Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Intemperate Prime Minister Cameron Insults Church

Edit: the retiring Bishop of the Diocese of Motherwell recently expressed some concerns about the Liberty of the Catholic Church in the United Kingdom on December 10th, which was systematically greeted in the press, to include one "Catholic" blog, as an "intemperate rant". here, here, less offensive here, and here.

Considering that the Prime Minister didn't address any of the Bishop's concerns, about whether Catholic educators would be able to teach according to their consciences without losing their jobs, or how the Catholic Church is being steadily driven out of its traditional role in poor relief, adoption services and medical care by an increasingly hostile government, we thought the Bishop's response was rather mild. The Prime Minister, actually just told the Bishop that he'd have to be happy with being able to wear a cross in public, and that he insultingly stated that the Catholic Church and the Bishop should, "get with the program".

What program is that? Violating Catholic teaching to satisfy the increasingly capricious and decadent Government of the United Kingdom?

We just received the exchange from a reader in Scotland, which wasn't cited by any of the anti-Catholic media. She assured me that the press wouldn't be fair about it. So we've edited the Bishops second letter and included the important points omitted by the usual suspects in the press. Interestingly, the Catholic Herald and the Tablet are awol on this it seems.

This is another addition which Elizabeth thought was the most significant thing about the letter to the Prime Minister:

"So far as the Roman Catholic Church, whose Catholic adherents -the largest minority (approx. 6 million) in the UK - the one faith group not provided for in law - is concerned, you are out of your depth. We will take no finger-prodding lectures from anyone or any group devoid of moral competence. I suspect it is only a matter of time before you go one step further and outlaw the teaching of Christian doctrine on sexual morality on the grounds of discrimination."

Here's an excerpt addressing the issues:

You have publicly declared that "the values of Christianity are the values we need"; that Christian values were central to Britain and should be "treasured". Yet at the European Court of Human Rights your government is contesting appeals by Christians in their attempt to reverse UK Tribunal and Court judgments against them. Judgmenets that forbid them from practicing their Christian values and living as their consciences dictate. 
Your reasoning -- "that we are not supporting these cases as we want to defend UK legislation and do not think that the law in this issue should be dictated by Strasbourg" -- is saying in effect that while you claim to be an advocate for "Christian values" to be "treasured" and practiced in our nation that UK judgments against the rights of Christians must nevertheless be upheld at all costs. You vacillate -- ambivalent about the role you wish to perform -- the Disciple of David or Nero! With such a contradiction between your statements and actions on what basis can you expect anyone -- Christian in particular -- to trust or respect you? 
... Which brings me to your regrettable reproach of the Church of England. [He attacked the Church of England for not approving Women Lay-Bishops]  With your customary linguistic aplomb you protested that the Church needed to "get with the program me"; that it needed a "sharp prod" towards the modern world. Disagree with decisions by all means but such graceless comments were indelicate to the point of being offensive. And this from a prime minister belittling the nation's established church. Hardly an example to set for society in general and especially for the youth of this country. 
... You have already started with your indecent haste to rush through the Gay Marriage Bill. Counsel from respected legal experts warn of the damage that redefining marriage will do to Christian religious freedom and the protection of family life, all of which will further undermine Christians freedom of conscience. We face the prospect of teachers being forced to teach against their religious beliefs or face dismissal (your own education minister refused to rule out such a possibility); the likelihood that parents would have no right to withdraw their child from lessons endorsing gay marriage; the probability of public sector workers losing their jobs for not promoting the governments new vision of marriage and careers being rejected for fostering because of their Christian beliefs. This amounts to a serious threat to civil liberties even to the extent of preventing people doing things which are manifestly good for society. 
As Pope Benedict XVI has declared: "Religious freedom is the pinnacle of all other freedoms. It is a sacred and inalienable right. It includes on the individual and collective levels the freedom to follow one's conscience in religious matters." These statements should be uncontested as they are enshrined in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. In a recent report the UN special rapporteur said: "The state has to respect everyone's freedom of religion or belief as an inalienable -- and thus non-negotiable -- entitlement of human beings." Sadly, under your premiership, this most basic of human rights is no longer being respected in the UK>

