Not content with disobeying their bishops and dissenting from the teaching of the Church by voting for same-sex marriage some Catholic MPs are calling on Jesus and St Thomas More to justify their betrayal of their Catholic Faith.
In answer to this obscure and desperate attempt to force Jesus into justifying his voting for homosexual ‘marriage’ the Gospels attest to Jesus’ explicit teaching on marriage as God intends
‘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.” (Mt 19:3-9).
Damian Collins MP attempts to press the example of St Thomas More to justify his betrayal of the Catholic Faith:
‘I will be supporting the Same Sex Marriage Bill because I believe in a society where people have freedom of religious expression, but also one where outside of religion people are equal in the eyes of the law. But as an MP of Roman Catholic faith, I have been drawn to considering over the last few weeks, what Thomas More would have made of this issue.
Saint Thomas More, Henry VIII’s Lord Chancellor and a former speaker of the House of Commons is famous for the moral stand he took against his King, even though it cost him his life. It was learning about his example at school which prompted me to choose him as my Confirmation Saint. Thomas More is particularly remembered because he could not in conscience swear an oath recognising the Succession to the Crown Act 1533 which had the effect of annulling one of Henry VIII’s marriages and therefore changing the royal succession. He could not swear the oath because, although he would abide by the Act’s content, he could not in conscience say that he agreed with it. Parliament, he said, had the right to decide matters of marriage, and had the right to require all subjects, including Catholics, to abide by its laws, but it could not have the right to require Catholics in conscience to agree with them. As a result he was imprisoned in the Tower of London and then executed.
The Same Sex Marriage Bill is not seeking to tell the different churches and religions what they should believe, or to restrict them practicing their beliefs as the do now. Churches will not be required to conduct same sex marriage ceremonies if they do not want to. The Catholic Church will remain free to teach that marriage is a sacrament of the Church, it is between a man and a woman, that its purpose is for the procreation of children, and that it is for life. Of course, sadly, many people who are married by the Church are not able to have children, and a great many marriages end in divorce. The law of the State in allowing divorced people to remarry is already against the teaching of the Church, and a form of marriage that the Church would not recognise or perform. So we already have a system of marriage by the churches and the state which are sometimes compatible, and other times not.
The Bill is an attempt to strengthen equality in our society, without compromising religious freedom. I believe that Thomas More would have understood this distinction, and regardless of how he would have voted (I would not seek to presume on a matter of conscience like this) I think he would have agreed that this was something that Parliament had the right to do.’
Damian Collins MP entirely misrepresents St Thomas More’s attitude towards parliament assuming powers they had no right to exercise. Peter Ackroyd writes the following about St Thomas More’s response to Parliament taking the powers of the Church to itself:
‘A bill was prepared by Thomas Cromwell, which would have transferred the powers of the Church to parliament…’The Chancellor [Thomas More] and the bishops oppose the bill as much as they can…at which the king is exceedingly angry, especially against the said Chancellor.’ More had come out into the open at last. His decision was a token of the urgency or danger, of the situation; but already it was too late. The king had found his power, under the guidance of Thomas Cromwell, and now pressed the clergy into final surrender. He again prorogued parliament and on the following day, 15 May, convocation accepted his demands in a document known as the’submission of the clergy’. Effectively he destroyed any independence which the Church still enjoyed, by insisting that all ecclesiastical law required royal assent and that canons or constitutions could be changed only with his approval. He, not the Pope, was truly the head of the Church in England. On the day after the clergy submitted, Thomas More resigned as Lord Chancellor.
He failed in almost all of his objectives and in a polemic he was then completing he wrote that ‘Our sauyour sayth that ye chyldren of darkness be more polytke in theyre kynde then are the chyldren of lyght in theyr kinde. And surely so semeth it now.’ He also condemned ‘traytors’ at court and berated convocations ‘of thyr dewty so neglygent’; clearly he believed that the debacle was the result of secular conspiracy and clerical incompetence’. Peter Ackroyd, The Life of Thomas More, p. 319-320.
Protect the Pope comment: Far from understanding why Catholic MPs would vote to change the definition of marriage from the union of a man and a woman to include the coupling of men-men and women-women it is more likely that St Thomas More would have judged these Catholic MPs ‘chyldren of darkness’ who as ‘traytors’ had betrayed the Catholic faith and their obedience they owed the Pope, the successor of St Peter. That they behaved so is bad enough, but for Daniel Kawczynski MP and Damian Collins MP to claim the words of Jesus and the actions of St Thomas More to support their rejection of the Catholic faith adds deep insult to the profound injury they have inflicted on our nation.