A priest has told Labour MPs that some of them have an “appalling” record on issues such as abortion and euthanasia.
In his sermon at St Magdalen Church in Brighton on Sunday night, Fr Ray Blake lamented the voting record of certain MPs, but also called on those present to live the Gospel “radically” and advance the cause of social justice in Britain.
Fr Blake was speaking at the launch of Catholics for Labour, a group set up to advance Catholic social teaching within the Labour Party and help Catholics who are thinking of entering politics.
MPs present included group founder Mike Kane, shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald and Labour veteran Stephen Pound.
At a reception after the Mass, Mr Pound said he “cannot understand how anyone can be Catholic and not vote Labour”. Another speaker advised Labour against imitating the US Democrats by becoming the party of metropolitan liberalism.
In a statement before the launch, the group said it had “lofty ambitions”. It said: “We are not about standing still or merely making observations of the world around us. Our hearts and minds are firmly focused on social justice, and guided by the teaching of the Catholic faith we will work together to actively shape that world and prepare members for a life in public service.”
Working-class Catholic voters traditionally constituted a large part of Labour’s support throughout the 20th century.
But many of those voters have drifted away. Among Catholics, Labour’s lead over Conservatives has shrunk from a high of 40 per cent to two per cent at the last election.
Royal college backs abortion on demand despite protests
The council of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) has called for the decriminalisation of abortion – what pro-lifers say amounts to abortion on demand.
Before the council’s vote last week 650 doctors and medical students, including 30 to 40 members of the royal college, wrote to Professor Lesley Regan, college president, saying that it was “completely unacceptable” that all 6,000 members of the organisation had not been allowed a vote on the change in policy.
Clara Campbell, spokeswoman for the pro-life group Life, said it was “shocking that a mere handful of RCOG representatives have decided such a crucial RCOG policy… This is an extreme position made with secrecy behind closed doors.
“We urge Parliament … to protect the interests of vulnerable women and their unborn children.”
Abortions are illegal in England and Wales unless two doctors agree the pregnancy poses a risk to the mother’s physical or mental wellbeing. Under the college’s proposal, a mother would need the consent of one doctor and could seek an abortion for any reason.
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