Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Defeat of Conscience

St John Fisher pray for us and our Bishops, may we be faithful to conscience.

Last night's vote to pass the Children, Schools and Families Bill, was a tragedy for Britain, not just for our children and our schools but there is something more fundamental that was attacked and defeated, it was rights of conscience itself.
No longer can an Englishman say: I can go so far but no further. Now the totalitarianism of the state trumps everything; innocence, family, parents rights, children's rights, religion, conscience, freedom.

The CES has had its say, will our Shepherds speak or remain silent? This issue is much deeper, than simply whether Catholic schools may teach in accord with Church teaching or indeed whether we can run our own schools, it hits at heart of human freedom, at the exercise.

At a time when we have both a government, whose lies led to war and opposition bereft of ideas both of whose policies are more dependant on ideology than rationality, let us pray that one of our bishops will be willing to stand up in the public forum and defend conscience and rationality, isn't that what Manning and Newman did when baying hounds howled at the Church's door.

 Let us drink to our country, but to conscience first.


Delia said...

Quite so, though not the first piece of legislation to trample on the rights of conscience.

I was talking to a friend last night who'd asked her daughter, an employment lawyer, whether equalities law would eventually trump the rights of religious groups to maintain their traditions. Her daughter was adamant that it would.

It's only quite recently that I've really become aware of how deeply entrenched this relativist outlook is even among decent, fairly conservative and one would have thought God-fearing ordinary people.

Richard Duncan said...

I have, cum permissu superiorum meum, drafted the following Bidding Prayer for use at the Oratory next Sunday.

"Let us pray for those who work in Catholic schools. May they have the grace to witness to Christ by promoting the Church's teaching and resisting the secularist agenda."

I think we all need to be praying along these lines now, and that we shouldn't be afraid of saying so explicitly

Mike said...

Not the amendment put forward by the government and trumpeted by the CES amounts to a can of beans but it is interesting to note that it received 386 votes with 41 MPs voting against. The 386 were a mixture of Labour and Conservative MPs. Of the 41 MPs who voted against, 34 were Liberal Democrats. Not a single Liberal Democrat MP voted in favour of the amendment. Of all the parties it is clear that the Liberal Democrats are the most ideologically opposed to Christianity and Catholicism in particular. Hopefully no Catholics will vote for that bunch of rogues at the next General Election.

The way which MPs voted can be seen at:

Michael Petek said...

It's only passed the Commons. It might not pass the Lords, and all the Lords have to do is vote it down, and the process has to start afresh after the elections.

Elizabeth Deakin said...

We need to be encouraging more catholics to study law, as lawyers now seem to be the High Priests of Britain. If we had highly skilled lawyers we would be able to defeat so much of this anti-christian legislation. It interesting to see that Muslims do not seem to be under the same oppresion that we are facing. Is this because they value the law and know how to use it. Sadly, it's law and not justice that is important in the UK.

Elizabeth said...

Who talks about conscience any more. Conscience has been replaced by ME. We live in a very self-centered society, many people are only concerned about their own personal well-being and their own agendas to the exclusion of anyone else. The world totally revolves around them and they will do everything and anything they can to constantly try to get their own way on things. Secularism cannot allow for the existence of God, that would bring love into the picture. Pure Love.
I know that God is allowing this evil to happen because some good will come from it, so all we can do is PRAY.

santoeusebio said...

The question is what do we do now that will be effective? Is there some grouping or person who would co-ordinate a response?

Does one write to Vincent Nichols? I have.

Does one write to Bishop McMahon? I copied the letter to him.

Does one ask to see one's Parish Priest?

Does one ask for an interview with one's Bishop?

Is it possible to organise a petition or something?

What other pressure can one apply?

With-hold money from the plate?

Write to Rome?

It seems to me that a co-ordinated response is required. Any ideas?

Nicolas Bellord

berenike said...

And the Lords done great on the Equality Bill. Maybe now's a good time to write an thank you letter for that to Baroness O'Cathain, and ask her to do for this bill what she did for that one?

Independent said...

Concordats with a state dominated by a party bent on imposing its will, its values, and its ideology never work. What is required is not compromise but opposition. There are plenty of examples of national churches of all kinds who have sold out to the state and faced disaster. The state has come to believe that error has no rights, with it defining error.

fidelisjoff said...

