Friday, 22 July 2011

Still no answers ...

At least according to the publicity, London Colney All Saints Pastoral Centre 22-24 July will be the venue for the Quest conference this weekend. In brief, Quest states that its first purpose is to 'associate lay men and women who are seeking ways of reconciling the full practice of their Catholic faith with the full expression of their homosexual natures in loving Christian relationships.' I wrote about this matter on Sunday and Wednesday. Someone in the comments below suggested that whatever happens, they will not stop the conference. But that was never my target. Targets have to be credibly achievable! My target has simply been to get information from the diocese about whether this event is approved. More precisely, I wanted to know, indeed I still want to know, if the Archdiocese of Westminster is happy for this event to take place in a pastoral centre which it owns, and whether Archbishop Nichols gives his backing to the conference.

As I stated on Wednesday, I wrote twice very courteously to the administrator of London Colney, Alan Johnstone, and the Archbishop's office, seeking this information. I didn't ask them to cancel it, I didn't state my own opinion, other than to call myself a concerned Catholic. I simply asked them - am I sounding repetitive? It's my Jeremy Paxman impersonation - if this event was diocese approved and whether it had the backing of Archbishop Nichols. I wrote for a third time on Thursday, this time copying in the CDF (a blank email address, for all I know, but why not widen the loop a bit?):

Dear sirs,

This is now the third time I have emailed you (previous emails copied below) to inquire about the Quest conference to be held this weekend 22-24 July at London Colney Pastoral Centre.

I will be very happy if you will just confirm two things for me:

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?

If you do not reply, then I will conclude that the answer to these questions is in the affirmative.

Yours faithfully, etc.

And answer came there none. A simple yes or no would have sufficed, but neither was given. Need I explain to this readership: qui tacit videtur consentire? He who is silent is seen to give consent.

So, I'm now making the diocesan press office aware of my campaign to get some answers. Let us hope in the course of the day that they manage to provide them.


umblepie said...

Thanks for keeping us in the picture Chez. This is a public matter of concern to all Catholics. All you English Saints and Martyrs, pray for our country.

Martin said...

Might it be that as you are a simple "concerned Catholic" (pewfodder?) you are not clever enough to understand what is going on, and that replying to you might give the impression that the RCDOW thought that you were.

You really should leave this sort of thing to those in charge: they wouldn't be in charge if they didn't know what they were doing.

Ches said...

You have a point, Martin. Do you think I should send my PhD back and ask my publisher to pulp my monograph before it gets distributed?

Trisagion said...

Next steps: personal letter to the Archbishop, copy to the Nuncio and to the CDF.

Jasmine said...

It is a shame that the Archdiocese has not responded to your inquiries. You would expect this kind of non-response from a politician, not from representatives of our faith. It is absolutely outrageous that such a perverse event would be scheduled to occur on church property.
Complicity with evil has its consequences. Let's hope this is an unintended oversight.

EditorCT said...

"It is a shame that the Archdiocese has not responded to your inquiries. You would expect this kind of non-response from a politician, not from representatives of our faith"

I've written to several MPs and always received a reply. Sometimes I've received an acknowledgement promising a full investigation and then a proper reply. You can write to the Queen and get a reply. Just not to Catholic bishops. That's how our newsletter came into being - we got fed up writing for years and either being ignored or insulted.

I wrote to Archbishop Nichols to ask him to intervene in the matter of the (then) forthcoming talk due to be given by actively "gay" priest, James Alison on Catholic premises recently. No reply. He's NEVER replied to any email I've sent him and a number of people wrote to him from Scotland recently about the Soho Masses - nothing.

Still, the silly sausages who think every bishop is handpicked by the Holy Spirit, will refuse to criticise him. If he led a bank robbery, they'd argue he was the Robin Hood of the Episcopate.

You won't receive a reply - unless it is an insulting, judgmental letter telling you to be more "charitable". Code for "shut up".

Anonymous said...

"Next steps: personal letter to the Archbishop, copy to the Nuncio and to the CDF."

It was the laity in Australia who let Rome know what was happening in Peter Kennedy's parish and Bp Morris' diocese which led to the removal of these two gentlemen.


