Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The chicken run


We must accustom ourselves to the sight of prominent Catholics abandoning public positions in favour of the teaching of the Church, of the Natural Law, or simply of common sense, under pressure from an increasingly intolerant consensus contrary to those things. It is depressing, but somehow we must not be depressed by it.

Here's Michael Coren's explanation for his apostasy: a man who made himself famous as a Catholic apologist, on television and in books.

The change was to a large extent triggered by the gay issue. I couldn’t accept that homosexual relationships were, as the Roman Catholic Church insists on proclaiming, disordered and sinful. Once a single brick in the wall was removed the entire structure began to fall.
I refused to base my entire world view and theology, as so many active Catholics do, around abortion, contraception and sex rather than love, justice and forgiveness. Frankly, it was tearing me apart. 

Here's a man who was a convert to the Faith, and presented himself which considerable machismo as a partisan for the Church. No one forced him to do this. Truly, that kind of activity leads to its own temptations. A Catholic in the firing line, in the front rank of public debate, needs a strong spiritual life. The Church is unforgiving because it seeks to defend innocent life against abortion? Many of his new Anglican friends may feel a little queasy about that idea. But I don't suppose they will make him feel too uncomfortable about it.

Here's Caroline Dinenage MP, a Catholic, who voted against Same Sex Marriage in 2013, remarried (after a divorce) in 2014, and has now been appointed Equalities Minister, whatever that is. If you want to cross the bridge, you have to pay the toll. Here it is: from her Twitter account.

To all the others I want to be clear - I support equal marriage & I'm fully committed to advancing the cause of LGBT equality moving forward.

Stonewall and their friends will be watching her 'tackling homophobic bullying in schools' for any signs of flagging zeal. She will will have to have to work extra hard to convince everyone that she's with the programme, but I'm sure she'll put her shoulder to the plough. If a few dozen school children are branded as homophobes each year, and talk about mothers and fathers is banished from the classroom as heteronormative, that is surely a small price to pay for Ms Dinenage's preferment.

Apostasy is not a nice word; nor is cowardice. But they are concepts we have to face up to; they are real, and have real consequences. They have consequences for the Church as an institution, for society as a whole, and for children. I have no sympathy for people like Coren and Dinenage who want to maintain cushy jobs in the limelight by bending the knee to Baal; I have a lot more sympathy for people who are simply trying to make a living. Charles Moore, one of the Latin Mass Society's Patrons, said of the view that children do best with parents of both genders, preferably married to each other:

Yet now you can barely say this. I am sure I would be barred from working in the public services if I said it at a job interview. I could not become a Labour parliamentary candidate, and probably not even a Conservative one. If I were 28 rather than 58, I doubt if I would dare say it in print if I wanted a successful career in media. Socially conservative moral views are now teetering on the edge of criminality, and are over the edge of disapproval by those who run modern Britain.

The Church needs leadership, lay and clerical. It should be more evident now than before what a catastrophic error it was not to oppose Civil Partnerships when we had the chance: before a consensus had hardened around the idea that there is something intrinsically unjust about about keeping 'marriage' only for men marrying women. Now we have a really uphill struggle even to say that our private views on marriage are not grossly immoral.

And the Church herself will be under attack. The prestige accorded to heterosexual unions by the Church - regardless of how, or even whether, the bestowing of that prestige is connected to a change of legal status by the couple concerned - is an offence against the parity of esteem homosexual activists demand for same-sex marriages.

As I have pointed out before on this blog, the 'privacy' of our views or practices does not, will not, cannot, prevent our opponents from saying that they are unjust and should be reined in by force of law. Domestic violence is still assault and battery, regardless of the privacy of the setting. Hetero-normative views of marriage within the Church are no more immune from the prying eyes of the state than marital rape. This problem is not going away - unlike our fair-weather friends.

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  1. I'm not a UK citizen, but the climate is pretty much the same in the US. I honestly have no problem with the idea of being targeted for crime-think and accordingly punished. That's more or less what I expect from the prince of this world. What I never expected is that the Church, the spotless Bride, should doff her veil and abet the machinations of the enemy. I have a supernatural faith in Our Lord's promise - non praevalebunt - but no natural faith in his current vicar to act in conformity with that promise. It's all rather depressing and gives me a reverse Lord of the Flies feeling, like the possessors of the elevated morality are marooned on a remote island, living in constant fear and expectation that they will soon be found out by their fathers and masters who have long since descended into animal savagery. Abandonment to divine providence is really the only option at this point - perhaps as it should have been all along.

  2. I am not sure whether the Church in E&W will be under attack.

    I think that the leadership is very happy to bend to every wish of Theresa May and her brownshirts.
    A number of senior and very senior bishops are fifth columnists who have no place in the Catholic Church. Whether they believe in what they are doing, or whether they are more interested in keeping their privileged position than they are in Church teaching I cannot tell. I suspect there is a mixture of the two.

    I have long regarded the CofE as being far more concerned with the laws from Westminster than the laws from God. The Catholic Church in E&W is at the top every bit as bad.

    The people who will be under attack are the 500 good Priests who signed the recent letter. Bishop Egan was slapped down for saying that politicians voting for "gay marriage" and abortion should be excommunicated.

    Any attacks on good Catholic Priests are likely to be from their Bishops.

  3. Anonymous5:06 pm

    Coren's schism (which you have to admit takes a certain gusto -- I've never seen a mouse jump BACK INTO a sinking ship) reminds me of author Anne Rice's, who made a big stink of quitting the Catholic Church a few years ago because she didn't think the bishops were against gay marriage. Which says something about the state of catechesis in our country, I guess.

    You're right, this will happen more often: Catholics will quit the Church and send a volley of bitter and spiteful arrows our way, courtesy of an indulgent media.