Canon Law & Jim Murphy MP…

Jim Murphy MPOne of our bloggers wrote to Bishop John Keenan (Paisley)  to draw his attention to the public statements of Jim Murphy MP, affirming his support for abortion. Jim Murphy is a Catholic of the Diocese of Paisley who is currently seeking to win the Labour leadership in Scotland.  Click here to read more. Under Church law, manifest public sinners – and that includes those who support abortion – cannot receive Holy Communion.  This is not a matter left to the discretion of any priest or bishop – Canon # 915 prohibits Communion to public sinners and it is a grave sin for any priest or bishop to flout this law.  We’ve had this discussion more than once – click here to reach one of our previous conversations on the topic.

FrJohnKeenanYet, Bishop Keenan declined to reply to our blogger, electing instead to delegate the matter to his Vicar General. Now, Paisley is not New York.  You can go for a walk round Paisley and meet yourself on the way back.  So, one might fairly expect the Bishop to answer his own mail, especially correspondence on a matter as serious as that under discussion here.

The upshot of the responses from the Vicar General is that the Bishop takes pro-life issues seriously and is dealing with the matter of the “pro-choice” [i.e. pro-murder] MP privately and anyway “neither you nor I are entitled to know what transpires between a bishop and another’s soul.”  What the heck does that mean? Nobody is asking what is going on in Jim Murphy’s soul but we have every right to know whether or not the Bishop is doing his duty to protect the MP himself from continuing on his – literally – damnable route by receiving Holy Communion in a manifestly unworthy state, and also whether he is doing his duty to protect the rest of the faithful from being scandalised. If Jim Murphy had publicly admitted to (let’s use a euphemism) “harming” children, the Bishop would have been in front of the TV cameras in jig time to express his shock horror and to discourage Catholics from voting for him.  Surely unborn children deserve similarly robust protection from Catholic priests and prelates?

The upshot of our blogger’s response to the Vicar General’s correspondence  is that for the bishop to deal with this matter “privately” is not good enough since the scandal is very public and requires the enforcement of Canon 915. 

Well?  Do you agree? 

64 responses

  1. Canon Law could not be clearer. Yet again another spineless Bishop who is too cowardly to stand up for the teaching of the Holy Catholic Church. Maybe if the Bishop (s) actually did what it said on the job description, then modern Britain, or at least politicians, would not be in the damnable state in which they presently find themselves. Yet another shocking indictment of the Catholic hierarchy in Scotland…and England ain’t much cop either!!

    • I agree of course, but have long given up the hope that the majority of the hierarchy will affirm Catholic teaching by actually doing something to enforce – or even teach – it. Whether this is because they are spineless, heretics or fifth columnists, I don’t know (although I have my suspicions). These so-called shepherds have been undermining/ignoring the foundations of the Faith for decades. I’m no longer surprised at anything they say – or don’t say.

  2. I am really shocked that the bishops are flouting Canon 915. I don’t know how they can sleep at night, and the same goes for these MPs. Do they ever think about Christ’s words to Pontius Pilate “you would have no power over me if it were not given to you by my father in heaven”? They have become so ambitious for the things of this world that they are quite ready to forfeit the things of heaven. God forgive them.

  3. Jim Murpy should heed the words -What does it profit a Labour Leader if he gains the Whole Party but suffers the loss of his Soul- .Or read St Thomas More,s last words -I am Gods good servant,but the Labour Parties Leader with all the trappings first.

  4. I agree with everything said so far. Bishop Keenan would rather take the easy option. I certainly question his commitment to prolife issues if he is unwilling to take a public stance on this. Mr Murphy didn’t hesitate to outline his support for abortion in public. The bishop’s failure to speak out is a cause of scandal to the faithful.

    How many Catholic members of the Labour Party will have voted for Mr Murphy not knowing his views on abortion or thinking that the Church really doesn’t have a problem with politicians being pro abortion. I’m afraid Bishop Keenan has the blood of unborn babies on his hands through his silence. We should also remember that the Bishop has also failed to protect the dignity of the Blessed Sacrament by allowing a public sinner to receive Holy Communion.

  5. Petrus makes a very valid point about catholics voting for Mr Murphy not knowing his views on abortion nor the Church’s position on the issue.

