Thursday, April 15, 2010

Archbishop considering suing The Times: let's support him

The Catholic Herald says the Archbishop Vincent Nicholls is considering taking legal action against Murdoch's Times.
The paper alleged that the Archbishop "protected" a priest who abused children at a Benedictine school in west London - even though, as then Archbishop of Birmingham, he had no involvement in the case.
I for one will send the Archbishop, as generous a cheque as I can afford towards his legal costs if it comes to court. In this media frenzy it is about time someone called to account irresponsible journalists.
Why not pledge to support him yourself in the comments box? Don't send anything, just make a pledge as an act of support.


Patricius said...

As one of the thousands of ordinary Catholics described by a Times columnist last autumn as "slobbering fanatics", as we awaited the arrival of the relics of St Therese, and one grateful to Archbishop Nichols for speaking out in defence of the holy father I am very happy to pledge my support for the Archbishop here.

Delia said...

Would definitely support the archbishop. Good on him!

universal doctor said...

Good for the +Abp+!That scandalous lying rag and its correpondents are a disgrace to the profession of journalist.
Let's hope he has some good Catholic lawyers- I know you're out there...!

Clare@ BattlementsOfRubies said...

"A spokesman for the Times said it stood by its story. "

The press believe they will get away with this kind of irresponsible, malicious and calumniating reportage because mostly they do.
I would also be willing to contribute financially towards the Archbisops legal costs.

On a positive note, I am glad that I can now see more clearly the spirit of anti popery which pervades so much of our media.
I shall not be buying the Times again ( it was our regular paper during the week).
Furthermore, I have bought ( from Ebay) a big flag with the Papal crest on it and plan to hang it proudly from the front of our house when the Pope visits.

Oh, and it's the Holy Father's birthday tomorrow. Even though it's a bit late, my children are writing cards to him to tell him how much we love him.
I'd say that if all this has galvanised sleepy old ME into action, there's every chance it's having a similar effect on others too.

gemoftheocean said...

Great idea. and I think you have a better shot of winning something like that in the UK. The libel laws are fairly strict, and some of these so-called "journalists" haven't done the due diligence you'd expect from a 10 year old on a school newspaper. At the very least he ought to demand a retraction, if he hasn't already done so. And the retraction should be as prominently displayed as the original story.

Richard Collins said...

I definitely support Archbishop Nichols. It is only by taking such action that the media will learn the hard way, not to indulge in lies and fantasy about the Catholic Church.
By rights he should win the case and he sttlement could be massive as, of course, it was not only the inividual that was libelled but also the Church.

Thomas said...

I am more than happy to make a donation should the need arise.

Sussex Catholic said...

I would urge caution of the Archbishop given that any lawsuit for libel would necessarily cost the Church a great deal of money. Instead I would encourage him to use all of his considerable contacts in public life to bring the matter to the attention of the Press Complaints Commission. In so doing he could draw the Commission's attention to the frankly astonishing character assassination and lies being told about the Pope in sections of the British news media and call for an investigation. None of this would cost any money but would perhaps reveal the extent to which the Pope is being falsely accused and go some way to unmasking the agenda for what it really is.

Lucy said...

He has my complete support. I am so sick and tired of the appalling quality of the lies/"journalism" in all these articles. The thing is that however badly researched and inaccurate the article is, people tend to remember the headline and assume the article actually supports the headline, and then they start spouting an even more warped, cobbled together version.

jangojingo said...

Father, I just read your link to The Catholic Herald and am somewhat confused. Is Bishop Conry really saying that the Archbishop of Westminster is NOT head of the Catholic Church in our country?

He said: "If the Archbishop of Westminster is perceived to be the head of the Catholic Church in this country, which is a fallacy, then everything that happens, happens on his watch. The Ealing case is an example of that. [The media] assume the Archbishop runs everything, including the Benedictines."

Fr Ray Blake said...

