Thursday, September 05, 2013

Bill Gardner: an unscrupulous journalist

Photograph of the Author Have a look at this article by a 'journalist' called Bill Gardner,  in our local paper, it is his take on this piece I wrote on the poor.

I was saying that the poor, the really poor, turn our lives upside down. I know the local paper pays peanuts and expects its journalists to create stories in order to get onto the news networks but this is just a malicious and deliberate misrepresentation.

It is very interesting to see what a disreputable journalist can do with a few carefully chosen adjectives. I didn't 'condemn', 'complain', 'blast' etc, and I am pretty certain that some of his other quotes are not my words, especially not, 'test my holiness', I don't speak like that, 'only God is Holy'. Though I admit in an informal moment I might question the marriage of the parents of someone who disrupts the worship of an entire congregation, especially if they consistently steal from the church or other poor people.

It is interesting to see how an unscrupulous journalist can so easily put an entirely different slant on a simple theological reflection, presumably even basic Christian concepts are beyond the comprehension of some.

Well, journalists are obviously as messy as the poor; except unscrupulous journalists can do more damage. Perhaps Mr Gardner might like to help on our soup run, it doesn't have to be 365 day a year, once a week would be fine, providing he treats our clients with respect, or maybe he could take Jason or Daryl or Pawel or Dawn out for a cup of coffee or a meal, or just come a clear up the next time someone comes in and vomits or bleeds all over my kitchen because he is drug or has been beaten up.

Maybe next time I run out of money I could tap him for a few quid when some vulnerable 17 year old girl needs to top up her phone to speak to her mum because her boyfriend has beaten her up or she needs a roof over head because she is sleeping in a tent and it is just few degrees above zero and she is vulnerable, or maybe the next time I am arranging a child's funeral and someone comes to the door in need of someone to talk because they are suicidal I can send them round to Bill's place so he can spend a couple of hours listening to them.Here, to, I am neither complaining, blasting, lambasting or anything else, just asking.

I understand Mr Gardner's little piece has been syndicated internationally, perhaps kind readers might, if possible post my response.


Lola said...

Father Blake,

I wanted to let you know that a similar article appeared in the Daily Mail Online today. Predictably, the reactions to the article are harsh. But, one expects that many will not understand what you mean nor that that the Catholic Church was never meant to be the compassionate NGO She has turned out to be in this country.

God bless

Fr Admin said...

It is in the Telegraph as well, Father:

Pastor in Monte said...

I'm so sorry, Fr Ray. I haven't seen the piece (being away right now) but from what you write, it sounds pretty low. Sadly it's typical of much of journalism; presenting something in its worst possible light, even against the obvious sense of the original.
I thought your original post reflected the fact that you obviously knew and associated with and, yes, loved these poor people. I don't think this journalist could understand this for one moment, but anyone who has anything to do with the poor certainly does.
Console yourself with the thought that if this guy was thinking well of you there must be something wrong!

BJC said...

Has he taken down the link?

Alan said...

Good idea you go and live on the streets with no help money and nowhere to ether shower of have a bath not able to wash your cloths

Publish this comment I dear you

Fr. Stephen Brown said...

"Reverend Archie Coates, vicar of St Peter’s in Brighton, said homeless people were “always welcome” in his church." ner ner ne ner ner. The man's skill in distortion is strangely fascinating.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Alan, that is exactly my point.

If you truly welcome the poor then life is disrupted, you live amongst drug users and dealers, prostitutes and pimps...
and journalists like Mr Gardner.

Unknown said...

Fr Ray, I read your Blog daily. I have read your posts to which the Telegraph refers. (I didn't see the one you specifically refer to.)

All I can say is that there is no doubt that what they write is a compete fabrication and not at all a true reflection of what it is you were saying.

You are in my prayers. Try to ignore them, you have done no wrong.

Highland Cathedral said...


It's here:

Delia said...

So sorry, Father - horrible! It was a wonderful post, too.

Sixupman said...

Indeed you are in The Mail Online, but under a different bye-line - one Mills Robinson. I suggested he and Paul Dare might give succour to the poor!

Nicolas Bellord said...

I doubt if in a day or two you will find one person who has read or remembered this article. I have only done so because it is mentioned here!

Eccles said...

Well, a bunch of second-rate journalists (and the idiots who write knee-jerk comments under their articles) have taken the opportunity for a bit of anti-Catholic bashing, although they themselves wouldn't know a poor person if they tripped over him.

I'm sorry that people can be so silly.

GOR said...

Not to worry Father, you are in good company.

Even Our Lord was misinterpreted and vilified.

Obviously you are doing something - actually, many things... - right!

Peter D. Williams said...

365 days, surely, Father? I will certainly be sure to publicise this post on Twitter!

The Raven (C. Corax) said...

They've put a vile spin on your post, Father, please be assured of this sinner's prayers.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Oops, thanks Peter

On the side of the angels said...

Be Careful...they have no scruples: You have; you can't win against the lies but the truth will out..when this is all a bad memory you'll still be there doing everything you can for your flock and your extended adoptees.
God bless you and thank you; and hey - few more days off purgatory :)

Mulier Fortis said...

