Saturday, 29 January 2011

Update - Radio 4 and the Ordinariate

Welcome to the Catholic Church - Resisting or Celebrating Diversity?
Westminster Cathedral Mass, January 2010

Lourdes HCPT Mass, Easter 2008
Mass in Kibera, Nairobi, 2007

Roehampton University Leavers' Mass, 2008
The interview that was cancelled last Sunday has been rescheduled for tomorrow, so all being well I'll be talking about the Ordinariate and what it means for Catholics just after 7.30 am tomorrow morning on BBC Radio 4. 

Writing in this week's Tablet, Peter Cornwell, a former Anglican priest who has been a Catholic priest for 25 years, questions the impact of the Ordinariate on Christian unity and suggests that it is not a helpful arrangement for any of those involved. Here is what he writes:
I have said it before and I say it again - yes, welcome unreservedly to all who seek a home in Catholic unity. After all, 25 years ago I knew that welcome and found that home. But, is it really being offered a home if you are invited to set up, with your fellow refugees, in a sort of semi-detached granny flat, with your own special Masses and your own special leadership? It is like being invited to a party and then, instead of joining in the fun, slipping off with a few chosen friends to play bridge in an upstairs room.
The fact is that these Anglican dissidents have, for some years, lived rather unhappily on the edges of Church of England life. What surely they now need, for their souls' health and happiness, is not to be parked on the edge of another Church, but to come into the crowded fug of the living room to muck in with the rest of the family. Although outsiders imagine that Catholics are like a well-drilled army, we are in truth an untidy mixed bunch. As Inspector Morse used to say: "It's all a bit of a shambles!"
As I said in an earlier blog, quoting Gerard Manley-Hopkins, "Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet." I've chosen the pictures above to suggest what might be at stake, if a narrow conservatism triumphs over the creative exuberance of our Catholic faith and liturgies.

Followers of this blog might be interested in a Web discussion forum on Christianity and Evolution at 7.00 pm our time this evening. Go to the link here to find out more. Participants include Nobel prize-winning scientists and theologian Richard Rohr in conversation about the compatibility between their Christian beliefs and the theory of evolution.


  1. Tina these attributes of the church will remain after the ordinariate, they are not going to change the catholicity of the catholic church so do not fear them. Do not let yourself be shown up as a bigot and hater of others because they are different or conservative it is narrow and ugly and not catholic which you clearly value. WELCOME THEM INTO YOUR HOME that is what christ would do..yes! Surprise the bigots of the BBC and show great warmth and hospitality towards these people searching for God and a home. One other thing try to stay humble as God himself was in the incarnation, ask who am I to speak on behalf of the catholic church. Be a peace maker Tina not a sower of dischord? As our mother did at the wedding in Cana see how you can help them ask jesus to "change the water into wine" In the name of Our Lady of Walsingham I pray that you say wise words and do not allow these wolves to make you into a fool for their dishonest purposes as we know before the interview they seek controversy, it is their stock in trade. Please pray that you do not cause further division by your words. Please pray that Our Mother is beside you offering her wise council through the rosary I pray that in the name of Jesus Christ your words will be inspired by the Holy Spirit. God Bless You Tina

  2. Thank you for your comments, 'gilfillan'. We must all speak for the church, or the church will not speak, but that means we must also speak with integrity, truthfulness and hope, we must assume the best rather than the worst of those of whom we speak without being fearful of honest criticism and debate, and we must accept that we often get things wrong.

    However,I would vigorously defend the BBC, and perhaps you are the one spreading discord and narrowness in your description of its employees as 'bigots', 'wolves' and 'dishonest'. During more than ten years of involvement with the BBC I have developed a deep respect for the integrity of its journalists. Yes, they are human and like all of us their prejudices sometimes show and they sometimes get things wrong, but I also believe that they strive to represent a range of views which contribute to our understanding of the complex situations in which we find ourselves. They have covered the Ordinariate quite extensively but as far as I know this is the first time they've invited a Catholic 'in the pews', so to speak, to offer an opinion.

    I shall do my best to follow your counsel, but I would urge you to follow it too in your representation of the BBC and the people who work for it.

