Friday, June 27, 2008

Labour’s anti-Catholic attitudes

Labour MP Jim Dobbin has already written to the Prime Minister expressing his concern about the ‘anti-Catholic attitudes’ of some party members. His letter follows the resignation of Conor McGinn, the Roman Catholic vice-chairman of Young Labour , citing the ‘anti-Catholicism’ which surfaced around the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. And now the theme continues on LabourHome.

Mary Honeyball sounds like a character straight out of the pages of Roald Dahl, and she also looks like one. In reality she is a Labour politician who finds herself at the centre of a storm for daring to question the right of Roman Catholic cabinet members to ‘undermine’ the authority of the Prime Minister.

In her article for The Guardian - Cardinals' sins – she observes that ‘politics and piety are becoming increasingly entangled’ and posits that ‘democracy and religion do not mix’.

Cranmer has rarely come across such ignorant drivel from a politician, but one must remember that Miss Honeyball is an MEP.

She accuses the Prime Minister of ‘kowtowing’ to ‘three Catholic government ministers - Ruth Kelly, Des Browne and Paul Murphy – and this has ‘undermined his strength’.

Well, after the result in Henley, it would appear that the world and his dog have more strength than Gordon Brown at the moment, so it is convenient that Miss Honeyball can blame the Catholics. The wonder is she has not blamed Margaret Thatcher.

She refers to the ‘vice-like grip of Catholicism’ across parts of the Continent, and singles out the ‘meddling cardinals’ of Spain, Italy, Portugal and Ireland for particular reproach. She is particularly disapproving of anti-abortion campaigns which have ‘been led from the pulpit’.

One wonders what Miss Honeyball thinks the pulpit is for.

She then pours her invective upon the Roman Catholic faith:

Catholicism has never taken a back seat; it has always actively interfered in democratic politics. In 2006 Pope Benedict castigated Catholic politicians in Canada for voting for gay rights and Cardinal Keith O'Brien, leader of Scotland's Catholics, is alleged to have compared same-sex relationships to paedophilia. The same Cardinal O'Brien is now accusing the human fertilisation and embryology bill of challenging "standards by which we have lived throughout our lives and by which Christians have lived for the past 2,000 years".

And she lauds the enlightenment of her European masters for confronting these medieval attitudes head-on:

The European parliament has, fortunately, made a stand against some of this Christian fundamentalism. In a dramatic exercise of power in 2004, MEPs opposed the appointment of Rocco Buttiglione, nominated as a European commissioner by Silvio Berlusconi. Set to take up the justice, freedom and security portfolio, Buttiglione enraged the European parliament justice committee with his views on the role of women and his belief that homosexuality is a sin put forward during his confirmation hearings. The Italian government eventually withdrew his nomination as commissioner, due in large part to pressure from MEPs.

And this is the reasoning behind Miss Honeyball’s suggestion that Roman Catholics ought to be excluded from elected office. She asks: ‘Should devout Catholics such as Kelly, Browne and Murphy be allowed on the government front bench in the light of their predilection to favour the Pope's word above the government's?’

And she concludes:

Politicians are voted in to represent their electorates. People who vote for me and my colleagues expect us to further the interests of the public at large, not those of any particular religion, church, mosque, synagogue, temple or indeed any other interest group. We go against the democratic foundations of our country at our peril.

Cranmer is aghast at the level of naïveté and ignorance which Mary Honeyball manifests. He shall not waste the time of his readers and communicants with the historic role of the Protestant Christian faith in the development of democracy. And neither does he have any problem with raising the issue of ‘Parliament or Pope?’, since there are democratic concerns raised by the question of allegiance. But it beggars belief that an MEP has not considered that, in an age of non-discrimination and equality, her reasoning would exclude politicians of every and any faith from holding public office. And then she will be left to justify why only atheist secularists are fit to hold office, and what this would mean for the democratic majority who choose to adhere to a faith.

It might further be observed that if she were to replace ‘Catholic’ with ‘Muslim’ (against which religio-political construct every word of her reasoning could be equally applied), all hell would break loose, possibly with one or two bombs.

