gay marriage' worry me, however, because it is likely that if they are supportive of the redefinition of marriage then it means that whatever happens on Tuesday (and we know pretty much what will happen on Tuesday) that already the battle has been lost. This family, presumably represent a proportion of Mass attending Catholics who have not only not been properly catechised on marriage and the Church's teaching, but most likely have not been properly catechised at all.

And, with the greatest respect to those who are not Catholic or Christian and who continue to advance their support of 'gay marriage', I, for one, do not consider that this family and the other Mass attending Catholics who support 'same-sex marriage' are fully in possession of the facts about just what this bill will do if it is passed into law.

If Catholics (and, in fact, most British people) understood the radical transformation this Bill will produce in education, in terms of what marriage means, the redefinition of their own relationships, what it means in terms of religious freedom, in terms of the ability of Catholics and others to teach in schools and other areas of public life according to their conscience, in terms of exactly what kind of material and literature to which school children will be exposed, people would not only not support 'gay marriage', but would, in fact, be livid about it. People are not livid. Why? Because they have not been told the facts.

Catholics, Christians and other British citizens who have not been informed adequately about the devastating effects this will have on ordinary British life from cradle to grave are walking like lambs to the slaughter. Why? Because there has not been a concerted public education campaign, aside from the work of the Campaign for Marriage which has tried its best with limited resources to get the message into a media dominated by people who support the liberal, LGBT agenda.

Groups who support the redefinition of marriage have, along with a compliant media, been able to browbeat opposition to this measure with crude attacks grounded in the 'bigotry' and 'prejudice' of those who simply cannot bring themselves to accept that marriage can be redefined by the State to include same-sex couples who, without exception, are unable to bring new life into this World by natural means. For this reason, perhaps it was always going to be an uphill task to educate the British public with so much support from the media and from the celebrity world in favour of the most dramatic upheaval in public policy for hundreds of centuries.

This excuse, however, cannot be used for the Teachers and especially the Shepherds charged by Our Blessed Lord with the responsibility of teaching the Catholic Faith, guarding the lambs in their care and educating the flock in the Truth. We must acknowledge that the proportion of Catholics who are well-informed about the Catholic Faith and the deeply sinister consequences of this legislation are, in fact, a small minority. The public education, or indoctrination campaign (indoctrination is meant to be what the Church does), launched by Stonewall and others has been simple but effective, well-funded and ultimately, will most likely win, despite the fact that the consequences for those who cannot bring themselves to accept the widespread ramifications of this legislation, as well as the central concept of 'same-sex marriage', will be destructive, divisive and ultimately totalitarian in nature.

For a long, long time, an army of Catholic bloggers, among whom I am just one, have been actively promoting the Catholic position and arguing in defence of marriage, warning, quite specifically, of the manifold dangers that this legislation poses not just to religious freedom, but parental freedom, the rights of the child, freedom of conscience, educational freedom, freedom for Catholic charities and Churches and freedom for the right to believe that marriage exists for families that spring forth from the generative love of man and woman. The consequences of this bill are truly immense and mind-blowing.

Venerable Fulton Sheen said, “Who is going to save our Church? Not our Bishops, not our priests and religious. It is up to the people. You have the minds, the eyes, the ears to save the Church. Your mission is to see that your priests act like priests, your bishops like bishops and your religious act like religious”.

Catholic bloggers - in the Priesthood and in the Laity, as well as the educational work done by Catholic organisations and others in the mainstream press - have consistently been working day and night to raise awareness of the dramatic threat this legislation poses not just to Christians but to all families and married couples across the United Kingdom. This is an earthquake that will be felt, in some way, by everyone. Somehow, there are families in the pew who most likely don't yet quite understand quite what is at stake here. Why?

Perhaps, their Lordships - who, with the exception of a handful in England, could not bring themselves to issue a ten, or, indeed, twenty or thirty point education pamphlet on exactly WHY this legislation is such bad news for Catholics (and indeed all British citizens who haven't yet realised what it really means) - should have just referred all parishes in their Dioceses to the Catholic blogosphere, where an army of writers have been telling the truth about this legislation since day one. I guess they couldn't have done that though, because, you know, '...I don't read blogs'...'bloggers are the problem'...when, in fact, all along we've been working hard, for free, to raise awareness of the inherent dangers posed by this legislation.

