April 21, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — The terrifying moral seriousness of what the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW) is doing in supporting the government’s Relationships and Sex Education legislation can be better understood by reflecting on the unforgettable address given by the late Carlo Cardinal Caffarra at the fourth annual Rome Life Forum, organized by Voice of the Family, on May 19, 2017. His Eminence said:
In our Western culture, have there been developments that evidence with particular clarity the conflict between the attractive power of the Crucified and Risen Lord and the culture of the lie constructed by Satan? I answer in the affirmative, and I wish to note two such developments in particular[.] … The first development is the transformation of the crime of abortion (nefandum crimen, “unspeakable crime,” in the words of the Second Vatican Council) into a right. Note well, here I am not speaking of abortion the act. I am speaking of the greatest legitimation the juridical order can bestow on a behaviour — that of subsuming it into the category of a personal right, which is an ethical category. This means to call evil good, to call darkness light. “When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” This is an attempt to produce an “anti-Revelation.” What is the logic that ushers in this ennoblement of abortion? It is first of all the uttermost negation of the truth of man[.] …
The second development is the ennoblement of homosexuality. Here we find the complete rejection of the truth of marriage, of the mind of God the Creator with regard to marriage. Divine Revelation has communicated to us God’s design for marriage: the rightful union of man and woman, font of new life. In the mind of God, marriage has a permanent structure rooted in the duality of the human mode of being: feminine and masculine. Not two opposite poles, these, but the one with and for the other. Only in this way does man emerge from his original solitude. One of God’s fundamental laws in governing the universe is that He does not act alone, but enlists our cooperation. The union of man and woman who become one flesh constitutes human cooperation with the creative act of God[.] …
Let us summarize, then. The pillars of creation are two: the human person in his irreducibility to the material universe, and the conjugal union between man and woman, the locus in which God creates new human persons “in His image and likeness.” The axiological elevation of abortion to the status of a personal right is the demolition of the first pillar. The ennoblement of homosexual relationships as equivalent to marriage is the destruction of the second pillar. At the root of this is the work of Satan, who wants to construct an actual anti-creation. He is hurling at God a final, terrible challenge. “I will show you that I can create an alternative to your creation. And man will say he is better off in my alternative creation than he is in yours.” Using a horrifying strategy of lies, built upon a profound contempt for man, Satan declares that the human person is incapable of ascending to the splendour of Truth; that he is incapable of enduring the paradox of an infinite desire for happiness; that it is not possible for him to find himself in the sincere gift of himself.
Reflecting on these words of Cardinal Caffara, I would make the following observations concerning the position of the CBCEW on abortion and on the ennoblement of homosexuality:
- His Eminence Cardinal Caffara speaks, above, of the transformation of the “crime of abortion … into a right” as Satan’s demolition of the first pillar of God’s creation.
- The right of access to abortion, as I explained in my last blog post, is fundamental to the government’s statutory guidance, which has been approved by Parliament and supported by the Catholic bishops of England and Wales.
- And His Eminence speaks of the “ennoblement of homosexuality” as involving the destruction of the second pillar of God’s creation.
- The CBCEW, in an RSE guide for Catholic educators Learning to Love published in 2017, says: “[W]e would like to emphasise that an exalted form of love exists just as powerfully in relationships between people of the same sex as it does in heterosexual relationships[.]”
His Eminence Cardinal Caffara concluded his address to the Rome Life Forum by telling us what must be done. He said:
In this battle between creation and anti-creation, we are called upon to bear witness. Testimony is our mode of being in the world. The New Testament provides extremely rich teaching on this matter. I will limit myself to articulating the three fundamental meanings of bearing witness.
(i) To bear witness means to proclaim, to speak openly and publicly. He who does not bear witness in this way is like a soldier who flees from battle at the decisive moment. We are no longer witnesses, but deserters, if we do not speak openly and publicly.
(ii) To bear witness means to announce, to proclaim openly and publicly, divine Revelation, which implies also the primordial evidence discoverable by right reason alone [the natural law]. It is to proclaim in particular the Gospel of Life and Marriage.
(iii) To bear witness means to announce, to proclaim openly and publicly, the Gospel of Life and Marriage as it is put on trial (cf., Jn 16:8–11). Let me explain. I have spoken several times of a battle. This conflict more and more resembles a trial, a legal proceeding, in which the accused is Jesus and his Gospel. As in every trial, there are also witnesses for the defense, witnesses in favor of Jesus and his Gospel. In today’s world, the proclamation of the Gospel of Marriage and of Life takes place in a context of hostility, of contestation, of unbelief. For it to be otherwise, we would have to accept one of two options: either to be silent about the Gospel, or to proclaim something else entirely. Of course, I do not mean to imply that Christians must intentionally foster a spirit of antagonism with others.
Once again, reflecting on Cardinal Caffara’s words, Catholic parents in England and Wales have a particular obligation to bear witness — and in particular, perhaps, Catholics in SPUC and in the pro-life movement generally have such an obligation — to the terrifying moral seriousness of what is being done in the name of the CBCEW particularly in relation to abortion and homosexuality, “at the root” of which, for reasons explained by Cardinal Caffara in a wider context, “is the work of Satan.”