Cardinal Nichols’ right hand man approved Greg Pope’s rejection of Bishop Egan’s defence of Church teaching

Hilary White of LifeSiteNews has received a message from the bishops’ conference’s media office informing her that the General Secretary of the Bishop’s Conference approved Greg Pope’s rejection of Bishop Egan’s teaching about denying communion to pro-abort & SSM politicians. Mgr Marcus Stock is the General Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference.

LifeSiteNews reports:

‘Today the media office of the bishops’ conference confirmed with LifeSiteNews that the letter was addressed to the Catholic MPs with the bishops’ full authorization. “Many thanks for your mail. Mr. Greg Pope was speaking as a spokesperson for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales,” a spokesman with the bishops’ Catholic Communications Network said.’

“The statement was approved by the General Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference after appropriate consultation. ‘There are no plans by any Bishops in England and Wales to deny communion to Catholic MPs who voted in favour of same sex marriage legislation last year,’” the spokesman said.’

M Donnelly: While providing further information this statement still leaves a lot unclear.  What was the ‘appropriate’ consultation that Mgr Marcus Stock undertook regarding Greg Pope’s letter to Catholic MPs and Peers?

Moreover, Bishop Egan had listed a number of circumstances when Catholic politicians should not receive Holy Communion.  These included if they voted for Abortion, euthanasia, eugenics, assisted suicide.  What is the Bishop’s conference view on these?

The House of Commons is due to vote in a couple of weeks on Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill. Where does the Bishops’ Conference stand on this?

Here’s where Pope Benedict, Pope Francis and Cardinal Raymond Burke stand.

Pope Benedict XVI, when he was Prefect of the CDF

Pope Francis, when he was Cardinal of Buenos Aires

Cardinal Raymond Burke, the Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura and the Church’s top Canon Lawyer

In summary they indicate: Catholic politicians who vote against the moral doctrines of the Church should be first admonished, and if they persist, should be denied Holy Communion.

83 comments to Cardinal Nichols’ right hand man approved Greg Pope’s rejection of Bishop Egan’s defence of Church teaching

  • Benedict Carter

    They act with impunity, thumbing their noses at the Church’s teaching, because the truth is they know that with this Pope and with the post-Vatican II determination to condemn nothing, even evil, they are in no danger of being disciplined nor indeed censored in any way.

    This is the plan truth.

    • Wake Up England

      Benedict Carter:

      “They” were determined enough to condemn Deacon NIck and this blog, though…………

      • Benedict Carter

        Yep, and the FFI are smashed to bits for loving the Old Mass, and I and several others are banned from that Catholic-very-lite rag the Catholic Herald …. all pieces of a large jig-saw, some pieces important and large, others small. But all fitting a pattern. The liberal-secular clerical wolves and their lay accomplices are in full howling mode.

  • Atlanta Catholic

    Time to bring out the “big guns.”

    Time to invoke the intercession 40 Martyrs of England and Wales by name every day?

  • BJC

    Sorry, but our Bishops now need to explain why they themselves are not guilty of committing a mortal sin by giving this advice. Perhaps Mgr. Marcus Stock will be forthcoming with a statement.

  • Benedict

    The Fathers of the Church would regard such an interference in another Bishop’s diocese as being sufficient reason for the deposition of Cardinal Nichols. Bishops can only speak on pastoral issues that affect their diocese, I hope Bishop [Egan] complains and demands a judgement of the Holy See on this issue.

    We need clarity, it is fine for Bishops like Bp Egan and Cardinal Burke, and many others to say politicians who digress from Catholic teaching but [they ] obviously Nichols and Wuerl disagree with them. It is for the Pope to make a judgement on this matter ‘to preserve the unity of faith’.

  • The bishops may feel they do not wish to refuse Communion to the MP`s since they are the ones who led the MP`s astray in the first place by their heretical teaching on Conscience which they claim came from Vatican II. There is certainly much about conscience in the document the Church [in] the Modern World but the Fathers were talking about the salvation of those outside the Church. We have the clear teaching of Jesus and his church and nowhere did Jesus say only obey his commandments if you agree with them.

  • What need is there for “plans”? The law is enough. Those who so clearly dissent from Church teaching on these fundamental issues should not present themselves for Holy Communion nor be allowed to present themselves.

  • shaun the sheep

    Sounds like the bishop’s conference needs to know it’s place. As far as I know, they have no standing in Canon Law. They do NOT usurp the bishops authority in his own diocese of which he is ‘pope’. The bishops conference has gone beyond its mandate and authority. It is an aid to the bishops, it does not set policy. God bless Bishop Egan and shame on anyone who would diss him or his authority in presenting forth the Church’s authoritative teaching. I emailed him already and suggest you other readers do so too as I got a reply back from his PA and he is getting the messages of support.

  • Joanne

    Poor Bishop Egan is isolated for taking a stand. So was Cardinal Burke here in the US. Greg Pope is the new Catholic role model. MP Conor Burns has no worries. Politics always trumps Catholicism. The seriousness of Catholic teaching has become a joke. Still waiting & praying for the cavalry in this holy war…

  • Chrysostom

    We should thank God, and pray, for Bishop Egan, a bishop who follows the teachings of the Church and does not merely tag along with what is the latest bit of political correctness. Bishop Egan is in the line of Bishop Fisher.

