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I have duly boycotted Tesco over ‘Pride Day’; but I have an uneasy feeling that its board are laughing all the way to the Tesco bank

Tesco’s still give over £60m a year to charity: so why don’t they just say so?

By on Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Early this month, Francis Phillips, in her Catholic Herald blog, scored something of a bull’s eye, with a post in which she pointed out that Tesco had ended its support for a major cancer research event, but has instead made a large contribution to London’s main annual gay pride event. Her blog was picked up by the Daily Mail in a strong piece on the subject:

Outrage as Tesco backs gay festival… but drops support for cancer charity event

Tesco has triggered outrage by ending its support for the Cancer Research ‘Race for Life’ while deciding to sponsor Britain’s largest gay festival.

Some religious commentators and groups have condemned the decision and are calling for a boycott of the supermarket chain.

Tesco has worked with Cancer Research for more than ten years, raising hundreds of millions of pounds to help combat an illness that will affect one in three of the population…

The chain’s main contribution was support for the annual fundraising Race for Life, the UK’s largest women-only charity event, which has raised more than £400million for the fight against cancer since it began in 1994. But shortly after Tesco announced the partnership would end, the firm said it would be a headline sponsor of Pride London…

Francis Phillips, a commentator at The Catholic Herald, condemned the shift, saying: “Tesco is a supermarket.

“Its remit has been to sell good-quality food and other items at very reasonable prices, and in this it has been hugely successful.

“Why has it now aligned itself with an aggressive political organisation such as Pride London? Why has it given up its sponsorship of Cancer Research? Or at least…why hasn’t it taken up with another mainstream charity such as the British Legion or Age UK?

“….They are a fundamental part of the fabric of our society – the kind of fabric that Tesco should be reflecting.”

Well, no doubt like many who read Francis’s blog, I decided that I would respond to it, in my case by reluctantly removing my custom from Tesco (reluctantly because their online delivery service really is quite excellent, and I got used to it, and pally with the delivery men and so on). This morning, in fact, my first delivery from Sainsbury’s will be arriving. What puzzled me about this story was the simple question of why Tesco’s was doing this? It seemed like such an obvious own goal. The sums involved, for instance, are quite disproportionate. In fact, if you go to Tesco’s website, then click on “corporate responsibility”, you will see that actually, though they have ended their sponsorship of the Race for Life event after ten years, they still give a very large amount every year to charitable causes, far more than they are giving to the London Pride day:

Corporate giving Each year, we set ourselves a target to donate at least 1% of our pre-tax profits to charities and good causes. This year we donated £64.3 million to charities and good causes through direct donations, cause-related marketing, gifts in kind, staff time and management costs. This represents 1.8% of our pre-tax profits – almost double our target. Emergency relief and humanitarian aid We work hard to respond quickly to natural disasters wherever they happen. Our partnership with the Red Cross has helped us to get funds to those in acute need. This year, our emergency giving included donations to help the victims of floods in Central Europe and the Qinghai earthquake in China, as well as floods in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

Now, what’s interesting about all this is the way Tesco’s have handled this latest furore. In fact, they didn’t (as you might think from the Mail), just switch from normal charitable giving to support for Gay Pride. They’ve ended their “headline support” support for a particular fund-raising event, the “Run for Life” and around the same time announced their support for the Pride day. But there’s been no actual switch from one to the other. It just looks like that. So why don’t they say so more convincingly?

They seem to have a ready defence: that their charitable giving has not been actually diminished at all. They could even have protested, in the face of Catholic attacks, that they are still major donors to a major third world charity founded by Catholics, Mary’s Meals (yes, it’s that Mary), which feeds about half a million third world children a day: as they point out on their website, Tesco “began supporting Mary’s Meals, an international charity providing meals for schoolchildren, through the Tesco Charity Trust in 2009. Tesco’s support provides meals for over 4,000 schoolchildren in India, Kenya, Malawi and Thailand every year.”

