Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Bishop: Labour has ‘lost its ethical credibility in the nation’

He must a ‘homophobe’ and a ‘bigot’, for he has dared to criticise the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill which will permit the creation of animal-human embryos, ‘saviour siblings' and, by removing the need for a father, also allows lesbians and single heterosexual women equal access to IVF and fertility treatments. The Bill also leaves the abortion limit unchanged, though it looks likely that some of rigours in the provision of this practice, like the necessity for the approval of two doctors, will be weakened.

For all of this, the Bishop of Motherwell, Joseph Devine, has entered the by-election battle in Glasgow East, stating that the Bill has cost the Government its ‘ethical credibility’ with voters. According to the last census, there was a declared allegiance of around a third of the electorate in Glasgow East for the Roman Catholic faith. Notwithstanding this, Labour's candidate in the by-election, Rosemary Curran MSP, said she would have supported the Bill, will support it if elected, and is not convinced of the need to change abortion.

That’s how to win votes.

The Bishop has said that Roman Catholic voters in Glasgow are appalled by the unethical measures contained in the Bill, and said that they may express their displeasure at the ballot box.

Indeed they may, and perhaps they ought.

And not just Roman Catholics, but all Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jedi Knights

In a letter to Scottish MPs, the Bishop says: ‘Christian people have not changed. It is Labour that has broken its pact with Christian voters. What are we to do when our religion is attacked and our conscience outraged? When one considers the self-inflicted injuries this Labour Government has visited upon itself, one could be forgiven for thinking it had some kind of death wish.’

In this case, Cranmer may be persuaded to facilitate euthanasia.

This is not the first time that the Bishop of Motherwell has hit the headlines. In March he claimed that the ‘gay lobby’ attends Holocaust memorials ‘to create for themselves the image of a group of people under persecution’. Quite why he said this is not clear, not least because homosexuals went to the gas chambers along with Jews. But he has also referred to a ‘giant conspiracy’ of homosexuals and secularists, and favours the jailing of the former if not the latter.

He really ought to address the ‘gay lobby’ in his own church first, because judgement begins with the House of God.

But Cranmer has a question.

Peter Tatchell agrees with St Paul when he says that homosexuality 'isn't natural'. Paul refers to men who exchange natural acts for unnatural; that is, they engage in sexual activity which is ‘para physin’ - 'against nature’ (Rom 1:18-32).

Is a life of celibacy not also ‘para physin’? Indeed, the forbidding of people to marry is referred to as ‘a doctrine of demons’ (1Tim 4:1-3).

21 Comments:

Anonymous steadmancinques said...

Your Grace;
We already have Margaret Curran and Frances Curran standing in this by-election, so who is this Rosemary appearing to complete a trinity of Currans?

16 July 2008 at 08:52  
Blogger Bob said...

Doubtless several others will correct my errant Catholic understanding of the Scriptures, but there is a biblical basis for a life of celibacy.

or there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can. Matthew 19:12

But if you marry, you do not sin, and if a virgin marries, she does not sin. Yet those who marry will experience distress in this life, and I would spare you that. 1 Corinthians 7:28

I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; but the married man is anxious about the affairs of the world, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried woman and the virgin are anxious about the affairs of the Lord, so that they may be holy in body and spirit; but the married woman is anxious about the affairs of the world, how to please her husband. I say this for your own benefit, not to put any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and unhindered devotion to the Lord.

If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly towards his fiancée, if his passions are strong, and so it has to be, let him marry as he wishes; it is no sin. Let them marry. But if someone stands firm in his resolve, being under no necessity but having his own desire under control, and has determined in his own mind to keep her as his fiancée, he will do well. So then, he who marries his fiancée does well; and he who refrains from marriage will do better.
1 Corinthians 7:32-38

It seems, to me at least, that there is a sound biblical basis for living a life of celibacy and being called to such a life.

16 July 2008 at 09:05  
Blogger Tomrat said...

Bob,

What you say is true but institutionalising celibacy and proscribing it for one groups of people is, as his Grace rightly says, an unholy corruption.

16 July 2008 at 09:16  
Blogger ultramontane grumpy old catholic said...

Your Grace may recall that James McMillan, the composer, and a Labour Party Chairman in the 1980s recently wrote in the Telegraph that there is no place any more for Catholics in New Labour and that Christian beliefs had been dumped contemptuously by the party.

Judging by the way their policies have encouraged welfarism and sink estates, drug usage and promiscuity amongst the young, they have much contempt for the poorer classes also. Their motto is

"The working class can kiss my a**e, I've got an MP's job at last"

16 July 2008 at 09:17  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You let yourself down with your last comment. Jesus was celibate (unless one is a Da Vinci Code fruitcake). The RC Church is entirely free to have a discipline for its Western rite clergy; it also has numerous married Eastern rite clergy and converted Anglicans. The Orthodox require their bishops to be unmarried. It's not a matter of doctrine (of demons or anyone else) but of discipline - not one I agree with, but then I'm not a Catholic.
How many homosexuals were killed by the Nazis? Inpossible to say. Nazism itself had (and has) strong homosexual undercurrents, in its romantic obsession with masculinity and strength.

