Friday, 2 April 2010

BBC Spin Good Friday Homily Against the Church

Well, I have held out the Good Friday fast from blogging until I could bear it no longer. Mea culpa. Still, my culpability is at least partially mitigated by the fact that the BBC has tempted me beyond my feeble limits.

Fr Raniero Cantalamessa is a Franciscan Capuchin Catholic Priest who is Preacher to the Papal Household also known as the Apostolic Preacher, who today preached a Good Friday homily in the presence of the Pope, the Cardinals, Bishops and Prelates and others.

The title and office of Apostolic Preacher, apparently, date back to the time of Paul IV (1555-1559).

Today, during his homily he read aloud a letter from a Jewish friend which asserted that the vitriolic tirades against the Church and especially the Holy Father reminded him (that's him, not Fr Cantalamessa) of the propaganda campaign against the Jews in Nazi Germany. One would have thought that given that Fr Cantalamessa had received this letter from a Jew, that the friend's opinion would be quite valid. I mean, he is not far from the truth, since the campaign against the Holy Father in the World's media has been hysteric and driven not by fact, but hearsay and slander. So, what do we have that reminds Fr Cantalamessa's Jewish friend of the Nazi campaign? We've got grotesque cartoons in the press designed to elicit fear, ridicule and hatred of the Holy Father. Check! We've got misleading and generalising reports concerning the sins of a few which are then used to slander the entire Priesthood. Check! On the whole, we have a press, radio, internet, TV and magazine campaign designed to produce coverage and opinion of the abuse scandal that makes the Church and the subject, the Pope and the Priesthood look absolutely terrible and beyond redemption, no matter what the facts of each case are. Check! And to top it all off we have mass hysteria in which truth and fact are sacrificed according to a deep-seated prejudice running through government, media and society. Check!

What we don't have, of course, are burning Churches and our own 'Kristallnacht'. But then, as the BBC report is at pains not to analyse in any depth whatsoever, presumably because they are as guilty as the New York Times in their increasingly brazen, biased reporting of the scandal, the Jewish friend did not say, "Oh my God! It's just like the Holocaust all over again! They're killing all the Catholics, just like they did the Jews!" No, he said that the stigmatisation of the Church's Priesthood and the Pope reminded him of the kind of massive and very public stigmatisation of the Jews in Nazi Germany, before, and it started quite a bit before, Hitler had as many as he could rounded up and gassed.

Of course, the BBC are as guilty as the proverbial, redeemed as it was by Our Lord by merit of His saving work on the Cross at Calvary and so get as many 'angry Jewish leaders' as they can to denounce Fr Cantalamessa, instead of the Jewish friend who condemned the media, because it is 'outrageous' that the Preacher to the Papal Household should draw attention to the media's flagrant anti-Catholicism and tell the World that his Jewish mate told him that the media's anti-Catholicism reminds him of the anti-Semitism widespread in Nazi Germany.

Of course, when anti-Semitism rears its ugly head it is immediately condemned by the mainstream media. When it is prevalent in a culture or a country the media call it what it is. But when anti-Catholicism is prevalent in a culture or country the media would rather call it something else entirely. When anti-Catholicism is prevalent in this country, for example, the BBC call it 'a massive abuse scandal engulfing the Church which implicates the Pope', every single day.

So, somehow, the BBC manage to turn a story about their own vicious anti-Catholicism into a story about how the Preacher to the Papal Household has insulted Jews and still end the article by contiuing to perpetuate the outright lie that the Holy Father was culpable or even responsible, in any way, during the Fr Lawrence Murphy case, a slur refuted entirely by the very man who oversaw the investigation of the trial cut short, as it was, by the said Priest's Death and Judgment by God. Incredible? Yes. Surprising? Sigh. No, not really...

This is, however. Catholic Telegraph columnist, Christina Odone, who tells us how much she continues to "love my faith", (my ears always pick up when I hear the words, "my faith") has welcomed the words of the Archbishop of Westminster today, as the breakthrough for supporters of condoms and the pill that it isn't...that's according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church and, er...Archbishop Vincent Nichols, if you actually read what he said.


Physiocrat said...

There is lots of Anti-semitism around but it uses the misdeeds of Israel as a front.

You know it is antisemitism when the same people who criticise israel never say a word about the misdeeds of other governments such as China who run immoral foreign policies or oppress their minorities.

Patricius said...

Thank you for taking the trouble to check the facts of what was actually said both here and in relation to the Archbishop Nichols interview earlier. If only other Catholic bloggers were as vigilant! There are enough enemies of the Church out there without our falling for their lies.

georgem said...

Well, it's clear from listening to CO amd reading her op-eds that, while she may be rather good as self-promotion, She. Is. Not. Very. Bright. Especially in the realm of subtlety, which is how Archbishop Nichols expressed himself.
OTOH The Editor of The Tablet understands very well, which makes her jumping on the bandwagon this morning more treacherous.
For the Archbishop of Canterbury, if reports are correct, it's payback time.
As for the Vatican preacher, I have to say in charity that he meant well and his exaggerated and ill-conceived reference to anti-Semitism was minor within his homily. But how could he not realise that's the very passage which would be seized on in the present climate and used gleefully against The Pope? You don't get to work at the Vatican by being ingenuous. Didn't anyone see the text beforehand and realise the landmine buried within?
We can only trust in Christ. It the first time in my memory that Easter Sunday will be more a time for contemplation than celebration. Pray for The Pope and the church.

The Bones said...

George, I have a lot of sympathy with what Fr Cantalamessa said. As Damian Thompson said in an article recently when people think of Catholic Church they now think 'abuse' and when people think of Pope they think 'Nazi'.

We have an image problem, yes, and our own Priests and Bishops have not always helped, but there is a deliberate and sustained campaign of stigmatisation by the media. We are fair game because the Church is Christ's Bride, but society would not allow what is currently happening in the press to be said of the Jewish faith or the Muslim faith.

Physiocrat said...

Our Augean Stables need to be cleaned, but as far as I can make out in this part of the world, it really is just a few rotten apples, though our beloved bishops are another story for not getting said stables cleaned out.

Abuse in Ireland seems to have been just part of the national culture.

The howling of the mob, however, is motivated by something else altogether.

georgem said...

Laurence, we are pretty much in agreement, except over Fr. Cantalamessa's homily.
Yes, the secular world is certain to lob as many grenades as it can to what it is convinced is an organisation who wants to spoil "self-fulfilment" and appears to be holier-than-thou. The abuse scandal has given those who hate the RCC plenty more ammunition when they are eager to conflate the two.
However, the media has also given the same treatment to the police when corruption has been unearthed and frequently to the monarchy. Who were the bêtes-noires before us? Social workers.
So yes, we are being attacked without let. And I do wish that we had some intelligent and thougthful Catholics to speak up rather than some of the half-baked examples we've been hearing so much from.
But maybe we have to think of what happens tomorrow rather than what is happening today.
A blessed and peaceful Easter to you and all who read your excellent and faithful blog.
btw, you are not planning to take your guitar into Mass, are you?

The Bones said...


I think if Fr Ray saw me trying to take a guitar into Church we'd have a 'grassy knoll' situation on our hands. I would defend the assassination with my dying breath.

georgem said...


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