Friday, March 07, 2008

Labour privileges Roman Catholic MPs

Parliamentary bills on embryology and fertilisation have traditionally been subject to a free vote. Certainly, the Conservative Party has always understood that honourable and right honourable members have consciences, and that these may be exercised on such issues as abortion and human fertilisation. But not Labour.

Or, at least, not until the Roman Catholics made it very clear to whom they owed their higher allegiance, and that they rightly place their moral principles above ephemeral matters of politics, or 'Pope above Parliament'.

All Labour MPs will all be under a three-line whip to back the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill – except Roman Catholics. Cabinet ministers are normally bound by collective responsibility to vote for any Government Bill, but three senior Cabinet ministers - Des Browne, the Defence Secretary, Ruth Kelly, the Transport Secretary, and Paul Murphy, the Welsh Secretary - threatened to rebel because it will allow lesbian couples to be registered as legal parents, and permit the creation of human/animal hybrids – chimeras – which the Roman Catholic Church insists should be regarded as human and their mothers should be allowed to give birth to them.

So Geoff Hoon, the Chief Whip, has permitted Roman Catholic MPs to abstain from the vote.

Not the Anglicans, or the Protestants (if there be any), or the Muslims, or the Jews, or the atheists, or the agnostics – all of whom may have very legitimate concerns about this Bill. No, Labour is exempting the Roman Catholics and the Roman Catholics alone because of their ‘strong moral sensitivities’, which only they, it seems, are permitted to possess.

If these ‘strong moral sensitivities’ were so strong, these MPs would surely feel obliged to vote against such a Bill, not merely to abstain.

The Daily Telegraph notes that this privileged opt-out ‘has strained relations in Westminster with some MPs privately accusing their Roman Catholic colleagues and the Catholic Church of dictating to Parliament’.

Yet if Roman Catholics can be exempt from voting for this Bill, one wonders why Labour could not find the creativity of mind or the flexibility of policy to exempt Roman Catholic adoption agencies from its sexual orientation legislation.

David Cameron, the Conservative leader, has wisely given his MPs a free vote on the matter, while Prime Minister Brown is imposing his narrow, dictatorial will upon all those in his party who do not owe superior fealty to His Holiness.

But Cranmer would like to leave his readers and communicants with this thought:

Just look at those three ‘senior Roman Catholics’ and consider the shame and dishonour they bring to their church when they are elevated to the status of being her representatives. They pick and choose their concerns and priorities, voting for homosexual rights here, banning adoptions agencies there, or conveniently absenting themselves from the Chamber when they may be forced to reveal their true beliefs. One wonders how any true Roman Catholic could support the current Labour Party, given the aggressively anti-Christian agenda that has been prosecuted over the past decade.

And then compare those three with the likes of Edward Leigh, Iain Duncan Smith, Ann Widdecome - fine upstanding Roman Catholics all; not a word of duplicity or stance of equivocation among them.

18 Comments:

Anonymous Bob said...

No Roman Catholic could vote in favour of this Bill, unless eventually amended, without committing a grave sin. The bishops have made it clear, e.g. Bishop Devine of Motherwell, Scotland, clearly stated that "abstention is not ebough". All Catholic are obliged to work for human dignity - in the womb, during life, on the death-bed. The fact that others don't accept our definition of "human" or our ideas of "human dignity" doesn't lessen the obligation on us to act.

Not too long ago the Labour Party would have said the same...

7 March 2008 at 10:36  
OpenID curly15 said...

There is a perversity in pushing this Bill as a political rather than an ethical matter. Honourable members surely have a conscience and ought to be allowed to vote accordingly without fearing the whips!

7 March 2008 at 11:02  
Blogger The Heresiarch said...

What the Telegraph report actually quotes Geoff Hoon as saying is "nobody will be forced to vote against their consciences". So if any non-Catholics feel equally strongly, they can write to Hoon setting out their reasons.

Or does his Grace have another, secret source for his story?

7 March 2008 at 11:58  
Anonymous amused roman said...

I hope he will not be offended if I observe that His Grace seems sour that his own sect was insufficiently organised (or principled?) to take similar steps to the Catholic Church's.

And it is not that these MPs put "Pope above Parliament"; that is an idiotic formulation. They put God above Government, where the latter is setting itself against the former's law.

Any Christian who would do otherwise is unworthy of the title.

7 March 2008 at 12:17  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"All Catholic are obliged to work for human dignity - in the womb, during life, on the death-bed"
Hmmm - the IRA worked really hard in N Ireland to preserve life - didn't they? And their "commander" is very devout, so what do you say to that bob?

7 March 2008 at 12:36  
Anonymous unamused roman said...

The IRA are Marxist thugs. It's not just that they're bad Catholics; they've embraced a political philosophy which is explicitly anti-Catholic, and have ever resented the Church's acceptance of the Irish national settlement.

It's not an instance of the "no true Scotsman" fallacy to say that the IRA are irrelevant to this discussion.

