In its editorial covering the Soho Masses The Tablet has launched an intemperate, personal attack on Bishop Mark Davies, which also reveals just how dumb the editorial writers of The Tablet can be. Its patronizing, disrespectful tone is very similar to the one it took regarding Bishop Patrick O’Donoghue, who also earned The Tablet’s displeasure for speaking frankly and directly in defence of the Church’s doctrine.
The Tablet writes:
‘How easily a few ill-chosen words can bring discredit on the Church is demonstrated by the Christmas sermon of Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury. He made the fatal mistake of likening the gay marriage proposal to “the inhuman ideologies” of Communism and Nazism, saying Christian civilisation itself was under threat. Compassion, not condemnation such extreme language shows a startling lack of good sense,not to mention historical perspective: gay marriage has killed nobody. ‘
This is what Bishop Mark Davies actually said in his Christmas homily:
‘Past generations have gathered in this Cathedral on Christmas night amid many shadows which seemed to obscure the future for them. We think of the ideologies of the past century, Communism and Nazism, which in living memory threatened to shape and distort the whole future of humanity. These inhuman ideologies would challenge, in the name of progress, the received Christian understanding of the sanctity of human life and the family. Winston Churchill, Britain’s war-time Prime Minister, a man without clear, religious belief himself, saw in this deadly struggle nothing less than the defence of Christian civilization. The alternative he vividly described as a dark age made more protracted by the perversion of science. I would appeal to our political leaders this Christmas to similarly glimpse these deeper issues where respect for the sanctity of human life and the authentic meaning of marriage as the foundation of the family are threatened.’
We gather on this Christmas night amid the shadows of early 21st Century Britain. The eyes of the nation turn to this “child born for us” (Is.9:1) tiny and frail, it is this beautiful revelation of the Son of God which casts light on the darkest shadows of our time. The widespread neglect and ill-treatment of the frailest, elderly people in our society: concerns high-lighted in the Care Quality Commission’s recent report. The growing concern about end of life care and what is happening to the most vulnerable. The dark side to our own society is surely connected to the discarding of human life from the beginning in abortion on an industrial scale, in reproductive technologies, in embryo experimentation which our laws have sanctioned. “Today there exists a great multitude of weak and defenceless human beings, unborn children in particular, whose fundamental right to life is being trampled upon” Blessed John Paul II reflected in his 1995 letter The Gospel of Life, “if at the end of the last century, the Church could not be silent about the injustices of those times, still less can she be silent today” (Evangelium Vitae n.5).
This Christmas we are conscious of new shadows cast by a Government that was pledged at its election to support the institution of marriage. This vital foundation of society which, the 2011 census indicates, now stands at is lowest ebb. At such a moment the Prime Minister has decided without mandate, without any serious consultation to redefine the identity of marriage itself, the foundation of the family for all generations to come. This is again done in the name of progress. The great English writer, G.K Chesterton, warned: “progress is a useless word; for progress takes for granted an already defined direction; and it is exactly about the direction that we disagree” (American Notes). The British people have reason to ask on this night where is such progress leading?
Protect the Pope comment: The Tablet editorial writer makes the sneering comment that ‘gay marriage has killed nobody’ but it is clear from Bishop Davies actual words that he was referring to the secular ideology that underpins attacks on the sanctity of life, marriage and the family based on the abandonment of objective morality founded on the created nature of men and women, husbands and wives. There is an obvious commonality between this secular ideology and the ideologies of Nazism and Communism, and like these inhuman ideologies the secular ideology in the ascendancy in the West is responsible for the killing on millions of unborn children.
The government’s plans for same-sex marriage are part and parcel of the same rejection of our created nature as men and women made in the image and likeness of God. Pope Benedict’s Christmas address to the Curia criticizes modern ideologies of gender and sexuality that abandon objective morality founded in our human nature. The legalisation of same-sex marriage will further entrench the false thinking that our human nature is a social construct that can be re-designed at will, contributing to the way of thinking that accepts abortion, and increasingly assisted suicide, as normal and moral.
The Tablet’s willful misrepresentation of Bishop Davies’ Christmas homily exposes the ill-will that the journalists of The Tablet bear towards this faithful and loyal bishop of the Church. Shame on The Tablet, and shame on your impoverished standards of journalism.