Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Catholic political party?

It seems that following the demise of the Pro-Life Party as a political party, a new party was formed which would be specifically Catholic. The Pro-Life Party never won any seats but it got some good publicity for life issues at election times, and won a battle with the BBC over an election broadcast. To have the BBC accused of exercising 'censorship' in a court ruling was an important acheivment.

This new party, 'Resurgence', has been going since 2004; the fact that it's only now that a couple of blogs have put a notice about it is surprising. Their documents are a strange mixture of the sensible, the slightly obsessive and the plain barmy. In the last category is the suggestion that they will ban party whips in the House of Commons. First, how? Second, why? In the places where party discipline is weak the efforts of politicians to endear themselves to their voters lead not to high principles, but to pandering to special interests. Just look at the USA. And a party which does not aspire to exercise control over what its MPs do doesn't deserve anyone's vote.

Small parties can serve a useful purpose. They can draw attention to neglected issues; they can educate the public and build networks; they can act as think tanks and lobby groups. Resurgance needs to think about what it can acheive, in the short and medium term, and what it shouldn't be bothering about. Detailed and unimaginative plans for vehicle tax reform are beside the point. Giving substance to Catholic social teaching and the pro-life agenda, setting them in the context of the current legislative situation, and preparing good publicity materials on them would actually be useful. The people currently in this field are nearly all either Catholics pretending not to be (the pro-life groups, some conservative thinktanks) or non-Catholics pretending to be Catholics (groups like the dissident 'justice and peace' brigade listed on this blog). How about some real Catholics who admit they are Catholics?

And how about some public events, guys?

Their list of links exposes the narrowness of their network. They clearly haven't thought at all about the Catholic organisations who might be sympathetic to their cause. Instead they link to the non-Catholic extremist pro-life group UK Life League with its homepage covered in grisly pictures of dead babies (for a critique, see here). What does that say about Resurgence?

Thanks, Paul Kennedy, General Secretary, but you'll have to try again.


Anonymous said...

Any Catholic party would need to be neither Left not Right but pursue only an exclusivly Catholic agenda. That means it could not be in anyway linked or sympathetic to anykind of patriotism, nationalism, lefebvrism, Monarchism or anti-immigration platform.

It would also mean not being exclusively focused on support from the white middle classes

John Kearney said...

I just read about Resurgence and I am contemplating whether to join or not. Clearly it would be nice to belong to an organisation in which you can talk about funding chastity as well as contraception. In the main parties you never get to talk about such things and there are rare opportunities to talk about abortion. Clearly the party is about using the elections to pur forward Catholic Social Teaching into politics and using the benefits of a General Election to put these into every home. This I beleive is a very good and positive idea. I disagree with you on the LifeLeague approach. We have been arguing `nicely` for 40 years but it is only when the `grim` reality of abortiohn is accepted that there can be change. "I do not want to know so please do not show me" is the main tactic of abortionists. In British politica the `first past the post only` system stifles true debate and there is only 3 choices for the electorate so the chance of a seat being won by Resurgence is almost impossible - though there could be a miracle. Resurgence could also be a great benefit to the Church in that it will raise the issues our bishops will not raise and inform catholics on issues in which our bishops do not want them to be informed. On tax issues and revenue issues, poltitical relationships, Europe, foreign policy, they will have to decide these issues if they do indeed win seats which is unlikely. But it is a party worth having.

Hercules said...

On the use of grisly pictures in the abortion debate see here.

Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen