Catholics cannot claim to be true to their faith if they do not support Church teaching on abortion, Bishop Michael Campbell of Lancaster
Abortion is a “foundational issue”, Bishop Campbell wrote on his blog. “Sadly, the price of admission into mainstream British life has meant that we somehow keep the Catholic brand name and tribal loyalty, but are content to live a mix of nostalgia and generic good will and ‘keep our heads down’ in the public sphere,” he said.
True Catholics, on the other hand, have a duty to “sanctify and humanise” the country, and lead it towards Church teaching.”
This week, the bishops of England, Wales and Scotland issued a rare joint statement to mark the 50th anniversary of the Abortion Act.
The bishops describe every abortion as a “tragedy” and lament the 200,000 terminations that happened in 2015 alone. They criticise the fact that Britain sometimes allows abortions up to birth, and said that doctors and nurses “face increasing difficulty in being able to combine their dedicated professional work with their personal conviction”.
In his blogpost, Bishop Campbell remarked that “Some Catholics – including some periodicals and newspapers who claim to use that name – seem simply embarrassed by the abortion issue.
“The abortion struggle gets in the way of their natural political alliances. Others don’t really agree with the Church’s teaching, or don’t accept the personhood of the unborn child.
“Others just want a respectable way to explain away this issue and get on with what they regard as the ‘real’ work of the Church.”
Bishop Campbell concluded by saying that overturning the Abortion Act is achievable, although it could take decades because it challenges the “moral premises” of society.
BBC defends violence of Gunpowder Plot drama
The BBC series Gunpowder, which tells the story of persecuted Catholics at the time of the Guy Fawkes plot, has shocked viewers with its
realistic scenes of torture and execution.
The three-episode drama, starring Kit Harington as Robert Catesby, tells the story of the 1605 plot to kill the King and blow up the Houses of Parliament. It claims to be the first depiction that draws on the actual recorded words of Thomas Wintour, one of the plotters who was captured.
The opening episode showed a priest being hanged, drawn and quartered and a woman being stripped naked and crushed to death.
Several viewers registered their horror on social media.
One viewer tweeted that the show had made them throw up, another said it was “grotesque and completely unnecessary”, and a third described it as
“one of the most painful things I’ve ever witnessed on TV”.
The BBC defended the graphic violence, saying in a statement: “The scenes aired after 9.30pm with a clear warning given to viewers before the episode started. The methods depicted are grounded in historical fact and reflect what took place during the time of the Gunpowder Plot.”
Mr Harington himself told Radio 1 that the brutality helped to explain why the plotters responded so drastically. “It was important for the story because right from the start we need to know why Catesby embarks upon this very, very violent act,” he said.
The BBC describes the series as an “epic tale of faith, fanaticism, persecution and betrayal”, which depicts not only the Gunpowder Plot and its aftermath but also the plotters’ infiltration of the king’s bodyguard and the plans for a Midlands rebellion.
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