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