Sunday, 25 April 2010


So now we know what our Government's "ideal" form of Papal visit would be. This may be from civil servants, but they work under the direction of Ministers and in an environment for which Ministers are responsible for shaping.

Why can't Labour just come out and admit it - that they run this country for their own narrow sectional interests, not for the whole country? That if you are a secular socialist minority public-sector worker then they are interested in you and will happily pander to whatever form of discriminatory identity politics you want.

Whereas if you are a white middle-class Christian private-sector worker then you can just get lost, because there no notice whatsoever will be taken of your needs or your opinions. You may as well not exist - until your tax return is due, of course...


  1. Now, what in the remit of the Foreign Office allows them to think it's their job to come up with an "ideal visit" list in the first place?

    Surely thir job is merely to facilitate his access - what he does while he's here is up to him?

  2. At one level, we Catholics can take a joke:

    Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine,
    There’s always laughter and good red wine.
    At least I’ve always found it so.
    Benedicamus Domino!
    Hilaire Belloc

    At another level, this story does rather indicate a sinister culture in the corridors of power, which will give credence to the feelings of many that Christians are not treated or regarded equally in this country. It does rather seem to have let the cat out of the bag.

    Similarly, the irony of a society which has much higher rates of child-abuse than the Church does, telling the Pope to take a harder line on child-abuse, while suggesting he should open an "abortion ward", will doubtless be lost on the many people in this country whose moral views are decided, apparently at random, by people they have never met.

  3. @JuliaM

    It is a State visit, not a private visit. Therefore we have a duty to prepare his itinerary following consultations.


    Please do not hide behind the irony of a society which has much higher rates of child-abuse than the Church does. How is this relevant? There should have been no child abuse. No excuses. It cannot justified. Zero tolerance. The matter is black and white. Get real. Thank you.


  4. @Measured, it is entirely relevent given that abortion clinics occur in the original memo.

    I have never made any excuse, or justification of the wrongs that have been done, nor for the covering up that has in some cases followed. How could I when such behaviour plainly contradicts both Church teaching and Church law, quite aprt from any human decency?

    The issue surely though is why society is singling out the Catholic Church, as if there isn't a much wider issue of child-abuse in society as a whole. And that fits into a wider hypocrisy of a society that kills hundreds of thousands of children every year through abortion and those it graciously allows to live it then sexualises for financial interests. You also over-look entirely the way in which abortion clinics routinely cover-up sex with minors. As you say, the matter ought to be black and white.

    Let's just look at the figures again: men who have had sex with minors in society as a whole (these are US numbers): between 1 in 5 and 1 in 13. Catholic priests in England and Wales who have been accused (and some later exonerated) over the last 40 years 1 in 225. If society is serious about dealing with sex abuse it is absolutely right to hold the Church to account for crimes committed by the clergy, but it really ought to focus as well on where children are at much higher risk. Again, black and white.

    Is it really me that needs to get real? Or those who use the present crisis in the Church to feed their own sense of denial? Once more, it's black and white.

  5. M, you are right that as a State visit, the FO should help to prepare the itinerary. However, the FO's purpose is to maintain good relations with other states. In this respect, it seems to have singularly failed!

    As regards abuse, I do not read Albert's comments as seeking to excuse the Church. However, I perceive in the outraged cries of the left-wing establishment a feeling that they are perfect and that the Church has been shown to be evil. If Albert is pointing out the hypocrisy in that stance, then I think he is right.

  6. I think the discussion may have become disjointed. I am trying to persuade Albert to advocate the Church takes more positive action against those that perpetrated these crimes and against others who aided and assisted them to escape conviction.

    If a boy is caught stealing, it is not an excuse to say that 3 out of 10 boys steal. If you are caught speeding, it would only go towards mitigation to say that everyone else was speeding at the time. So to cite that Catholic Church has as many sinners as the rest of society does not excuse the sin that has been committed, especially when it is and was totally and utterly wrong with serious consequences on the victims' lives. To harbour these men is and was wrong even if it is deemed this is looking after one's own. The Catholic Church continues to be culpable of delay.

    The Catholic Church stands for many good things. If I didn't think that, I would not bother to engage here. I think it is modernising in many remarkable ways, but this stain must be washed out. Preferably before it dries. Ahem.

