Catholic MPs & (lack of) Conscience…

Catholic MPs & (lack of) Conscience…

Update – 15th July, 2013

My reply to Rob Flello MP

Original Report – 13th July, 2013

Yesterday I received a phone call from Robert Watts, Deputy Political Editor on the London Telegraph, asking if we are the Scottish group responsible for demanding the excommunication of Catholic MPs who voted in favour of same sex marriage. Apparently, there is a leaflet circulating to that effect which is causing quite a stir south of the border. Eventually, we concluded that word must have gotten around about our online petition calling on the Vatican to act to ensure that Canon Law (#915)  is enforced, since parish priests and bishops in Scotland are permitting MPs who have voted to legislate for same-sex marriage to continue to receive Holy Communion. Someone, presumably, printed off our petition statement and put the photocopiers to work.  I hung up the phone and thought no more about it.

Then today I received the most incredible letter from an MP I’ve yet seen – Rob Flello MP to be precise.  Click here to see if you agree

Now, there’s plenty I could say in response to the contents of that outrageous letter, but I keep being told that blog articles ought to be short and to the point.

Suffice to say that Mr Flello’s views on Catholic conscience fall very far wide of the mark, and I’ll be replying to his letter as soon as I can get down to it, to tell him so. In the meantime, I’ve emailed him the link to this discussion thread.

So, what do you think – should I comply with Mr Flello’s wishes and retract the petition statement describing Catholic MPs who voted for same-sex marriage as “dissenters”?

And do I – thinkest thou – owe Mr Flello and his colleague Catholic MPs an apology?

Here’s what I think – “retraction”?  “apology”?  Yeah right!

Note: the above exchange with Rob Flello MP was reported in the August, 2013 edition of Catholic Truth – to read that report, visit the Newsletter page on our website, click on Archives downward arrow, and select Issue No. 78, August, 2013, scroll to page 7.



Comments (70)

  • Athanasius

    I cannot believe that this man Flello, who calls himself a Catholic and apparently holds a responsible public position, could be so ignorant in the matter of what constitutes a properly formed Catholic conscience. It’s frightening!

    The infallible moral teaching of the Church is NEVER questionable for the Catholic conscience, nor is the 6th Commandment or Sacred Scripture upon which that infallible teaching is based. How can one argue that conscience is free to contravene the law of God? It’s impossible. Of course these so-called Catholics, obfuscators, should be refused Holy Communion, and for the simple reason that they are public dissenters from teaching that comes straight from God Himself.

    July 14, 2013 at 12:25 am
    • Petrus

      Absolutely, Athanasius. The level of apostasy is now at a frightening level. Man has made himself a god and has turned his back on Our Lord. I truly believe these people do not believe in the same God we do. How can someone claim to be Catholic but crucify Our Lord over and over again? In reality, they lost the Faith a long time again, if they ever had it in the first place.

      What is even more frightening is that the Catholic hierarchy are allowing these apostates to get away with this treachery. Truly unbelievable and tragic.

      July 14, 2013 at 12:57 pm
      • Athanasius


        Absolutely right! There is nothing but silence from the bishops during this time of revolt against all that is Holy. I can’t imagine how they will answer to Our Lord for such neglect of His Flock.

        July 14, 2013 at 4:13 pm
    • Athanasius

      I should have written 6th Commandment above, not 9th Commandment. Just put it down to my left-handedness!

      I must make a mental note never to personally dial 999. I don’t want to end up bringing the wrong kind of assistance to the house!

      Ed: I went in and changed 9th to 6th before reading this but it’s so comical I’m going to leave it. We sure could use some light relief these days…

      July 14, 2013 at 4:08 pm
  • Margaret Mary

    What an amazingly ignorant letter from a Catholic never mind a Catholic MP. As if any Catholic can say they are in good conscience about breaking God’s law. The whole notion of objective truth, and objective morality has gone out of the window. It’s astounding. Yet nobody could get away with it in the secular world by saying that they broke this or that law after consulting their conscience! They’d be laughed at!

    July 14, 2013 at 2:10 pm
  • Josephine

    His own quotes don’t support his claim to the right to an independent conscience. For example, the quote he gives from St Bonaventure – “Conscience is like God’s herald and messenger; it does not command things on its own authority, but commands them as coming from God”.
    What’s that saying if not, you can’t make decisions on your own, you need to adhere to God’s revealed law, and the Church is responsible for safeguarding God’s law.

    I checked out this MP and he’s only 47 (born in 1966) so that explains it. He’s another casualty of the Catholic school system this past fifty years. He’s in that age group that has just not been taught the Faith. I notice how he speaks about being “bullied” by Catholic Truth etc which is because he doesn’t realise how very wrong he is and that CT is merely correcting false beliefs. He really deserves our pity more than anything else.

    July 14, 2013 at 2:22 pm
    • Athanasius


      You said exactly what I was thinking, which is that our ill-informed Catholic(?) politician used quotes that actually condemn rather than support his position. His quote from Gaudium et Spes was exactly the same in context as that of St. Bonaventure, which is to say it refutes his argument that people are free in conscience to reject God’s law or to condone its rejection by others. I’ll assume the man is unaware of the Church’s teaching that one shares in the mortal sin of another if he consents to the sin or remains silent about when he should speak out.

      July 14, 2013 at 4:04 pm
  • cbucket

    It was the Parable of the unjust steward at Mass today. It seems very appropriate the right honourable member (/sarcasm). I wonder if the angel of death appeared to him now and asked him for an account of hist stewardship how he would respond ?

