The Truth Will Set You Free - Mind the Gap!

Fr Hugh MacKenzie FAITH Magazine September-October 2008 s

Fr Hugh MacKenzie is Parish Priest of Willesden Green Parish, London, and Editor of FAITH

Raising Parochial Awareness of Anti-Life Culture

The articles at the beginning of this issue have touched upon the extent to which secularization has entered within the Church. Our January 2006 editorial had this as its main theme. Many parish priests can confirm that relativist, utilitarian and/or anti-life priorities concerning the moral life have been allowed, in varying degrees, to take hold in the minds of many parishioners. Challenging this gradual but relentless process is itself a challenging and wide-ranging task. This Autumn is a particularly opportune time for encouraging our parishioners to reflect upon the fact that there is actually a significant gap between modern moral values and those of Christ in the Church. It looks as if the HumanEmbryology and Fertilization Bill is to become law, allowing, among other things, cloning up to birth, and probably ‘liberalising’ our abortion law. British Catholic Bishops have earlier this year been clear about the Catholic position, which makes engaging with the task at hand a lot easier. Opposite are two possible leaflets directed at some such awareness raising. These have been used in newsletters in Willesden Green, London, as a way of inviting parishioners further to come together to reflect about and freely discuss the past and present undermining of human life. As a result a PIA (Pray, Inform, Act) pro-life group has formed. The first table focuses upon anti-life attitudes in general, the second upon the above mentioned Bill.


THE PRESENT: Concerning the beginning of human life you have probably noticed the following massive ‘gap’ between the left hand side column and the right hand side

The majority of British people
seem to think that:

 Catholic Church teaches,
and always has:
A woman’s right not to bring
her pregnancy to term can trump
the unborn human’s right to life.
 It is never, ever right deliberately
to kill an innocent member of
the human species.
Human embryos can be created
purely for the harvesting of their cells
for research into cures for
debilitating disease.
 New human life should only
ever be created for its own good.
Any form of medical or scientifIc
research can be justifed if it
results in a treatment for
serious illnesses.
 The end does not justify the
means and if research is
immoral in itself it cannot
be justifed by the hope
of some future good.
Infertile couples are entitled to
create new human life in test
tubes through IVF
 New human life should only
ever be created in the
womb of an accepting
mother as a result of the
marital act.
Sex outside marriage is fne. Sex is exclusively for
marriage and family

THE PAST: Two possible explanations of the cause of this gap

Catholic Church has been seriously mistaken, and modern world has become deeply enlightened about human life and love.


The effects upon England of Original Sin, the 16th century Reformation’s denial of Christ’s bestowal of authority upon the Pope, and the 1960’s reduction of the meaning of sex, have been cultural ‘atomic explosions’ with massive fall out.

THE FUTURE: Two possible scenarios

The family will continue to be redefned along secular lines. Catholic Church will continue to dwindle, with continuing loss of religious vocations, young people, parishes etc


Catholic Church renews its and society’s understanding of the teachings about love which it has received and handed on from Christ.


Pray about it and come to an open discussion on <date> to discuss these issues.


Concerning the recent legislation in Parliament between two belief systems both claiming to be rational, both attempting to convince others, but both cannot be true

Catholic Teaching as expressed by numerous British Catholic Bishops earlier this year.
 Policy of Government and 50      
Top Medical Charities etc
Strongly against Hybrid Embryo Bill. Strongly in favour of Hybrid Embryo Bill.
Believing that alleviating suffering is
closely linked to respecting fundamental
dignity of every member of the human
species. They go together & don't
work apart
 Believing in regulation of what
is permissible case by case
according to cultural norms.
Absolute limits to what can
be done to alleviate suffering
do not exist
At the heart of western civilisation
up to the 1960's
 Increasingly at the heart of
the post-1960's culture
Sees revelation through Church
as inherent to healthy society,
as can be shown by reason
 Tends to see religious teaching,
concerning absolute limits, as
irrational & so not particularly
relevant in public decision making.
Jesus' "But I say to you"
continues today.
 God's word has no clear role
in public life
Christianity is true. Relativism
is building a 'Brave New World' upon sand
 Claims that relativism is right,
Christianity is an out-dated
restriction upon humanity.


In taking the Christian position we are being profoundly rational and human. This does not mean that we think our political leaders are evil people. Nor do we have “phobias” against people who want to do things we think are wrong. We just profoundly disagree with their opinions. We think these particular opinions of theirs are seriously false. And whatever they might say about tolerance, they think our opinions are seriously false. We can respect other aspects of each others’ lives and are called to love each other (i.e. by Christ!)

Let us take up our Cross and take heart. Christ is knocking at the door, already forgiving and beginning the rebuilding of his Kingdom.

Faith Magazine

September - October 2008