Father Ed's Blog

A Catholic priest reflects…

Fight the new extremism

BBC news item has been posted which, on face value, seems like harmless fun. A poke at middle aged men and their dreary voting habits. Yet beneath the funny veneer lurks something chilling. A further demonisation of those who refuse to embrace the liberal agenda. ‘Centrist dads’ are to be mocked, apparently, because they “cannot come to terms with the world and politics changing.” What sort of change I wonder? And what makes it so true that resisting equates to not coping?

I fear it is but another example of illiberal liberalism; the denigrating of the alternative viewpoint. An attempt to shut down debate, via Big Brother mockery, adding to the erosion of freedom and expression so widespread in the UK today. Consider also the fallout from Brexit when a clear majority vote was not respected by the liberal elites; rather demands were made for a second vote because the ‘correct answer’ was not given. Those voting against discounted in the press as being bigoted, ill educated and unworthy of consideration. 

I am not demonising the left nor praising the right here. But suggesting the gravest danger to Western culture is coming from neither of those historically obvious places. Rather it stems from a more subtle menace infecting both parties today.  From the threat of an extremist neo-liberalism. That which compels leftist liberals to denounce voices that oppose them with the language of hate, and liberal conservatives to press ahead, without bothering to consult the electorate, with a total re-invention of marriage and the family. 

The BBC article, when you unpack it, is just a new insult, from liberal elites, for those who defy them. The neo-liberals, red or blue, cannot cope with alternative viewpoints anymore. Any disagreement defies rational explanation for they now sincerely believe themselves to be sole arbiters of truth. This is the very definition of extremism; to have become so convinced by your own rhetoric as to be a threat to liberty itself. You no longer listen to other views you simply trash them. Just witness how laws have been changed, in the last decade, to punish any who fail to bend the knee to the new neoliberal flag; the one painted in a rainbow. Even the ancient Judeo-Christian moral teaching which built the West is no longer to be tolerated but driven out. It is very much a case of ‘my way or the highway’.

In the 20th Century we witnessed two diabolic disasters. Right wing atheistic Big State philosophy taken to its ultimate conclusion in the Third Reich. Left wing atheistic Big State philosophy taken to its ultimate conclusion in the gulags of Socialist Russia. Both led to death and misery.  It seems we are now intent on completing the set and trialling Liberal atheistic Big State philosophy. What folly. I predict the result will be the same as in the former experimentation.

And of course that experiment is now in advanced stages. Hence the space for acceptable thinking narrows by the day and people only dare whisper criticism of political correctness for fear of who is listening. Nobody doubts the cost of not submitting to secular liberalism. But that is how extremist thinking works. First its followers encourage it, then, when it isn’t accepted, force it on us; by point of sword if necessary. So the grassroots of this nation – dare I say the centrist dads- need wake up before it is too late. Our grandparents and great-grandparents gave their lives in two world wars for liberty, democracy and freedom of thought and expression. What will we do to keep our nation democratic and free?

We need a Britain in which people can disagree so long as they respect one another without fear of reprisal. A place where people of no faith and all faiths can live. The Britain we grew up in- to put it another way. Not a world in which one acceptable view is presented to us from on high, via media, education and government, and all who fail to adopt it are driven to the margins.

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32 Comments

  1. David Knowles

    Fr. Ed,

    Whilst undoubtedly you have a point, especially with regard to the PC brigade, I don’t believe that the situation is as bad as you make out.
    We wouldn’t want to return to the days when it was permissible for notices such as ‘no blacks, no Irish need apply’. These were not entirely the good old days when so much abuse took place and was swept under the carpet and not discussed, when racist jokes were acceptable, when women were second class citizens and when gay people were open to blackmail and to losing their jobs.
    I agree that there are extreme liberals who go over the top but I have to say yet again that equal marriage is no threat to traditional marriage. No one is out to deliberately destroy families and there is room in a democracy for people of all faiths and none to live side by side and for a range of differing ethics and religious views. In a free society People of all backgrounds, faith and beliefs are free to live by their own values and beliefs without any group imposing its views.
    It is such a society to which we should all aspire.

  2. David Knowles

    One of the comments on that Spectator article which stated that the gender thing is a separate issue and that the article was mainly bigoted disinformation got it about right in my view.

    • Admin

      I would personally have accepted civil partnerships and full legal rights for gay couples but left marriage alone. For by definition it was open to everyone but some had lifestyles that made that unwanted. Bottom line- am quite happy having a culture where people of all beliefs and none live alongside one another in tolerance and respect. What I abhor is how people are being labelled bigots and haters if they do not kiss the rainbow agenda- which because it encourages sexual permissiveness and the ideals of the sexual revolution, is impossible for people of faith to do with sincerity. Why can’t we just accept that some people in Britain believe in what the church has always taught and make space for them to flourish?