    “I think that when statesmen forsake their own private conscience for the sake of their public duties, they lead their country by a short route to chaos.”
    – Thomas More

    July 14, 2013 at 5:35 pm
  • raisinhead (@raisinhead)

    Commenters above talk about conscience. As Mr Fiello pointed out, the change in the law leaves the sacramental marriage of the Church intact. He is not himself acting to sin or to cause others to sin, as defined by the Church.

    He voted on a law and he doesn’t himself have to agree with same sex marriage but to simply find it in his conscience if others should be permitted to.

    You all make a great claim for piety and truth. Look to yourselves and the pompous pride with which you all comment on his actions. Prideful indeed. Pharisees in fact. The result of your pride?
    He said himself in his letter. “it is tactics such as yours which have
    increased, not decreased the prospects of this measure receiving Royal Assent.”

    So who is the sinner? Who brought this down upon themselves?

    Along with Cardinal O’Brien and Peter Kearney, you have shown the true intolerant heart of the Church in Scotland.

    July 14, 2013 at 7:53 pm
    • editor


      With respect, you are about as clear-thinking as a mug of mud.

      To begin at the end of your post, the Church is NOT “tolerant” – never has been, never will be. When did Christ ever tolerate sin? NEVER! Not once! “Repent” was his watchword. So, gerragrip.

      As for this baloney about “the change in the law leaves the sacramental marriage of the Church intact” – gerranothergrip.

      With even more respect, you clearly do not understand the nature and purpose of the Church (divinely established and authorised by God to save souls) AND the nature and purpose of marriage, which is NOT to let two grown adults of the same gender play mummy and mummy or daddy and daddy.

      And if you think the “gays” will leave the Church alone post-same-sex-marriage legislation, you better remember to place your coin under your pillow for the Tooth Fairy. No, let’s all settle down now and watch for that “test case” going to court to force that “homophobic” priest to perform a “gay” Catholic wedding. Catholics who refuse to conform to this evil legislation will face prison – you just wait and see. And I doubt if you will have to wait long.

      But don’t expect the likes of Rob Flello and the Pontius Pilate Platoon to bail us out. They’ll be too busy “tolerating” the opinions of the “liberals” who put us there in the first place.

      July 15, 2013 at 11:00 pm
  • hamishpeterson

    I am a Baptist and I have to confess that I have difficulty in considering Catholics to be Christians. A friend asked me to comment on this matter so here goes:
    I find it extraordinary that any person who considers himself to be a Christian would even consider setting the Bible aside in forming an opinion about any moral issue. There is no need to rattle on about “conscience”, catholic church documents etc., when we have God’s own word to arrive at a position. It clearly states in many places in Holy Scripture that the sin of Sodom is a serious sin and forbidden by God himself, therefore there is no room for private opinions. Any “Christian” person voting for same sex “marriage” is in direct contravention of God’s law.

    Even though I would dispute the authority of the catholic church, I do admire her clear teaching. It’s a pity that Catholics do not abide by it.

    July 15, 2013 at 9:15 am
    • sixupman


      Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings and heretics [the latter in joke fashion] comes the truth.

      BTW, the English & Welsh Bishops’ Conference are on record as stating that, in certain given circumstances I can forego travelling to Mass on Sundays and Holydays, as is our obligation, but instead participate in one of your own services at a local chapel. CofE, Methodists and United Reformed also included in the said indult.

      July 15, 2013 at 9:38 am
      • editor

        I’d forgotten that, Sixupman – thanks for the reminder. I must find a corner in the August newsletter to publish that shocking gem.

        God help these bishops. Literally – may God help them; they’ve done unbelievable damage to Christ’s Church.

        July 15, 2013 at 10:48 pm
    • editor


      Many thanks for your contribution – you are very welcome here.

      Unfortunately, I’m racing out right now or I’d write a much longer reply (may do later, if nobody else does) but the fact is, no Catholic “sets the Bible aside”… It is Protestants who have set the Church of Christ aside in favour of sola scriptura – a doctrine that is not to be found anywhere in the Bible itself. On the contrary, the Bible itself teaches us that it is the Church which is the pillar and ground of all truth (1 Timothy 3.15)and it is to the Church that Christians have always looked to interpret and safeguard both Scripture and the Moral Law.

      Anyway, glad we are of one mind about the evil of “same-sex marriage”.

      We need to keep battling away to fight the immorality, notably attacks on the traditional family and innocent unborn human life, which is undermining our society.

      Keep in touch – God bless you.

      July 15, 2013 at 10:00 am
      • Athanasius


        Yours is a very well presented reply to Mr. Flello. I hope it makes both him and his colleagues reflect very seriously.

        July 15, 2013 at 12:48 pm
    • Crossraguel


      Your contribution is well reasoned insofar as it treats the clear and irrefutable scriptural teaching on the homosexual act. It also comes across that your lack of understanding of Catholicism evidences a will to seek answers in fundamental matters of faith.

      From a protestant perspective it is not unusual to question Catholicism’s place in Christianity, regardless of being an inexplicable stance when referencing Church history, and indicative of the insular assuredness of the various denominations which have arisen and mutated, divided etc. in recent centuries.

      You are Peter and upon this rock I build My Church: the universal ‘catholic’ Church of Christ. Those whose sins you forgive are forgiven; whose sins you retain are retained. To whom can this apply if apostolic succession was not conferred upon the Church?

