Jacob Rees-Mogg: Catholic Integrity & Intelligence

Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg gave a wonderfully fearless, articulate and intelligent defence of his Catholic faith on national TV this morning. I couldn't help wonder when we last saw a bishop so brave and so articulate?

It is all over the news today, with many commentators announcing it is his "Tim Farron moment". But should it be? Tim Farron failed to address questions about his Christian faith when asked, but Rees-Mogg is unequivocal and indeed makes Susanna Read and Piers Morgan look petty and bigoted in their attitudes towards the Catholic faith and their lack of understanding about politics and the political system.

This is what we need more of, Rees-Mogg gives a great account of what true Liberalism means: being able to hold opposing ideas in tension without excluding them. He clearly draws a line between personal beliefs and Parliamentary policy, demonstrating his integrity.

The obvious direction of travel in the interview is aimed at exposing Rees-Mogg as an antiquated extremist. Piers Morgan professes his own Catholicity, but proudly announces his ignorance in that he disagrees with Catholic teaching. It seems to me that one may be Catholic or not, but that “Cafeteria Catholicism” is no Catholicism at all. We don’t determine the Truth – we profess it. There may be degrees of personal passion in so professing it (i.e. spiritual growth), but this sacred Deposit of Faith has been entrusted infallibly to the Church by Jesus Christ, and is unchanging in itself: inerrant, indestructible, the very Truth of God.

Rees-Mogg said he opposes abortion, even in the case of rape. You can read an essential exploration of that view here, all the more important as the pro-abortion publicity machine goes into full overdrive. The testimonies of women who conceived following rape are particularly important reading.

Freddy Gray puts it like this in The Spectator:
His views about abortion and gay marriage are, to the media and political classes at least, utterly wrong – way beyond the boundaries of acceptable opinion. Most people, however, are intelligent enough to see a man of principle – a thing Westminster politics lacks – standing up for what he believes, and they like it. No matter how much he may hide himself behind that antiquated personality, it still takes courage to say you oppose same-sex marriage on national TV.
How extraordinary that we even need to write a defence piece for such honourable moral positions. But this is the problem you see! The voice of Christianity has gone from this country to such an extent that a sound Catholic perspective, like that expressed by Rees-Mogg this morning is seen as absurd (according to Gray's article). How can that be diverse? Again one must conclude, where are our bishops?

Rees-Mogg is unapologetic and shows great strength and intelligence in defending his beliefs. This is surely what we want to see in our politicians? He brilliantly explains the dichotomy between the law of the land and the teaching of the Church. He is taking the ideological battle out into the culture, not appeasing or accommodating, as so many try - and fail - to do.

If only more bishops and Church leaders were standing behind him and vocally doing this, we would be in a much stronger position and society would be more diverse and in a much stronger social position as a result!


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