A vile attack on you indeed, Fr. Ray. Be assured of my prayers also, and a supportive blogpost (though that won't be much use from such a minor blogger as myself) when I get the chance...

BJC said...

Just another myopic half-brained journalist. They are ten a penny. Ignore him.

Highland Cathedral - thanks I see it now

Genty said...

You might not feel like doing so, Father, but you might ring the journalist up and ask him to pop round for a chat. It won't undo what has been written but it might inspire him to look more closely at your work for the disadvantaged and maybe, just maybe, he'll feel a sense of shame in going for a cheap shot.
He will, of course, be forgotten as most journalists are. Good priests are always remembered.

Jacobi said...

You're certainly not “controversial”. I would say somewhat middle of the road, orthodox, sensible and solidly Catholic.

I can’t say you’re just another Catholic in the pews, since a) you’re not, and b) that’s not necessarily a complimentary thing to say these days.

OC Catholic Guy said...

Take courage, Fr. If the jour-nos are actively hijacking your own blog post to smear you, then you must be doing something right as a Catholic priest. I found what you wrote very thought provoking

_ said...

Mr Gardner, whose glittering career to date includes starring as an extra in Legally Blonde: The Musical and writing for the West Sussex County Times ("cat woken by village fête"-type stories) can be reached via the following means:

TELEPHONE - 01273 544531
TWITTER - @billgardner86

Anyone choosing to contact him about his deceitful journalism: please remember to be polite.

"Mr Underscore"

Fr Brendan Arthur said...

Just another example of the new Kulturkampf.

Unknown said...


i am sorry that you have been deliberately misinterpreted and vilified

The article bears no relation to your original post

You have my prayers

Try to ignore Gardner. His care and concern for the poor is only as long as it took him to write and sell the article.

Best wishes


Unknown said...


Please do not feel depressed or discouraged by malicious and distorted comments

You have my prayers

We all know that the journalist`s concern for the poor only lasted as long as it took for him to write and sell his article.

Best wishes


blondpidge said...

I really think a complaint ought to be put in to Mr Gardner's editor. Having checked his timeline on Twitter he is completely unrepentant, stands by his piece and furthermore incites hatred against Fr Ray in way that could potentially invite violence.

An appalling and shoddy piece of "journalism". Whilst I am sure Fr will no doubt offer it up for a really juicy intention, actually this type of thing could be potentially dangerous and deter good priests from blogging.

Lazarus said...

A shameful distortion of what you wrote. I'm sorry this man has so completely misrepresented what you were saying.

Supertradmum said...

Well, the media wait like vultures on the roads in the West of America for anything to pick up, as the mainstream media hates the Catholic Church. I am sorry this is happening to you, Father.

Those of us who blog have to be ready for such smears, and priests are fair game to these types.

I read the stuff. God bless you and your blog. The world is just getting nastier and nastier.

Anonymous said...

Nil carborundum illegitimi

Colin said...

Aren't these fine examples of turning the other cheek or loving the enemy?

Doodler said...

It's not new.
Matthew 5:10 "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

Deacon Augustine said...

Congratulations, Fr. Ray - you have really "arrived" now that you are the object of such blatant misrepresentation and calumny. You must have been getting on the nerves of the father of lies.

This shoddy and malicious piece of journalism should serve as a reminder to us all that you cannot believe what you read in the "mainstream media". The next time I read something that makes me hot under the collar I will try to remember this and verify sources accordingly.

nickbris said...

If it had been left to the Garbage Press this country would have thrown the towel in in 1940 and we would have sided with the Nazi's.

We do have a law against Defamation and any one of a number of shyster lawyers would take on the case on a No Win No Cost basis

Amfortas said...

Never mind responding to this blog. Brighton residents should swamp the Argus with letters to the editor.

Hermit Crab said...

Let us pray for the soul of Bill Gardner. He needs our prayers, poor soul.

johnf said...

You managed to get into the Telegraph this morning, Father. The headline looked pretty lurid, but reading the article I would be surprised if most Telegraph readers didn't agree with you.

Anagnostis said...

Prayers for you Father, and any other form of solidarity you wish to call upon.

Jim said...

Be brave Father.
You are in my prayers

Malvenu said...

I was going to write saying that I had seen Father Ray trying to drown a baby at the front of church one day and that he had managed to put water on the baby’s head three times before the family had been able to get it back off of the terrible priest, but then I thought that was silly and not worth doing. As an after thought it occurred to me that the journalist in question (or others) might, in their ignorance, take my comment seriously!

A more profound thought has just occurred to me, though. That is, how thankful we should be that Father Ray Blake is a priest, since the fruit of his vocation is evident to those who have encountered him, or care to do just a like background work. And by the same token – if the quality of his journalism is anything to go by – how thankful we should be that Gardner ISN’T a priest!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Fr Ray,
The telegraph published the following which I sent them, in its comments section

"The above article is based on a scurrilous article first published in The Argus in Brighton. I am sorry that the Telegraph saw fit to rep[rint it without checking facts. It greatly misrepresents what Father Blake wrote on his blog"

fraz1971 said...