      • David Knowles

        I am sure that the vast majority of people, apart from the OTT PC so-called liberal elite, do agree that people of faith should be entirely free to believe whatever they wish to believe.
        Gay marriage does not of itself encourage permissiveness, rather the opposite, although there are some people , both gay and straight, whose lifestyle is promiscuous.
        However, promiscuity is a totally unrelated issue to marriage, which either traditional or gay, by its very nature fosters monogamy.

        • Admin

          You keep using the term gay marriage which is highly problematic because marriage -according to the ancient teaching of the church was “ordained for the procreation of children, to be brought up in the fear and nurture of the Lord, and to the praise of his holy Name.” By definition no gay marriage can be procreative- thus chiming with the natural law. Ergo a gay union contradicts the necessary ingredients for marriage- one man and one woman. It is a totally different sort of relationship because no child can ever be born from it without ghastly tinkering with nature. And this changes the dynamic hugely because it does not need to be concerned with the nurture of the young and their need for a loving mother and father. Of course there are cases of adoption and non fertile couples and things which stand in contradiction – but the general every day reality is that a relationship between a man and woman is totally different to same sex ones. They bring forth life- that alone is worthy of acknowledgement especially within the church where we believe creation is intended and thus revelatory.

          • David Knowles

            When I use the term gay marriage I use it as it is enshrined in law by parliament, and also as those people who have entered into and support gay marriage regard it.
            However I do not see it as a sacramental marriage in the catholic sense, but rather as a way in which two people of the same sex can make a loving lifelong commitment to one another in a special way as supported by the law.
            As you know I do not accept the ‘intrinsically disordered’ wording in the catechism but see SSA as normal for those concerned and a monogamous loving relationship perfectly acceptable and not at all sinful.
            Just as the vast majority of Catholics quite rightly reject the final conclusion of Humanae Vitae, in the same way I do not accept the condemnation of the expression of gay sexuality.
            Whatever kind of Catholic that makes me I am quite content to be,and the only judgement that concerns me is God’s.

          • Admin

            I once saw a prisoner sporting a tattoo that read “nobody can judge me but God” which made me smile. It isn’t quite that easy is it?

  3. Steve G

    I feel compelled to ask how you define a “liberal”?
    I am happy to describe my views as “liberal”. These, for the record, include the beliefs that:
    • Free speech is a right for all – although in a democratic society there may be rare instances where curbs are justified as a last resort. Examples might include incitement to violence or other crimes.
    • Any attempt to impose “politically correct” discourse is an attempt to limit free speech. Debate about what is and is not political correctness, however, can be healthy. Does anyone really mourn the passing of the “N word” or the use of the word “Mongol” to describe someone with Down’s Syndrome? “Political correctness” is an oxymoron. Politics is a matter of beliefs and opinions. There can be no correct answer, simply differing points of view.
    • The origins of political correctness lie in blind adherence to dogma. Orwell’s “Big Brother” sprang from his experiences fighting for the communists during the Spanish Civil War. It is an historic tool of totalitarian regimes and, as such, profoundly illiberal.
    • I agree that it has spread insidiously through contemporary society and that it is in the interest of liberals and non-liberals alike to combat it.
    • I believe that consensus and social progress spring from passionate and robust debate. Occasionally that may be strident. When it gets too strident we should, ideally, stop and listen to ourselves. Failing that, we should listen to people of good faith. (Thank you, Mary B!)
    • I believe that the larger the organisation – whether it be commercial, political, military, religious or even the BBC – the greater its tendency towards inertia, introspection, corruption and an overriding urge to act in its own perceived interests rather than of those it claims to serve. Fortunately, in a liberal democracy, we have some choice as to which organisations we choose to join or support and those that we do not. In this context, I have no problem with any church that refuses to conduct same sex weddings, if to do so is contrary to its core beliefs. I do wonder, however, why any self-respecting LGBT person would want to get married in such a church.
    • I strongly believe that we should “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s” and to God that which is God’s”. The difficulty lies in the disputed areas of jurisdiction. If you believe that everything is God’s you are essentially arguing for theocracy. If you believe everything is Caesar’s be very careful upon whose head you place the laurels. The choice is between Tehran and Pyongyang.
    This is merely one flawed individual’s take on what it means to be a “liberal”. Countless other self-described liberals will subscribe to all, some or none of the above. We are not all the same. In fact, I would dispute that in any meaningful sense there is a “we”. As a Catholic traditionalist I would expect you, quite understandably, to apportion more to God than to Caesar. You admit that you tend to vote for the party that offers most to Catholics. It is a characteristic of totalitarian regimes that they thrive when in conflict with enemies. Where no enemy actually exists, they invent them. Too often, it seems to me, you style as “liberals” anyone not of the extreme left or of the extreme right whom you imagine does not subscribe to your entire set of personal beliefs.
    The liberal in me supports your right to hold and express the views you hold – as does the secular state. Why do you need enemies – whose substance is merely rhetorical – on whom to vent your spleen? Indeed, why so much anger?