  7. Thanks Patently, you have read me correctly, though I would want to sharpen it slightly. The issue is not just about condemning the Catholic Church, it also about the fact that by implying the Church is worse (which is factually incorrect), society is effectively covering-up the much more prevalent levels of child-abuse in society. As such, it is using children's suffering for a political, indeed atheistical end. The worst offenders are Richard Dawkins (really, follow the link, it will amaze you, if you haven't already seen it) and Peter Tatchell, who has been campaigning to reduce the age of consent to 14 (which would of course, render some, and possibly many of the abuses by priests, perfectly legal - remember there is very little paedophilia in the Catholic Church, it is abuse of adolescent boys that is the main problem).

    I am trying to persuade Albert to advocate the Church takes more positive action against those that perpetrated these crimes and against others who aided and assisted them to escape conviction.

    I want to know what I have said that makes you think I need any persuading of that.

    To harbour these men is and was wrong even if it is deemed this is looking after one's own. The Catholic Church continues to be culpable of delay.

    Doubtless, in a Church as large as the Catholic Church, there are counter examples, but I think on the whole that culture has gone already. Remember, most of the abuse occurred in the heady days of the 70s and 80s – the Church was already dealing with it better before it all came to light. In England, for example, it has been policy to report all cases of abuse to the police for the last 20 years. In keeping with the general development of thought and practice in the UK at the time, it has been mandatory for bishops to report such abuse for the last 10 years. We are the only institution in the country with the confidence to publish our figures on this terrible problem, every year.

    Remember also that what you have read about the Vatican has been largely false. I think I am right in saying that in every case reported, involving Cardinal Ratzinger, the police knew before the Cardinal did. In the notorious case of the priest whom we were told Cardinal Ratzinger had delayed to "defrock", the priest had already been "defrocked" (insofar as the Church uses this term). What Ratzinger was delaying over was his (the abusive priest's) request, no longer to have to live in obedience to the bishop. Child abuse experts tell us that where possible, for as long as possible, removing the priest from duty to obey the bishop (live where the bishop puts him, be supervised etc.) should be delayed for as long as possible - indefinitely if the priest is cooperative and there is no risk of a bishop reappointing him. I am unaware of any child having been abused because of a decision made at the Vatican by Cardinal Ratzinger.

    The picture really is very different from that presented in the papers. Remember what they did to Kate McCann? How much more then the Church, when the press is riddled with people like Steven Mulvain and Anjoum Noorani ?

    By all means judge the Church Measured, but judge us by our own standards. If we are judged sincerely on this by the standards of world, we will come out of it too well. Indeed, if we judged ourselves by that standard we would be saying, “We are so much better than the world already, we hardly need take any action.” But if you judge society by the standards of the Church, you will feel as badly about the perversions and attending sufferings, as I do.

  8. I am not judging anyone. I am just saying how I see it. Cardinal Ratzinger is The Pope? The Holy Father? Just checking.

    I have said enough. I do not know enough about incriminating letters to pursue this but perhaps that is also the Press up to no good. I suspect you are in the middle of many people with different views so it is good that you have your own. :-)

  9. Yes, Ratzinger = the Pope = the Holy Father.

    perhaps that is also the Press up to no good

    Quite. The BBC of course give you the opportunity of complaining about what they write. Let's just say that slowly but surely I (and presumably many others) am persuading them to correct their errors. You can't get everything of course and much of it is innuendo, or implication rather than straight falsehood. But the fact that they have to correct major errors at all (like the suggestion that Ratzinger was in charge of sex abuse cases for over 20 years) says a great deal. Unfortunately, it is after the majority of people have been mislead and left thinking "If he was dealing with this for 20 years, then he must be responsible for it all somehow".

    But don't misunderstand: I am not saying everything he did was right by our standards now, but I do think he can be defended according to best practice of the time (which is all a reasonable person can ask) and the circumstances in which he found himself (which universally are that the civil authorities had failed to act. Odd how no one seems to be suing them).

    It's also odd that whereas 2 weeks the Pope was to be arrested for crimes against humanity, now the allegation in court is that his department is responsible for nothing more than emotional suffering. Not that I belittle that, but there is a difference, and of course, that's the most they are now alleging. If it comes to court, it will clearly fail because even the police lacked the evidence to prosecute.

    Did you read the Dawkins link? Says it all I think! :-)

  10. And while we're on the press being corrected, even Ruth Gledhill of the Times who has been perhaps the worst writer on the Pope has now realised she made a mistake.

  11. And then there's this, from the "news"paper that started the the circus in the first place: the New York Times. (Can anyone explain why, when papers are admitting they unjustly treated subjects and misled their readers, they do so on blogs, not on the front pages on which they injured people originally?)

  12. Albert

    I have nothing further to add.

  13. That's fine measured - I didn't think you did!