Catholic MPs & (lack of) Conscience…

Update – 15th July, 2013

My reply to Rob Flello MP

Original Report – 13th July, 2013

Yesterday I received a phone call from Robert Watts, Deputy Political Editor on the London Telegraph, asking if we are the Scottish group responsible for demanding the excommunication of Catholic MPs who voted in favour of same sex marriage. Apparently, there is a leaflet circulating to that effect which is causing quite a stir south of the border. Eventually, we concluded that word must have gotten around about our online petition calling on the Vatican to act to ensure that Canon Law (#915)  is enforced, since parish priests and bishops in Scotland are permitting MPs who have voted to legislate for same-sex marriage to continue to receive Holy Communion. Someone, presumably, printed off our petition statement and put the photocopiers to work.  I hung up the phone and thought no more about it.

Then today I received the most incredible letter from an MP I’ve yet seen – Rob Flello MP to be precise.  Click here to see if you agree

Now, there’s plenty I could say in response to the contents of that outrageous letter, but I keep being told that blog articles ought to be short and to the point.

Suffice to say that Mr Flello’s views on Catholic conscience fall very far wide of the mark, and I’ll be replying to his letter as soon as I can get down to it, to tell him so. In the meantime, I’ve emailed him the link to this discussion thread.

So, what do you think – should I comply with Mr Flello’s wishes and retract the petition statement describing Catholic MPs who voted for same-sex marriage as “dissenters”?

And do I – thinkest thou – owe Mr Flello and his colleague Catholic MPs an apology?

Here’s what I think – “retraction”?  “apology”?  Yeah right!

75 responses

  1. I cannot believe that this man Flello, who calls himself a Catholic and apparently holds a responsible public position, could be so ignorant in the matter of what constitutes a properly formed Catholic conscience. It’s frightening!

    The infallible moral teaching of the Church is NEVER questionable for the Catholic conscience, nor is the 6th Commandment or Sacred Scripture upon which that infallible teaching is based. How can one argue that conscience is free to contravene the law of God? It’s impossible. Of course these so-called Catholics, obfuscators, should be refused Holy Communion, and for the simple reason that they are public dissenters from teaching that comes straight from God Himself.

    • Absolutely, Athanasius. The level of apostasy is now at a frightening level. Man has made himself a god and has turned his back on Our Lord. I truly believe these people do not believe in the same God we do. How can someone claim to be Catholic but crucify Our Lord over and over again? In reality, they lost the Faith a long time again, if they ever had it in the first place.

      What is even more frightening is that the Catholic hierarchy are allowing these apostates to get away with this treachery. Truly unbelievable and tragic.

      • Petrus,

        Absolutely right! There is nothing but silence from the bishops during this time of revolt against all that is Holy. I can’t imagine how they will answer to Our Lord for such neglect of His Flock.

    • I should have written 6th Commandment above, not 9th Commandment. Just put it down to my left-handedness!

      I must make a mental note never to personally dial 999. I don’t want to end up bringing the wrong kind of assistance to the house!

      Ed: I went in and changed 9th to 6th before reading this but it’s so comical I’m going to leave it. We sure could use some light relief these days…

  2. What an amazingly ignorant letter from a Catholic never mind a Catholic MP. As if any Catholic can say they are in good conscience about breaking God’s law. The whole notion of objective truth, and objective morality has gone out of the window. It’s astounding. Yet nobody could get away with it in the secular world by saying that they broke this or that law after consulting their conscience! They’d be laughed at!

  3. His own quotes don’t support his claim to the right to an independent conscience. For example, the quote he gives from St Bonaventure – “Conscience is like God’s herald and messenger; it does not command things on its own authority, but commands them as coming from God”.
    What’s that saying if not, you can’t make decisions on your own, you need to adhere to God’s revealed law, and the Church is responsible for safeguarding God’s law.

    I checked out this MP and he’s only 47 (born in 1966) so that explains it. He’s another casualty of the Catholic school system this past fifty years. He’s in that age group that has just not been taught the Faith. I notice how he speaks about being “bullied” by Catholic Truth etc which is because he doesn’t realise how very wrong he is and that CT is merely correcting false beliefs. He really deserves our pity more than anything else.

    • Josephine,

      You said exactly what I was thinking, which is that our ill-informed Catholic(?) politician used quotes that actually condemn rather than support his position. His quote from Gaudium et Spes was exactly the same in context as that of St. Bonaventure, which is to say it refutes his argument that people are free in conscience to reject God’s law or to condone its rejection by others. I’ll assume the man is unaware of the Church’s teaching that one shares in the mortal sin of another if he consents to the sin or remains silent about when he should speak out.

  4. It was the Parable of the unjust steward at Mass today. It seems very appropriate the right honourable member (/sarcasm). I wonder if the angel of death appeared to him now and asked him for an account of hist stewardship how he would respond ?

    “I think that when statesmen forsake their own private conscience for the sake of their public duties, they lead their country by a short route to chaos.”
    – Thomas More

  5. This man’s ignorance of his faith is truly shocking and a terrible indictment of the post-conciliar Church. Not much hope for Catholic influence on our legislation!

    It doesn’t say much for some of our M.P’s (and probably M.S.P’s) if they are immature enough to vote to SPITE Catholic Truth. Some conscience!

    • Olaf – what a terrific point (“some conscience”) ! I’ve just finished my response to Mr Flello, but I just might try to fit that in before sending it off.

      I will probably post it online as well but give a gal a break – I need a drink (of lemonade!)

      But, be warned – I’ll be back!

  6. Commenters above talk about conscience. As Mr Fiello pointed out, the change in the law leaves the sacramental marriage of the Church intact. He is not himself acting to sin or to cause others to sin, as defined by the Church.

    He voted on a law and he doesn’t himself have to agree with same sex marriage but to simply find it in his conscience if others should be permitted to.

    You all make a great claim for piety and truth. Look to yourselves and the pompous pride with which you all comment on his actions. Prideful indeed. Pharisees in fact. The result of your pride?
    He said himself in his letter. “it is tactics such as yours which have
    increased, not decreased the prospects of this measure receiving Royal Assent.”

    So who is the sinner? Who brought this down upon themselves?

    Along with Cardinal O’Brien and Peter Kearney, you have shown the true intolerant heart of the Church in Scotland.

    • Raisinhead,

      With respect, you are about as clear-thinking as a mug of mud.

      To begin at the end of your post, the Church is NOT “tolerant” – never has been, never will be. When did Christ ever tolerate sin? NEVER! Not once! “Repent” was his watchword. So, gerragrip.

      As for this baloney about “the change in the law leaves the sacramental marriage of the Church intact” – gerranothergrip.

      With even more respect, you clearly do not understand the nature and purpose of the Church (divinely established and authorised by God to save souls) AND the nature and purpose of marriage, which is NOT to let two grown adults of the same gender play mummy and mummy or daddy and daddy.

      And if you think the “gays” will leave the Church alone post-same-sex-marriage legislation, you better remember to place your coin under your pillow for the Tooth Fairy. No, let’s all settle down now and watch for that “test case” going to court to force that “homophobic” priest to perform a “gay” Catholic wedding. Catholics who refuse to conform to this evil legislation will face prison – you just wait and see. And I doubt if you will have to wait long.

      But don’t expect the likes of Rob Flello and the Pontius Pilate Platoon to bail us out. They’ll be too busy “tolerating” the opinions of the “liberals” who put us there in the first place.

  7. I am a Baptist and I have to confess that I have difficulty in considering Catholics to be Christians. A friend asked me to comment on this matter so here goes:
    I find it extraordinary that any person who considers himself to be a Christian would even consider setting the Bible aside in forming an opinion about any moral issue. There is no need to rattle on about “conscience”, catholic church documents etc., when we have God’s own word to arrive at a position. It clearly states in many places in Holy Scripture that the sin of Sodom is a serious sin and forbidden by God himself, therefore there is no room for private opinions. Any “Christian” person voting for same sex “marriage” is in direct contravention of God’s law.

    Even though I would dispute the authority of the catholic church, I do admire her clear teaching. It’s a pity that Catholics do not abide by it.

    • Sir,

      Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings and heretics [the latter in joke fashion] comes the truth.

