A Bit of How’s Yer Fathers?

As the debate over the new Equality Act continues to rage, it seems to me that the only people still arguing against the church being allowed it’s freedom are the militant homosexual lobby.Matthew_Parris I thought this was particularly apparent on Question Time last night, whereon, thank goodness, someone at last made the point that the first consideration should be the good of the child needing adoption, rather than the right of any person to adopt. 

Common sense, statistics and all respectable research on the subject inform us that (surprise! surprise!) children are best off when they have a mother and father.  The fact of the matter is that a proper family unit of father, mother and children achieves (to borrow from the government lexicon) the best outcomes for children. Does anyone really believe that it is a coincidence that Young Offenders Institutes are almost entirely populated by people from family situations other than this?

The undisputed statistics also show that not only do Catholic agencies deal with a third of the most difficult cases (only 4% of cases overall), but that adoptions organised by the Catholic agencies have an extraordinarily higher success rate (i.e. far fewer of them end in collapse with the child going back into care). The reasons for this are hardly obscure.

The church agencies and the people who apply to them are motivated by charity, inspired by their faith. Some others we might mention are motivated by the selfish desire to exercise their supposed right to a child, as though the unfortunate soul were another fashionable accessory to complete their designer life. So what happens when the child isn’t perfect? The same as with the new plasma screen television that doesn’t work, they send it back to the shop. Hence, whilst some demand the right to adopt, the church asks to retain the right to put the needs of the child first and the needs of the prospective adopter second. gay adoption catholic church

The Unlikeliest Plug of All

The RCC is rightly proud of how far it’s come since its inception last summer, having attracted over 12,000 unique visitors and numerous recommendations from ‘blogs’ and websites across the spectrum of the Anglophone Catholic World. Our esteemed captain, Mr EF Condon V, has even been interviewed by no less an organ than the Catholic Herald of London.

None of this, however, could really prepare us for the surprise of being ‘namechecked’ by none other than that great enemy of just about all things Recusant (or otherwise halfway decent), the Champagne Socialists Daily Intelligencer (incorporating the Bleeding Heart Liberal’s Gazette and the Daily Trot), Otherwise known as the Manchester Guardian.

The occasion for this appearance, in Mr Hugh Muir’s diary column of December 22 last, is the republication of His Eminence the Archbishop of Sydney’s recent comments on the competition between the English and Australian Cricket teams, and the moderate, conciliatory reply offerred by our own Skipper in his Herald interview. Reflecting on the regrettable outcome of the tournament, Mr Muir observed:

Now that the battle is lost we turn to theologians to bring love where there is hatred, peace where there is discord. Cardinal George Pell of Sydney tells the Australian Sunday Telegraph that “you should never kick a man when he is down”, although with the England team one must consider – metaphorically – whether “he looks like getting back up”. Prior to the final test the cardinal, who favours a muscular form of theology, also warned against giving “a mug a break”. In the Catholic Herald, Eddie Condon, captain of the London-based Recusant Cricket Club – which fuses Catholicism with cricket – responds in kind, claiming Australia has the “raging inferiority complex of a country which is still, in theory, a colony”. By comparison the test cricketers were positively graceful.

Until we appear in the Supporters Magazine of Glasgow Rangers Football Club, I’m claiming that as the most satisfyingly unlikely mention ever.

No Popery Plumbs New Depths

Dr Evan Harris, the LibDem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon appeared on Radio Five Live on Tuesday night. You can hear the interview here  (it will be available until next Tuesday) – fast forward to 2 hours 4 mins into the programme.  Dr Harris makes two slurs against the Church – firstly likening the Church to the BNP and if that much brass neck wasn’t enough then  shifting analogies by likening the situation to that of Rosa Parks – the brave woman who stood up against segregation in Alabama by a simple act of defiance. Presumably Dr Harris sees himself as the heroic Miss Parks, the Catholic Church in the role of the KKK.

In truth, the gay lobby is not averse to brownshirt tactics – disrupting Mass of Palm Sunday at Westminster Cathedral and a session of the General Synod of the Church of England. I have yet to hear of any incidents involving the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales organising some toughs to disrupt a meeting of OutRage! or Stonewall.

So, we all know mud sticks:  for stating  her  belief in both principle and practice  that vulnerable children up for adoption are best looked after in a stable, normal family, the Catholic Church is in the basket with British neo-Nazis and redneck segregationists. This is the a version of  Godwin’s Law: if the likes of Dr Harris can only resort to likening the Catholic Church to racists, the argument is over. Just for the record this is the teaching of the Catholic Church on the matter:

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

 The times are difficult for us and many Catholics will have found themselves this week defending the Church’s position to friends and colleagues. As for the threats of the likes of Dr Harris and members of the Cabinet. Remember St John Ogilvie:

 “Your threats cheer me; I mind them no more than the cackling of geese.”

