Truth, what is truth?

By far the most irritating part of a pending papal election is the increased coverage the Church receives in the editorial pages of the newspapers and on evening news programmes.

Those who at all other times positively revel in their profound ignorance of the Church’s teaching suddenly begin opining with pontifical authority on ‘the challenges facing the Church’ or, more often, ‘what the next pope must do’ to stave off ecclesial cataclysm.

When a token effort is made to bring in someone with some actual learning on the subject, inevitably they trot out the same ‘progressive voices’ from schismatic universities; a chorus line of feminists and failed priests, of mad hair and bad teeth, of eccentric knitwear and disappointing breasts.

The same hackneyed themes are canted over and again: the next pope must engage with the issue of “wimin’s ordination” and at last repeal the absurd teachings on homosexuality. Diarmaid McCullough, offering to meet reality halfway, has predicted one more ‘traditionalist pope’ before an ‘explosion’ in the Church.

The shrewish insistence on what the Church must do is enough to drive one mad.

Refreshingly, this time around there have been some voices on sanity and orthodoxy trying to make themselves heard. Brave souls like Tim Stanley at the Telegraph and Ashley McGuire at the Washington Post have both posted coherent rebuttals to the nonsense hogging the print pages. It’s a nice by product of the ‘e-‘ era that people like them can offer some counterpoint under their paper’s banner head.

They offer a patient, if justifiably annoyed, explanation that the teaching of the Church, and the election of Peter’s successor, cannot be viewed, dissected and discussed through the prism of politics; the only mindset secular commentators can think to use. They lay out the basic differences between political theory and social philosophy on the one hand, and faith, revelation and Divine Law on the other. Both give an excellent beginner’s guide to engaging with Catholic issues at this time but I fear both will fall on deaf ears.

From what I have observed over the years when speaking to atheists, agnostics, well meaning Protestants and even (Lord preserve us) Guardian journalists, it’s not that they don’t understand the role of objective, unchanging truth in Catholic teaching – that is the very thing that upsets them.

In a culture which has broken free of any anchoring principles, religious or other, all that is left is an “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours” comparison of truths. But these ‘truths’ are, as the (still current) pope has demonstrated, relative and shifting. Those who still claim for themselves the fruit of the tree of knowledge internalise every discernment of right and wrong. Human discernment alone is a judgement on incomplete knowledge. As a result, moral relativists (no pejorative intended) have to shift their footing in the face of changing circumstances, experience and the competing truths of those around them, ending up in a complicated bull fight with the realities of life.

Their best defences against getting caught on the horns are the secular mottos of ‘dialogue’ and ‘mutual respect’, but the former is disingenuous and the later a sham.

Two opposed points of view cannot be equally true and, if you actually hold to your own ‘truth’ with any kind of sincerity, you can never truly respect another’s falsehood or error. In the light of this, dialogue is the mechanism by which you either begin to try to dismantle the other’s ‘truth’ under a flag of truce or engage in mutual disarmament until neither of you really believe in anything.

This is why the Church inspires such rage. By asserting the reality of the Truth, which exists outside us, it rejects the premise of hypocrisy implied by ‘mutual respect’ and, by refusing to engage in ‘dialogue’ on issues which it holds as settled and certain, it denies those outside the Truth the opportunity to diffuse its importance or reverse its implications. Instead of a bull which can be danced around in different directions to suit the need, truth becomes a brick wall which there is no getting past.

I have have seen this illustrated throughout my education. As an undergraduate studying under the much quoted Dr Tina Beattie, the teaching of John Paul the Great that priestly ordination was reserved by Divine Law to men alone (Ordinatio Sacerdotalis) was spoken of with especial bitterness not because of the teaching itself but because it was declared definitive and not open to question or discussion, slamming the door on a cultural war of attrition from within the Church.

It is a great shame that the source of serenity in faith, the certain nature of truth, the rock we cling to in times of trouble and confusion, is encountered by others only as the solid surface against they collide in their disorientation.

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

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.”

Tories eject 19 year Councillor over gay penguins

A 72 year-old councillor from Bourmouth has had to resign from the Conservative party, been suspended from two committees and is facing calls for him to undergo “sensitivity training” today.

This is the price one pays for joking about gay animals, our newest and perhaps most oppressed minority. 

Mr David Clutterbuck, a Bournmouth Council veteran of 19 years, raised a universal shriek of horror after suggesting that a modern Noah would need planning permission for the ark, have to carry out an environmental impact study, contact the RSPCA and would face legal problems for only taking in heterosexual animal couples. The comments were made in an email.

Animal homosexuality is set to become the new ‘it’ cause, offering as it does, a single point of contact for both militant homosexuals and animal rights extremists.