      BTW, the English & Welsh Bishops’ Conference are on record as stating that, in certain given circumstances I can forego travelling to Mass on Sundays and Holydays, as is our obligation, but instead participate in one of your own services at a local chapel. CofE, Methodists and United Reformed also included in the said indult.

      • I’d forgotten that, Sixupman – thanks for the reminder. I must find a corner in the August newsletter to publish that shocking gem.

        God help these bishops. Literally – may God help them; they’ve done unbelievable damage to Christ’s Church.

    • HamishPeterson,

      Many thanks for your contribution – you are very welcome here.

      Unfortunately, I’m racing out right now or I’d write a much longer reply (may do later, if nobody else does) but the fact is, no Catholic “sets the Bible aside”… It is Protestants who have set the Church of Christ aside in favour of sola scriptura – a doctrine that is not to be found anywhere in the Bible itself. On the contrary, the Bible itself teaches us that it is the Church which is the pillar and ground of all truth (1 Timothy 3.15)and it is to the Church that Christians have always looked to interpret and safeguard both Scripture and the Moral Law.

      Anyway, glad we are of one mind about the evil of “same-sex marriage”.

      We need to keep battling away to fight the immorality, notably attacks on the traditional family and innocent unborn human life, which is undermining our society.

      Keep in touch – God bless you.

      • Editor,

        Yours is a very well presented reply to Mr. Flello. I hope it makes both him and his colleagues reflect very seriously.

    • Hamish,

      Your contribution is well reasoned insofar as it treats the clear and irrefutable scriptural teaching on the homosexual act. It also comes across that your lack of understanding of Catholicism evidences a will to seek answers in fundamental matters of faith.

      From a protestant perspective it is not unusual to question Catholicism’s place in Christianity, regardless of being an inexplicable stance when referencing Church history, and indicative of the insular assuredness of the various denominations which have arisen and mutated, divided etc. in recent centuries.

      You are Peter and upon this rock I build My Church: the universal ‘catholic’ Church of Christ. Those whose sins you forgive are forgiven; whose sins you retain are retained. To whom can this apply if apostolic succession was not conferred upon the Church?

      Biblical authority – sola scriptura: how did this/could this be theologically sound for early Christians (up to the third century) who had no bible as we know it? This position becomes untenable on appreciating from objective history of those early times that the bible had not so much been given us in its entirety, but was a product of the one holy catholic an apostolic Church, by divine providence. The Church fathers, variously recognised by your theological forebears Calvin, Luther et al, are on further inspection quite incompatible with that doctrine which separates the branch from the tree and presumes Man’s stewardship of his eternal destiny.

      Can it be that each of your brethren within denominations at odds with your own interpretation of sacred scripture are equally valid in said interpretation before God? Granted there ought to be ones taken for granted, such as the teaching you correctly cite on homosexuality. But what of your evangelical, presbyterian, anglican confreres who have set such teaching aside? What of baptists who divorce and are remarried quite literally adulterous in scriptural terms. Is it God’s Will that we be one body so fragmented, fundamental differences across denominations as well as within? It wasn’t always so, not 500 years ago, not 1000 years ago – mere blinks of the heavenly eye.

      You are correct to admire the teaching of the Catholic Church, and indeed to lament it’s followers who do not adhere to it. The natural progression of which is to recognise its teaching authority and to realise the beauty and perfection of God’s Church on earth – not its fallen custodians, but infallible teaching authority and most of all the divine treasure of the real presence of Jesus Christ – body, blood, soul an divinity – in the blessed sacrament of the Eucharist. We Catholics really have no excuse for being wayward or ill-prepared for meeting out maker – we experience that divine encounter every single week in the holy sacrifice of the Mass.

      Seek Hamish, and with absolute certainty you will find the way, the truth and the life in the Catholic faith. God bless you, and all men of goodwill within your baptist fellowship and beyond, my prayers for you are assured and you will know the truth if your heart is open to it.

  8. Perhaps Mr. Flello would like to read what Cardinal Burke recently said regarding the application of the Code of Canon Law 915. Although he was speaking about abortion, it is applicable to the commission of any serious sin.

    The cardinal said “Catholic politicians have the duty to support all legislation that will “most reduce the evils which attack human life and the integrity of marriage.”” [not only abortion]. See below.

    http://wdtprs.com/blog/2013/02/card-burke-on-the-application-of-can-915/

  9. HAMISHPETERSON,

    Believe me when I say that we Catholics also have some difficulty these days in considering some of our own to be Christian! Those who favour immoral legislation, or condone it by their silence, are certainly little more than nominal Catholics, strangers to divine truth and certainly not partakers with the saints and martyrs. Rather, they are imitators of Judas Iscariot and Pontius Pilate respectively.

    This having been said, I have to confess to being a little bemused by your claim in general that, as a Baptist, you have difficulty in considering Catholics to be Christians. That’s a very odd view that needs exploring.

    You see, the Pope and the bishops of the Catholic Church represent the only Christian hierarchy which can trace its lineage historically right back to St. Peter and the Apostles. It’s called the Apostolic Succession and it is unique to the Catholic Church to which your own forebears presumably belonged prior to the Protestant rebellion of the XVI century.
    Furthermore, all the great Doctors and Saints of the early Christian Church up through the proceeding centuries have been Catholics loyal to the See of Rome. All believed exactly what Catholics today believe (the aforementioned apostates excepted).

    It also has to be said that the Catholic Church is the only one to bear the stamp of divine approval, which is very easily verifiable in a 2000-year history marked by astounding miraculous events, the miracles of Lourdes and Fatima being two of the more widely known. You can also do your own online research on “the incorruptibles,” those Catholic saints whose human remains have not decayed with death
    .
    As regards Sacred Scripture, the Protestant argument about the Bible and Sola Scriptura is a really strange one, since it was the Catholic Church that gave the Bible to the world to begin with. It was the great Catholic scholars, under the authority of the Popes and the infallible guidance of the Holy Spirit, who researched and collated the various Books of the Bible and first put them into print.

    Much of that important work was done with the assistance of oral Tradition, i.e., the teaching handed down with authority by the Apostles. Hence it was that certain writings of dubious origin were identified and omitted from the entirety of Sacred Scripture, thus preserving the purity of divine teaching.

    This authority was promised by Our Lord to the Apostles (and their successors) in Sacred Scripture. For example, in Matthew 13: 10-12, we read: “And his disciples came and said to him: Why speakest thou to them in parables? Who answered and said to them: Because to you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven: but to them it is not given.”

    And again, in Matthew 16: 18-20, we read: “…And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.”

    Just how easily, then, interpretations of the Bible can be skewed when each is left to his own assessment is obvious from a multitude of Protestant sects, Baptists included, all claiming contrary meanings to the texts. This is what happens when the sole teacher of orthodoxy, the Church instituted by Christ Himself, is rejected by those who choose rather to act on their own authority.

    Let me give you an example of the confusion that emerges. The Baptists believe vehemently that those souls alone are saved who are baptised with water. Yet, we have the curious salvation of the Good Thief on the Cross who, having repented of his sins, here’s these words of the Saviour addressed to him: “This day, you will be with me in paradise.”

    This is not to undermine the importance of baptism by water, which is the general rule established by God for salvation. No, it merely shows that God does not apply His law like the Pharisees in the Gospels, who lived rigidly by the letter of the law to the exclusion of its spirit and thus became merciless hypocrites.

    We know for sure that the great saints of the Old Testament, the Patriarchs and prophets, are in heaven, yet they received no baptism by water. How can this be if the Sacrament of baptism is at ALL times indispensable? And what of the Catechumens of the early Church who suffered martyrdom, shed their blood for their belief in Christ, before having yet received baptism by water? Do Baptists truly believe that Our Lord Jesus Christ will reward their love for Him with damnation because they hadn’t time to receive baptism officially? This makes God a monster, not a Saviour, surely?

    No, HAMISHPETERSON, I think you’ll find on reflection, by research and prayer, if your heart is truly open to the objective truth of things, which I have no reason to doubt, that there is, in fact, only one Christian church, the Catholic Church instituted by no less than Jesus Christ Our Saviour Himself for the salvation of souls. She alone has the divine mandate to teach and sanctify in God’s name. She alone has her roots in Apostolic Tradition and has withstood 2000 years of opposition which would surely have destroyed any mere human institution before now.

