BY Daniel Harkins | April 19 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


MP highlights value of Catholic teaching in politics as parliament marks 100 years of Catholic emancipation

A SCOTTISH MP has said that Catholic Social Teaching can help provide politicians with an important guide to building a ‘more just world.’

A SCOTTISH MP has said that Catholic Social Teaching can help provide politicians with an important guide to building a ‘more just world.’

Patrick Grady, the MP for Glasgow North, was speaking as a group of Catholics from the House of Lords, the House of Commons and the charity sector came together in Parliament on April 10 to commemorate 190 years of Catholic emancipation.


St Thomas More

The group, led by Catholic Legislators’ Network convenor Mike Kane MP, met by the plaque in the Great Hall of Westminster that records the trial and sentencing to death of St Thomas More, the patron saint of politicians.

The Catholic Emancipation Act, which allowed Catholics to sit in the House of Commons after a long period of discrimination, received its Royal Assent on April 13, 1829.

The Act was pushed through the House of Commons by the then Home Secretary Robert Peel, who had previously been known as ‘Orange Peel’ because of his hostility to Catholicism, and through the House of Lords by the Duke of Wellington, the then Prime Minister, who also had anti-Catholic tendencies.

They both worked to persuade the King, George IV, to Assent to the Act in order to avoid civil war in Ireland.


Important anniversaries

Speaking after the event, Mr Grady (above, far right), who previously worked for SCIAF, said: “There have been a number of important anniversaries recently marking the growth of democracy and participation in politics, especially last year’s Vote 100 celebrations of 100 years since the right to of women to vote and be elected to the House of Commons was enshrined in law.

“The short informal prayer gathering on Wednesday reminded us that, for many decades, penal laws denied Catholics—men and women—the right to participate in public life.

“We gave thanks for the rights that generations of Catholic politicians since 1829 have been able to exercise in the UK, and we also remembered Christians who continue to be persecuted and denied their rights elsewhere in the world.


‘Significant participation’

“Catholic MPs, peers and staff regularly join the celebration of Mass in the Crypt Chapel in Westminster each Wednesday evening, and we have other opportunities to discuss issues of importance through the Catholic Legislators Network.

“The All-Party Groups on the Holy See and CAFOD also attract a significant participation from Catholic politicians, although they are open and welcoming to Members of all faiths and none.

“Pope Francis, the Bishops’ Conference—and indeed ecumenical organisations—have encouraged Catholics and Christians of all denominations to play an active part in political life in our country.

“The principles of Catholic Social Teaching provide an important guide and perspective on how we can build a more just world.”

Others attending the event included Lord McAvoy, Derek Twigg MP, John Grogan MP, Steve Pound MP and Eddie Hughes MP, along with representatives of Aid to the Church in Need and the Catholic Union of Great Britain.

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