    The bishops are not, one assumes, married but I am and I resent the attack on my sacrament. Some MPs voted against the SACRAMENT OF MATRIMONY and made a mockery of that great sacrament.
    Supposing the MPs had voted against some part of the Sacrament of Holy Orders – to say, for example, that Catholic bishops had the same legal status as unborn children and to kill them was not a crime: would the bishops have expected Catholic MPs to vote against that?

    In the interest of openness, I ask the Bishops first to publish the letter that has been sent to bishops on this subject, with a list of signatories. Secondly, can I ask the Bishops to publish the voting record of Greg Pope, when he was an MP, on such moral matters as abortion and the adoption by homosexuals of innocent children and so on.

  • Lynda

    The enemies of Christ and His Church are destroying the Faith from the top. The Monsignor ought to be removed from ministry and the job at the Conference.

  • I cannot believe what I’m reading.

    This is outrageous!!!

  • John Vasc

    Any Bishop has the autonomous right to exercise Canon Law in his own diocese as he sees fit. There is no majority rule, as we do not have a national church of E&W. The Catholic Church is universal and its laws are supra-national.
    Bishop Egan could be over-ruled by Rome and the Holy Father or the CDF acting in his name – not by Mgr Stock or another bishop or bishops.

  • Paul

    Please write or email Bishop Egan to tell him of your support. Bishops who are outspoken with such integrity are a rarity these days. They must know that the faithful are behind them and are praying for them.

  • In the approved Marian apparitions of Quito, Our Lady warned: ‘The same will occur with Holy Communion. Oh, how it hurts me to tell you that there will be many and enormous public and hidden sacrileges!’

    We live in very sad times when cardinals, bishops, and priests will not stand up and protect the Blessed Sacrament or the souls of sinners. Neither will they protect the faithful from grave, public scandal.

    To leave Bishop Egan high and dry is also a dreadful thing for them to do.

    May God have mercy on us all.

    • ConofChi

      May I add how sad I am as the present situation develops. The devil must be gloating as he brings hell on earth!

      In the ‘unapproved’ (and I wonder why unapproved… apart from the lack of a robust investigation at the time of course) apparitions at GARABANDAL, sadly much of what was disclosed by Our Lady is materialising as we blog.

      Its all here

  • Rifleman819

    Dear All,
    So now we have it….the First Church of Marcus Stock Inc (Magisterium not included)

  • you never know what is down the road!!spoken a while ago by a man with a veiled liverpool accent.the holy roman catholic church has put down every heresy that was and will do so again with this modernist heresy -even when spewed out of the mouth of supposed catholics.god bless .philip johnson.

  • Gary

    Catholic reporters when questioning our bishops in interviews must get our bishops out of their comfort zone and ask them hard questions, sadly we have to embarrass our bishops to remind them to give clear Catholic witness on these issues, rather than act like politicians. Hopefully more Catholic newspapers like the Catholic Herald can lead the way in this, instead of asking them the usual ‘banal and sentimental’ questions.

  • Genty

    Quelle surprise.

  • Nicolas Bellord

    I suspect that the Bishops’ Conference took the view that they might be in breach of parliamentary privilege if they supported Bishop Egan so they took the coward’s way out. Of course if we have the choice we should follow the pastoral guidance of a Bishop and ignore some spokesman of a Bishops’ conference.

    But really you could not make it up; employ an ex-labour MP who supports abortion; when a Bishop gives the orthodox view that facilitating abortion by voting for it is a mortal sin and therefore disqualifies them from receiving communion then this ex-labour MP gives the cowardly view of the Bishops’ Conference. By doing so the Bishops’ Conference has lost all credibility – Mgr Marcus Stock in whom we had some hope has really lost it.
    Of course there is an alternative explanation to that of cowardice and that is that many of our Bishops no longer accept the teaching of the church on sexual matters. Take your choice – cowardice or apostasy?

    • confused


      can you explain what your reference to Parliamentary Privilege means please. As I understand it Catholic Bishops do not have this (although perhaps the Anglican Bishops in the Lords do)


      • Nicolas Bellord

        I did not suggest that the Bishops have parliamentary privilege. I am not really very conversant with the subject but I think there may be a theory that undue influence on an MP could be regarded as a breach of parliamentary privilege. Thus threatening an MP with something if he does not vote a certain way may be an example. I would guess there is a fine line to be drawn. Perhaps some more erudite commentator could tell us. Anyway it is really up to Greg Pope and his employers to explain why they did this; of course the church mafia will not do so.

        • Owen Meany

          It is more than a theory, it is the law of the land. I’m fairly sure that anyone following Bishop Egan’s suggestion would fall foul of this statute.

          • Lynda

            No, you are wrong. As I’ve made clear, all Catholics are presumed to know and assent to the whole deposit of Faith, and to the moral law, at least by Confirmation. Catholic MPs or Catholics in any way of life are bound to follow the unchangeable deposit of Faith or accept the necessary consequences. Catholics have as much free will as anyone else. Catholics who follow the Faith and morals have a more informed intellect and so their free will is enhanced. Right reason and the right to follow the objective moral law cannot be unlawful though certain corrupt lawmakers may purport to do so. Catholic MPs learn and assent to the moral law and are responsible for how they vote. No MP, including atheists, may legalise that which is intrinsically evil and against the Natural Law, to which all positive law must be subject. Of course, they have often purported to so do – but such man-made laws are necessarily invalid. A state which does not submit itself to the objective moral law is a tyrannical law. Law must be just and predictable – its advertance to the Natural Law is what gives it these qualities.

