From our man on Hadrian’s Wall – In a flurry, a row of tartan mitres have come over the parapet and launched a sortie against the Scottish Labour Party.
The Labour social agenda has been enforced across the isle, but our northern parliamentary masters have endured the double blow of a New Labour Parliament and a Scottish Executive shrieking PC values like a steam whistle, often directly at the Church.
Now, their Lairdships are hitting back.
Last week, Cardinal O’Brien caused a stir by seeming to smile on the SNP’s bid for power in the upcoming elections. There followed a slew of protests about the Church playing politics.
Today the Bishops of Scotland hit back with a volley of invective at the ruling Labour party, saying the disregard of the party for life, family values and the views of the majority demanded condemnation.
Cardinal O’Brien has indicated he no longer feels it is worth the effort of being involved in further consultation exercises with the Scottish Executive. This follows the homosexual adoption debate, in which he described New Labour as “gravely immoral”, and called the policies put forward a “distorted social experiment”.
This weekend Bishop Philip Tartaglia of Paisley said: “Catholics are tired of being bullied into accepting an intolerant new orthodoxy on issues such as homosexual unions while the family and marriage are constantly attacked by a very anti-family Labour Party.”
Writing in a local paper today, Bishop Devine of Motherwell said of future dealings the Executive, with whom there is almost no common ground, “I am not prepared to be party to a policy of appeasement.”
“Let me be clear. The Church has no desire to engage in a party political dogfight… Our efforts are an attempt to refocus this executive away from the politically correct obsessives and subscribe instead to the traditional Christian values of family life in society.
“I now give notice to the Scottish Executive that, should it continue to introduce legislation that conflicts with Christian truths and values, I will not hesitate to exercise my right to criticise them with all the energy, determination and resources at my disposal.”
When asked if a similar statement would be forthcoming, a spokesperson for the Bishop’s Conference of England and Wales said “Are you drunk?”