Still no response from the Argus certainly no apology, or even an acknowledgement of fault, nothing. Ironically I am told the unscrupulous journalist Bill Gardner was on the BBC speaking about bullying, of all things.
Numbers at Mass were down noticeably, probably the weather, it could be the effect of the Argus' misrepresentation. One disturbing thing, I didn't hear it myself, but there was group of lads outside the church yesterday evening, probably a bit drunk, one shouted out, 'chuck a petrol bomb in there'. This was a first time we had something like this, drunks normally want to come in and light candles not make threatening remarks, no, nobody took it serious enough to ring the the police. It could be a result of the Argus' article, more probably just the madness of Brighton but it is perhaps an illustration of Brighton's anti-religious bullying culture, the same stable Bill Gardner and Michael Beard his editor inhabit.
Anyhow, most of my parishioners were sympathetic, some were extremely angry with Argus, one or two are getting together to approach some of the Argus advertisers, apparently there was a full colour page ad from a local private school, I think some of our people into 'social justice' intend to contact the head or bursar about the ethics of advertising with the Argus, the thing in Brighton everyone knows everyone.
A few others intend to go around the local newsagents who are mainly Coptic Christians and try an persuade them to stop stocking the Argus, it probably won't be that effective but many are sufficiently aware of Christian persecution abroad, some apparently have said they are willing to make available an issue of a little journal called 'The Eye of the Needle' produced by one of my parishioners and talks about my original post, its real purpose is to defend the homeless.
I have had some journalist ringing up, having been bitten I am shy. I did speak to one from a 'Catholic' paper which I and right thinking priests do not allow in their churches, to ask about my possibly closing my blog, when I insisted the story was not about that but about bad, unethical journalism and when I asked him to do a story on that he muttered something about 'libel laws' and was uninterested. I am afraid I got a little angry and suggest that it was precisely because Christian journalists are unwilling to to put their heads above the parapet that we have even after Leveson and the revelations about other unscrupulous and unethical journalists, journalists who are unwilling even to discuss, let alone report, the failings of their own industry.
On the fourth day of his Pontificate Pope Benedict spoke of the importance of "clear references of the ethical responsibilities" and to engage in a "sincere search for the truth and the safeguarding of the centrality and the dignity of the person." If only Catholic journalists would do that, if only they had a love for 'the indestructible truth and its eternal beauty', if only other journalists would even think about following the Editors Code of Practice of the Press Complaints Commission then Journalists might actually be regarded as champions of truth, with a holy vocation to search for truth, rather than something only marginally above pond life.
Journalists should have a noble role in society, uncovering 'lies and falsehood', my concern is when journalists and the media are the source of such lies and falsehood. Some people making comments here suggest that I should ignore a gross distortion of the truth, that is merely 'co-operation with evil', giving into playground bullies.
People ask have I forgiven the Argus. The answer is I haven't any choice. I feel sorry for Bill and Mike working for a failing provincial paper, which few under 70 read, they get a pittance for their work and have to spice up their stories to get them in the National to make a living, otherwise they have to supplement their pay by working, as at least one does, as a chorus boys in the local theatre. It's Brighton!
Forgiveness is not too difficult, most victims forgive bullies but to simply allow a bully to continue without bringing him to repentance is condoning his evil. The only answer to bullying is to fight back. No good father will allow a naughty child to simply carry on his self destructive naughtiness.
Please continue with your help, even just clicking onto the blog means it moves up the Google page the Argus appears on and leave a comment on my blog, it helps. I think I might be getting a few more readers at the moment than they are, there are lots from Brighton, thanks.
I am happy to give an interview on this to any serious journalist, I said no last week, this week I am more open to sensible suggestions.
A montage prepared by one of my parishioners: Bill hasn't resigned, I don't want that, I just want him to be incredibly successful but I also what him to be a good ethical journalist first.
God can do that - pray!
This is what St Francis de Sales - the patron saint of ... ahem ... journalists, says about slander in the Introduction to the Devout Life:
"He who unjustly takes away his neighbour's good name is guilty of sin, and is bound to make reparation, according to the nature of his evil speaking; since no man can enter into Heaven cumbered with stolen goods, and of all worldly possessions the most precious is a good name. Slander is a kind of murder; for we all have three lives--a spiritual life, which depends upon the Grace of God; a bodily life, depending on the soul; and a civil life, consisting in a good reputation. Sin deprives us of the first, death of the second, and slander of the third. But the slanderer commits three several murders with his idle tongue: he destroys his own soul and that of him who hearkens, as well as causing civil death to the object of his slander; for, as Saint Bernard says, the Devil has possession both of the slanderer and of those who listen to him, of the tongue of the one, the ear of the other. And David says of slanderers, "They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent; adders' poison is under their lips." Aristotle says that, like the forked, two-edged tongue of the serpent, so is that of the slanderer, who at one dart pricks and poisons the ear of those who hear him, and the reputation of him who is slandered."