Hello Father. I saw the venemous articles about your blog in a UK rag. I just thought I would visit your blog as the paper didn't see fit to post a link to your "Tirade".

It seems that bashing the Catholic church is a very acceptable form of bigotry these days. The presstitutes would accept the levelling of whole nations in order to earn the right to continue spinning webs of deceit to the public. They are cowards who turn away when TPTB kill whole villages. They have failed the people of the UK utterly.

The media today is so discredited that very few believe anything it spins. Of course you'll get people who have a deep rooted hatred for the Catholic church and they will give the media credence when it suits them.

I think that Catholics are in for a hard time in the future. People today have no concept of Catholic persecution of the past. In France, Mexico and Spain Catholics were murdered wholsale by a common enemy which exists to this day. Even Catholic Ireland has blasphemy exhibition which centers solely on the mocking of Jesus and his blessed mother.

The prayer to the immaculate heart of Mary gives me hope in these troubled times.

Anyway, all I can say is that your blog is a great find. I will be sure to look in regularly and will bookmark your page.

God bless father and thankyou for all that you do for the poor and thankyou for a wonderful blogs.

Irenaeus of New York said...

If you were loved by the journalistic world, then it would be truly time to check your conscience.

Long-Skirts said...


The light is
In the sun
Of gold

To warm you
When your thoughts
Grow cold.

The light is
In the wafered

Piercing pitch
A glorious

The light
Reflects in
Crystal snow

Blanketing woe.

The light is
In infants' souls

Glistening water
Will deepen
Their shoals.

The light is
In your flocks'
Flawed faces

Waiting to
Heal from
Penanced graces.

For you are robed
Royal- purpled

Light of the world!

Laurie said...

Fr.Ray, so sorry for that journalist's hateful response to your post. One has to wonder if it was deliberately untruthful or just plain ignorant. Either way, I am sorry for the response. Your article strikes a poignant chord.

Londiniensis said...

You have my sympathy, Father, and my prayers.

Nil illegitimi carborundum!

(Wiki tells me that a wooden plaque bearing the phrase "Illegitimum non carborundum" sits prominently on the desk of US House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner - Long live Dog Latin!)

Oona said...

Do not worry, Fr Ray. Most people can see this for what it is: an attack on your holiness and an attack on The Church. I suspect a Gay Mafia element here as well.

We have reached the stage for some time in the UK where secularism and theology are speaking a remotely different language. You have simply fallen victim to this. Chin up.

I've e-mailed Mr Gardner and put some reasonable points to him. You should, most certainly, sue The Argus for defamation of character. I'll contribute to your fund-raising......


Banshee said...

Your hard work tells us plenty about love of the poor and love of God. Loving people does mean seeing them as they really are, though, and that's also what you do.

Subvet said...

Father I've read both your original post and this fool's misrepresentation of your words. It's mind boggling.

Sandy Grounder said...

It think is worth pointing out that priests like Fr Blake have to deal with people, poor or not, who are distressed and in need, and perhaps occasionally threatening, usually alone and at all hours and not in very safe buildings. In contrast statutory and voluntary agencies have purpose built offices, strict opening hours, referral criteria and support from other staff on hand in the event of a crisis. Keep up the good work Fr Blake. I will pray for you.

Nicolas Bellord said...

Sandy: And let us member those members of the clergy who have been murdered whilst trying to help someone.

Anonymous said...

Father, it's on Yahoo as well and is followed by 600+ scurrilous comments.

Zephyrinus said...

Dear Fr,

A vile, malicious, Diabolical attack, indeed.

Be assured of a Blogpost from me highlighting your rebuttal of these cruel calumnies.

As our Beloved Saviour said: "Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake: Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in Heaven. For so they persecuted the Prophets that were before you".

We stand with you.

in Domino

Unknown said...


You have a right to defend your character, and as you're a priest you also need to think about the image of the Church.

You really should consider legal redress, especially against the Telegraph and Mail - don't bother with the little man. You'll receive millions in compensation then you can give it all to the poor!

If you do consider legal action tell your lawyer not to forget to focus on the comments in your original post. They show just how soft you are towards the poor and will highlight his wickedness.

I'll be a witness in your defence.

Liz said...

Hang in there, Father. We will keep praying for you. God bless you, Liz

Alan said...

May I offer a little support, Father, from the other bank of the Tiber? As an Anglican, I would have hoped that the vicar/rector of Saint Peter's would have been a little more supportive than he appears from the few words cited in the comments on your blog.

That your charitable and realistic remarks should be turned against you by a hack on the local rag is sadly predictable. May I offer a small tip based on local experience in the midlands? A local fraudster ended up in court after several months of turning up at various churches, disturbing acts of worship and trying to scam money out of priests, ministers and worshippers with a wholly specious story of bereavement. The local newspaper, no less ready than the Argus to slag off the clergy, was predictably keen to leap on a law'n'order issue. Watch out for similar stories, and be ready to get yout unpriestly retaliation in!

Mike said...

Sorry to read the attack father. Prayers for you and for Bill Gardner.

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