      Biblical authority – sola scriptura: how did this/could this be theologically sound for early Christians (up to the third century) who had no bible as we know it? This position becomes untenable on appreciating from objective history of those early times that the bible had not so much been given us in its entirety, but was a product of the one holy catholic an apostolic Church, by divine providence. The Church fathers, variously recognised by your theological forebears Calvin, Luther et al, are on further inspection quite incompatible with that doctrine which separates the branch from the tree and presumes Man’s stewardship of his eternal destiny.

      Can it be that each of your brethren within denominations at odds with your own interpretation of sacred scripture are equally valid in said interpretation before God? Granted there ought to be ones taken for granted, such as the teaching you correctly cite on homosexuality. But what of your evangelical, presbyterian, anglican confreres who have set such teaching aside? What of baptists who divorce and are remarried quite literally adulterous in scriptural terms. Is it God’s Will that we be one body so fragmented, fundamental differences across denominations as well as within? It wasn’t always so, not 500 years ago, not 1000 years ago – mere blinks of the heavenly eye.

      You are correct to admire the teaching of the Catholic Church, and indeed to lament it’s followers who do not adhere to it. The natural progression of which is to recognise its teaching authority and to realise the beauty and perfection of God’s Church on earth – not its fallen custodians, but infallible teaching authority and most of all the divine treasure of the real presence of Jesus Christ – body, blood, soul an divinity – in the blessed sacrament of the Eucharist. We Catholics really have no excuse for being wayward or ill-prepared for meeting out maker – we experience that divine encounter every single week in the holy sacrifice of the Mass.

      Seek Hamish, and with absolute certainty you will find the way, the truth and the life in the Catholic faith. God bless you, and all men of goodwill within your baptist fellowship and beyond, my prayers for you are assured and you will know the truth if your heart is open to it.

      July 17, 2013 at 12:35 am
  • crofterlady

    Perhaps Mr. Flello would like to read what Cardinal Burke recently said regarding the application of the Code of Canon Law 915. Although he was speaking about abortion, it is applicable to the commission of any serious sin.

    The cardinal said “Catholic politicians have the duty to support all legislation that will “most reduce the evils which attack human life and the integrity of marriage.”” [not only abortion]. See below.

    July 15, 2013 at 10:13 am
  • Athanasius


    Believe me when I say that we Catholics also have some difficulty these days in considering some of our own to be Christian! Those who favour immoral legislation, or condone it by their silence, are certainly little more than nominal Catholics, strangers to divine truth and certainly not partakers with the saints and martyrs. Rather, they are imitators of Judas Iscariot and Pontius Pilate respectively.

    This having been said, I have to confess to being a little bemused by your claim in general that, as a Baptist, you have difficulty in considering Catholics to be Christians. That’s a very odd view that needs exploring.

    You see, the Pope and the bishops of the Catholic Church represent the only Christian hierarchy which can trace its lineage historically right back to St. Peter and the Apostles. It’s called the Apostolic Succession and it is unique to the Catholic Church to which your own forebears presumably belonged prior to the Protestant rebellion of the XVI century.
    Furthermore, all the great Doctors and Saints of the early Christian Church up through the proceeding centuries have been Catholics loyal to the See of Rome. All believed exactly what Catholics today believe (the aforementioned apostates excepted).

    It also has to be said that the Catholic Church is the only one to bear the stamp of divine approval, which is very easily verifiable in a 2000-year history marked by astounding miraculous events, the miracles of Lourdes and Fatima being two of the more widely known. You can also do your own online research on “the incorruptibles,” those Catholic saints whose human remains have not decayed with death
    As regards Sacred Scripture, the Protestant argument about the Bible and Sola Scriptura is a really strange one, since it was the Catholic Church that gave the Bible to the world to begin with. It was the great Catholic scholars, under the authority of the Popes and the infallible guidance of the Holy Spirit, who researched and collated the various Books of the Bible and first put them into print.

    Much of that important work was done with the assistance of oral Tradition, i.e., the teaching handed down with authority by the Apostles. Hence it was that certain writings of dubious origin were identified and omitted from the entirety of Sacred Scripture, thus preserving the purity of divine teaching.

    This authority was promised by Our Lord to the Apostles (and their successors) in Sacred Scripture. For example, in Matthew 13: 10-12, we read: “And his disciples came and said to him: Why speakest thou to them in parables? Who answered and said to them: Because to you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven: but to them it is not given.”

    And again, in Matthew 16: 18-20, we read: “…And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.”

    Just how easily, then, interpretations of the Bible can be skewed when each is left to his own assessment is obvious from a multitude of Protestant sects, Baptists included, all claiming contrary meanings to the texts. This is what happens when the sole teacher of orthodoxy, the Church instituted by Christ Himself, is rejected by those who choose rather to act on their own authority.

    Let me give you an example of the confusion that emerges. The Baptists believe vehemently that those souls alone are saved who are baptised with water. Yet, we have the curious salvation of the Good Thief on the Cross who, having repented of his sins, here’s these words of the Saviour addressed to him: “This day, you will be with me in paradise.”

    This is not to undermine the importance of baptism by water, which is the general rule established by God for salvation. No, it merely shows that God does not apply His law like the Pharisees in the Gospels, who lived rigidly by the letter of the law to the exclusion of its spirit and thus became merciless hypocrites.