I'm sure I don't only speak for myself when I say that I don't want recognition. Catholic bloggers do, however, want to be able to communicate the message of the Gospel and the truth about what this legislation means to the widest possible audience of Catholics and other British people as possible. The truth is that the Bishops, all but a few, are frightened of bloggers, for some reason, while an army of men and women prepared to sacrifice much of their time for the Gospel is, in fact, a hugely untapped resource for the Catholic Church in England and Wales. We may not be the World's greatest writers, nor the most eloquent, but we are among the most passionate. We communicate the Church's message. Why would the Bishops not want to utilize people who are prepared to work for free in order to do this and, in particular, at this time when the institution of marriage is on the line and we are online defending it?

Anyway, enough negativity. I'm sure there are perfectly great reasons why the hard work of loads of Catholics online defending and educating people about the Faith is ignored by most Bishops, most Priests and therefore, most lay people left almost totally in the dark about the destructive consequences of the forthcoming legislation aimed right at the heart of marriage, the family, religious freedom and the Church.

Keep praying that sense may prevail in the minds of our legislators and that they will search their consciences and uphold the common good this coming week. Tomorrow, I don't have much on, so perhaps I'll just go into town and try and hand out some of SPUC's excellent campaign material on the consequences of redefining marriage for the Church, for society and for human freedom. I figure best do it now, because I dare say to try it in a year or two will lead to my arrest for 'homophobic and anti-social behaviour'. Perhaps me and Jason Evans will be both appearing in Crown Court on the same day for similar reasons. I don't know about you, but I've always thought those G4S tags were trendy...mad, bad and dangerous to know, eh?

Pray for our legislators, pray for our Bishops, pray for all involved in the battle for marriage and try not to think about parallels with Mitt Romney's election campaign. In the meantime, I've got a gay - a word that means 'happy' - marriage of my own to plan.

Update: Some good news:  The Telegraph is running with the headline 'Archbishop Challenges Government on Gay Marriage'.

That's the Archbishop of Canterbury, in case you're wondering...


Lolalola said...

I think that it is a simple matter if education. And sadly, we have been a little late off the mark in nailing out arguments. But now we have the argument. We know the truth, and a lie can only exist for a certain time until the truth decimates it. Marriage is the relationship between parents and their children, it is a thing which exists, unlike their lies. Anybody can understand that, and that is the Good News that we need to spread.

On the side of the angels said...

It was an unmitigated farce - apart from the conspiratorial silence for month after month:

Months where all that our commentators were interested in was defending +Vin's anti-positive mis-framing regarding civil partnerships...

...and engaging in irrelevant 'public debates' at elitist gatherings which the general public neither knew about nor cared about...

...and attacking spuc for bothering its backside to defend marriage and defend the life protected within it and oppose the eugenic anri-life agenda inherent within IVF and surrogacy [we still have certain pro-life activists saying it was none of spuc's business and SSM is not a pro-life issue and SSM has nothing to do with the culture of death]

...or appearing on TV & radio and misrepresenting Catholic teaching by saying the purpose of marriage was having and rearing kids [it isn't - the purpose is the first perfection of loving complementary union [which all heterosexual couples may fulfil] - the aim/end is for that love to overflow into procreation - the second perfection [which not all married couples can fulfil]]
...only to get attacked - and justifiably so- with 'well why are infertile couples allowed to marry?' and what's the difference between infertile and gay/lesbian couples? I refuse to condemn anyone who attacks a Catholic commentator when the Catholic commentator doesn't know what they are defending...

...or saying on TV it wasn't a religious issue and wilfully refusing to discuss biblical or doctrinal issues with opponents...

..or saying on TV or radio "marriage is just a word" [subsequently implying "and it's ours and you aint getting it - so get used to it!!"]

...or appearing on public platforms proffering ludicrously unfactual platitudes about apes and neanderthals forming life partnerships...

...or instead of saying what was intrinsically wrong with the whole principle and concept of same-sex marriage - appealing to dodgy psychiatric case studies suggesting that children raised by homosexual couples are more likely to be communists, terrorists and serial killers...

It was a disaster from start to the extent that only last week - a week before the vote - did our Bishops get their act together and actually explain what was wrong with same-sex marriage and the provisional consequences of the legislation...WELL OVER A YEAR TOO LATE!!

...and remember we've had draft reports and position papers and even CTS pamphlets on the issue - and NOT ONE actually included a remotely comprehensive explanation of what was happening...

This is a national embarrassment for the Church from start to finish...

Genty said...

