Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Recent Attacks on the Pope. Is this a New Low?

I was getting interested in the "Cranmner" blog, but this latest page has finished it for me. I have rearely seen such intemperate, biased, bigotted, insulting nonsense. Intelligence seems lacking, not to mention any notion of fairness. Like a few others, I suspect, I wrote to the Sunday Times to correct their false reporting. I am not holding my breath. I wonder sometimes if Catholics should not get together and take newspapers to court for slander and libel. As for this and like blogs, the best thing to do is to note them and move on.


  1. They should be careful knocking the Lord's anointed.

  2. Fr John,

    Perhaps you might care to elucidate.

    What precisely has finished it for you?

    The reporting of the comments of others?

  3. It is perhaps hardly surprising given that the blog is named after a very wicked man.

  4. Yes, its conclusion was particularly offensive. But you are right: note it and move on. One of my father's favourite sayings was "Never wrestle with a chimney sweep!"
    I'm not sure I'm going to take his advice though!

  5. Archbishop Cranmer. Your post on this matter dealt really with one faulty report - all the other sources had drawn from the same report which we now know was mistaken, at least as regards the Pope's knowledge of the case. I think the way you presented the material was sensational (in the tabloid sense) and encouraged some of the outrageous comments that followed. You are not without blame in this.
    This is sad. Your blog is very interesting and entertaining. Unfortunately I will not be visiting it again.

  6. Fr John,

    Whether or not you visit again is, of course, a matter for you.

    Sensational? Tabloid? Outrageous?

    One wonders if you frequent The Telegraph blogs, where you will find all of that (and more) aimed at the Church of England, and far worse directed at the Archbishop of Canterbury.

    Yet, curiously, there is no righteous indignation expressed about 'mistaken' reporting or even blatant lies.

    The curious thing is that every single reference His Grace made in the comments following the global headlines can be traced back to a Roman Catholic source. Even the conclusion, to which one of your contributors objects, was that of a very prominent co-religionist of yours.

    What His Grace has learned, sadly, is that when a Roman Catholic discloses something unpalatable about their church (like 'the Devil in the Vatican'), it is permissible to articulate it: when an Anglican reports or comments upon the very same story, it is invariably 'anti-Catholic' or 'bigotry'.

    It is sad indeed that you, a priest, damn someone to eternal oblivion over one post in more than 2000. Perhaps that says something about you. Having had to care for quite a few children who have been profoundly damaged by some of your professing co-religionists, His Grace might have hoped that someone in your position might address the substantive issue, and that is not remotely about a trivial Times/Telegraph journalistic battle.

    If the leader of your church were really intent on doing 'everything possible' to cleanse the institution of 'the Devil', why is Cardinal Law still a cardinal, and why is Cardinal Brady still in a job?

  7. Cranmer,
    I did visit the Telegraph blog you mention and was a contributor for a time, but I left it because I did not like it. I won't go into all that, suffice to say that I do not go on that blog for the same reason - intemperate language, bitterness, untruth. I do not say this is all the fault of the main person, but he does preside over it, and - in my opinion, it is often scurrilous.
    I am of the opinion that blogs are not exempt from the rules of justice and charity.

    As to you comments or insinuations about me, I would very much like to discuss the problems you mention, and I do frequently with others, but not by means of invective. As to the sources you mention, the simple fact is that the original report was wrong. Cardinal Ratzinger was not aware of that case; the decisons regarding thereapy etc were made without reference to him.

    As to the question of Cardinal Law etc, these are not simplistic cases. As you will know we cannot get inside another's mind or conscience. I do not know what Cardinal Law is actually guilty of - I know what he was said to be guilty of - gross neglect of duty in a certain matter, but then so were many others. Child abuse was not well understood. I know this is not an excuse, and the Vatican is clear on that, but there is a big - very big - difference between naivety, stupidity or complacency and directly willed evil. Neither Law not Brady are specifically guilty of abuse or promoting abuse. As for their present status regarding titles, a bishop remains a bishop till death even in hell. The title of "Cardinal" is by no means as important as that of bishop, and in Cardinal Law's case might even act in favour of his sense of regret. In any event it is difficult to judge a man I do not know and have never spoken to.

    God's justice awaits us all, whoever we are. In this life no one of us mere mortals can ever say we know the whole truth about anybody. It was the Lord Himself who warned us about judging others.

    The Pope's resolve regarding child abuse etc cannot be judged on the basis of his treatment of Cardinal Law. If you want to use that, it is up to you, but I do not think it wise or just. There is actually no evidence of any cover up, neglect or otherwise regarding the Pope and clergy child abuse. There has been plently of false reporting and false accusation but no actual factual evidence against him. What do you know of him? I hope you have the chance to actually meet him one day. I think you will find him other than you have painted him (your Grace)