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After yesterday’s vote, I won’t be voting for the Tories again

The marriage Bill has opened a chasm between its supporters and opponents

By on Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Home Secretary Theresa May said she supported the Bill as a practising Anglican (Photo: PA)

Home Secretary Theresa May said she supported the Bill as a practising Anglican (Photo: PA)

I have just been sent a book to review: How to Get More Out of Holy Communion by St Peter Julian Eymard, published by Sophia Institute Press. Opening it at random (something one should not do) I alighted on the following passage: “We are tormented by a great sadness. It is fixed in the depths of our heart and will not be dislodged therefrom. There is no joy for us on the face of the earth that is not fleeting and that does not end in tears; there is none and there can be none. This sorrow comes to us as an integral part of our heritage from Adam, through whose sin we are exiles from our native land and from our Father’s house.”

This passage reminds us of the larger, eternal context of our lives, despite a sense of frustration and of sadness at the current local context: the sorry state of affairs our Government has got us into over yesterday’s debate on the proposed Bill to redefine marriage. What is obvious to those who have any historical perspective, who have an understanding of the common good, who want what is best for children and future generations, and who foresee the unintended consequences of this disastrous piece of legislation, is that yesterday’s vote – 400 in favour of redefinition, 175 against – marks the start of a formal and unbridgeable chasm between them and their opponents.

My father used to quote to me, “Man proposes; God disposes.” In this instance man has proposed a piece of folly; God, whatever those who use his name to support their ideas might imagine – for example, I heard Theresa May, the Home Secretary, say on the radio yesterday that as a practising Anglican she supported the Bill – will make his own dispositions clear in time. In the here and now, as with William Oddie’s recent blog on this subject, I will not be voting for the Tories in the next election or indeed again; the party that used to defend the preservation of what was tried, tested and true in our ancient institutions (and surely marriage comes into this category) has gone for good. As William Oddie commented, if this stance brings Labour to power in 2015 it could not be any worse.

A young priest got in touch with me early last week to suggest that the Catholic Herald promote parish Adoration during yesterday’s debate, to remind Catholics that nothing good can be achieved without prayer. As it happened, the Herald was about to go to press so it was too late to include this idea. Nonetheless, although prayer is not the only practical remedy against coming events which one is powerless to prevent – the legislation still has several hurdles to overcome at the committee stage, though it is unlikely its opponents will be able to do more than merely modify it – prayer is still the final, most powerful and most consoling one. As St Peter Eymard reminds us, we are in exile from our native land and from our Father’s house during our time in this world. The Bishop of Shrewsbury suggested in a recent interview with Luke Coppen in the Herald that we must be prepared to face persecution in the future. Why should this surprise us?

  • whytheworldisending

    When you say “By 2015 “gay marriage” will be law, with no prospect of it being repealed,” you are wrong, firstly because every single law on the statute can be repealed by a subsequent Parliament. Secondly, because anything can happen to the Bill between now th enext general election. If it isn’t defeated in the Lords, it will certainly be delayed and greatly modified. Thirdly you don’t know what is going to happen in the meantime. Only God knows that. For all we know the City of London could be under water before this Bill becomes law. The Same Sex Marriage Bill has only got this far because politics has been infiltrated and highjacked by homosexuals and atheists who hate the family and who hate the faith, but love sin. They seek to corrupt the nation’s children, and that is immoral, because they are immoral. You are their apologist, and that is immoral too.

  • anton

     What an extremely arrogant response! As if man has all the answers to all questions! Hugh, can you tell me when you or any other human being has been able to navigate between different dimensions that science says may exist?

  • AlanP

    I agree that sexual promiscuity is proving a huge burden on the NHS, i.e. on the taxpayer.  The overwhelming majority of this is heterosexual, not homosexual.  While I oppose “gay marriage”, and trust that the bill will be amended to give better protection to people in certain jobs (including clergy), I cannot agree that Cameron wants to encourage promiscuity; if anything, the commitment involved in “gay marriage” may well REDUCE promiscuity among homosexuals (the one good effect of this legislation).  But I repeat – it is heterosexual promiscuity which is responsible for the overwhelming majority of this extra cost (abortions, STDs, etc.).