          • confused

            Really, I didn’t know that. Thanks

          • Owen Meany

            [moderated comment] You [are] basically saying that any MP that doesn’t agree with your code of ethics and votes accordingly is acting invalidly, is corrupt and evil. [Moderated comment] in effect you claim that any dissent from your own narrow worldview is not to be tolerated. [Moderated comment]

            And on the facts of the case I am not wrong, as you state – I have got the law right. Any attempt to unduly coerce an MP to vote a particular way on a Parliamentary Bill is acting illegally. You may not like that fact, you probably don’t understand it, but it happens to be true.

            If you want to stick to your line about MPs being refused communion depending on how they vote then could you at least provide a comprehensive list of issues on which this would apply?

            If you really want to sanction MPs for the way they vote then your proper course of action is to vote for someone else in the election. You could even put forward candidates who were true believers in your whole programme and see just how far they got.

          • Nicolas Bellord

            What is your authority for saying this is the law of the land? You are surely not asserting that any attempt to influence an MP is illegal? I do not think it is quite as simple as you make out.

    • Nicolas Bellord

      Lifesitenews has another article on sex education expressing doubts over the attitude of Cardinal Nichols:

  • JabbaPapa [Julian Lord]

    Why has England been beset with so MANY of these unfaithful Bishops over the course of her modern History ???

  • Mike2

    There’s a lot of information about the issue in general here:

  • Amanda Peter

    We have to take a stand. Public figures who promote murder of the unborn child must not be given holy communion. If they are unrepentant and do not repent of their sin, receving holy communion is not an option. So few bishops have the moral courage to stand for Christ. The Eucharist is the most sacred thing known to man. It is the very body, blood, soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ. Not to be given to hardened sinners. Not to be given to UNREPENTANT SINNERS so sacrilege can be propagated. It is for the REPENTANT sinner.

  • Scandal aside – it is my understanding that the Bishops’ Conference has no authority over individual bishops (as Benedict mentioned). This means, one presumes, that Bishop Egan will go ahead and deny Holy Communion to those politicians openly flouting Church law within his remit. What can Cardinal Nichols do ? Fire Bishop Egan? Remove him? I don’t think he has the authority to do that. So please, Bishop Egan if you read this: Swat the Bishops Conference away like you would a fly and continue doing what you have every right to do.

  • Daniel

    Of course, this statement is from the former Labour Member of Parliament Greg Pope who didn’t exactly distinguish himself by voting in line with Catholic moral principles. He voted, for example, in favour of contraception, abortion and same-sex adoption. To have him now as a spokesperson for the Bishops’ Conference, when he has never rejected his previous positions, is in itself a disgrace, and gives no credibility to what he says or to those who employed him.

  • Lionel Andrades

    This is from LifeSite

    Illinois bishop upholds priest’s decision to deny Communion to pro-abort Sen. Dick Durbin

    SPRINGFIELD, IL, April 3, 2014 ( – Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, known for his outspoken defense of the right to life and the natural family, has signaled his support for denying Communion to Catholic politicians who publicly endorse activities gravely contrary to the moral law.

    The bishop wrote recently to a pro-life activist to affirm that he is upholding a diocesan priest’s decision to deny Communion to U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-IL, who has a 100% rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood.

    Paprocki’s e-mail was reported Thursday by Catholic commentator Matt Abbott.

    “Senator Durbin was informed several years ago by his pastor at Blessed Sacrament Parish here in Springfield that he was not permitted to receive Holy Communion per canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law,” Paprocki wrote. “My predecessor upheld that decision and it remains in effect. It is my understanding that the senator is complying with that decision here in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois.”

    Canon 915 states that those who are “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”

    In placing the onus on ministers of Holy Communion, canon 915 is distinct from canon 916, which places the onus on the communicant to not approach for Communion if they are “conscious of grave sin.”

    Canon 915 has been at the center of the dispute in recent years over how Church leaders should deal with the plethora of Catholic politicians who vote for pro-abortion and pro-homosexual legislation.


    Bp. Paprocki is going to catch hell for this. The Fishwrap types are going to go entirely bananas.

    Stop and say a prayer for him as the wolves begin to howl.

  • Catholic at Rome

    Bishops who do not enforce the Code of Canon Law of 1983, regarding the discipline of the sacraments, are themselves guilty of a crime of scandal and responsible for the consequence sacrileges of the sacraments which result from their in action. Laity anywhere can bring a complaint to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and to the Pope himself, requesting that each or any [begin] a penal process in accord with Canon Law to avert Scandal and to protect the integrity of the Sacramental discipline in England, not to mention to preserve the communion of the English hieararchy with that of the universal Catholic Church.

