Saturday, August 07, 2010

Silent Voices

Old Splinty is having a go at the incestuous Tablet again, he is well worth reading just for that. He takes on Clifford Longley, who suggest we must lower our expectations of the Papal visit, because of the Pope! Of course Longley is writing for the Liberal establishment's house journal, so maybe the rest of us should raise our expectations.

However I rather enjoyed reading this little section:

In fact, something that has struck me about the Protest The Pope Coalition is the disconnect between the amount of sympathetic media coverage it’s been given and the uniformly derisory turnouts at its events. The last picket of Westminster Cathedral attracted fewer than thirty people – even Peter Tatchell only claimed fifty – and they seemed to be heavily made up of professional protesters like Peter. To understand that, you have to consider the Coalition itself, which is the usual anti-religious lash-up of OutRage!, the National ‘Secular’ Society and the Worker-Communist Party of Iran plus a few waifs and strays. When this constellation are organising anti-Islam rallies, it’s normally the WPI who provide the warm bodies, but the Iranian exiles don’t really give a stuff about the Pope either way, and Maryam Namazie seems to have concluded that her time is better spent broadcasting Hekmatist propaganda to the freedom-loving peoples of the world.

If you then factor in the rather elderly and inactive membership of the NSS, and then realise how small OutRage! actually is (hence its reliance on headline-grabbing stunts), you come to the conclusion that there really isn’t a coalition at all. It is no wonder that their public meeting next Thursday, to be addressed by Tatchell, Terry Sanderson and that Italian wackaloon who wants Berlusconi to annex Vatican City, is not being held in the Albert Hall but in a library in Richmond. What the coalition does have is Peter Tatchell, with his tremendous media profile, the enormous respect he’s held in, and his unparallelled ability to sit in a TV studio energetically talking rubbish to anchors who know even less on the subject than he does.
Someone pointed out the Protest the Pope petition appeared to have a large number of signatures but actually had less supporters Raoul Moat Facebook page. The great problem we have is that wretched Eccleston Square have allowed the preparations for the visit to have become the story, rather than the visit itself. There really has been a lot of ball fumbling, I want a referees's enquiry afterwards.

Why haven't we prepared better? We could have had a exhibition or two at Westminster Cathedral, arranged to have Ian Kerr giving a lecturing on Newman, someone else on Benedict's teaching. we could have had a whole series, we could have got few "red hats" over, we could have had a few concerts, including a debut of MacMillan's music. As far as know there hasn't even been a prayer vigil arranged in any of our Cathedrals and I haven't even heard a croak out of Uncle Jack Valero's Catholic Voices; the Voices are silent!
This could have been a great festival of Catholic culture, culminating in the visit, where the Catholic Church in England Wales created a series stories leading up to the visit. It is a terrible indictment of the lack of imagination in the nation's Catholic Church. The trouble is that our very structures, our obsession with committees, destroys broad thinking, as with the Papal visit, so with evangelisation, so with the whole process of communicating the faith.

19 comments:

Dominic Mary said...

Father;

a small committee composed of Fr Tim, Fr Sean, yourself, Mulier Fortis, 'Bones', and myself could have achieved a much more spectacular visit in the course of one reasonable-length evening in English's . . . and at a tiny fraction of the overheads, even given their prices !

Unfortunately I fear there is probably something in the question which has now been asked a number of times - are there, perchance, those in Eccleston Square who would really rather the Holy Father wasn't coming ?

Not Hopeful said...

The Catholic Herald reports that "the bishops of England and Wales will pose with Pope Benedict to recreate a historic painting of the restoration of the hierarchy in Britain.

"When Pope Benedict XVI goes to St Mary’s College near Birmingham at the end of his visit to Britain, he will sit at the middle of a circle of bishops for a photograph that will recreate a historic moment in the British Church’s history.

"The meeting depicted in the painting took place in 1852 at Oscott. At the event, Cardinal Newman preached his now famous Second Spring sermon about the return of English Catholicism.

Perhaps we could hope that this visit of Pope Benedict XVI will create another historic moment - the restoration of Catholicism to this country which has almost disappeared over the past 40 years thanks to some shocking stewardship. Despite their clear lack of enthusiasm for this visit I bet all the bishops will be there to have their photo taken. There would be no better moment for the Holy Father to preach a sermon to this captive audience about the Third Spring and remind them about their responsibilities.

gemoftheocean said...

The people with the power on England, unfortunately, are the ones who would rather be vacationing in Biaritz.

Cecilia said...

