Tina Beattie is in the Guardian today, and I am positively outraged by her insult to the integrity of our bishops. She says this:
"I think it's a really important time for the Church in this country because we have so far been not divided by this kind of ugly rupture," Beattie told the Guardian, calling on the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales to show a "very strong united front" in the face of any attempt to stifle dissent. "There's been a creative atmosphere of people being able to hold different positions in this country without it causing this kind of ugliness and I really think it's vital that the Bishops collectively stand up to protect that now."Now, our Bishops might not be experts in history or sociology or even theology, one might even suspect some haven't read many books in recent years, or are able to read a Vatican document, one can even accuse them of turning a blind eye or being just a little too silent about some issues but to suggest that they might have any inclination whatsoever to join with her "to show a "very strong united front" in the face of any attempt to stifle dissent" is really outrageous and insulting. This would be totally contrary to everything that a Catholic bishop is about.
She is not unintelligent, so why should she ever get the impression that the bishops might be interested in any way in promoting dissent?
What she is really doing is setting herself up against the Pope who said to the bishops at their last Ad Limina visit, "It is important to recognize dissent for what it is, and not to mistake it for a mature contribution to a balanced and wide-ranging debate" it is on my sidebar.
I am sure she has more contact with our bishops than me but I simply cannot understand how she might have gained the impression that they might actually be in favour of dissent. Is it the contact she has with the paid professional of Ecclesdon Square, are they giving this intelligent women the impression they are on the side dissent, or is it her contact with Cafod or the Tablet? Somehow she has gained this impression that the bishops are actually on the side of unorthodoxy, this is a very grave charge and should not only be rebutted but also the reason for her believing what she does abou them really does need investigating.
It is very worrying.
I am told that Bishop Egan is the only bishop with a doctorate, it is about time we took the intellectual life of the Church in E&W seriously, to think Professor Beattie is the counted as a leading Catholic theologian is a sad relection on the state of learning in Catholic England.