In his address to the Bishops of England and Wales the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Antonio Mennini, has urged them to fight forthcoming legislation on assisted suicide and homosexual marriage. The Apostolic Nuncio explained the motivation behind undertaking this uphill struggle to change government policy on life and the family:
‘Why this insistence? We don’t want to quarrel and we know that it is not easy to obtain changes in the direction of governmental policies about the family or about life. We all know that we are swimming against the tide. But we must not be afraid because we are confident that Our Lord continues to love and support his Church. Our people need us to witness to a new way of judging the situations of our world. One of our first tasks is to educate our Christian people in a new way of judging the matters of this world, even when our witness may not be wholly accepted or completely successful.”
Archbishop Mennini singled out the threat posed by Lord Falconer’s Assisted Suicide Bill, which is being debated in January:
“Thinking about the poor and most vulnerable, it is not inappropriate to mention that an attempt is to be made by Lord Falconer in January next year to bring back to the House of Lords yet another Bill to legalise assisted suicide. We know well that we have a duty in love to emphasise yet again the rights and dignity of every human person, from the moment of conception until the moment of natural death.”
Archbishop Mennini also called on the bishops to fight Government attempts to change the definition of marriage by following the example of the hierarchy in France.
He said: “We find that we are placed in a similar situation to the Church in France, where Cardinal [André] Vingt-Trois and the French bishops have issued a spirited appeal to the faithful asking them to do all in their power to resist so-called ‘same-sex marriage’. We surely can do no less and I thank all of you for your strong testimony.”
In France Archbishop Vingt-Trois has called gay marriage “a fraud” and said: “It will not be a ‘marriage for all’. It will be marriage of a few imposed on all.”
Cardinal Vingt-Trois has accused the government of trying to rush through gay marriage without a debate in French society about its implications, especially for children who would grow up without a clearly identified mother and father.
He said: “Has it asked citizens if they agreed to no longer be the father or mother of their child, but only an undifferentiated ‘parent A’, or ‘parent B’?”
The French bishops have also reinstated the traditional “prayer for France” in response to “grave” social changes, and Pope Benedict XVI has urged French bishops to defend marriage as the “foundation of social life”.
Protect the Pope comment: Archbishop Mennini realistically spells out the challenges facing the Church in this country in defending the sanctity of life and the sanctity of marriage.
He hits the nail on the head when he says that the first necessary step is a massive re-catechizing of the people of God in the English and Welsh Church. As he puts it,’ One of our first tasks is to educate our Christian people in a new way of judging the matters of this world, even when our witness may not be wholly accepted or completely successful. ’ Too often Catholics have accepted the media’s politicization of the Church, which sets things in terms of opinion polls and compromise. We need to be educated in God’s way of judging the matters of this world, which sometimes means witnessing to the truth even though it means inevitable crucifixion and seeming failure. The one thing necessary is being faithful to the truth and love revealed by God. The time of political calculation and compromise is over, it was never legitimate in the first place.