In the race to comdemn him first, the local Tory party issued a staunch denial and hinted his resignation would have been forced.

Stephen MacLoughlin, the leader of the council’s Tory group, said: “In the light of derogatory comments made by Councillor Clutterbuck regarding gay people, we have taken immediate action. His statements have caused offence, particularly in Bournemouth’s gay community. They are contrary to the council’s equality and diversity policies.

“His comments are unacceptable, especially from someone who deals with personnel and community issues. I hope he thinks seriously about the offence he has caused, and that he will act appropriately.”

That Mr Clutterbuck confined his observations to animals and would appear to be have been absolutly correct in his assertions does not appear to have registered with anyone in Bournemouth or the Tory party as yet.

It is expected that Peter Tachell and the Chairman of the RSPCA will hold a joint press conference later today at which they will call for Mr Clutterbuck to be eviscerated.

Mr Clutterbuck, who has the unreserved support of the RCC, has stood by his comments and vowed to contest the next local election as an independent.

Left-wing twerp accidentally right

Jimmy McGovern, a screen writer I have never heard of, who created dramas including Hillsborough, which I have also never heard of, has condemned “latte-drinking, pesto-eating middle-class” TV executives. Speaking from the Edinburgh Television festival, he further denounced the treatment of Britain’s working class as patronising and offensive.

At yesterday’s debate, the key focus was on whether TV executives and programme makers were exploiting the working classes. Several highly self-important people led a discussion on whether the white working class was the only group left that it was acceptable to ridicule openly. Ignoring the irony of doing so in a forum entitled “Chav TV”.

Reality television shows such as Wife Swap, Big Brother and others consisting of working-class participants were the focus of most criticism, but comedy programmes such as Little Britain also came under the censor of the group for trying to milk a laugh from the peasant underbelly of society.

McGovern accused industry executives of treating their audience with contempt: “Normally, they would look to people on the left to speak up for them, but they haven’t. Because they’re not sexy. Unlike black lesbians, white, working-class men aren’t sexy. So they are either ignored or patronised.”

The RCC, of course, commends public denunciations of PC favouritism, but it must be pointed out that there is nothing sexy about black lesbians, nothing sexy at all.

Demonstrating a remarkable grasp of modern marketing strategy, he continued: “These executives don’t sit around and say, what kind of intelligent, informative, thought-provoking programmes would we like to watch? They think, what will the ignorant plebs that watch our channel want to see?”

A YouGov survey released at the event showed that most people in the television industry think that Vicky Pollard, the teenage delinquent happy to swap her baby for a Westlife CD, is an accurate representation of the white working class in Britain.

The study found that 70% of industry representatives thought the Little Britain character who smokes, drinks

and struggles to string a sentence together was a fairly typical reflection of the youth of today.

The poll also showed that 40% of viewers found the portrayal of the track-suited prole offensive; suggesting that some 28% find the working classes horrible and are offended at being presented with them.  

Michael Collins, writer and presenter of Channel 4’s Working Class (and founder of the Irish Republic(, actress Sally Lindsay and freelance journalist and broadcaster Sarfraz Manzoor were also on the panel, chaired by writer and broadcaster Mark Lawson.

I have never heard of any of these people.

Recusant firemen take a stand & a pay cut

Scotland has been leading the way in the modern persecution of the Church for some time. Now, hot on the heals of the charging of a football who crossed himself in public, nine firemen have been vilified, demoted and will be subjected to anti-Catholic re-education for standing up for their beliefs.

In June, they and their collegues at Strathclyde Fire & Rescue were ordered to attend, in uniform, the “Scotia Pride” homosexual rally and distriute fire safety leaflets. They refused.

Citing the presence of sexual deviants dressed as priests and nuns and vocally mocking the Church, as well as the target of abuse and mockery they would be, they declined to attend.

They have been openly condemned by their employers, and today it has come to light that one of the men was demoted and handed a £5,000 pay cut. All the men are to be given diversity training and a written warning.

HG Mario Conti, Archbishop of Glasgow, defended the firemen;

“There was no question of these officers’ competency or commitment being called into question, nor was there any suggestion that they were refusing to come to the assistance of people in danger.  

“They were asked, while in uniform, to hand out leaflets during a demonstration where they had legitimate concerns about being the subject of taunts and jokes, and in which in some cases, their religious sensibilities would have been grossly offended by people dressed as priests and nuns lampooning the Church.”

A fire service spokesman earlier said the firefighters’ refusal was a “fundamental breach of their core responsibilities”.

Given the current climate in which everyone is at pains to stress the place in modern British society for ‘consevative’ Islam, no such room is made for Catholicism. These men are suffering for their beliefs, and while they would bridle at the language, earning a martyr’s crown in the process.