    We know for sure that the great saints of the Old Testament, the Patriarchs and prophets, are in heaven, yet they received no baptism by water. How can this be if the Sacrament of baptism is at ALL times indispensable? And what of the Catechumens of the early Church who suffered martyrdom, shed their blood for their belief in Christ, before having yet received baptism by water? Do Baptists truly believe that Our Lord Jesus Christ will reward their love for Him with damnation because they hadn’t time to receive baptism officially? This makes God a monster, not a Saviour, surely?

    No, HAMISHPETERSON, I think you’ll find on reflection, by research and prayer, if your heart is truly open to the objective truth of things, which I have no reason to doubt, that there is, in fact, only one Christian church, the Catholic Church instituted by no less than Jesus Christ Our Saviour Himself for the salvation of souls. She alone has the divine mandate to teach and sanctify in God’s name. She alone has her roots in Apostolic Tradition and has withstood 2000 years of opposition which would surely have destroyed any mere human institution before now.

    As regards your own Baptist religion, well, like all the other Protestant sects, it only came into existence some 450 years ago. Like these others, it defies 1600 years of unity of belief and teaching under the authority of the Roman Pontiffs, loses the link back to Christ and His Apostles, as well as any divine mandate, is bereft of divine miracles and turns “one Faith and one Baptism” in the Catholic Church into the Tower of Babel of many Christian voices all vying against each other with opposing doctrines. In fine, it makes of the God of order a God of chaos and confusion.

    But note from your own words how amidst all this chaos and confusion there is one voice still strong in the world. You said: “Even though I would dispute the authority of the catholic church, I do admire her clear teaching.”

    That teaching, unlike the teaching of many of the Protestant sects, has not changed in 20 centuries. It is the same moral voice it has always been and always will be, based, as it is, on the Sacred Scriptures it collated and authorised by the power invested in it by Christ Himself.
    By the way, though these comments are forthright they are by no means intended to offend you. My sole purpose in writing as I have is to point a person of obvious good will in the direction of religious truth. The points I make may be strongly put, but I hope you will agree that they are also objectively true.

    July 15, 2013 at 12:45 pm
  • Garry Otton

    Once again your group has shown itself up as a group of extrremists. I’m posting this up on Secular Scotland Facebook so everyone can see.

    July 15, 2013 at 2:56 pm
    • Thomas

      I would say the same about your group, Mr Otton.

      The petition is asking for nothing more than Church teaching and discipline to be upheld. So, do you not just mean that Catholic moral teaching is wrong per se and anyone who practises it an extremist?

      NB: I had problems registering so the poster “Ausgustine” is now “Thomas”. I guess it’s more consistent with the avatar of St Thomas Aquinas.

      July 15, 2013 at 4:43 pm
    • Athanasius

      And yet oddly enough, Mr. Otton, history shows that by far the greater number of murdering despots to have wielded power in this world have shared your anti-religious secularist view. Hitler and Stalin, with a conservative 150 million dead between them, are particularly noteworthy. They too considered Catholic morality extreme.

      July 15, 2013 at 5:45 pm
    • editor

      This, of course, would be the same two-faced Garry Otton – “gay” activist – who pretended to be so friendly towards Catholic Truth when I met him at the Michael Voris talk a while back. He then went off and wrote a nasty piece about Mr Voris on his blog, alleging that Catholic Truth had paid to bring him over here from the States. In short, Mr Otton’s word is about as reliable as a £12 note.

      But, still, shucks, thanks for the publicity, Garry, Sugar Plum. I don’t DO Facebook, myself, but appreciate the thought, Honey Bunch…

      July 15, 2013 at 7:33 pm
      • spiritustempore


        I may be wrong but I don’t believe that Mr Otton is two-faced. It’s simply that he talks through an unusual orifice. There is a slight facial resemblance, it’s true, and it’s an easy mistake to make.

        July 17, 2013 at 1:39 am
    • spiritustempore

      Secular Scotland? That would be the group of extremist nutters that want to drive religion out of public life and into oblivion, no? I would invite you to bore off, Mr Otton, but I’ll follow the example of that great secular Catholic, Billy Connolly, and remind myself that you and your fellow secularists are more to be pitied than scorned.

      July 16, 2013 at 11:04 pm
    • editor

      You have some nerve, Garry Otton. I’ve posted comments on your blog which never made it onto the site, notably after your letter to the Herald (Scotland) containing falsehoods about Catholic Truth – and that after we met at the Michael Voris talk, when you pretended to be so friendly towards us. Yet, you, who censor comments on your own blog, come onto ours to insult us, knowing that we do NOT censor. What a nerve. What a NERVE! What utter hypocrisy! At the risk of repeating myself, I have to say that you do have some nerve. Cheek and nerve in equal measure. What a blankety blank nerve!

      And if you think we give a toss about being “posted” on Secular Scotland Facebook, then you don’t know us. We, on the other hand, have the measure of you – big time. Think back to the Michael Voris talk, and our brief meeting. Does this ring a bell….. I was handing out leaftets to advertise our conference when you stretched out your hand to accept one, as I almost floated past you down the aisle…

      You: Oooooooh! Catholic Truth Conference? Pat McKeever?! Ooooooooo! really? Catholic Truth? Ooooooooo! I’m delighted to meet you… Oooooooooh!

      Moi: Thank you. And what’s YOUR name?

      You: Garry.

      Moi: Garry?

      You: Er, Garry Otton.

      Moi: Oh, I know that name – haven’t you criticised Catholic Truth on your blog?