So. There’s the question: why don’t they defend themselves, as they so easily could? Francis Philips’s question remains unanswered: “Tesco is a supermarket; its remit has been to sell good-quality food and other items at very reasonable prices, and in this it has been hugely successful. Why has it now aligned itself with an aggressive political organisation such as Pride London?”

Well, there’s a simple answer to that. They are absolutely delighted by this furore. They want to be thought aggressively pro-gay, if necessary at the expense of their well-deserved reputation for chaitable giving. Firstly because there’s money in it: the pink pound is now a substantial economic factor in these things, just as in London the pink vote has to be courted by politicians seeking election; you can be quite sure that Mayor Boris will be present and marching on London’s Pride day, as he was last year. I suspect he grits his teeth while he’s doing it, but he will be there all the same.

But another factor, quite simply, is that the gay and proud of it movement is well established within Tesco’s itself, in a way which isn’t true of other supermarket chains, so far as I can see (though I am open to correction). Have a look at this, the website of “Out at Tesco: supporting our Lesbian, Gay and Transgender staff”.

This is supported, we learn, by two very senior Tesco executives, Andrew Higginson, Chief Executive of Retailing Services, Chairman of Tesco Bank and a non-executive Director of BskyB, a very big cheese indeed. And here’s another: Benny Higgins, Chief Executive Officer of Tesco Bank, who, we are told, was chief executive of retail banking at RBS between 1997 and 2005, where he led the integration of NatWest retail. Both these are members of the main board of Tesco. So that question of Francis’s may have its answer: Why, she asks, has Tesco’s now aligned itself “with an aggressive political organisation such as Pride London”? Answers, as they used to say, on one side of a postcard.

The fact is that annoying the Catholics is a very clever thing to do, if getting the support of the gay lobby is what you want. I bet you anything that Tesco’s are delighted at the furore this comparatively inexpensive gesture has stirred up, and that they will do nothing to calm it down. So where does that leave US? Do we simply ignore their almost certainly deliberately provocative act: or do we boycott them, as I have so far done, almost certainly to very little effect? Either way, I have an uneasy feeling that there are those within Tesco’s who are presently laughing all the way to the Tesco bank.

  • geoffreysmith1

    The American billionaire, Warren Buffett, is a shareholder in Tesco.  He is about to increase his holding in the company, buying more shares.  This man is notorious in the US for his bankrolling of all manner of anti-life organisations and pressure groups.
    He clearly intends to gain a very significant percentage of Tesco’s capital, and use it for his pro-abortion agenda.  We Catholics would do well to get the message and make this supermarket chain a little less profitable for him in which to invest.

  • Anonymous

    Whether Dr Oddie likes it or not there will soon be only a tiny minority of bigots who have any objection to homosexual relationships. I hope that the Catholic Church will not be among the last to cling on to that outdated policy. The Church eventually changed its mind on many issues such as slavery, religious freedom, trade unions, democracy, and the censorship of scientific books. It is only a matter of time before its teaching on sex also changes.

    The lesson from history is that conservatives make futile attempts to stop progressive policies but they always lose in the end. Small “c” conservatives opposed freedom of speech, the abolition of the slave trade, votes for the poor, votes for women, the establishment of trade unions, protection for workers, the banning of child labour, social security, equal pay for women, laws against racial discrimination, and the decriminalisation of homosexuality. In every single case the progressive side first won the argument and then the law was changed. 

  • Anonymous

    I don’t approve of Tesco sponsoring Pride, as the cause is nakedly political and its agenda is anti-Church. But nor do I see that boycotting Tesco over such a small (for them) sum of money can be worth it, and the news that they support a very Catholic cause as well, Mary’s Meals…is it not appropriate just to hold one’s metaphorical nose and think “Well, this money is going towards Mary’s Meals”?

  • Anonymous

    Patrick Hadley: it’s not a policy, it’s a teaching.