16 July 2008 at 09:18  
Anonymous The Recusant said...

I seen your 1Tim 4:1-3 and raise you 1 Cor. 7: 9 and 1 Cor. 7: 29-33, the former a direction for those that can’t the latter an ideal for those that can.

Your Grace just can’t resist a bit of fishing, try the Lambeth pond I’m told there are lots of sharks praying on their own kind as well as plenty of bottom feeders and a few dead cod fish.

16 July 2008 at 09:38  
Anonymous oiznop said...

Bottom Feeders?!!

LOL

I can see a distinction. St Paul talks of VOLUNTARY celibacy being a good thing. Demanding it is a corruption ad the cause of many not wanting to be priests.

16 July 2008 at 09:48  
Blogger Bob said...

Well, speaking as a Catholic priest, I am voluntarily celibate. No one has put a gun to my head or made me celibate against my will. I freely chose this way of life. I accepted that celibacy is part of the discipline in the priesthood of Latin Rite Catholicism. Others may have difficulties with this. I do not. That's not to say that it's an easy way of life and that no sacrifice is involved, but it's a life that was freely chosen and that I believe myself to be called to.

16 July 2008 at 10:43  
Anonymous Stefan said...

Oh for heaven's sake. What on earth is the point of the last section? You have a reasonably well-written and informative article about the forthcoming elections, but then you ruin it by going off on a completely unrelated tangent. It's as if you're thinking of how you can put your typical fanatically anti-Catholic spin on this otherwise balanced piece.

"Hmm...how can I show how much I hate Catholics...I know, let's drop in the fact I don't agree with clerical celibacy."

Whilst I have happily read your sneering attacks on Rome in the past, I really do think it is becoming a problem when it completely spoils an otherwise decent article.

16 July 2008 at 11:38  
Blogger Ben Stevenson said...

Celibacy has advantages, but shouldn't be commanded.

The Apostle Peter was married:

"Don't we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord's brothers and Cephas[a]?" -- 1 Corinthians 9:5

Church leaders had children:

"Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer,[a] he desires a noble task.... 4He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect...." -- 1 Timothy 3:1,4

16 July 2008 at 11:42  
Anonymous Stonemason said...

"Labour" linked to "ethical", isn't this an Oxymoron?

16 July 2008 at 11:51  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Stefan,

Where has His Grace mentioned Rome?

As is mentioned above, there are certain Orthodox movements which also demand celibacy. Why should you assume that Rome is being singled out?

The lack of relation is only for those who refuse to see the relation. And it is your own prejudice which asserts that His Grace 'hates Catholics'. It is a bazarre hatred indeed which expresses so very frequently so much admiration.

The question is indeed pertinent to other communicants, not least Mr Daniel. If the Bishop asserts that sex between two men is 'unnatural', may it not be asserted that enforced and institutionalised celibacy is also an unnatural state?

16 July 2008 at 12:51  
Anonymous The Recusant said...

If robbing a bank is antisocial is it not also antisocial not to have a bank account
Or
If getting drunk is unhealthy is not abstaining from drink also unhealthy.

Your Grace the question does not need an answer because it is illogical to equate the two premise assumed by the conditions, they are in no way equivalent

Our celibate priesthood is an example of sacrifice to all faithful Catholics. It embodies the ideal that we do not live by bread alone and is a constant reminder to us that our physical needs, which society tells us we should satisfy at every opportunity are not what define us. In the modern world this single demonstration of love is truly more counter cultural than any amount of eco-activity or other contemporary act I can think of. It challenges us to remember we are not creatures of instinct alone and that the body should be in accord with the spirit and not dominate it.

It is attacked by those who reject this gift because it exemplifies a standard beyond their capability and desire and who think all morals should be reduced to the lowest common denominator; it is admired by those who understand the flesh is mortal and satisfying it does not store up treasure in heaven.

Our Catholic Priests do this in order to devote all their energies to the spiritual care of their flock by seeking a closer union with God on their parishioners behalf; this is another aspect of our sacrificial priest hood that was rejected in 1535. It is a sacrifice we love them for and even if some fall by the wayside it does not negate the intent or compromise the ideal.

Jesus himself argued that celibacy represented resurrection. When some Saducees, who did not believe in life after death, asked Jesus about the case of a woman who married seven consecutive times as each spouse died. Whose wife would she be in the so-called "resurrection"? Jesus voids the question by proclaiming that there is no marriage in the resurrection. People will be perfectly fulfilled single (Mark 12:25; Matthew 22:30; Luke 20:36). He also says that some remain single for the sake of the reign of God (Matthew 19:12).