    As regards your own Baptist religion, well, like all the other Protestant sects, it only came into existence some 450 years ago. Like these others, it defies 1600 years of unity of belief and teaching under the authority of the Roman Pontiffs, loses the link back to Christ and His Apostles, as well as any divine mandate, is bereft of divine miracles and turns “one Faith and one Baptism” in the Catholic Church into the Tower of Babel of many Christian voices all vying against each other with opposing doctrines. In fine, it makes of the God of order a God of chaos and confusion.

    But note from your own words how amidst all this chaos and confusion there is one voice still strong in the world. You said: “Even though I would dispute the authority of the catholic church, I do admire her clear teaching.”

    That teaching, unlike the teaching of many of the Protestant sects, has not changed in 20 centuries. It is the same moral voice it has always been and always will be, based, as it is, on the Sacred Scriptures it collated and authorised by the power invested in it by Christ Himself.
    By the way, though these comments are forthright they are by no means intended to offend you. My sole purpose in writing as I have is to point a person of obvious good will in the direction of religious truth. The points I make may be strongly put, but I hope you will agree that they are also objectively true.

  10. Once again your group has shown itself up as a group of extrremists. I’m posting this up on Secular Scotland Facebook so everyone can see.

    • I would say the same about your group, Mr Otton.

      The petition is asking for nothing more than Church teaching and discipline to be upheld. So, do you not just mean that Catholic moral teaching is wrong per se and anyone who practises it an extremist?

      NB: I had problems registering so the poster “Ausgustine” is now “Thomas”. I guess it’s more consistent with the avatar of St Thomas Aquinas.

    • And yet oddly enough, Mr. Otton, history shows that by far the greater number of murdering despots to have wielded power in this world have shared your anti-religious secularist view. Hitler and Stalin, with a conservative 150 million dead between them, are particularly noteworthy. They too considered Catholic morality extreme.

    • This, of course, would be the same two-faced Garry Otton – “gay” activist – who pretended to be so friendly towards Catholic Truth when I met him at the Michael Voris talk a while back. He then went off and wrote a nasty piece about Mr Voris on his blog, alleging that Catholic Truth had paid to bring him over here from the States. In short, Mr Otton’s word is about as reliable as a £12 note.

      But, still, shucks, thanks for the publicity, Garry, Sugar Plum. I don’t DO Facebook, myself, but appreciate the thought, Honey Bunch…

      • Editor,

        I may be wrong but I don’t believe that Mr Otton is two-faced. It’s simply that he talks through an unusual orifice. There is a slight facial resemblance, it’s true, and it’s an easy mistake to make.

    • Secular Scotland? That would be the group of extremist nutters that want to drive religion out of public life and into oblivion, no? I would invite you to bore off, Mr Otton, but I’ll follow the example of that great secular Catholic, Billy Connolly, and remind myself that you and your fellow secularists are more to be pitied than scorned.

    • You have some nerve, Garry Otton. I’ve posted comments on your blog which never made it onto the site, notably after your letter to the Herald (Scotland) containing falsehoods about Catholic Truth – and that after we met at the Michael Voris talk, when you pretended to be so friendly towards us. Yet, you, who censor comments on your own blog, come onto ours to insult us, knowing that we do NOT censor. What a nerve. What a NERVE! What utter hypocrisy! At the risk of repeating myself, I have to say that you do have some nerve. Cheek and nerve in equal measure. What a blankety blank nerve!

      And if you think we give a toss about being “posted” on Secular Scotland Facebook, then you don’t know us. We, on the other hand, have the measure of you – big time. Think back to the Michael Voris talk, and our brief meeting. Does this ring a bell….. I was handing out leaftets to advertise our conference when you stretched out your hand to accept one, as I almost floated past you down the aisle…

      You: Oooooooh! Catholic Truth Conference? Pat McKeever?! Ooooooooo! really? Catholic Truth? Ooooooooo! I’m delighted to meet you… Oooooooooh!

      Moi: Thank you. And what’s YOUR name?

      You: Garry.

      Moi: Garry?

      You: Er, Garry Otton.

      Moi: Oh, I know that name – haven’t you criticised Catholic Truth on your blog?

      You: gurgle, gurgle… Oooooooooh! Where’s the Conference? Ooooooh! Conference at Celtic Park Ooooooooh! When is it? Ooooooooh! June 8th… What day is that? Oooooooooh! Saturday? Ooooooooh! I might just pop along.. Oooooooooh!

      Moi: Wouldn’t pop along, if I were you – I’m afraid it’s entry by pre-booking only. I do have some tickets with me, or you can book online by PayPal or by mail with cheque

      You: (gazing at the advert) Ooooooooh! I’ll have a think about it… Ooooooooh!

      Yeah, Garry, Sugar Plum, Honey Bunch, we have the measure of you.

      Now, won’t keep you – they’ll be waiting for you over at Secular Scotland (a tad exclusive, that title, don’t you think? Tending towards racism, even? Tut Tut. I hope you are at least dialoguing with Secular England and Secular Wales, not to mention Secular Ireland and Secular USA. Inclusivity, Garry, Honey Bunch – that’s the ticket…)

    • What I find particularly irksome, CROFTERLADY, is all the provocative language used by the Daily Mirror, Rob Flello, Garry Otton and other liberal sources when referring to the position of Catholic Truth.

      Words like “aggressive,” “confrontational,” “extreme,” “offensive,” “judgmental,” etc., are frequently employed to raise precisely those kinds of passions in their listeners. In fact, nothing of what they say has any basis in reality, hence the absent evidence.

      Catholic Truth merely stands by the moral teaching of the Catholic Church, presenting a reasoned argument that Catholics who scandalise the faithful by adopting public moral positions contrary to her teaching should be censured by the Church according to Canon Law.

      That’s what the Church says should happen; it’s what happened for two thousand years until recently. So what’s the big deal? I think it’s rather more to do with opposition to what the Church traditionally stands for than any real evidence of extremism on the part of Catholic Truth.

      You’re absolutely right, incidentally, there are none so illiberal as liberals. These people add a whole new dimension to extremism.

      • Well, folks, what I find MOST interesting of all in that Mirror report is that I’ve not spoken to any journalist from that newspaper – at all, ever.

        So, the following questions arise:

        1) When did I say any of the things attributed to me in that report?

        2) To whom did I say any of the things attributed to me in that report?

        3) Why did not someone at the Mirror contact me personally to ask about the petition?

        4) Is the left wing Mirror colluding with the extreme right wing Telegraph? I ask because Robert Watts, the Deputy Political Editor of the London Telegraph did ring me the other day to ask if I knew about a group called the Scottish Catholic Truth Society. I informed him that the CTS is a publishing company. They apparently had a leaflet circulating in Westminster demanding that Catholic MPs who voted for same-sex marriage be excommunicated. I told him we never used that word and we had no such leaflet circulating in Westminster or anywhere else.

        So, what’s going on?

        One more question:

        If the Scottish bishops were doing their duty and applying Canon Law, which Pope John Paul II (whom they’re all dying to canonise) said “by its very nature demands obedience) would we appear to the uninformed the way we are being presented in the media – as a bunch of extremists?

        Well, Archbishop Tartaglia, what do you think? Bishop Robson? Bishop Cunningham? Bishop Toal?

        And if you’re reading this from your place of (unearned) relaxation, Cardinal O’Brien, take my advice and reflect deeply on the chaotic state of the Catholic Church in Scotland which occurred under the collegial watch of you and your brother wolves – and then repent. Big time.

  11. We as Catholics try to live perfect lives. Yet in the past we’ve made terrible mistakes in the past. We used to teach that slaughtering entire non-Christian nations was the will of God, that it marital rape was acceptable, that slavery was God’s will etc. Now are we making the same mistake today? How is this different to any of that? Won’t in 40 years time, even Catholics will be stunned when their elders tell them once upon a time gay people couldn’t get married?

    Oh apparently we won’t because whilst straight people fall in love, get married for God, gay people just have sex. Really? Do you know any gay people? No. Well how do you have any right to speak on what you do not know? As Jesus said to the Pharisees,’ Woe unto you Pharisees. For you do not go [into heaven] yourselves, you stop [others going in]’ Mt 23.13

    There are Christians and Catholics who were born gay, as Jesus admitted (Mt 19.10-12) http://www.wouldjesusdiscriminate.org/biblical_evidence/born_gay.html

    I promise all of you like Maurice Williamson did to NZ:
    – The sun will still rise tomorrow
    – Your teenage daughter will still talk back at you as if she knows everything
    – Your mortgage will not grow
    – You will not get infectious skin diseases
    – Life will go on (like it has in all other places)

    I do concede I can’t promise you that you’ll be able to give your children an answer when they question you regarding what on earth all the fuss was ever about.

