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Cardinal Bertone may be right to block the head of Caritas: but the way he has done it is a massive own goal

The Roman Curia has to learn both to communicate and to behave with more sensitivity

By on Friday, 25 March 2011

The Vatican has blocked the re-election of Dr Lesley-Anne Knight as secretary-general of Caritas Internationalis (Photo: CNS)

The Vatican has blocked the re-election of Dr Lesley-Anne Knight as secretary-general of Caritas Internationalis (Photo: CNS)

I have to admit that I don’t check up on the Tablet’s online version as often as maybe I should; at my age I have to watch my blood pressure. And I don’t take the print version. Maybe I ought to (despite my personal prejudice against it, born of long years of experience of its consistently anti-magisterial policy); I have just been told that it published a favourable review of a recent book I edited entitled The Holiness of GK Chesterton. Confusing; in the good old days, they always savaged anything I wrote.

Anyway, back to The Tablet online, which last month published a story, which I have just come across via Protect the Pope, which discusses an interview by John L Allen with Dr Lesley Ann Knight, presently secretary-general of Caritas Internationalis. The Tablet story begins thus:

Vatican blocks re-election of Caritas Internationalis chief

The global Catholic development agency Caritas Internationalis (CI) is reeling after the Vatican took the highly unusual step of officially blocking Lesley-Anne Knight from running for a second four-year term as CI secretary general.

The Tablet has learned that three weeks ago the Vatican’s Secretariat of State refused to grant Dr Knight the necessary nihil obstat required for all candidates for the key position. The CI bureau – which includes the international president, secretary general, treasurer and seven regional presidents – has asked the Vatican to “reconsider the decision”….

Cardinal Rodríguez [CI’s president] wrote to all directors of the 165-member international confederation on 5 February to inform them of the Vatican’s decision. The letter… notes that Secretariat of State officials met a CI delegation on that same day and gave only a verbal account of why the Vatican refused to approve Dr Knight’s candidacy. The cardinal does not mention those reasons in his letter….

So, why exactly has the Vatican acted in this way? The interview with John Allen has a couple of clues, perhaps. According to Allen, a letter from Cardinal Bertone stressed that “the decision should not cast doubt on Knight’s merits, but was motivated by a desire to give new emphasis to the “theological dimension” of Caritas, to “improve communication” between Caritas and the Vatican, and to emphasise the need for Caritas to act in “strict co-operation” with Vatican offices”.

But what does that mean? It’s all very well for Cardinal Bertone to say that he wants to improve communications with Caritas; but he’s not doing very well himself. I’m not questioning his decision at all: but I think that we should all be told his explicit reasons.

We may, perhaps, be able to deduce them from Dr Knight’s interview. When asked whether Caritas was trying to improve its relationship with the Vatican, she replied: “Totally. It may be that my personal way of being church, or someone else’s, doesn’t fit a particular brand at the moment. That doesn’t mean you walk away. It means you say, ‘Here I am. I’m Catholic. This is where I belong, and I’m not going anywhere.’ That’s what Caritas now will do, as long as I can lead it. We’ll say, we’re here, how can we help you? How can we be of service? How can we make you proud of us?”

That reference to her way of “being church” (a phrase which in my book is a real ultra-liberalism indicator) and that reference to the Catholicism of the Magisterium as being “a particular brand”, and her disagreement with it as being “at the moment”, as though Rome were in a state of perpetual flux, probably tells us all we need to know. But it’s not enough. If someone is being fired, they have a right to know why, in terms. And even from a PR point of view, it’s yet another example of Rome’s utter inability to communicate with the modern world: it’s simply asking for accusations of unfairness and authoritarianism, and it’s already getting them, big time.

Have a look at this extract from John Allen’s interview with Dr Knight. Allen asks her how many times, in the four years she has been secretary-general, she has spoken with the Vatican Secretary of State who has just fired her. This is her response. If she is speaking the truth, which I have no reason to doubt, then even if Cardinal Bertone’s actions are justified (which I also have no reason to doubt) the least that must be said is that he has handled this whole affair with a most shocking combination of high-handedness and incompetence.

DR KNIGHT: Cardinal Bertone has never spoken to me [my italics]. He has never invited me to a meeting or asked to speak with me. I have only spoken to people at under-secretary level. There has also been minimal contact from Cor Unum [the Vatican office responsible for overseeing charitable activity].

