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Surprise, surprise. Ed Stourton puts the boot in to the ordinariate

But this time, he was just a little too obvious about it

By on Monday, 31 January 2011

Well, it was only a matter of time before the BBC (or rather, the intelligentsia of Radio 4) came out against the ordinariate, following its usual tactic of maintaining a bogus appearance of impartiality while actually setting everything up to arrive at the wished-for conclusion. Hence, Edward Stourton on this week’s Sunday programme asked one Professor Tina Beattie to comment on the new body, without actually telling his listeners that Ms Beattie represents a very particular (and extreme) point of view within the Church. This is how the interview began.

Edward Stourton: Do all Britain’s Roman Catholics welcome the ordinariate, the body set up by Pope Benedict to allow disaffected Anglicans to join the Catholic Church while maintaining many of their own traditions. No, is the short answer. Tina Beattie teaches Catholic studies at Roehampton University and, Tina Beattie, your problem with this is what?
Tina Beattie: Well, I don’t want to call it a problem, but I think many of us are perplexed about what this means in terms of the Catholic Communion, and indeed obviously for relations between our two Churches. The Catholic Church has a unity that’s not based on likemindedness or sameness, and it’s very puzzling to know how this very homogenous, small group of likeminded people, offered a quasi-independent place within the Catholic Communion, is going to fit in and become part of us.
Stourton: And is your objection partly to do with the fact that you don’t like what they stand for? Particularly on the question of women’s role in the Church?
Beattie: I’m not happy about that, no. And I think actually, dare I say it, it’s a peculiarly Protestant thing to join a church because of what one doesn’t like, as a gesture of protest – that’s where the word comes from. It would be wonderful if they were coming in for the positives, and the joy, and the wonders of being part of this worldwide Communion.

This, of course, was what certain Catholic bishops were obsessively convinced of in the early 1990s: the convert Anglicans were just coming over for negative reasons, mostly because they didn’t like women in their priesthood. The signs are that some at least of the bishops, this time round, have actually got the point: asked by Radio Essex (BBC local radio is much less biased in a kneejerk liberal/left direction than Radio 4) whether the ordinariate was just about the issue of women bishops, Bishop Thomas McMahon of Brentwood replied: “I don’t think it is, quite honestly. In the same way as 10 or 12 years ago it wasn’t just women priests. The central question that each of them is asking is: ‘Does any church have the authority to change what is of the apostolic tradition?’ …  So it’s a question of authority and where that authority lies, and whether that authority has the ability… to change what is of the apostolic tradition. So I think that’s, much more, the heart of the question, rather than women priests or women bishops, actually”. The authority of the Church, of course, is a large part of what Professor Beattie doesn’t like about it: but let it pass.
But while we are about it, who does she think she is, implying that what the new converts are not coming over for are “the positives, and the joy, and the wonders of being part of this worldwide Communion”. (Stourton’s interjection “Perhaps they are, a bit..?” and her response, “I’m sure they are…” were deliberately unconvinced and unconvincing).  I can assure her – and unlike her I know these people quite well – that all that is precisely what they are coming for: and not just “a bit”.
I ask who she thinks she is: well, unlike Edward Stourton, I will tell you who she is and where she is coming from. When the New Humanist asked a number of people, including Richard Dawkins, Philip Pullman and Claire Rayner, known to be hostile to the Pope, the question: “If you were invited to address Benedict XVI during his UK visit… what would you say to him?”, one of two Catholics presented by the New Humanist as asking the question “stay or go?” – in other words whether to stay in the Catholic Church or leave it altogether – was Professor Tina Beattie. Her question for the Pope was: “Your Holiness, I hope your experience of the variety and vitality of British Catholicism will help you to understand the challenges we liberal Catholics face in maintaining a dialogue between our Catholic faith and secular society… conservative Catholics accuse us of betraying the Church because we are willing to debate questions such as women’s ordination, priestly celibacy and homosexuality… What would you do, in my situation?” She is, in brief, a radical feminist hostile to the Magisterium: her books include New Catholic Feminism: Theology and Theory (London and New York: Routledge, 2006), God’s Mother, Eve’s Advocate: A Marian Narrative of Women’s Salvation (London and New York: Continuum, 2002) and Eve’s Pilgrimage: A Woman’s Quest for the City of God (London: Burns & Oates; New York: Continuum, 2002).
So when Stourton asked: “Do all Britain’s Roman Catholics welcome the ordinariate?” what he actually meant (though was too fly actually to say) was: “Do Catholic liberals and radical feminists welcome the ordinariate?” Well, of course they don’t: those who are joining the ordinariate are coming, in part at least, because in the Church of England (unlike the Church of Rome), those who think like Professor Beattie are in the ascendant and are in the process of suppressing those in their Church who think in a Catholic way: that’s one very good reason among others why so many Catholic-minded Anglicans are joining the Catholic Church itself.
It would have been nice if someone had been allowed on to the Sunday programme to point all this out. But that’s not how it works, of course; that’s why so few of us listen to the Sunday programme.