    The point which I have iterated over and over again on the other thread on this subject is that the Church must be free to consider these matters for itself, and where its position changes it must occur entirely of its own volition. The objection I have to giving money to pride is that it’s a political movement pursuing aims which are actively at odds with the Church and which seek to force the Church into changing its positions.

  • James H

    Fascinating, the total lack of thought that went into this.

    About slavery: in America, it was the Democrats, not the Republicans, who were in favour of slave ownership. The church only made concessions to slavery, with an Anglican-style compromise that said you could only take slaves from tribes that practiced cannibalism (which is why they forbade the enslavement of American Indians, for example) – though only the Spanish paid any heed, the Portuguese and French just went right ahead.

    I’d be fascinated to see evidence that the church was against Trade Unions…

    And it’d be a bit strange to censor “scientific books” when for centuries it was the church that printed them.

    Slavery and establishment churches were weakened by Evangelical Christians – the very people who are most against legalised sodomy today. Acceptance of homosexuality is a mark of societes in decline. The churches which have decided ‘gay is OK’ are the ones greying and dying. Don’t hold your breath.

  • Duncan Hill

    Will you be boycotting those Catholic orders, schools and dioceses which have been such enthusiastic promoters of sexual abuse of children?

  • Anonymous

    What good will it be for Tesco if they gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?Me, I’ll stick with the angels. 
    My wife never shops in Tesco. She says their express shops are out to put the little shops out of business.
    Anyway pride always comes before the fall. 
    Gay Pride has the seeds of its own destruction.
    Natural Law won’t tolerate sod’s law 

  • Anonymous

    I rarely go to Tesco s anyway.They are into world domination.

  • Anonymous

    The voice of common sense. And someone pointed out on another blog that pretty well every supermarket chain supports some charitable organisation with aspects of which (e.g. referring girls for abortions) Catholics might have difficulties.

  • Terence Weldon

    A teaching  - yes, but a teaching of the Vatican, celibate theologians with no personal experience of loving personal relationships (none that they can admit to, at least).  It is not a “teaching” that is accepted by the majority of Catholics. Empirical research shows clearly that the majority of Catholics, those in the real world, do not believe that homosexuality in itself is a matter of morality at all: it’s the quality of relationships that counts. A substantial proportion of professional theologians agree, and even some bishops are starting to say so publicly (Cardinal Schonborn of Vienna, for instance. There are others).

    The formal “teaching” on a wide range of sexual ethics is simply discredited. As Pope Benedict observed earlier this year, speaking of the martyrdom of St Joan (martyred by the theologians of the Church, please note), theologians can be wrong, teaching can be changed.

    I have no doubt at all that on this matter, the Vatican will sooner or later follow the rest of the Church, and jettison its clearly disordered teaching, just as it previously abandoned its defence of slavery,  and as other denominations are already beginning to do on loving and committed same sex relationships/

  • Acleron

    I think the idea that Tesco’s is anti the catholic church can be dismissed, they wouldn’t think it important enough. Some agenda by gays in Tesco to change its policy? Not really.

    The real reason wouldn’t have occurred to you, it is perfectly responsible, ethical and moral to support a group that in the past has been wrongly vilified. It is part of the moral conscience and ethos of the United Kingdom. Really, it is about time you stop complaining about being victims when in fact you are the aggressor in this case.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe, maybe not. The point is that it must do so for itself and should not be subject to secular pressures to do so.

  • Jackie

    I would suggest that there are not only those within Tesco’s that are laughing at people such as yourself, but most of the rest of us who do not support discrimination against our homosexual brothers and sisters are having a little chuckle ourselves.I would also suggest that Tesco’s have only annoyed a small but vociferous group of catholics and that the loss of your custom is negligible.

  • Joan

    If Mary’s Meals had anything about them they would return the tainted Tesco money without delay.

  • Poppy Tupper

    And deprive people of the good they deliver just to make a point? There’s nothing wrong with despoiling the Egyptians.

  • Terence Weldon

    Agreed – but the pressure (to change church teaching) is in fact coming from within, from the vast majority of Catholics who simply ignore the ridiculous approach to contraception, for instance, and masturnation). 