    Best wishes,

  3. Just heard you on Radio 4. A lot of tosh was spoken. You had a couple of good points, but why you were given air time is beyond me. Most people in The Mother Church, very much welcome the return of some Anglican people to the fold. Would that they all came, as Jesus would wish.
    I do hope your ramblings ( more fitting than musings I think) has not put anyone off.
    All in all a very silly interview.

  4. SUNDAY programme Radio4 30.1.2011

    Presenter Ed Stourton to Tina Beattie concludes with...

    "Perhaps you will come and tell us again when you have a better sense of how it is going".

    It was courageous of the BBC to risk a LIVE interview

    on this topic in a programme that strives to cover

    Religion from many angles without too much


    Tina, gird your loins! You told it like it is.

    You'll be back.

  5. Well done Tina! I thought on the whole, you came across as welcoming and not mean spirited. I thought you were humble and sounded a good and caring person who just needed to show that you had legitimate concerns for your church which you clearly love. I think Ed was surprised by your warm tone. We all struggle with certain church teaching at some certain times in our life, do we not, but if we allow our savior to be close to us rather than these fears or anxieties, he will clear the fog! I hope others do not want to use you because they have agendas against these "converts" whom you know full well are going through a very delicate process. I hope you will be seen as someone who wants to welcome them into our church. An encouraging posting on the ordinariate website might be a way to show that welcome. We all need assurance no matter our place or position in the world. You will know the Paraclete also means to encourage. Please let me encourage you to continue humbly to see the other side to your own point of view with generosity in your heart.

    God Bless

  6. Thank you for all your comments, and for your affirmation, 'gilfillan' and 'Radio Ears'. 'Anonymous', I have no doubt you speak for many who would agree with you, but at least I don't hide my ramblings behind anonymity.

    Best wishes,

  7. I very rarely comment therefore have no google etc, so must choose "anonymous". I have no problem in telling you who I am. Kenny Purdie is the name, residing in Greenock, Scotland.

  8. Ah, a fellow Scot. That explains it. We're always the stroppiest of the lot! Nice to meet you, Kenny Purdie. My mum lives in Fairlie so I'm a fairly regular visitor to your part of the world.

    All the best,

  9. Nice to meet you too Tina Beattie. Very good fish restaurant just outside Fairlie!

  10. Another Anon. (sorry)30 January 2011 at 15:01

    Brace yourself. Just when you think you can relax this is coming up for discussion 8/2/11. On this subject you're the Daddy.

    [PDF] GS 1818File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - Quick View
    GS 1818. The Council for Christian Unity. Briefing paper by the Faith and Order Advisory Group (FOAG) on the. Anglican – Roman Catholic International ...

    Overheard in church. "Did you hear the lady on the radio this morning talking about those anglicans. She said she was perplexed". That seems to be what people picked up on. Good word.

  11. If I were one of your students and was not able to use the Anonymous button I would fear to be honest in case it affected my grades.

    I was listening for the student stuff on the programme. Your views were only what lots think.
    Love the photos. Want that wig.

  12. Fins - I know it well, and have spent some lovely evenings there with the family.

  13. To Another Anon. - or the Mummy! I'm glad perplexity sounded right to some - I thought about it carefully, and really did not want to be pushed into calling it a 'problem'.

  14. And a response to Anonymous above - I do understand that there are many good reasons why people choose anonymity. I'm sometimes tempted, but since I don't have the kind of restraints upon me that some others do, I feel I should speak in my own name.

    As for my students, I always tell them that I mark their arguments, not their opinions, and they will get much better grades for arguing well in favour of a position that I disagree with, than arguing poorly in favour of a position I support.

    And I also tell them that the point of doing a degree in Theology and Religious Studies is not to graduate knowing the answers, but to graduate knowing which questions are the right ones to ask.

  15. P.S. Like - 'Where did you get that wig?'

  16. Do you seriously read "The Tablet" and the National"Catholic" reporter??

  17. to Anon. student. Tina Beattie SAID what lots just think AND she was a pussy cat.
    How about- "Hello Father. Please can you tell me where you got that wig? Our priest wants one. Do they do it in red? [Great photo of Lourdes Mass]
    I think the attraction of blogging is the chance for a moment of attention when most of the time our opinions are ignored. Thats why I sometimes use "Anonymous" - in case I sound stupid no-one will know who I am. Cowardice really.

