The majority of Catholics in Britain officially support both abortion and homosexuality according to a recent study:
Most British Catholics now back abortion, according to a new census which shows a dramatic shift in Christians’ social views.
For the first time a majority of Catholics – who typically hold to conservative views on issues of life and death – agreed ‘the law should allow an abortion if the woman decides . . . she does not wish to have a child’.
It comes after Jacob Rees-Mogg, tipped to be a contender for leader of the Conservative Party, explained his staunch opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion by saying he followed the teachings of the Catholic Church.
The 2016 British Social Attitudes survey showed an increase in support for abortion among Catholics rise from 39 per cent when the question was last asked in 2012 in 61 per cent last year. The level of approval is only slightly lower than among those with no religion – 70 per cent of who back abortion according to the same survey.
The sudden rise comes after British Catholics views on abortion had remained relatively steady over the previous 30 years with the same poll in 1985 finding 33 per cent said a woman has a right to have an abortion.
In 1985 the proportion of those with no religion who backed abortion was 57 per cent after a significant shift in both the law and public perception following the 1967 Abortion Act that made termination permissible in certain circumstances.
The survey also found a majority of Anglicans saying gay relationships were ‘not wrong at all’ for the first time. The same study found a 50-50 split in 2015 with support among those of no religion at 76 per cent.
Meanwhile support for gay couples among Catholics continues to rise with 62 per cent backing same-sex relationships after crossing the 50 per cent marker in 2013.
However the official position of the Catholic Church remains resolutely opposed to both abortion and gay marriage and the Church of England has promised a more welcoming attitude to gay people but has offered no change to its stance against same-sex weddings. (source)
This is a very disturbing development in the UK, but not a surprise, for as the article itself notes, the change is generational, and the younger a person is the more one is likely to support these particular ideas.
Catholicism in the UK has been under strain since the Protestant revolution, and the issue of the English Revolution was the same as it was of Luther’s rebellion, for it was less about religion or actual problems in the religious hierarchy, but instead about making the Church subject to the will of the crown, and obedience to the King synonymous with obedience to God. This is also not a new problem historically speaking, and was the cause of many martyrs, including the martyrdom of St. Thomas Becket over his conflict with King Henry II. The difference with the time of St. Thomas Becket and King Henry VIII is that King Henry’s revolt was successful in subjugating the people and expelling the Church. This was the end of Christendom, because the fracturing caused by the Protestant movement allowed each man to create his own “church” acting as his own, self-appointed, independent authority. As such, it would only come in time and naturally so that without any historical context and sacred tradition coming from the apostles and transmitted throughout the ages that a man could reject any authority he disagreed with merely on his own opinion and appoint himself priest, bishop, and pope and claim the Bible supports him because it is simply a matter of one opinion against another.
The Catholic Church in the UK has suffered many persecutions since the Revolution, being virtually stamped out in ways seen only in Islamic lands. It was not until 1829 that some of the anti-Catholic laws were overturned or notably loosened and has made continual improvements, but there are still may problems with the state of the Church, most notably a decline in church attendance, a falling population, and a rise of secularism.
These things did not happen just out of nothing, because secularism does not just “pop up” from among a religious people. It has roots and origins, and the simple answer is that being Catholic for many English people became a symbol of group and social, or in the case of many Irish, ethnic identity instead of religious belief. People associated with the Faith because it was part of “their group” and not because they actually believe in what it teaches. This has been a historical problem for the Church just like heresy, just as weeds are a constant problem for a gardener. It is necessary to pick the weeds out of the garden to keep it healthy just as it is necessary to identify and confront the heresies of each time, for it is when they are left unattended that it becomes a dangerous problem.
English Catholicism is not declining because of just “natural causes,” but it is because people simply do not believe. That is the reason that in addition to the decline a majority of the people support homosexuality and abortion and nearly the same rates as the general population, because there is no difference between them and the average pagan other than a mere, superficial group association.
People talk about the rise of Islam, but the fact is the rise of Islam could not happen unless there was a void left by the Church for it to fill. The fact is that the state of the Catholic Church in the UK is a reflection of the people as well as that of the work of the clergy, and everything points to a lack of believe in the faith, from simple points to complex ones. There are many Catholics, but one can say that many do not believe, especially among the younger ones.
Certainly as long as a man lives there is hope, but the writing is on the wall. Barring an absolute change, there will not be so much of a decline in the Church as a natural disappearance from that nation, as there will no longer be a purpose or difference in going to church than being a secular pagan.