    • Admin

      I myself would agree with most of what you right. You misunderstand me. I am not against liberalism- indeed I claim to be one and am. What I am fearful of is a new type of libertarian philosophy that is anything but liberal. A manifestation of a new totalitarian regime based on the beliefs of secular atheistic ideals.

      • Steve G

        Perhaps time then to talk of an “illiberal conspiracy”, particularly as we liberals are generally too idiosyncratic and disorganised to form a conspiracy?
        I wonder also if what you see as ”totalitarian” – i.e. organised, secretive and bent on world domination – is no more than a convergence of many unfortunate and frequently unsettling forces and trends, tending more towards anarchy (lower case) than uniformity?

        By definition, “totalitarian” regimes have the answer to everything (totality) and everyone else is wrong. Those who are wrong are, therefore, dangerous. Those who are dangerous are howled down and, for the “greater good”, eventually liquidated.

        For the Christian, God is the answer to everything. Following the example and teachings of Christ, is the only guarantee that the religious model does not end up mirroring its secular equivalents. Where churches become ideological and theological battlefields – often over points the man (or woman) in the street would consider arcane, irrelevant, lacking in common humanity, or even absurd – their undoubted power for good is significantly diminished.

        There is more than enough evil in this world. Is it all as “joined up” as you seem to believe? You raise the spectre of “a new type of libertarian philosophy that is anything but liberal.” I would counter by suggesting that what you describe are all too frequent examples of profoundly non-libertarian regimes and interest groups exploiting our hard-earned liberties and using them against us. Hitler was, initially, democratically elected. Democrats and Republicans alike are now united in their realization that Putin’s cyber-forces inserted themselves in the US elections simply to raise the heat of debate, ramp up its toxicity, and generally make mischief. In the wake of Sandy Hook the NRA resolutely refused to countenance any limitation on the sales of assault rifles. One spokesman went as far as suggesting that the answer to deranged gunmen was for all teachers to carry guns. All of this was done under the “libertarian” guise of protecting the Second Amendment. Nuns with guns, anybody?

        By all means attack secularism. It can stand up for itself. I humbly suggest that were you to counter-attack with greater specificity – and throttle back on the blanket denunciations of global conspirators – your polemics might carry more weight. More people, more often, might actually agree with you.

        • Admin

          By definition, “totalitarian” regimes have the answer to everything (totality) and everyone else is wrong. Those who are wrong are, therefore, dangerous. Those who are dangerous are howled down and, for the “greater good”, eventually liquidated.

          Agreed but I would say it is not thinking they have the answer to everything that is as problematic as “having the wrong answer but unable to see it” Then when it doesnt work instead of being abandoned it is enforced, then enforced harder until the liquification begins. The one who knows he is being a tyrant will at least give his victim an hour’s respite- the one who sincerely believes he is working for the good will never give a moment’s respite in the horror he unleashes.

          So I am not putting forth a conspiracy theory- that would be silly, joined up or not. I am however suggesting that the sexual revolution, mixed with a profound loss of faith (and therefore belief in embodied souls) (thanks to Darwin, Nietschze and Descartes amongst many) has created a modern philosophy that is as wrong headed as it is dangerous. Many subscribe to it- and that is the issue. Abortion is no longer the killing of a human being precious to God- it is only the termination of a clump of cells yet to gain consciousness. The less fit can die- via Euthanasia. The 20th C bloodbath can all be linked back to this- from the gulag to the concentration camps- where survival of the fittest crushed the dehumanised. And we havent yet abandoned it. Instead we are forging ahead on new neoliberal (but not actually liberal at all) lines- in a quest to find a man made philosophy without recourse to God. Hence the hunger for gender wars- why should we have to be what God made us? This is rebellion against our very nature at play. It cannot end well.

          • Steve G

            I certainly agree with your last statement. If it does end it will not, almost by definition, have ended “well”.

  4. David Knowles

    Fr. Ed,

    If the prisoner had broken the law then he would have to be judged by the law. As far as I know I have not broken the law.
    The problem with so many ‘traditional’ Catholics I have encountered is that they tend spend an awful lot of time passing judgement on others whom they believe have fallen short of orthodoxy. The ghost of the Inquisition sometimes flickers into view.

