And Cranmer’s champagne is presented to…
Doubtless some communicants will have questions. Firstly, she was not even on the list of nominations, and secondly, she is a co-religionist of those who did Cranmer very great harm on that fateful day. So why is she deserving of the reward of which, owing to his lack of corporeal state, Cranmer is unable to make use himself?
It must be said that the ebay and charity options were considered, but these necessitated financial transactions and banking facilities unpossessed of His Grace. There were some very deserving political nominations, but Mrs Dorries has caught Cranmer’s attention with her fight to limit the time at which an abortion can take place from 24 to 20 weeks. In this quest, she is not only taking on Parliament, but daring to challenge the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church as well.
The Abortion Act of 1967 was introduced to legalise abortion in order to end the back street abortion racket. Or this was the claim. There were all manner of assurances that abortion would only be performed in extremis, but we are now in a situation in which 600 abortions are carried out in the UK every single day. We not only have one of the highest rates in Europe, but also the highest rate of teenage pregnancies.
The Act as it is presently worded permits abortion to be used as a last-resort form of contraception, and the imprecision of the wording permits termination for all manner of minor defects (like cleft palate, for example). Recent advances in medical technology not only render such abnormalities completely irrelevant, but they also permit many babies who are delivered prematurely at 24 weeks to survive. Clearly, the limit is in need of review.
Mrs Dorries is not only reflecting the shift in public opinion, but she is simultaneously confronting the absolutist, meddling, Scottish nationalist Cardinal Keith O’Brien, who insists on a total ban. Further, he has asserted that Roman Catholic MPs who do not assert the need for such a ban should be excommunicated. This hasn’t gone down to well with the Honourable Member for Mid Beds., who says: ‘I do not believe that the Holy Sacrament should be withheld from anyone for any reason. God is, above all things, loving and forgiving.’ For her, the Roman Catholic Church ‘needs to see that seismic change isn’t going to happen overnight. That the process of reducing the number of abortions which take place each day needs to be approached from a number of angles’. She continues:
‘We need to address the fact that the reason why so many unwanted pregnancies occur is due to the fact that so many young people are having unprotected sex. They think it is cool to have sex from a very young age, and that the majority of teenage boys think that the responsibility for the consequences of sex has nothing to do with them.
That the morning after pill costs £25 from a chemist and that is only free with an appointment from a GP, which can take up to four days rendering such a solution useless.
If you are a 16 year old in full time education or on benefits who realises that you may be pregnant and are faced with spending £25 or chancing your luck, you will probably chance your luck.
Addressing the high number of abortions which take place is not just about making statements to ban abortion.
Making dramatic statements such as withholding the holy sacrament from MPs who don’t vote to ban abortion completely will only serve to feed and galvanise the pro choice lobby. The comments made by Cardinal Keith O’Brien make the RC church look out of step with public opinion and extreme.’
‘Extreme’ Catholicism raises its head again. And Mrs Dorries further accuses the Roman Catholic Church of ‘blackmailing MPs’ which is ‘almost as desperate a measure as resorting to a back street abortionist’. And she also accuses her church of ‘hypocrisy’ with regard to its views on contraception, without which, she asserts, the abortion rate would be even higher.
Cranmer happens to agree with the lady’s noble quest, and lauds her tightrope-walking religio-political confrontation. The path walked by Christians in Parliament is fraught with difficulty, and one invariably ends up satisfying neither group, and being pilloried by both. So Mrs Dorries is awarded Cranmer's champagne for her tenacity, eloquence, and for daring to challenge the arrogance of Cardinal O'Brien. But, of course, only a co-religionists is able to voice such concerns so forcefully. Were Cranmer to do so, doubtless he would be a ‘bigot’…