“Rome Doesn’t Care”
These words, in large handwritten characters on a placard carried by one of the protestors in a recent demonstration in the United States, seem to encapsulate the frustration felt by the many within the pale of the Roman Catholic Church who have been affected by the vile, immoral and unnatural conduct of members of her supposedly “holy priesthood”. The failure of her hierarchy to take proper, drastic action against them is the cause of the resentment. The wheel has turned full circle for these depraved priests, and the superstitious veneration in which they were once held, and under the cover of which they perpetrated so much evil, has now gone and instead they are viewed with revulsion and contempt.
If it had been possible to find – anywhere – a place where such men might be conveniently hidden from public exposure, we may be sure that Rome would have found it by now and saved itself the embarrassment of having to offer apologies for their behaviour. It is, however, becoming increasingly obvious that such attempts to remedy the situation are not sufficient. Even the much-publicised meeting of the Pope and his American-based prelates and the ambiguous, carefully-crafted statement subsequently issued do not seem to have done anything towards appeasing the wrath of parents of abused children or of those who were personally involved.
The scale of exposure seems now to be increasing by the day. Only the tip of the iceberg appeared in the United States; as time passes, it is becoming increasingly obvious that it is a universal phenomenon. In Canada, for instance, it is said that up to 15 000 law suits are pending. The latest country to appear in the headlines is the Philippines, where 200 priests now stand accused. It is now Archbishop Orlando Quevedo’s turn to appear before the media and apologise for “grave sins committed by some leaders on members of the flock”. Some of these leaders have been charged with “rape and child abuse” and their trials will presumably take place in due course. In Hong Kong, yet another priest makes the headlines, having been convicted of similar crimes.
Interestingly, there are said to be 50 million Roman Catholics in the Philippines, where that the Pope some few years ago celebrated mass in front of 4 million people, who at one stage of his visit voiced his praise as if he were divine. “He has the whole world in his hands”, they sang, and the scene was reminiscent of the time when, as described in the book of Acts, Herod was extolled as if his oration and voice were those of a god rather than of a man. How strong that “strong delusion” must be when so many millions of our race continue to be deceived by this Satanic system!
Many Protestants read with relief the recent report that the Act of Settlement, which secures the Protestant succession to the British Throne, is not to be changed at present. The decision is, we believe, an answer to the prayers of many of the godly in the country.
In the House of Lords, the Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine, told peers that there were no plans to change the legislation that currently prevents the Sovereign and the heir to the throne from becoming, or marrying, a Roman Catholic, because there was “no clear or pressing need” for change. The subject was raised by Lord Faulkner, who pointed out that the Prime Minister had told The Herald newspaper before last June’s election that the Act was “plainly discriminatory”, and had added, “Obviously in principle it can’t be right that Catholics are unable to succeed”.
The Lord Chancellor replied, “The Act could be said to be discriminatory in nature but it is not discriminatory in impact. Where legislation could have far-reaching effects on our historic constitutional arrangements, both in the UK and in the Commonwealth, it is a good principle I would recommend: to consider legislative change only where it can be maintained that there is a clear and pressing need for change.”
However, we fear that such a possibility could easily arise. If the Act became what the Lord Chancellor calls “discriminatory in impact” – say, in the instance of an heir to the throne becoming or marrying a Roman Catholic – then a case might be made out that there was “a clear and pressing need for change”. In fact, the Lord Chancellor said that “people can be converted” [to Roman Catholicism], and added that if the Act were likely to have a discriminatory impact “then the matter would have to be addressed”.
It is obvious that the need for prayer is as great as ever. May the Lord continue to preserve our Protestant constitution, with all its civil and religious liberties. A helpful article on the Act of Settlement, by Chris Richards of the Protestant Alliance, appeared in the April 2000 issue of this magazine under the title Unsettling the Settlement.