Wed May 16th
CATHOLIC WRITERS' GUILD
Last night Rt Hon Ann Widdecombe addressed a meeting of The Keys, the Catholic Writers' Guild of England and Wales, at our Guild Church of St Mary Moorfields in London. Mass first in the church, then an agreeable and very talkative supper in the crypt.
At the start of her talk, Ann presented the 2007 Catholic Young Writer Award to Bernadette Pfang, of South London, whose essay on St Thomas More was judged the best of this year's field of entries - Bernadette wins a shield which she will keep for one year, a cash prize, and a stack of books. These are traditionally presented by Catholic writers and publishers, and this year they include the beautiful illustrated book on the Rosary,just produced by St Omers Press at Stonyhurst.Second prizewinner is Thomas Carver of Durham, and joint third prizes go to Elizabeth Parkes of Birmingham and Elena Cahill of Nottingham. A number of certificates of merit were also awarded, notably to pupils at the Sacred Heart School in Camberwell and Oaklands Catholic School in Hampshire, and to an entrant from the USA and one from Australia!
It was fitting that the young prizewinner had wriiten about St Thomas More as Ann Widdecombe's talk was on "Law and Conscience". It tackled specifically the ways in which recent legislation has restricted the rights of us all to live and work according to our deepest beliefs and convictions, and cited, specifically, ways in which the Government's (horrible!) new Sexual Orientation regulations will work. She read aloud an exchange of correspondence with the Secretary of State Ruth Kelly - who had replied to the letter only after the new laws were introduced: it is clear that some one who, for example, runs a printing firm and would rather not print publicity material for a homosexual-lobby rally would face serious legal penalties for refusing. This is scary. And it is up to the Church to speak out and stand up for what is right.
Incidentally I note that in Italy families have held a big rally to stand up for marriage and family values - in the face of planned new legislation which will effectively create a form of "civil partnerships" for various sorts of relationships including homosexual ones. In Britain, we seem to have been able to produce rallies n issues such as hunting...