This is connected to the concern about whether Caritas is Catholic enough, because it raises the question, does the Holy See actually know what Caritas is doing? The information flow tends to be one-way. I submit all my reports and my finances [to Vatican officials]. I send a monthly update newsletter, which goes to all the top officials in the Secretariat of State. This month it will be Libya, plus the one-year anniversary of the Chile earthquake and the World Social Forum. I always say if there’s anything you would like to have more information about, or if you’d like a discussion about something, please contact me. There’s absolutely zero response [my italics].

JOHN ALLEN: Was the decision on the nihil obstat a complete surprise to you?

DR KNIGHT: Absolutely. It was a total surprise. We had no inkling of this at all. Bear in mind that our executive board meetings are attended by Cor Unum. They are totally aware of all the processes. They knew I was fully endorsed by the board in November of last year. There was no question about what was happening, but there was no indication of what they were thinking.

I repeat. I do not question Cardinal Bertone’s decision: I can’t, because I don’t know the reasons for it, nobody does: and I trust him. But it has to be said that the way he has handled this matter has been, from a purely human point of view, quite shocking. Justice must not only be done; it must be seen to be done. Giving little hints in explanation of one’s actions, with a nod here and a wink there, is unworthy of the high standards of conduct which ought to characterise the highest leadership of the Roman Catholic Church. So is waffling on with lofty but inexplicit talk of a desire to give new emphasis to the “theological dimension” of Caritas (meaning what precisely? It probably does mean something), to talk of the need to “improve communication” between Caritas and the Vatican, and to emphasise the need for Caritas to act in “strict co-operation” with Vatican offices: how can Dr Knight co-operate with people who won’t even talk to her? She says of Cor Unum that “there was no indication of what they were thinking”. If that’s true, and I bet it is, it’s just not good enough.

I think that Pope Benedict’s has the potential to be one of the great pontificates of Catholic history. But with communications skills like those of the men on whom he has to rely, how will we ever know? Do they even want to tell anyone what is going on in their minds? This whole affair is turning out to be a massive own goal on Cardinal Bertone’s part. He will in the course of time need to weed people out; probably many more than he is doing; God knows, there’s plenty of dead wood, obstructing the mission of the Church. But he will really have to go about it more skilfully, and with greater sensitivity, than this.

  • Horace Zagreus

    The Holy Father does not, we are told, meet regularly with Fr Lombardi, the closest thing to his press secretary. This pontificate might indeed be one of those great and good in the history of the Church, but its communications are dire.

    Indeed, since the late Pope’s PR man (whose name I forget) stepped down, the Church’s public relations have, in general, been pretty abysmal. One gets the impression that the Pope doesn’t take the press seriously, which would be a serious error.

  • Anonymous

    Dr Oddie: You’ve been hoodwinked!

    John Allen is merely repeating the Austen Ivereigh story [in America for the past few weeks] and of course the Tablet that this is some Vatican Witch-hunt/Purge aganst an ostensibly innocent Dr Knight.

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/vatican-official-criticizes-outgoing-caritas-secretary-general

    & http://www.realcatholictv.com/cia/ [an overview to the entire crisis in which Caritas is at present very heavily involved- long-viewing but necessary for anyone wishing to understand the greater picture]

    Prove very differently.

    We’re on the brink of a hostile takeover in this country – all in the name of ‘the new humanism’ [a perversion of His Holiness's vision of Humanism] where…well? work it out for your yourself.

  • Peter

    God’s ways are not man’s ways.

  • Anonymous

    It was with a growing sense of astonishment that I found myself agreeing with something that Dr Oddie had written. He rightly says that the Cardinal may be right but the way he has acted is a massive own goal. Paulpriest now claims that Dr Oddie has been hoodwinked. In other words he must mean that the Cardinal had indeed frequently spoken to Dr Knight and that Cor Unum have frequently objected to action by Caritas. Paulpriest merely refers the reader to various web sites without answering these specific points. Perhaps he will.

  • http://twitter.com/StMalachy Chris Walters

    A point of order – Dr Knight is not “being fired”. Her four year term has come to an end. HE Tarcisio Card. Bertone has decided he will not provide the nihil obstat to allow her a further four year term. Crudely put, her contract has ended and it’s not being renewed.