And although Mgr Summeersgill is quoted in the Italian media as saying that there aren't charges but merely contributions from individuals wanted to attend the Birmingham Mass of the Hyde Park prayer vigil, this is not the case. We were told it's £25 a head to go to Birmingham : one poster on the Telegraph blog even said she had to pay anothe £25 to take her baby with her!

terry said...

"We could have had a exhibition or two at Westminster Cathedral, arranged to have Ian Kerr giving a lecturing on Newman, someone else on Benedict's teaching. we could have had a whole series, we could have got few "red hats" over, we could have had a few concerts, including a debut of MacMillan's music"

Hear, hear.

Adam said...

Liverpool Hope University is holding a conference on Newman and the idea of a university in September. Ian Ker is scheduled to address the conference on the 16th Sept. Cardinal Grocholewski, Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, is presiding over the conference dinner the following evening.

For a mere £695 fee you get a ticket for the beatification Mass thrown in - attendance at the Mass entirely optional!

http://www.hope.ac.uk/newmanconference

nickbris said...

No shortage of comedians amongst the "new born Christian Catholics"these days.

Independent said...

You have some excellent church historians retired to the Brighton area. At least one has written extensively on the history of English Catholicism. Why not request a public lecture on John Henry Newman? Other areas might copy such an initiative.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Inde,
Who do you suggest?

APOSTOLATE said...

Dear Fr. Blake, before you direct any more readers of your blog to Splintered Sunrise, can I recommend you read my blog post about Splintered Sunrise. Many Thanks.

http://apostolate-of-the-laity.blogspot.com/2010/07/splintered-sunrise.html

Independent said...

Fr Blake - why not try Dr Edward R. Norman? He is a Catholic convert, a former Reith Lecturer, a Cambridge academic, a retired Professor at York, a former Chancellor of York Minster, and the author of numerous books on Catholic history. I suppose it is a bit short notice but there would be no harm in asking. Best of luck.

I am also surprised that the Catholic authorities are not making use of Dr Sheridan Gilley, the author of a good life of Newman which I find a useful complement to that written by Fr Ker. Sheridan however is based in Durham. He in his writings anticipated Anglicanorum Coetibus.

georgem said...

Wow! Dr. Edward Norman. Does he live in Brighton now? He used to write must-read pieces for the Saturday Telegraph which were uncompromising and of great theological and intellectual rigour.
I cut out and kept many of them and was bereft when he disappeared from the Telegraph pages.

Richard said...

First, my wife's mother in Russia said that the news there had reported a charge to see the pope. Secondly, is the picture of the restoration of the hierarchy the one that hangs in Oscott and was never finished?

JARay said...

Regarding the post by Apostolate, I have seen others warning against "Splintered Sunrise" as not being exactly "Catholic". It is indeed Damian Thompson who has directed many towards that site and it should be treated with caution.
JARay

Crux Fidelis said...

Fr Ray, you complain that there has been little done in England and Wales to prepare for the Papal visit. Here in the Diocese of Paisley there has been arranged a series of talks arranged on the Papacy, on Benedict himself and on his encyclical 'Deus Caritas Est'. For anyone interested these will take place at 7.30pm on 1st, 8th and 15th September in the Cathedral hall.

terry said...

@ Adam I`m sure the Conference will be worth every penny. But at £ 695 a ticket will many be in attendance ?


@Crux Fidelis I see that Bishop Tartaglia is ahead of the game as usual. I take it that the admission fees will be a lot less than £ 695. But probably more people will attend.

Independent said...

I wonder if every parish priest has checked that the local library has a biography of Newman and if not has suggested that it should have? Ian Ker, Sheridan Gilley, and Meriol Trevor have written good ones.

A few years ago Dr. Sheridan Gilley and Dr. Geoffrey Rowell (the Anglican Bishop in Europe), both products of Cambridge University, took part is a discussion on Newman at Winchester Cathedral. Are Portsmouth or Arundel doing anything of that kind?

Adam said...

@ Terry:
"I`m sure the [Liverpool] Conference will be worth every penny."

I very much doubt it. :)

Alison Wagstaff said...

There is quite a lot happening in Birmingham on the day before the Beatification: http://thsh.co.uk/view/j-h-newman-by-his-biographers-official-beatificati. I believe Dr Sheridan Gilley, Fr Ian Ker, Fr Michael Lang and Fr Keith Beaumont are all speaking at this conference which costs only £80, there is a Newman exhibition with many of the Cardinal's effects from his room at the Oratory at the Museum & Art Gallery, and a performance of Dream of Gerontius at the Town Hall where it was first performed. Maybe none of this has been widely publicised.