      You: gurgle, gurgle… Oooooooooh! Where’s the Conference? Ooooooh! Conference at Celtic Park Ooooooooh! When is it? Ooooooooh! June 8th… What day is that? Oooooooooh! Saturday? Ooooooooh! I might just pop along.. Oooooooooh!

      Moi: Wouldn’t pop along, if I were you – I’m afraid it’s entry by pre-booking only. I do have some tickets with me, or you can book online by PayPal or by mail with cheque

      You: (gazing at the advert) Ooooooooh! I’ll have a think about it… Ooooooooh!

      Yeah, Garry, Sugar Plum, Honey Bunch, we have the measure of you.

      Now, won’t keep you – they’ll be waiting for you over at Secular Scotland (a tad exclusive, that title, don’t you think? Tending towards racism, even? Tut Tut. I hope you are at least dialoguing with Secular England and Secular Wales, not to mention Secular Ireland and Secular USA. Inclusivity, Garry, Honey Bunch – that’s the ticket…)

      July 17, 2013 at 6:50 pm
  • crofterlady

    Fame at last, editor!

    Why all the furore? A member of ANY organisation, even a golf club, would be chucked out for not keeping the rules. It’s funny how intolerant the liberals are…..

    July 15, 2013 at 4:35 pm
    • Athanasius

      What I find particularly irksome, CROFTERLADY, is all the provocative language used by the Daily Mirror, Rob Flello, Garry Otton and other liberal sources when referring to the position of Catholic Truth.

      Words like “aggressive,” “confrontational,” “extreme,” “offensive,” “judgmental,” etc., are frequently employed to raise precisely those kinds of passions in their listeners. In fact, nothing of what they say has any basis in reality, hence the absent evidence.

      Catholic Truth merely stands by the moral teaching of the Catholic Church, presenting a reasoned argument that Catholics who scandalise the faithful by adopting public moral positions contrary to her teaching should be censured by the Church according to Canon Law.

      That’s what the Church says should happen; it’s what happened for two thousand years until recently. So what’s the big deal? I think it’s rather more to do with opposition to what the Church traditionally stands for than any real evidence of extremism on the part of Catholic Truth.

      You’re absolutely right, incidentally, there are none so illiberal as liberals. These people add a whole new dimension to extremism.

      July 15, 2013 at 6:08 pm
      • editor

        Well, folks, what I find MOST interesting of all in that Mirror report is that I’ve not spoken to any journalist from that newspaper – at all, ever.

        So, the following questions arise:

        1) When did I say any of the things attributed to me in that report?

        2) To whom did I say any of the things attributed to me in that report?

        3) Why did not someone at the Mirror contact me personally to ask about the petition?

        4) Is the left wing Mirror colluding with the extreme right wing Telegraph? I ask because Robert Watts, the Deputy Political Editor of the London Telegraph did ring me the other day to ask if I knew about a group called the Scottish Catholic Truth Society. I informed him that the CTS is a publishing company. They apparently had a leaflet circulating in Westminster demanding that Catholic MPs who voted for same-sex marriage be excommunicated. I told him we never used that word and we had no such leaflet circulating in Westminster or anywhere else.

        So, what’s going on?

        One more question:

        If the Scottish bishops were doing their duty and applying Canon Law, which Pope John Paul II (whom they’re all dying to canonise) said “by its very nature demands obedience) would we appear to the uninformed the way we are being presented in the media – as a bunch of extremists?

        Well, Archbishop Tartaglia, what do you think? Bishop Robson? Bishop Cunningham? Bishop Toal?

        And if you’re reading this from your place of (unearned) relaxation, Cardinal O’Brien, take my advice and reflect deeply on the chaotic state of the Catholic Church in Scotland which occurred under the collegial watch of you and your brother wolves – and then repent. Big time.

        July 15, 2013 at 7:45 pm
  • Nick Sundich

    We as Catholics try to live perfect lives. Yet in the past we’ve made terrible mistakes in the past. We used to teach that slaughtering entire non-Christian nations was the will of God, that it marital rape was acceptable, that slavery was God’s will etc. Now are we making the same mistake today? How is this different to any of that? Won’t in 40 years time, even Catholics will be stunned when their elders tell them once upon a time gay people couldn’t get married?

    Oh apparently we won’t because whilst straight people fall in love, get married for God, gay people just have sex. Really? Do you know any gay people? No. Well how do you have any right to speak on what you do not know? As Jesus said to the Pharisees,’ Woe unto you Pharisees. For you do not go [into heaven] yourselves, you stop [others going in]’ Mt 23.13

    There are Christians and Catholics who were born gay, as Jesus admitted (Mt 19.10-12)

    I promise all of you like Maurice Williamson did to NZ:
    – The sun will still rise tomorrow
    – Your teenage daughter will still talk back at you as if she knows everything
    – Your mortgage will not grow
    – You will not get infectious skin diseases
    – Life will go on (like it has in all other places)

    I do concede I can’t promise you that you’ll be able to give your children an answer when they question you regarding what on earth all the fuss was ever about.

    July 15, 2013 at 8:05 pm
    • crofterlady

      Nick, even if some people are born with same sex attraction, that doesn’t mean that they have to act on it. I may have an attraction for a baby, but I have to control such an attraction. The Bible categorically condemns adultery, same sex liaisons etc., and I know it is difficult to be chaste in such circumstances but, we must. Sexual fulfilment is not more important than God’s laws. I know several people who, for whatever reasons, have not found love and they live chaste lives. I, myself, married late in life and I was chaste until then. May God bless you.

