Sunday, 24 August 2008

How NOT To Start Sunday Morning...

Ok. This is actually just me having a rant. You can skip this post if you want! Of course, when I find out, I will never speak to you again and/or delete you from my blogroll...

I really should know better. After many years of ill-health, I've gotten used to having the radio playing all night. When I was younger, I often had a music station on... now, given that much of the popular stuff really gets on my nerves, I generally listen to BBC Radio 4... which switches to the BBC World Service at 1am, and then switches back to Radio 4 at about 5:20am.

During term time, I should get up at 6am for morning prayer. I set the alarm for 6am, at any rate. And, obviously, the radio gets switched off for the prayers... and then goes back on again as I get ready for work. Occasionally, something from the Today program will put me into a foul mood, but there isn't too much time for any really irritating stuff to register before I reach for the "off" switch. I'm good at getting to the "off" switch whenever I hear key phrases which indicate something of a hypertensive and/or anti-Catholic nature is about to be broadcast... words like "Catholic," "Dr. Lavinia Byrne" and "leading Catholic spokesperson, Cristina Odone"...

Sundays are different. I allow myself to wake up more gently (ie. I set only two alarms instead of the usual 4... and usually ignore them!) and I get up later.

On Sunday mornings, Radio 4 has a special religious program scheduled... imaginatively called "Sunday," this is a mish-mash of everything to do with anything even vaguely religious in the news. It starts at 7:10am and so, just as I am regaining full consciousness (well, as much consciousness as I generally indulge in before 11am) I get to hear someone or other burbling on about Sharia Law or the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Neither of these subjects are actually problematic, though the question occasionally crosses my mind as to why, when the Muslim holy day is Friday, they should be relegated to the religion slot on Sunday. The real problem is that, more and more, I seem to wake up in the middle of a piece on Catholicism. But it isn't actually Catholicism as taught by Christ and handed down by the Apostles... no. It's Catholicism as explained by dissenting Catholics. The BBC rarely manage to find faithful Catholics... which, I suppose, is only to be expected. "Catholics believe Church teaching on sexuality/marriage/priesthood/abortion to be completely true!" doesn't make much of a headline... in fact it's a close third behind "Pope is Catholic" and "Bears Defecate in Woods!"

So, as I say, I really should know better.

This morning was a case in point. The BBC have grasped the idea that Cardinal Newman is about to be beatified, and this involves digging him up. Ok, not too controversial... So far we're still in the "Ursine mammals fertilising forests" region, news-wise. But they then discover that the Cardinal left a request, in his Will, that he be buried in the same grave as his best friend.

Oooooooooooooh.

His best friend was another man. And they were best friends. So there must have been something sexual between them... it's obvious, innit? So let's find a homosexual man to draw the obvious link...

*Sigh*

I know that the BBC has some excellent reporters and researchers working for them. They do... I've actually met some. So why can't the BBC do its homework on matters concerning the Catholic Church?

I've been round a few cemeteries... (I've even visited a crematorium, but I digress...) Many times, I've noticed that several members of a family have been buried together. Husbands and wives are the most common combination, but groupings of parents and children occur, as do brothers and sisters. It's not unheard of. Similarly, people can go to great lengths to make sure that Granny is transported "back home" so that she can be laid to rest with others from her family.

Why is there such a fuss over Cardinal Newman's desire to be buried with his brother Oratorians (not just his friend Ambrose St John, but also Edward Caswall and John Joseph Gordon, as explained by Fr. Tim Finigan) - especially as, in Victorian times, it was not unusual for a man, staying at a travellers' inn overnight, to find himself sharing a bed with a complete stranger... and nothing sexual would have been involved. And, please note, the Cardinal was merely wanting to be buried in the same plot of ground, not the same coffin!

Ahhh, but Newman expressed great love for his best friend...

Oh, get a grip! I love my cat, but I assure you, I have no wish to indulge in bestiality. I love my friends too, but I don't want to have sex with them, either. Love does not have to mean "sexual love" - but, as Fr. Ray Blake has pointed out, modern society has a debased notion of love and friendship. In addition, the Victorians had a very sentimental view of friendship... read St. Thérèse of Lisieux's Autobiography if you want to get the idea of Victorian sentimentality.

This sort of twisted and miserable journalistic clap-trap isn't good for my blood pressure, but it is par for the course where the BBC is concerned. I really ought to make sure the radio is very firmly switched off on Saturday nights...

UPDATE: Prompted by an email reminder by William on the Hill, I forced myself to listen to the piece again... Peter Tatchell actually claims that this is a "human rights" issue. What about my "human right" not to have my faith spoken of in such a disparaging fashion, referred to, as it was, as the "Vatican" Church??

10 comments:

gemoftheocean said...

Better still you ought to band together and try and get equal time to smack down these BBC evil people. And they ARE evil, make no mistake.

ekurlowa said...

Br-r-r. I had luck today, now I see: my mother didn't listen BBC this morning. Or I didn't listen - I listened fully music like songs about hegehoges.

Mark said...

It is a load of drivel, isn't it.

I have a lot of straight female friends. It doesn't meant to say I'm out having dangerous liaisons with them every night.

I have some gay male friends. I like singing and karaoke. QED I must be having it off with them.

The BBC need to grow up. The problem is, they'll lose most of their audience if they do. What a shame.

William Young said...

Yes, it was dire, contemptible, really. And the BBC just goes on getting away with soliciting soundbites by pressing the appropriate "personality". Peter Tatchell really has got a brain, (as well as a soul). He deserves to be encouraged to use it, not provoked into outbursts which appear to give "weight" to the media-caricature of himself. I am very disappointed, and saddened.

RJW said...

Boy! I'm sure glad that kind of stuff doesn't happen in the good old USA. (Here is a mop to clean up the sarcasm).

Coffee Catholic said...

I was just reading that with all of this openness in our culture to homosexuality, platonic relationships between same-sex friends are being destroyed because everyone makes them out to be gay. I wonder how many men now pass up on good solid friendships with other men because they don't want to be labelled gay? And now the we see history being totally re-written so that now EVERY major male player is being turned into a homosexual, Cardinal Newman included! Arrrrrrrrrg!!

Lee Strong said...

A gay friend sent me the story and compared the good Cardinal to Oscar Wilde as a way to tweak me.

Sigh.

Mrs Pea said...

My jaw got carpet burn too. Just so stupid. Why people can't accept that a) the Cardinal was capable of loving someone and missing them passionately without being a "lover" and that b) the cardinal might have said something on earth in his will but will feel differently now he is in heaven and God willing reunited with the soul of his friend and joined in praising God together. And how many many many many people have their last wishes ignored? There are hardly a burial site that isn't interfered with at some point anyway.

MaggieClitheroe said...

When I go to work in a studio, very occasionally, for a few days, to do some picture restoring, I am subjected to Radio 4 ALL DAY LONG - it is a nightmare, and especially for the reasons you mention, re "experts" on Catholicism, let alone the numerous plays with "gay" interest, and the taking of Our Lord's name in vain...grrrr, I am often to be heard growling behind my easel! (I loathe the BBC - but radio 3 is ok most of the time!!)

Anonymous said...

Damn the BBC!

And damn their fake northern accents on the news!

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