    Just write a letter. 1 complain is sufficient grounds for action. Name the Bishops responsible, the clerics who assisted, and send copies of the letters / communications they sent the MP’s, which are scandalous and irresponsible. And ask that these be reprimanded, and if necessary, removed from office. Its up to the Catholic faithful in the UK to defend the Church in the British Isles from de facto apostasy.

  • Augustine


    April 2: In his latest interview Bishop Egan told LifeSiteNews:

    “My basic point was a simple one: that those who do not believe in and/or do not practice the main doctrines of our Catholic faith should not go forward to receive Holy Communion in a Catholic Church. They are not in communion with the Catholic Church. ”

    April 3: ‘Today the media office of the bishops’ conference confirmed with LifeSiteNews that the letter was addressed to the Catholic MPs with the bishops’ full authorization. “Many thanks for your mail. Mr. Greg Pope was speaking as a spokesperson for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales,” a spokesman with the bishops’ Catholic Communications Network said.’

    “The statement was approved by the General Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference after appropriate consultation. ‘There are no plans by any Bishops in England and Wales to deny communion to Catholic MPs who voted in favour of same sex marriage legislation last year,’” the spokesman said.’


    “The letter was addressed with the bishops’ full authorisation”
    is not quite the same as:
    “The statement was approved by the General Secretary after appropriate consultation…”

    Of course the Bishops of England and Wales only meet together a couple of times a year.
    Their next meeting is in Low Week.

  • John Fannon

    John Smeaton’s blog this morning mentions Lord Knight’s recent speech on the House of Lords quoting his ‘good conversations’ with Cardinal Nicholls on the subject of compulsory sex education for children.

    So we have the spectre of a future Labour Government, elected by Catholics, subverting the children with their compulsory lessons in abortion contraception, and homosexual rights with the Bishops looking benignly on.

    Christ condemned the hireling who ran away when he saw the wolf coming.
    Our bishops with very few exceptions turn out to be hirelings who make friends with the wolves, and point out the most succulent sheep.

    • Nicolas Bellord

      A very few Catholic priests abused a very few children; are we now faced with all the Bishops corrupting all our children? The CES and the hierarchy need to come clean on this; last time they doctored speeches in the House of Lords to cut out the difficult bits so claiming that the education was in line with Catholic teaching.

  • John Vasc

    We need to seek a way to ensure that our financial support goes into the right hands, and not to support the bishop’s conference.
    National churches with their pseudo-democracy and dissent from universal teaching are a danger to the supranational ‘Communio’.
    I can foresee that E&W will soon be demanding a Church tax, along German lines.

    • Richard

      Absolutely correct.

      As I said in a previous comment I am going to reduce the amount I put in the collection on a Sunday and give the saved amount to Bishop Egan. I may indeed split it with SPUC.

      But that will make little difference.

      Is there any way that people can work together to make this significant?

  • John Thomas

    MOre trouble brewing…not just SSM

    Does London’s Cardinal Nichols support compulsory sex education?

  • Kinga Grzeczynska

    ‘The General Secretary of the Bishop’s Conference has approved Mr Greg Pope’s rejection of Bishop Philip Egan’s teaching about denying Communion to….

    1. Has the Bishop’s Conference discussed this matter as a Body? Will we ever know?
    2. Who authorized the General Secretary to approve or disapprove or divulge any comments from the Bishop’s Conference – either directly or by implication?(if the matter was discussed)and these comments of his caused conflict and concerns?
    3. Has the General Secretary of the Bishop’s Conference exceeded the limitation of his function and capacity by making these remarks without full consultation and discussion of the Bishops Conference?
    4. Have Mgr Marcus Stock’s remarks (whether they are true or not) created unnecessary concerns about the Bishops of England and Wales true positions about their individual stance on the Roman Catholic Faith?

    I personally cannot see that any Bishop would approve abortions or euthanasia. It just simply could not happen without a direct referral to an investigation from The Holy Father himself and the immediate intervention of His Excellency the Apostolic Nuncio.

    As for any bishop being pro SSM and publicly indicating that they approve of the now devastation of the true meaning of marriage, they are showing their true colours.

    Therefore, I think that there is something wrong with the statement of Mgr Marcus Stock.

    The appointment of Mr Greg Pope is irregular in itself because his well known views oppose the teachings of the Church. You cannot sit in two schools, Mr Pope. During your working week you publicly oppose and incite others to oppose the teachings of the Catholic Faith – and on Sunday you wish to receive the Body of Christ – the very same Author of His Church’s teachings which you oppose.

    Someone somewhere is being highly unprofessional and ultra vires.

    Kinga Grzeczynska

  • Neil Jennison

    Amanda Peter is correct.

    “”Public figures who promote murder of the unborn child must not be given holy communion. If they are unrepentant and do not repent of their sin, receving holy communion is not an option. “”

    Absolutely, 100 %.

    What does this say about our Bishops?

  • Nancy D.

    In order to present oneself to receive The Holy Eucharist, one must be in communion with Christ, and His One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church; one cannot deny the truth about the Sanctity of Human Life from the moment of conception, and the Sanctity of Marriage and The Family and remain in communion with The Body of Christ. (Catholic Canon 750)

    You can only have a Great Falling Away from The True Church.

  • Et stabit catholicus mulieri

    We should note that Greg Pope says that the Bishops’ Conference doesn’t have any plans – the implication being that they don’t have any plans at the moment.

