It is official. Your grandchildren can be murdered by men whose identity you will never know. Their fate will be determined by the careful planning of people who pretended to care for your children. All this will be done with the full and enthusiastic approval of the Government of this country and you will have no appeal or redress. That is the present reality of the abortion law.

The squalid mechanism of state sponsored eugenics was revealed last month by the courage of 14 year old Melissa Smith and her mother, Maureen, in speaking to the press. Melissa became pregnant. She saw a medically unqualified ‘guidance worker’ placed in school by the National Teen Pregnancy Strategy unit. Melissa was sent to hospital where doctors gave her an abortifacient. At no point was her school or, more critically, her parents, those with the primary duty of care, informed. (Had the school needed to give Melissa so much as an aspirin for an headache they would have required parental permission. The agents of the state require no sanction for their massive and destructive intervention.)

Mother found out after the drug was administered and before Melissa’s return visit to hospital to ‘complete the abortion’. At this point, with the support of her mother and the knowledge of the baby’s father, she changed her mind. Too late. The hospital insisted the baby was too damaged to survive and the termination must be completed.

A child is dead. A mother to be is traumatised. A grandmother has witnessed the state-sponsored execution of her grandchild and the assertion that the state’s relationship to her daughter takes precedence over her own. Melissa Smith’s case is not unusual. What is unusual is that she has had the courage to lift the lid on the state-sponsored culture of death and the creatures who make their hellish living in it.

Pennsylvania and its egregious bishops are back in the news. Charles ‘We-wrote-the-Bible-so we-can-rewrite it’ Bennison has been joined in battle by Paul Marshall, Bishop of Bethlehem. They are back persecuting orthodox parishes for not liking them.

Readers of New Directions will recall the unfinished saga of David Moyer and the Good Shepherd, Rosemont. Bishop Marshall is now picking on St Stephen’s, Whitehall, which just happens to be the parish of the Vice President of Forward in Faith North America, Fr William Ilgenfritz. Ilgenfritz is a doughty fighter and a gentleman to boot. The best that can be said for Bennison and Marshall is that they choose serious opponents.

It is hard to imagine that this present campaign will be any more successful than the battle to oust Fr Moyer. But English friends of these two brave men need to take note. Whatever the protestations of those who drew up the provisions for Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight (see last month’s New Directions) the mood stateside has changed. An ecclesial version of corporatism now reigns. Loyalty to the company – ECUSA Inc – is now thought to trump all other loyalties. As one bishop succinctly put it in a recent pastoral letter to his clergy: ‘Schism is a more serious sin than heresy.’

The attempt to make allegiance to the diocesan bishop the ultimate and only test of orthodoxy is a bizarre distortion of Catholic ecclesiology which could result from only one thing: triumphalist entryism. The forces of darkness have so far penetrated the Church of Christ that they can now use its own doctrines and structures to persecute the faithful. Screwtape has so advanced his agenda that he is now in regular correspondence with the Bishops of Pennsylvania and of Bethlehem!

The Church at large – and the Church of England in particular – needs to be reminded, before it is too late, that the bishop exists to be the vehicle by which the tradition is passed from one generation to the next. He is ordained to be not a pioneer but a conduit.

To the Bishops of Worcester, Lincoln and Bristol (to name but a few) this will come, no doubt, as a shock and a disappointment. We have our Bennisons-in-waiting. The message must go out to them now: no more success is to be expected from persecuting FiF UK than has thus far been gained from persecuting FiF NA. If the Act of Synod is rescinded, or no further provision is made for opponents in the projected legislation to ordain women to the episcopate, we will simply ignore the absence of provision and continue present arrangements in defiance of synodical decisions.

The nightmare for the liberal ascendancy in the Church of England, in its present economic crisis, is principled secession from the Synodical system. For they already know the truth: that it would be unpoliceable and that it would almost certainly be catching.

Next month sees the retirement of the Bishop of Woolwich, Colin Buchanan. Over many years Buchanan has received his fair share of serious criticism and light-hearted teasing in the pages of this magazine. Unlike most of his colleagues and contemporaries on the bench Buchanan has never been shy of publicly standing his ground, arguing his case and, as important, of responding to us with equal sharp and perceptive humour. He is a delightful stranger to prelatical pomposity and never one to stand on an imagined dignity. In consequence he has consistently enjoyed good personal relations with orthodox opponents and, even in deepest disagreement, earned their respect. In matters of public accountability Buchanan has been a little light in a darkening episcopal world. He is one of the very few to put his accounts in the public domain. It should also be remembered that he has a long track record of integrity. When a suffragan of Birmingham he took personal responsibility for the failure of a diocesan project and resigned. While such an honourable response may not be unusual in industry or politics, it is virtually unheard of in a Church where, all too often, even those guilty of flagrant moral misdemeanour sail on unperturbed to their next promotion. Buchanan returned to the ‘back benches’ and continued his enthusiastic Evangelical ministry for some years before being called back to serve in Woolwich. It is ironic that his retirement comes just as one of his enthusiasms, the disestablishment of the Church of England, is rapidly moving up the agenda.

Buchanan’s priority has always been Jesus Christ and him crucified. Whatever our arguments in the rough and tumble of debate, orthodox can always do business with a man like that. We wish him a long, fulfilled and happy retirement.