Tuesday, August 05, 2008

They still don't get it

This year being the fortieth anniversary of Humanae Vitae, there has over the past few weeks been a glut of coverage by the secular media of Catholic teaching on contraception, some of it hostile, some of it seemingly impartial, all of it facile.

Woman’s Hour yesterday morning on BBC Radio 4 was presented by Jenni Murray, and included a feature on contraception and the teaching of the Church. Reference was made to a recent survey (conducted by that well-known organ of dissent The Tablet) which revealed that the majority of Mass-going Catholics in England and Wales are using, or have used, some form of contraceptive device or practice.

This is no surprise to any of us; such statistics have been around at least since the ’sixties. We might also reasonably conclude that the ‘Catholics’ quizzed in this survey were doubtless from the Novus Ordo-attending Tablet-reading demographic, and so no doctrine of faith or morals would be likely to inhibit their pursuit of the thoroughly secularised life.

In any case, the results of the survey prompted Jenni Murray to ask this question: “If the majority of Roman Catholics are simply defying papal orders, should they be changed?” [emphasis mine].

They still don’t get it, do they? Truth is not formed by public opinion. An error is still an error, however sincerely and fervently one may believe in it. Likewise a proposition is not made true simply by the fact that it pleases the majority to give it their assent, nor made false by their rejection of it. Melancholicus could not say it better than St. Augustine: “Wrong is still wrong, even if everyone is doing it. Right is still right, even if no-one is doing it.”

Melancholicus snorted with contempt at Ms. Murray’s dismissal of the Church’s teaching as papal orders, as though it were no more than the diktat of a tyrant, a mere policy that could, and ought to, be changed when a more congenial and enlightened fellow occupies the See of Peter, rather than an objective truth the Pope is bound to uphold for all time.

Reference was also made to Mrs. Cherie Blair, wife of the former prime minister and known contraceptrix, in which Mrs. Blair was described—somewhat ironically—as a “good Catholic girl”. Melancholicus thinks that Mrs. Blair is now a bit long in the tooth to be reasonably described as a “girl”, and as far as “good Catholic” goes... why does the BBC feel the need to use this adjective in reference to Catholics? There are not a few bad Catholics knocking about these days, among which may be numbered Mrs. Blair herself. Is there not a hint of derision here, with this trite phrase revealing Jenni Murray as mocking and sarcastic? We must not be surprised. To adopt such an attitude to Christianity and the Church is de rigueur among the media mavens of today, in marked contrast to the craven deference they accord other religions, particularly Islam—witness the cloyingly obsequious approach by this same Jenni Murray to the Islamic religion on Woman’s Hour on Tuesday 1 April.

Let the reader compare. Is there not a contemptible double standard in evidence here?

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