    • Nick, even if some people are born with same sex attraction, that doesn’t mean that they have to act on it. I may have an attraction for a baby, but I have to control such an attraction. The Bible categorically condemns adultery, same sex liaisons etc., and I know it is difficult to be chaste in such circumstances but, we must. Sexual fulfilment is not more important than God’s laws. I know several people who, for whatever reasons, have not found love and they live chaste lives. I, myself, married late in life and I was chaste until then. May God bless you.

    • “Won’t in 40 years time, even Catholics will be stunned when their elders tell them once upon a time gay people couldn’t get married?”

      Eh, no! Because they still won’t be married. Regardless of what the law says. God’s law is higher. So in 40yrs time you’ll still be a sodomite who has deluded himself into believing that they are married. Simples!

  12. Nick,

    I would sure like to see some evidence to support your claim that the Church encouraged or condoned the slaughter of non-Christian nations, that it ever approved of rape within marriage or blessed the slave trade.

    I don’t know where you get your information, my friend. It sounds to me like you’ve fallen for the myths made up by the secular press. I think you’ll actually find upon proper objective research that the Catholic Church founded the universities and hospitals, played a major role in the advance of science and mathematics, established a moral code that eradicated the heathen practices of ancient paganism, which practices secular humanism is attempting to restore, and accorded to women their true dignity, as exemplified by the exultation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in her Divine Maternity, Motherhood and purity.

    If you really want to find evidence of humanity at its worst, then read up on the history and statistics of nations that were either Godless to begin with, such as those ancient pagan empires, or, more tellingly, those which rid themselves of God in the interests of human advancement. I suggest Stalin’s Russia and Hitler’s Germany as the two best examples in this second category.

    • What are you suggesting Athanasius, that movies and TV don’t portray the truth about the Catholic Church?

      To Hamish, The Protestant saying “Scripture interprets Scripture” is a bit like me claiming that my socks can put themselves on my feet merely because they are socks. It’s sophomoric at best.

      As strange as it may seem – this is a core Protestant belief e.g. The Westminster confession of faith states that “The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself” [WCF 1.9]

      Since there are over 30,000 denominations within Protestantism all claiming that they have the correct interpretation, how is one supposed to know who has the correct interpretation if Scripture is the one doing the interpreting?

      One question that should be asked, which is never asked, is: How is an inanimate object supposed to interpret itself?

      • IGNATIUS1970,

        I think the last place you’ll find an accurate portrayal of the Catholic Church is TV and the movies. The best place to gain that accurate portrayal, though, is in the Lives of the Saints.

        I’m not quite sure what you’re saying about Scripture, although I can relate to your point about all those Protestant confessions each claiming that their take on Scripture is the right one.

        No, the interpretation of Sacred Scripture belongs to the Catholic Church, which alone was given the power by Christ to bind and loose. There is no question of inanimate objects interpreting themselves once this fundamental truth of 20 centuries is acknowledged.

  13. What I’d like to know is, where are the signatures of the Church’s spokesman on the Catholic Truth petition? How come John Deighan could appear day in and day out on TV arguing against same sex marriage, yet not now sign a petition to get his bosses to take the next logical step and deny Communion to the unfaithful Catholic MPs/MSPs who voted for this immoral measure? There’s an inconsistency in the position of the Church’s employees.

  14. Very well done, Editor and Athanasius, CrofterLady and Olaf419, on you excellent letter to Mr. Flello.

    There really isn’t much than can be added. As you pointed out, by citing Saint Bonaventure and Gaudium et Spes, Mr. Flello is actually arguing against himself. A classic case of aggressively shooting oneself in the foot, I think.

    I don’t know if Mr. Flello is acting as a “lone gunman” but the tone of his letter was rather extraordinary, with more than a whiff of barrister’s bluster and bluff.

    The thought also occurred to me, Editor, that there was enough material here for another Conference. It looks like modernist mustard gas may have disorientated your correspondent, whose letter gives the impression that he is unaware that only divine truth gives rights to our conscience.

    As Saint Bonaventure has already been called to the witness stand, why not call the Angelic Doctor, Saint Thomas Aquinas to provide yet more clarity on the subject of conscience.

    “If then reason or conscience err with an error that is voluntary, either directly, or through negligence, so that one errs about what one ought to know; then such an error of reason or conscience does not excuse the will, that abides by that erring reason or conscience, from being evil.” – Summa Theologica I,II q.19 a.6

    I presume that neither Mr. Flello, nor anyone else in the Catholic Legislators’ Network will consider it “extremist” or “ill-informed, confrontational and condemnatory” to quote two Popes on the subject of conscience and the duties of legislators:

    “From this infected source of “indifferentism” flows that absurd and erroneous maxim, or rather this delirium, that it is necessary to grant everyone “freedom of conscience.” This most pernicious error has its way prepared by a full and immoderate freedom of opinion that is widely spread for the ruin of religious and civil society. Some repeat with extreme impudence that it brings an advantage for religion. However, St. Augustine asked: “What could be a worse evil for the soul than the liberty of error?”

    Once one removes the restraints that keep men within the path of truth, their nature, which is already inclined to evil, opens to “the bottomless pit,” from which John saw smoke ascending that obscured the sun, and grasshoppers coming forth that devastated the earth.”
    – Pope Gregory XVI, Mirari Vos, 1832

    “Liberty, that element to perfect man, should have truth and goodness for its object. But the character of goodness and truth cannot be changed at option. Now, the essence of goodness and of truth cannot change according to the whims of man, but remain ever one and the same, and are no less unchangeable than nature itself. If the mind assents to false opinions, and the will chooses and follows after what is wrong, neither can attain its perfection, but both must fall from their native dignity and become corrupted.

    “Whatever, therefore, is opposed to virtue and truth may not rightly be brought temptingly before the eye of man, much less sanctioned by the favour and protection of the law. A well-spent life is the only way to Heaven, whither all are bound. On this account the State is acting against the laws and dictates of nature whenever it permits the license of opinion and of action that leads minds astray from truth and souls away from the practice of virtue.”
    – Pope Leo XIII, Immortale Dei, 1885

    • Leo,

      The thought also occurred to me, Editor, that there was enough material here for another Conference…

      You kidding me? There’s enough material here for another ten conferences! Once you’ve organised the first in the series over there in the Emerald Isle, let me know and we’ll advertise it. Maybe Secular Scotland and Stonewall will, between them, subsidise our plane tickets! That is, if we’re not languishing in prison for having the sheer nerve to stand up to the bullies – both inside and outside of Parliament – who are determined to squash our freedom of speech.

      Great post, yet again, Leo – no wonder Irish eyes are always smiling. I suspect you are keeping the faith alive over there, almost single-handedly…

  15. Leo,

    What can I say, other than that I hope Mr. Flello is reading? Thank you for those two great papal quotes, so absolutely to the point.

    • Athanasius,

      Now that the pieces of this jigsaw are beginning to fit together, I think our dear Mr Flello MP may well be part of a wee “conspiracy” (for want of a better word) to get at Catholic Truth. Think about the sequence of events: phone call from the Telegraph guy – Robert Watts – letter from MP – Mirror article – Secular Scotland -Facebook & Twitter coverage courtesy of Garry Otton (“gay” activist)…

      So, yip, I, too, hope Rob Flello MP is reading this thread and realises, better late than never, that we’re not daft. Nor will we ever cave in to any kind of bullying campaign. You can put us on the front page of any publication from the New York Times to Homes & Gardens and we will stand our ground…

      Does the Honourable Gentleman comprenez – at last?

      • Well, whatever Mr. Flello’s motives were for writing, I hope he has the decency, now that he is better informed, to take his own advice and offer an apology to you. As a Catholic he should know that he is bound to do this in justice. As for the seculars, I don’t expect any kind of human decency to be forthcoming from them. That’s not their stock in trade!