    With their meeting coming up in Low Week, maybe this is chance to get some plans in place, a chance to show solidarity with their Brother Bishop Egan, and a chance to get a programme in place to help people like Greg Pope, Conor Burns and the rest of them to realize the error of their ways, the said programme possibly even including the implementation of Canon 915. I hope Bishop Egan takes the lead at the Conference on this.

    We are a people ‘set apart,’ we need to stand up and be witnesses to the truth, please God that our Bishops have the courage to lead us fearlessly in this.

  • Why is the Bishops’ Conference employing an apostate as their spokesperson?

  • Lionel Andrades

    So will Bishop Egan give the Eucharist to these politicians in mortal sin ? Would this not be sacrilegious communion ? He would be cooperating in a sacrilege, to be in unity with the Bishop’s Conference?

  • buckle

    Most of the clerical class and the clericalised laity with whom they surround themselves have long since vacated the real World. They have confused expediency with realism when in fact expediency is an evasion of reality. They might as well be drunk or snorting cocaine for all good they do.

  • Lynda See Fr Vincent Fitzpatrick’s piece on why priests may not give Holy Communion where he is aware of manifest obstinate grave sin on the part of an individual. It is not because of canon law; but canon law merely states what is necessary under the moral law.

  • Kinga Gray Grzeczynska LL.B

    Would it not be the correct thing to do to ask oneself if the recipient of the Body and Blood of Christ is worthy to receive?

    A true self examination of conscience.
    Kinga Grzeczynska

  • Rifleman819

    Dear All,

    Bishop Egan has the moral courage to speak out for the teaching, doctrine and mores of the Church.

    What are the rest doing???

  • Lionel (Paris)

    Le démon exulte!…
    Nous assistons à l’apostasie générale. C’est la confusiontotale. Nous nous trouvons en pleine désorientation. Des mercenaires, probablement francs-maçons, ont été substitués aux vrais pasteurs; c’est tout et n’importe quoi. Des aveugles conduisent des aveugles. Les personnes lucides et fidèles sont tenues à l’écart ou persécutées. Satan veut s’ériger en “dieu”… mais “à la fin mon cœur immaculé triomphera” (Notre-Dame à Fatima).
    Alors, tous les espoirs sont permis malgré tout!…
    The devil rejoices!…
    We are witnessing the general apostasy. There is an overall confusion. We are in full disorientation. Probably freemasons mercenaries are used in place of true shepherds; this is everything and anything! blind leading the blind. Lucid and faithful people are kept out or persecuted. Satan wants to erect himself as a “god”…
    However, “in the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph” (Our Lady of Fatima).
    So all hopes are anyway!… Laudetur Jesus Christus!

  • Libby Stockton

    Nicholas Bellord says: “I think there may be a theory that undue influence on an MP could be regarded as a breach of parliamentary privilege”

    Could and should. I listened to an interview with Conor Burns MP who is indignant about the comment from Bishop Egan. An attempt to put undue influence on an MP to vote a certain way on any House of Commons Bill is clearly illegal.

    • Lynda

      It is NOT putting undue influence on anyone to vote a particular way in a particular bill. Bishop Egan is doing his duty as a Carholic bishop and reminding Catholics that they may not receive Our Lord if not in a state of grace – unchanging and unchangeable ancient and universal doctrine. MPs or any other Catholic know the Faith. They have assented to it. They also know the objective moral law (applicable to all persons) and that they forfeit the privilege of receiving Our Lord when they knowingly and with intent carry out an objectively gravely-evil act. Such acts include acts that are not as egregious as assisting in legalising extreme intrinsic evil. If, for instance, a Catholic steals another’s property (directly or otherwise) and noone but himself knows about it, he may not receive Our Lord, until he has repented and been absolved in the sacrament of confession. Every MP is free to act against the objectively-knowable moral law but he cannot insist the Church changes fundamental laws for him. The Church does not have the authority to change the Natural Law. It can only recognise and uphold same. The Eucharist is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord God, Jesus Christ, the source and summit of the Faith. Without it, there is NO Catholic Faith. (In fact, whether or not an MP is under the parliamentary part whip, he must determine and be personally responsible for how he votes. MPs like all persons have free will, and will vote against the whip if they choose to. )

      • Owen Meany

        You still don’t understand at all, do you. What you state is how you would like things to be but it is not as they are – far from it.

        The law of the country states that it is illegal for anyone to put undue influence on an MP for them to vote a certain way on any Bill or division. That may not be as you would like it but I’m afraid it’s the truth. And a very good law it is too.

        So, for instance, it would be against the law for a company to threaten to disinvest in any seat where the MP had voted a particular way. Similarly it would be illegal for a Trade Union to threaten to withdraw sponsorship from an MP on the basis of a Commons vote. The law also covers spiritual intimidation and it is therefore inconceivable that where Bishop Egan’s proposal to be taken up by the Church then that too would be illegal.

        Your argument appears to amount to little more than you’re a Catholic and therefore your views must be upheld without question. If that was the case then we could do away with elections altogether and simply have our laws handed down by Papal edict.

        If MPs want to act as Catholic members then they should have the decency to stand under that banner and not deceive the electorate by standing under a flag of convenience.