16 July 2008 at 13:25  
Anonymous Highlander said...

Recusant, with respect, it is not the case that the Lord 'himself argued that celibacy represented resurrection,' for if it was, then celibacy would His intention for all believers, and not for just a few. We would all be under a dominical obligation to live celibate lives as sign and symbol of the resurrection to come. The Lord's point was merely to argue for the reality of the resurrection, which the Sadducees denied. Nothing more. Of the spiritual state of those who have died believing, we are faced with much mystery, though it appears that earthly marital unions will have no purpose or need there. This is a source of sadness for some, whilst others are no doubt cock-a-hoop about the prospect of eventual release.

It is true, though, to say that celibacy is a gift, or calling. There are those with this particular calling in all denominations and churches. The real issue is that the RC Church makes clerical celibacy a life-long requirement, instead of simply recognising it as a divine vocation for some. In this respect it does go beyond the scriptural revelation and asks of men more than God Himself asks. Many churches do this, of course, in their own ways, but it always results in wounded lives somewhere or other.

16 July 2008 at 15:42  
Anonymous hear o israel said...

i had not considered to be a dilemma until his grace posed the question, i thank the recusant for his answer .

you see from time to time light does shine from cranmers blogg.

this idea that god is beyond "sex" is quite amazing when you think about it , or perhaps he was saying that sexual immorality is always such a problem.

being as these days most teenagers will encounter god after encountering sex , in their lives , i think it expalins why paul thought as he did

16 July 2008 at 16:13  
Blogger Viator Catholicus said...

Homosexual activity is unnatural, that is, contrary to nature. It is a form of mutual masturbation.

Celibacy in imitation of Christ for the sake of the Kingdom is not unnatural, but supernatural. It is not possible without grace.
[It's like how Faith is reasonable and not unreasonable, but yet far surpasses what reason could ever attain on its own.]

Cramner, the writing is on the wall! See the signs of the times. The man made Anglican Communion is built on sand. Come out of her to the Catholic Church built by Christ on the Rock.

16 July 2008 at 19:28  
Anonymous mckenzie said...

Your running out of ideas Cranmer. You are starting to sound like one of the Liberal Leftist morons you usually quack on about.
Try praying, try anything remotely spiritual, for God,s sake and grow out of this narcissistic intellectual trend which threatens to rot the foundation of Christianity.

16 July 2008 at 20:53  
Blogger William said...

What Stefan said. This is a decent piece which makes an important point in its first half, but which is then ruined by a quite irrelevant discursus apparently motivated by nothing more than a wish to incorporate some anti-Catholic animus.

I am not a Roman Catholic, but as a priest I have joyfully embraced a life of celibacy "for the sake of the Kingdom". Is my way of life παρὰ φύσιν? No-one, even in the RC Church, is forced to adopt such a way of life, for no-one is forced to accept ordination.

16 July 2008 at 21:59  
Anonymous judith said...

Just why are the Abrahamic religions so obsessed with sex?

This is 'natural', that is 'unnatural', witter, witter, moan, moan, blah, blah.

What happened to 'love', 'friendship', 'loyalty' and 'generosity of spirit'?

No wonder that Christianity, Judaism and Islam seem to fragment into internecine sects, generating hatred - everyone seems more concerned with either

a. everybody else's genitalia
or
b. the ownership of bits of land that someone claiming to be God's Messenger once stood on

rather than how to live in peace with one another, and care for each other.

16 July 2008 at 23:13  
Anonymous Katy said...

His Grace is being naughty, and he well knows it! It is only a few days since he was pointing out that Anglican Bishops wishing to cross the Tiber would have to resign their episcopate - not their orders - to do so. Married clergy are acceptable in the RC Church provided that they are married before entering Holy Orders. I guess this prevents a priest bringing disrepute on his Orders by marrying the village bike. Granted, he can't rise above the priesthood, but as was taught us many times in the bible, a wife and family is a distraction.

The crime is that, as it is up to individual Bishops to decide whether candidates are acceptable are not, many refuse to accept a married man - jealousy? misunderstanding? possibly. But deliberately denying them a family life - no.

Perhaps it is his own marital situation which causes him to be over-sensitive. I believe he was supposed to be celibate and decided not to be - I mean, we can't have one rule for Henry and another for Thomas, can we?

16 July 2008 at 23:58  
Blogger Viator Catholicus said...

Grow up, Judith, and learn to write without recourse to overblown and meaningless generalizations.

Why not add Paganism, Buddhism, Shinto, and Hinduism into your rant? They have fulfilled your criteria of breaking into sects and surely are obsessed with genitalia with all their sex festivals. History shows that their adherents willingly fight for land or other things.

Dare I ask which odd ball fool religion that makes things up as it goes you believe in? Maybe if you accepted reality then you'd realize both that sex and sexuality are an important part of human life, and that sexual activity has a purpose bestowed by the Creator.
Not liking that purpose doesn't mean you can imagine it away!

One cannot ignore matters dealing with sex if one wants to live in peace. The only way to peace is to live in harmony with God, others, and oneself. And this is only possible through a life of virtue by means of the transformative grace of Jesus Christ. One such virtue is chastity.

17 July 2008 at 03:47  

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