    • Bededog,

      Exactly – see my response to Domchas below. That is why it is imperative that Canon 915 be applied to these dissenting MPs. And a public statement issued to say so.

    • Would it make much difference to most Catholics nowadays even if they all knew his views.

      “Ma granny voted Labour so ah wouldnae vote for any other pairty” is the answer you would get if you advised against voting for him.

      • Frankier,

        You make an excellent point which serves to underline all the more reason why Bishop Keenan and the rest of the hierarchy should speak out without any equivocation to warn Catholics that anyone who actively supports abortion in any way, is automatically excommunicated. That includes pro-abortion MPs and anyone who votes for them.

        After all, they’re quick enough to use the “E” word when speaking of the SSPX and Archbishop Lefebvre. Let’s see them use it when it is not only legitimate, but imperative to do so.

  6. Can it be assumed that those who are able to practically do so will be attending the all night vigil in St. Mirrins Cathedral in Paisley on 12 December in reparation for abortion will in fact do so. Glasgow is not so far from Paisley 20.00 to 06am?? Hope to see a good gathering of ct bloggers in attendance!!

    • All the more likely to happen if the Bishop speaks out to public admonish Jim Murphy MP for his blatant careerism even at the cost of the lives of unborn babies. Then, perhaps, the gravity of the situation we face will hit home to those who vote for Catholic MPs assuming that they will be fighting the pro-life fight in Parliament.

  7. For the record, I’ve sent the link to this thread to both Bishop Keenan and Jim Murphy MP and invited them to sign up to participate in our discussion. Nothing quite like a wee bit of dialogue, is there?

    • That is a good move Editor, inviting them to comment.

      I daresay they will be as craven as each other, when it comes to explaining their actions to the people they purport to represent.

      • Gabriel Syme,

        Needless to say, neither the MP nor the Bishop has deigned to answer my email. When they are dealing with a person who is “on to them”, they know better than to try to make excuses, I’m told, so I’m taking it as a compliment, however back-handed, that my communications have been ignored.

  8. What a hypocrite Jim Murphy is. He is the perfect example of the extreme superficiality of the Novus Ordo Church, where Catholicism is no more than a cultural identity and its teachings no more than weak suggestions (if they are even mentioned at all, which is rare).

    I followed the link to see his comments regarding abortion and was disgusted. He uses the cheap and tired catchphrase about believing in “a womans right to choose”.

    In fact, the law makes no provision whatsoever for a woman to murder her unborn child based on some erroneous notion of “choice”. While we all know the law is routinely flouted to create de facto abortion-on-demand, the law states that abortion should be strictly controlled and granted only in extreme and rare conditions. A woman has no “right to choose”. This is simply a mantra of the pro-abortion movement, one which politicians parrot in an effort to attract votes.

    So, as well as showing himself to be a hypocrite, Murphy is also talking utter rubbish. He makes a fool of himself. I would never dream of voting Labour, but I had some esteem for Jim Murphy before I learned of this – no longer.

    The great irony is that secular activists are expressing concern over Murphys possible election as Scottish Labour Leader, due to his supposed Catholicism. I daresay they need not worry. Catholicism is just a convenient cloak for Jim to wear at times, just as at other times its convenient to wear a pro-abortion cloak.

    And who is genuinely surprised at the craven avoidance of duty by Bishop Keenan? Cowardice and pandering are the order of the day for what passes for Bishops in 2014. They worry that if they do their job, then pews and – more to the point – collection plates will empty. The Scots Bishops are little better than the odious money-grabbers who populate the Bishops Conference of Germany.

    Its actually worse than this – I was once present at a mass where ++Tartaglia opened proceedings by drawing attention to the presence of a public figure, (another Labour Politician), who openly lives a homosexual life; not only this, but he was found to be unfaithful to his homosexual partner, (homosexuals are notoriously promiscuous, as we know), after the Police caught him committing sex acts on another man in a public place. ++Tartaglia pointed out his presence to the whole congregation, praised him and said how lucky we were to have him with us. So, not only will Bishops not admonish public sinners, but in fact they glorify them in the House of God. Later, the man received communion from ++Tartaglia (in the hand, of course).

