Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Catholic Archbishop threatens Government

Vincent Nichols is the Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham, and he seems to be jockeying for the Westminster succession. Following his campaign against the Government on faith schools, which (according to Lord Baker) was founded upon lies and hysteria, he has now threatened to withdraw all Catholic co-operation with the Government if the new sexual orientation regulations proceed. The withdrawal of its traditional support for the Labour Party in marginal seats would have a very interesting effect in a general election.

The regulations have a genesis in EU equality directives (there’s a surprise) and are designed to stop businesses from discriminating against homosexuals. They will, for example, oblige Christian or Muslim printers to print ‘Gay News’ (if such a publication exists – you get Cranmer’s point), or Christian hoteliers to accommodate homosexual partners. It has even been suggested that a vicar who refuses to bless a homosexual union (or serve them Holy Communion?) may also be liable to being sued. The Catholic Church is particularly concerned about a potential obligation to place adoptive children with homosexual parents.

While most of the nation’s Christians appear to have elevated Vincent Nichols to the status of great moral leader, Cranmer cannot but wonder at the hypocrisy of the man. His argument against gay adoption is not so much based on nature or statistics, but on an assertion that heterosexuality is the majority expression in the country, and therefore the one that should prevail. Why should he not abolish priestly celibacy by the same reasoning? It is clearly damagingly repressive, and Scripture condemns it as ‘a doctrine of demons’. And what does he say about the homosexuality and child abuse within his own organisation? The Archbishop ought to consider not only parables about splinters and planks (or motes and beams, depending on your translation), but also the implications of pluralism in an increasingly post-Christian era.

And yet, and yet…

The Archbishop says very wisely: ‘The Government must realise that it is not possible to seek co-operation with us while at the same time trying to impose upon us conditions which contradict our moral values. It is simply unacceptable to suggest that the resources of faith communities, whether in schools, adoption agencies, welfare programmes, halls and shelters can work in co-operation with public authorities only if the faith communities accept not simply a legal framework but also the moral standards at present being touted by the Government… Those who are elected to fashion our laws are not elected to be our moral tutors. They have no mandate or competence to be so.’

Cranmer agrees wholeheartedly with this. He just wishes the words had come from the Archbishop of Canterbury – the man who is supposed to be the thorn in the side of a morally corrupt and intellectually deficient government.


Anonymous Colin said...

While I completely agree with His Grace, I am wondering about this sentence:

"His argument against gay adoption is not so much based on nature or statistics, but on an assertion that heterosexuality is the majority expression in the country, and therefore the one that should prevail."

Is there any doubt that statistics might not support this assertion or that heterosexuality would not automatically prevail?

28 November 2006 at 17:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Government is mad.........completely unhinged. This destroys in effect gay bars, gay hotels, gay saunas, gay holiday organisers, and removes any diversity in the marketplace. The GLBT segment is hardly more than 3-5% population, but any specialisation of goods and services is completely destroyed by this provision and economically such providers as do exist will be blown away if mainstream hotels and shops and saunas and holiday groups are forced into providing for this market.

The imposition of such rules to a Bed & Breakfast are to my mind outrageous, since to a large degree a B&B is a private home outside big cities and it should be permitted for a homeowner to determine who might stay under his roof. It is wrong to make a homeowner liable for prosecution on the grounds that he might have discriminated in his choice of tenant.

I agree with the Archbishop and find him impressive. The Church of England will keep stumm about this Bill because they will use its implementation to comply and permit gay blessings in Church and move towards full gay marriage rites.

The ONS has already removed the words spinster and bachelor from the wedding certificate in favour of single and it is pretty clear that within a short period same-sex nuptials will be officially provided with a full wedding ceremony within the Church of England for fear of prosecution.

Thus The Church will become totally subservient to The State.

The imposition of this agenda will be detrimental to GLBT minorities when the pendulum swings and it will be disastrous for GLBT businesses seeking to provide services to a defined clientele...........and the only sector of society where all-male clubs were still permitted will essentially cease to exist

28 November 2006 at 17:53  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

Clergy have been ordered to use the word "single" instead of "bachelor" or "spinster" when filling in the marriage registers. Some are refusing to be coopted into this implicit promotion of Nulabour "partnerships" and are continuing to use the forbidden words. We shall see what happens.

28 November 2006 at 21:50  
Anonymous Colin said...

Forbidden words.

What is next?

Forbidden thoughts.

28 November 2006 at 23:32  
Anonymous exile said...

Have "most of the nation's Christians elevated Vincent Nichols to the status of a great moral leader"? I'm English and christian and I haven't; neither have any christians I know. Admittedly a small sample, but this seems something of a generalisation.