Father, wait for the attempt to silence you in this matter it may be subtle but it will be unrelenting. I know this from experience in Catholic institutions. The vast majority of "Catholic" RE teachers have been explaining contraception and sliding contraceptives onto life size Family Planning Association models for years and certainly in a local Catholic school to children as young as twelve. Challenge them and they will vent their wrath to defend their contracepting ways. I am told some of the youngest Catholic RE teachers are more open to Church teaching. There is also no support if you stand up from your bishop
and now what they will say is we are teaching what the
Church teaches. And then they will say the rest is just
information not formation. It is sad but merely exposes the
reality that has been present in our schools, their
headteachers, governors and RE teachers for decades.
The CES merely reflects this and we have no Patrick
O'Donoghue in office. Unless there is clear action from our
hierarchy we will lose a further generation and the wedge between fellow Catholics will deepen. We must pray that
every Bishop will now enter the public arena and not just leave it to the Bishop of Rome to lead their flock, or at least the remnant that want to listen.

Independent said...

We should all remember that it was a Liberal David Steel who proposed the Abortion Bill in 1967 and a Labour Home Secretary ,who ended up in the Liberal Democrats, who gave time to get it through Parliament.

Mike is quite right that the Liberal Democrats are the most ideologicaly opposed party to Christianity and Catholicism in particular.

Tom said...

"let us pray that one of our bishops will be willing to stand up in the public forum and defend conscience and rationality".

I do so want to be proved wrong, but I don't feel that there is any chance of this happening.

Judas is alive and well, having cloned himself many times. I regret feeling that, never mind saying it.

"Jesus, convert England" we used to pray when our country was led by sound bishops, when our faith and our Marytrs counted for something. No more, alas, yet we need that prayer even more so nowadays.

St John Fisher, pray for the bishops of this once-faithful land.

BR said...

My conscience and duty to my country are the same thing.

John Fisher's actions were no different to Bobby Sands or any other terrorist/dissenter in history.

Once the Sovereign gives Assent to the Act it is the Law. If Catholics don't like it perhaps they should give up the pretence of being loyal subjects and move to the Vatican>

Kate said...

That sounds like a justification for
slavery in the 19th century, the Nazi regime and the Apartheid regime of the 20th century, each of which was lawful according to the law of the countries at the time.

Simon Platt said...

I thought I would just read the thread without sticking my oar in. But then I saw this disgraceful comment:

"John Fisher's actions were no different to Bobby Sands or any other terrorist/dissenter in history."

And I can't let that go without saying NO!

It is disgraceful to compare St. John Fisher and the convicted terrorist and suicide Bobby Sands in this way, and disgraceful to attempt to disrupt this thread by so doing.

Seth said...

I suppose if BR had lived in Nazi Germany he would have said the same about laws that were passed there?

Not, of course, that the situation here is so grave. Well, except it is in fact, for the unborn at least, who will never get to be loyal citizens.

Michael Petek said...

I agree with the proposal that Catholics should learn to use the law. Human rights law on its own won't work, as paragraph 2 is easy for the government to invoke.

But it could well work to argue that these new measures are, separately, a violation of the rights under international law inherent in the sovereignty of the Holy See.

Discreet Observer said...

I think it is always informative to check out the background of anyone who wishes to dictate to other people on a particular issue. Mr Balls is currectly Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families. You would think that this particularly sensitive role would require some degree of experience and expertise?

Ed Balls website states that he has been the Labour and Co-op MP for Normanton since 2005 and will be Labour’s candidate for the new Morley and Outwood constituency at the next election. He was appointed Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families in June 2007 and was previously Economic Secretary to the Treasury.
Ed was born in 1967 and educated at Nottingham High School; Keble College, Oxford; and the John F Kennedy School of Government, Harvard. Prior to his election as an MP, Ed was a teaching fellow in the Department of Economics, Harvard, 1989–90, and an economics leader writer and columnist for the Financial Times, 1990–94. From 1994 to 1997 Ed was economic adviser to the then shadow chancellor, Gordon Brown MP. He was economic adviser to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, 1997–99; chief economic adviser to HM Treasury, 1999–2004; and a research fellow at the Smith Institute, 2004–05. Ed is author of a number of publications on economics and finance and is a member of Unite the Union, Unison and the Co-operative Party."

So there we have it - economics, economics, and more economics. No expertise on families and children. He has only been in Parliament for less than 5 years and minister for children for less than 3 years and he has the temerity to lecture Catholic schools on what and how to teach. His arrogance is breathtaking. Actually, anyone who was chief economic adviser to HM Treasury and then was an economics advisor to Gordon Brown when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer is surely unfit for any post in Parliament, never mind such a vitally important ministerial post dealing with families and children.
I hope this dangerous fraud is rejected by the people of Morley and Outwood constituency at the next election.

nickbris said...

Catholics have been under threat for 500 years and thousands have been put to death for their Faith.