    The secular pressure is not to change church teaching (they generally are interested in that), but to resist the Church’s attempts to impose their teaching on everyone else.

  • EditorCT

    Wrong. Sodomy - since the earliest days of Christianity - has been one of the four sins that cry to Heaven for vengeance, and no society has ever condoned it until our times. There is no such thing as a “teaching of the Vatican” any more than there is a “teaching of Lambeth Palace”.  God’s revelation – in both Old and New Testaments – is that the sin of Sodom is a very grave sin indeed. Nothing, but nothing can change that. Not the Vatican, not any politician or government, not all the dissident priests in Christendom. Not even Terence Weldon of Soho Masses fame.

    And if, as you say,  it’s the “quality of relationship” that counts what do you think of the latest rising movement based on the “gay rights” movement (they tell us) – that of the Bestiality Rights movement?  Visit and click on the Scottish flag to get further information on this and other minority group movements, including paedophiles, who openly argue that their sexual “orientation” ought to be recognised in the same way as the homosexual “orientation” has been recognised in our ever more enlightened (NOT!) society. And don’t jump down my throat saying this is not the same thing at all – to Zoophiles it IS the same thing. It’s just that you haven’t yet gotten  with the programme (or maybe you have – you tell me if you think the wedding between a woman and horse at the beginning of the award winning underground film Coming Soon is bizarre or if these are the latest heroes and heroines breaking through the narrow-minded bigotry of the Catholic Church which clings to the quaint old idea that sexual intercourse must be restricted to one man and one woman united in a lifelong marriage. Shucks. How old fashioned is that, eh? Meeeow…. bark, bark!

    And of course “theologians” can be wrong – but theologians are not the Magisterium. They have no authority. They merely explore theology – they cannot teach definitively on anything.  You are one mixed up guy.

    Thus, your remark about the Vatican following the rest of the Church reveals your utter ignorance of the very nature and purpose of the Church. But then we already knew that, given your leading role in providing the scandalous Soho “Masses” (they are undoubtedly invalid Masses – I’d stake my rosary on it)  for actively homosexual men and women. Instead of coming together like the rest of us to confess our sinfulness and beg forgiveness, and refraining from Holy Communion if we’ve broken the fast or committed a mortal sin, you lot ask God to blankety blank get used to the fact that you’re going to keep right on sinning and too bad if He doesn’t like it.  “The Vatican” got it wrong, you tell Him, don’t blame us.

    “Loving and committed same sex relationships” /  “loving and committed zoophile relationships / “loving and committed paedophile relationships” – truly, what’s in a name?  God’s design clearly reveals that His gift of sexuality be used ONLY between a man and a woman, committed to each other in lifelong marriage.

    Live with it, Sugar Plum.  Live with it!

  • Cassandra

    I boycotted Tesco a long time ago. I heard the way the dealt with their suppliers and did not like their sheer arrogance and double dealing
    I have no intention to buy anything from them, even as there is a small shop at the bottom our road.

  • Ricky Garcia

    Acleron, you’re missing the point.  It’s not about discrimination against homosexuals. 

    Cancer Research is a popular, mainstream charity that benefits the whole of society.

    Pride is a narrow pressure group with political aims, claiming to represent a predominantly white, economically prosperous demographic.

    In the name of ‘inclusivity’, Tesco have switched support from one to the other.

    Do you see why many people don’t like this?

  • Ricky Garcia

    Er.. when did the Church defend slavery?  Please give me the reference.

  • Ricky Garcia

    How is the Church trying to impose its teaching on others?  What planet you on?!

  • Anonymous

    I’m sure this would do Mary’s Meals far more harm than the loss of Tesco sponsorship would do gay pride. Do have a bit of sense.

  • Anonymous

    They’re not supporting a group. They’re jumping onto a trendy bandwagon.

    “It is part of the moral conscience and ethos of the United Kingdom.”