29 November 2006 at 04:53  
Anonymous Voyager said...

And what does he say about the homosexuality and child abuse within his own organisation?

Looking at the situation in Pennsylvania where the Anglican Bishop covered up his brother's sexual antics as an Anglican priest for over 20 years, I think the Anglican Church might like to wash its dirty linen too - churches attract pederasts

29 November 2006 at 05:39  
Anonymous bob said...

I think Archbishop Nichols has quite a lot to say about child abuse given that he chairs the Catholic Office for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults. As for homosexuality, the Vatican published a document entitled On Priesthood and Those With Homosexual Tendencies which I think clearly outlined a policy and position on the issue.

As regards celibacy, I think there's a reasonably good scriptural basis for it. One could cite the example of Jesus himself who was celibate. Or one could quote Matthew 19:10-12, or 1 Corinthians 7:27-34.

I think the central difficulty that this post points to seems to be a fear that Archbishop Nichols will become another Cardinal Hume, who seemed to be accepted as the nation's spiritual leader over the Archbishop of Canterbury.

29 November 2006 at 09:24  
Anonymous Voyager said...

as the nation's spiritual leader over the Archbishop of Canterbury.

I have the distinct impression Rowan would like that so he can focus on his contributions to The Guardian

29 November 2006 at 09:57  
Blogger Serf said...

Such is the totalitarian nature of equality legislation. In a free country, we should be allowed freedom of association, both in our private lives and in our commercial ones. Forcing someone to accept customers goes completely against all notions of freedom, however much one might decry another's prejudices. Live and let live means a world without such draconian legislation.

29 November 2006 at 11:14  
Blogger Peter O said...

Your Grace,

A thought struck me this morning (so I blogged about it). Could I be liable for prosecution if, as an Anglican Priest I refused Communion to an unrepentant sinner, and that sin happened to be homosexual activity?

29 November 2006 at 13:25  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will this ban gay clubs from gay-only gatherings? What about gay holiday companies? Will they be forced to cater for straights?

29 November 2006 at 13:28  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Well Peter Ould would you be withholding Communion from others who have sinned - adulterers for example, or specifically focusing on one particular subset of sinner ?

The joys of wordplay with barristers are not quite as scintillating as television makes them out to be; the utter dreariness of proceedings should have you prepare your case wisely. I am looking forward to your challenging this peculiar legislative interference with Ecclesiastical Canon and hope you prove a doughty defender of our interests before the forces of Secular Absolutism

29 November 2006 at 14:08  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Peter O,

The reason His Grace placed the 'Holy Communion question mark' issue in parenthesis was precisely because Parliament has not even considered what may indeed be a logical if unintended consequence of this legislation. If it applies to 'services', the sense in which the Church 'provides' weddings, blessings, communion, etc., to the 'consumer' is a theological and sociological reality which (presently) is not exempt from this legislation.

If a priest withholds communion from a practising homosexual, this is clearly discriminiation on the grounds of sexual behaviour (as opposed to orientation). When it is tested in the courts (as it is bound to be), and ultimately brought before the European Court of Human Rights, His Grace is of the opinion that the 'extremism' and 'intolerance' of Christian doctrine and praxis will be paraded in the media, and the Church obliged to send out positive and welcoming messages to counter the 'brand contamination'.

Priests may find themselves in court defending such cases. His Grace is fairly sure that imams will be exempt...

29 November 2006 at 15:10  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Of course were you to have a Bible reading from Leviticus in each service with the congregation reciting the appropriate passages you could have the exits full before dispensing Communion

29 November 2006 at 16:11  
Anonymous vikki said...

Preach the word in love.....their conscience would not permit them to take communion

29 November 2006 at 20:39  
Anonymous Tyndale said...

At this rate we are all going to have to bugger off to Antwerp and it wont be the first time.

Next it will be Christian bookshops being banned in Bradford.

Why did I bother?

29 November 2006 at 23:35  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Antwerp is heavily Muslim today with a Hezbollah asylum seeker causing much distress to its resident Jewish community

30 November 2006 at 10:21  
Anonymous Voyager said...

One may marvel at the sight of a Livingstone/C of E axis on immigration, though it is natural that bishops who are rapidly losing their congregations should show solidarity with superannuated Leftists who long ago lost theirs.

I just love this quotation from George walden's article in today's Telegraph


1 December 2006 at 06:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always thought this was a country of free speech. Obviously not any more!! At least, not for the majority. Hoteliers, & the like should have complete freedom to say who they do & don't want on their premises.
If the Churches don't stand together against this latest government clap-trap, they'll lose a lot more of their dwindling flock.

3 December 2006 at 18:02  

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