  18. In answer to the question about what I read, it would be a bit strange if I didn't read The Tablet, given that I'm one of its directors. Why, what do you "seriously" read?

  19. At the moment I am re-reading The collection of thoughts from Alice Thomas Ellis " God has not changed!" Superb.
    Also working my way through " Light of the world" Enlightening.
    Gave up reading "the Tablet" many moons ago when I realised that it was anything but Catholic, and seemed intent on causing further devision in the Church.

  20. You may just want to take a look at Damian Thompson today............

  21. There's no equal opportunities form for applications to the Papacy, but, hey Tina, why let that stop you?

    God help us when Catholics are telling us to worship Diversity rather than Christ.

  22. Damian Thompson is said to have "a Ph.D in the sociology of religion. He has written two books about apocalyptic belief and one about counterknowledge, "misinformation packaged to look like fact". [Wikipedia]

    Might an example of this be today's article?

    Thank you to Tina Beattie, Ed Stourton and the BBC.

    As a sociologist I do not feel moved to respond by
    direct comment on the journalism in question but
    watch with interest the unfolding of resistance to
    inevitable change.

    Ref: Erich Fromm. The Fear of Freedom.

    I have confidence that the views expressed in the
    radio interview were from participant observation of
    grass roots Roman Catholicism and were seeking to
    clarify a complex development.

  23. Tina

    You need to start practicing what you preach and be more tolerant. All I see here is yet more of your moaning and bitterness. You seem to be incapable of seeing your own hypocrisy.

    What really seems to be irking you is the thought that these people are orthodox in their beliefs and you don't want it - hence your link. You would have been quite happy if they had been dissenters. You aren't being straight about what your motives here.


  24. Tina,

    I am not quite sure how you reconcile your comment to Gillfian above that:

    "we must assume the best rather than the worst of those of whom we speak"

    with your comment on your earlier blog about the Ordinariate that having explicity denied the misogyny which you assumed that it remains that:

    "the onus is on the ordinariate, and most particularly on its priests, to allay any such suspicions in their practice and preaching"

    Re the BBC, I suspect that part of your praise for them may come from the fact that you are exactly what they want for many of their programmes . . . a Catholic who will come out with dissent from the teaching of the Magisterium. The tricky thing when speaking as a Catholic commentator is to make it explicitly clear when you speak for yourself as a questioning individual and when you are representing the views of the Church. I am not sure this is done enough.

    God Bless,


  25. Copied from Telegraph Blog Comments today

    "I've read this three times now, and must give up. Can I ask that the places where Edward Stourton is in any way unprofessional, biased or discourteous are underlined for the benefit of the duller reader? It seems completely impartial to me. Dr Oddie's main achievement to date has been that, when he was an Anglican Priest, his foaming attacks on the advocates of women priests went a long way towards driving many from the traditionalist movement. I see now he is busy setting one Roman Catholic against another."

    I ticked Recommend.

  26. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  27. There are some blogs I don't comment on. However, there are some bloggers who, if they had been my students, would have failed their degrees on the basis of misrepresentation, misquotation, and resorting to ad hominem (or ad feminam) abuse instead of presenting reasoned, informed and persuasive arguments (see my comment above re what makes a good student essay).

    But people can judge for themselves and they are entitlted to their opinions. As I said yesterday, the Catholic Church has a unity that's not based on like-mindedness or sameness, and the Church would be far less interesting without its flamboyant eccentrics.

    It would be very dull to be in a church where we were all 'Catholic liberals and radical feminists'.

  28. Tina, you're not an eccentric. You're an heretic, dear. Big difference. I know plenty of eccentric Catholics who are very loyal to the Magisterium of the Church.

  29. Was I the only reader that understood the blog-comment 'Like the wig' as referring to Tina? I was relieved when I discovered the true reference.

    Reading some of the comments (especially some of the anonymous ones) I wonder whatever happened to meekness & moderation.

  30. Comment copied tonight from the newspaper blog of some-one who is, regretably, laughing all the way to the bank.

    "... it is often merely a rant against those who don't hold to the same "tradition" as you. It is also incredibly tiring.
    The Catholic Church is blessed to have those who belong to either the "traditional" or "liberal" wing. They act as the brake and the accelerator of a car - without both the car will not work properly. (This analogy was given by one of my RE teachers at school) Perhaps this might be something to think on?"

