Thursday, May 09, 2013


...sudden conversation this afternoon, in a busy café where I'd parked myself to tackle some work on my laptop for an hour or so. Pleasant girl sitting in vaguely yoga-position, cross-legged, at the table nearest to the only electric plug was friendly and helpful when I asked if I could share it...and after we had both spent a longish while beavering away on our respective computers, we got talking. She helped me tackle a bothersome layout problem on my Word document, and somehow we moved on from that to talk of theatre and writing and travel and  more...she announced with some vigour that she was an atheist and this resulted in a very lively conversation. Delightful girl: an actress and dancer, bright, articulate...conversation ranged over Dawkins, Hitchens, touched on evolution, was blustery and rainy outside as we said goodbye, and I put my hands into my pockets to keep warm - and encountered a small Bl JPII medal given by a friend from Rome. I gave it to this new friend. JPII was an actor too....

On to Marble Arch, for the Tyburn Lecture. A disappointment. The Tyburn nuns are wonderful and always have a warm welcome, and the Lectures, celebrating free speech and debate about crucial current issues, are a magnificent tradition. But this one was unimpressive: given by a lawyer who lectures at the London School of Economics, it ended up as a rather tired-sounding rant against John Paul and Benedict. Somehow, after a lively conversation earlier, I felt let down. The speaker parroted the line that is apparently being pushed in The Tablet.  The silliest bit was his suggestion that John Paul didn't engage with the modern world. All those great gatherings in the cities of the world, the wall-shattering change that swept across Eastern Europe,  the breakthrough in relations with the Jewish people,  that extraordinary rapport with the young that created World Youth Day...apparently none of that really happened...oh, and he didn't seem to think that Benedict XVI would have much long-term impact either...

Listening to this rubbish was slightly embarrassing, like hearing someone who dabbles in poster-paints denouncing Michaelangelo.



Manny said...

It seems all the non-Catholic British I know are atheists, Buddhists, and apostles of Dawkins and Hitchens. What is happening over there? Is that the wave of the future? Well, may that medal reshape her heart for Christ.

johnf said...

In Britain there is now a total cynicism of practically all the institutions which hold the country together

Parliament? A bunch of self serving individuals who can't see beyond the confines of Notting Hill or Islington, and focus on getting as much out of the tax part as possible

The EU? Don't. Make me larf! Fat cats in Brussels. The MEPs are a joke - another gravy train for life

BBC? Everyone forced to pay a licence fee, to pay the very fat salaries. and after all their prating about the evils of the Catholic Church the BBC have been now shown have hidden the antics of Jimmy Saville and other celebs who are one by one emerging from the woodwork, to proclaim their innocence.

The Banks? After they have gotten their snouts in the trough and in the process ruined their business, realising that they too big to fail.

The NHS? Some hospitals have been named and shamed and no one brought to account.

The press? After the phone tapping scandals?

The Police? Hmm we won't go there.

The Courts? We see so many instances of serious criminals being let out of gaol early and then committing offences. Mr Justice Bleedwell-heartsore presides.

Who has any respect left in the country? In my view only
the armed services, and fire services.

The Churches? The Anglicans are in disarray, the Catholics will be tarred with the paedophile slur for decades (and because our shepherds welcomed wolves into the flock). The Muslims are scary.

What remains? Perhaps the family - but the powers that be aim to destroy this with the same sex marriage legislation.

One Lib Dem MP in the Coalition Government Lynne Featherstone wants to make the UK the most 'gay friendly' country in the world. She hasn't showed us her agenda but we can guess. As CMOC has said, the homosexual lobby is very powerful, though with the cost to the exchequer of about £1 billion p.a. to care for those with AIDS or HIV, and rising it remains to be seen how long the taxpayer will u nderwrite these profligate lifestyles.

Apollodorus said...

Does calling the lecture rubbish and a rant mean anything more than that you did not agree with the speaker? Many people who wonder about the legacies of Popes John Paul and Benedict might agree with him.
I find it rather disturbing that traditionalist Catholics seem to be unable to disagree with their co-religionists without denouncing them in this sort of way.

Malcolm said...

I've just read the article. What the Tablet editor doesn't understand is that people who don't want the bishop to be the boss are, as a rule, relatively well off. They have leadership positions in secular life, and so they want the same influence in the Church. (The exception is the really well off, they have positions similar to the bishop's and tend to identify with him).
If you are poor then you're not going to have much influence in the Church's decision-making processes anyway.

Malcolm said...

Joanna is not a traditionalist, which is someone who attaches importance to the old rite. Joanna doesn't, she normally attends mass in English.

She also disagrees violently with some of the loopier elements of the rad trad scene - the nonsensical proposition that you can have a traditionalist movement that isn't obedient to the Pope, the recycling of anti-Jewish myths, the proposal to deindustrialise the British economy, and so on.

She doesn't disagree fundamentally with sensible traditionalists, however.

Jo Siedlecka said...

Pope Francis wrote on Twitter last night: 'The Holy Spirit helps us to view others with fresh eyes, seeing them always as brothers and sisters in Jesus, to be respected and loved.'

Josephine Siedlecka

Anonymous said...

Apollodorus ....
It's acceptable and expected that people will have differences of opinion about the Church, but it is somewhat telling about the speakers agenda when you know what is being said is counter informative and just absolutely incorrect!
I can understand exactly what Joanna is getting at here: When you're used to unbiased,factual, well-balanced arguments and you 're living and breathing the Faith, to expect this when attending an institution where previously the aforementioned was the experience, it would also feel like a major let down to me.

It's got nothing to do with having a difference of opinion. It's about hearing nonsense and knowing what the actual truth is.
'Cafe' Catholics who go to church once a year and discuss all things pertaining to the Church with little insight or factual knowledge may find this kind of talk inspirational, but when you breathing and living your Faith an an active and committed Christian, you know the facts.

Really enjoyed hearing about your encounter, Joanna.
Will you be sharing details of the presentation of your special award any time soon?

In Christ.

David Morton said...

To Apollodorus: Joanna Bogle is not a "traditionalist Catholic" - she is an orthodox Catholic - there is a difference. See Rorate Caeli for an assortment of traditionalist Catholics...

Anonymous said...

Joanna, I wouldn't be surprised if this is the same person who spoke in Effingham parish a week or so ago. I couldn't make it to the talk but my sister and a couiple of frinds were there. "Good thing you didn't come" was all they said on their return "you'd have hated it". Also, neither my sister H nor I can resist standing up for JPII - we're part of the "JPII generation". You have to get past us first if you want to criticise the man! God bless, Lizzie

Anonymous said...

Joanna, I wouldn't be surprised if this was the same talk given at Effingham Parish a week or so ago. I was unable to attend, but my sister and two friends were there. "Good thing you didn't come" was all they said on their return "you'd have hated it!" . Neither my sister H or I can resist standing up for Blessed John Paul as we are part of the "JPII Generation". You ahve to get past us first if you're goin to criticise the man. In any case, H put up a good defense it appears! God bless, Lizzie :-)