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I said, “I will guard my ways,
That I may not sin with my tongue;
I will bridle my mouth,
So long as the wicked are in my presence.”
I was dumb and silent,
I held my peace to no avail;
My distress grew worse,
My heart became hot within me.
As I mused, the fire burned;
Then I spoke with my tongue.
The opening words of psalm 38 quoted above describes very accurately what happened to me a couple of days ago, after I read in Lifesitenews the details about the withdrawal of the Italian priest from Alder Hey hospital and indeed now from Britain. Suddenly the whole matter of little Alfie came together within me in a very personal way, the evil actions of my country (England), my old employer (the NHS), my old profession (Doctors), my previous ‘college of bishops’ (England and Wales), and even my old parish priest when I was in Nottingham (Fr. now Bishop John Sherrington). Certainly my distress grew worse, my heart (and my tears) became hot within me as I cried and sobbed to the Lord.
Much has been written about Alfie over the last few weeks. His parents have been dignified and heroic, I pray that they will eventually be blessed with peace, which can only come from God, for earthly peace has been stripped from them by all the forces which acted against them and their son.
Many people better informed, or more erudite than I, can and have commentated about the situation, I will not attempt to add to what they say.
But what I feel called to say is slightly different. It is about what is actually happening to Britain, the West, the World, and the Church both in the Roman Catholic sense and the wider Christian sense.
Firstly Britain and the judiciary. Many have stated that the State is becoming more totalitarian, and they are right. But just how far down the slope of totalitarianism have we slipped, and can or will we stop the slide continuing? Totalitarian systems are usually divided sharply in men’s eyes as either extreme right or left wing, exemplified by the Nazis and Communism. But are they really very different from each other? Both use their peoples as nothing but objects who have to do the will of the State without thinking, and whose main purpose in life is the production of whatever the State decides at the time. And their structure is the same, all-powerful leaders with utterly powerless citizens (like Alfie’s family). A very simple way to understand this similarity is to realize the implication of the Nazi’s party real title – the National Socialist Party. And that is why it doesn’t matter whether in Britain the Conservative or the Labour party is in power, the slide to totalitarianism will continue unless or until Britain returns to Christ, for only in Him is everyone both truly loved and of equal value. Remember, Our Lady at Fatima did not ask for prayers for the end of the Fascism, but of Communism. And it is the secular socialistic ideology that ‘the State knows best’ and that people ‘belong’ to the State, which allowed the judges to organise Alfie’s death, with the approval of the government as expressed by Teresa May herself.
The other thing which was quoted by the judge as supporting their decision that Alfie would be better off dead, was the statement by the English bishops. In contrast, the judge pointedly ignored the fact that the Pope himself was saying something very different to Cardinal Nicholls, and that the Pope had dispatched one of his most senior Cardinals to help move Alfie to Rome, and must also have influenced the Italian government to grant Alfie Italian citizenship. A notable group of bishops who came out in support of Alfie, and who should be mentioned simply to praise them, was the entire college of Brazilian bishops; if only they could be moved to Britain, lock stock and barrel! What has disappointed me most about the English hierarchy though, is that I know there are at least three very good men among them, but there has been nothing from them that has reached me. Maybe they did stand up for Alfie before the other bishops or to their own dioceses, but it is the ordinary men and women who are being scandalized, and they need to hear sound pro-life and pro-family teaching from those who are supposed to represent the Catholic Church. I would also say that I didn’t hear anything from other Christian churches either. Are all clergymen of all denominations now cowed by the State? To paraphrase the famous statement by St Thomas More: they may be the ‘King’s’ good servants’, but you are supposed to be God’s good servants first.
Like many doctors now-a-days, I didn’t take the Hippocratic Oath, Southampton medical school was one of the earliest to drop it. However, that didn’t exempt doctors who qualified from there being dedicated to ‘first do no harm’. I remember that one of my student attachments in Gynaecology was to an elderly consultant in Portsmouth. He discovered immediately that I was anti-abortion, and we had many lively discussions! He explained his treatment rational. He wasn’t comfortable about abortions, yet he performed them. As he said: “The government say women should be allowed to have abortions under certain specific circumstances. Therefore, as I work for the NHS, I must perform abortions if the circumstances are fulfilled. So, when a woman is referred for an abortion, I see her at the end of my pre-natal clinic so that she is sitting in the waiting room with other pregnant women, then, I show her the form I have to fill out to say why her abortion is legal, and I ask her which category she fits into. But if there is no health reason for the abortion I then arrange for a social worker to see her, and they then get referred back to me again with a reason worked out by the social worker”. Basically, he made a little protest to quieten his conscience, but then killed the child anyway.
During my twenty years in hospital practice I continued to be pro-life. I avoided jobs such as gynaecology or general practice where my moral stance would be challenged, and went into Accident and Emergency which was fine until the ‘morning after pill’ came in and was supposed to be prescribed by the nurses in my department. I tried to fight, pointing out that the nurses in that particular hospital couldn’t even prescribe antibiotics to kill bacteria, but were to be allowed to kill human beings! Then I broke my back and had to retire on health grounds, so I wasn’t involved in that local struggle for early lives anymore!
I loved being a doctor, but now I am ashamed of it, and that is due to the arrogant ‘we know best’ behaviour of Alfie’s and Charlie’s doctors. I saw enough of it during my work, but now I have seen it kill (or hasten the death) of two little boys. One thing I did notice about the hospital’s earlier care of Alfie, for him to have grown so well to a normal 23 month old, they must then have been taking good care of him, it was just a pity that then they stopped, and started thinking he needed to die and that they had the right to arrange the time and the way.
Now just a quick note to my former parish priest. I wasn’t his parishioner long, just a few months. When I told him I couldn’t get to Mass he quickly and efficiently arranged people to drive me to Church twice a week, I am still grateful, and I was pleased to hear of his ‘promotion’. Now, as an auxiliary bishop, he seems to be being used as his Archbishop’s ‘hit-man’. This is the second time I know of that he has been sent by Cardinal Nicholls to verbally ‘sort out’ something that shouldn’t have been sorted out at all. Fr. John, please, for your own sake, for the sake of your eternal salvation, listen to your conscience, be strong in the right way. Does it matter if the Cardinal turns on you for insubordination? You know that it is God you have to fear, not man. But maybe I have you wrong, maybe you are doing what you want. But I hope not. I hope that I didn’t make a mistake in my assessment of you. Please follow the Cross.
Back to dear Alfie, it was good to see his peaceful smile in the days leading up to his death. I pray for his parents, I have no doubts to Alfie’s whereabouts, he looked as if he could see heaven already.
But I just wonder, in the future when history is written, will his death be seen as one of these relatively small things that are actually the turning point of history? Is this the point where the slip to a secular totalitarian State could be stopped? Will historians in the future be saying: ‘if only people had acted then…..?’ Or will it be a point like the murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which started the whole of the First (and therefore Second) World War, with the death of so many millions? Or, is it the act that will finally make God decide to start the chastisements of the human race? We have been deserving of it for so long.
“God looked down from heaven
Upon the sons of men
To see if there are any that are wise,
That seek after God.
They have all fallen away;
They are all alike depraved;
There is none that does good,
No, not one.
Have those who work evil no understanding,
Who eat up my people as they eat bread,
And do not call upon God?
There they are, in great terror,
In terror such as has not been!
For God will scatter the bones of the ungodly;
They will be put to shame, for God has rejected them. ”