Debating point

Resolved: that a faithful Catholic today has more in common with an old-fashioned Orangeman or violent Paisleyite than with most of his own bishops.

The point, raised hardly for the first time, came to me again with the British election, from Eire — the southern, not the northern jurisdiction, and indeed, my Chief Western Irish Veterinary Correspondent, whose subscription to the Catechism of the Catholic Church is not in question. He wrote, “Perhaps the result has a silver lining. The DUP may keep the Tories honest.”

The DUP being the Democratic Unionist Party, founded by Ian Paisley in 1971, whose anti-Roman propensities were formerly not in question, either. Theresa May will need their ten votes from Ulster in the British House to retain the confidence of Parliament, and that means she will have to listen (very politely) to a party that is against (for instance) abortion and same-sex marriage. This, to my mind, made the Thursday election almost worth having, and might indicate, according to another correspondent in Yorkshire, the “hidden hand of the Highest” in the redistribution of seats.

I am myself still smiling, at the discomfiture of scribes in even the Daily Telegraph, who have trotted out their feminist ponies to bray. For to the modern, urbane, forward-looking, wide-tent, so-called “conservative,” ideas such as “never kill babies,” or “marriage is between a woman and a man,” have passed through debatable to unspeakable. They know they have allies who harbour such views, but come as close as they ever do to praying, that those allies will have the good manners to shut up.

And I could quote contemporary Rome to the same effect, telling pro-life advocates to pipe down a bit; to stop being so darn judgemental about objective mortal sin, and get on the Climate Change Chariot instead. Oddly, I am told to go to Confession for my “sins against the environment,” in which class would be my earnestly-held belief that most environmentalist propaganda is sham and imposture.

Not all bishops, I should add, in returning to the debating resolution, above. Each time I hear a remark from e.g. Cardinal Sarah, I am reminded that orthodox Catholics still exist, and that their focus remains on the spiritual. But when it comes to moral, and by extension, political principles, what the Church has taught through the last two millennia is unambiguous. The preaching, specifically against abortion, and sexual perversion, was a feature of the Church in her first centuries; and among the Jews it goes back millennia more. It won us enemies then, and ought to be winning us enemies today.

Call me an Orangeman or a violent Paisleyite. By whomever the ancient Catholic doctrines are taught, I propose to respond with a resounding, “Hear! Hear!”