Friday, August 5, 2011

Double standards in the English Catholic Church

By Damian Thompson

Voice of the Left: the ubiquitous Tina Beattie
Voice of the Left: the ubiquitous Tina Beattie

(The Telegraph) Honestly, there’s such a double standard in the Catholic Church in England and Wales. If, say, a group of enthusiasts for the traditional liturgy were to ask Westminster Cathedral for a Low Mass there every Sunday – a request which according to the Vatican’s own rules the cathedral should grant – then all hell would break loose (and freeze over before the Mass actually materialised, I bet).

But if a diocese of England and Wales wants to mark the 50th anniversary of Vatican II with a lecture by a passionate opponent of Benedict XVI’s policies – well, that’s just fine and dandy because attacks on papal policies from the Left count as debate whereas the invocation of conservative papal documents counts as troublemaking.

The diocese in question is right-on Clifton, run by “go-ahead” Bishop Declan Lang, where Magic Circle favourite Professor Tina Beattie will be lecturing on Lumen Gentium in the cathedral. That’s according to a leaflet sent to me by a fed-up Clifton priest; there’s no mention I can find of the lecture on the diocesan website, which seems to be aimed mainly at Guardian readers.

Prof Beattie is well established in Clifton and has even been roped in to help with priestly formation. Which would be fine, if we were talking about priests of the Metropolitan Community Church. Here’s Tina on one of Benedict XVI’s encyclicals:
Caritas in Veritate promotes the primacy of the family over and against the abuses and powers of the state and the economic order, and it is has in my view a culpably naive approach to the problem of over-population. Referring to ‘the problems associated with population growth’, the encyclical points out that ‘This is a very important aspect of authentic development, since it concerns the inalienable values of life and the family.’ However, it immediately goes on to discuss the problems created by declining birth rates, and it insists that the solution to population problems lies in ‘the primary competence of the family in the area of sexuality’. When I read that, I thought, ‘try telling that to Josef Fritzl’s daughter’, who happened to live in one of Europe’s few remaining bastions of conservative Catholicism.
Charming. And her views on the Ordinariate? “I must admit I feel an overwhelming sense of sadness about this ordinariate and what it means for both the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches.” Why? Among other reasons, it’s “a monumental rebuff to Catholic women campaigning for greater visibility and influence in the Church”.

Meanwhile, I see that Clifton is wrapping up its Vatican II lectures with one by Cardinal Godfried Danneels, former leader of the Catholic Church in Belgium. Here’s a New York Times article from August 2010:
The former head of Belgium’s Roman Catholic Church said Monday that he should not have suggested to a victim of serial sexual abuse that he say nothing publicly about the episode until after the retirement of the offending bishop, who is the victim’s uncle. Cardinal Godfried Danneels, left, who retired in January, was secretly taped making that suggestion by the victim on April 8, when they both met with the bishop, Roger Vangheluwe, who retired within two weeks of the meeting. Excerpts of the tape were published in two Belgian newspapers over the weekend. Cardinal Danneels’s spokesman, Toon Osaer, said Monday that the cardinal “realizes that the whole approach, as it was, was not the right one,” and that he was unprepared for the April meeting, calling his conduct there “an improvisation.” But the cardinal also said he regretted that the confidential meeting had been made public by the victim, who is now 42 years old.
Hmm. if Danneels were a conservative with a record like that, do you think he’d be allowed anywhere near Clifton Cathedral? But he’s an ultra-liberal, by the standards of the college of cardinals, so I expect I’m just being massively insensitive by raising the matter.

1 comment:

Pablo the Mexican said...

Behind that vaneer of a woman, lurks an awfully hideous devil...
that's the way Satan operates.

Fools people everytime.