Thursday, 15 July 2010

Fr Richard Duffield: Two Weeks of Silence

Catholic and Loving It - James Preece on 15.7.2010

I'm not entirely sure what Fr Duffield thought I would do when he refused to reply to my emails for two weeks. Maybe he hoped I would just go away or something.

It's strange because when I appeared on the local BBC radio station he managed to phone me the same day so let's not have any of that "maybe he's just busy" nonsense.
When I appeared on the radio Jack Valero responded live on air and said several things that I now know are not true. Maybe Jack was flat out lying but lets be nice and assume he was just badly informed.

You might have thought Fr Richard Duffield the provost of Birmingham Oratory would be keen to make sure that any falsehoods broadcast to thousands of people across the West Midlands would be put right as soon as possible.

Fr Duffield was a bit ambiguous on the phone and then asked that our conversation be kept off the record. Okay. But what Valero said on the radio wasn't off the record and needed clearing up.

So I emailed Fr Duffield...

1st July 2010
On the record and in writing, can you confirm for me which of the following phrases that Jack Valero said on the radio are true:
• That the three "asked to go away and pray for a while"
• "they are away now, they will come back"
• "We are working together, so there's no falling out and there's no casting away it's just a time away to cool down"
• "they can come back soon and we can continue as normal"
• "there's no indication they've done something wrong, they've been punished or anything. these words are wrong they give the wrong impression"

Five days later I sent an email asking if he might be responding to me soon. After I had been waiting a week I sent my question again. I've now asked him three times.
So why the hesitation to respond?

Because none of those phrases from Valero are true. The three didn't ask to go away they were sent. There is no certainty they will come back and any talk of them coming back "soon" is outrageous when the Oratory refuse to confirm whether they will be coming back at all.

I'm disappointed because I quite like Fr Duffield. He seems like a nice man who finds himself in a difficult situation, but apparently he's also the sort of man who would rather let falsehoods stand than admit that the Oratory spokesman made a mistake.

When I have said that the three are outspoken but those who remain are a bit more inclined towards silence this is exactly the sort of thing I am talking about.
Three good men are in exile and Fr Richard Duffield is burying his head in the sand.