Monday, 8 February 2010

Equal before God?

I find the upset over comments by Pope Benedict XVI on the subject of our proposed equality laws somewhat confusing. I commented briefly at Letters from A Tory, and want to amplify that comment a little.

What Benedict said (as I understand) is that the proposed laws caused him some concern in that they might require the Church to give equal treatment to (for example) homosexual applicants to positions within the Church. Previously, religious organisations have been exempt from such requirements. From the chorus of disapproval that his comments have sparked, it would rather seem that this is an intended effect of the legislation rather than an "accidental" one.

Let's look at that a little more closely, as it highlights the nature of modern "equality". Ms Harman seemingly wants a homosexual man to be equally able to become a Catholic worker as any other man. The result is that he would then attend the Church's various groups and, potentially, assist in promoting the Church's teachings. Teachings that include the view that homosexuality is wrong.

Now, if the man concerned was once a practising homosexual but now resisted that temptation, then there is obviously no conflict there. Christian teaching is that we are all subject to temptation but must resist. However, as I understand the Church's position, such a man would not now be excluded from consideration. So, we must infer from the reaction that Labour want to be able to force the Church to take on someone who is openly and actively homosexual.

Someone who, in short, will then be an utter hypocrite.

Is this Labour's definition of equality? The right of all to be hypocritical? If so, what does it tell us about New Labour and, especially, Ms Harman?

The fallacy inherent in the criticism of the Pope lies, of course, in the distinction between the sin and the sinner. Christianity has long been able to distinguish the two, hating the sin but loving (and forgiving) the sinner. Socialists seem unable to tell the difference, though, so they assume that someone who objects to homosexuality therefore hates and condemns the person. Again, that tells us more about them than about the people that they in turn condemn.

Or, to put it another way, this whole fuss just shows us that New Labour seem surprised to have discovered that the Pope is, in fact, Catholic.


  1. Good post, though I don't know that the holy Father was attacking just the latest legislation, neither was he only thinking of homosexuality (the legislation would presumably mean Catholics must employ Muslim youthworkers and vice versa).

    Should Stonewall be required to employ me even though I am a practicing Catholic, who believes

    a) homosexuality to be an objectively disordered state

    b) homosexual acts to be gravely sinful,

    and am therefore

    c) entirely out of sympathy with the nature of the job and organisation?

    Does the Labour Party have to employ Tories?

    The principle I am appealing to here is recognised in the legislation, for the Church has an exemption for clergy. What the Government doesn't realise, though is that the Church has lay- ministers, who as ministers are necessarily bound by the same moral code as ordained ministers.

    That the Government hasn't realised this indicates that it is out of touch with the huge amount of community work Christians do. In short, by being so impeccably secular "we don't do God", they are incapable of applying their own principles to the huge numbers of people who do do God.

    Which is another way of saying they are unfit to govern our country.

    As if anyone needed reminding.

    Anyway, good on the Holy Father for standing up for basic freedoms. Get used to it everyone. We have daily more and more evidence (as if the 20th Century didn't already indicate the problem), that proper human rights cannot be articulated and defended without recourse to the Judeo-Christian tradition.

  2. Patently and Albert,

    Wasn't it a matter of time before Labour tried to regulate where angels fear to tread? Troubled waters lie ahead.

    I always enjoy Stephen Fry's use of language. Have a look at this.

  3. Wasn't it a matter of time before Labour tried to regulate where angels fear to tread? Quite. If they think we will abide by such laws just because the state threatens sanctions against us they really need to read some history, and become more sensitive to the response of Catholics to state persecution in other parts of the world.

    Re Fry: Sorry Measured, I've given up at the point at which Fry says Galileo was tortured by the Inquisition. It's a myth, for which there is no evidence and plenty of evidence against it. But even if it wasn't, what would it prove? The fact that people keep having to go back to this one example surely proves something.

    The contrast with the abuse of science by atheists in C20th is instructive.

    I read Hitchens' book God is not Great. It's so ill-informed. I could write a better book against religion. To hear Fry begin with such a falsity, does not bode well for the rest of it.

  4. Catholicism isn't politically correct; Labour didn't used to be either so could enjoy the comfortably-given support of the (mostly) less well to do Roman Catholics. I wonder if many Roman Catholics might not desert new Labour at the next election, for its sociocultural policies are clearly sinful.

  5. I wonder if many Roman Catholics might not desert new Labour at the next election

    It's a good question HG. Catholics by and large are naturally Labour voters - they have tended to be working class and often immigrants. The Church's social doctrine can also be interpreted as supporting Labour policy.

    However, I think it's a safe bet that many Catholics will vote against Labour. The Government has created a complete change of mood in the Church - they couldn't have been more successful in doing that if they had been trying to lose Labour voters. We've seen our adoption agencies closed, and endless anti-life polcies in place, together with the general contempt for religion and conscience. The Holy Father getting involved will have sealed it for many Catholics. And in addition, Labour hasn't dealt with problems of poverty, which is the one thing Catholics have voted Labour for.

    The only thing is, Cameron doesn't seem much better - he's not able to think for himself either.

  6. The parish priests in Italy used earnestly to exhort their parishioners to vote for 'a Christian party and a democratic party'. I think Mr Cameron and his Party meet both of those criteria.

    Labour certainly meet neither but, then, nor did the communists and socialists in Italy either. They used to get very cross about their distinguishing characteristics being pointed out at Mass every Sunday at election times.