If there is to be no place for Catholics in non-religious political parties, it will lead to the formation of an exclusively Catholic party (probably called, in line with the continental tradition, the ‘Christian Democratic Party’). It is not without reason that many Roman Catholics endorsed The Christian Party candidate in the recent Mayoral elections in London. But as sure as night follows day, there will arise a Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, and Jedi Knight party.

There will be no Anglican party, for the vast majority of Anglicans shall feel very much at home in any of the above.

What Miss Honeyball’s comments establish is that British Catholics should have no affinity with the Labour Party. It has turned away from its working class roots and its concerns with social justice. New Labour has no time and makes no place for religious conscience. The ‘Catholic vote’ has been loyal to Labour since its foundation, and this loyalty has been tested to breaking point. One can only pray that traditional Labour-supporting RCs will have the good sense henceforth not to vote Labour. Their allegiance has been taken for granted for too long, and they will find a warm welcome in the broad church of Conservatism.


Blogger Homophobic Horse said...

Imagine a world in which individual human beings are deprived of any moral authority to think, to form judgments, to speak, and to act, but they only have moral authority insofar as they act as part of a committee consisting of all human beings. The result is that each individual human being, who actually has a mind, a personality, an identity, and is capable of acting and taking responsibility, becomes nothing, while the Committee of All Humanity, which has no mind, no personality, and no ability to act or take responsibliity, becomes the sole moral agent in the world.

Apply that idea to entire nations, and you have the post-political, post-human hell that is being created by the EU, internationalist forces.


As it happens Spain has just "granted" "human rights" to animals. We're already seeing the start of animal human miscegenation in the recent embryo bill. It'll be animal/human marriage by 2020.

Antichrist is coming.

27 June 2008 at 11:24  
Anonymous Stonemason said...

I would advise against an exodus by RC Labour Party members, MP's or any other flavour, It is very difficult to exert influence from the other side of the fence.

I think it is important that all faith groups remain and fight their fight inside the Labour party.

Honeyball's paranoia is evident in her youtube broadcast, , don't ignore this woman, at the end of the youtube clip there is a poster that reads

"Campaigning for an end to religious privilege and discrimination against non-religious people in the law, the workplace, education and provision of public services." Can any of this be true?

Of paramount importance is to note and remember her vision that is for the "separation of religion and politics". Not a very well spoken person, who knows what resides in her cranium.

27 June 2008 at 12:09  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace,

I fear that your grace has deserted you. However agrieved you may feel, it is unbecoming of one in your position to mock the family name and looks of any person, let alone a woman. That is the way to limit your congregation to those who will always agree with you (which would be a pity for you have many important arguments to make). I urge you to use your gifts to lay bare the arguments of your opponents, not attack their persons. (More particularly as your own visage is veiled.)
It becomes the cause of God to fight our battles with both integrity and courtesty, even with charity.

Here ends the rebuke.

I remain your devoted hearer and humble servant,

The ship's boy

27 June 2008 at 13:44  
Anonymous The recusant said...

The irony is that this woman is as fanatical and extreme about her own religion, atheistic secularism as any Catholic her fertile imagination can envisage; she is quite as fundamentalist in her beliefs as any on the extremes of Christianity. She is so blinkered and inflexible in her opinions that she cannot see the parallel with what she is espousing and that of any totalitarian state apparatchik that have gone before, she is well place in the EU.

In a strange paradox I find myself agreeing with Honeyball’s position that that British Catholics should have nothing to do with the Labour Party, but for every reason she objects to i.e. the position on abortion, embryonic stem cell research, SORs and adoption, Animal-Human Hybrids (It makes me queasy just typing it), Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, Sex Education and the promotion of contraception to school children, single parent policies, so called equality legislation & civil unions, Economic and taxation policies, the list goes on.

Well if Catholics are not entitled to hold and voice political opinions informed by the Catholic faith it looks like its back to the priest hole where the only vice-like grip this Catholic will have in on the door handle keeping the pagans out. We recusants know a thing or two about persecution in England.