  • Mary in Monmouth

    Totally un-representative of the view of the Catholics I have talked to, who are genuinely very happy about the pope’s generous offer. I don;’t ever listen to the BBC on such programmes as they are dominated by one point of view which they peddle relentlessly and why we should be pressing for relief from having to support this organisation from our licence fees.They are from a worldly mindset and cannot even fathom what this is really all about and it’s much more than simply women priests.

  • Anonymous

    Regrettably things could have been different :
    In mid-2009 one of the BBC’s Religious programming producers Rosie Dawson contacted me ; saying they were desperately seeking new voices for their programmes from a more orthodox , traditional Catholic perspective.

    [It wouldn't be breaking a confidence to state they were fed up with the same, regular 'rogues gallery' singing from the same songsheet being invited to defend or talk about Catholicism ; but instead they were more hostile to the Pope and Church teaching than the purported antagonists! It was all getting very same-y and was increasingly becoming clear it was definitely not the majority Catholic position on the issue.]

    So – Would I ask around?
    The word went out across the Catholic blogs searching for names and recommendations…
    …many names were proffered.

    Jack Valero, Austen Ivereigh & BBC-insider Kathleen Griffin got together with backing from Lord Brennan to form Catholic Voices – technically hijacking the whole scene and ensuring the Tabletista/Westminster elitist/accommodating catholic-with-a-small-c ‘gospel according to Ivereigh’ became the major available resource and agenda.

    So the opportunity was lost!
    But please – don’t think that the entire BBC is enthralled with the guestlists of speakers on the Sunday Programme or Beyond Belief – some of them are as bemused, irritated, bored and frustrated with them as we are!!!

  • W Oddie

    I am a bit surprised by this: I don’t know all of those names you mention, but I do know Jack Valero for instance, who is 100% orthodox, I would have thought: I thought some interviews involving their people during the Pope’s visit were pretty good; would it be more just to say they are inconsistent? I ask for information: I’m not sure about this.

  • http://twitter.com/PrayingTheMass Jeffrey Pinyan

    “Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had everything in common.” (Acts 4:32)

    How dare a homogenous, small group of likeminded people desire communion with the Catholic Church!

  • Field of Dreams

    Sorry- do you mean the converts or the liberal Catholics?

  • Tiggy

    I heard the interview. Typical of the BBC to give air time to someone so unrepresentative. I had no idea this lady was associated with “The Tablet” Enough said.

  • Breff

    I believe Catholic Voices was formed in reaction to the poor showing of our side in the Intelligence Squared debate where, according to reports, lacked expertise in presenting the true Catholic case and our replies to our opponents. Jack Valero is truly Catholic and I heard that orthodoxy of belief was a requirement of those joining Catholic Voices. I don’t understand, either, why its establishment should have required the BBC to abandon its search for genuine Catholics to take part in its programmes and why they had to rely on the Tablet lady. She was also on a television programme from Oscott following the Pope’s visit so they must be familiar with her outlook.

  • John

    “because in the Church of England (unlike the Church of Rome), those who think like Professor Beattie are in the ascendant and are in the process of suppressing those in their Church who think in a Catholic way”

    Where does this come from? The Church of England is governed through Synod. There is no suppression of the Anglo-Catholic voice by the so called liberals. The will of Synod will prevail, and whether it is the right time or not to have women as Bishops will be decided by that process, not by liberals or traditionalists, but by elected representatives from the three houses. Whatever is decided needs the approval of Parliament and the Assent of the Queen. Unlike the RC Church, where one man rules infallibly?