Things are likely to get worse. If so, so be it. But again, remember St John Ogilvie:

Asked if he feared to die he said, “No more than you do to dine.”

Holy Words

This man became the leader of his country following a coup within his own party. He was a decent chap and wanted the country to be decent as well. His image of the ideal life was a certain game being played on village greens, church bells ringing and warm beer. He wanted to get back to basics but when he arrived there, he found only sleaze. Who am I talking about? The answer of course, is the Right Hon. John Major. The former Prime Minister is one of the candidates in a poll being run by the BBC website (here) to find out the nation’s favourite prime minister. I have no interest in the political side of the poll, although I may vote for Lady Thatcher just to annoy the Trots, but thought that this little ditty may be of interest to Club members. Major may have been an old fashioned, weak sap, but if so his heart was in the right place. On the subject of death, he wrote,

“Oh, Lord, if I must die today,
Please make it after Close of Play.
For this, I know, if nothing more,
I will not go, without the score.”

Amen.

A moustache too far?

His Majesty King Gyanendra Shah of Nepal, who faces the chop after constituent assembly elections planned for June, has made his first public appearance since the promulgation of the interim constitution last week which suspended the monarchy and stripped him of his position as titular head of state.

Appearing on Tuesday in Hanumandhoka Durbar Square, Kathmandu, the King participated in a public religious festival to mark the traditional first day of Spring which involved paying respects to the Hindu goddess of learning and chanting verses from Hindu scriptures. Although he appeared without the fanfare of royal motorcades, he was garlanded and presented with a salute by the (previously royal) Nepal Army.

Our man behind the Royal drinks cabinet inside the Narayanhity Palace reports that, without any constitutional or ceremonial roles left to fulfil, and online gambling beginning to take its toll on the Royal purse, His Majesty is keen to maintain his religious duties – particularly since devout Hindus are among his last vocal supporters. Perhaps somewhat bizarrely, it is reported that when Hindus celebrate the Shiva Ratri festival next month, royalists will organise a march of Indian Naga Sadhus (ascetics) who wear only a loin cloth throughout the year. The holy men will parade on the roads of the capital, demanding the restoration of Nepal as a Hindu kingdom. A frightening prospect indeed!

However, in yet another worrying development, Tuesday’s crowds in the capital were taken aback by His Majesty’s new appearance. No longer having to look his best for visiting heads of state, foreign ambassadors or, indeed, anyone at all, it now appears that their sovereign monarch sports a rather un-regal moustache! The end is surely nigh.

A recusant postcard

I have recently come across this photo-picture of His Holiness the Pope receiving His Majesty Francis II, rightful heir of the House of Stuart and king of England, Scotland, Ireland and France.

franz.jpg

God save His Majesty over the water.

Just 2nd best?

Andrew Flintoff celebrates England's first win of 2007, England v New Zealand, CB Series, 3rd match, Hobart, January 16, 2007I have to admit to a certain disappointment in England’s victory over New Zealand. While it was a thrilling finish and I was certainly handsomely rewarded for my attention, I was grimly predicting a series without a win.

In a way, much more could have been taken from a tour duck then if we go on to beat New Zealand in the triangular series and loose again and again to Australia. Abject defeat might disturb the torpor which has becalmed the England selection and managment since the Ashes ’05.

The possibility of beating New Zealand with some consistency and finishing second would allow the powers to continue to say that we are actually fine, it is just that Australia are scandalously good at cricket.

I certainly would not have said so. But looking at it, there is some defense in this claim – we did just beat New Zealand who are ranked 3 places ahead of us.

We did also draw with Pakistan in the summer, ranked another three places ahead of them.

Our Test thrashing of Pakistan in August (and the Oval debacle notwithstanding, it was a thrashing) without Flintoff, Vaughan et al showed what we can do to the supposed ‘next best’ after Australia and us.

Some lessons have already been learned from the Ashes. For a start, the selection of Vaughan as Captain has finally shown that Graveny and co, if not Fletcher, have understood that this is a specialist position and one England cannot function without.

Michael Vaughan celebrates another wicket and another catch, England v New Zealand, CB Series, 3rd match, Hobart, January 16, 2007It is no coincidence that England won, Flintoff batted like the man of old and even Jimmy Anderson bowled well. These all happened after Vaughan had time to reassert his authority (and take three catches). A similar surge in form happened when Vaughan first took over against South Africa.

In the modern game there is an obsession with the all-rounder.

The endless hunt for a batting keeper to replace Alec Stewart is still going on, and Fletcher feels justified in picking Gilo over Monty for a mythical 10 extra runs.

What England have learned the very, very hard way this winter is that you cannot become a leader, you either are or you are not. Flintoff is not a leader of men. His captaincy was a costly mistake and one that should have been avoided after seeing the ability of Strauss over the summer.

Now that Vaughan is back in the team – and more importantly holding Fletcher’s lead again – we might get a better picture of how good England really are.