Nye Bevan: An Unlikely Defender of the Assumption
—Aneurin Bevan, architect of the British National Health Service.
When I was about eight years old, the British Labour Party won a landslide victory in the general election of 1945. The defeated Conservatives comforted themselves by making the most of Nye Bevan’s intemperate remark quoted above. In their next propaganda initiative, any new recruit to the Tory youth movement would receive the title Vermin; anyone who brought in 10 new members was a Vile Vermin; and if anyone obtained 100 new recruits he would become a Very Vile Vermin.
At Mass today the celebrant—by no means a loony Leftie—paid Aneurin Bevan quite a compliment. Although Bevan hadn’t an ounce of religion in him, said Father, he had defended the dogma of the Assumption before a group of Protestant MPs—whether Tory or Labour I don’t know—in the House of Commons bar. (As you know, we will be celebrating the Feast of the Assumption this coming Tuesday.) The MPs had been criticising Pope Pius XII for his recent solemn declaration that on her death the Blessed Virgin had been received body an soul into heaven. I presume they felt it was both unbiblical and an obstacle to the ecumenical movement which was just then beginning to gather steam.
Nye Bevan told these MPs that if Jesus was the kind of person they believed Him to be, He would surely have wanted to pay His Mother the greatest honour possible, so the declaration by Pope Pius XII was entirely reasonable.
This will be the last blogpost I will be sending for the next week or two.