  • Anonymous

    A few CVs are excellent – that’s undeniable – but are they representing Catholicism?
    Or something which will be more conducive and palatable to both the media and their professional media ‘sparring partners’ in the humanist/secularist movements

    The prime directive of Catholic Voices is ‘the media is no place to evangelise’
    They have a very definite mandate and songsheet – and directives for the reactions to give to certain issues.
    The majority of these emanate from the co-ordinators perspective of things.

    Don’t forget: Catholic Voices is an independent charity now – it’s not part of the Catholic Union nor does it have any links with Bishops. Conference or any diocesan body – they won’t even confirm [despite being repeatedly asked] if they have been granted apostolic/executive permission to use the name ‘Catholic’. They can say what they want about any issue – without any recourse to the executive of any Ordinary.

    Despite the strings of degrees, masters and doctorates of the Catholic Voices team, their co-ordinators are neither qualified nor experienced in ANY Theological or Philosophical field – Jack’s a glorified town planner , Austen got his doctorate in ‘catholicism in argentinian politics’ and Kathleen’s an educationalist/ media guru – you’re not looking at a new Catholic defence league here….

    Any other problems I have with the whole thing is a side-issue which I refuse to discuss here – but do you honestly think that CV would criticise Ed Stourton ? Or the team would be allowed to counter Tina Beattie given her and Austen’s Tablet affiliation ?
    Do you think they would for one moment be critical of Bishops’ Conference over the Liverpool care pathway , or the CES, or Connexions, ?
    Or of ++Vin over the Cardinal Vaughan school or the Warwick St masses or some of his media statements on the foetus being of more value than the embryo , that the church might change its position on X, Y or Z ?

    You see?
    They’re supposed to be Orthodox Catholic – wow! you should see some of their credentials – but that doesn’t mean they have to act or speak like one – they’re supposed to be independent – but that doesn’t stop them being up to their necks in the mire that’s the professional laity in England and Wales.

    Catholic first ?
    Or game players ?

  • PhilipH

    I doubt whether Tina Beattie speaks for many catholics. In fact the only thing that puzzled me is why she has not already set off for the Church of England to try to get ordained herself. But I would love to know why the BBC chose her instead of attempting to select a representative range of views from Catholics.

  • W Oddie

    So is Ed Stourton: they are both on the Board of that egregious periodical, I learn.

  • Anonymous

    Breff I ask this of Catholic Voices – now that it is an independent Charity [who. incidentally, never disclosed whom its original funders were - all we know is most of its funding came from a single 'charitable foundation']

    1. What power have you got?
    2. Where did you get it from?
    3. In whose interest do you exercise it?
    4. To whom are you accountable?
    5. How can we get rid of you?

    Would love to know the answers….

  • chiaramonti

    I have always quite liked Ed, but Catholics who have departed from the teaching of the Curch in relation to marriage by divorcing and then marrying for a second time can hardly be considered as Orthodox or as representative of the Church. One should never judge such matters too harshly because one can never know all the circumstances, but those who depart from the teaching of the Church in such an important area really ought to show a bit of humility and ought not to allow the media to treat them as typical or loyal Catholics.

  • chiaramonti

    God is not a democracy.

  • Sybil

    Well with this type of logic the synod can do what ever it wants – It might be news to you but the put says he can’t change what Christ has ordained – nothing infallabil about that dear.