    How short sighted the Bishops are. They reduce the Catholic faith to a meaningless game, a social club, with their antics. Our Lord is sidelined in favour of popularity and compromise with the world. Then they cant understand why they couldn’t buy a vocation for their dioceses. The answer is that people aren’t stupid and can see right through hypocrisy; and no-one wants to devote their lives to a mere game. And what motivation do people have to change their lives, when the Bishops show they will tolerate anything?

    In conclusion: a pox on Jim Murphy and the Scottish Bishops!

    • Gabriel Syme,

      I am horrified that Archbishop Tartaglia would do that after making statements about being prepared to go to prison on the homosexuality issue.

      Did that incident with him praising that politician (I know who you mean) take place after the publicity about him being caught in the sex act or before?

      • Margaret Mary,

        That’s an interesting question, I had not thought of it before. I checked the dates:

        The public scandal involving the politician and the Police occurred in late 2012. However, it was not reported on by the media until early 2013 – it was covered up over Christmas and then released in a low key fashion. This was likely because the stage-managed debate over same-sex ‘marriage’ was ongoing at this point and the homosexual politicians public behaviour was highly inconvenient and embarrassing for its proponents.

        The occasion where ++Tartaglia publicly praised the individual was on the feast of St Mungo 2013, (at St Mungos Church, Glasgow), which is 13th Jan.

        The media then broke the story about the politician on Jan 18th 2013, (that’s the story date I found by googling), only a few days after the feast day.

        So, I *think* ++Taraglias comments came after the scandal had occurred, but just before it became common public knowledge.

        At my former Novus Ordo Church, people always used to smugly remark that, when it came to the public organisation the homosexual politician leads, “whatever the Archbishop wants, the Archbishop gets”.

        And so I wonder if ++Tartaglias public praise was a form of returning the favour to the politician, to help mitigate the damage to his image that his behaviour would cause. But this is pure speculation on my part.

        In any case, the Archbishop has no place acting as he did – even if the Police incident had not occurred.

        What next? “Oh look, everyone, its Robert Mugabe! Aren’t we blessed to have him here tonight?”

  9. How many times do we hear this….’personally, I’m opposed to abortion, but who am I to deny a woman the right to choose what she does with her own body?’…..

    This is equivalent to saying….’personally I’m opposed to slavery, but who am I to tell a man what he can or can’t do with his own property?’….

    The usual spineless, cowardly cop-out.

  10. If you suggested bringing back capital punishment against the most depraved killers, even for the safety of the general public, you would be told that you can`t act God.

  11. I’ve only just caught up with the blog and I am deeply shocked regarding Jim Murphy. I had no idea he was pro-abortion and always admired him. I will never vote for him again and that’s for sure. But, I’m not surprised at the actions of both Archbishop Tartaglia and Bishop Keenan as, like most prelates, they seek popularity rather than the Kingdom of God.

    Perhaps, before the general election we could list all pro-abortion politicians to help folk avoid voting for them?

  12. In case anyone has missed it, there is an ongoing campaign in the media, to drum up support for legislation to prevent anyone from “protesting” (as they put it) outside abortion clinics. Click here for more details.

    I caught the tail end of a radio discussion today, on the topic of preventing pro-lifers from being able to speak to women/hand them literature going in for abortions by creating “buffer zones” outside the clinics on BBC Radio 2 today, Jeremy Vine Show where people had been phoning in to give their views. I only heard one woman, but her story sounded as tall as the usual brand, as she recounted being harassed and intimidated. These are bare faced lies. I know people who pray the rosary outside the Royal Infirmary in Glasgow every week and have seen video footage of THEM being harassed and intimidated, with one nasty piece of work calling the police. One of the “protesters” is a retired GP who wouldn’t know how to harass anyone if his life depended on it.

    What struck me listening to the part of the radio discussion I heard today was the number of times callers made statements about the angst women go through before deciding to have an abortion and thus to meet these “protesters” at the point of going into have their baby murdered, is just too much. I can never understand this alleged trauma supposedly endured by women contemplating abortion. Why? Why the anxiety and trauma before making the decision? If there’s nothing wrong with it, why are these women so anxious to point out that nobody really wants an abortion and they went through hell and high water to reach the decision? Then object when those of us who think there IS something wrong with it – big time – wish to persuade them not to go through with it? Makes no sense.