      July 15, 2013 at 8:35 pm
    • ignatius1970

      “Won’t in 40 years time, even Catholics will be stunned when their elders tell them once upon a time gay people couldn’t get married?”

      Eh, no! Because they still won’t be married. Regardless of what the law says. God’s law is higher. So in 40yrs time you’ll still be a sodomite who has deluded himself into believing that they are married. Simples!

      July 15, 2013 at 11:08 pm
  • Athanasius


    I would sure like to see some evidence to support your claim that the Church encouraged or condoned the slaughter of non-Christian nations, that it ever approved of rape within marriage or blessed the slave trade.

    I don’t know where you get your information, my friend. It sounds to me like you’ve fallen for the myths made up by the secular press. I think you’ll actually find upon proper objective research that the Catholic Church founded the universities and hospitals, played a major role in the advance of science and mathematics, established a moral code that eradicated the heathen practices of ancient paganism, which practices secular humanism is attempting to restore, and accorded to women their true dignity, as exemplified by the exultation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in her Divine Maternity, Motherhood and purity.

    If you really want to find evidence of humanity at its worst, then read up on the history and statistics of nations that were either Godless to begin with, such as those ancient pagan empires, or, more tellingly, those which rid themselves of God in the interests of human advancement. I suggest Stalin’s Russia and Hitler’s Germany as the two best examples in this second category.

    July 15, 2013 at 9:23 pm
    • ignatius1970

      What are you suggesting Athanasius, that movies and TV don’t portray the truth about the Catholic Church?

      To Hamish, The Protestant saying “Scripture interprets Scripture” is a bit like me claiming that my socks can put themselves on my feet merely because they are socks. It’s sophomoric at best.

      As strange as it may seem – this is a core Protestant belief e.g. The Westminster confession of faith states that “The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself” [WCF 1.9]

      Since there are over 30,000 denominations within Protestantism all claiming that they have the correct interpretation, how is one supposed to know who has the correct interpretation if Scripture is the one doing the interpreting?

      One question that should be asked, which is never asked, is: How is an inanimate object supposed to interpret itself?

      July 15, 2013 at 10:47 pm
      • Athanasius


        I think the last place you’ll find an accurate portrayal of the Catholic Church is TV and the movies. The best place to gain that accurate portrayal, though, is in the Lives of the Saints.

        I’m not quite sure what you’re saying about Scripture, although I can relate to your point about all those Protestant confessions each claiming that their take on Scripture is the right one.

        No, the interpretation of Sacred Scripture belongs to the Catholic Church, which alone was given the power by Christ to bind and loose. There is no question of inanimate objects interpreting themselves once this fundamental truth of 20 centuries is acknowledged.

        July 15, 2013 at 11:08 pm
  • Josephine

    What I’d like to know is, where are the signatures of the Church’s spokesman on the Catholic Truth petition? How come John Deighan could appear day in and day out on TV arguing against same sex marriage, yet not now sign a petition to get his bosses to take the next logical step and deny Communion to the unfaithful Catholic MPs/MSPs who voted for this immoral measure? There’s an inconsistency in the position of the Church’s employees.

    July 15, 2013 at 10:39 pm
  • Athanasius


    What can I say, other than that I hope Mr. Flello is reading? Thank you for those two great papal quotes, so absolutely to the point.

    July 15, 2013 at 11:13 pm
    • editor


      Now that the pieces of this jigsaw are beginning to fit together, I think our dear Mr Flello MP may well be part of a wee “conspiracy” (for want of a better word) to get at Catholic Truth. Think about the sequence of events: phone call from the Telegraph guy – Robert Watts – letter from MP – Mirror article – Secular Scotland -Facebook & Twitter coverage courtesy of Garry Otton (“gay” activist)…

      So, yip, I, too, hope Rob Flello MP is reading this thread and realises, better late than never, that we’re not daft. Nor will we ever cave in to any kind of bullying campaign. You can put us on the front page of any publication from the New York Times to Homes & Gardens and we will stand our ground…

      Does the Honourable Gentleman comprenez – at last?

      July 16, 2013 at 12:27 am
      • Athanasius

        Well, whatever Mr. Flello’s motives were for writing, I hope he has the decency, now that he is better informed, to take his own advice and offer an apology to you. As a Catholic he should know that he is bound to do this in justice. As for the seculars, I don’t expect any kind of human decency to be forthcoming from them. That’s not their stock in trade!

        July 16, 2013 at 1:04 am
  • editor


    The thought also occurred to me, Editor, that there was enough material here for another Conference…

    You kidding me? There’s enough material here for another ten conferences! Once you’ve organised the first in the series over there in the Emerald Isle, let me know and we’ll advertise it. Maybe Secular Scotland and Stonewall will, between them, subsidise our plane tickets! That is, if we’re not languishing in prison for having the sheer nerve to stand up to the bullies – both inside and outside of Parliament – who are determined to squash our freedom of speech.

    Great post, yet again, Leo – no wonder Irish eyes are always smiling. I suspect you are keeping the faith alive over there, almost single-handedly…

    July 16, 2013 at 12:15 am
  • editor

    If you notice, there is a refrain which runs through these protests about our petition – the claim that we sent nasty communications to MPs on the issue of same-sex marriage:

    The (Catholic Legislators’) Network’s secretary Chris Whitehouse said: “The communications from this organisation have been aggressive, confrontational and condemnatory. They have caused deep and profound offence.”