  • RJ

    The problem is that if the liberals are, at least temporarily, in the majority, then they will put through their proposals against the opposition of the ‘conservative’ Anglo-Catholics. The question then is or rather was: would they make provision for the Anglo-Catholics to act according to their conscience within the Anglican communion. According to what I have gleaned from an Anglo-Catholic website (St Barnabas), the answer was no. In other words, the Anglo-Catholics saw themselves excluded and, in the longer term, effectively suppressed, having no means of continuing. This is one side of the equation. The matter of ordaining women as priests or bishops raises the bigger question of authority: does the synod have the authority to alter the apostolic tradition by majoriity vote (and then to alter it back again if the majority view shifts)? So this issue could be seen as crystallizing an important question for Anglo-Catholics, which is more than just about opposition to women priests

  • Anonymous

    A common fallacy to be observed in critiques and, more generally, in the thinking of critics of Catholicism is the erroneous/prejudicial identification of the Papacy – and, even more lazily, ‘the Vatican’ – as the dictator of what the Church believes, rather than what it in fact is, which is the custodian and defender of what She believes. Moreover, your glib iteration of the cliched assertion ” one man rules infallibly” betrays what your antipathy fails to conceal. The Pope is a man: the Papacy (the Apostolic continuum) is the rock upon which The Church is founded. If a pope (a man) were to pronounce ex cathedra in error, it having come to pass that The Church (the universal body of Christ) is in agreement that he was in error, it is then incumbent upon the Keeper of the Keys to loose or bind accordingly. That is the divinely appointed prerogative and responsibility of the Office. It is not something determined by the vagaries of a temporally instituted democracy.

  • RJ

    The problem was that, during the controversy over the Pope’s remarks on condoms, Jack Valero and Austen Ivereigh were following the ‘line’ of Fr Rhonheimer (of Opus Dei), but his theory appears to me to suggest that the intention alone can specify the genus of an act. In other words, a sexual act using a condom would not be contraceptive if the intention were to avoid disease rather than contracept. Therefore, the use of a condom could sometimes be justified. I don’t believe that is what the Pope’s words entail. My interpretation of Fr Rhonheimer’s theory was strongly challenged in the First Things combox by those who agree with him. I am not sufficiently well versed in his theory to argue that properly. I agree with Janet Smith that it should be thrashed out by moral theologians in a more discreet setting than the internet. My concern is that, if Fr Rhonheimer is mistaken, using his theory will undermine rather than strengthen the hand of apologists like Jack Valero. It needs to be thoroughly checked out by competent people. I don’t want to start up that debate again here.

    (For Austen Ivereigh’s view, cf. http://www.americamagazine.org/blog/entry.cfm?entry_id=3578
    Cf also http://the-hermeneutic-of-continuity.blogspot.com/2010/11/popecondoms-iii-division-at-vatican.html
    Here’s Fr Rhonheimer’s Tablet article: http://www.thetablet.co.uk/article/2284
    “contraception, regarded as a human act qualified as ‘intrinsically evil’ or disordered, is not determined by what is happening on the physical level” Surely that’s got to be wrong? (‘Not completely determined by…’ might be more plausible. But the physical is also essential.). Note the split between the physical and the intentional aspects.
    A reply from Luke Gormally: http://www.faith.org.uk/publications/Magazines/Mar06/Mar06MarriageAndTheProphylacticUseOfCondoms.html)

    Fr Rhonheimer’s approach has not been condemned by the CDF (yet).

  • Breff

    These are good questions and I will attempt to answer them:
    1. They have no power in the secular meaning of the word.. They are well formed Catholic laity attempting to conform to Blessed John H Newman’s idea of Catholic laity and respond to St Peter’s appeal to be ready to give a reason for their Hope. They may be looked upon as successors of Chesterton and Belloc, neither of whom had degrees in theology, but who were prepared to defend the Faith against inaccurate criticism.
    2. They received such authority as they require from Lumen gentium 35.
    3. They exercise their witness in the interst of truth and in response to the inaccuracies that frequently characterise the mainstream media’s reporting on Church affairs.
    4.They are open to the correction of the bishops and I suppose are accountable in much the same way as the board of the Tablet or CH is accountable or as GKC was accountable.
    5. I suppose we could rid ourselves of Catholic Voices in the same way as we could rid ourselves of the Table, the CH, the BBC or anything else. But why is this important?

  • Breff

    Not quite right. “Unlike the RC Church where one man rules infallibly?” is posed as a question but suggests itself as an answer. The Pope is the prisoner of the Tradition. He,in common with all the bishops, may only pass on and teach what has always been passed on and taught.If there is genuine doubt about a matter then, relying on the Lord’s guarantee to St Peter, Christ speaks through the successor of Peter and there the matter ends. The Catholic Church sees itself as Christ’s mailbox. The CofE (and all the other Protestant communities) regard themselves as His editor.