        • Lynda

          Yes, I do understand the law very well. I have three degrees in it and am a qualified barrister. My work for many years also involved statutory interpretation. I am skilled in same. I am familiar with the relevant section of the relevant Act – and I can assure you undue influence does not arise in the circumstances under discussion. And for your education, there is no “spiritual harm” effected by non-receipt of Holy Communion where one is (manifestly) in a continuing state of mortal sin. On the contrary, “spiritual harm” is done if a person in a state of mortal sin receives Our Lord. Clearly, any attempt to deem the statement of fact by a bishop regardithe prohibition of Holy Communion where the relevant unchanging and unchangeable conditions are satisfied, as undue influence on Catholic MPs, would be unconstitutional – an unlawful restriction on the natural rights of all persons to be instructed in and practice the Catholic Faith. Faithful Catholics (and those non-Catholics that assent by virtue of reason and will to the Natural Law) would not vote for an intrinsically evil law (and would not need any reminding of the moral duty not to do so). Catholics who do not care for the moral law or Church authority will not care for the fact (always known to them) that they may not receive Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament (and a bishop reiterating the universal and eternal will make no difference). If a bishop dutifully trying to save such a person’s soul, did enliven the person’s conscience, this would make the person freer to make the decision as to his vote, not less free. More knowledge, a more informed conscience enhances, not impedes, a person’s ability to make a decision as to how he ought to act in a particular situation. A person who rejects the moral law concerning intrinsic evil is already guilty of mortal sin and may not receive. A Catholic MP who has decided, to support, e.g., sexual relations between persons of the sex, has already committed a mortal sin before he ever votes for this in legislation. Before the bishop, or his constituents even know about his support for intrinsic evil he has committed a mortal sin, and not only may not receive Our Lord (sacrilege and another mortal sin) but will go to Hell unless he confesses and is absolved of the mortal sin. Now, if a Catholic MP is unperturbed that he is going to suffer eternal damnation if he exercises his free will not to confess all his mortal sins, he will not be perturbed by the fact that he may not receive Holy Communion. (And if he rejects the most fundamental of moral laws that apply to all men, he is most unlikely to assent to the dogma that Holy Communion is Our Lord, God, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. To him, it’s just a piece of dry tasteless bread. If he did assent to this truth, he would never do anything that would risk violating Our Lord.). Let me remind you that the moral law is based on reason, the foundation of all man-made law, and it is precisely this moral law to which Catholics are bound, as persons and as Catholics. Let me further remind you that Catholics are free to stand for election to all public offices, as is any other person.

        • John M


          “If MPs want to act as Catholic members then they should have the decency to stand under that banner and not deceive the electorate by standing under a flag of convenience”.

          That statement seems to fail to understand what it is to be a Catholic. Our personal faith is NOT a private matter which can be conveniently put aside when other circumstances make it inconvenient. Our role on Earth is to proclaim the Good News and spread the Word. To a Catholic, his faith is not an addition to him as an individual, his faith should be at the core of his very being and determine all actions that he takes.

          If an MP is a Catholic, then he is a Catholic member, he is a Catholic person. His Catholicism isn’t a private matter to be shelved while acting as an MP.

          Church teaching is very clear, if a politician promotes or engages in the passing of laws that the Church has made clear are opposed to Church teaching,then that politician has acted in opposition to the Church. This puts that politician out of communion with the Catholic Church and he is forbidden from receiving Holy Communion (which among other things is a sign of communion). Catholic politicians, if they are not already aware, ought to be made aware of this.

          If what Bishop Egan has said is illegal, then Church teaching on the Holy Eucharist must also be illegal.

        • Owen Meany

          Lynda and John M have both perfectly demonstrated my point even though they’ve been trying to argue the opposite.

          Of course, Lynda, Catholics are free to stand for election to all public offices and of course, John M, they do so quite publicly and do not shelve their faith as a private matter – although it has to be said that Tony Blair did until two seconds after he resigned.

          But you are saying that Catholic MPs should hold to a different authority and that this code is subject to major sanction then I’d say they should be open and honest about it and stand in the colours and on the manifesto of that authority. I sincerely doubt that a single one would get elected,

          Instead we have doctrinaire MPs such as Rees-Mogg, Dobbin and Leigh using flags of convenience to get themselves elected.

          • Lynda

            You cannot be as ignorant as your comments suggest so I think you are commenting here in bad faith because of your animosity towards the Faith and the natural law. For the final time, the moral law is applicable to all persons at all times in all places. It was the basis of the man-made law – for instance, in England and Common Law jurisdictions, that law developed on a case-by-case basis. The moral law does not change – it is based on the nature of man, as a creature of reason, including moral reason. Intrinsic evils were always intrinsically evil, before ever Our Lord became Man. One does not need to be baptised or have even heard of Our Lord and His Holy Church to be able to recognise intrinsic evil. NO ONE may do evil, including by purporting to legalise evil, because it is evil as a matter of reason, knowable to all. The Church confirms the pre-existing moral law – it does not create it. That which is intrinsically evil is always and everywhere evil – and thus always against the common good, the public interest. ALL lawmakers have a moral duty as persons (regardless of whether Catholic or not) not to legalise evil or make laws against the common good.

