Wednesday, 20 July 2011

A curious silence in Westminster

On Sunday night I blogged about the fact that Quest are due to hold their annual conference at London Colney All Saints Pastoral Centre which is owned by the Westminster diocese. I said then the following:

But I'm curious whether Archbishop Nichols knows about this meeting. I'm curious whether he is happy that the pastoral centre of his diocese is hosting a conference for an organisation whose aims are to defy and undermine a Catholic moral teaching repeated again and again in recent years.

There is no doubt in my mind that Quest openly opposes the Magisterium on the issue of the compatibility of the full expression of homosexuality with the full expression of the Catholic faith. Indeed, they say these things are quite compatible.


So, rather than sitting here doing nothing, I wrote to the Westminster Diocesan Office for Pastoral Affairs on Monday morning. Undoubtedly, it must be a busy office but I was sent a prompt reply stating that it had no responsibility for London Colney.

Next, I sent an email to London Colney and to the office of Archbishop Nichols directly which read as follows:

Dear sirs,

I understand that Quest are to hold a conference at London Colney Pastoral Centre on 22-24 July. As a concerned Catholic, I would like to ask whether the diocese approves of Quest being allowed to hold their conference in a centre which it owns, and also whether Archbishop Nichols lends his support to this conference.

Yours faithfully, etc.

I did not expect an immediate answer, but perhaps at least a holding response acknowledging my email. Unlike the Pastoral Office, however, neither London Colney nor the office of Archbishop Nichols replied.

By Tuesday evening when there was still no reply, I thought that perhaps they needed a little reminder of my correspondence. While this might seem a bit hurried, the conference is due to start this coming Friday and I thought it best to clear these matters up. So, I wrote for a second time:

Dear sirs,

Given the proximity of the Quest conference, I would appreciate it very much if you could answer my two questions which I submitted to you yesterday. I will be quite content with yes or no answers:

1) Does the diocese approve of Quest being allowed to hold their conference in a centre which it owns?

2) Does Archbishop Nichols lend his support to this conference?

Yours faithfully, etc.

Today there has been once again no reply from either party: not from Alan Johnstone, the administrator of London Colney, and not from the office of the Archbishop.


Now, call me old fashioned, but I am not drawing any conclusions from the current radio silence (or whatever the email equivalent is). I'm sure these offices are very busy and have a mountain of work to get through. But surely enquiries about current events could receive punctual replies, even of the briefest kind. Indeed, I have attempted to make their job easier for them by simply asking for 'yes' or 'no' answers. They could satisfactorily have answered my emails something like this:

Dear thingy,

1. Yes (or no, as the case may be)

2. Yes (or no, as the case may be)

Yours, etc.

So, there we have it. I thought I would let readers know that I have been trying to get some clarity from Westminster Diocese on this question. It does OWN London Colney after all. And Quest is clearly a group which both professes to be Catholic and at the same time defies the Magisterium (which includes the teaching authority of the bishops in communion with the Holy See) on a key area of human sexuality. I suppose what I'm getting at is that this is quite a grave question really. I don't want to overstate the matter but there it is.

So, does the diocese approve of Quest holding this conference at London Colney, and does Archbishop Nichols lend his support to Quest's conference?

I will of course write again tomorrow morning.


Ben Trovato said...

Don't hold your breath!

umblepie said...

Well done Ches. What a mess our Catholic leadership is in. St John Fisher, pray for us all.

Anonymous said...

I suppose the diocese is more concerned about prosecution under SORs than anything else - sad really.

Ben Trovato said...

Remember the diocese also has much more serious problems to address: such as the highly successful Vaughan School and its lamentable Catholic ethos...

Genty said...

Thank you for your perseverence, Ches. But I wouldn't expect a reply much beyond: Hold your tongue. Perhaps that's what the non-replies signify.
I've read that the diocese is due to close the centre at the end of this year. I suppose it's entirely feasible that next year's conference could be held in Westminster Cathedral hall.
When it's a lay person who has to point out errors to an Archbishop the world has gone upside down. Whodda thunk it would come to this?

Ches said...

Dear friends,

I'm not expecting a reply (though I would like one), or holding my breath, so much as moving through a procedure that I think is required by fairness. If no reply is forthcoming, then we'll see what to do next.

Zog said...

Have you tried telephoning them with these questions? Might have more luck extracting an answer.

Ogard said...

Send a letter registered, and a copies to the Nunciature and to Rome, indicating in the original the list of recipients. But really, I don't think you will stop the Conference any more than you will stop the Soho.

Anonymous said...

Rock and a hard place. If they were to cancel it, how many microseconds later would a writ claiming discrimination fall on the floor? No it's about time that they picked a case to challenge the anti catholic discrimination laws, but I'm not sure this is it.

Ches said...

These are all interesting considerations. I'll reveal my own mind on this tomorrow at some point.

GOR said...

I commend your efforts, Ches!

But as is often the case with the institutional Church, concerns about orthodoxy or orthopraxis get scant attention. However, should a complaint be received from some dissident group, people spring into action... What was that bit about "itching ears" and not listening to sound doctrine...?

Pat said...

Draw conclusions, by all means. I have full knowledge of irrefutable evidence of the dissent being promoted at the Soho 'gay' Masses, that has been sent to Archbishop Nichols since he returned to Westminster. Not one reply has been received by the person who sent it. The modus operandi is as follows (and again, I have seen the evidence for this):- If a person writes to Archbishop Nichols to complain about the Masses, but encloses no evidence of dissent, they are sent a misleading letter signed by him, stating that there is no problem with the Masses, that they are in full accordance with Catholic teaching, etc, etc. If, however, a person sends him a letter enclosing indisputable evidence of dissent - no reply at all. It is VERY hard to see how he is acting in good faith regarding all this.

Ches said...

Pat, can you contact me off the blog? Have a look at the profile which has a link to my email address.

EditorCT said...

"Not draw conclusions"? Unbelievable.

There is only one conclusion to draw given all the on-record statements available from Archbishop Nichols on the subject of sodomy and it is that he sees nothing wrong with it. He actually thinks that the Church's teaching on this (and women's ordination) might change.
See video clip of him being interviewed on BBC before I remove it.

The only conclusion anyone can draw about the UK bishops individually and collectively, is that they are apostates. Some of us reached that conclusion a very long time ago.

And no, I'm not "ranting" or "raving" or "angry." Just stating the blankety blank obvious.

Ches said...

Editor CT, the only court capable of giving AVN+ due process is the Roma Rota. I can hardly pretend to be inquisitor and judge also. Just a concerned Catholic asking questions.

Incidentally, every clip of Archbishop Nichols which has been isolated from context has been weakened in its effectiveness. I wish whoever edited them had left them in their original state.