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April 2005

Right Royal Sacrilege


"The hat, the dress, the ring, the venue, security, legality, popularity...".

Salivating over the speculations and variations on a royal wedding theme, the ever more puerile entertainment-news media were always going to reduce the April 'event' to endless servings of trivia and irrelevancy.

Yet they, at least, have some excuse. The pagan 'values' which inform their own amoral coverage of such events simply reflect the moral confusion of the materialistic society they report.

One thousand viewers of a BBC religious programme, for instance, recently consigned the seven deadly sins to the proverbial dustbin of salvation history. At a poor second last in the Mori poll, only greed got a look in among the new list of "relevant" 21st century preferences. Cruelty (the runaway winner), adultery, bigotry, dishonesty, hypocrisy and selfishness substituted for the traditional sins of lust, sloth, anger, gluttony, pride and envy.

"It means we're living in a PC society and turn a blind eye to daily lustfulness," commented Dr Adrian Rogers of Family Focus. "But just for old times' sake we've thrown in adultery. This is confusing because adultery starts with lust."

The Prince and his concubine embody this 'confusion', not to say degradation. All compounded by the crucial fact that, in the eyes of the Church, Mrs Parker Bowles, an Anglican, remains validly married to the Catholic Andrew Parker Bowles, whom she wed in 1973 in a Catholic ceremony, and divorced in 1995.

Nevertheless, the media circus rolls on as expected, aided and abetted by Lambeth's court-jester-in-chief, busy moving goal posts hither and thither to accommodate the sacrilege.

A little more might have been expected, however, from those consecrated under God to defend His laws. And, after all, here was a gifted opportunity for the Catholic hierarchy to finally take their lead from St. John Fisher, Bishop and martyr, rather than Pontius Pilate, the patron saint of diplomats; to make some small amends for the infernal Henrician sell-out.

This ancient episcopal betrayal still hangs like a curse upon the land: Firstly upon our local Church - now so thoroughly protestantised as to be cruelly abandoned by Rome as a lost cause and given over to hirelings indistinguishable from their Anglican counterparts. Secondly, and subsequent to the Catholic dissolution, upon the nation itself - whose casual perversion of holy matrimony ever since has wrought a cataclysmic toll on English society.

And yet, even with the royal couple rating sky-high on the scale of grave offenses against the dignity of marriage as listed in the Catechism - "adultery, divorce, polygamy and concubinage" - we waited in vain for edifying episcopal comment.

So much for the sacrament, the sixth commandment... the sin!

In a Church where astounding public scandals have become pedestrian, perhaps we should be grateful that the Cardinal did not send the Prince and Mrs Parker Bowles an actual letter of congratulations, and that he neither expected nor received an invitation to the reception. Still, his response as outlined in the following letter was shocking enough. I am sure the sentiments expressed therein speak for faithful Catholics everywhere.

For our part, rather than curse the darkness as matrimony takes another royal beating at the local Guildhall near Windsor Castle, we prefer to shed some light on the Catholic understanding of marriage and family life, including a treatise on its true nature and meaning by a Cistercian Abbott and a very practical Letter from the Bishops of Pennsylvania on marriage preparation amid the universal scourge of concubinage.

There is also the wisdom of Pope Pius XII, whose advice to mothers has never been more pertinent at a time when they are being forced into the workforce through a tax and benefit system that penalises them for choosing to stay at home: all intended, as commentator Melanie Phillips has documented, "to restructure family life so that women take over the role of men, while fathers are reduced to an optional extra." Meanwhile, between the re-engineering of motherhood and fatherhood, the state relentlessly corrupts childhood through explicit sex ed at an ever younger age.

Marriage and family life are under relentless attack. The Charles and Camilla Show will hardly bolster the defence.

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