Sunday, 5 September 2010

Jack Valero uses Blair-style tactics on Birmingham Three crisis

John Smeaton - 4.9.2010

I published a post earlier this week about The Journey, Tony Blair's memoirs, in which Blair admitted to:

"'bending and distorting' the truth as prime minister, but says a degree of manipulation and distortion are necessary to govern, and voters accept that. 'Politicians are obliged from time to time to conceal the full truth, to bend it and even distort it, where the interests of the bigger strategic goal demand it be done. Without operating with some subtlety at this level, the job would be well-nigh impossible.'"

Reading last week's Catholic Herald this morning I was struck by the mastery shown by Jack Valero (pictured), the spokesman for the Birmingham Oratory, of these Blair-style tactics in his article "The Birmingham Three protests harm the Church". Visitors will know that I have blogged a number of times about the Birmingham Oratory crisis caused by the sudden expulsion of three Oratorians from the Birmingham Oratory on the Catholic feast day of Our Lady of Fatima (May 13) this year.

Jack Valero says that the Birmingham Three campaign:

"has morphed into an attempt to drive a wedge between the so-called 'liberal' hierarchy and the 'orthodox' Oratorians by those who criticise the bishops for being too 'liberal'. As an orthodox Catholic I deplore this myth ... "

As a Catholic loyal to the magisterium of the Catholic church I deplore Jack Valero's shameful misrepresentation.

Catholic families in England and Wales are living under the yoke of a liberal hierarchy which pursues policies which are seriously harmful to the common good of Catholic families and non-Catholic families alike, for example:

  • helping the government to promote abortion amongst schoolchildren under the age of consent, without parental knowledge or consent,
  • the openness of Bishop Malcolm McMahon, the current Catholic Education Service chairman, to headteachers being in same-sex unions*
  • Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster making clear his support for the prevailing government ideology on sex and relationships education, and defending the Catholic Education Service's appointment of Greg Pope, a former Labour MP with a lengthy anti-life/anti-family record
  • and Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster failing to rule out the Catholic church sanctioning gay unions in the future
It's well-known that the three Oratorians suddenly expelled from the Oratory last May publicly opposed all such policies. It's also well-known, as I've mentioned before, that all the Birmingham Oratorians stood wholeheartedly behind this stand on pro-life issues. At the same time, the pro-life posts on the Birmingham Oratory website which so powerfully challenged episcopal policies on abortion and sex education have stopped since the sudden expulsion of the Birmingham Three.

There's a lot more to say about Jack Valero's article but there's no hurry. After all the Birmingham Three won't be coming back to the Birmingham Oratory "soon" as Jack Valero said on BBC radio West Midlands two months ago. No, they "are travelling the world, working as priests in good standing ... praying in monasteries, studying, writing, taking holidays, visiting friends and deepening their formation ... " as Jack now tells us in his Blair-style piece in the Catholic Herald.

* The late Pope John Paul II, the great pro-life champion, taught in paragraph 97 of his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae that it is an illusion to think that we can build a true culture of human life if we do not offer adolescents and young adults an authentic education in sexuality, and in love, and the whole of life according to their true meaning and in their close interconnection.