    How terribly presumptuous of you to think you speak for the whole country.

  • Anonymous

    Ignoring Church teaching isn’t, as you seem to think, some kind of political act which is likely to achieve a change of “policy”. The Church isn’t a political party. All that people achieve by “ignoring” Church teaching is to imperil their own souls. What pride to place their own personal beliefs above the wisdom of the Church! Whatever issues I may have with Church teachings, and however difficult I find some of them, the only thing to do is to keep quiet and obey. If one day they adapt, well, that is what sometimes happens – but it not for me or anyone else to pre-empt something which may or may not happen.

  • Anonymous

    Which supermarket supports charities which refers girls for abortions? This is much more disturbing than gay pride.

  • Anonymous

    With the greatest of respect, Ms McKeever, but the examples you cite are totally different for the very simple reason that both paedophiles and zoophiles harm others, who do not and cannot consent. Whatever harm homosexuals’ lifestyles may do their souls and their health, they consent.

  • Acleron

    I don’t even pretend to speak for the UK, but I can observe very easily. The catholic church will eventually change its rules but they are usually very late to the party. (and again, I don’t speak for the church, just looking at its history)

  • Ricky Garcia

    So acceptance of homosexuality in society is a new thing? This is conservative v progressives?

    Think you need to take another look at history.

  • Acleron

    I’m sure that it IS discrimination. Otherwise, why does the author spend so much time on the gay aspect rather than the harm to the charity now not receiving the money?

  • Terence Weldon

    So, what exactly is this “sin of sodomy” to which you refer?There were two parts to the story of Sodom and its destruction: the general, pervasive wickedness that led the Lord to his original decision to destroy the cities, and later, the attack on the angelic messengers he had sent to search for enough good men, to justify averting the destruction.Ezekiel makes clear the nature of the original general wickedness:Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. 50 They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen. (Ezekiel 16:49-50)When the angels visited Sodom, they were offered hospitality by Lot. This hospitality to travellers was a crucially important moral obligation in Biblical times – but instead of respecting it, the townspeople demanded that Lot release his guests, to be raped by them. This was the immediate trigger to the destruction: not same-sex love, but rape and hostility to strangers.Your rant about “sodomy” displays desperate ignorance about the history of the teaching on the matter. It is simply not true that ” Sodomy - since the earliest days of Christianity - has been one of the four sins that cry to Heaven for vengeance”. The word did not even exist until the Middle Ages (see for instance, “The Invention of Sodomy in Christian Theology”, by the Harvard historian and medieval specialist Mark D, Jordan.Even after the word came into common use, it was often used with quite different meanings to the one you use – it could also refer to some forms of heterosexual intercourse, or to masturbation, or to heresy. In Renaissance England, it was also sometimes used interchangeably with “treason” – and so, to “Popery”, (or Catholicism).I will not be responding to any more of your ranting.

  • EditorCT

     If you think “consent” to sexual activity is the key issue then you need to get on your knees. But only after your study the rationale of the bestiality and paedophile rights groups who would certainly argue that there is “consent”.  That is, in any case, totally irrelevant.  The only consent that matters here is the failure to consent to and accept  God’s natural law:  THAT is the issue – not whether or not one’s perversity lies in same sex attractions or in attractions to children or animals.  Once you concede that homosexuality is acceptable as long as both parties “consent” (to offend God) then you will have a hang of a time trying to convince other minority groups that they can’t pursue their particular “sexual orientation”.

    And “WITHOUT the greaest of respect to YOU” please do not use my name without divulging your own. This smart-alec tactic is about as unimpressive as your “theology”.  

    Either tell us all YOUR name or stop using mine. You have no permission to treat me with such familiarity so please, hanker from afar if you must but my blogging title is EditorCT – use it.  THE EditorCT if you prefer, but EditorCT to you, please and thank you. 

  • Jprholmes

    Sorry but why does this make Tesco anti Catholic? Seems like just another boring anti gay rant to me. There’s really far more important things in the world to be worrying about.