  • AlanP

    Technically you are correct, it is possible that the bill will be held up sufficiently for it not to become law, though this seems most unlikely.  But I take great exception to you calling me an apologist for “homosexuals and atheists who hate the family”.  I have said nothing to justify such a slur.  My main point in the post to which you have replied is that the abortion issue is infinitely more important; it involves the deliberate killing of 200,000 annually.  And there is more prospect of amending the Abortion Act, if we all vote accordingly, than of repealing “gay marriage”. 

  • http://jessicahof.wordpress.com/ JessicaHof

    Hello there Mahatma – good to see you. Mr Sales is now on my blog :)

  • http://jessicahof.wordpress.com/ JessicaHof

    Hello Mahatma. Geoffrey Sales says to tell you he is one on my blog. X

  • Jonathan West

    Well, let’s consider a scenario. There are cases where the father dies  leaving the mother a widow. Generally speaking is the mother capable of bringing up children on her own?

    Or consider a case where both parents have died or are otherwise incapable of looking after a child, and the child is adopted. Is the child doomed as a result of the breaking of the bond with his or her natural parents?

  • Hugh

    I don’t understand the relevance of your point about different dimensions, and why was my response extremely arrogant?
    Where was Jesus going when he went up into the sky? Where did the angels come down from? The Bible has so many references to God and heaven being up in the sky because that’s what the people who wrote it believed.

  • karlf

    And there’s plenty in the Bible to show that Jesus himself was a young earth creationist. But then why would he not have been, as it seems that the evolution of livings things had never been mentioned.

  • karlf

    When has anything ever been shown to have been caused by supernatural forces?
    Why do you think it is that not one credible medical body has an interest in miracles?
    Many of the claims of the Bible have certainly been refuted by science.

  • Gord Harris

    David Cameron will be remembered as the Prime Minister who, for personal ambition, betrayed the people of England and Wales. The Conservative Party must choose wisely and swiftly to bring his disastrous leadership to an end.

    Gord Harris
    Canada

  • Parasum

    “After yesterday’s vote, I won’t be voting for the Tories again.

    The marriage Bill has opened a chasm between its supporters and opponents”## In an imperfect world, no party is going to be perfect – not even those that are anti-Tory. Not even UKIP or the Communist Party of Great Britain. Why do some people expect perfection from politicians ? The voting was not confined to the Tories – it seems that needs saying. It shouldn’t. So which (very imperfect) party is to be voted for ? Or are Catholics  (& by extension other Christians) to be voteless ?  That would merely allow policies found objectionable to go ahead unopposed. There is no good in not contaminating oneself by involvement in the impurities of the democratic process, if the price of one’s ideological purity is that the rest of the country goes to blazes. The Church is supposed a leaven in the world – not a lump of (exceedingly pure) suet. The Church is in the world – not outside it, looking primly on, tut-tutting at each new evidence of its depravity. Why does this issue, and no other, “[open] a chasm between its supporters and opponents” ? Why is this issue – not divorce, not remarriage after divorce, not abortion, not contraception, not the making available of contraception to minors, not fertilisation in vitro, not stem cell research, not the harvesting of the corpses of foetuses, not any issue, but this issue alone, in particular, & above all, the one  issue that has the power to “open [this] chasm” ? Or is this the proverbial “last straw” ? Even if so – why one related to sex, and not to (say) the invasion of Iraq ? Or is being taken into a very bloody & ruinous war on a false prospectus less objectionable  than promoting gay marriage ? If so – for what reasons ? 

  • Parasum

    I think Catholic doctrine calls on you to make intercessory prayers for
    the sick. It has been well established that those intercessions have no
    effects.

    ## That conclusion is based on a misunderstanding of prayer. Getting what one asks for is never guaranteed, for thing. For another, God is not controllable by science. So applying scientific criteria to something involvinmg God’s action, is methodologically fallacious.

    So the conclusions about the efficacy of prayer for the sick that are reached by scientific means, are about as useful as scientific arguments that Hercule Poirot is the true murderer in the relevant Agatha Christie stories. The difference between Poirot & God being, that Poirot is a human invention; whereas God is more real than man, who is God’s invention: & not vice versa. But science has no equipment for telling between God the inventor of man, and man the inventor of Poirot (& unicorns, Russell’s teapot, Sagan’s garage-dwelling, or Flew’s invisible gardener). 