  16. If you notice, there is a refrain which runs through these protests about our petition – the claim that we sent nasty communications to MPs on the issue of same-sex marriage:

    The (Catholic Legislators’) Network’s secretary Chris Whitehouse said: “The communications from this organisation have been aggressive, confrontational and condemnatory. They have caused deep and profound offence.”

    Well, let’s see. How can anyone possibly know if that is true without direct quotations, dates of letters, signatories. Let’s make it simple for these guys. Quote only from MY alleged communications. I’ve no objection. Go, go, go…

    Now, I know that the Mirror “quoted” me without ever having spoken to me or written to me, but any MP who has proof that I have written a nasty communication that is “aggressive” “confrontational” and/or “condemnatory” needs to put it in the public domain – NOW! If I wrote what they claim, I’ll “fess up” – if not, then it will be clear that we are dealing with blatant liars. What? MPs who don’t tell the truth? Gerrourahere!

    I’m emailing this comment (and the link to the thread) to Chris Whitehead to whom I sent the original link for passing on to Rob Flello. I am being totally out in the open, so let’s see if Whitehead and/or Flello are willing to be equally open. “Equal marriage” – as they call it, they’re all for that. What about “Equal honesty” ?

    • I’ve just emailed Chris Whitehouse of the Catholic Legislators’ Network, as follows:

      Mr Whitehouse,

      I await Mr Flello’s reply to my letter of yesterday’s date, now published on our website and blog (along with his letter to me)

      In the meantime, I ask that you supply evidence of your allegation, reported in yesterday’s Mirror, that you have received nasty communications from Catholic Truth. See my latest comment on our blog below, quoting your exact words in the Mirror article. I presume, of course, that the Mirror actually contacted you for a quote, unlike me, where they quoted me without having ever spoken or written to me. Very professional – not.

      BLOG COMMENT POSTED BY EDITOR THIS MORNING…

      If you notice, there is a refrain which runs through these protests about our petition – the claim that we sent nasty communications to MPs on the issue of same-sex marriage:

      The (Catholic Legislators’) Network’s secretary Chris Whitehouse said: “The communications from this organisation have been aggressive, confrontational and condemnatory. They have caused deep and profound offence.”

      Well, let’s see. How can anyone possibly know if that is true without direct quotations, dates of letters, signatories. Let’s make it simple for these guys. Quote only from MY alleged communications. I’ve no objection. Go, go, go…

      Now, I know that the Mirror “quoted” me without ever having spoken to me or written to me, but any MP who has proof that I have written a nasty communication that is “aggressive” “confrontational” and/or “condemnatory” needs to put it in the public domain – NOW! If I wrote what they claim, I’ll “fess up” – if not, then it will be clear that we are dealing with blatant liars. What? MPs who don’t tell the truth? Gerrourahere!

      I’m emailing this comment (and the link to the thread) to Chris Whitehouse to whom I sent the original link for passing on to Rob Flello. I am being totally out in the open, so let’s see if Whitehouse and/or Flello are willing to be equally open. “Equal marriage” – as they call it, they’re all for that. What about “Equal honesty” ?
      http://catholictruthblog.com/2013/07/13/catholic-mps-lack-of-conscience/

      I look forward to your reply – and feel free, if you wish, to reply publicly to me on our blog. I have nothing to hide, so I am perfectly happy for everything on this subject to be out there in the public domain.

      God bless you

      Patricia McKeever
      Editor
      Catholic Truth
      http://www.catholictruthscotland.com

  17. I am wondering if Mr Flello is being racist when he says it is “bizarre” that a Scottish group seeks to dictate to members of parliament in Westminster how they should vote about a measure that doesn’t apply to Scotland.

    As if Catholic teaching doesn’t apply to everywhere in every country, anyway, but that statement from him smacks to me of racism.

  18. Editor,

    I would really like to believe that Mr. Flello and/or Mr. Whitehouse will respond to your challenge, but it seems quite obvious that this will be difficult for them given the unfounded allegations they have made.

    It seems today that honour, particularly Catholic honour, is a thing of the past. People have absolutely no hesitation now in rubbishing the reputations of those who oppose them. And if they can’t do it with facts, well, they just make it up. It seems these two men have no idea how serious a matter it is before God to calumniate one’s neighbour, especially in public. I hope they at least have the courtesy to try to explain themselves, but I fear if they do it will only be to present further spin-doctoring to dance around the Church’s moral teaching. They simply cannot answer for themselves in a manner befitting the Faith they claim to hold. It’s a tragic truth, but all too common today.

    What is more to the point than these poor souls, though, is the notable silence of the bishops regarding these serious moral issues. Not a single one of them, as far as I can see, have been prepared to stand up for Our Lord and the teaching of His Church in these times of apostasy and rebellion. Martyrs they most certainly are not. In fact, it’s even dubious as to whether some of them are even Catholic any longer.

    But did not Our Lady of Quito predict this present time of revolt some 400 years ago, saying that when evil laws were instituted to destroy the Sacrament of marriage and undermine the family, those who should speak out will fall silent? And did not Our Lady of Fatima say the same thing in relation to the chastisement of the Third Secret, in essence that many in the high clergy would lose the Faith? That was certainly the conclusion of Cardinal Mario Luigi Ciappi, personal theologian to five popes, including John Paul II, who spoke of the Third Secret of Fatima as referring to “apostasy from the top down.”

    Who can fail to note the absence of any kind of episcopal defence of the faith and the faithful today, especially in Britain. The flock are abandoned by their shepherds who are busy nurturing human respect while their Master’s hands and feet are nailed once again to the Cross. It’s the silent bishops of the Church who will be held most accountable to Our Lord for this present destruction of the natural order established by God. And woe betide those Catholics in public life who have contributed to the evil by their cowardice, ambition or just plain old treachery.

    • The dishonesty of these men is just amazing. Here’s the reply to my above email to Chris Whitehouse. Mr Whitehouse writes:

      “Equal marriage” – as they call it, “they’re all for that.”

      No. That is untrue. Rob Flello consistently and courageously opposed the Bill. So do I, as you will see from The Universe this coming weekend. END

      So, note: the same newspaper, Universe, whose editor will not publish letters from me, is about to join the secular media in savaging Catholic Truth.

      My reply

      My email asks for evidence of “aggression, confrontation and condemnation” in my communications prior to the same-sex marriage debate.

      Let’s see some evidence. What you quote is something from our recent blog commenting on Rob Flello’s letter.

      And there is nothing wrong with that statement which you quote from me, because it’s not good enough to say that Rob Flello and you opposed the bill – you can’t think it’s any big deal if you are happy to let others vote for it on grounds of their (flawed) consciences. Would not every Dictator in history claim a clear conscience? Didn’t infamous murderers claim good conscience in clearing the streets of prostitutes? I await evidence from above mentioned correspondence – in fact, I’m about to check my own sent box to see if I can find my own emails to my own MP on the subject.
      END

      I cannot locate my original email but that was merely to ask my MP what his voting intentions were, probably expressing the hope that he would vote against the bill. My MP is welcome to publish my original email, if he still has it. In fact, he replied by Royal Mail (a letter of several pages giving excuses for voting in favour of the bill – that I do recall. And I believe I’d have remembered if he had complained about the manner of my letter. I have no recollection whatsoever of him accusing me of being “aggressive” or “confrontational” or “condemnatory” – or anything else for that matter.)

      MY REPLY TO MY MP’S LETTER FOLLOWS…

      SENT 3 February, 2013 – 6.30pm

      Dear Mr Greatrex,

      I acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 1 February, 2013, in which you advise me that you will be supporting the proposed change to the law to re-define marriage for the benefit of a minority group who consist of less than 1.5% of the population.

      Please note that I will not vote for you at the next election.

      Since UKIP is the only party opposing this evil legislation, I will be, more likely than not, transferring my vote to them. I will most certainly not be voting – ever again – for any politician/party which supports this disgraceful legislation. I know for a fact that others, who have not written to any politician about this matter (out of a sense of “what’s the point”) have made the same decision. END.

      A SECOND EMAIL SENT BY ME, 5 February, 2013 at 12.12

      Dear Mr Greatrex,

      I have just received the SPUC daily bulletin and cannot resist sending you the following extract, in case you are not in receipt of them. I hope and pray that it touches your conscience, bearing in mind the brevity of this life as demonstrated, not least, in the sudden deaths of politicians in recent years, including Labour leader John Smith (aged 56): the first sentence refers to the fact that the assassination attempt on the life of Pope John Paul II took place on the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, 13th May.

