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 Finnbarr Webster / Stringer / Getty

LONDON, November 12, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Last week, politicians in the U.K. voted to send the country into a second nationwide lockdown. Among other appalling restrictions on the English people the politicians voted to suppress public religious services. 

While the new restrictions allow for churches to be open for private prayer, the government legislation stipulates that this is not to “form part of communal worship.” Among other things, this means that the legislation seeks to prohibit the public celebration of the Mass.

This past weekend, the first weekend since the regulations were approved by politicians, police entered at least one Catholic church in England on the suspicion that a supposed transgression was taking place. 

Fines of up to £10,000 may be issued for organizing “communal worship.” A November 10 police report states that one organizer of a religious event in London is already being considered by the police for the maximum fine.

So, it may surprise some readers to learn that perhaps the U.K.’s best known Catholic politician voted in favor of the regulations

Jacob Rees-Mogg is particularly notable among English politicians for having made strong public statements on abortion and for his professions of fidelity to the Catholic Church. He is also known to attend the Traditional Latin Mass and has said he tries to pray the rosary every day

His eloquence and wit, particularly in interviews with aggressive liberal journalists, also make him an understandably popular character with many social conservatives. 

Rees-Mogg has even claimed to admire Pope Pius IX, particularly for “his traditional view of the state and the Church” and the Syllabus of Errors. 

Yesterday, Rees-Mogg posted a video of himself giving a brief speech in the House of Commons on the relationship between the Church and the state. In that speech, he affirmed that “the highest authority is unquestionably immortal, invisible and only wise, and even outside the control of the House of Commons.” He made no reference in his speech to having voted just last week for legislation that seeks to ban the public celebration of Mass and fine those who organise or attend.

Moreover, while voicing support for the new lockdown last week, Rees-Mogg described British Prime Minister Boris Johnson as “the most freedom-loving prime minister we could think of having.” 

But such a bizarre and, given the circumstances, contradictory description of a Conservative party leader and prime minister is not entirely out of character for Rees-Mogg. In 2016, he described David Cameron, the man who pushed through the legalisation of so-called same-sex “marriage,” as “the most Christian prime minister in 50 years.”

Other reasonably well-known Catholic MPs, Sir Edward Leigh and Sir David Amess, also voted for the new lockdown regulations. Catholic MP and former leader of the Conservative Party, Sir Iain Duncan Smith, was one of the just 38 MPs who voted against the new lockdown. 

I wrote to Rees-Mogg earlier this week to ask how, as a Catholic, he could have voted for a law to suppress the Mass. I have no doubt that he receives a huge amount of correspondence and is unlikely to have read my email. His automatic reply states: “As there is a strict Parliamentary convention that I do not interfere in other Members’ constituencies I am unable to take matters up for non-constituents.” I don’t live in Rees-Mogg’s constituency and I don’t expect a response to my email.

But in the hope that he will see my message and consider its contents I reproduce it below in full.

These are without doubt strange and difficult times for us all. The greatest consolation any of us can have is recourse to the Mass and the sacraments. Thanks to Rees-Mogg and his colleagues, the government is now attempting to deny these to the faithful in England. So with friends such as him, who needs enemies?

Below is my full email to Rees-Mogg:

Dear Mr Rees-Mogg,

I’m a journalist for and will be writing about your having voted to suppress the public celebration of the Catholic Mass by voting last week for the ‘Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No.4) Regulations 2020’.

On Wednesday November 4th 2020 you voted for a second lockdown which, among other appalling restrictions on the English people, suppressed public religious services. In doing so you formally co-operated in Parliament suppressing the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for the first time since the Catholic Relief Act. You voted to impose fines on those who disobey these new laws. Already there have been reports of police entering Catholic churches to check whether “communal services” are being conducted. 

You must know that St Thomas Becket was martyred for the principle of the liberty of the Catholic Church from civil interference.  

You have claimed to admire Pope Pius IX, particularly for “his traditional view of the state and the Church” and the Syllabus of Errors. You must know then of the 44th condemned error, which reads: “The civil authority may interfere in matters relating to religion, morality and spiritual government.”  

And further, you must also know that this principle is enshrined in English law by Magna Carta, which states that “the Church of England shall be free, and shall have all her whole Rights and Liberties inviolable.” 

How then can you, a Catholic and an Englishman, vote for such a law? You should have voted against the bill on these grounds alone. What bargain or promise of future reconsideration of the restrictions could justify such an act? 

You should have preferred to resign, or indeed to suffer anything, rather than embrace the ignominy of voting for that bill. 

I urge you to consider that such a public betrayal of the Church and your co-religionists is a scandal that requires a similarly public act of repentance. 

I would be grateful if you could reply to my email with answers to my questions by 5pm Thursday 12 November, after which we will publish our article.

Kindest regards,

Paul Smeaton

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Paul Smeaton is Editorial Director for LifeSiteNews and is based near London, England. He has previously worked for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) in England. Paul has been active in pro-life and Catholic communities since his university days at Campion College Australia.