  • Mandywood

    Divorcing and marrying for a second time does not exclude one from being a typical, loyal or even orthodox Roman Catholic. All married people, without exception, break their marriage vows at some time. I am not enamoured of the views of Edward Stourton and I do not think his views in general are representative of most Roman Catholics, but I would not allow that it is unfitting for him to express those views because he is a sinner who has failed in love, as we all have.

  • Anonymous

    RJ The first thing to recognise is the very notion of prophylactic intention is ludicrous – the intention is to have sex – that’s it plain and simple – have sex – when you shouldn’t be having sex which may risk another’s health or life.
    Prophylactic intention itself is an antinomial – When 100% prophylaxis does NOT EXIST!
    You can’t have a valid morally approvable intention if that which is intended does not exist.
    [ the 2007 Cochrane report revealed that condoms were only 80% effective in seroconversion-avoidance]

    Church teaching is absolutely clear :
    Anyone who is hiv+ who continues to have sex [even with a condom] gravely sins against the fifth commandment by risking their partner’s health and life.
    End of story.
    Rhonheimer knows this
    Ivereigh knows this.
    But they continue to state the opposite – that the Church has not condemned the use of condoms for prophylactic intention.
    a] The Church condemns the use of condoms because they’re contraceptive
    b] Condoms aren’t prophylactic
    c] anyone who has sex while hiv [avec ou sans] a condom – still gravely sins by risking a partner’s life by using that which does not guarantee their protection – and that’s before we even encroach on the contraceptivity of it.

    ..but MR & AI persist in lying over the issue – YES LYING!!!

    a] Ivereigh even went so far as to say his position was IDENTICAL to the Church’s http://www.osv.com/tabid/7621/itemid/7315/Father-Rhonheimer-responds-to-Janet-Smith.aspx

    b] That urging the promiscuous to use a condom in hiv-ridden africa is CATHOLIC PASTORAL PRACTICE http://www.americamagazine.org/blog/entry.cfm?blog_id=2&entry_id=3703

    c] That when His Holiness was referring to a condom user’s INTENTION to protect being ‘the step towards moralisation’ in ‘Light of the World’ [note His Holiness was referring to the potential morality of the motive- not the gravely sinful means of exacting the motive]
    …rather Ivereigh stated that after the Lombardi ‘clarification’ this gave the green light to married hiv-serodiscordant couples to have condomistic sex.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_9214000/9214763.stm & http://www.americamagazine.org/blog/entry.cfm?entry_id=3578 &
    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/austen-ivereigh-historic-and-uttered-nervously-but-it-offers-nothing-for-those-with-aids-in-africa-2139885.html &

    & an overview by John Smeaton http://spuc-director.blogspot.com/2010/11/jack-valero-and-austen-ivereigh-need.html
    [Now Austen - or one of his acolytes - wrote a response to this on the Catholic Voices media monitor - it might be interesting for all to witness exactly .how Austen was using this 'valuable tool for defending the faith' http://spuc-director.blogspot.com/2010/09/catholic-voices-blog-creates.html ]

    Ivereigh is advocating that married couples where one partner is hiv+ can continue to have sex with a condom. – with the argument that it’s ok if you don’t really intend for it to be contraceptive but instead intend for it to be prophylactic….

    Even though he is fully aware of the risks to a partner [he even refers to a case study in san francisco where out of 100 couples one partner seroconverted]

    …but to compound all this he defiantly – wilfully – contumaciously persists in telling everyone – even to the extent of hoodwinking/indoctrinating members of Catholic Voices – that this condom use for prophylaxisparadigm has not yet been condemned by the Church! he goes so far as to speak of whisperings among the CDF to suggest that the Church will eventually say it’s OK !!

    So when the Pope and condoms are mentioned – who does the BBC call for ?
    [let's not forget that Austen is bosom-buddies with BBC religion correspondent Robert Piggott [his best man!] – so we know Ozzie will never be so discourteous as to suggest a BBC bias ?]