  • EditorCT

    I knew you would wheel out the entirely false interpretation of Genesis – I just knew it.

    It is manifestly clear form the text of Genesis 19 that the men demanded that Lot deliver the visitors to them so that they might “know” them – I take it you know what “knowing” means in the biblical sense? Homosexual activity was  shocking to the ancient peoples, so much so that Lot offered to hand over his daughters rather than have such an unnatural sin committed – “so that you do no evil to these men because they are come in under the shadow of my roof.” (Genesis 20:8)

    Now it has become routine for homosexuals to grasp on to the last part of that verse in order to argue that hospitality was the thing, but what father would offer to hand over his daughters for sexual use by strangers merely to avoid seeming inhospitble to his guests?  For goodness sake.  Sinful as the sexual invasion of his daughters would be (as any promiscuous sexual act between a man and a woman) the act itself is, nevertheless, natural.  Lot was willing to sacrifice his daughters, not to protect guests for the sake of it, but in order to prevent an unnatural act taking place, so grossly offensive is that to  God.

    Sorry, Terence, I know you don’t like the answer and I note that you made no attempt to tell me on what grounds you would reject the requests of other minority groups (paedopohiles and zoophiles) for acceptance of their “sexual orientation” – much easier to accuse me of “ranting”. 

    But I’m not ranting.  Honeybunch. And well you know it…

  • EditorCT

    Seems you lot have appropriate the word “rant” now, as well as the word “gay”.  Why not just create your own alphabet and dictionary and be done with it?

    ps – this is, officially, a “rant”.

  • Anonymous

    Good heavens, I was only trying to be polite. Your identity is hardly a secret. But I apologise if I offended you. And no, I wasn’t saying consent was the key issue, just that consent is the key feature which distinguishes homosexuality from paedophilia or zoophilia – both of which should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law and inasmuch as possible be treated. Surely you cannot want homosexuals locked up and subjected to shock treatment as used to happen?

  • Adam Thomson

     If consent were the great issue, then adultery, polygamy, serial monogamy, incest, fornication etc. etc. would all be be legitimate – provided that all parties consented.

  • Acleron

    Did I say the catholic church is society? Doesn’t look like it to me. This is about a small minded and quite bigoted cult that according to the article’s author is having a hissy fit because Tesco appears to have different views. 

    The catholic’s so-called absolute morals are nothing of the sort. They have changed over the years in response to social pressure, but being a highly conservative organisation it takes a long time, but change they do, so much for being absolute. Modern society has already had its discussion, there is now little dissent, the decision has been made.But if your reference to conservatives vs progressives applies to the catholic church, the progressives might like to fight for something attainable – change in decades not centuries.

  • Acleron

    Well, serial monogamy is already allowed by the catholic church. Just pay your money and get the previous marriage annulled.

  • Anonymous


    > The general consensus on the Catholic blogs seems to be that Catholics should to boycott Tesco and shop somewhere else instead. Suggestions include Sainsbury’s, Morrisons or ASDA but unfortunately thats barking up the wrong tree. Do a quick Google and you will find something problematic about them all – Sainsbury’s gives gives money to Comic Relief, Morrisons give money to Save the Children and ASDA give money to Children in Need. They mean well of course and it all sounds good until you realise that all three of those charities are involved in projects that refer young girls for abortions. Oops.

    I haven’t researched this independently. I just came across it on the blog to which I’ve given the link.

  • Anonymous

    Any chance of a few examples of these changes? Or are you just making it up?

  • SHOJ

    In a homosexual relationship there is no participation with God in the possibility of procreation, an act of creation, ie having a child. Therefore homosexual relationships expose the partners to the grave risk of using each other’s bodies merely as objects for their own gratification which thus injures the diginity of each person. This underlines the reason why Catholic teaching is opposed to active homosexual relationships. However we must always remember that in society the Church forbids any discrimination of homosexual persons. So, do we carry on supporting Tescos because they donate to other good causes or do we boycott them because they support a movement that openly promotes sexual practices that seriously harms the dignity of the human person? The latter for me.

