When Her Majesty’s Secretary of State for Health was secretly filmed in an amorous embrace with someone who was not his wife, he gave as his reason for resigning his high office his failure, by that furtive embrace, to keep a safe and infection-beating distance from a non-member of his household in accordance with pettifogging, incomprehensible and no longer necessary rules that he had himself eagerly inflicted upon everyone else.
However, there was not a word of apology from Mr Hancock for the real harm done by his extra-marital liaison – namely, the grave harm done to his family and to that of his inamorata, who was herself married.
The news media, who always enjoy and exploit the moment of Schadenfreude when a great one is brought low by events, clambered huffing and puffing up to the amoral high ground and gaseously expatiated upon the wickedness of one law for the great and the bad and another for the hoi polloi. They also maundered on at the failure of Boris Johnson, himself a serial adulterer, to dismiss Mr Hancock at once when the affair came to light.
As usual, the scribblers and gibberers missed the main point. There was barely a squeak of protest from any of them at the callous breakup of not one but two families that is the usual consequence of adultery, and was its consequence here.
The law of God, so much shorter and sounder and plainer than the laws of men, sets out the relevant principle in five blunt words: Thou shalt not commit adultery.
The reason for that commandment, as for all ten of them, is that adultery is a serious failure to adhere to the overriding principle upon which the universe is constructed and governed: that thou shalt love. Like all sins, the gravity of adultery is measured by the harm that it causes to its victims – the cuckolded spouses and, above all, the children.
Now, it is not for us to judge either party in this affair. The strain under which Mr Hancock and all who serve in his department have laboured for more than a year has been intense enough to break the strongest will.
However, it cannot be doubted that the removal of all legal restraints upon adultery has encouraged even those in the highest offices in the land to set a dismal example to those over whom they rule by their frequent failures to stand by their spouses for better for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do them part.
This is the age of statistics. The demographic data could not be clearer. Children of broken families are more prone than children of united families to physical as well as mental illness, more likely to fail at school, less likely to go to university, more likely to resort to drugs and crime, less likely to find good, steady jobs, and more likely to have dysfunctional families in their turn.
The Church’s hierarchy, however, seems to possess no strategic plan for amending the law of the land to align it ever more closely with the law of God, for the benefit of all.
It is now a century since an emissary sent by Lenin himself instructed the Third Extraordinary Congress of the Communist Party of the United States that it was to promote divorce, adultery, the “community of women” as the common property of men, abortion, homosexuality and everything that would tend to undermine and destroy the traditional, Christian family.
For the hate-filled Kommissars of the Kremlin had recognized that it was the traditional family that was the strength and mainstream of the free, democratic and prosperous West. If they could bring down the family and eventually make it the exception rather than the rule, they could inflict untold damage upon the Western nations, without a shot being fired.
That Communist Party Congress in the United States duly and dutifully adopted the resolutions that Lenin’s emissary had required them to adopt. The destruction of the family has been one of the principal objectives of Communism ever since.
The merchants of hate, the pedlars of the poisonous political system that has killed and maimed and starved and infected more people on Earth than any other in the entire history of our race, have been sedulously relentless in their demands that the family should be destroyed forever.
Here, then, is what our too-passive Bishops (for whom we must daily pray, for they too are under agonizing pressure as a result of the Chinese-virus pandemic, which has emptied the Church’s coffers and has left her struggling desperately to survive financially) should do.
They should establish a committee of lawyers and policymakers to draw up an anti-adultery and thus pro-family law along the following lines.
There should be a special and substantial tax relief, and perhaps also a cash benefit, available only to those who are married and have not committed adultery.
Anyone found to have committed adultery will forfeit any such relief or benefit
Any adulterer will be automatically required to pay half of his or her income, for life, to the cuckolded spouse and children, on penalty of imprisonment in default, and to leave them all of his or her possessions by way of a legacy. That way, the co-respondent will not be able to benefit by his or her adultery.
Any adulterer who subsequently deserts his or her spouse and children will be automatically required to pay them two-thirds of his or her income for life, again on penalty of imprisonment in default.
There should be a standard form of marriage contract, by which each spouse undertakes to be enduringly faithful to the other and to any children of the marriage, and which specifies any penalties (in addition to those at 2-3 above) that an adulterous spouse shall pay to the cuckolded spouse.
Any married person who has committed adultery will be forbidden to remarry until his or her original spouse has died.
Anyone who conceives a child outside marriage will be obliged to marry his or her partner, on pain of imprisonment.
Yes, these are stiff penalties. They are intended to be. They will make everyone realize that the welfare of the nation’s children comes before anyone else’s convenience, and that neglecting that principle will expose the adulterer to lifetime financial and social costs.
In the United States, the Supreme Court is at last beginning to get to grips with the moral imperative to support the traditional family for the sake of the children. It has recently ruled, unanimously, that no government agency may violate the religious beliefs of those administering faith-based adoption agencies by compelling those agencies to place children in the “care” of same-sex or cohabiting adults.
The justices ruled that the city of Philadelphia had acted improperly and violated the Church’s right of freedom of religion under the First Amendment to the Constitution when it ceased to refer foster-children to Catholic Social Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia because agency’s practice was not to place children in same-sex households.
It is time for our Bishops to take the lead in drawing up legislation that will focus the public mind once again on the main reason why public law should support and defend private morality: that otherwise it is the children who will be hurt first and worst.