  31. It looks like its going to be something of an own goal for the critics. Worth staying up for. Its a bit like staying up for Election results- way past my bed-time! Here's a good comment from earlier...

    "As the debates about womens' ordination went through the cumbersome anglican processes, what really won the day for them was their dignity in the face of coarse abuse from men whose education and holy orders should have made them know better. People realised that they were very far from the strident feminists they had been painted."

  32. Just noticed the "Liturgical Dancer" Now there is a blast from the past. I thought they were dead and buried!.
    Happy St Brigids day. or Mary of the Gaels if you prefer. KP

  33. Laurence England - a correction: I was not referring to myself as an eccentric - although I have my moments. I was actually referring to other Catholic bloggers who would I'm sure be counted by you among the loyal few. As for being a heretic, I'm reflecting on that: watch this space.

  34. Tina, I really think you are in the wrong church.
    Your opinions, all absolute rubbish, are well suited to the Church of England. The liberals will absolutely love you there, so do us a favour, a very big favour, and go.

    Thank you.

  35. I am gratified and proud that my tutor was, and is... "one of the more influential Catholics in Britain today" and has "in many ways more influence than many of our bishops" (see earlier link to the blog of Roman Catholic priest).
    Similarly, I am grateful to my Alma Mater, specifically chosen for its distinct ecumenical history and its position as one of the best universities for Religious Studies.
    (I have my MA (Distinction) so have no need to feel I am being obsequious).

    On the journalist in question, critical of the BBC's invitation to this "influential Catholic", see below.

    "........'s house style of triumphalist, sneering, ultra-papalist camp - in which he is joined, day after day, by a claque of equally mean-spirited groupies and hangers-on - does more damage to the image of Catholicism than Richard Dawkins ever could. I've never been as offensive about any Christian as ...... manages to be, virtually every day, about his fellow Roman Catholics who happen to have different views to him about the liturgy, or politics, or the status of Joseph Ratzinger as the greatest being to occupy the throne of St Peter since the days of Gregory the Great. His reaction to the prospect of Anglo-Catholic defections to Rome has been very much in character: catty, obsequious towards the Vatican, vainglorious, snidely dismissive of both Rowan Williams and the "liberal" (by his standards) Catholic hierarchy in England, and crudely self-promoting." [Off the Net]

  36. Tina

    "As I said yesterday, the Catholic Church has a unity that's not based on like-mindedness or sameness...."

    Practice what you preach Tina and your words might have more credibility. You bang on and on about "tolerance" and "diversity" but in the end when you have a simple opportunity to express charity towards a group you don't agree with you don't want to know. As with most so-called "liberals" you turn out to be self-interested and intolerant of those around you - particularly anyone who expresses an orthodox point of view.

    I think the simple truth is that the Odinariate has rumbled your plans for women priestesses and Future Church and you can't handle it. If that's the case why are you a Catholic? Where is your integrity?.


  37. I am surprised and disappointed by Fr Cornwell's comments: "is it really being offered a home if you are invited to set up, with your fellow refugees, in a sort of semi-detached granny flat, with your own special Masses and your own special leadership?"

    I have not followed all the debates on this blog concerning the Ordinariate, but the concept of particular patrimony and tradition but full communion is surely no different from the Eastern Rite Catholics, whose leaders met in Rome with the Pope at the end of 2010. What do you believe makes the patrimony and traditions of the Eastern Rite Catholics more acceptable than that of the Ordinariate?

    Both Eastern Rite and Ordinariate traditions are, or will be, centred on communities that can be defined as diasporas. By a general definition diasporas diversify from the local Catholic liturgy and culture in many countries. But the diasporas are nonetheless an integral part of the whole Church.

  38. @Laurence England

    I don't mean to be uncharitable to one of your readers Tina, but why is Laurence England - a bafflingly dimwitted young thug whose, ahem, 'love' of Christ appears to be a thin veneer for self publicity - constantly posting on the blog of a person whose teachings he professes to hate? Are you not getting enough attention Laurence?


Comments and contributions are welcome so long as they respect the rules of courtesy and respect, which is not to inhibit robust disagreement.