    Now that we must all bow down and worship the great secular god Transparency this silly spat is likely to simmer for some time.

    The nihil obstat is a guarantee that there nothing contrary to faith and morals. The refusal of HE to grant this to Dr Knight speaks volumes.

    Now for CAFOD….

  • Anonymous

    It’s perfectly obvious to anyone why Dr Knight is utterly unsuitable to remain in her role…it’s the sin of detraction which prevents me outlaying all the things she has said and done – and far from it being Cardinal Bertone’s responsibility to enter ‘dialogue’ with her – or Cor Unum’s duty to reprimand – Caritas is there to act according to Church teaching and the already repeatedly stated regulations – they haven’t; she’s already burned her boats with her media campaign against the Vatican, not merely speaking for herself but utilising sympathetic hacks like Ivereigh and Allen to claim innocence and fabricate that the Vatican is engaging in some insidious misogynistic hostile takeover. It’s NOT TRUE!!!

  • Anonymous

    Again you seem determined to miss the point of the article. Because it is obvious to you and those like you why this lady should go, you miss the point of the article was that she should have been heard by the Vatican. It is ordinary employment law, ordinary justice, ordinary basic decent behaviour that requires compliance with the duty to hear the person concerned.

  • Anonymous

    “It’s perfectly obvious to anyone why Dr Knight is utterly unsuitable to remain in her role…it’s the sin of detraction which prevents me outlaying all the things she has said and done…” Not like you to pass up on a chance to demonize someone, eh?

  • AgingPapist

    “from a PR point of view, it’s yet another example of Rome’s utter inability to communicate with the modern world: it’s simply asking for accusations of unfairness and authoritarianism, and it’s already getting them, big time”.
    ———————————————————————————————————————————————————–

    I disagree with Dr. Oddie on a number of issues, but on this point I have to agree with him. If the quote is reflective of a wider problem in the Church with respect to all issues it is having to confront, not simply the reasons or lack of them for firing Dr. Knight, and I think it is, then Cardinal Bertone and others around this pope need to go and go quickly.

    We are made privy to anoter sign of the times which ALL bishops throughout the world must give serious attention to:putting as much distance between their authority and the governing of their dioceses from the House of Nonsense in Rome, or find themselves increasingly placed at a distance by the laity—the presbyerate of the laity– and their pastors. The new and growing replacement for a decadent, self-serving, and totally irrelevant structure which must be supplanted by a completely autocephalous ,self-governing Church. Built from the ground up by laity and priests alike.

  • AgingPapist

    God’s ways are not man’s ways.
    ———————————————-
    and?

  • AgingPapist

    “One gets the impression that the Pope doesn’t take the press seriously, which would be a serious error. ”

    Horace, One also gets the impression this pope is abysmally ignorant of what is going on around him, or doesn’t care and has delegated much of his office to clowns such as cardinals Bertone and Sodano. In any event, the pope is demonstrating he’s growing in irrelevancy. Just as his advisors and the hierarchy themselves are becoming.

  • Anonymous

    No – you misunderstand the way things work – if it’s blatantly obvious that if someone is betraying their office by collaborating with the culture of death and conspiring with secular organisations and government bodies; they should be removed – you don’t need to say it; you merely remove them from the list of future candidates. This has nothing to do with principles required to maintain common justice or uphold employment law or even decent behaviour – this is making it clear that aberrations in policy and agenda are present and the present incumbents are unsuitable for the next stage. Dr Knight isn’t being technically ‘sacked’ or removed [despite that's what's happening in actuality] – she’s merely not being re-hired.

    What is important is that everyone KNOWS what’s happening and Bertone is doing the honourable, decent thing in not bringing these issues up and holding a media slanging match; while Dr Knight is pleading victimhood when she is nothing but the villain of the whole affair.

  • Anonymous

    If that is the way that part of the church works then it is indeed disgraceful; the sooner the Pope cleans out the stables the better. Clearly not everything in the Vatican is of God.

  • Anonymous

    I have no idea what your problem is with this: But is is Your problem: Not ours.

  • Anonymous

    X is guilty because everyone knows she is; that is not the way of justice.

