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Laura Perrins: Mary Portas and her infantile and totalitarian exercise in mind control


Are you ready for the new inquisition? You may not be interested in the culture wars but I can assure you they are interested in you. If you are not a fully signed up member then be prepared to be condemned in the legal courts as well as the court of public opinion.

At the luvvie Hay Festival Mary Portas gave an interesting account of when she presented her son for the sacrament of baptism. The full account is here.

“We turn up at the church and there was an odd feeling,” Portas said. “I could see he (the priest) was unhappy. I said, ‘Father, this is Horatio. I want you to know that we are partners and we are married. Are you comfortable with that?’

“He said, ‘I am baptising your son’. I said, ‘I am just asking if you feel comfortable?’ He said, ‘I am going to baptise your son’. I just stood up and told Mel, ‘we can’t do this’.”

The following day, Portas said, she had decided to go and see the priest. “I cannot tell you how painful that was,” she told him. “Somehow I thought that as a human you would be able to see past this.”

“He said, ‘I am really sorry. I did feel uncomfortable’.”

A while later the priest wrote Portas a letter saying, “pray for me”. She said: “Writing from his heart and soul, that was very beautiful. The heart of this man who had been brought up in a faith that was so rigid in him that he could not open up.”

So let’s just break this down. Mary turned up at the church and the priest did not say anything unpleasant to her. Mary just had an ‘odd feeling’. The priest does not raise the issue of her gay relationship but instead Mary decides to interrogate him asking him how he feels. The priest cannot affirm that he feels comfortable so she storms out.

So there we have it – a priest condemned not for his words, or deeds or actions but his feelings. This is not tolerance; this is mind control.

This whole affair just baffles me. Why does Mary care what the priest feels? What he thinks about the couple is neither here nor there and in no way invalidates the sacrament of baptism her son would receive (if he did indeed receive it). Is a priest now to be cross-examined by everyone who turns up presenting a child for baptism as to emotional feelings towards the parents?

There are plenty of straight cohabiting couples presenting their child for baptism who have the decency not to interrogate the priest as to how he feels towards them.

I can just see it now. The whole crew rock up for the big day. Now Father, we are the parents but only cohabiting I hope you are comfortable with that? And Aunt Nora over there – she packed it in with Uncle Seamus and is now shacked up with Paddy, I hope you are comfortable with that? And old Uncle Sean, he is an alcoholic and womaniser I hope you are comfortable with that? And granddad Thomas he is a very wealthy man and I know the Bible says it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to get to kingdom of heaven, but despite that I hope you are comfortable with this? I mean for heaven’s sake, no one expects the Spanish Inquisition, only now we can.

As Brendan O’Neill points out, this new social movement goes well beyond social and legal equality – it as about making people feel good and forcing everyone else to feel good at this feeling good. It is infantile as well as a totalitarian attempt to condemn people over the contents of their conscience.

As for the ‘rigidity of the faith’  – those awkward bits of theology and Catholic sexual ethics that will just not go away. The Catholic Church is not some shop you can just modernise because you don’t fancy what they are selling anymore. It does not work that way.

It does not surprise me that the priest asked for forgiveness. The great Catholic capitulation has been much anticipated for nearly 40 years since the sexual revolution. Maybe Pope Francis will capitulate but it will not be without a massive schism first.

If this occurs we can expect the secular liberal inquisition, this interrogation of the soul and conscience to gather pace.

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