    So it draws misleading conclusions, because they are the only conclusions it is able to accommodate as methodologically appropriate to its mode of operation. And because they make sense within its method, it cannot see that they are absurd, or why. Science is very good at going into the detail of what a human body is made of – but it cannot tell the difference between what something is made of, and what it is. Humans be “carbon units” – but to identify them with their constituent parts is dehumanising in the extreme. Science can measure the physical & chemical data of a kiss – but it has no access to the affection & love that a kiss expresses.  

    Science is a great gift, that is clear – but it can give only very incomplete knowledge even of what is accessible to it. If it cannot tell us anything about the love that is in a kiss – why should it be able to tell us about realities too grear and too real for the universe to contain ? A method that can give only incomplete info about the world, is incompetent to say anything about the (super)natural Godf Who has created all things. 

  • Peter

    Science cannot refute Catholic doctrine.

    Science is proof that Catholic doctrine is irrefutable.

    Science is a great gift for that reason.

    But not only that:

    Science also bears witness that Catholic doctrine is true.

    The two great discoveries of the 20th century underscore fundamental Catholic doctrine.

    Science is indeed a precious gift which can lead us to know God. 

    This is why the claims to the contrary by atheists are so absurd.

    “True science discovers God in an ever increasing degree – as though God were waiting behind every door opened by science.” (Pope Pius XII. Pontifical Academy of Sciences, 1951)

  • Jonathan West

    I’m well aware that the Catholic church has different standards for assessing such matters, which are in conflict with the scientific method.

    I think it is a worthwhile question to consider whether it is valid to have two conflicting approaches to essentially the same topic – discovering the truth concerning the world around us.

    If it is not valid, then at least one of the two approaches must be wrong and its results unreliable.

  • Jonathan West

     That conclusion is based on a misunderstanding of prayer. Getting what one asks for is never guaranteed, for thing. For another, God is not controllable by science.

    It doesn’t matter that getting what you want is not guaranteed. A clinical trial of intercessory prayer would be able to detect whether you get what you want even just occasionally, so long as it is more often than you would get if you did not pray.

    So applying scientific criteria to something involvinmg God’s action, is methodologically fallacious.

    This is what I have heard called the “theological invisibility cloak”. Whenever some inconvenient scientific result appears, God is redefined to be beyond scientific investigation. You can’t have it both ways – saying that miracles at Lourdes are evidence of God’s intervention and then in the next breath to claim that scientific investigation of God’s actions is methodologically fallacious. Pick one side of the fence and stick to it.

  • Peter

    John Paul II alone beatified more than 1300 people and canonised more than 90.

    That’s a lot of miracles.

    Do you think the Church would put itself into danger of ridicule by announcing so many miracles if those miracles were easily refutable?

    It follows that the standards by which those miracles are assessed must be watertight.

    Instead of spending your time here theorising, why don’t you do some research into the authentication process of a particular miracle or two?

  • Deodatus

    I could never (and never have) voted Tory – latterly for this, but previously because Tory ideology, ambition and effect have always hurt and devalued the hapless and vulnerable (especially beloved of Christ) and favoured the self-satisfied, materialistic and powerful…..the antithesis of Christian values

  • Jonathan West

     What additional protections would you want to see that are not already in the bill?

  • Jonathan West

     But I am not the arbiter of what God does or does not bless, nor do I seek to say what God does.

    But you do. In the previous sentence you described “the blasphemy of asking God to bless the para-sex that is referred to as ‘love’ used between two men or two women.”

  • Zunk

    Hi Mahatma. Long time no see. I gave up on DT too.

  • mahatmacoatmabag

    HI Jessica, I hope you & family are well. I might drop in on your blog some time, all the best, M.

  • mahatmacoatmabag

    Greetings Zunk, did you just give up or did you like me get your original ID banned?. I have a few alternate posting IDs but usualy they can only post on other sections of the DT but not on Damians blog. Best regards, M.

  • Zunk

    I am a bit confused. You are not going to vote Conservative again — so you will presumably vote Liberal or Labour. But the pro-Gay marriage Tories were trying to steal the clothes of the Liberals and Labour on this measure. If you think that Labour politicians are altruistic exemplars of Christian values and self-sacrifice, while Conservatives are all greedy opportunists, I fear you are being naive.