  • Anonymous

    Justice would be publicly denouncing her, reprimanding her and sacking her – Charity [which always goes beyond it] instead informed her that her services were no longer required.

  • Quantock

    If you think that everyone KNOWS, you are wrong VERY WRONG. This poor soul hasn’t a clue. And, what’s more, no one is explaining!
    ERGO, the author of the article is correct, the Vatican has scored an own goal or two, because they’ve convinced me by their secrecy that they have something to hide.

  • Francis Davis

    A very thoughtful and helpful comment which Im hgoing to take up at http://theprincipledsociety.com

  • Anonymous

    Rubbish!!!
    This is the general Church procedure – a miscreant cleric isn’t generally cast to the wolves – they are usually put out to pasture or moved sideways or their membership of certain committees is allowed to lapse. Only those in the loop will be aware that a certain phenomena or incident indicates something much greater has occurred behind the scenes.

    Dr Knight was being politely removed for being involving in anti-Catholic activities and expressing anti-Church positions.

    The only reason it’s now being portrayed as some nefarious underhand Vatican activity is because the Church’s enemies within WANT IT to look like that.
    The Church HAS responded via Mgr Dal Toso – secretary of Cor Unum; but only those bodies loyal to the Vatican have even bothered to report it – Ivereigh and Allen are flagrantly abusing their alleged objectivity by their silence.

    Cardinal Bertone is simply adopting general praxis – we don’t resort to public denunciations or slanging matches.

    Now yes this is a double-edged sword – occasionally it’s been a procedure used by other bodies within the Church [usually conference quangoes or religious communities] to oust opposing forces; giving no reasons other than a highly incongruous cover story – the most prominent recent story being that of the Birmingham Three.

    But frankly we don’t wash our dirty linen in public – some of us know about a few embarrassing shenanigans within the Church where those involved have been quietly dealt with in a charitable way rather than being cast to the wolves.

    Quantock – if you or anyone else wants to know about what Dr Knight has said and done most of it is readily available – only a few google clicks away – within seconds it will become blatantly obvious why the Vatican would most certainly not want her to be re-appointed. Only the media-hacks with ulterior motives and sympathetic anti-Church agenda would make any attempt to turn this into some ‘Vatican cull’.

  • Gfred

    I am a little prejudiced against women with hyphened names, smacks of feminism. Most of the priestesses in the CofE used this method to show they were independent and had not fully committed to their marriages.

  • AgingPapist

    Yes, the larger Church does not need an inner sanctum of secrecy and walls of silence everywhere, with the likes of Bertone, Sodano and Company operating in some Star Chamber -like proceedings. The medieval Church has to go, or be brought tumbling down by those in the pews.

    This disgraceful way of managing the Church from the central office, or should I say “mismanaging” the Faith, has to be dumped into the trash bin of history. Where it belongs.

  • AgingPapist

    nihil obstat is a guarantee that there nothing contrary to faith and morals
    ——————————————————————————————————–

    Another absurdity given everything conceivable could enter Holy Church “contrary to faith and morals” right under Bertone’s nose, and he’d be none the wiser. The same for most bishops.

  • Anonymous

    I just humbly accept that what the legal system of the world regards as justice (necessary for charity to be shown) audi alteram partem is not at the heart of your conception of the church. To me a tragedy but obviously not to you. I do not think there is any point in continuing a discussion where we are on different planets – like discussing justice with an African despot.

  • Peter

    The Holy See is not a PR machine. It is a dispenser of truth. Take it or leave it.

  • Anonymous

    …and yet again you simply do not get this – Dr Knight has not been silenced or been judged without a trial or been a victim of injustice via some secret vatican starchamber…she took the ‘dialogue’ into the public arena claiming victimhood, together with a bunch of opportunistic bandwagon-jumping media hacks taking-up her cause; when the only victims are those unborn who were murdered by organisations with whom she collaborated – all in the name of the Church!!!

    She has been a public miscreant – making anti-Catholic, anti-papal and anti-Church statements and colluding/conspiring with bodies with which the regulations of Cor Unum as well as Magisterial techings and Vatican directives prohibit – all in the public arena…

    She has not been fired or expelled
    She has instead been informed that she need not apply for re-appointment because she will not be chosen
    Hardly the actions of despots
    The only tragedy is that she was ever appointed in the first place and Caritas was placed in such disrepute….

