It is instructive, and very intriguing to observe the reaction in the British press, media and pressure groups following the Pope's words to the Bishops. I have been banging on for weeks about the inherent danger to the Church in the Harman Equality Bill, and how it could change the relationship between Church and State in Britain, to the detriment of the Church. I rejoiced at the victory in the Lords last week on one specific clause, a victory won in the teeth of virulent Labour and LibDem opposition - but a victory which could be overturned by three line whipping in the Commons at any time. The Church has lost out on two recent pieces of legislation, over adoption agencies and sex education in schools, in fact the Catholic Education Service was complicit in the latter. The Catholic Bishops offered no help to the movers of the amendment in the Lords - it was left to Baroness O'Cathain, Baroness Swarsi,Baroness Anelay and Lord Bates to draft, move, debate and orchestrate the result, all, incidentally from the Conservative front bench.I fear the Church is making the same mistake that they made at the time of the 1967 Abortion Act - "keep your heads down, lads, we can defeat this thing by the back door by appealing to Catholic Labour MP's" See where that got us.It took the Pope to stir something up within the Church in E&W, and the reaction in the media has been savage. The Times, Guardian (as you would expect),Independent, BBC, have joined with the National Secular Society, Stonewall, and the rest of the liberal leftist lobby groups in what can only be described as a bitter and savage attack on the Pope personally - the Guardian called him "Ratzinger" twice in one leading article - and the Catholic Church in general.We are in for a rough ride, and I have very serious fears about the sort of reception the Pope will receive when he comes in September.I only hope the events of the last couple of days will wake Catholics in Britain up to the fact that we are under very serious and grave threats. Make no mistake about it, if the Equality Bill goes on to the statute book unamended, then any rights the Church still has over appointments to positions in schools, colleges, parishes, etc will disappear. It is not just about "gay headteachers", as opponents claim, it is about the Church's right to only appoint people to positions who uphold and practice the tenets of the Catholic Church. It is about the clergy. It will be unlawful for a bishop to remove a priest from a parish or other appontment who decides to shack up with his boyfriend (or girlfriend, for that matter), and suppose a priest decides to have a sex-change operation? And, according to Harriet Harman, the Catholic church's refusal to ordain women could be construed as being an infringement of the law.Stephen Hughes, Labour MEP for the North East said yesterday that he was a Catholic (St Leonard's, Durham and St Bede's Lanchester), but DISAGREED with the Pope over Equality Legislation. Deafening silence from the rest of his colleagues. I personally sent copies of Lord Bates' report on the defeat of the Government clause in the Lords to about 20 mainly Traditional Catholics, and received no comments or replies whatsoever. Wake up, folks!!Terry Middleton
Father, can I amend my remarks on Stephen Hughes MEP? I misquoted him. He actually said,"As a Catholic, I am APPALLED at the attitude of the Pope"Has anyone seen Martin Salter's, Labour MP for Reading West, diatribe in the Daily Telegraph blogs against the Pope and the Church? He calls the Pope "The bloke in a dress".Access via Fr Ray Blake's blog.
That lot didn't appear to be participating in anything much at all. Was it 3 o'clock on a Friday afternoon?
They're a dynamic-looking lot aren't they?In deep thought, contemplating the Holy Father's wise words? Or dozing off from boredom, perhaps.
Athansius is being unfair to the Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle at least, who appears to be fully attentive, indeed almost on the edge of his seat.The gentleman in the corner seems to be having a bit more of a struggle and was the Archbishop of Birmingham chewing a toffee?
Jack Point - I wasn't being "unfair to the bishop of H and N". I was commenting on the expressions on the faces of the figures in the screen print - from the left, Bishops Lynch, Hendrick, Budd and Hollis. Bishop Cunningham isn't in that picture.
Now they know how parishioners feel as they drone on and on and on and on and on and on it's nice to see them getting a bit of their own back
Athanasius, the Bis of H & N (Seamus) is on the video, not the still picture. He is indeed on the edge of his seat but I can't tell if he is restless and about to leave or, to be charitable, trying to interrupt the Pope by perhaps shouting 'and sure y'Holiness your right at that!'
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