            I presume you chose your pseudonym because you identify with, or wish to be identified with, the literary character of that name – you certainly have acted as if you’re on an irrational mission against the Church. Please quit.

  • JohnM

    If you haven’t already done so, send Bishop Egan a message of support for his statement. His email address can be found on the diocese of Portsmouth website. I got a lovely reply back from his personal assistant. He needs our support and we ought to let him know we appreciate his stance on this important issue.

  • John M

    Libby Stockton,

    Bishop Egan is simply speaking out what is Church teaching. This is not trying to put ‘undue pressure’ on an MP. Are our bishops to sit by and say nothing while laws are passed that strike at the core of Catholic teaching? Are our bishops to simply give communion to people whom they know have played a part in passing such laws, when Church teaching states otherwise? Should our bishops ignore Church teaching for fear of upsetting politicians?

    It is not our right to be entitled to to receive Communion, we must be in communion with the Church in relation to her teachings in order to be able to receive Holy Communion.

    It is not illegal for a bishop to state that politicians should not present themselves for Holy Communion, if they have voted in favour of laws that are contrary to the teachings of the Church. That is simply Church teaching, and a bishop is perfectly entitled to say so. I just wish other bishops would be as courageous as Bishop Egan in standing up for what is right.

  • Owen Meany

    John M

    Your comments are wrong in so many ways – not merely in aspects of morality but purely on the basis of cold, hard facts.

    The law states that it’s illegal to place undue influence on an MP to get him or her to vote in a particular way. This law covers spiritual coercion which would clearly be covered by Bishop Egan’s ill-considered threats. If you don’t believe me then please listen to the comments of the Catholic MP, Conor Burns, who is facing exactly this sort of blackmail.

    Bishop Egan is not suggesting that certain politicians “should not present themselves for Holy Communion” as you claim, he is saying that they should be denied it – and therein lies the coercion.

    People who are proposing this course of action have been repeatedly asked to list all the other issues on which this sanction would be taken but so far nobody has had the decency to do so. I wonder why.

    • Lynda

      I’ve already told you several times that undue influence does not arise in the circumstances under discussion. It appears that you are just here to attack the Catholic Faith and the moral law.

    • Lynda

      You need to educate yourself on the moral law and the Catholic Faith regarding the Blessed Sacrament and stop harrassing Catholics on a Catholic site. For the final time, anyone who is in a state of mortal sin may not receive Our Lord. If a person is in a state of manifest and obstinate grave sin, a priest or other minister of Holy Communion may not give that person Holy Communion (as he would be committing sacrilege knowingly, endangering the person’s eternal soul by enabling him to receive Our Lord in a state of mortal sin, and endangering other souls in the community through the scandal caused, and finally endangering his own soul by committing a most egregious mortal sin).

      • Lynda – thank you for being so patient. Owen – please note the guidance for posting given earlier – I will post views which are in opposition to my own but comments do need to be constructive or they will not be posted.

      • Owen Meany

        I honestly don’t think that trying to present a factual argument should be seen as flouting any guidance and definitely not ‘harassment’.

        In a further effort to be constructive and to show how Bishop Egan’s proposals could be putting the Church in jeopardy, here are some parallels with the Trade Union movement. I’m not presenting these as opinion or even things that I necessarily agree with but a simple exposition of some constitutional facts. And I know that people will argue that the Catholic faith should not be equated with such secular matters but the fact is that in this case they most definitely are.

        The Trade Union movement sponsors many MPs and clearly these will be members who are sympathetic to their views and interests. but here’s the relevant part drawn directly on the official guidance. Such MPs are under no obligation to act under union direction and indeed it would be an offence against Parliamentary privilege if they did so.

        In other words it would be illegal, for example, for a Trade Union, to withdraw or threaten to withdraw sponsorship in order to coerce an MP to vote a certain way in a particular division of the House. The Speaker has already pronounced to this effect and the Labour Party even changed its own internal rules in an attempt to put some distance between individual MPs and union sponsorship.

        The law also applies to spiritual coercion and there is little doubt that this is where Bishop Egan’s strictures cross the line. This may not be a fact that sits comfortably with some people but it is still a fact.

        There’s another problem. When MPs first enter the House of Commons they recite and sign an oath of allegiance. This is to the monarch of the United Kingdom. Personally I think it’s time this was scrapped and replaced with an oath to the nation, but that’s just an opinion.

        This oath is so specific to the monarch that on the death of the incumbent every MP is expected to re-sign when the successor comes to the throne. Failure to do so means that the member cannot take their place in the House.

        That must be difficult enough for any Catholic MP (and one of the reasons it should be replaced). It is made even worse by Bishop Egan’s stance that Catholic MPs should hold allegiance to a different authority. You might call that a moral law and regard it as something higher but the simple fact is that it is not the same as the British monarch (who is actually the head of a different Church) and could be argued by many to be in allegiance with the head of another sovereign state.

        Several people have also made comments to the affect that no Catholic MP who has voted for SSM may receive our Lord or that thy cannot expect to present themselves for communion. Well, that’s plainly not true. Not only are they doing but they have it on the authority of the Church authorities that they can continue to do so. There has been no edict from the Vatican to the contrary.