  • Jprholmes

    “Rant” – according to the dictionary …
    Origin: 1590–1600;  < Dutch ranten  (obsolete) to talk foolishly.

    Your suggestion is noted however i see little merit in creating a new alphabet and dictionary when the one we have works so well. This article is extremely unchristian. God loves every one of us so maybe we should be following his example by loving our fellow brothers and sisters whether they be "gay", "straight". Not obsessing over such unimportant matters.

    Also what do you mean by "you lot"? What would you do with these so called "gays"? Lock them up in a large camp?, execute them en masse? or maybe subject them to experiments to see if they can be "cured"? Hmm, i wonder when that sort of thing last happened.

  • Anthony

    About 3% of males and 1.5% of females have a persistent SSA. 1 in 3 of us will get cancer. Which is more important?

  • Anthony

    That maybe true in England where only 10% of the population is inside mother Church…However there are 1.3 Billion Catholics on the planet, and the jungle drums work really well. :)

  • Anthony

    I must have dozed through that one….
    What did modern society discuss and what exactly was the “decision [that] has been made”?
    Please, be specific.
    And can you tell me how gay pride marches are as important as cancer research? Have you ever been to a drunken hedonistic gay pride march? I have…lurid to say the least.

  • Anthony

    I will be reporting them to the police.

  • Anthony

    Because it is the sublime to the ridiculous.

  • Anonymous

    James H does not seem to know the meaning of “Small ‘c’ conservative”. That description has nothing to do with political parties. Those who refuse to see the signs of the times and cling to outdated and discredited policies can be found in most political parties.

    James H also does not know that for the first thousand years of the Church slave owning by Catholic prelates was common. The record during the second millennium is mixed, but in his encyclical Nostis et Nobiscum 1849 Pius IX quotes St Augustine that the Catholic Church “teaches slaves to remain true to their masters, not as much from the compulsion of their state as from delight in duty” and Pius IX was on the side of the South during the American Civil War.

    Catholics were not allowed to join non-Catholics in trade unions before Pius IX.

    Does James H not know anything about the Catholic church’s censorship of books? There was a period during the last century when the only states that published a long list of prohibited books were Stalin’s Russia, Hitler’s Germany and the Holy See. The works of Copernicus and Galileo were prohibited for Catholics for centuries as were all the writings of Descartes, Kant, Spinoza, Hobbes, Hume and hundreds of others. The last Index of Prohibited Books was printed in 1948, a few progressive Catholics complained but the conservatives insisted that banning books was part of the moral teaching authority of the Magisterium and therefore could never change. They thought that if the Magisterium declared that a book was a danger to faith or morals and should not be read then the Magisterium must be right.

    The lesson of history is that progressives always win in the end. As someone once (almost) said, “To be deep into history is to cease to be conservative.”

  • Anonymous

    You might in a sense be correct that Gay Pride “has the seeds of its own destruction”. Like many pro-gay organisations it works with the ultimate aim of making itself unnecessary, and, though I do not expect to see it become obsolete in my lifetime, it is not impossible that in a hundred or two hundred years time, “Gay Pride” will seem as bizarre a phrase as “Ginger-haired Pride” or “Balletomane Pride” and just as likely to be written on a banner.

    With reference to your last statement, anything that is not tolerated by “Natural Law” will indeed become extinct, but homosexuals have been around at least as long as the Bible has, and in the modern world have achieved a more favourable climate in which to thrive than they have ever known before, despite all the persecution and despite AIDS. My hope for the further advancement of gay people is based on current trends viewed in relation to history. What is your prediction of gay catastrophe based on, other than your own wishfulness?

    And now I’m off to Tesco.

  • Anonymous

    Children in Need sponsors abortions? Oh dear, I thought that one was “safe”. I don’t give to Comic Relief, but I have done to CiN.