Britain’s freedoms and a Tory threat
“Brexit was supposed to liberate Britons from unaccountable government, PC orthodoxy, and high-handed bureaucracy,” wrote Sohrab Ahmari in Commentary. “But who needs Brussels mandarins when supposed Conservatives in Westminster are beholden to the same orthodoxies? The government is planning to make “an ultra-progressive sex education curriculum” mandatory.
There will be no exceptions: children of all faiths will have to be taught about same-sex marriage and transgenderism.
Ahmari noted that Justine Greening, the former education secretary who introduced the idea, had a clear motive: she told Sky News in July “that ‘it is important that the church, in a way, keeps up and is part of a modern country. We have allowed same-sex marriage, that’s a massive step forward for the better … I think people do want to see our major faiths keep up with modern attitudes.’”
The new rules make it even easier for the government to control what private and religious schools can and can’t teach about sex and gender – and it’s not clear whether parents will have the right to withdraw their children. “That this is happening under a Tory government tells you that the future of religious freedom and parental autonomy in the UK is bleak.”
Why the Queen fascinates America
At firstthings.com, another US-based writer considered an aspect of British government – in this case, the Queen. “Americans today know too little of the British monarchy we broke from more than two centuries ago,”: wrote Ramona V Tausz, but shows such as The Crown and The Coronation offered a chance to consider the virtues of crowning a head of state.
Its importance is perhaps especially obvious at this turbulent moment in US politics. “There is something about the permanence and stability of the old-fashioned British monarchy that American viewers find refreshing.”
Elizabeth II demonstrates something which our “egalitarian” age needs to remember, Tausz wrote. “Elizabeth is not called upon to entertain the people or use personal charisma to exert her influence upon them – she is there to symbolise England and thereby unify it.”
The leper colony we struggle to escape
Leprosy, wrote Fr Jerry Pokorsky at catholicculture.org, is a metaphor for sin. “God hates sin because sin defaces and destroys us. God is offended because sin afflicts us with moral leprosy.” Fr Pokorsky described a meeting of a school board, which discussed how to teach children about “obscene” practices. It felt like a kind of moral leper colony. But Fr Pokorsky had another worry. “I wonder if have become a member of a leper colony of clergy who, because of personal comforts and the safety of our beautiful communities, have become oblivious to the wolves attacking our children.”
✣ The Lord is an onion, Pope Francis has said – at least, that’s what the Vatican’s official news site reported last week. The story was not a colourful, off-the-cuff remark by the Pontiff but rather the result of a hack.
Belgian hacker Inti De Ceukelaire said he created the fake page to prompt Vatican webmasters to fix its security flaws. He emailed them about the problems but they ignored his messages, he told Crux. He said the change was “innocent”, explaining that the page would only be visible to people he shared the link with, not regular visitors to the site. “I’m a Catholic myself and regret having to send the message this way, even though I followed all ethical procedures,” he said.
The Secretariat for Communications confirmed the hack and said it was “being taken seriously”.
✣ A piece of graffiti on a backstreet in Rome is now helping to raise money for the papal charity Peter’s Pence.
The image of the superpope, by Mauro Pallotta, was quickly scraped off by authorities but gained new life as a T-shirt. One of these T-shirts is now being flown around the world to be signed by sports stars including footballers Diego Maradona and Francesco Totti. It will eventually be sold at auction.
✣The week in quotations
[Brexit] seems a small issue compared to the crisis now assailing the institution of marriage Bishop Mark Davies Homily
If you get your car washed for £5 and three or four guys are doing it… Cardinal Nichols on where modern slavery can be found Vatican News
A voice told me: ‘Take off your braces’ Sister Bernadette Moriau, who was healed after visiting Lourdes Video on Beauvais diocese’s website
The door through which mercy comes Pope Francis on the stigmata Meeting with members of Stigmatine order
✣Statistic of the week
42m Estimated number of people forced into slavery worldwide Source: Cardinal Nichols