27 June 2008 at 13:47  
Blogger Council House Tory said...

my dad the white, male, catholic, trade union member, now has four characteristics that new labour feminists hate.

can't wait to tell him.

27 June 2008 at 14:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As an MEP she well knows that the EU is a godless institution, having neither faith, morals nor principles that we would recognise. Their religion is power and money.

27 June 2008 at 14:15  
Blogger SACKERSON said...

Is modern socialism an attempt to replace the Decalogue with the Hexalogue? And can such a project work?

27 June 2008 at 14:33  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I notice that she does not pick on the vice like grip that her party has handed to the Islamics.

27 June 2008 at 14:57  
Blogger Windsor Tripehound said...

Miz Honeyball lends weight to Chesterton's aphorism that when men stop believing in God, they don't start believing in nothing, they start believing in anything.

27 June 2008 at 15:49  
Anonymous hear o israel said...

amazing , truly amazing

we pay money for this ??

so much for ms harmens equality bill to help women.

if this is a taster it would seem to produce both ignorance and idolatry

27 June 2008 at 16:22  
Blogger ultramontane grumpy old catholic said...

Your Grace

So we all know were we stand. The question is (to pick up Mr Stonemason's point) whether the Christian Left tries to fight inside the labour party or outside.

I suspect those who have recently resigned have found it just to difficult to fight from the inside.

A dose of the political wilderness is what the labour party really need. It took that to get the militant tendency out of their system.

And it's coming - it's coming! They couldnt even beat the BNP at the Henley Bye-election.

Into the dustbin of history with the lot of them!

27 June 2008 at 19:04  
Anonymous Cath said...

I live about 800 yards from Lister's Mill, where stands a plaque which says (and I might be paraphrasing here) 'The Labour Movement woz born 'ere'. In the middle of an immigrant Irish, er, CATHOLIC community. Interestingly, among the local Churches the Catholics built, is one whose first incumbent was the inspiration for Father Brown, which brings us full circle to Chesterton, too.

Oh the irony.

27 June 2008 at 19:23  
Anonymous judith said...

Ms Honeyball forgets that her former Leader has converted to Catholicism, and that his wife always was a Catholic.

27 June 2008 at 23:15  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


28 June 2008 at 08:29  
Anonymous Katy said...

Cranmer said;
'One wonders what Miss Honeyball thinks the pulpit is for'.

Quite. And while I also rejoice that the Irish voted 'no' to the EU Constitution-dressed-up-as-a-treaty, I think His Grace may be suffering from short-term memory loss, since it is a matter of days since he was getting hot under the dog-collar about Benedict having a different opinion and seeking to influence the result, the naughty man.

'And so when Pope Benedict XVI chooses the eve of the Irish referendum to praise an Irish monk by the name of St Columbanus, the speech would not have been accidental. Indeed, the attempt to influence the outcome is rather shameless.'

Eat more rosemary. It's lovely with lamb, and helps with memory loss.

28 June 2008 at 15:09  
Blogger voltaires said...

Yo Anonymous;

If you're going to do that foam flecked, pencils-from-a-cup act, then you'll find greater success in not using MAD SHOUTY CAPITALS. Someone may even listen to your prophecy of doom, though probably not...

28 June 2008 at 15:28  
Anonymous the last toryboy said...

She's at least partly right. Just look at the Franco regime. Wasn't all that long ago, I doubt the Cardinals have packed up and gone home.

28 June 2008 at 19:40  
Anonymous steadmancinques said...

I would recommend to Ms. Honeyball for reading in the summer break, a fairly slim volume, 'Mein Kampf', first published in 1920.
In it the author sets out admirably the case for divorcing the interests and power of the State from any moral, religious or ethical considerations.
The author, a Mr A. Hitler, whose work has been somewhat neglected of late, firmly relegates institutions such as the church to their proper role of caring for their followers, rather than interfering in the rights of the state to determine absolutely policies and programs that embody the correct spirit of the people rightly discerned by their infallible leaders.
Ms Honeyball should find many useful ideas to further her political career expressed in this work. I commend it to her.

30 June 2008 at 19:29  

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