All Saints' Day

posted 5 Nov 2021, 02:02 by Parish Office

Homily for All Saints’ Day 2021

“Happy those who are persecuted in the cause of right: theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Pre-Covid, I was at a meeting for Catholic hospital chaplains, and one or two of the more experienced chaplains said they had noticed something: over time, the number of Catholics in high-ranking positions within hospitals had declined. Today, whilst you may find many Catholics working on the lower rungs of the career ladder, you were less likely to find those who had reached the higher stages. For various reasons, it seems that something of a “glass ceiling” exists for good Catholics.

One of the more recent examples of this was the series of court cases involving the midwives Mary Doogan and Connie Wood. Their hospital re-arranged mid and late-term abortions to take place on the labour ward rather than the gynaecology ward, and expected them to supervise it, which they refused. Ultimately, the UK’s supreme court gave a very narrow interpretation to the conscientious objection clause in the Abortion Act, saying that they could object to directly performing the abortions, but they still had to delegate. Paul Tully from SPUC summed up the ruling by saying that:

“Junior midwives might still be able to work in labour wards where abortions are performed but they will be restricted to 'staff midwife' status at best.

“They could easily be placed in an impossible situation by pro-abortion superiors, and would be unable to receive promotion to a more senior role without fear of being required to violate their consciences.” (See https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-30514054 )

Of course, there are other issues in the NHS too, and other potential issues. If euthanasia were to be legalised, what position would that place doctors and nurses who object to it? Can you really have a clean conscience if you don’t actually perform the act yourself, but instead find someone else to carry it out instead? Would it not be like saying, “I won’t fire the gun, but I know a good hit man and here are his details”?

And then there is the whole LGBT movement, which is gradually affecting various sectors of society and employment. Whilst we believe in treating everyone with respect, there is a difference between treating people with respect, and being asked, mandated, or effectively forced, into becoming LGBT activists, promoting things we find distasteful, even morally repugnant, under threat of being marginalised, disciplined or even dismissed.

Years ago, Pope Benedict spoke about what he called the “dictatorship of relativism”, and some people probably wondered what he was talking about. But it seems that he was prophetic. As Europe becomes less Christian, so too does its morality, and its expectations of its citizens shifts. And the “new morality” doesn’t allow for dissent, hence the idea of their moral relativism being a dictatorship. Where does that leave those who want to remain faithful to Christ? Maybe things could get to a situation that was found in communist countries, where signed up members of the communist party receive good treatment, benefits and jobs, whilst those who are not exist on the margins of the country’s life, penalised for going to Mass, and sometimes end up working on the land and living in small villages where electricity supplies are intermittent.

Maybe this all sounds rather bleak, or even extreme. But only five or ten years ago, the transgender movement seemed far-fetched, yet now it is being made mainstream. But all is not lost yet. And hats off to those of you who wrote to Peers in the House of Lords to express their opposition to assisted suicide. There is still so much more we can do. And whatever does happen, God is with us, and nothing beats having a clean conscience.

“Happy those who are persecuted in the cause of right: theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

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