    Let’s keep a close eye on these scoundrel “Catholic” MPs if this legislation takes its course. There’s definitely a concerted push to ban any conscientious attempts to save the lives of the unborn and any so called Catholic MP who lends his or her support to this latest suppression of free speech and conscience, ought to formally announce that he/she is NOT a Catholic, because that, in fact, is the case. Catholic? About as “Catholic” as John Knox. And then some.

  13. Does Jim Murphy even claim to be a practising Catholic? Does he fulfil the minimum requirement of attendance at Sunday Mass? If not, threatening to refuse him Communion would be as pointless at barring a tee-totaller from his local pub.

    • Eileenanne,

      First of all, yes, he is a practising Catholic.

      Secondly, you miss the point entirely. The Canon is there is a deterrent, a punishment and an expression of the Church’s teaching on abortion and all manifest public sin. Like all forms of deterrents in Canon Law it is borne out of charity in the hope that it will deter transgressors, call the perpetrator to repentance and set an example to the faithful. So, even if Jim Murphy wasn’t a practising Catholic, the Church still enforces Canon 915, such is the seriousness of abortion. This sets an example and calls Mr Murphy to repentance.

    • Eileenanne,

      As a tee-totaller, I would be deeply offended if I were barred from my local pub. I would inform the landlord/lady that I did not appreciate such a slur on my character, just because I don’t exit their premises slurring my speech, if you get my drift. Just let them try…

  14. I always thought that Jim Murphy was indeed a practising Catholic. Does anyone know for certain if he is or not?

  15. A pedant writes: Jim Murphy can hardly be a practising Catholic and be pro- abortion. It maddens me when the media describe such people as “practising”, or even worse, “devout” Catholics. They are NO SUCH THING. In good faith, you cannot be a Catholic and be pro-abortion.

    • Therese,

      While you are obviously correct in what you say, unfortunately the fact that the guy turns up at Sunday Mass (new one, obviously) means that everyone from the bishop down considers him “practising”. It’s called “losing the plot”.

  16. Not having lived in his constituency and never voting Labour, I hadn’t done the usual background checks on Jim Murphy’s moral position on abortion and other ‘red lines’. Indeed I had been broadly taken in by his public profile – Catholic, Celtic supporter etc., so it is with disappointment I read of this. Suffice to say, on further investigation his voting record in virtually every other moral matter in recent years makes for shocking reading:

    http://www.christian.org.uk/mpvotes.php?selection=&value1=198&submit1=SHOW&value2=1

    Contrast that to the record of another Catholic MP who, whilst of a party I fundamentally disagree with in political terms, I could readily reconcile voting for on a moral basis:

    http://www.christian.org.uk/mpvotes.php?selection=&value1=380&submit1=SHOW&value2=1

    In the absence of anyone else doing so, I’ll speak in partial support of Bishop Keenan. I believe him fundamentally to be a good Catholic, one who is well capable of speaking out for a just cause regardless the adversity. I am certain your correspondent’s letter will have troubled him more than the response may betray and that such representations are not lost on our current episcopy, as they may have been on their predecessors of a decade ago. Make no mistake, when was the last public statement of a kind we are calling for? (sincere question – in any of our lifetimes?) Speaking out in the cause of right, defending Catholic Truth in this way is not coming easy to our bishops, though like ‘conservatives’ in the USA the recent synod and the like are rewiring liberal mindsets just like the papolatrist brain cells being increasingly, necessarily tuned to the right channel. I pray for Bishop Keenan and his episcopal brothers for the strength, wisdom and grace to challenge and correct such a public departure from the faith, firmly and charitably. Please God soon.

    • Crossraguel,

      “I’ll speak in partial support of Bishop Keenan. I believe him fundamentally to be a good Catholic, one who is well capable of speaking out for a just cause regardless the adversity. I am certain your correspondent’s letter will have troubled him more than the response may betray…”

      On what, precisely, do you base the above opinion?

      • editor,

        This would be based on the limited occasions I directly encountered Fr. Keenan, but moreso from speaking to individuals who know him far better, and whose opinions I trust implicitly.

    • Crossraguel, thanks so much for those links. Wow, how Angus MacNeil voting record compares to that of Jim Murphy! This is the sort of information we need in the lead up to the election. I think I’ll start a Facebook page on the subject. Personally I am not an SNP supporter but I would vote for Angus MacNeil in the absence of an opposition good Catholic candidate.