    • Admin

      No less so than the judgement flowing in the other direction when one glimpses a maniple, or smells incense….

      • David Knowles

        Personally I have no problem with maniples and I love clouds of incense, Tridentine mass, novenas,benediction,first fridays, processions, crowning Our Lady, tantum ergo, soul of my saviour, I’ll sing a hymn to Mary, faith of our fathers,hail glorious St. Patrick,(and especially these days), God bless our pope the great the good.
        I love the angelus( and still know it in Latin) and say the rosary.
        I do not like extraordinary ministers, girl altar servers,queuing for communion, communion in the hand or priests who tamper with the Mass or try to entertain me.
        Apart from all that I am a liberal.

        • E.Jitt

          That’s the sort of thing that confuses Ed, Mr Knowles. Ed’s world is completely black and white, and arranged into goodies and baddies.

          • Admin

            What nonsense. I quite understand the complexity of humanity. I do however adhere to the biblical view of truth and absolutes regarding right and wrong-

          • Fr Ed really should not have fed you Mr. m v Troll. Back under your bridge. Father just ignore him in future.

  5. Tony Hill

    Very important comments from the Pope at the Pontifical Academy of Life on gender difference and on the enrichment of transmitting life and maintaining it from conception to death. I have always thought that Francis, with his accumulated liberal credit, was in a uniquely strong position to advance the anti-abortion argument, in particular, from the Left.

    If he can gather his courage on this and drive home the obvious point that “disposing” of babies is the most disgusting act of all in our throwaway culture of Mammon, in the getting of profit at the expense of human decency, then he will be great. So far he has failed to engage his liberal fans consistently and cogently enough on these embarrassing matters. Do I detect, though, the beginning of a shift in Francis’s discourse over recent weeks, on several fronts?

    I hope, if there is such a shift, that he is not ignored or disparaged by vested interests.

  6. Patrick fahey

    Well done Fr Ed for speaking out on this subject. The British Biased Corp is a totalitarian successor of the various thought police that have preceded it during the 21st Century in my opinion. What makes it stand out however is that the previous propaganda organisations at least funded themselves from general taxation of the individual not requiring them to fund their activities directly. Abolish the TV licence in the name of freedom!

    God Bless,

    Patrick.

    • With the greatest of respect Pat that is nonsense. You would soon find out what absolute nonsense it was if you were to live in say Saudi Arabia or North Korea. Somewhere with a real totalitarian regime and where the media are genuine thought police.

      • Admin

        I would take a middle line. We are not yet a North Korea and yet there is a worrying narrowing of liberty at play- witnessed in the rising intolerance of Christians.

        • Fr Barry Tomlinson

          I see that Balliol College Oxford banned the Christian Union from the Freshers Fair. No free speech in that Oxford College

          • Steve G

            Can’t argue with that. Fortunately, according to the BBC news this morning, some sort of sanity has prevailed.

          • David Knowles

            Considering that universities were originally Christian foundations it is sad that that the JCR at Balliol have banned the C U from its freshers fair. Whilst secular society appears to see Christianity as a cloak for repression and homophobia, Christians perceive this view to represent intolerance and persecution.
            Perhaps if Christians placed more emphasis on what we are for, rather than what we are against then perhaps we could overcome this situation. Unless the Gospel message comes across as ‘good news’ why should anyone heed it? Genuine Christian communities are attractive. The early Church did not capture the Roman Empire, it captivated it; and new converts yearned to change their lives. We have to place more emphasis on spreading the Gospel and less on defending it. The Good News cannot be presented with a seige mentality.
            All this is not to say that there is no such thing as ‘intolerant tolerance’, but the worst thing the Church can do is to react instead of responding. The persecution mentality is not only unattractive, it is counterproductive.

          • Admin

            “The persecution mentality is not only unattractive, it is counterproductive”…. tell that to the martyr throng….

          • E.Jitt

            CU aren’t really Christian though, as anyone who has been to university knows. Just a bunch of annoying weirdos.

        • E.Jitt

          What exactly is wrong with North Korea – apart from the weather?

  7. David Knowles

    There’s a big difference between a mentality and a reality.

    • Admin

      Oh I quite agree. One must not become a moaning minnie and lick wounds. One must robustly confront the spirit of the age. We must indeed speak about what we are for and not against. It is just that history shows there are times when they wont listen…and then….

  8. David Knowles

    Recent speech of the pope on the 25th anniversary of the catechism says prophetic things about the word of God’ cannot be mothballed ‘.
    Read this on Vatican Radio site.

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