... take heed to thyself and to doctrine: be earnest in them. For in doing this thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear thee ... (1 Timothy 4:16)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Catholic Care, the British attitude to religion and the point of the Papal visit

As is reported all over the media this morning – eg, here (the BBC), here (The Telegraph) and here (The Guardian), the Charity Commission has ruled against Catholic Care’s attempt to retain the right as a Catholic charity to place children for adoption according to the teaching of the Church – specifically, not with homosexual couples.

It was pretty much the last legal ditch in a battle for the recognition of Catholic conscience in this matter per se in English law. Sure, you can still follow Catholic or more generally Christian conscience in your day-to-day life – save when it conflicts with public policy, which may be increasingly often.

Catholics and other Christians must now decide whether to knuckle under – which many will do for rational reasons – or stand up and get in trouble for following the teaching of the Church, in the knowledge that the law is firmly not on their side.

Catholic Care will now have to cease this part of its work, or break the law. As placing children for adoption allegedly constitutes only around 5% of its total activity, this would be a tough call – placing much valuable work in line with Catholic teaching at risk for the sake of the 5%.

It is an absolute travesty that the Catholic Church, which more than any other organization preaches and teaches in support of the family, is now by law de facto excluded from providing families for those who most need them, having been until relatively recently acknowledged as being particularly adept in the most difficult cases.

But the Charity Commission’s judgment is utilitarian – overall it does not believe that any significant number of children will not be placed as a result of its ruling, and prejudiced – it was never disposed to regard Catholic moral teaching as a weighty or significant factor.

At the root of this judgement is the English attitude to religion certainly since the English Reformation, in which Henry VIII succeeded for his selfish purposes to establish in England that the Church carries on its activities under the authority of the State and with its permission, not vice versa. The Divine Right of the King was turned on its head, from a right derived from the Church, to a supposed right of control over the Church. The Establishment of the CofE has been serving the Devil’s purposes in shaping the English attitude to religion ever since.

More recently, under New Labour, we saw many examples of how Blair and his minions and successors regard religion (do not be fooled by the laughably named ‘Faith Foundation’) – and most particularly Catholic Christianity – as a deviant activity of an unbalanced minority that needs monitoring, regulation and restriction as a private activity under the authority of the secular State.

The specific example of Christian adoption was not helped by the Quisling behaviour of the Children’s Society (formerly the Church of England Children’s Society) which, before the law required it, voluntarily changed its policies to allow itself to place children with same-sex couples - hardly an example of Christian solidarity.

This bears on what can and should be hoped for the forthcoming Papal visit. There seem to be two camps. One wants to serve the reconversion of England (and the whole of Britain) – which involves necessarily challenging the progressive and secular mindset of the British media, government and populace. The other craves a greater cosy sense that Catholics and by broad association Christians are still welcome in public life as Christians – though to what point we cannot really be sure.

What the Christian Care judgement signals is: ‘Of course Catholics are welcome in public life, but only if they leave their Catholic principles at home – their odd, dirty little secret.’

Assuming that the reconversion of Britain is what the Lord wills, it will happen. But it demands the obedient participation of the Christian faithful – and Christians must not leave the Faith at home in order to feel more comfortable in the public sphere. And Catholics are especially crucial in this regard.

When on several occasions the Pope speaks to the people of the UK during his visit, let us pray that his words are a forceful sign of contradiction to the British Establishment, and that his words are heard, and not spun down subject to the demands of PR and PC.

Because I, for one, am scared for the safety of my children should I and my wife die before our children reach the age of majority. What provisions can we make in our Wills to ensure that our children might never be placed with a same-sex couple for fostering or adoption should that situation arise? Quite possibly none, legally, so it would have to be achieved by other means.

I will be checking this out quite seriously and looking for Guardians / executors who will have the courage to uphold the teaching of the Church as trumping the law of the land – in all things.


  1. Thank you. I share your forbodings. I have a grandchild.

    For a century or more, England has been a godless country with an Anglican veneer. That veneer has gone.

    I had hoped that there were sufficient Catholics to obstruct and frustrate malign government policy in the spheres of religion and morality, but alas, leadership is largely feeble, and the hierarchy lack conviction. The pusilanimous dithering toadying of Archbishop Vincent Nichols is a source of confusion to the Faithful and ridicule for the enemy. It is left to tireless stalwarts like John Smeaton and countless bloggers, to sound the call to arms.

  2. This case from 2009 shows that what you want is possible but you would need a strong advocate in your absence to ensure your wishes were carried out.



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