      “In the designs of Providence there are no mere coincidences” said Pope John Paul II on the first anniversary of the assassination attempt which so nearly ended his life.

      For me, it’s no mere coincidence that today’s Gospel reading on the feast of St Agatha, contains a timely message for British MPs as they prepare to vote today on the Government’s Marriage (Same Sex) Couples bill: “And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, ‘Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?’ He answered, ‘Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, `For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.” Matthew 19:3–12.

      Please think again, Mr Greatrex. There can be no other issue of such momentous importance in our lifetime, as this attempt to besmirch God’s law by legalising one of the four sins that “cries to Heaven for vengeance”.

      I am not given to talking about prayer, but I am praying for you today. God bless you. END.

      “Aggressive”? “Confrontational”? “Condemnatory”?

      Really?

  19. Editor,

    I did say that they would find it difficult to respond to the very precise Catholic teaching that has been put to them. If they could only grasp the utter hypocrisy that manifests itself in those who claim personal fidelity to the Church’s moral teaching while acknowledging their dissenting colleagues’ right to oppose it. Talk about sitting on the fence!

    I will not see the Universe article because it’s a newspaper I don’t buy. From experience, though, I know exactly how that article will be constructed and presented. No matter, it will not alter the fact that Catholics who vote in favour of evil legislation, or who approve the false conscience of their fellows to do so, have placed themselves outside the Church, regardless of whether or not that canonical censure is declared formally. If they are permitted to receive Holy Communion by negligent bishops and priests, then all they do is add to their mortal sin the sin of sacrilege.

    One thing they cannot say now is that they didn’t know what they were doing. Your letter to Rob Flello has clarified the teaching of the Church and this blog has enhanced that clarification with further evidence, most notably the two papal extracts relating to proper conscience posted by Leo above.

    I state once more for the record that no one may under any circumstances whatsoever accord to conscience the right to offend against the law of God as expressed by the infallible moral teaching of the Catholic Church. Arguments to the contrary, no matter how cleverly constructed, are bogus and scandalous.

  20. Just thought I would add to what I have said above with the authoritative teaching of the Church as laid out in the following EXAMINATION OF CONSCIENCE for adults:

    Nine Ways of Being an Accessory to Another’s Sin

    a. Have I knowingly caused others to sin?
    b. Have I co-operated in the sins of others:

    1. By counsel. 2. By command. 3. By consent. 4. By provocation. 5. By praise or flattery. 6. By concealment. 7. By partaking. 8. By silence. 9. By defense of the ill done?

    Bishops and priests, take note!

  21. Athanasius,

    That’s a timely reminder of the different ways of committing sin. I wonder if the editor of the Universe will mention those when he publishes his attack on Catholic Truth. Like yourself, I don’t read that rag, but might see if I can read that one article in it this weekend at the back of the church when nobody’s looking!

  22. Well, I’ve heard no more from Mr Whitehouse, so I’ll presume he couldn’t find anything juicy in my emails to my MP.

    I actually received a letter of invitation to meet both my MP and MSP at some coffee morning or other on 29th June. I would definitely have gone along if free, but my Saturday mornings are generally tied up with an exceptionally non-exciting domestic duty, so I had to pass. Next time, though…

  23. I read Flello’s self-serving attempts to dress up his and his colleagues’ utter betrayal of basic Catholic principles with faux-pious hand-wringing and out of context quotations from Church teachings.

    I see nothing to persuade me from my firm conviction that politicians are disreputable, self-serving scum who would sell their grandmothers for a sniff of a chance at personal advancement. Still less that the Labour Party seems to shelter the most egregious examples of the ilk.

    If Flello’s behaviour in gaily signing his constituents up to the demolition of the sacrament of marriage was repulsive initially, how much worse to see him attempt to wrap himself in the authority of the Church’s teachings.

    I pity the poor souls who find themselves next to him at the altar rail…..

  24. spiritustempore,

    Mr Flello did not actually vote FOR this evil legislation. He voted against it, but he supports, quite publicly, the right of those who think differently, to for in favour.

    As Olaf put it, in a slightly different context, – some “conscience” !

  25. From Mr Flello’s scribblings, I see little difference between his position and those who voted for the legislation, Editor.

    The Church’s teachings are really quite clear, as well we all know. For this moral bankrupt to write to you, twisting the same teachings to support his bleats for “freedom of conscience” and his hand-wringing accounts of the simply terrible conscience-wrestling that his high-minded fellow Catholics subjected themselves to, shortly before selling their faith down the river, plumbs new depths of hypocrisy.

    Mr Flello is a moral relativist, and worse yet, a Catholic in public life who is happy to sacrifice his faith on the altar of betrayal.

    Sadly, the chances of our current sorry hierarchy withholding the sacraments from him are somewhere between zero and nought. But withheld they should be.

  26. As regards Garry Otton and other aggressive anti-Christian zealots, I was thinking recently that these poor souls really are more to be pitied than scorned. Their behaviour reminds me of those who advocated and perpetrated the crucifixion of Our Lord, whose response to such brutal persecution was to ask His Father to forgive them.

    It’s very easy for us to forget this example of the mercy of Our Saviour towards His enemies – fallen human nature on our part I suppose – but we should always remind ourselves of His command to love our enemies and do good to those who persecute us. It’s difficult at times, I admit, but such is the spiritual life of the Christian.

    Bishop Fulton Sheen was very aware of what actually drives people like Garry Otton. He said that it is almost useless to attempt to debate with such people on the theological level. Rather, said he, try to discover what it is in their own conscience that troubles them and you will have discovered the source of a self-detestation that has been falsely projected towards God.

    I think that is an excellent analysis of the spiritual/psychological impetus that drives those who claim not to believe in God but who nevertheless feel driven to oppose Him in public at every opportunity. Unless and until Mr. Otton and others like him come to terms with their own sins and turn back to the one who waits to forgive them, then I’m afraid there is simply no way to reason with them.

  27. Athanasius,

    “…we should always remind ourselves of His command to love our enemies and do good to those who persecute us”

    Yeah well, speak for yourself…

    Having been out all day,* I’ve just returned home to find myself forced to devote precious to deleting idiotic entries on our petition – guess who signed it while I was outa the office? Well, let’s see if I can remember some of them… Oh yes, John Paul the Great signed, as did Benedict the Butcher, and there were two signatures from one Popess McKeever the Mental…

    Silly beggars.

    Take note, Mr Flello – take note. This – as I said in my letter to you – is how the Church’s enemies (the pro same sex marriage brigade) operate. It’s not our way. Take, as I said, note.

    On my way to the recording studio* this morning (cough, cough) I had a telephone call from a journalist at the Catholic Herald – there will be a short report on the Flello letter in this weekend’s paper. Very nice journalist, who assured me that her piece would be “balanced”. I pointed out that such is the mentality of the secular press but that the Catholic press is supposed to be about truth. One cannot really balance out truth and error, can one? A truly Catholic newspaper would be urging its readers to vote in our petition. That’ll be the day.

    At least the Herald had the courtesy to ring me for comment, unlike the Universe and, of course, unlike the Mirror.

    So, seems we’ve really stirred things up with our humble effort to contribute to the restoration of discipline in the Church in the matter of manifest public sinners being permitted Holy Communion.

    But, isn’t it interesting that the Herald journalist said theirs would only be a short piece? It should, if the editor of that newspaper had anything remotely akin to a truly Catholic sense, be on the front page and then some.

    * Thanks to Petrus for his time today, recording a list of the old, much loved hymns that some of us miss to death. He’s now recorded the music and sweet Rebecca will record the lyrics in due course; then our webmaster will put together the videos and – voila! – they will be available online.

  28. Editor,

    I understand perfectly your frustration with those who are putting false names on the petition. I really do hope Mr. Flello & Co are reading this and getting a taste of the nastiness of the pro-same sex marriage brigade. This should be sending signals out to our politicians about what exactly it is they’re supporting.

    You’re also right about the Catholic Herald and its talk of a “balanced” report. There’s no balance required in this debate. One is either for Christ (the moral teaching of the Church) in this matter of same-sex marriage or one is against, there’s no debate to be had.

