In Medio Stat Virtus

A Catholic Blog From Scotland

Thursday, February 01, 2007



I have chosen that title carefully, because what we are engaging in these days in the UK is a game of cat and mouse. Homosexual partnership is the cat, Catholic adoption societies are the current mouse and the point of the game is to kill the mouse. In line with the predatory habits of cats, they are toying with the mice before they are dispatched.

In England, the Labour Government has made it clear that there will be no exceptions from anti-discrimination laws imported from Europe for Catholic adoption societies. Regardless of clear statements from the hierarchy that SSPs are not and will not be morally or actually acceptable, their objections have been overridden. This action, taken by the Cabinet presumably under the aegis of collective responsibility, means that if any Catholic adoption society even considers refusing SSPs adoption rights to a Catholic child, it and its directors are liable to have the full force of the law visited on them. As always, the blow is softened a little. Such agencies have been given twenty months to get their act together. Until then they will be allowed to refer SSPs to other agencies.

In Scotland, things have been a little different. Its hierarchy was under the impression that a deal had been done with the passing of the Adoption (Scotland) Bill in November 2006 allowing Catholic agencies to refer as a matter of course. The bugbear is that the Equality Act is UK legislation, which means that it displaces devolved legislation. Scottish bishops apparently are outraged at what they view as a betrayal, and if the ‘Scotsman’ newspaper is to be believed, are intent on locking horns with the Scottish Executive on this matter. On the matter of SSP adoption and Catholics, there is much heat and not much light.

What is of concern are the consequences of these stand-offs. The all-time every-time loser in all this legislative and religious to-ing and fro-ing is a child somewhere who has no parents and is ultimately in the hands of strangers. Such a child may possibly find him/herself when asked about mums and dads in the playground having to say, “I have two dads and no mum” or “I have two mums and no dad.” Regardless of whatever homosexual propaganda makes of ‘loving care’ the experience of time has shown that children thrive best in the mother/father context. Who can predict with any measure of reliability what kind of society that these children, already part broken and flawed by their circumstances that they may know nothing about, will build for themselves?

What the endgame for the Catholic Church in the UK is, is another matter. Regardless of the sometimes-spurious optimism that the Catholic press occasionally exudes, it is not in a strong position to face down the challenges that such a concerted attack as SSP and adoption, together with the clear opposition of politicians of every stripe, have mounted. Congregations are smaller and older. Ordinations have dwindled to a mere trickle. Public figures, ostensibly Catholic, have sided with legislation that conflicts with their stated beliefs and there seems little possibility of any pressure being exerted for example on Catholic politicians to conform to Church teaching as was attempted by some American bishops on the matter of abortion.

The result of SSP /adoption may well be a further marginalisation of the Church as its opponents (who have had a field day on this issue in the media; if Catholics had used the kind of language about homosexuals as they have used about Catholics, then the police would have been at their doors) gather strength. This in itself may be no entirely bad thing. A Church that seeks privilege, wants a soft spot for itself, looks for and accepts honours and praise from the deeply secular society it finds itself in, is a weak Church that runs the risk of sinking into tame acquiescence and becoming a poodle of the state. It becomes something to be toyed with, and to ensure that this does not happen, it needs bishops to stand up individually as well as collectively and be outspoken for the moral standards we hold. The history of the Church provides plenty of examples of those who have not compromised with a state that wants its own way. Our times give no guarantee that we are exempt from persecution. The name and the means may be different but the intentions and results are the same.

Our politicians have taken on a new role here. They have become the guardians of something new that has been enshrined in legislation - homosexual morality. In doing so they have set the scene for the possibility of applying the force of law to what has been the constant and unchangeable Christian tradition of family morality for 1500 years in this country and there is practically speaking no end to the lengths that this position of power can be taken. Not enough stress can be laid on the need to speak out in protest to MPs content to conform with whatever comes along. Pastor Niemoller can be paraphrased here.
‘First they came for the adoption societies
And I did not speak out
Because I was not involved with them.
Then they came for the Catholic social services
And I did not speak out
Because I was not involved with them.
Then they came for the Catholic schools
And I did not speak out
because I was not involved with them.
Then they came for priests and bishops
And I did not speak out
Because I was not one of them.
Then they came for me
And there was no one left
to speak out for me.


Blogger Martin said...

Amen to that, Dad.

8:09 am  
Blogger berenike said...

post in the nick of time, I thought you'd gone for ever and wiz kist aboot to spring clean you off the roll . . .

1:03 pm  

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