In Ireland under British Rule Catholic Schools were abolished and millions were deported/transported around the EMPIRE.

Secret "Hedge Schools" were set up at great risk and surprise surprise they turned out far better educated people than can only be dreamt about in this country.

Faith Schools in this God-Forsaken country do NOT have to go along with any of the nonsense we keep hearing about,there is more than one way to "Skin a Cat",we stick together as proper Catholics and defy the degenerates.

Dominic Mary said...

you may find it informative to consider the backgrounds of the Liberal Democrat candidates in Brighton for the forthcoming General Election !

Michael Petek;
you say 'Human rights law on its own won't work, as paragraph 2 is easy for the government to invoke.'

Not quite sure what you mean by paragraph 2, unless you mean Article 9.2, which qualifies the right to freedom of religion.

If that is the case, I would suggest that it is exactly that clause which offers the greatest hope, because proportionality has been shown, in other contexts, to be a weapon that can well be used against governments; and in Strasbourg I think it more than likely that a Catholic campaign, supported by the Vatican, would prevail against the UK - especially as by then there will be a different government in power !

Michael Petek said...

Dominic Mary, I'm a member of the Liberal Democrats and recently attended a candidate selection meeting for Pavilion constituency.

There was a choice of two candidates. One makes her living producing pornographic movies, so I voted for the other candidate to keep her out. Happily, so did the majority of members.

santoeusebio said...

It is suggested that there should be more Catholics learned in the law. There are already such and although I am now retired I would claim to be one such.

But how do you answer the question "Why should Bishops employ Catholic Lawyers rather than any old Lawyer"?

Over the years Catholic Lawyers have often been sidelined by the hierarchy. Why? Is it because those Lawyers were reluctant to co-operate in selling Catholic interests down the river? Is it because the Bishops fear the comments of Catholic lawyers that what they are doing is likely to have morally questionable consequences? Is it that the Bishops simply do not want to know that, in the main, English Law is protective of Catholic interests and therefore they could fight to have those interests protected? Or is it that the Bishops just want to be seen as just like any other men (i.e. a tie instead of a dog collar) and are quietly ignoring what they are there for? The "unholier than thou" syndrome?

Nicolas Bellord

universal doctor said...

Let us not forget that "conscience" has now been kidnapped to indicate an attitude of dissent and justify all kinds of behaviour which suit the individual at the time. Conscience must be properly informed (CCC 1783)and if misused in ignorance or erroneously, or through habitual sin is worse than useless (CCC 1791- 1792). Happily St John Fisher and St Thomas More were well schooled in philosophy and Church teaching.

Michael Petek said...

On a small detail of your text, Father, I wouldn't go so far as to say the Government lied to take us to war; more that it used weak arguments for jus ad bellum when strong ones were both available and based on facts on which a reasonable person acting reasonably could have made a decision.

On the side of the angels said...

Michael - up your pipe - they lied!

father,, if you haven't already I'd ask you to go to the end of this thread on holysmoke and read what's being said . I'm shocked to the core.

Mike said...

Michael Petek

I used to be a very active member of the Liberal Democrats. I served as chairman of a local party. I was an election agent on several occasions, all of which resulted in the Lib Dems gaining seats on the Council. My last success was in 2003 when my candidate took the seat from fourth place. I was a member of the Liberal Party/Liberal Democrats for 25 years. Eventually, however, I had to make a decision. Should I continue to work for a party which officially supports assisted suicide, wants to suppress freedom of expression on the issue of homosexuality and which wants to get rid of “faith schools”, hoping to be able to influence the party in a different direction. Or should I resign. I decided to resign. My candidate in 2003 is an evangelical Christian. He decided to stay. I think that the Lib Dems have been taken over by people who are totally antagonistic to Christianity and Catholicism in particular. Yes, there are Catholics (and other Christians) in the Lib Dems but they have no influence. As I pointed out, there were 34 Lib Dems voting against the Balls amendment. That meant there were 29 Lib Dems who did not vote. Just about every Lib Dem who has a Christian connection was among the non-voters. On the other hand, that well-known Catholic Charles Kennedy was among those who voted against the amendment. As did Richard Younger-Ross. Voting for a Lib Dem in Brighton is not going to elect a Lib Dem MP but it is going to add to the Lib Dem vote and that is going to affect the number of Lib Dems in the House of Lords. The Lib Dem peers are all solidly behind the anti-Catholic legislation so if you vote Lib Dem anywhere you are increasing the chances that anti-Catholic legislation will be passed.