    But, hey, read this response of the British Bishops to the Queen’s approval of the same-sex marriage legislation. It’s from Zenit News Agency. Note the absence of any mention of God and His laws. Oh yes, and not a dickie bird about Catholic MPs who betrayed the Church’s moral teaching. Faithful successors of the Apostles? Not in a million years.

    ‘LONDON, July 17, 2013 (Zenit.org) – Queen Elizabeth II approved a bill today which legalizes same-sex marriage in Britain. Her majesty’s approval of the bill was the final step necessary for it to become law.

    As of next summer, the new law will enable same-sex couples to “marry” in both civil and religious ceremonies. It will also allow same-sex couples who had entered into civil partnerships to obtain the legal status of “marriage.”

    The president and vice-president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales have issued the following statement in response to the passing of the “Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act”:

    In receiving Royal Assent, the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act marks a watershed in English law and heralds a profound social change. This fact is acknowledged by both advocates and opponents of the Act.

    Marriage has, over the centuries, been publicly recognized as a stable institution which establishes a legal framework for the committed relationship between a man and a woman and for the upbringing and care of their children. It has, for this reason, rightly been recognized as unique and worthy of legal protection.

    The new Act breaks the existing legal links between the institution of marriage and sexual complementarity. With this new legislation, marriage has now become an institution in which openness to children, and with it the responsibility on fathers and mothers to remain together to care for children born into their family unit, are no longer central. That is why we were opposed to this legislation on principle.

    Along with others, we have expressed real concern about the deficiencies in the process by which this legislation came to Parliament, and the speed with which it has been rushed through. We are grateful particularly therefore to those Parliamentarians in both Houses who have sought to improve the Bill during its passage, so that it enshrines more effective protection for religious freedom.

    A particular concern for us has also been the lack of effective protection for Churches which decide not to opt-in to conducting same sex marriages. Amendments made in the House of Lords though have significantly strengthened the legal protections in the Act for the Churches. We also welcome the Government’s amendment to the Public Order Act which makes it clear beyond doubt that “discussion or criticism of marriage which concerns the sex of the parties to the marriage shall not be taken of itself to be threatening or intended to stir up hatred”. Individuals are therefore protected from criminal sanction under the Public Order Act when discussing or expressing disagreement with same sex marriage.

    In other respects, however, the amendments we suggested have not been accepted. We were concerned to provide legislative clarity for schools with a religious character. This was in order to ensure that these schools will be able to continue to teach in accordance with their religious tenets. Given the potential risk that future guidance given by a Secretary of State for education regarding sex and relationships education could now conflict with Church teaching on marriage, we were disappointed that an amendment to provide this clarity was not accepted. The Minister made clear in the House of Lords, however, that in “having regard” to such guidance now or in the future schools with a religious character can “take into account other matters, including in particular relevant religious tenets”, and that “having regard to a provision does not mean that it must be followed assiduously should there be good reason for not doing so”. These assurances go some way to meeting the concerns we and others expressed.

    We were disappointed that a number of other amendments to safeguard freedom of speech and the rights of civil registrars to conscientious objection were not passed. But Ministerial assurances have been made that no one can suffer detriment or unfavorable treatment in employment because she or he holds the belief that marriage can only be between a man and a woman.

    The legal and political traditions of this country are founded on a firm conviction concerning the rights of people to hold and express their beliefs and views, at the same time as respecting those who differ from them. It is important, at this moment in which deeply held and irreconcilable views of marriage have been contested, to affirm and strengthen this tradition.’

    • Thanks for posting that Zenit report, Athanasius.

      I’ve noted all along, listening to the “spokesmen” like John Deighan and Peter Kearney, that they fall far short of saying what needs to be said – I can’t recall hearing either of them mentioning God’s law either when interviewed on umpteen occasions on TV and radio. Within the constraints that they had decided (to avoid any mention of God and the natural moral law) they did very well indeed, but not remotely as well as they should have done and would have done had they spoken fearlessly as Catholics. Throughout the entire (non) debate, they accepted civil partnerships – never once saying that ALL homosexual activity is immoral and ought never to have been dignified by the introduction of civil partnerships.

      Again, though, both of them are too young to have received a solid Catholic education and formation. Tragic. And they want to canonise the “popes of the Council” – crazy.

  29. It’s amazing the amount of coverage we are getting on this. Talk about an own goal by Flello!

  30. Well, the coverage to come in the Universe doesn’t mention us by name.

    I can’t work out how to post it here but will see what I can do later.

    Chris Whitehouse sent me a copy by email, included in his circular to “colleagues”

    It’s all about the Catholic “Taliban” but get this: he talks about attacks from within the Church and is nasty about these “extremists” and he uses the same old argument about conscience, but he doesn’t name Catholic Truth – what does that tell you? For one thing it tells you that the Editor of the Universe didn’t want to risk having to give me the right to reply. I emailed to tell Mr Whitehouse what the article tells me about him. Here’s my reply to his email of this morning, attaching a copy of the Universe article:

    That article is proof positive that you are (a) a blatant liar (quoting your erroneous view about conscience after it has been corrected) and (b)that you know you haven’t got a leg to stand on or you’d have named Catholic Truth or any other “extremist” “Taliban” group. You are a dishonest man, in the extreme.

    But note this: you won’t bully me or anyone else at Catholic Truth. Unlike YOU I will be naming names (Rob Flello and you) in our next – August – edition. And I won’t be sparing your blushes. END

    • editor,

      That Universe article of Chris Whitehouse is the most shameful piece of hypocrisy I have ever read; from start to finish a collection of specious arguments and nasty calumnies. Utterly disgraceful, yet so typical of liberal politicians and their lackeys in the liberal Catholic press.

      In healthier times, those responsible for such public scandal would have been very severely dealt with by the Church’s authorities, But, alas, since Vatican II it seems that only those who uphold the Traditional Faith and teaching of the Church are found worthy of censure, the so-called “Taliban Catholics” as Mr. Whitehouse so viciously calls them.

      Poor man, how utterly deluded he is in peddling the myth that conscience can be used to transgress the laws of God and nature. Truth is, Our Lord has been sold out by Catholic MP’s who voted in favour of the same-sex marriage Bill, as well as by the Bishops whose silent approval of such treachery is unprecedented in Church history. Absolutely incredible stuff, unimaginable just 50 years ago.

      But surely they must know from that history that God is not mocked?

  31. All

    This is a letter which I wrote to Robert Flello in support of our beloved Editor:

    ‘Dear Mr Flello

    You may recall that I emailed you some time ago to inform you of my concerns towards gay ‘marriage’. I gratefully received your response by it, and was satisfied by it, until I read an article on PinkNews and Catholic Truth, where you supported the ‘right’ of Catholic MPs to rebel against the will of God, the Pope and Christ’s Holy and Truthful Church. The fact is these ‘Catholic’ MPs, do not have this right. When they exercise it, they reduce themselves to a state of Apostasy and error. These are no more than protestants, because obedience is not part of protestantism. As His Eminence Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez rightly put it, ‘to be a protestant is to have no shame’. The same applies to these politicians who falsely call themselves Catholic.

    This is what the Catechism says about marriage:

    ARTICLE 7
    THE SACRAMENT OF MATRIMONY
    1601 “The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.”

    Here is what it says in Canon Law#915:
    Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.

    By voting with their ‘conscience’, they are committing a sin, by allowing a sin, i.e homosexuality/ homosexual acts. To approach the Priest for Communion whilst not in a state of Grace is wrong. Catholic Truth and Ms. McKeever are correct by launching this petition to His Eminence Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke to withdraw the sacraments and/ or excommunicate those who are Catholic, yet vote in favour of Abortion, Euthanasia, Stem Cell/ Embryo research and gay ‘marriage’ etc. I signed this petition. Ms. McKeever’s conscience is clear on this issue. Can the same be said for these ‘Catholic’ politicians? I doubt it. People should celebrate Holy Matrimony and not allow falsifications.

    I really do admire and respect you personally, and I am truly grateful for your kindness and courtesy in replying to me, and I hope you will respect and take into account my views, as I do with yours, in the highest esteem.

    Please remember me in your daily prayers, as I will remember you in mine.

    In Jesus and Mary,

    Yours sincerely

    Mr Nobody (Obviously not my real name.)

