Christmas is a time when those in power feel the need to make Statements, and that’s especially the case, of course, for Christian clergy. So yesterday the Archbishop of Westminster, Britain’s most senior Catholic, took it upon himself to denounce same-sex marriage. The Archbishop claims that the current proposals are undemocratic as they were not in any major party’s manifesto, but actually same-sex marriage has been official Liberal policy for sometime, and apparently all three party leaders expressed their support for it during the election campaign. He also claimed that in a “period of listening” people were 7:1 against same-sex marriage. I’m not sure who he was listening too — possibly his fellow Catholic bishops — but in the official government consultation respondents were 53% in favor. I wasn’t aware that telling porkies from the pulpit was a new Christian virtue, let alone one that should be paraded so publicly at Christmas.
It isn’t clear how many people actually pay attention to what Catholic bishops have to say. I found a report from 2010 that said there were around 4 million Catholics in Britain. How many of those attend church regularly as opposed to simply stating their religion as Catholic is uncertain. The last census found that 59% of the population identified as Christian, but this Christian website says that only 15% of the population attends church regularly. If that applies equally over all Christian denominations then only around 1 million Britons are regular, church-going Catholics.
In contrast, on Christmas Day some 7.59 million people watched the latest episode of Doctor Who. In it our hero is assisted by two detectives who are in a cross-species lesbian marriage, and an alien who has no concept of gender.
As I’m sure you are aware, the legions of Doctor Who fans include some people who are committed Christians. I know of one who is a Catholic priest.
It occurs to me that some people are hiding from the real world in an escapist fantasy, while most of us are content to watch popular television shows.