I would just like to amend my previous comment on the Lib Dems. They are beaten into second place for the most anti-Christian/Catholic party by the Green Party, at least in Scotland. Neither of these parties is interested in gaining Catholic votes.

PS. Michael. When did you last see anything in a FOCUS leaflet about Lib Dems and "faith schools". My (Lib Dem) MP never mentions her policies on moral issues in her literature. She would not want to frighten off her voters. Instead, she has photo opportunities with the nun who is in charge of a local hospice which is threatened with a reduction in NHS funding.

Michael Petek said...

On the side of the angels - Whether they lied or not, we'll find out from the Chilcot Inquiry. Even if they did that makes them only liars, nothing more on those facts.

Plus the fact that Tony Blair when received into full communion told the Cardinal "I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God".

You wouldn't be able to find him in a crowd of Cretans!

Anonymous said...

Father, as a home educator I have, along with over 5ooo others, been fighting this pernicious Bill for over a year.
We have written to MPs, signed petitions and gathered in public places to protest. We have blogged and written some more.
Each Catholic parent who has tried to approach a bishop has been told they will not meet with us but we should contact the CES as bishops defer to them!!
I have just received an email from my Bishop's office saying exactly that.
The fight against the forced sex ed parts goes on as does the fight against the Anti-home education sections.
Write to the Lords (avoid Soley and Deech. Believe me you don't want to write to them) GET HEARD.
The fight isn't over yet.
It looks like we will be doing it without bishops though.
And all you parents sending your kids to Catholic schools to learn about contraception and get abortion advice; pull the children out.

Peter said...

I wonder if you and your readers might be able to ponder why the bishops are acting in this way. If we understand this better we might be able to persuade them to improve their stance.
I have some ideas as a starter.

Are most of them inclined to be Labour supporters as opposed to Conservative? On the secularising agenda is there any evidence that Cameron is any better than Brown?

What would happen if they just said "No"? Would Church owned schools be confiscated? Would any teachers support them? Would the parents and faithful support them?

Can we not sympathise with a bishop reluctant to step out of line on his own?

Perhaps the bishops believe that they have a very weak hand and have played it well. Or do they really lack all conscience? I hope not.

Thank you for following this up Father, it is a sad story.

Ronan said...

Anyone willing to fund me thru law school?

Michael Petek said...

Mike - I can't think of any major party, not only the Liberal Democrats, that isn't ant-Christian. Even David Cameron is in favour of homosexual unions, and the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act was passed on Margaret Thatcher's watch.

Franknly, I think we should be through with asking for concessions for Catholic schools. We should start demanding that the state itself serve God according to the Christian religion and not otherwise, and that the likes of Ed Balls should leave public life if they don't agree.

Kate said...

As we all now know, the CES helped to draft this bill.Then it publically welcomed it. Then the CES claimed to have lobbied hard for the
(worthless) amendment, which the CES maintains, will allow SRE to be taught in line with the teaching of the Church.
As the CES welcomed this bill in the first place, why did it find it necessary to lobby for an amendment at all?
And, does the CES think it's good for non-Catholic, state school attending children, to be taught how to access contraception and abortion?

Mike said...

Michael Petek

I can't think of any major party, not only the Liberal Democrats, that isn't ant-Christian.

Michael - I agree with you 100%. However, I think that it is also fair to say that, as a party, the Liberal Democrats are more anti-Christian than any other major party, They ALWAYS vote in favour of anything anti-Christian. At least with the other major parties they SOMETIMES vote in favour of Christianity. For example see the amendment put forward to the Equality Bill by Baroness O'Cathain. All the Tories who voted, voted for the amendement. 44 out of 47 Lib Dems who voted, voted against. The Labour peers were also strongly against the amendement with 101 out of 113 voting against. Interestingly only 8 out of the 26 CoE Bishops turned up.

And the Labour and Tory MPs voted in big numbers against a Lib Dem amendment to an Education Bill some years ago which was intended to prevent the Catholic Church having any say over the appointment of teachers to Catholic schools. (But I would not put it past Ed Balls wanting to push that one in the future.)

It must be very difficult in Brighton were you seem to be faced with the prospect of having either a Labour MP or a Green MP after the next election in one of your constituencies.

Dominic Mary said...

Michael Petek;

yes : wasn't that a fun idea - a pornographer as an MP ? But then, wasn't her predecessor in that constituency also something a little bit suspect ?

Are there any LibDem candidates in that part of the world whom a Catholic could conscientiously support ?

But then again; are there any candidates at all around Brighton who fit that condition ? After all, didn't one of the Conservatives make his money out of dodgy nightclubs ?

Fr Ray Blake said...

I think that your last comment was detraction!

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