    Different planets?
    I’m sorry but the only planet on which you reside is the one which adamantly refuses to recognise what’s before you – instead you persist with ridiculous appeals to justice where there has been no injustice!!! Rather the opposite.

  • Poulettictac

    Dear Dr Oddie,

    You wrote: ‘it has to be said that the way he has handled this matter has been, from a purely human point of view, quite shocking. Justice must not only be done; it must be seen to be done. Giving little hints in explanation of one’s actions, with a nod here and a wink there, is unworthy of the high standards of conduct which ought to characterise the highest leadership of the Roman Catholic Church.’ It has always been thus, Dr Oddie. I fully agree it is not at all right but my experience of several heart-rending decisions taken by major figures on the Church has been of smoke and mirrors rather than truth and transparency and in each case the victim has been left without the sort of recourse that Dr Knight has been able to access in publicity terms.

    HE Cardinal Bertone is a man of relatively high principles, I understand. Several wise individuals with whom I have spoken and who know the man well enough to speak with some sense have endorsed his decision. Dr Knight should now move on. In the past, her betters and equals have had to swallow bitter pills and get on with life. It can be horrid, the sort of thing that has happened to her, and I sympathise wholeheartedly, but it is time to move on.

  • Chistofishman

    the church however, is NOT an ordinary employer, nor should it be held to ‘the standards of the modern age’. It is kind of like expecting your mother to make an appointment to visit you. It is a insault at least and a sin of refusing to ‘honor your father and mother’ in a deeper sense.

  • W Oddie

    No, I wasn’t hoodwinked; I thought there would be something; I just thought Cardinal Bertone should have said what it was. I also thought that one of my well-informed readers would know more than i did. Your link has led me to the following:

    “The CCODP, a Caritas member organization, has come under fire from pro-life groups for supporting organizations that advocate the legalization of abortion, distribute contraceptives, and support homosexualist policies. Knight vigorously defended CCODP after such policies were exposed by LifeSiteNews in early 2009 in a letter sent to donors and obtained by LSN.”

    Fine, now I know. But I repeat: the way cardinal Bertone announced his refusal to give Dr Knight a nihil obstat WAS an own goal: not saying why did make him look highhanded and unreasonable. As it turns out, sacking Knight is exactly the right thing to do, and I am greatly reassured by it. But saying why would have been a good opportunity to let everyone know what the Church isn’t putting up with any more. I’, not syaing we should have 100% transparency all the time, it isn’t always appropriate. But here it was. A good communicator knows when it is and when it isn’t. Here it was.

  • Chistofishman

    Really? which is more ‘just’ that we drag all the dirty laundry out in public, humiliate X and and embarrass all the people that support her and be responsible for causing upheaval and division? Damaging hundreds or thousands of people. OR should every effort be taken to make this a ‘non’ issue. Instead of destroying this womans chances to get hired by making a public spectacle of what she did wrong, she was simply told, we don’t need your services anymore. The fact she feels she did not have sufficient communications with the people who made this decision is really telling. It was HER responsibility to know she was doing the right thing and following the wishes of the Vatican. If there was any doubt in her mind she wasn’t she should have been asking questions? I mean I have never talked to the CEO , or the vice present of nearly any company I worked for, but if I am responsible for knowing my job duties from those people who represent him to me directly. So if the CEO were to decide my department wasn’t doing things ‘the company way’ and I needed to be replaced, is should come as no shock to me , unless I have been derelict in finding out what ‘the company way’ was.

  • http://profiles.google.com/chistofishman Christopher Fish

    really , from what i’ve seen he has more effectively communicated ‘the gospel’ then many popes. Could he do a better job in dealing the ‘the media’ , probably, but guess what, they are God and God is how he is responsible too first and foremost. The idea the the pope ever could become irrelevancy is such utter hogwash it is difficult to address. I’ll simply say what part of ‘On this Rock I build my church and the Gates of Hell will not prevail against it” are exactly hard to understand?

