Monday 23 August 2010

The bishops must defend life by cutting their ties with pro-homosexual "rights" campaigning Catholics

As I frequently mention, Pope John Paul II, the great pro-life champion, teaches in paragraph 97 of Evangelium Vitae that it is an illusion to think that we can build a true culture of human life if we do not offer adolescents and young adults an authentic education in sexuality, and in love, and the whole of life according to their true meaning and in their close interconnection. In this connection, it's high time the Catholic bishops of England and Wales defended the culture of life by cutting their ties with pro-homosexual "rights" campaigning Catholics.

There were at least two articles in last weekend's mainstream press attacking the Catholic Church's opposition to homosexual* adoption - and both were by former official advisors to the Catholic bishops' conference of England and Wales.

The first article, in the pro-abortion Guardian, was written by Martin Pendergast, a former member of the bishops' social welfare committee. He was also a faith-advisory member of the government’s strongly pro-abortion Teenage Pregnancy Independent Advisory Group (TPIAG) for five years. Mr Pendergast is best known as a militant activist among Christians for so-called homosexual rights. He is the leading figure in the organisation of regular Masses in Westminster archdiocese for a group of homosexuals which dissents from the Church's teaching on homosexuality. Vincent Nichols, archbishop of Westminster, continues to allow priests to celebrate these Masses at a central diocesan church, despite the heartfelt and well-founded objections of faithful pro-life/pro-family Catholics to the situation. Mr Pendergast is the civil partner of Julian Filochowski, former head of CAFOD, the bishop's overseas aid agency, and a trustee of The Tablet , which remains on sale at Westminster cathedral and in Catholic churches throughout England and Wales despite its notorious dissent from Catholic pro-life/pro-family teaching. Bishop John Crowley, former bishop of Middlesbrough, attended a Mass in 2001 to celebrate 25 years of the Pendergast - Filochowski relationship.

The second article, in the pro-abortion Independent, was written by Paul Vallely, a director of The Tablet and an advisor to the bishops on prison welfare. Mr Vallely has also been active in CAFOD, as well as the Catholic Institute for International Relations (CIIR), now renamed Progressio (see my 2008 blog about Progressio's association with the pro-abortion cause.)

Both Pendergast and Vallely claim that Catholics do not have to follow the Church's teaching on homosexuality, which they label a third level (i.e. not infallible) teaching. William May, a leading American bioethicist, exploded that claim, writing:
"[The] magisterium has proposed, as a matter definitively to be held, that it is always gravely immoral intentionally to kill the innocent, to commit adultery (or fornication or sodomy), etc."
The relevant Vatican teaching documents (1975, 1986, 1995, 2003) make clear the Catholic Church's perennial teaching on the matter. Also this past weekend, Archbishop Alberto Suarez Inda of Morelia, Mexico, has taught the Church's objections to homosexual adoption.

So Archbishop Nichols and the bishops' conference of England and Wales needs to decide: Who are they in communion with  - Pope Benedict XVI and the archbishop of Morelia, or Pendergast, Vallely and The Tablet? It cannot be both. As our Lord said, a man cannot serve two masters; he will love the one and hate the other.

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