    • Crossraguel

      You imply that voters should check out their local political candidates for their beliefs and the way that they are likely to vote in matters that are also matters of morals and Catholic belief. I don’t disagree with that. However, many MPs/MSPs will not reply to ordinary correspondence and are not likely to reply to anything that they might like to regard as “personal”, even though it ceased to be merely personal when they entered the public arena.
      The reality is though, that individual politicians will only acquire position and influence in respect of policy if they support and embellish the Party Line. That line is fairly clear and is shared across the major parties. There are no major parties that do not support abortion, homosexuality, sex education in schools, immigration as a race replacement tool, political correctness in its many forms, together with the suppression of free speech and the extension of curbs on freedom by way of “anti-terror” legislation.
      It follows that no Christian,let alone Catholic should vote for any of the main parties. No Catholic should or could vote for Labour, SNP, Tory, Liberal/Democrat, Green or Socialist candidates.
      Who does that leave?

      • Antoine,

        Excellent summary of the situation as it stands in politics in the UK at the present time.

        The answer to your concluding question is “it leaves us no-one to vote for with a clear conscience; we have no choice but to spoil our ballot paper.”

        Just reflect for a moment on the fact that we might leave the voting booth having ticked any one of the immoral options available to us, only to be called to meet our Maker suddenly and without warning. We do not, remember, “know the day nor the hour.”

  17. Tragically, the bishop Keenan/Jim Murphy scenario is all too common today, and not only with regard to the evil of abortion. The fact is the Church today has a Catholic hierarchy which, generally speaking, has not sufficient love of God and souls, especially the souls of public sinners, to do the duty their sacred office demands of them. They are men who like to be popular with the world rather than with Our Lord.

    To add to this tragedy, we now have a Pope who in all likelihood would punish any bishop who applied the rigorous censures of Canon Law to morally dissenting Catholic politicians. This prospect, more than displeasing the secularists, may very well prevent some bishops at least from doing what they are obliged to do before God. All in all, these kinds of scandals always occur when the Catholic hierarchy becomes more populated with careerists than saints!

    As for Jim Murphy, he’s made his decision without obfuscation. It’s career first, God second! Woe betide the nation whose politicians leave their conscience at the door of parliament; or worse still, vote for evil laws while asserting that they do so in “good conscience”. This is delusion par excellence! They should know that all will answer to God at their judgement, right down to every careless word.

  18. If it is true that all three candidates for the Labour leadership support a woman’s right to abortion then it’s not just Jim Murphy people should be complaining about because Neil Findlay is also a Catholic.

        • Tridentinus,

          That’s not the spirit of Vatican II at all ! The Bishop is there to listen, to learn and to serve… bishops come and go but our Petrus will be there for all time, to keep an eye on them!

          NOW you can LOL!

          • Editor,

            That’s hilarious! This is MY diocese, not the bishop’s!

            Sorry, I meant Jim Murphy resides in my diocese so that’s why I only wrote to a bishop about him.

    • Vianney,

      Yes, Neil Findlay is also a “Catholic” – but, as Petrus indicates, nobody from his diocese (which I believe is Edinburgh since he lives in Lothian) has written to Archbishop Cushley or if they have, they’ve not notified us here at Catholic Truth. However, I’m delighted that you have drawn attention to him, as well which allows me to remind everyone that nobody can progress in the Labour Party (and to a large extent any political party) unless they are pro-abortion, so to vote in elections these days means to be willing and ready to have blood on our hands. No thanks.

  19. I thought it was a bit “convenient” (vote wise) for him to be passing the Clutha bar at the time of the helicopter crash.

    Maybe he was going to Glasgow Green nearby where some (not him) prominent Labour party
    politicians hold hastily arranged meetings.

    • I remember being surprised that he was drinking in the Clutha bar (I didn’t think he was just passing).

      Anyway, I heard on the news that he has won the leadership of the Scottish Labour Party. There was talk of abortion being devolved to the Scottish Parliament so maybe if that happens we’ll have the scandalous situation where a Catholic leader of a political party is fighting to keep abortion legal in Scotland.

  20. MM

    No, as it just happened, he was very conveniently in the area when the helicopter came down and he wasn`t slow to get his face onto the TV sets to let everyone know.

