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Wednesday 08 October 2008


Proclamations of the Red Queen

24th June 2008

UK: The Mythical Return of “Maria Monk”?

Posted by: Craig Young

From the United Kingdom comes news that conservative Catholic Labour MPs are not happy about the way that their opinions were summarily dealt with, inside the Brown administration. “Anti-Catholicism” is the accusation, but is it valid?

Apparently, these conservative Catholic Labour MPs are up in arms about the ‘coercion’ of Catholic adoption agencies to assist prospective lesbian and gay adoptive parents, as well as the fact that most of their colleagues voted for the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act. They darkly warn that this may antagonise the “Catholic vote.” However, is there such a beast? According to some liberal and leftist Catholics, it doesn’t help that the UK Catholic hierarchy is perceived as concentrating far too much on issues like euthanasia and abortion, to the exclusion of non-sectarian issues of social justice, such as sanctuary for refugees and asylum seekers, for instance.

In New Zealand, class counts for more than faith when it comes to the ballot box. as does generational background. Catholic farmers vote National, working-class Catholics vote for Labour, Catholic peace activists vote Green, and I suspect that the Catholic Right would probably vote for Gordon Copeland and the Kiwi Party.  Effectively, Vatican II put paid to the concept of a homogenous confessional subculture in New Zealand, and the denomination always lagged behind Anglicans and Presbyterians in numerical strength.

During the eighties and nineties, liberal and leftist Catholics were at war with the Catholic Right over their strong support for the peace movement, and international solidarity politics in the Philippines and Nicaragua, and retaliated by refusing to join Catholic Right -dominated organisations like Voice for Life and Family Life International, effectively starving them of funds and money.  As the latter’s largely aged cohorts of sectarian Catholics died off, it left the latter in a difficult situation, unable to sustain publications and meaningful political activism. As for Labour,  social conservatives have largely deserted it anyway- Harry Duynhoven is the only parliamentary example that I can discern, at present.

Recommended:

Paul Donovan: “Whiff of Anti-Popery” New Statesman 16.06.08: http://www.newstatesman.com

Tags: Politics · Religion

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