    Also, when are the likes of Garry Otton and Nick Sundich going to be banned from the blog. We can except idiocy from Mr Otton, but Mr Sundich who is a ‘catholic’ yet supports gay relationships? You Sir are as Catholic as Ian Paisley’s or Norman Vincent Peale’s grannies!!!! And yes dear heart, I do find the Apostle Paul appealing, and the Apostle Peale appalling.

    Catholicconvert1

    • Thank you, catholicconvert – that is a very good letter. Very kind of you and much appreciated. If only he were to wake up to a sackful of the same tomorrow morning, she said, ever the dreamer…

  32. Hamish

    Are you, upon further genuine pray, love and study going to convert to Catholicism? I was like you. I was brought up Protestant, became an Atheist and was introduced to Catholicism. Believe you me, Catholicism is the One, True, Holy and Apostolic Church. You’ve seen the Bible quote where Jesus Our Saviour, said: ‘Tu es Petrus, and upon this Rock I build my Church, and not even the gates of Hell will prevail against it’. The Pope and all Bishops and Priests can claim authority from this moment, unlike Protestant Ministers who changed ordination rites, and not only became Heretics but Schismatics. Now, you say that Sola Scriptura is Biblical? Wrong. Is the word ‘Bible’ or ‘Trinity’ in Scripture? No. Yet the Baptists still use these words. Please follow this link:

    http://scripturecatholic.com/scripture_alone.html

    Sola Fide is not Biblical, either. I bet you don’t believe in Purgatory or Salvation by Good Works? Here some links for you:

    http://www.aboutcatholics.com/beliefs/the-truth-about-faith-alone-works-and-salvation/

    http://www.aboutcatholics.com/beliefs/a-clarification-of-good-works/

    http://www.aboutcatholics.com/beliefs/where-is-purgatory-in-the-bible/

    http://scripturecatholic.com/scripture_alone.html

    Also, please venerate Mary as Christ did- here is another link for you:http://www.catholic-forum.com/members/catholictracts/tract70.html

    Have you heard the Catholic Doctrines of Salvation? Invincible Ignorance, Baptism of Desire and Blood? http://www.catholic.com/magazine/articles/what-no-salvation-outside-the-church-means

  33. Sorry that should be ‘prayer’. Here’s another list on Salvation:

    http://www.catholic.com/tracts/salvation-outside-the-church

    But however we can’t limit God’s Mercy, but non-Catholic Christians aren’t saved by their Church, but by being in it. But if you know Catholicism is true and yet reject it, then your taking chances with God, which is not recommended. Even people in the West, not just some Tribesman in the Amazon, or someone in an Atheist state, live in Invincible Ignorance, so we don’t know the extent to which people either know or do not know the True Church and it’s manifest love to us. Anyone searching for the Truth will be drawn to the Catholic Church. Also, when Protestants say they believe in the catholic church, it’s not THE Catholic Church, it’s a post Reformation lie, invented to give Luther etc the false notion than they were still members of God’s Church, which they are not. Branch theory, i.e there are many Churches all with truth is baloney- we on this blog are not Roman Catholics, we are Catholic. The word ‘Roman’ was added by Protestant branch theorists.

    I hope you convert.

    Catholicconvert1

  34. I thought the editors comments to Fello excellent – completely demolished him and showed him to be a traitor. Very nice also to read that there are plenty real Catholics who will not bend to the spirit of the times. Satan is moving powerfully in the world at the current moment and no doubt gloating at how many so called Catholics are following his deception for worldly honour. His time on Earth is short but eternity for his minions will be a time of perpetual tribulation.

    • Thank you, Charles, but my letter containing the correct interpretation of Catholic teaching on conscience did not prevent Rob Flello’s spokesman (Chris Whitehouse) repeating their falsehoods in The Universe article, to be published this weekend. And they are OBVIOUSLY in bad conscience, ironically, because Whitehouse’s “Catholic Taliban” article doesn’t actually name us!

      • Here’s my letter to that poor, hapless Mr Flello:

        Dear Mr Flello,

        I write to you regarding your comments on the right of Catholic MPs to follow their own conscience when voting on moral issues, rather than obey the law of God.

        Your argument, Mr Flello, is seriously flawed. In your letter to the editor of Catholic Truth, you quote from Saint Bonaventure and the Second Vatican Council document “Gaudium Et Spes”. However, surely you realise that these quotes condemn your own stance, rather than support it? You would do well to reflect on what Saint Bonaventure writes regarding conscience:

        ““Conscience is like God’s herald and messenger; it does not command things on its own authority, but commands them as coming from God’s authority.”

        The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:

        “Moral conscience,present at the heart of the person, enjoins him at the appropriate moment to do good and to avoid evil. It also judges particular choices, approving those that are good and denouncing those that are evil.49 It bears witness to the authority of truth in reference to the supreme Good to which the human person is drawn, and it welcomes the commandments. When he listens to his conscience, the prudent man can hear God speaking.”

        Regarding the formation of conscience, the Catechism goes on to say:

        “Conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened. A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator. The education of conscience is indispensable for human beings who are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings.”

        An informed conscience cannot contradict the law of God. Indeed, rather than obey their conscience, which is the voice of God and teaching of the Church, MPs who choose to vote against the law of God “prefer their own judgement”. They inflict moral harm and undermine the common good. This is why they cannot receive Holy Communion. They are ipso facto excommunicates.

        I find it quite frightening that the Convener of the Catholic Legislators’ Network can be so confused on this issue which is of huge significance to politicians. You should be leading the way on this issue and making this clear to your fellow MPs. However, it would seem that human respect has gotten in the way, as is all too common.

        Your accusation that Catholic Truth harms the Church is hypocritical, scurrilous and downright uncharitable. Catholic MPs who flout the moral law and publicly ignore God’s law do damage to the Church and society. It is indeed a sign of these confusing times, indeed a symptom of the Great Apostasy foretold at Fatima, that a leading Catholic MP cannot recognise this.

  35. Friday’s Catholic Herald:

    MPs clash with lobby group over conscience

    BY MADELEINE TEAHAN

    A GROUP of Catholic peers and MPs has criticised campaigners for their response to parliamentarians who abstained from votes on same-sex marriage.

    Robert Flello MP, convenor of the Catholic Legislators’ Network in Westminster, accused Catholic Truth Scotland of a “condemnatory” approach.

    Mr Flello said: “The shared experience of Catholic Parliamentarians, whichever way they chose to vote, has been that these decisions were hugely important and most difficult.

    “I know from private conversations with a large number of Catholic colleagues that the overwhelming majority, indeed all those to whom I have spoken, reached their final position in relation to this measure only after carefully informing, intensely examining and then voting in accordance with their conscience, an approach which our Church not only permits, but in fact demands.”

    Patricia McKeever, the editor of Catholic Truth Scotland, wrote the following to Mr Flello: “You refer to conscience in this matter of same-sex marriage legislation as though it were absolute: as though each man’s conscience were his own God. This is a very great error, subversive of the natural and moral order established by God.”

    • Thanks for posting that, Crossraguel. Two different people showed it to me this morning.

      I seldom use the word “liar” – sometimes it’s not easy to know if someone just doesn’t KNOW something and, therefore, he/she has misrepresented another without meaning to do so, or if – like Miss Teahan – they know the truth but decide to misrepresent anyway. That makes someone a liar.

      I’ve now posted a thread on the
      Catholic Herald & Homosexuality – A Marriage of Convenience so take a look!

      • Editor,

        I have already posted my thoughts on the new thread. These so-called Catholics beggar belief! They are certainly no more than nominal Catholics at best.

    • Alexandra,

      I’m afraid the website homepage isn’t updated daily – it sometimes changes on a daily basis for a bit when there is a major news story to update, but generally we update every two, three or four days. I mean, who’d want to remove that lively questioning man on the current homepage until necessary? He’s one groovy guy!

      The Links page is also updated from time to time and recently we added a link to the Online Rosary – which is available to learn in English and Latin.

      If, however, you refer to this blog, well, the bloggers here are very much on the ball so it’s worth keeping an eye on the updates here. But don’t come directly to the blog – come via the website so you don’t miss any updates and don’t forget to vote in our polls.

      Welcome!

      ps it’s very interesting that you have come to us just when Constantine the Great (and Freud) disappeared. Very interesting…

  36. Alexandria,

    Welcome!

    I am glad you find this blog informative. I hope it helps to answer any questions you have in relation to the present crisis in the Church.

    God bless.

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