    Austen is seen as the man to defend the pope and Church teaching on the issue…

    Which is a little different to what he said in 2004 regarding the Church’s ban on condoms :

    “Pope John Paul II has made adherence to Humanae Vitae a touchstone of orthodoxy and obedience; there is an in-built resistance in the Vatican to any attempt to soften the condom ban in the light of the new circumstances of Aids. But if that explains Rome’s callous intransigence, it does not justify it. By its refusal to deal with human realities, the church has muffled its own prophetic voice on Aids, and encouraged the conclusion that Christian teaching that can only be upheld at the cost of African lives does not deserve that name. ” [Guardian 26th June 2004]

    Is he a liability ; Is he a scoundrel : Is he just like Tina Beattie – wishing to create a Church in their own Tabletista image.?

    As well as RJ’s links I’d advise everyone to read Rhonheimer’s [& Ivereigh's] responses in the ‘Our Sunday Visitor’ [you might need to register to read the comments]


  • Anonymous

    1] Not true – CV have an extensive [albeit unofficial in any capacity] media remit – with links, access, opportunities etc – CVs has flooded the airwaves… The official spokespeople are the CCN – where are they? CV is now a registered charity [it was so before [i.e. August] it undertook its Catholic Union mandate – i.e. the Papal Visit in September] – and they are now – this month- proceeding with interviews towards the formation of a permanent Catholic Academy. http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2010/11/05/catholic-voices-to-become-permanent-academy/ – so I repeat to CV – what power have you ?

    2] It must be repeated : Under whose authority – and with whose finances? Opus Dei ? The Blair Faith Foundation ? Who ?

    3] The scrutiny of candidates will be based upon their Catholicity [scrutiny I take it - undertaken by self-professed 'Liberal' Catholic' Kathleen Griffin,as well as Dr Ivereigh?] – and I quote – “sympathy to Bishops Conference & the Bishops” – NOT loyalty to the Apostolic office of the Episcopacy or to Rome.
    [so we can surmise there will be no problem among CV regarding all the pro-culture of Death crises inherent in Bishops conference regarding the liverpool care pathway.or connexions or the antics at the St John and Lizzie ? We won't find any defence of the Cardinal vaughan school ; or any outrage at the CES drafting anti-catholic sex education bills, or if another Oratory/Birmingham 3 scandal arises ?] Austen Ivereigh writes for America and is a deputy editor of the Tablet – I take it we won’t find any hostility or antagonism to those publications? Given Jack’s credentials and Austen’s history – I take it we won’t find any outspoken comments against Fr Martin Rhonheimer of Opus Dei ?
    Is this all in the interest of Truth and defence of the Faith?

    4] In other words you are accountable to whom?

    5] Another non-answer ; and if you don’t understand why it’s important – you perhaps remind me of Austen Ivereigh – when criticised at the lack of accountability and democratic debate in london citizens he announced aggressively [take note of his argument that exercising one's democratic right has killed popular participation in politics] : http://www.indcatholicnews.com/news.php?viewStory=16974

    One more thing – please do not think I am in ANY WAY antagonistic to the idea – I just believe at least two of the three trustees are grave liabilities.

    At Present – under the incumbent regime – Chesterbellocs they aint!!!

  • Anonymous

    Ok – will try again:

    a] Rhonheimer does not need to be condemned by the CDF – there is no such thing as a practical prophylactic intention – condoms are not 100% prophylactic [The 2007 Cochrane report states they are only 80% effective in reducing seroconversion] – therefore they automatically contravene the 5th commandment – anyone who is hiv+ MUST NOT engage in sexual intercourse.
    b] If prophylaxis does not exist – there can be no prophylactic intention – this is a misdirection and obfuscation – the intention is to have sex – sex where it is absolutely forbidden by the 5th commandment.
    c] the intention not to be contraceptive does not affect the objective intrinsic moral disorder of the reality that IT IS contraceptive – this cannot be obfuscated – it contravenes Catholic teaching on human lovemaking – NOT merely contraception [as Rhonheimer and Ivereigh constantly claim]
    d] Ivereigh and Rhonheimer perpetuate the myth that the Church has not spoken on such an issue – when if anything the CDF can only comment on Rhonheimer’s theoretical application of a non-existent 100% prophylactic – this bears absolutely no relevance whatsoever to the absolutely prohibited far-from–100% prophylactic condom!
    e] Ivereigh and Rhonheimer [despite CDF clarification stating the contrary] continue to state that Papal comments in ‘Light of the World’ support prophylactic condom use.