  • Dr Russell J Berry

    Dear paulpriest,

    You are quite right. ‘It’s perfectly obvious to anyone why Dr Knight is utterly unsuitable to remain in her role’ You are quite right, as long as we recognise that we must know the past or that ‘anyone’ must be bothered to look at past events and statements. Too many fail to even want to do so – condemn first is the order of their day, it seems.

    My reading of this story is, inter alia, that the lady (is this a term I am allowed to use?) is very adept at calling upon her chums to plead her case and to slap the Vatican about a bit, casting it in the role of Great Mysogynist or some such.

    The reality – or so it seems to me – is that she appears to have reaped the whirlwind, having sown the breeze wih her own mouth.

    I do not always like the way the Church does things. Truth is too often sacrificed on the altar of expediency but the Church is not any common or garden employer and may not be judged by common or garden standards, however much we may wish it were possible to tweak the odd ecclesiastical nose.

  • Dr Russell J Berry

    The reality – or so it seems to me – is that Dr Knight appears to have reaped the whirlwind, having sown the breeze wih her own mouth.

    I do not always like the way the Church does things. Truth is too often sacrificed on the altar of expediency but the Church is not any common or garden employer and may not be judged by common or garden standards, however much we may wish it were possible to tweak the odd ecclesiastical nose.

  • Dr Russell J Berry

    You are right. The stables are in need of continuous cleaning but they always have been. If you seriously believed that everything in the Vatican is of God then your sense of disillusion must be painful, indeed, but do not have too much sympathy for Dr Knight – she has earned her stripes and was lucky, in a way. If the Vatican were a secular company she would have been fired long ago.

  • Anonymous

    Of course employment law does not apply but that does not mean that an
    ordinary principle of rationality and of justice should not apply. Of
    course the church is not above morality and Cardinal Bertone has no right to
    disregard rationality and morality. The expression massive own goal was a
    brilliant expression.

    ————————————————–

  • Dr Russell J Berry

    I find it very hard to believe she does not know. It is true that it has not been ‘said’ but I am very sure she knows.
    If the Vatican is hiding anything it likely due to a desire – and a duty in Charity – not to pillory the woman for various matters that are all too much matters of sad public record.

  • http://profiles.google.com/chistofishman Christopher Fish

    http://protectthepope.com/?p=2638
    I think anyone who reads the above article should find it obvious why this woman was not rehired and why she was let go the way she was. First off the Vatican does not have a ‘brand’ of catholicism .. the Vatican defines catholicism , what is and what is not catholic and there is not right to descent form it. The origination she has run has not acted faithfully to Vatican teaching and this woman knows it, and so does the Vatican so now it is time for change. The Vatican let her go kindly and softly without explanation ,because they do not want to destroy the organization she heads, or stop aid from getting the many many people who need it. The fact she has tried to make a public spectacle of the way she was let go shows she is not truly focused on how best to help those people.

  • Dr Russell J Berry

    Ordinary principles of rationality and justice should apply but the modus operandi of those who run the Church sometimes obviates the application of justice, strict or not. I do not imagine that Dr knight would have relished being (in strict justice) pilloried for some of her more notable transgressions, objective or subjective. Of
    course the church is not above morality and, I agree, Cardinal Bertone has no right to
    disregard rationality and morality but he has not, as far as I can see. If a ‘trial’ were made of the matter – in the manner of some sort of employment tribunal – then Dr Knight would possibly be all the more embarassed. Trials are funny things because all manner of uncomfortable things can come to light. The expression ‘massive own goal’ was not of Dr Oddie’s invention. It predates Dr Oddie’s present eminence by many a year but I do agree it is a most appealing expression and may be one that Dr Knight ought to have called to mind some time ago.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OTCKAYXC6V65WVJUPZFYCCUEUU Lee

    CAFOD has been a long time waiting. The sooner, the better !

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OTCKAYXC6V65WVJUPZFYCCUEUU Lee

    I think people miss the point who keep banging on about justice and transparency.Remember when Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of Isiah ch 6. 9-10 ! likewise it is the same for us in the sense of deduction. The Vatican does not have to tell the world nothing of its own internal affairs but the fact that the Nihil Obstat has not been given is a starting point for what I have just mentioned, deduction. When reading about Dr Lesley Anne-Knight, and then comparing her statements with scripture, Magisterial teaching, infallible and Church Father commentary, I think then we as a whole can then come to a conclusion as to why she has been given due notice.
    This is just a method I recommend because a minority seems to be of the thought that the Church is 1, a democracy and 2 should be open when it is none of these in their ‘modernist’ and ‘western’ sense. However, if you wish to understand judgments from the Holy Mother Church use your eyes and ears and then go and understand why she is now not the head.