Unfortunately, those of us who have discovered the Catholic bloggers are already on message, so it's a bit like preaching to the converted.
Where the hierarchy has fallen down seriously has been its silence, until the last minute, on SSM instead of speaking out early, strongly and comprehensively to its congregations.
In short, on this issue too many of the shepherds have deserted their flocks.

Jacobi said...

“I agree with it”

So many of the Catholic laity do, and otherwise cherry-pick from the Church’s teachings. But it is not primarily their fault.

The fault lies with our bishops and priests, the teaching element of the Church. Over the past fifty years they have abandoned catechetics, and the Faithful are largely ignorant. The propaganda from the Secularists in the meantime is ever greater.

The answer lies in the re-catechesis of the adult laity. The only way this can be done is for priests to get up in the pulpit (or whatever), at the one time they have the attention of the laity, i.e. the Mass, and teach again specific Catholic doctrine.

We are once again a “mission” Church and this must be realised.

Lynda said...

You and others have been trying to make up for the dereliction of duty by the majority of priests, bishops and knowledgeable parents - but that is not possible. Thank you for all your great work on the vital role of marriage, intrinsic to human nature.

Lolalola said...

On the side of the angels, have you read this yet:

It will explain everything.

On the side of the angels said...

Thank you Lola but Gentlemind [for all their worthy efforts] is inadvertently erring into Pelagian thinking, an over-reliance on Theology of the Body tenets without due diligent deference to Catholic moral teaching in Casti Connubii & Humanae Vitae and a misunderstanding of Aquinas.

a] A Child is a gift from God. One is required to be open to that gift in all circumstances - removing this perspective to a utilitarian reverse-induction of fertility potential leads to all manner of difficulties.

b] Personal moral regulation of the AMOUNT of children one bears is NO MANDATE to not be fruitful and multiply - remember the conditionals of ST II, 29, 3 on the Holy Family who raised Our Lord and Saviour whilst remaining most chaste but fully married - they were a family!!!

c] There's a dodgy metaphysics of seeing fertility being something independent from Life as Gift and part of Providential Divine Natural Order held in being from nothingness by the Holy Spirit - One's fertility must not be directly thwarted...

[hence there is a moral disorder within Natural family Planning - it may only be mitigated within the double effect for critical, direct, morally imperative reasons - it may only ever be right action - NEVER a good-in-itself]

...but nevertheless one MUST bear strict adherence to Catholic moral teaching in this regard of BOTH unitive and procreative aspects being a single holism - if one [for the best of intentions] inadvertently emphasises one to the detriment of the other one enters into categorical error. Procreation and becoming a holism of single nature-individual persons - emulating the consummating love within the Blessed Trinity - is the second perfection within marriage to which all are must be open but they may not be afforded such grace.

But the first perfection is readily available to every couple and there is NO SIN - NO MORAL DISORDER - AND NO LESSER GOOD among those who are infertile...and to inadvertently imply there is by accentuating the already imperative nature of being open to life to a being able [however remotely] to generate life? leads to all manner of inadvertent scandal in that it diminishes the very sacramental nature of lovemaking where God is always present.

By emphasising one aspect they didn't think of the consequences of their argument.

John Finnis [with whom I strongly disagree on incrementalism] is excellent on this. [h/t/ Nicholas Bellord]

On the side of the angels said...

Sorry here's the link:

Also sorry if I sounded a bit tough on Gentlemind Lola, but the history of moral theology leading to Humanae Vitae was my 88 page seminary thesis and Holy Mother Church desperately needs all to sing from the same hymnsheet for the right fundamental moral reasons - not to apply reverse induction to argue a case which although correct from a certain perspective - inadvertently causes all manner of later problems when applied elsewhere. We need to stick to the authentic moral teaching which the Church has provided us - if we stray from it for even an instant we end up in trouble [ I give a crucial example in my latest blogpost]

Lolalola said...

Sorry on the side, but I think you need to do a bit more research, or pose your argument to him. He might be rather interested. There is an email on His page.

Finn said...

And, if possible, avoid the clumsy wind-baggish theological language. I mean this in the politest possible way, and it's great you found time to do a diploma in theology, but unless you're a trained theologian debating with a philosopher in print, you just bore people and embarrass yourself by looking like a man who works in ASDA putting on airs. Lawrence is the model commentator; funny, humble, and speaking of a lived faith rather than a taught and scarcely digested abstraction. God bless, Finn

On the side of the angels said...

...and yet again the misspelling mystery 'person' of a thousand faces appears with her regular malice...

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