Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Voice of Mainstream Catholicism: Who?

After my complaint concerning Roger Bolton's remarks about the relics of St Therese I have had a continuing correspondence with the BBC. I questioned why Ms Pepinster and Mr Cornwell were chosen as spokespersons for the Catholic Church, and who generally were invited onto the Sunday Programme. I haven't yet received a very satisfactory answer, the email I received stressed the good relationship the BBC had with the Bishops' Media Office.

Despite this, others who have contacted the BBC have been asked to suggest names of people to speak for mainstream Catholicism in England and Wales.

I thought it would be useful if you would suggest the names of lay men and women or priest who would represent the authentic voice of the mainstream Catholicism. We don't want ranting extremists, just good Catholics who would be good on the media.


nickbris said...

Brother Francis could handle any of their nonsense.

Mark M said...

one who I have noted to write in an excellent and well-constructed manner, and who I have heard talks by:

Fr Tim Finigan!

Just another mad Catholic said...

Of the top of my head:

Fr Alex Redman
Fr Bede Rowe
Fr Tim Finigan
Fr.Michael Mary F.SS.R. (Papa Stronsy)
Fr. Anthony Mary F.SS.R (Papa Stronsy)

Ann Widicombe (she does have alot of media experiance)
Joanna Bogle

Paulinus said...

Dr James MacMillan, Dennis Sewell, Eamonn Duffy, Edward Norman,

Anonymous said...

Fr Finigan, yourself, Fr Aidan Nichols, Fr Thomas Crean - there are many fine spokespeople for orthodoxy, but we don't see them on the TV

dominic said...

James MacMillan and Aidan Nicholls strike me as standing tall, proud and wise - and articulate in public. Fr Julian Large, perhaps?

(although I have to accept the Oratory isn't, really, "mainstream Catholicism" as it is practiced today in England, for better or worse, quite at the moment.)

(Maybe some priestly, or indeed non-priestly bloggers, too, but I'm restricting myself to those I have actually heard and/or seen speak.)

Daniel Blackman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
On the side of the angels said...

There's also a Facebook group now
on the entire issue.
Please Join and make your voice heard.
Remember too we're not just talking about clerics ! we have an overwhelming resource of informed, erudite and far from boring lay catholics throughout the land - especially in the blogosphere !


madame evangelista said...

Fiorella Nash.
Fr Stephen Wang.

Sandy Grounder said...

How about John Haldane, Professor of Philosophy at St Andrew's University.

Simon Platt said...

Canon Luiz Ruscillo.

Canon Stephen Shield.

Canon John Watson.

Whom do I tell at the BBC?

George said...

I would happily second all the names put forward thus far! A few others come to mind but they are not English - Fr John Corapi, Fr Benedict Groeschel. Oh, if only we had a Fulton Sheen amongst our Bishops of E&W.

Incidentally Fr Ray - that picture of a 'Heath-Robinson contraption'... sorry I mean highly sophisticated scientific instrument that accompanies this post... surely that's the power dilithium crystal housing behind the Daleks deadly ray gun! An invention from the BBC's radiophonic workshop no doubt.

Or did those dilithium crystals power the Starship Enterprise????
More power Scottie! Aye Captain!!!

And that's what we really need behind the voice of mainstream Catholicism - MORE POWER!!!!!!

Fr Richard Biggerstaff said...

Fr Gerard Bradley of St John's Seminary Wonersh.
A&B's own Fr Sean Finnegan, Lady Nicholas Windsor (Is this how she's styled?), Mgr Marcus Stock.

Simon Platt said...

Fr. Peter Houghton

(How could I have forgotten?)

JARay said...

I'm sure that I cannot add to those names already mentioned. The only one of those mentioned whom I have actually met is Joanna Bogle. I also met her husband Jamie at the same time.

Anonymous said...

John Haldane


Maurice said...

Bishops' (not Bishop's)

The new Abp of Birmingham
Fr Tim Finigan

Red Maria said...

Yes, definitely Fathers Ray and Tim.

I'd also suggest my friend, Austen Ivereigh, who though a Tabletista is a good orthodox Catholic, very good on the telly and radio - he stood up brilliantly to Jon Gaunt when he was inteviewed by him over the Strangers into Citizens campaign.

And I have to admit it, Damian Thompson would also be very good, very arch, very witty.

Jo Siedlecka of Independent Catholic News would be another good one, she's a good egg and very level-headed.

However, I respectfully disagree with a number of the other suggestions, namely Joanna Bogle - not because I dislike her or particularly disagree with her but because she has a tendency to loose her cool when under fire - remember her on Channel 4 News not long ago, when she fell for Jon Snow's wind-up tactics.

Jon Smeaton? Depends which programme but nothing involving debate because he doesn't even allow comments on his blog.

Neither would I particularly go for Anthony Ozimic. Personally, I think the SPUC scene is too insular, too defensive, too much in flight from modernity and this comes across in the meedja.

Mind you, Fiorella I'd put on telly and radio.

Bill Morris-lookalike Greg Clovis and wife Agie, no way Jose Maria. Nice pair but I don't think he's a particularly mainstream orthodox Catholic.

Jack Valero, yes, he'd be good.