Anonymous said...

Regardless of how it may appear, the defeat ++Vincent has suffered in regard to both the scandal of the Soho Masses and his attempt at destroying much of what is good at one of the strongest Catholic schools in his Diocese have deeply wounded him, and it is very likely that he will simply limp along, with little effective impact, for another 5 or 6 years, giving poor moral example through his complacence, his silence, his compicity.

And yet one of the most wonderful things about being Catholic is that we can simply relax and know that the answers can be found through knowledge of the Sacred Magisterium, the authentic interpretation of Scripture and Tradition. I doubt ++Vincent now has either the will or the strength to rail against the tide of prevailing social norms, and simply remind himself of what the Church has always taught about homosexuality, and ask Our Lord for the Grace to defend thi teaching. Hence it's likley that we can expect immorality to continue to flourish, the Faith to be weakened further, and family life damaged under his ineffectual watch.


Sahara said...

Dear Ches,

I would love to know why you care so much in the first place as to bother the Archbishop with such petty questions over this "Quest" group, with which I assume you have no association? How did you hear about them?? If you don't share this particular group's beliefs then why do you care what they do? Why are you taking time out of your weekend to not only write three times to the Archbishop and his associates about this small group, but to post about writing three times to the Archbishop and his associates on your blog? Personally I don't understand why some people would go completely out of their way just so they can put others down and cause annoyance when they can more easily just get on with their own lives and believe whatever they want to believe in the comfort of their own home. I pray for a day when everybody can live happily side by side and not judge each other.



Sahara said...

And if you are so unsatisfied with the response from God's officials such as Archbishops and clergymen, then why still bother contacting them for answers, why not just go straight to God himself and ask for answers in your personal prayers? That way these selfish thoughts aren't materialised / verbalised in public for all to see.


Anonymous said...


Ches said...


As I stated in my first post on this matter ( ), just imagine if London Colney were hosting a group that were actively supporting polyamory, or racism, or any of those things that the Church tells us not to do. What makes Quest so different?

Your logic of not caring what another group does because I don't share their views is simply wrong. As a Catholic, I believe what the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches me, not only about morality but about truth. The Church is not a liberal democratic society; it is God's instrument of salvation. So, it is my right - because I was baptised as priest, prophet and king, like all Catholics - to speak to my priests and bishops if I feel that something wrong is happening.

Finally, I go out of my way because many Churchmen in our day have lost their confidence to speak truth to power. If I can do anything to help my brethren at a time like this, then I count it a service.

Ches said...


Sahara said...

Dear Ches,

How very dare you compare this Quest group to a group that supports racism. Racism is an active hate for other races, much in the same way as homophobia is an active hate for homosexuals.

How is Quest in any way similar to a group actively supporting racism when they seem to be a very non-flashy, private group of religious mistfits who are just trying to find community, comfort and support amongst their fellow gay Catholics.

You say many Churchmen have lost their confidence to speak truth to power. I disagree, have you heard of the Westboro Baptist Church? I think you would fit right in.


Anonymous said...


Your intolerance of Roman Catholic belief is intolerable. We believe these things to be sins and believe our leaders should not support them through silence. How dare you vent such ignorant hatred on our way of life and judge us for our beliefs. If only there was some over-bearing nanny state commission to fine you or throw you in jail for your intolerant comments...

...Or, how about acting like a rational adult, realize that there are things we disagree about, argue about them rationally, and not assume your own multi-cultural position is in anyway "neutral." Grow up.


Ches said...


I think Bo has a point, though I might have made it more gently. The traditional saying is that every comparison limps, except in the point of comparison. The point of comparison here is that the Church teaches us that rascism and homosexual acts are sinful.

If Quest were simply about mutual support, that would be very laudable. But they are not. They are about deconstructing the Catholic teaching on homosexual acts.

So, stop trying to pretend that they are a private group who just want to be left alone. They are an actively dissenting group whose views are corrosive to the Catholic teaching on human sexuality.

I fully respect them as people. But their ideas on this point are wrong.