    Well, let’s see. How can anyone possibly know if that is true without direct quotations, dates of letters, signatories. Let’s make it simple for these guys. Quote only from MY alleged communications. I’ve no objection. Go, go, go…

    Now, I know that the Mirror “quoted” me without ever having spoken to me or written to me, but any MP who has proof that I have written a nasty communication that is “aggressive” “confrontational” and/or “condemnatory” needs to put it in the public domain – NOW! If I wrote what they claim, I’ll “fess up” – if not, then it will be clear that we are dealing with blatant liars. What? MPs who don’t tell the truth? Gerrourahere!

    I’m emailing this comment (and the link to the thread) to Chris Whitehead to whom I sent the original link for passing on to Rob Flello. I am being totally out in the open, so let’s see if Whitehead and/or Flello are willing to be equally open. “Equal marriage” – as they call it, they’re all for that. What about “Equal honesty” ?

    July 16, 2013 at 10:20 am
    • editor

      I’ve just emailed Chris Whitehouse of the Catholic Legislators’ Network, as follows:

      Mr Whitehouse,

      I await Mr Flello’s reply to my letter of yesterday’s date, now published on our website and blog (along with his letter to me)

      In the meantime, I ask that you supply evidence of your allegation, reported in yesterday’s Mirror, that you have received nasty communications from Catholic Truth. See my latest comment on our blog below, quoting your exact words in the Mirror article. I presume, of course, that the Mirror actually contacted you for a quote, unlike me, where they quoted me without having ever spoken or written to me. Very professional – not.


      If you notice, there is a refrain which runs through these protests about our petition – the claim that we sent nasty communications to MPs on the issue of same-sex marriage:

      The (Catholic Legislators’) Network’s secretary Chris Whitehouse said: “The communications from this organisation have been aggressive, confrontational and condemnatory. They have caused deep and profound offence.”

      Well, let’s see. How can anyone possibly know if that is true without direct quotations, dates of letters, signatories. Let’s make it simple for these guys. Quote only from MY alleged communications. I’ve no objection. Go, go, go…

      Now, I know that the Mirror “quoted” me without ever having spoken to me or written to me, but any MP who has proof that I have written a nasty communication that is “aggressive” “confrontational” and/or “condemnatory” needs to put it in the public domain – NOW! If I wrote what they claim, I’ll “fess up” – if not, then it will be clear that we are dealing with blatant liars. What? MPs who don’t tell the truth? Gerrourahere!

      I’m emailing this comment (and the link to the thread) to Chris Whitehouse to whom I sent the original link for passing on to Rob Flello. I am being totally out in the open, so let’s see if Whitehouse and/or Flello are willing to be equally open. “Equal marriage” – as they call it, they’re all for that. What about “Equal honesty” ?

      I look forward to your reply – and feel free, if you wish, to reply publicly to me on our blog. I have nothing to hide, so I am perfectly happy for everything on this subject to be out there in the public domain.

      God bless you

      Patricia McKeever
      Catholic Truth

      July 16, 2013 at 10:35 am
  • Josephine

    I am wondering if Mr Flello is being racist when he says it is “bizarre” that a Scottish group seeks to dictate to members of parliament in Westminster how they should vote about a measure that doesn’t apply to Scotland.

    As if Catholic teaching doesn’t apply to everywhere in every country, anyway, but that statement from him smacks to me of racism.

    July 16, 2013 at 10:49 am
  • Athanasius


    I would really like to believe that Mr. Flello and/or Mr. Whitehouse will respond to your challenge, but it seems quite obvious that this will be difficult for them given the unfounded allegations they have made.

    It seems today that honour, particularly Catholic honour, is a thing of the past. People have absolutely no hesitation now in rubbishing the reputations of those who oppose them. And if they can’t do it with facts, well, they just make it up. It seems these two men have no idea how serious a matter it is before God to calumniate one’s neighbour, especially in public. I hope they at least have the courtesy to try to explain themselves, but I fear if they do it will only be to present further spin-doctoring to dance around the Church’s moral teaching. They simply cannot answer for themselves in a manner befitting the Faith they claim to hold. It’s a tragic truth, but all too common today.

    What is more to the point than these poor souls, though, is the notable silence of the bishops regarding these serious moral issues. Not a single one of them, as far as I can see, have been prepared to stand up for Our Lord and the teaching of His Church in these times of apostasy and rebellion. Martyrs they most certainly are not. In fact, it’s even dubious as to whether some of them are even Catholic any longer.

    But did not Our Lady of Quito predict this present time of revolt some 400 years ago, saying that when evil laws were instituted to destroy the Sacrament of marriage and undermine the family, those who should speak out will fall silent? And did not Our Lady of Fatima say the same thing in relation to the chastisement of the Third Secret, in essence that many in the high clergy would lose the Faith? That was certainly the conclusion of Cardinal Mario Luigi Ciappi, personal theologian to five popes, including John Paul II, who spoke of the Third Secret of Fatima as referring to “apostasy from the top down.”

    Who can fail to note the absence of any kind of episcopal defence of the faith and the faithful today, especially in Britain. The flock are abandoned by their shepherds who are busy nurturing human respect while their Master’s hands and feet are nailed once again to the Cross. It’s the silent bishops of the Church who will be held most accountable to Our Lord for this present destruction of the natural order established by God. And woe betide those Catholics in public life who have contributed to the evil by their cowardice, ambition or just plain old treachery.