    As for a so-called Catholic political party leader fighting to keep abortion legal in Scotland: would you expect anything else in this day and age? I wouldn`t trust this man to lead me over a piece of string lying on the road.

    I think, if God spares me, I will stay at home for the first time in my life during the next elections..

    • Naw naw Frankier, Vote for Angus MacNeil, a Catholic with a Catholic conscience. Never mind what party he belongs to, vote for the man, I say.

      • Helen,

        That’s been the mistake made by pro-lifers for years now. We vote for a Party, like it or not. Voting for individual politicians makes not a blind bit of difference. If we vote any Party into power today, we have blood on our hands. End of. And the same goes for the rest of the immoral legislation now in place. We are complicit in this immorality if we vote for any Party today. End of again!

        • Editor

          I couldn’t agree more. The majority of the time these politicians who claim to be pro life simply abstain for moral votes so as not to rock the boat too much. A fat lot of good that does!

          I don’t think there’s any political party that would turn the tide of immorality. UKIP are going out of their way right now to show that they are not “homophobic”. I’m afraid I don’t see an opportunity to vote for any party for a long time.

      • Maybe he had had a drink – so what?? Millions of people do just that on a Friday night. God does not disapprove of (moderate) drinking.

        • Eileenanne,

          I didn’t say there was anything wrong with having a drink. You’ve jumped to conclusions. I merely pointed out I had been under the impression he was in the Clutha and that was because I could tell that he’d been drinking. Presumably he was drinking somewhere else if he says he was only passing the Clutha but I would thank you not to put words in my mouth. I never said God disapproved of drinking.

      • MM

        No, his eyes are always glazed. Probably by looking into the distance dreaming of when he becomes prime minister.

        His eyes actually finish up looking at each other when he has a drink and some eye (not his own) witnesses say that he actually starts to talk sense.

        He says things like, “I`m fed up by the way I look and I would do and say anything to get a couple of votes”.

        I`ve missed out some words that are unsuitable for viewing so early in the evening.

  21. Have been reading about Jim Murphy Scottish Mp ..he is NOT PRO LIFE ……and yet dares to call himself Catholic seems hes very pro Homosexual too.
    Surely he should be excommunicated ?
    I sincerley hope there is an uproar about this you canot be Labour and PRO LIFE it seems appalling he shpuld recieve thousands of letters of concern ?

    • Wendy,

      Unfortunately, due to the loss of Catholic Faith from the top of the Church down, Jim Murphy is never going to receive thousands of letters of concern. The Bishop will possibly (now that he’s received a letter from our blogger) “have a quiet word” along the lines of “hey mate, any chance you could tone it down a bit? Looks bad if Catholic politicians say they don’t accept God’s law… gimme a break. I really don’t want to have to answer any questions from the media about it. I can ignore Catholic Truth but the Daily Record is another kettle of media altogether…”

      There won’t be anything seriously “offensive” said or we’d be reading about it in the newspapers – it would make headlines for a week.

      The sad fact is, Labour won’t be affected any more than any of the other parties will be affected by this issue. Catholics, shamefully, are voting on the same basis as the pagans around us – chiefly the economy. As long as they’re going to be better off financially themselves, all the babies in creation can be murdered in their mothers’ wombs, for all they care.

      And there’s not a jot of leadership from the hierarchy, including the upper hierarchy, aimed at correcting this scandalous selfishness and complicity in the murder of the unborn and the advance of homosexuality. On the contrary, didn’t someone in the Vatican say that we really oughtn’t to “obsess” about these issues?

  22. Editor

    Spot on in every sense. I’m very surprised that some of the lovely bloggers here are so shocked. This state of affairs has been going on since 1967; as a former SPUC worker for many years, the indifference of Catholics to the fate of the slaughtered unborn enraged me; you can’t shame these people. Their politics come first (I have to say that it was overwhelmingly Labour “Catholic” supporters in my neck of the woods). If they were as loyal to the teachings of the Church as they are to socialism, abortion would have been banned years ago.

    • Therese,

      Well said. Like you, it’s incomprehensible to me how any Catholic could put any other political issue ahead of abortion. Yet I know of someone who regards himself as a diehard traditional Catholic who actually goes out canvassing for his local Labour politicians, councillors and MP at every election. Incredible.

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