I'd also suggest the following:

Professor David Paton - brilliant man with a blazing career in academic economics. Excellent at explaining rationally and sensibly why idiotic things like the teenage pregnancy strategy are a total waste of money.

Professor David Albert Jones, like me he's combative - I'd put him on fast-paced debate programmes.

The amazing Phyllis Bowman, orthodox, the doyenne of the UK Pro Life lobby, began her career as a Fleet Street hack, she's a diva with style.

And one day ... me. The day, or rather evening will surely come when Padraig and Neil throw open Resonance FM's cult science and rationalist programme, Little Atoms and allow me to recreate my legendary pub debates with humanist philospher maven, Dr Peter Cave live on air.

Sadie Vacantist said...

I'm sorry but the Bogles are not good at this sort of thing. Typically, nobody has told them this and they carry on volunteering.

There are too many priests being suggested when we need a smart and holy laity. The blogger who went on the Nicky Campbell show did ok. Let's back the likes of him. Priests are generally hopeless on camera.

shadowlands said...

Father Dwight Longnecker(cos he's lived in England for twenty five years,been an evangelical,then an Anglican Priest,converted to Catholicism and then been ordained as a Catholic Priest.He's also married with four kids and written a book on the Rosary(OK,I admit it,it was the book on the Rosary that swung it).

Laurence England said...

Brother Francis would be excellent and he has already demonstrated humility, honesty, compassion, wisdom and integrity, as well as loyalty to the Magisterium on TV.

berenike said...

I've never met you, Father, but you come out well on photos and sound good in "print", saying sensible things without signing up for any intra-Catholic enthusiasms.

I know one chap who was consulted by some reasonably well-known female Indian presenter whose name escapes me, and who'd be absolutely brilliant for historical/philosophical/political stuff, but he's abroad :-( I'll pass you his name when he comes back!

Crux Fidelis said...

James MacMillan

John Haldane

BTW it's St Andrews University - not St Andrew's.

Swaineadeney said...


Michael Clifton said...

I shold like to blow my own trumpet and add my name to the list. In fact I have been asked twice in the past on ~TV to make comments, once on married priests and secondly on communion for divorced and remarried Catholics.

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

John Smeaton, Fr. Timothy Finigan, Daphne McLeod of Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, the Bishop of Motherwell, Dr. Tom Ward, a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life and president of the National Association of Catholic Families (NACF),

and your own good self.

and I second the James MacMillan suggestion. Eamonn Duffy seems obvious.

Et Expecto said...

How about Dr Joseph Shaw, Chairman of the LMS. Also Stuart Reid, who sometimes contributes to the Catholic Herald.

Laura said...

Jack Scarisbrick - brilliant speaker and could deal with a conflict situation.

Christina said...

I have three suggestions.
1) Fr Guy Nicholls
2) Fr Tim Finigan
3) Fr Ray Blake

Kate said...

i would endorse all those previously suggested- if I had to narrow the list to six, it would look like this:

Dr. Thomas Pink
Professor Ralph Paton
Canon Luis Ruscillo
Fr.Ray Blake
Fr. Tim Finigan
Fr. Stephen Langridge

Ttony said...

James Preece, as suggested by Sadie, would be excellent.

We also need to think of image: not a sleek smooth priest in a dog collar but (say) a Franciscan Friar of the Immaculate.

Someone who isn't afraid of mixing it: no "on the one hand, on the other hand", but someone who can assertively stand up for us.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Let us not be too unkind about individuals who do their best, it is not helpful.

bernadette said...

I second Jack Scarisbrick - cool, clever, resliliant, clear, gifted teacher.

Get him on quick.

If he can't make it, then phone Blackfen.

Sadie Vacantist said...

We are deluding ourselves if we think that priests or plain looking lay people with no dress sense are going to be taken seriously when talking about sexual matters on tv so get real!

Victoria Gillick was a natural because she was fit.

Michael said...

The BBC inevitably use ex priests and anti-magisterium so called Catholics to pontificate upon matters Catholic. It is written in their 'rule book'.

IanW said...

Charles Moore.

IanW said...

Piers Paul Read.

Sadie Vacantist said...

Is it uncharitable to opine that modern clerics are more at ease with Catholics who embrace sterility rather than fecundity?

Mrs Gillick didn't think so.

Fr Ray Blake said...

"Is it uncharitable to opine that modern clerics are more at ease with Catholics who embrace sterility rather than fecundity?"

When you sin by detraction, very much so.

Terry said...

I'm afraid this is a trick by the BBC.
They want to know who NOT to call when seeking an opinion that will be to their liking and not one that reflects true Catholic teaching.

I know, I know. I'm just a cynic but this is the BBC, so hang me! :)

Ben Trovato said...

How about someone from Maryvale, the intellectual powerhouse of orthodoxy in this country?

My vote would be for Prof Andrew Beards: a philosopher (great new book coming out soon!), totally orthodox, and very witty.

Used to appear on a silly religious radio show in the North East where he lives and dismantle heretics and ridicule witches with good humour, erudition and panache!

Ben Trovato said...

Meant to post the name of AB's new book: Philosophy, the Quest for Truth and Meaning. Should be published 15 May - worth a look!