UK Bishops Blast BBC for Anti-Catholic Bigotry

by Alexander Slavsky  •  •  May 23, 2018   

Catholic politician grilled for his opposition to abortion and gay 'marriage'

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LONDON ( - Two U.K. bishops are slamming the BBC for anti-Catholic bigotry in a recent interview with a practicing Catholic politician.

Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury and Bp. John Keenan of Paisley blasted the major broadcasting network for "bigotry" following a May 22 interview with Catholic Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg on BBC's Daily Politics.

The interview was conducted by British journalist and political correspondent Jo Coburn who grilled Rees-Mogg for his Catholic faith, asking if he objected to Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, a lesbian who happens to be pregnant, as a "future leader of the Conservative Party."

Rees-Mogg dismissed the objection while defending the permanence and indissolubility of marriage between one man and one woman in the Church, saying, "the sacrament of marriage is one that is defined by the Church and not by the state, and the sacrament of marriage is available to a man and a woman. This is the teaching of the Catholic Church which I accept."

Davies denounced the BBC to the Catholic Herald for the manner in which the interview was conducted, explaining:
The hounding of a Member of Parliament like Jacob Rees-Mogg for simply sharing the faith of [the] Catholic Church indicates that the BBC and its interviewers see Catholic teaching as being somehow beyond public tolerance. It is hard to see this treatment of Catholic politicians as being other than a new bigotry.
The Conservative leader also expressed sadness over the "190,000 abortions" in 2016 in the United Kingdom, saying, "It is one of the great tragedies of the modern world and it would be a wonderful thing if society came to a different view on abortion."
Rees-Mogg pushed back against Coburn for not "believ[ing] in religious tolerance" since "you are saying that tolerance only goes so far and you should not be tolerant of the teaching of the Catholic Church."
"Isn't this stretching into religious bigotry," asked Rees-Mogg, to which Coburn responded by asking if his faith presented a barrier to holding high office.
"Ah, that is a different question and it is really important to get to the heart of this, because this country believes in religious tolerance, we are a very tolerant nation," he insisted. "The act of tolerance is to tolerate things you do not agree with not just ones you do agree with and the problem with liberal tolerance is it has got to the point of only tolerating what it likes."
In statements to the Herald, Kenan also charged Coburn of "hid[ing] behind the old red-herrings of 'other people say' and 'members of your own party say.'"
"She openly wondered if it was a 'problem' to hold ordinary Catholic beliefs in high office, and seriously suggested that Catholics who were against the likes of abortion and same-sex marriage should be barred from decision-making in public life," he continued.
The problem with liberal tolerance is it has got to the point of only tolerating what it likes.
But the ordinary of Paisley said it was "quite right" for Rees-Mogg "to call this secular bigotry" and to "point out that this aggressive secularism has nothing liberal about it."
In April, Keenan blasted a BBC video that normalized homosexuality while attacking the Eucharist: "It tastes like cardboard, and it smells like hate." His Excellency said the video "was offensive to Catholics in both the words and images used."
"It is ridiculing and demeaning the faith of ordinary Catholics," he commented, "especially at a time when Catholics are experiencing more and more abuse and prejudice in Scotland."
Church Militant reported in March that the latest government report is showing a spike in hate crimes against Catholics in Scotland. The country revealed 57 percent of all reported crimes in 2016-2017 have been against Catholics, and there has been a 14 percent rise in offenses from the 592 charges reported in 2015–2016.
The BBC responded to the interview with Rees-Mogg, claiming Coburn "used the interview to explore whether Mr Rees Mogg's views on gay marriage and abortion were out of step with the mainstream of his colleagues at Westminster."
"They believe Mr Rees Mogg's views on the issues of gay marriage and abortion to be incompatible with leading the party, and it was not unreasonable to ask him to respond to those claims," continued the BBC.
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