How can the '... Catholic Church in the United Kingdom (...) “start speaking out” and defend its social teaching...', when in the Alfie Evans case the Bishops, almost to a man, supported murdering a child?
From Catholic World Report
By CNA Daily News
London, England, Nov 22, 2019 / 01:00 pm (CNA).-
A former member of parliament has spoken out after being deselected as a
candidate for the U.K.’s Liberal Democrat Party because of his Catholic
faith and views on same-sex marriage and abortion.
Robert Flello sat as a Labour Party MP in the House of Commons for
over a decade, representing Stoke-on-Trent from 2005 until 2017. In
2019, he switched parties to the Liberal Democrats and was selected as
their candidate for his former constituency. Flello, a practicing
Catholic, was informed on Nov. 12–just 36 hours after his selection as a
candidate–that he had been de-selected and would not be permitted to
represent the Lib Dems in the election.
Flello is now calling for the Catholic Church in the United Kingdom
to “start speaking out” and defend its social teaching, and for
Catholics in the U.K. to question their local candidates about their
thoughts on religious freedom.
“However they try to dress it up, the simple fact is that you can’t
be a practicing Catholic and a Lib Dem Candidate,” wrote Flello in an
op-ed published on Nov. 20 in the Catholic Herald magazine. He said that “someone, somewhere” objected to him within the party and officials “got worried and pulled the plug.”
“We need Catholics to start contacting political parties to challenge
discrimination and anti-religious prejudice,” said Flello. “I’m not
going to keep quiet on this and nor, I hope, will others.”
Flello said that he has always been transparent about his opposition
to same-sex marriage and aborting children after a diagnosis with Down
syndrome, and that this had previously not been an issue.
“[During the candidate vetting progress] I made clear my views on
same-sex marriage during the interview, in the part helpfully titled
‘Having the courage to make and defend unpopular decisions and seeking
out opportunities to publicise and defend beliefs’,” said Flello, adding
that “maybe I should have written instead about the Lib Dem opposition
to state interference and closing down of free speech.”
Another issue the Lib Dems raised with Flello were his tweets
critical of a “buffer zones” which local authorites and courts have
placed around abortion clinics, preventing prayer vigils and pro-life
Flello rejected the Lib Dems’ claim that they were unaware of his
political views, noting his parliamentary voting record and had tweets
about the issues.
In 2013, Flello defied the Labour Party whip by voting against
same-sex marriage. In that same vote, Flello noted, the Lib Dems did not
instruct their candidates to vote either for or against the bill.
“How times change,” he said.
“The Lib Dems are, of course, claiming they have no issue with my
religious views and very helpfully they have told me I am free to have
some of my views,” said Flello.
Flello said that, despite the de-selection, he was happy to place his
religious beliefs above his political aspirations, citing St. Thomas
More – a former MP who was martyred by King Henry VIII for refusing to
break with the Catholic Church.
“To paraphrase one of my favorite quotations, I am politics’ good servant, but God’s first,” said Flello.
Flello’s de-selection is the latest in a line of British politicians being penalized for their religious beliefs.
MP Tim Farron, an evangelical Christian, was forced to step down as
the leader of the Lib Dems in 2017, after coming under fire for his
views against homosexulaity and sin. Farron said he was “torn between
living as a faithful Christian and serving as a political leader.”
Farron had led the party for two years before his resignation.
“A better, wiser person may have been able to deal with this more
successfully, to remain faithful to Christ while leading a political
party in the current environment,” said Farron upon his resignation. He
said he thought it was impossible to both lead a progressive political
party and be faithful to the Bible.
Conservative MP and practicing Catholic Jacob Rees-Mogg was appointed
Leader of the House of Commons by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in July
of 2019. Prior to this, Rees-Mogg was criticized as a “thoroughly modern
bigot” for holding views against same-sex marriage and abortion.