        It doesn’t stop there. In the foreseeable future the UK will have a new monarch and the chances are that it will be one that has been divorced and then remarried. Will a Catholic MP who swears allegiance to this new monarch be going against the moral law seeing as the holder of the Crown is, by your definition, is such flagrant contravention of it himself?

        It also follows that any attempt to directly influence an MP to vote in a particular way could easily be seen as a breach of neutrality and therefore endanger the Church’s charitable status.

        So the only logical explanation of this is that these MPs are not in contravention of the moral law and/or Catholic teaching. You don’t have to take my word for it but those of Catholic MPs whose descriptions of Bishop Egan’s instructions. Stephen Pound, who opposed SSM, said that Egan was being “wholly disproportionate” and that following his advice “would simply reinforce the unthinking misconceptions that some hold of the Church”.

        So the answer seems to be obvious. MPs who want to abide by the moral law and to vote accordingly, as is their perfect right, should eschew the party labels they use as flags of convenience and issue a personal or joint manifesto of their programme. How many votes do you think they would garner?

        • Owen – Please see points already made by Nick in the post “By failing to even consider the just penalty of barring Enda Kenny and other pro-abortion politicians from Holy Communion Cardinal Brady and the Irish Bishops are not only failing to follow the guidance of Pope Francis, Pope Benedict XVI and the Church’s leading expert on Canon Law, but they are also not showing a proper concern for the eternal salvation of these Catholics.”

          The parallel with Trade Unions has also been questioned because we are not talking about a secular institution by about revealed truth.

          • Owen Meany

            Then why doesn’t Pope Francis step in and excommunicate Enda Kenny over the heads of Cardinal Brady and the Irish Bishops? Why is it that Bishop Egan appears to be ‘the only one is step?

            The issue about Ireland is irrelevant anyway. They have a different legal code and a different constitution. The subject here is the potential illegal coercion of UK MPs. It may be an inconvenient fact that this law exists but you really can’t say that it isn’t OK for any other organisation or group to coerce MPs but it’s alright if the Catholic Church were to do it.

            If a candidate wants to abide by the Catholic moral code then they ought to stand on that platform at the election and not get in under false pretences. Political parties are secular institutions anyway, so I would think that you would fully approve of any candidate spurning the chance to stand on a party ticket.

            If that were to happen then maybe they would list all the things they would vote for or against that would prevent them from being refused communion – because, so far, nobody here seems prepared to do so.

            Many Catholics have condemned Bishop Egan’s comments and threats, so you’ll find it difficult to accuse me of anti-Catholicism – even though that’s the constant rallying cry of some who find their slightest belief being held up for question.

            Of course, we could always take what some people say here to its logical conclusion and do away with Parliament altogether to be replaced by a theocracy.

        • Lynda

          You are repeating yourself, showing you do not understand or do not care to understand what I have explained to you showing how undue influence does not arise in the circumstances at issue (including the fact that there is no “spiritual harm” in not receiving Our Lord (quite the opposite) but rather the “spiritual harm” is in committing a mortal sin). It is quite clear and straightforward – a matter of simple logic. There is no “coercion”. And lawmakers as persons have a duty to not abuse their powers by legalising intrinsic evil. Catholics have such a duty as persons per se, as well as baptised persons. It is an evil for them not to vote for evil, not because they are Catholics but because they are human beings capable of reason. I have explained it all to you so stop pretending not to understand by invoking irrelevancies. It’s time you acknowledged the truth or at least stop making false assertions about undue influence.

          • Thank you Lynda you continue to show great patience.

            Owen I posted your last comment.

          • Lynda

            Mrs Donnelly, I’m afraid I struggle very much with patience, and I apologise for showing my impatience but I’m trying to restrain myself, given it’s Lent and all! My concern is that people might be confused or convinced by Owen Meany’s false assertions regarding undue influence on a lawmaker. God bless you and Deacon Donnelly for your great service to the Church, and to truth.

        • Lynda

          You are repeating yourself, saying things which show that you do not know the Natural Law, nor the deposit of the Faith (which I’ve told you repeatedly is unchanging and unchangeable, including regarding receipt of the Blessed Sacrament – it’s not a matter of policy). I think it is only reasonable at this point to find that you are being mischievous, acting in bad faith, by, inter alia, your refusal to accept what has been explained to you over and over. If you really want to learn about the unchanging and unchangeable deposit of Faith, go and study about the necessity of being in a state of grace (no unabsolved mortal sin)to receive Our Lord, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. Just because certain prelates may speak in apparent opposition of the deposit of Faith, cannot affect that sacred deposit in any way. And, of course, the natural moral law is not changed by the Catholic Church.

    • John M


      It is not an unconditional right to be able to receive Holy Communion. As has been stated to you no Catholic who is in a state of grave sin may receive Holy Communion. If a priest knowingly gives Holy Communion to a person in a state of grave sin, then that priest is guilty of collusion in committing sacrilege. As Catholics we are bound to accept all the teachings of the Church (not just the teachings we agree with). Bishop Egan is simply stating Church teaching.

      If Catholic MPs want to vote to pass laws that are in opposition to Church teaching, then that is their free choice, but they shouldn’t then expect to turn up for Holy Communion and have it given to them.

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