Thursday, 25 January 2007

What it's really all about

Twenty-five per cent of adoptors in this country are Catholic, and that is the problem from the point of view of those behind the current furore over the future of the Catholic adoption agencies. It is not only perfectly reasonable to surmise, but in fact impossible for any reasonable person to fail to realise, that the destruction of those agencies is the whole point of this legislation.

This is not about homosexuality, but about marriage, and about the view that children are best brought up by a married couple, which, as much in point of legal fact as anything else, the parties to a civil partnership are not. (Yes, I was brought up from the age of 13 by a widowed mother. But that is wholly different from contriving such a situation, never mind a situation in which a paternal, or indeed a maternal, influence has been altogether excluded.) This view is no doubt held by a sizeable proportion of the population, and has long been one of the extensive list of popular views to hold which is to be disenfranchised.

Those behind this legislation hate the Catholic Church, with Her concentration in Scotland, the North, the Midlands, and the working-class parts of London; with her unyielding, wholly coherent view encompassing bioethics, sexual morality, social justice, environmental responsibility, and world peace; and with Her large following among middle-class people with working-class family backgrounds, a post-War phenomenon the very existence of which is in no small measure due to the Catholic school system, the only reason why those who hate "faith schools" do so.

Pity these poor provincials and arrivistes in the face of by far the richest and most powerful section of society. It knows so well that it does not really need to do anything in order to get its own way, that it will even put up so unserious a figure as Johann Hari as its spokesman on The Moral Maze. Hari has the look, voice, views and style (whether spoken or written) of a particularly tiresome type of over-excited undergraduate. And he did not disappoint, repeatedly comparing the Catholic Church to the Ku Klux Klan, and at one point even describing John Cornwell's perfectly ludicrous Hitler's Pope as "the historical record"! Hari needs to grow up, and the Independent needs to grow up by not employing him at least until he does so.

But then, everyone needs to grow up who seriously countenances the proposition that the mere inclination to engage in homosexual acts is somehow fundamental to any personal or collective identity, as if that inclination were comparable to sex, or ethnicity, or even class, or for that matter even religion or political persuasion. In point of fact, this preposterous proposition originated only in the late 1960s at the very earliest, on an underground nightclub scene around the sexual abuse of adolescent boys in coastal American cities, through and then from which it spread in the 1970s, not least into a Catholic Church which had lost Her nerve in many Western countries in the face of the insistence of certain pre-existing factions that the Second Vatican Council had endorsed their agenda when it had not done, and actually could not have done, any such thing. We all know what happened next.

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