    If you want to see an even bigger gulf between Christian values and those propounded by advocates of modernity, I suggest you watch the nauseating programmes on BBC and Channel 4 about sun, sex, and holidays. Nero and Caligula would have blenched. Why are Christians silent?

  • JabbaPapa

    Michael Voris, during his US presidential election coverage, made a VERY good point about the lack of choice for Faithful Catholics over there — and, implicitly, for ALL faithful Christians — that is just as true now in the UK, as it is in France, and nearly everywhere ; WHO can Christians vote for ???

    It’s possible that the only solution will be a very long-term one, to create a new Political Party specifically grounded in Christian and some more broadly religious values.

  • JabbaPapa

    Death is natural — even when it is not for natural causes. How does a natural event break any natural bonds ?

    But you’re just pointlessly arguing on the basis of particulars and exceptions ; and not even very interesting ones.

    This is because you are unable to address the fact that fathers, mothers, and their children have natural bonds with each other that are utterly alien to the very nature of homosexuality.

  • JabbaPapa

    Ooooooh look, it’s phil137 using his idiotic name-stealing gizmo AGAIN !!!

  • Zunk

     Thanks….but such a party is very likely to be only a ghetto grouping and the object of mockery.  I think speaking up — as formerly happened — would be much more useful.And besides Christians have conflicting views on social and economic issues. Could a single Catholic party survive for long before it split on non-Catholic political issues?

    But for this we need to think what our moral values are. I suspect anti-Tory Catholics cop out by just going for anti-elitism, Third world poverty, equality, race etc. The easy to talk about and easy to be censorious upon issues.

    But there are real and urgent dilemmas in daily life which we get no guidance on: how should we treat living outside wedlock? Are we civil to or do we avoid partners in gay relationships?  What do Catholic parents do when even children’s programmes on TV foster total self-inulgence on sexual matters? How can the ideas of ‘Purity and Chastity’ be given meaning in a modern context — and how can we debate them with the advocates of constant unrestricted sex? May be there are Catholics writing about this but I haven’t noticed much practical guidance.

    An alternative would be to skip the coffee and handshakes at Mass but try to pull Catholics into much together and more mutually supportive local groups, modelled on the early Church.

  • http://jessicahof.wordpress.com/ JessicaHof

    We’re fine, thank you, and you’d be very welcome. I am sure Geoffrey would also love it.

  • JabbaPapa

    such a party is very likely to be only a ghetto grouping and the object of mockery

    I’m glad that you have instantly grasped my reasons to describe any such political project as “long-term” LOL :-)

  • W Lewis513

    Quite correct, note that only 13 Bishops out of about 30 and 1000Priestsd sign the lette of protes in the daily telegraph regardin Homosexuals “Marriage” That I thin tells us we have comromiosed the teaching of the church. Also note the numne of Catholic MPs who voted in favour e.g John Crudass, Ian /duncan Simith, what action will the PP or Bishop take. answer none,  We have beencomromising with wevery one since the days of Basil hulme and Murphy -O’connor. so we are accepted by the Establishment, and thus may get elevated to Lords

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jack-Hughes/100000562751914 Jack Hughes

    My advice to Mr Johnathan West is to keep his unbelieving nose out of a Catholic webpage, I do not go trolling on Mr Dawkins’s website, nor did I on the website of the late Mr Hitchens, I for one would appreciate it if he would return the favor. 

  • Zunk

     I just gave up on D’s blog, the atheists were too rude and too incessant,  and found I saved a lot of time if I stopped reading it altogether. Why on earth did they ban you? And equally what brings you to this one?

  • mahatmacoatmabag

    Hi Zunk, I have posted on the Herald a few times after one of the regulars wrote they now post on there, I took a look at the Herald & saw a few old friends on there so I occasionally put my tuppence worth in. I & a group of others got banned on one of DT’s new sat. night blogs some time back after a big fight broke out between John Henry, Rabit & others and although I was only indirectly involved in the slanging match , I & Damascene ( Geoff Sales ) & some others were ” Collateral Damage ” & we all got banned. All our posts simply vanished & I have gone through a number of IDs since then, all successively banned after squealers like Phil & Micky Ross keep on reporting me , although Phil Evens & a dozen of his spam IDs have been banned too , but since he has so many he is still posting with some of them.
    Well thats enough for now, all the best Zunk, sincerely M.