That said, some Catholics have committed atrocities against human life. So have some Jews, some Protestants, some Buddhists, and even - gasp - some secular liberals. Humans are a bloody bunch.

7 March 2008 at 12:42  
Blogger Bert Rustle said...

Cranmer wrote ... Yet if Roman Catholics can be exempt from voting for this Bill ... why ... not ... exempt Roman Catholic adoption agencies from its sexual orientation legislation. ... An astute observation, Your Grace. A transcript of a Cabinet meeting discussing this would be worth it's weight in your ashes.

7 March 2008 at 12:47  
Anonymous The recusant said...

It is interesting that Dr Ian Paisley has a voting record to be envied by Catholic MPS in the Labour Party.

He co-sponsored a motion rejecting he extension of the Abortion Act to Northern Ireland.

He led a rally in Belfast to oppose the opening of a Brook Advisory Centre in the city.

He spoke in the NI Assembly in favour of a motion reiterating the rejection of the Abortion Act saying: "As a public representative, I shall speak for the child today, the child who feels, who can recognise its mother's voice and know pain, who is a member of the human family and who has been given the unique gift of human life. We cannot get away from that."

As a member of the House of Commons and an MEP, Dr Paisley has consistently supported the pro-life cause, working with other elected representatives regardless of religious or political differences.

He is expected to lead his party's opposition to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology bill.

Perhaps Your Grace relating also to your previous post, could do worse than eulogise Dr Paisley with the above on his retirement. Catholic MPS of all parties should take note of this mans record and remember the immortal words of St Thomas More “The clearness of my conscience has made my heart hop for joy.” from the Tower, 1534.

7 March 2008 at 12:53  
Blogger Johnny Norfolk said...

Labour is just drunk with power odering everone about. They make me sick.

7 March 2008 at 14:41  
Blogger Unsworth said...

When Hoon indicates that no one will be required to vote 'against' their consciences that does not deal with pairing or abstentions. What are his views on that?

7 March 2008 at 15:43  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why is it just catholics you mention here, and indeed that everyone mentions everywhere in connection to this? any christian or for that matter muslim or jew who doesn't equivocate (ok so not the archbishop of canterbury, then, or other wishy washy anglicans, but even some anglicans, for goodness sake) should feel the same way about creating life, which is imbued with soul, and then killing it off or distorting it.

7 March 2008 at 16:27  
Anonymous Bob said...

Anonymous 12:36 - I agree with unamused Roman.

Catholics have done plenty of bad things over the years as have members of all major religious groups. Doing bad things doesn't justify other bad things and doesn't change what we believe.

Our modern society thinks that if we find it diffiuclt or unattrative to achieve a standard we should change the standard. Most religious groups admit that they can fail to reach the standard and need to try harder.

7 March 2008 at 16:50  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Why, oh why, do anonymice either unleash torrents of unitelligent abuse or manifest the peculiar inability to read an article properly?

His Grace made it quite clear that there are people of all faiths and none who will have concerns with this Bill. He never specified 'just Catholics', though The Telegraph specified that group alone.

7 March 2008 at 16:59  
Blogger Skin One Up said...

Everyone feels for life.

It is supremely arrogant to suppose that only those of certain religious affilitions (the "true" religions, as can only be decided by His Grace) are sensitive to the issues. It is routinely implied by His Grace and his camp that people me, atheists, are somehow morally lesser men.

Abortion is evil. The only question is how best to deal with it and good people may differ on that question.

7 March 2008 at 17:02  
Blogger Cranmer said...

*sigh*

Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms Skin One Up,

Could you please show His Grace where he has ever stated explicity or implicitly that you are 'somehow morally lesser'? Since it is, as you state, so 'routine' an assertion, a few sentences, phrases, posts should be easy for you to uncover.

7 March 2008 at 17:07  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

A good thing the holy Mr Blair is out of this. What a terrible tussle he would have had with his conscience!

7 March 2008 at 17:37  
Anonymous hear o israel said...

your grace
yet again the impossibilities of certain political stances is shown .

perhaps a direct question would be some sort of human rights contravention.

it is the joining of progress , the imposing of universal law that encompasses difference , that these people do not reveal what is being eroded to make way for it.

there is also the opression of debate , buggery is now a right to be celebrated and taught in schools and the even more henious same sex adoption or surrogacy to reinforce , a sexual preference as being no different in quality or output of a good person.

have any of these named offered up the debate , being prepared to take on the onslaught of human rights and gay rights arguments .

it would appear not , the public do not hear any voice of opposition , the public are not informed or allowed to have an opinion.

7 March 2008 at 23:49  
Blogger mongoose said...

Part of the answer, YG, is that the tenets of the Left have become a belief system in themselves. Where one belief system conflicts with another we have anguish and uncertainty. So, we must feel for the Sainted Ruth as she wrestles with her demons. A Rosary or two, perhaps?

What Mr Marx would have made of his elevation to prophet status boggles the mind.

8 March 2008 at 11:46  

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