WESTMINSTER, England (ChurchMilitant.com) Nineteen prelates, including five women bishops, abstained from a pro-life vote as Britain's House of Lords voted 355–77 to approve the government's extreme abortion regime in Northern Ireland.
Bishops Sarah Mullally (London), Rachel Treweek (Gloucester), Vivienne Faull (Bristol), Christine Hardman (Newcastle) and Elizabeth Lane (Derby) belong to the cohort of 26 Church of England bishops who sit in the House of Lords as Lords Spiritual.
Even though the House of Bishops at the Church of England's General Synod stated in February that 98.3% of abortions in the United Kingdom are immoral, only Apb. Justin Welby (Canterbury) and Bps. Paul Butler (Durham), Christopher Cocksworth (Coventry), Timothy Dakin (Winchester), Julian Henderson (Blackburn), Donald Allister (Peterborough) and James Newcome (Carlisle) voted pro-life in Parliament.
"'Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?' asks the prophet Isaiah. The answer appears to be yes, if she happens to be a bishop in the Church of England," lamented Dave Brennan, director of pro-life Brephos.
"One argument for having bishops with 'real-life experience' is that they can apparently bring their insights to bear on 'real-life' issues," Brennan noted. "But that hasn't happened with bishop of London Sarah Mullally who, despite having been a midwife and the U.K.'s chief nursing officer, is mum on abortion."
"One argument for having these 'Lords Spiritual' — and indeed an established church — is that they can be the moral conscience of the nation. If this is the caliber of our 'conscience' as a nation, it is no wonder we are plunging into such dissipation," he added.
"Some of the absentee bishops are the same bishops who condemned in the strongest possible terms Dominic Cummings, no-deal Brexit and racism," he stressed. "But when it comes to the lives of countless unborn children they won't lift a finger — literally: This particular vote could be cast from a bishop's sofa in a bishop's palace by text."
The Lords were allowed to vote through an online hub from home due to Wuhan virus restrictions.
Over a dozen bishops lashed out at Prime Minister Boris Johnson in May for not sacking his senior advisor, Dominic Cummings, following revelations that Cummings had breached lockdown rules by driving to Durham to arrange childcare for his 4-year-old, autistic son.
Bishops in the House of Lords who attacked Cummings but remained silent on the abortion legislation include Vivienne Faull (Bristol), Christine Hardman (Newcastle), John Inge (Worcester) and Nick Baines (Leeds).
Among the bishops, Baines, a former evangelical, has been the most vocal opponent of Brexit but has been tight-lipped on abortion.
During the day, Bp. Alan Smith (St. Albans) raised the issue of Black Lives Matter in the House of Lords. "Racism is deeply embedded and it affects every part of society, including the Church. We all have much to do to confront it," Smith said, while remaining speechless on abortion.
A former Anglican bishop who spoke to Church Militant confirmed that "women bishops were sold to the Church on the promise that they would bring a nurturing femininity. That has not been the experience of the most vulnerable, as preborn, perfectly developed human beings are being culled in record numbers."
Abortion reached its peak in 2019 as 209,519 unborn children were slaughtered in England and Wales — the highest number since the country's Abortion Act was enacted in April 1968, according to a Church Militant report.
"Yet when faced with the choice between the feminine and feminism, the women bishops chose feminism and its war on both motherhood and children," the bishop lamented.
So far from being agents of compassion, they have acted as apparatchiks of political dogma. It is astonishing they have been unable to make the theological leap from the command to love one's neighbor to loving the child in the womb, who is the closest neighbor of love to the mother who conceived him or her.
Earlier in June, Northern Ireland Catholic bishops urged members of the Northern Ireland Assembly to oppose abortion regulations introduced by Westminster.
Describing the new legislation as "an unjust law, which was imposed without the consent of the people of Northern Ireland," the bishops reiterated in a statement: "As Catholic bishops, our opposition to the new regulations is rooted in the Catholic Church's teaching concerning the dignity of every human life, regardless of age, ability, gender or background."
Northern Ireland is now embracing the most extreme abortion legislation in Europe.
"The abortion lobby has shown that it is prepared to be ruthless in the pursuit of its objectives," John Smeaton, chief executive of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, told Church Militant.
"The coordination on the part of abortion advocates in the government, the opposition and even in the Office of the Speaker of the House of Commons, has resulted in an unprecedented abuse of power," he remarked.
"Sadly, the Church of England bishops helped create the current crisis. In 1930, they abandoned the principles of natural law when the Lambeth Conference voted to accept birth control. This has led directly to the acceptance of the sexual immorality so widespread today and ultimately to this radical new abortion regime," Smeaton lamented.
Church Militant previously exposed the bishops for skipping an earlier vote on abortion in Northern Ireland. None of the 26 bishops were present or voted during the House of Lords debate on July 17 and 18, 2019.
Instead, Abp. Justin Welby was hosting a meeting of the Christian Muslim Forum at Lambeth Palace and tweeting the Lord's Prayer using emojis to celebrate World Emoji Day.