I don't understand that passage.
Maybe he is saying, "the Episcopal Conference has no real authority in E&W, therefore there is no head".
That would be refreshing but I doubt that is what was meant.

Recusant said...

Paul Mallinder

That is correct. He is only head of the church in his archdiocese, Westminster.

Otherwise he is merely primus inter pares - a position of honour and respect but not ex officio to his archbishopric - amongst his fellow bishops and as such is elected as President of the Bishop's Conference; an organisation with no canonical standing.

Gregory the Eremite said...

As I understand it...

The Archbishop of Westminster is

(a) Metropolitan of the Province of Westminster, with powers described in canons 435 & 436.
(b) Chairman of the Bishops Conference of England and Wales, which has powers described in canon 455.

Basically, (a) gives him powers of visitation and vigilance in his province (but not in the whole country); but in the case that these lead to anything substantial, the power to act is mediated through the Holy See. The powers that he obtains under (b) depend both upon the Apostolic See (in the sense that the powers have to be delegated to the conference) and upon his brother bishops, who have to agree to any action proposed.

In summary, the Archbishop of Westminster's "headship" of the Church in England is essentially a title of honour rather than one of power (or responsibility).

The only people who have ordinary power in a diocese are the Bishop of the diocese and the Pope exercising his universal ordinary power.

Frere J said...

I'll definitely support the Archbishop with a contribution to his costs.
Btw, it is true - he is NOT the head of the Church in E&W. First off, Our Lord Jesus Christ is Head of the Church, His Body. The visible head of that body on earth is the Supreme Pontiff. Archbishop Nichols is Metropolitan Archbishop of Westminster. The Church in England and Wales does not have a Primate as it does in Ireland or Belgium, for example.

Giorgio Roversi said...

It's about time we take the newspaper (or should we call them liespaper?)to court. I definitely support Archbishop Nichols

GOR said...

Count me in, in support of Archbishop Nichols. I hope he does follow through and the Times is forced to eat its words!

nickbris said...

Don't forget The Times tried it on with Kate & Gerry McCann and got sued .They also then stood by their story.

Murdoch has deep pockets but The Times,porn-mongerer to the masses will lose this one too.

The Archbishop must sue for defamation and he is certain to be successful,there are plenty of Catholic Barristers who who would do the job pro bono publico.

HumanTester said...

I support this.

Mick said...

The Times stands by its' story.

I stand by my Faith,
I stand by the Pope,
I stand by His Grace, Archbishop Vincent Nicholls.

I will Pray for My Bishop (I live in Westminster Diocese).

A Contribution will be forthcoming if needed.

Independent said...

Would he be eligible for legal aid, or is that only for Labour MPs who are accused of false accounting?

Are there no no-win-no-fee lawyers available to take the case?

The Archbishop is right, The Times is wrong. It behoves all men and women of good will to support the Archbishop.

Gladiatrix said...

The Archbishop should not just sue The Times, he should sue the journalists, editor and proprietor personally. In addition, he should report News International and The Times to the Commission for Equalities and Human Rights for inciting religious hatred.

Ttony said...

What is the status of Si Qua Est by which the Archbishop of Westminster was made Praeses Perpetuus of the Hierarchy of England and Wales in 1911? Even if they have set up a Bishops' Conference, doesn't law from Rome outrank it?

Steve said...

I will support any Bishop including Arhbishop Nichols anytime they promote the One True Church.


JARay said...

I too support him in his action, should he take it.

Jacobi said...

It is time for Catholics to break out of their self-effacing, apologetic, defensive, post-Reformation mindset and to take the Secularists, Atheists and sensationalistic press head on.

We must have good arguments, but these will not be respected or listened to unless we demonstrate the power of conviction.

As a Church, particularly in this country, we can afford action. I for one would be happy to contribute.

Sadie Vacantist said...

Father, I think your Bishop is attempting to explain how the media thinks or perceives the Church?

Why does he feel the need to do this? As a Bishop and therefore teacher, his role is to explain the Faith to the media and not explain the media to the Faithful.

