Thursday 15 March 2012

Today's Catholic bishops must apply the prophetic words of Pope Pius XI

This week and next week contains two 75th anniversaries of encyclicals by Pope Pius XI, both of which contain words which are particularly apposite to the grave situation which parents and the family must face today. Yesterday was the 75th anniversary of Mit brennender sorge ("With burning sorrow", against Nazism), in which Pius XI wrote:
"Parents who are earnest and conscious of their educative duties, have a primary right to the education of the children God has given them in the spirit of their Faith, and according to its prescriptions. Laws and measures which in school questions fail to respect this freedom of the parents go against natural law, and are immoral.
"We address Our special greetings to the Catholic parents. Their rights and duties as educators, conferred on them by God, are at present the stake of a campaign pregnant with consequences. The Church cannot wait to deplore the devastation of its altars, the destruction of its temples, if an education, hostile to Christ, is to profane the temple of the child's soul consecrated by baptism ... Then the violation of temples is nigh, and it will be every one's duty to sever his responsibility from the opposite camp, and free his conscience from guilty cooperation with such corruption. The more the enemies attempt to disguise their designs, the more a distrustful vigilance will be needed, in the light of bitter experience ... [D]o not forget this: none can free you from the responsibility God has placed on you over your children. None of your oppressors, who pretend to relieve you of your duties can answer for you to the eternal Judge, when he will ask: 'Where are those I confided to you?' May every one of you be able to answer: 'Of them whom thou hast given me, I have not lost any one' (John xviii. 9)."
And next Monday will be the 75th anniversary of Divini Redemptoris (against Communism), in which Pius XI wrote:
"Refusing to human life any sacred or spiritual character, such a doctrine logically makes of marriage and the family a purely artificial and civil institution, the outcome of a specific economic system. There exists no matrimonial bond of a juridico-moral nature that is not subject to the whim of the individual or of the collectivity. Naturally, therefore, the notion of an indissoluble marriage-tie is scouted ... [T]he right of education is denied to parents, for it is conceived as the exclusive prerogative of the community, in whose name and by whose mandate alone parents may exercise this right."
Reflecting on these great, prophetic words, I am painfully reminded of the unresolved scandal of the appointment of Greg Pope as deputy director of the Catholic Education Service (CES), an organ of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales. Here is but a small sample of Mr Pope's lengthy record of opposing Catholic pro-life/pro-family teaching during his time as a member of parliament. Mr Pope:
  • voted against a bill which would have required practitioners providing contraception or abortion services to a child under the age of 16 to inform his or her parent or guardian (14 Mar 2007)
  • signed a parliamentary motion praising a condom manufacturer for helping schools host “National Condom Week” (11 May 2004)
  • voted against measures (popularly known as “section 28”) preventing local councils from promoting homosexuality, including the teaching in schools of “the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship” (5 Jul 2000) (10 Mar 2003) (10 Mar 2003). He also signed a parliamentary motion in the same vein (24 Mar 2004).
  • voted against amendments restricting adoption to heterosexual couples (20 May 2002) and married couples (4 Nov 2002). He also signed a parliamentary motion in the same vein (24 Mar 2004).
In other words, Mr Pope has voted for or otherwise publicly supported the anti-life and anti-family ideas which Pope Pius XI found and condemned in Nazism and Communism. So, will the Catholic bishops' conference of England and Wales sack Mr Pope, or do they prefer totalitarianism?

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