Monday, 17 May 2010

Some 'orthodox Catholic doctrine'- from Clifford Longley

Speaking on the Radio 4 'Thought for Today' slot this morning Clifford Longley commented on a speech given by the Holy Father, during his recent visit to Portugal. You can listen again here ( or read the full  transcript)
Here's the first part of what Clifford Longley said:

"As we in Britain will find out next September, when Popes visit foreign countries they make many speeches. But of the tens of thousands of words he uttered while in Portugal last week, one remark from Pope Benedict XVI received widespread attention elsewhere. Under headlines like "Pope slams gay marriage", he praised those how work to uphold family life against, quote, "insidious and dangerous threats to the common good".
I've read the whole speech, and nowhere is gay marriage mentioned. Journalists assumed that was what he meant, given that Portugal is about to pass a law permitting them. But its main point, as in other speeches by him in Portugal, was a plea for solidarity, social justice and human rights.
But not unlike a recent prime minister of Great Britain, Pope Benedict has problems getting his message across. If he didn't wish to be reported as engaging in an anti-gay attack, which is how it came over, it's a pity he didn't say something like this: "Let me assure you - God loves gay people. In fact he loves them especially because they have suffered persecution and discrimination in their lives, and Christ's message of liberation and justice applies  particularly to  people like that." The Catholic Church, he could have gone on to say but didn't, "regrets its historical role in encouraging prejudice against homosexuals, and is anxious to do what it can to correct that, now."
Dream on, you might say. But if what I've just said surprises you, every word of it is orthodox Catholic doctrine. And then, if he wanted to add something about defending family life, he might have got a sympathetic hearing."

 Right, so the most important aspect of what the Pope has to say, must be what journalists say he said/meant.  They say the Pope's words were an anti-gay attack, and  Clifford Longley agrees. Journalists must be right, even though Clifford also thinks the main point of the Pope's speech was  'a  plea for solidarity, social justice and human rights.'
Recent prime ministers of Great Britain have been Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, neither of whom could hold a candle to Vicar of Christ (and head of State), Pope Benedict. Unlike many politicians and  journalists, the Holy Father does substance, not spin.
The substance is real, it is truth, and truth outlives every attempted  subversion, manipulation or destruction. It outlives journalistic swipes too.

"And by the way, the Catholic Church in England and Wales no longer opposes civil partnerships," 
As between practicing homosexual men? - between practicing homosexual women ? Really? Is Clifford trying to persuade us that the Catholic Church  recognises civil partnerships as valid in the same way she recognises civil marriages between non Catholics as valid ? Are we going to hear talk of the 'vocation to civil partnership?

Clifford's final piece of advice:
"The lesson of all this is quite simple. People will not hear you if they think you're their enemy. They'll only listen if you approach them as a sincere friend. And if you need a perfect example of how successful that can be, well - read the Gospels."

Wait....did he just tell the Holy Father to approach people with more sincerity....?
           Did he invite the Holy Father the Gospels?


  1. Are we going to hear talk of the 'vocation to civil partnership?

    If we haven't already...