  • chris moffatt

    Well obviously all the neocons are in favour of Doctor Knight going. But the secrecy, misdirection and obfuscation are typical of Bertone’s modus operandi. For those of you who don’t think the Church engages in PR that is exactly what Bertone’s job is. And a real mess he’s made of it too!. He should have been fired after he continually mishandled the matter of priestly abuses of children, but I guess the Vatican protects its own ultra-conservative operatives – while continuing the attacks on “liberals” that were started by Benedict’s predecessors.

  • Dr Russell J Berry

    I wonder how you know that ‘secrecy, misdirection and obfuscation are typical of (Cardinal) Bertone’s modus operandi.’? I don’t have such knowledge and, as far as all but a few of the people I know are concerned, many others do not, either, so I wonder if you possibly have the ear of someone ‘up top’?? What are ‘neocons’, as far as the Church is concerned. I should not like to be a ‘neocon’, I am sure even if I do not know what the word means.

    The matter of the scandals over child abuse on the part of presbyters, Priests and other Religious of both genders is not Cardinal Bertone’s fault. He, if anything, has had to ‘handle’ the crap, spread liberally about the Church by sinful individuals. We may criticise his manner of handling the events but we cannot say how well we would have done had it been out task and not His Eminence’s.

    Make no mistake, I am happy to be a staunch critic of the Vatican and all its works whenever censure seems merited but I am not at all happy or willing to lay one on Cardinal Bertone if, as seems to be the case here, it is all in support of an indefensible woman who has not deserved everything she appears to have received because she, herself, would be hiding away had the Cardinal spelled out – item for item – the reasons for her unacceptability.

    My understanding is that Dr Knight espoused and propagated causes during her term of office that were in conflict with Catholic Doctrine and Catholic Social Teaching. Are you suggesting she should be allowed to take the Vatican’s shilling while remaining free to militate against the clear teaching of the Church? If so, I think you are being way too airy-fairy and unrealistic.

    This is most certainly not the occasion to wave liberal credentials about in order to exculpate a woman who, had she worked for any other world-wide body, would have been ‘let go’ and told to keep her mouth shut or no moolah.

  • Dr Russell J Berry

    I wonder how you know that ‘secrecy, misdirection and obfuscation are typical of (Cardinal) Bertone’s modus operandi.’? I don’t have such knowledge and, as far as all but a few of the people I know are concerned, many others do not, either, so I wonder if you possibly have the ear of someone ‘up top’?? What are ‘neocons’, as far as the Church is concerned. I should not like to be a ‘neocon’, I am sure even if I do not know what the word means.

    The matter of the scandals over child abuse on the part of presbyters, Priests and other Religious of both genders is not Cardinal Bertone’s fault. He, if anything, has had to ‘handle’ the crap, spread liberally about the Church by sinful individuals. We may criticise his manner of handling the events but we cannot say how well we would have done had it been out task and not His Eminence’s.

    Make no mistake, I am happy to be a staunch critic of the Vatican and all its works whenever censure seems merited but I am not at all happy or willing to lay one on Cardinal Bertone if, as seems to be the case here, it is all in support of an indefensible woman who has not deserved everything she appears to have received because she, herself, would be hiding away had the Cardinal spelled out – item for item – the reasons for her unacceptability.

    My understanding is that Dr Knight espoused and propagated causes during her term of office that were in conflict with Catholic Doctrine and Catholic Social Teaching. Are you suggesting she should be allowed to take the Vatican’s shilling while remaining free to militate against the clear teaching of the Church? If so, I think you are being way too airy-fairy and unrealistic. T

    This is most certainly not the occasion to wave liberal credentials about in order to exculpate a woman who, had she worked for any other world-wide body, would have been ‘let go’ and told to keep her mouth shut or no moolah.