Finally, with regard to your demand that the Church "get with the programme" let me remind you that the Christian Church is a fact of history, an incarnation of Christianity. Christ created a Church for all time, not to suit the specific mores of an era. It embraces every nation and culture known to man and has withstood the rise and fall of empires and civilisations for over two millennia -- and all this amazingly without any direction and guidance from you or your peer group. 
Yours,  
Bishop Devine

10 comments:

  1. Early morning readerDecember 19, 2012 at 1:57 AM

    I'm confused here. Is this about the "Church of England" or the Catholic Church? Since this bishop is quoting the pope I figure he might be Catholic but not necessarily since there was nothing in the quote that was particularly Catholic.



    Why oh why would a right be described as "sacred" yet the human is not sacred but merely has "dignity"? What rubbish!

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    1. The Bishop includes the Anglican Church with the Church, of course, the implication being that the Catholic Church could also "get with the programme" too.

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  2. The Catholic Bishop who wrote this letter to David Cameron is Bishop Devine (not Devon).

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  3. I was the reader that forwarded the letters to you ~ I'm from the United States, not Scotland. (Bishop Devine is a Scottish Bishop.)

    And the Diocesan Centre that sent these letters to me were who stated: "Better that you see his original copy without the intervention of certain journalists subjective slants on his correspondence."

    The following is my favorite part of the letter ~ that you omitted:

    "So far as the Roman Catholic Church, whose Catholic adherents -the largest minority (approx. 6 million) in the UK - the one faith group not provided for in law - is concerned, you are out of your depth. We will take no finger-prodding lectures from anyone or any group devoid of moral competence. I suspect it is only a matter of time before you go one step further and outlaw the teaching of Christian doctrine on sexual morality on the grounds of discrimination."

    Thank you.

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  4. @Early Morning Reader: I am the one who received these letters from Bishop Devine's office in Scotland and forwarded the .pdf copies to Eponymous Flower and other Catholic blogs.

    In answer to your question, David Cameron made that regrettable statement - "get with the programme" - to the Church of England, the Anglicans. Cameron DID NOT say that to the Catholic Church or to Bishop Devine.

    I love reading Eponymous Flower but am kind of astonished at the errors/ommisions in the relaying of what I sent.

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  5. One of the reasons that the press covered only short exerpts was that the full text was not made public. After calling around trying to get a full copy, I was reduced to using the bits used by the Scotsman.

    Might have been helpful if the bishop had put it on the website of the diocese and issued a media release.

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  6. ...and I second Elizabeth's comments above. It would certainly add to your credibility if you would pay just basic attention to spelling and whatnot.

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  7. 1) I had no idea the person who e-mailed me was from the US. It was signed "Elizabether, Scottish heart afire." How could I not otherwise assume the person was merely of Scottish descent and not of citizenship?

    2) You wrote: 'The attached letters are what the Bishop's office sent me, stating "Better that you see his original copy without the intervention of certain journalists subjective slants on his correspondence."'

    I think it's fair to draw from what you wrote that the press would use the letter to attack the Archbishop.

    3) Yeah, I need a secretary, I'll pay you $7 an hour if you want to correct speling mistakes and the like.

    4) Yes, Cameron's statement was made to the Church of England, but the Bishop himself apparently considers this to be an attack on the Church, since I suppose, Cameron's attacks could very easily be leveled against the Catholic Church as the Bishop later writes. I'm not going to quibble with him on that point and take it in the best possible way.

    5) I had to type from the pdf, because it was impossible to copy it. Again, I've got no typist , and I didn't feel everything in the letter was important, but I felt it was important to point out that the Bishop was being misrepresented and attacked by the anti-Catholic press.

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  8. Apparently you are both on the same side of things so please don't let passions and misunderstanding divide you.

    Peace.

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  9. Stephen Smythe-JonesDecember 21, 2012 at 8:43 AM

    Catholics should not be surprised at the PM comments. He is after all simply reflecting a majority of the British public attitude regarding Christian doctrine in general and the Catholic Church in particular. This has been ongoing, more or less, in Britain since Henry the Tyrant took the heads of Bishop John Fisher and Thomas More in 1535.

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