    I have no desire whatsoever to repeat my many links and citations of their position – but if you google they’re all readily available for perusal – so will refer you instead to the overview on OSV [you might need to register to read the comments] http://www.osv.com/tabid/7621/itemid/7315/Father-Rhonheimer-responds-to-Janet-Smith.aspx

    Anyone who advocates that an hiv serodiscordant married couple can continue to engage in sexual intercourse with a condom – is in grave error, creates scandal by promoting that position and is conspiring against the 5th commandment by advising an action which could lead to severe illness and possibly death.

    It’s evil!

  • RJ

    Thank you, Paul. Just to clarify: I’m not agreeing with the position I attributed to Fr Rhonheimer. “I agree with Janet”! (and Prof Steven Long).

  • RJ

    Paul: I have now read the OSV article by Fr Rhonheimer. Thanks very much for that. It doesn’t address the issue I’m concerned with. I must have got this impression from the Tablet article. Just taking a quick look again at that: it really rings alarm bells for me.

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous

    “The Catholic Church sees itself as Christ’s mailbox. The CofE (and all the other Protestant communities) regard themselves as His editor.”

    No, the Catholic Church knows itself to be the voice of Christ Our Lord: “Who hears you, hears me.” That makes of the CofE (and other Protestant Sects) not “His editor,” but His enemy. It’s logical really, given that it (and they) are founded on adultery!

  • W Oddie

    ” All married people, without exception, break their marriage vows at some time”: I have been married for 43 years and have never broken my marriage vows at any time. I have no doubt that this is quite normal: what on earth do you mean?

  • W Oddie

    ” All married people, without exception, break their marriage vows at some time”: I have been married for 43 years and have never broken my marriage vows at any time. I have no doubt that this is quite normal: what on earth do you mean?

  • http://twitter.com/bodley271 Ian Logan

    You are kidding, aren’t you?

  • Mandywood

    Indeed you are the exception that proves the rule if you have never failed to love and honour your wife through self love, egoism, self absorption, vanity, pride, greed, cowardice, hardness of heart, laziness, jealousy, infidelity of the heart, failure to be open to fertility and total mutual self giving.

  • http://twitter.com/bodley271 Ian Logan


  • W Oddie

    None of that forms any part of the marriage vows, which are quite simple. I have in fact made these twice: for various reasons to do with canon law, when we both became Catholics, my wife and I had to remarry in the Catholic Church.

    In the Anglican book of common prayer the vows (based on those of the Sarum rite) are as follows. I give the vows for the man; the woman’s vows are similar. Firstly, the priest asks:

    WILT thou have this Woman to thy wedded Wife, to live together after God’s ordinance in the holy estate of Matrimony? Wilt thou love her, comfort her, honour, and keep her in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all other, keep thee only unto her, so long as ye both shall live?

    Response; I will

    The vows are then made

    I M. take thee N. to my wedded Wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I plight thee my troth.

    In the Catholic rite, the vows are similar:

    Groom: I, (name), take you, (name), to be my wife. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honour you all the days of my life.

    I and many others have kept these vows: that I have sometimes done so imperfectly is irrelevant: the love and honour have always been there, as solid as a rock. So, Ian Logan, No I am not kidding: I’m dead serious.

  • W Oddie

    Absolutely NOT. see above.

  • Mandywood

    Marriage vows made be worded simply and briefly but this does not mean that they do not involve numerous things which are left unstated. For instance, when the couple promise to love and honour one another it is implicitly understood that this involves not committing adultery. But adultery is not explicitly mentioned in the wedding vows.

    For you it seems a vow can be stretched without being broken. I would interpret a vow more strictly. Our Lord interprets adultery strictly when he condemns not only adultery, but even adultery of mere desire. (Mathew 5, 28.)

  • W Oddie

    I have never committed adultery or contemplated it for a second. So what precisely do you mean by your damned impertinence in telling me that I have “stretched’ my marriage vows? What are you suggesting, you unspeakable scoundrel? I would like an unconditional apology, please.