  • Defend against Drivel

    Gfred, if you look a bit more closely you will see that the hyphenated part of Dr Lesley-Anne Knight is her Christian name given by her parents at baptism. Your thin-veiled effort to traduce the good lady’s reputation as a feminist and non-commitment to marriage is despicable and your comment unworthy of consideration. From your seemingly ignorant stance, at least try to view the 8th commandment.

  • Dr Russell J Berry

    I agree with you as to why she was not allowed to be a candidate for her position when her tenure of it came to an end. I also agree with you that we should not go around thinking that the Vatican is able to have it’s own brand of ‘catholicism’ and so very wrong and silly of her to infer that it can or does but surely you must agree we the teaching of the Church which tells us that ‘The Vatican’ may not presume to ‘define’ what Catholicism is? It is the Faith that defines catholicism and the Faith is not the Vatican but is Revealed Truth and Tradition.

    The ‘Vatican’ may not dissent from either, according to the Doctrine of the Faith and if it should do so we have not only an absolute right to ‘dissen’t but a positive duty actively to oppose the ‘institution’ in defence of the Faith – that is Catholic teaching and has been so since biblical times.

    It is absolutely accurate and entirely fair of you to say what you did concerning the lady around whom all this fuss and anguish swirls and she, I think, is lucky to have ‘got off’ so lightly – she was not publically denounced for adhering to and for promoting anti-Catholic values, for example, and none can deny that a good case would exist – but for the law of Charity – for having given her a public wigging and dressing down.

  • Dr Russell J Berry

    Dear Lee,

    Whereas your posting finds a warm echo in my heart I do have to say that people ‘banging on about justice and transparency’ are vital to our remaining vigilant for the need in our world to protect and to advance both justice and transparency. The mighty all too readily ride roughshod over the weak when justice and transparency are ignored, as they too often are. ‘Jusice’ means many things to many men. Prima facie, the Church has not always seemed to all men to be a fountain of justice and this is because (a) the Church may not always be transparent and (b) it is a human institution as far as its adminsitration is concerned. We should, I think, be aware of the possible agenda of others. Those who criticise are not always honest or thoughtful critics. Who knows if Dr Knight and her vociferous supporters have their own undisclosed agenda when it comes to her ‘case’? Certainly Dr Knight is a woman of decided opinions and they do not always agree with the Church of which she says she is a member.

  • Quantock

    PaulPriest, You plainly do not understand me. enough said

  • Quantock

    So All Popes have been good Popes? Is that what you’re saying?

  • Anonymous

    Meaning?
    Excuse me – you are the one who said you presumed that the Vatican was inadvertently coercing you into believing that they were acting in an underhand way because of their silence on the issue.
    The Vatican – The secretary of Cor Unum itself – has commented – it just wasn’t widely reported – don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story being our ilustrious Tabletista and NCreporter ‘Catholic’ hacks motto…
    All anyone needed to do was actually spend a few seconds googling Dr Knight – and it would have become instantaneously obvious that she was acting according to her own anti-Catholic agenda.
    We didn’t sack her – therefore did not have to give any reasons for the refusal to allow her name to go forward for re-appointment; or the refusal to give her a personal nihil obstat – that’s nobody’s business!

    Please – you are the one coming on here criticising the Vatican for their ‘publicity screw up’
    It was no such thing – rather we should be condemning the pernicious mendacity in the wilfully misleading hackery of people like Ivereigh and Allen who made this into a story where none existed except the simple fact that Knight’s a bad lot…

    If I don’t understand you – pray – elucidate your position – but please do not expect me to not put up a fight when you come on here criticising the Vatican – even if you do it under the flag of friend.

  • Poulettictac

    Mirabile dictu!

  • john

    Wlliam it is as plain as a pikestaff why the sacking. The lady may plead ignorance and surpise but if you don’t put Catholic teaching “into practice” when you are spending Catholic money as head of such a high profile organisation I think your days are numbered. Did she ever ask to see Bertone if she was unhappy about the lack of contact? I have a susicion that Dr. Knight has some idea why the Vatican didn’t take up her options.The Vatican isn’t a business and doesn’t follow the “right” communication rules as we all know. Jesus had the same poor image rating. Why does everyone keep harping on about public relations. The hostile mob will be hostile come what may. We get too caught up in these unimportat issues. The Pope is a holy man. What more do we want?