Thursday, 2 September 2010

Redemptorist Publications's Horrific New Release: Updated

RPs 'Spiritual Companion'? Thanks, but no thanks!
Update: Redemptorist Publications now have 'no problem' with my blog post and objected only to the articles being re-produced 'in their entirety'. Below is the revised blog post.

What on Earth is going on?!

I have read an original copy of a new leaflet from Redemptorist Publications entitled 'Celebrating the Papal Visit: Your Spiritual Companion.'

Page 1 and page 4 are passable efforts at presenting very briefly Pope Benedict XVI and the intercession of the Saints, but pages 2 and 3 are absolutely terrible. I will quote briefly from the article written by one Lucy Russell, entitled, 'It's Not Easy Being a Catholic...'

In her article, Lucy tells us that, in February, she was 'asked up to London to teach a seminar to some PhD students'.  She writes that she was greeted by her 'former supervisor' who kissed her cheek and told her that he and his partner had been two of the first people to sign the National Secular Society's petition objecting to the Pope's visit. Among his chief objections to the visit was summed up by the question, "Can you believe the things he has said about homosexuality?"

Not an ideal start for a Catholic to teach at a seminar on the Faith. Who could blame her for bricking it? She goes on to say that she spent the initial part of the seminar,

'...trying to defend the Pope, reminding a room of atheists, Muslims and lapsed Catholics that the media is keen to report on the Pope's comments on homosexuality, but we hear significantly less about his comments on war and poverty, that sometimes some sentiments are "lost in translation" between languages etc',

While we can agree that there is some sensationalism in the media concerning the Holy Father's statements on homosexuality, I have not yet read any quotations that are not eminently sensible. Aside from the headlines, his statements, often quoted accurately are not "lost in translation". The Church's teaching makes it quite clear that the culture of homosexual behaviour, as well as the act of homosexuality itself present a grave threat to society, the Soul and the human family.

'The discussion moved on to the Vatican's response to the Holocaust and then on to the teaching of sex education in Catholic schools. Reporting on Catholic sex education had been misleading, I said: never had I, in school, been told that being gay was wrong. We were shown condoms, we knew about abortion and at GCSE I had written a discursive essay on a woman's "right to choose".

We all know that Catholic education is so bad nowadays that yes, Catholic school children probably are putting condoms on cucumbers and the local Connexions service probably are only too happy to refer Catholic girls to the BPAS to arrange abortions and morning after pills without parental consent, but it really needs to be made clear that the Church explicitly condemns both trends and that it is absolutely right to do so. We need to recall here also, that while the act of homosexuality is condemned by the Church, the orientation (of which I am only too familiar), while constituting an intrinsic moral disorder is not a matter of sin either mortal or venial.

Lucy goes on to say that the 'discussion went on' to include the 'position of women in the Church', but she neglects to include her answer in the article, so we shall have to leave her response to the imagination and hope that she defended both priestly celibacy and the Church's requirement for Priests to be male valiantly.

Anyway, Lucy, if it is any consolation, immediately after I posted this blog, I dealt with an enquirer into the Catholic faith abysmally when she asked me, "Do atheists go to Hell?" for her 'university theology dissertation' when, after an exhausting 45-minute explanation of the Catholic Faith, the Church, our continual need for conversion, the Incarnation, the Role of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Atonement, the Sacraments of Baptism, Reconcilation, the Eucharist, the Anointing of the Sick and Christ's Second Coming as Judge of the Living and the Dead, I was still left mumbling into my tea about the Mercy of God and that we don't know because only God can judge the Soul...I'll have to answer to God for my response and I have a feeling that I was found very much wanting...

I've was asked, by email, to remove all of the quotations sourced from the leaflet from this blog post but I do not think that is a good idea. Redemptorist Publications may be embarrassed by this blog post and so might the individuals involved in the production of this leaflet, but the publication house presumably enjoys many benefits of being a 'Catholic publisher' with the prestige that this brings and so it should really endeavour to reflect the Catholic Church's Infallible Teaching. If it does not, in its literature, then I am sure that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will be only too interested to know about it.

Without much more ado, then, I draw your attention to the article positioned neatly next to Lucy Russell's piece entitled, 'Hot Topic', as if, somehow, during the Papal Visit, a 'hot topic' of discussion will be women's ordination! In this article we are encouraged to consider...

'One topic which is hotly debated within the Church is the ordination of women and if you live in the capital you might have seen on of the ten London buses currently displaying the slogan, "Pope Benedict Ordain Women Now" - a campaign organised by the UK Group, "Catholic Women's Ordination".

It should be noted that this topic is only 'hotly debated' by heretics and schismatics. The same little piece encourages readers...

'Why not get together with a group of friends to discuss it, or talk to your parish priest? It could be one of the many questions people ask you!'

...leaving the reader quite unsure where this little 'spiritual companion' to the Papal Visit to the UK stands on the whole issue, while ensuring that the link to the said Catholic Women's Ordination group appears underneath the article. Surely, any Catholic publication should be encouraging the Laity to get together with a group of friends and the parish priest to give the CWO group a good old traditional denouncing over brandy and biscuits! No?

Sadly not. A defense of the Holy Father and Catholic Teaching this is not. The same 'spiritual companion' came with an offer to have The Tablet as a free trial in your parish! Any time the Arm of the Church formerly known as the Inquisition wants to put the editorial team of The Tablet and whoever authorised this 'spiritual companion' and, indeed, me, on trial in our parish, that is fine by me.

All quotations sourced in this blogpost are from the document 'Celebrating The Papal Visit: Your Spiritual Companion' and copyright of this document belongs to Redemptorist Publications © 2010.

For more information on this issue see Hermeneutic of Continuity and Mulier Fortis.


Fr Richard Biggerstaff said...

Who is Lucy Russell? Why did Redemptorist publications ask her contribution?

The Bones said...

No idea!

PaulineG said...

Well, if the Good Lord finds you wanting the rest of us are in deep trouble!

Richard Collins said...

Thanks to you Laurence for writing up this appalling error of judgement on the Redemptorist's part.
You can email Father Dorcey to voice your concern at this rag of a leaflet on
I commend all to do so.

Mulier Fortis said...

Bones, an excellent summary and analysis (as always) - it even prompted me to write my own post on the matter. My apologies for the dreadful pun in the post title...

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