  • W Oddie


  • OTGMcCarthy1979

    Jack Valero has repeatedly opposed the Catholic Church’s teaching that condoms are intrinsically evil. Here is clearly a definition of “orthodox” with which I was previously unfamiliar.

  • Oliver

    You cannot “use” a condom and intend to have conceive children at the same time.

  • http://twitter.com/bodley271 Ian Logan

    Just as well bumptiousness is not covered by the marriage vows. Or is it?

  • James hughes

    ‘ Divorcing and remarrying for a second time does not exclude one from being a typical, loyal or even orthodox Roman Catholic’? Sorry but that is exactly what it does do! Re-marriage in the circumstances you describe means that ,at least the Catholic party, has indeed openly declared that they are no longer in communion with the teachings of the Catholic church and are barred from receiving holy communion. In effect the people in question have excommunicated themselves so they can no longer speak as ‘orthodox Catholics’. Few of us are saints but this idea that one can behave in a manner diametrically opposed to a major tenet of the faith but hold oneself out to be an orthodox catholic is living a lie. Better to apologise to god for ones own sins than to bring scandal to the rest of the church! Have you apologised to Bill Oddie yet, and by implication to all the rest of us struggling to keep to our marriage vows.

  • Mandywood

    You have rumbled me. I am indeed an unspeakable scoundrel. I unconditionally apologise for putting myself in the position where you could choose to interpret my words as suggesting that you personally might ever have failed to live out your marriage vows.

  • W Oddie

    What you said was this: “For you it seems a vow can be stretched without being broken”. How else could i interpret your words? That is exactly what you suggested. Your attempt to pretend that you didn’t makes you even more contemptible than I had supposed. Your apology, in the terms you have offered it is no apology at all, and I do not accept it.

  • http://twitter.com/bodley271 Ian Logan

    ‘god’ … ‘Bill Oddie’? You want to rethink your priorities.
    You might also want to acquaint yourself with the teaching of the Catholic Church in these matters. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (§1651): ‘Towards Christians who live in this situation [i.e. the one you are referring to], and who often keep the faith and desire to bring up their children in a Christian manner, priests and the whole community must manifest an attentive solicitude, so that they do not consider themselves separated from the Church, in whose life they can and must participate as baptized persons.’ It is your views that are unorthodox.

  • Bonydiver

    Penultimately the reports conclusion appear correct to me.

    I am not leaving the ‘broad church ‘ to join the ordinariate but the ‘broad church’ is leaving me having failed to reconcile homosexual clergy, women priests/ bishops, same sex blessings, pre/post euthanasia blessings, blessings for abortions and the list goes on.

    I could no longer in consience continue to worship at this alter dedicated to mans failings.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2OFXAYCZ5TVPOMDBUYY65JPH5Y Tee

    The BBC is looking for ways to divide Christians and have us attack one another. Don’t do their dirty work.

  • Anonymous

    Who on earth do you and Mandywood think you are to make snide insinuations about the sincerity of William Oddie’s profession of maintenance of his marriage vows? What, in God’s name, gives either of you the right? “Exactly”?

  • http://twitter.com/bodley271 Ian Logan

    All men and women are born into a state or original sin. Whilst baptism removes original sin, its consequences are still felt and we are all still left with an inclination to sin. This inclination to sin is experienced in every aspect of our life (including marriage). Anyone who is able to resist all inclination to sin is indeed the exception.
    It is clear to me that the comment to which Mr Oddie took exception was a general point and not one intended to imply that he was an adulterer or some such. That he is a sinner seems a reasonable inference from the fact we are all sinners. That is a theological claim. If he takes it personally, he had better have it out with the magisterium of the Catholic Church.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for the reply.

    With respect, that your “reasonable inference” is prefaced by recourse to catechetical truths does not excuse the avoidable (unwitting?) offensiveness of the reply by Mandywood and endorsed by you.

    It is not so much a defence as a side-step and says more about the (unintended?) condescension of your attitude to William Oddie (and now to me) than it does about the validity of the general point you make (in the context of the thread begun by chiaramonti).