    July 16, 2013 at 12:15 pm
    • editor

      The dishonesty of these men is just amazing. Here’s the reply to my above email to Chris Whitehouse. Mr Whitehouse writes:

      “Equal marriage” – as they call it, “they’re all for that.”

      No. That is untrue. Rob Flello consistently and courageously opposed the Bill. So do I, as you will see from The Universe this coming weekend. END

      So, note: the same newspaper, Universe, whose editor will not publish letters from me, is about to join the secular media in savaging Catholic Truth.

      My reply

      My email asks for evidence of “aggression, confrontation and condemnation” in my communications prior to the same-sex marriage debate.

      Let’s see some evidence. What you quote is something from our recent blog commenting on Rob Flello’s letter.

      And there is nothing wrong with that statement which you quote from me, because it’s not good enough to say that Rob Flello and you opposed the bill – you can’t think it’s any big deal if you are happy to let others vote for it on grounds of their (flawed) consciences. Would not every Dictator in history claim a clear conscience? Didn’t infamous murderers claim good conscience in clearing the streets of prostitutes? I await evidence from above mentioned correspondence – in fact, I’m about to check my own sent box to see if I can find my own emails to my own MP on the subject.

      I cannot locate my original email but that was merely to ask my MP what his voting intentions were, probably expressing the hope that he would vote against the bill. My MP is welcome to publish my original email, if he still has it. In fact, he replied by Royal Mail (a letter of several pages giving excuses for voting in favour of the bill – that I do recall. And I believe I’d have remembered if he had complained about the manner of my letter. I have no recollection whatsoever of him accusing me of being “aggressive” or “confrontational” or “condemnatory” – or anything else for that matter.)


      SENT 3 February, 2013 – 6.30pm

      Dear Mr Greatrex,

      I acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 1 February, 2013, in which you advise me that you will be supporting the proposed change to the law to re-define marriage for the benefit of a minority group who consist of less than 1.5% of the population.

      Please note that I will not vote for you at the next election.

      Since UKIP is the only party opposing this evil legislation, I will be, more likely than not, transferring my vote to them. I will most certainly not be voting – ever again – for any politician/party which supports this disgraceful legislation. I know for a fact that others, who have not written to any politician about this matter (out of a sense of “what’s the point”) have made the same decision. END.

      A SECOND EMAIL SENT BY ME, 5 February, 2013 at 12.12

      Dear Mr Greatrex,

      I have just received the SPUC daily bulletin and cannot resist sending you the following extract, in case you are not in receipt of them. I hope and pray that it touches your conscience, bearing in mind the brevity of this life as demonstrated, not least, in the sudden deaths of politicians in recent years, including Labour leader John Smith (aged 56): the first sentence refers to the fact that the assassination attempt on the life of Pope John Paul II took place on the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, 13th May.

      “In the designs of Providence there are no mere coincidences” said Pope John Paul II on the first anniversary of the assassination attempt which so nearly ended his life.

      For me, it’s no mere coincidence that today’s Gospel reading on the feast of St Agatha, contains a timely message for British MPs as they prepare to vote today on the Government’s Marriage (Same Sex) Couples bill: “And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, ‘Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?’ He answered, ‘Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, `For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.” Matthew 19:3–12.

      Please think again, Mr Greatrex. There can be no other issue of such momentous importance in our lifetime, as this attempt to besmirch God’s law by legalising one of the four sins that “cries to Heaven for vengeance”.

      I am not given to talking about prayer, but I am praying for you today. God bless you. END.

      “Aggressive”? “Confrontational”? “Condemnatory”?


      July 16, 2013 at 1:14 pm
  • Athanasius


    I did say that they would find it difficult to respond to the very precise Catholic teaching that has been put to them. If they could only grasp the utter hypocrisy that manifests itself in those who claim personal fidelity to the Church’s moral teaching while acknowledging their dissenting colleagues’ right to oppose it. Talk about sitting on the fence!

    I will not see the Universe article because it’s a newspaper I don’t buy. From experience, though, I know exactly how that article will be constructed and presented. No matter, it will not alter the fact that Catholics who vote in favour of evil legislation, or who approve the false conscience of their fellows to do so, have placed themselves outside the Church, regardless of whether or not that canonical censure is declared formally. If they are permitted to receive Holy Communion by negligent bishops and priests, then all they do is add to their mortal sin the sin of sacrilege.

    One thing they cannot say now is that they didn’t know what they were doing. Your letter to Rob Flello has clarified the teaching of the Church and this blog has enhanced that clarification with further evidence, most notably the two papal extracts relating to proper conscience posted by Leo above.

    I state once more for the record that no one may under any circumstances whatsoever accord to conscience the right to offend against the law of God as expressed by the infallible moral teaching of the Catholic Church. Arguments to the contrary, no matter how cleverly constructed, are bogus and scandalous.

    July 16, 2013 at 1:54 pm
  • Athanasius

    Just thought I would add to what I have said above with the authoritative teaching of the Church as laid out in the following EXAMINATION OF CONSCIENCE for adults:

    Nine Ways of Being an Accessory to Another’s Sin

    a. Have I knowingly caused others to sin?
    b. Have I co-operated in the sins of others:

    1. By counsel. 2. By command. 3. By consent. 4. By provocation. 5. By praise or flattery. 6. By concealment. 7. By partaking. 8. By silence. 9. By defense of the ill done?

    Bishops and priests, take note!

    July 16, 2013 at 2:15 pm

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