I have received the following email from Chris Whitehouse of the misnamed Catholic Legislators’ Network, giving advance warning, I mean notice, of an article in this week’s Universe, by Archbishop Vincent Nichols of aren’t “gay Masses” terrific fame:
Please find attached a whole page article to be published in this weekend’s edition of The Universe in which Archbishop Vincent Nichols reflects on the same sex marriage legislation and the way in which the debate has been conducted. Colleagues who have faced criticism, from whatever quarter, for the position that they took might find the closing section quoting St Paul’s letter to Titus a source of solace!
The Hierarchy has been very aware of the pressure that some Members have been under, on both sides of the debate, and are, I know from personal contact with them which Rob Flello and I have had, keen to reach out and to enhance the pastoral support that is provided to Members both in Westminster and in their home dioceses not only in relation to controversial legislation such as that which has just received Royal Assent, but also in the wider aspects of their role as Catholics in public life. END
Now, why would I be included in Mr Whitehouse’s circulation list on this topic, if not to scare me into thinking “WOW! An archbishop who thinks the MPs who voted for same-sex marriage are right to cite conscience”?
I could scarcely make out the text of the article but I read enough of the globbledegook on “freedom of conscience” towards the end of the piece to know that Archbishop Nichols is as wrong on this as were Mr Whitehouse and Mr Flello when they first made the mistake of contacting me. I mean is anyone, apart from these clueless Members of Parliament, surprised that Archbishop Nichols supports their dissent? Don’t they know his reputation as a “liberal”?
What would I say to the archbishop if I bumped into him in Sauchiehall Street? One word, folks. You guessed it: gerragrip!
For background: read Letter from Rob Flello MP