Sunday, 25 April 2010

(Real) Catholic Voices Being Silenced...

As I mentioned in my previous post, James Preece who has written some excellent stuff on his blog, had arranged to come to London this weekend for training associated with the Catholic Voices project.

When I first heard about Catholic Voices, I was very encouraged: they seemed to be looking for young Catholics who are enthusiastic about their faith and who are willing to stand up and be counted in the face of the media onslaught.

Sadly, it seems that, once again, the voice of faithful Catholics is being sidelined. If you happen to speak the truth a little too freely, your views are not wanted, in case you upset someone.

Having arranged to take time off to get to London for the training session, James became a little concerned when he realised that he hadn't received the details of time or venue. So, he emailed Austen Ivereigh (one of the co-ordinators) to check. At 6:32pm on Wednesday, he received the following reply:

"James, I’m sorry – I don’t think, after all, it would be right for you to come. We have a meeting with +Vincent, etc. Sorry."

We are in a pretty bad state if Archbishops are so sensitive that they have to be shielded from any of the faithful who might tell them a few home truths. Heck, even St. Teresa of Avila and St. Catherine of Siena got to tell the Bishops (and even a Pope or two) that something was rotten in the State of Denmark (so to speak.) And it's not as if James is a raving lunatic who will harangue the Archbishop... if anything, he is far too nice... which is why I'm the one frothing at the mouth at the blatant rudeness of Austen Ivereigh's reply.

Which leads me on to the next concern. If Catholic Voices can't allow any criticisms or awkward questions from within the ranks, how will they cope in the face of open hostility, ridicule and vituperation from those opposed to the Catholic Church?

Once again, John Smeaton has summed up the situation pretty clearly... Referring to the response of Jack Valero (the other co-ordinator for Catholic Voices) to the leaked Foreign Office document, he said:

"Sorry Jack, that's really not good enough... I would say to Jack Valero: ' ... a period of silence on your part would be welcome.' "


Clare@ BattlementsOfRubies said...

Oh dear, that's very disappointing.

I thought Jack Valero's response a bit tame, but I think it's hard to strike just the right note every time. I'd like to see a bit more feistiness myself, but perhaps that would be mistaken. In any case I sense that the anti catholic voices may very nearly have over played their hand. I think people may soon want to distance themselves from the bullies that they have egged on. It will be interesting to see how this turns out.

Patricius said...

I don't think one necessarily has to go into every battle with guns blazing. It is the government and civil service who have egg on their faces in this instance. Let 'em sweat, I say.

Austen Ivereigh said...

I'm astonished that you should publish private correspondence between myself and James Preece; and that you should do so partially and incompletely. The fact that his email ends up on your site is precisely why he wasn't invited.

Among your private vows, where there any that included respect, confidentiality, privacy or charity?

On the side of the angels said...

Er Austen sweetheart...

Do you realise what you've just said?


Anonymous said...

On the contrary, I think Valero and Innocent Smith have both got it right. For goodness' sake, it's just the email equivalent of neds shouting abuse on the bus, or the unmeditated ignorant comments (of all persuasions, "pious Catholic" included) on newspaper comment sections all over the web.

Ben Trovato said...


Could you clarify: 'is precisely why he wasn't invited'?

That could mean:

...because he associates with the likes of Mac

...because he is untrustworthy/indiscreet

...because he won't take it lying down

or various other things, and in the interests of both veritas and caritas it would be helpful to remove doubt as to your intended meaning, given that you have chosen to publish comments which could be read in a pejorative way in a public forum.

Sadie Vacantist said...

I looked through the list of Catholic voices. It does not inspire confidence.

Preece was excellent on "The Big Questions" - the best 'performance' on TV by a Catholic in decades.

The key was his humility

Clare@ BattlementsOfRubies said...

"The key was his humility"
I didn't see him on The Big Question and I'm glad that he came across well. we need strong grassroots, orthodox catholics who can defend our faith.
I think James does an excellent job of holding the bishops feet to the fire from time to time and I really share his revulsion at much of what has been going on, in Catholic schools especially. But when he openly mocks our Shepherds in Christ that is wrong, and incongruent for a faithful catholic.

I also think there has been far too much sniping at Catholic Voices.
I have a friend who is a "Catholic Voice". she is a home educating young mother of two young boys expecting her third baby. She's married to a plumber.
She's certainly not the 'Oxbridge elite out of touch with the man on the clapham omnibus' sort of boffin that I have been reading about. She's a young, totally orthodox, 100% faithful catholic.

Lets start preparing for our Holy Fathers visit by fostering unity and supporting our own team.

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