Strange really.

Frere J said...

Perhaps someone could further clarify Tony's point. I only repeat what the late Cardinal Hume said many times - the Archbishop of Westminster is not a Primate.
As for any 'Bishops' Conference' - well, it is just that : a group of bishops deciding to speak or act together. As Cardinal Ratzinger rightly pointed out, such a body has no Biblical or Traditional basis.

Sharon said...

I have just finished reading an opinion piece by Bob Ellis in the Australian Broadcasting Commission website.

Ellis compares the Catholic Church to the Taliban and wondersWhy not bomb the Vatican, and riddle the Pope with bullets as he staggers out of the flames?

Is this hate speech or legitimate emotive writing?

Is it beyond the bounds of possibility that someone will act on the media's accusations and Bob Ellis' suggestion against the pope either in England or Malta or somewhere else?

After reading the article I then read the comments, something I don't normally do. The people who wrote the comments were intelligent people but they demonstrated a hatred for the Catholic Church and a complete gullability when it came to media charges. Some unsourced claims were made and unnamed priests were accused of everything from violent rape to groping at a wedding and no one questioned these. I could refute most of the claims with reputable sources and ask for sources and names but I simply don't have the time. It is easier to slag the pope and the Church than it is to refute the untruth or distortion and both the media and these comment box people know this.

I now know why so many orthodox priests are reluctant to wear clericals in public.

Anonymous said...

I will send him money!

Gregory the Eremite said...


It looks to me that "si qua est" granted to the Archbishop of Westminster privileges similar to those granted under the current code of canon law to the Chair of the Bishops' Conference, plus a bit. The "plus a bit" consisted of privileges of honour (such as being granted the pallium) as well as the duty to represent the Bishops of England and Wales to the civil authorities.

So we might think of the AofW as being a titular "head" of the Church in England and Wales, but with rights and responsibilities quite unlike the "head" of a strictly hierarchical organization.

I don't know what the current status of si qua est is; if I get time later I might dive into the library and see whether I can find out!

Athanasius said...

Why don't we ALL bombard The Times etc with complaints about every little insult, insinuation and outright lie? I will sell everything I possibly can to contribute towards the costs of the Archbishop's legal action.

Happy Birthday, Holy Father!

santoeusebio said...

The Times article claimed that Archbishop Nichols was Chairman of COPCA (Catholic Office for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults) from 2001 to 2008. If that is correct then it does complicate the issue. However the headline is totally misleading and is unsupported by anything in the text - but misleading headlines are very common!

Nicolas Bellord

Jetha said...

Yes, go archbishop! We need more men like you with backbones!

jangojingo said...

Fr. Ray, Recusant, Gregory the Eremite, Ttony and Frere J,

Thank you for your input. I think most lay Catholics are under the impression that Arch of West is the big cheese, so to speak. I was surprised that this is not exactly the case. I always thought that he was the one that gave recommendations to the Papal Nuncio/Pope on which Bishop to appoint and inferred that he was in some way "above" other Bishops.

PaulineG said...

Count me in.

Matthew said...

I support the Archbishop!

Dominic Mary said...

Obviously I support ++Vincent; not least because I live in the Archdiocese - and I would gladly contribute to his legal costs.

However, I think it much more likely that Rupert Murdoch will be doing that ! (And I imagine that the punitive element of the costs will be extremely heavy : not least because the remarks were unprovoked.)

In such case, of course, The Times will have the pleasure of printing not only whatever retraction the Court sees fit to order, but also - as it is a journal of record for legal reporting - at least the Headnote, if not the full report, of the proceedings : which I imagine will make Mr Murdoch's day !

Alan Harrison said...

I'm an Anglican (dio. Lichfield), and I'd be happy to make a (necessarily) small contribution to His Grace's expenses should he decide to sue. The hysteria about a tiny number of paedophile/ephebophile priests is becoming utterly poisonous.

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