I know it’s unfair to judge a whole organisation by the conduct of one of its members; but how on earth does the Catholic Church let Jacob Rees-Mogg get away with it?
I was brought up a Christian: a faith I abandoned many years ago (it was the word ‘faith’ that did it for me, as a professional sceptic), but it was a very different kind of Christianity from – evidently – Rees-Mogg’s sort, and one whose dominant ethic, as I understood it, and which I still greatly admire, went right against his. Camels and needles come to mind. Together with ‘but the greatest of these is charity’. And ‘give everything you have to the poor’. And ‘blessed are the meek’. And all those instructions against bearing ‘false witness’. (You see: my Methodist upbringing wasn’t entirely lost on me.) OK, he may have spurned contraceptives, which goes down well with certain kinds of ‘Christian’. But so far as I remember the Bible doesn’t mention them in any case. So by my understanding of Christianity Jacob isn’t exactly Mother Theresa. (Not that, in my opinion, she was all that Christian herself. But what do I, as an ex-Christian, know?)
Does he go to Confession? What sort of priest is his confessor? Does he (JRM) know how sinful he is, and therefore which of his actions and opinions count as transgressions that he should confess? What is his priest’s reaction? How many Hail Marys does he make him say in penance? Does JRM have the time to recite them all? Do they – in Catholic theology – give him an ‘out of jail’ card to resume his un-Christian ways afterwards? Or does his condom-less begetting of lots of Catholic children make up for it all?
I really would like to know what his Church – i.e. the Pope – makes of him. Does it still ‘excommunicate’ people? After all, the Labour Party does, and for far less. (Which is why I’ve abandoned that, too.)