Today the courageous Bishop of Lancaster faced Barry Sheerman MP and his Commons Select Committee for Schools at Westminster. You can watch it here; but I warn you, it lasts two and a half hours and you will need to skip through most of it.
Sheerman's "umming" and "erring" made a very shabby start to the meeting, and then all he did was use statistics to fence with the Bishop. Statistics are a useful tool in such a situation because they prevent a real meeting between human beings. But in this case they also suppressed the ability of the Bishop to speak about the value of the Gospel and the dignity of the person redeemed by Christ. Sheerman's pragmatist's challenge to the Catholic Church proved to be a false-start today. The time has not yet come for a real meeting between the Catholic Church and the UK's arch-liberal Parliament. Perhaps today's meeting was seen by some in the Parliament as a way of testing the way it should approach the Catholic Church. Certainly Parliament would not want to upset public feeling, nor to appear an agressor. But one thing is for certain: Sheerman doesn't want Christ to look him in the eye.