BBC Radio 4's "The Pope's British Divisions" was broadcast at 9.30 am this morning. I expect that it will be available to listen to on the BBC i-player for the next seven days. A good account of it is given here, by The Sensible Bond. My flexible working arrangments (ie my school hasn't started its sixth form timetable yet so I haven't had to go in - mind you, being supply, I have not been paid either) meant that I was able to listen to it. I think I share the view that it was, in general, an informative, though not perfect, account of the state of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. Mark Dowd did make it quite clear when positions being held by Catholics were actually at odds with Catholic teaching; and I think it was the responsibility of Catholic participants in the programme to have provided an effective apologetic in response to the idea that a Catholic doesn't have to believe what the Church teaches. I will have to reserve that discussion to another post.
Independent Catholic News are carrying a short report of Archbishop Peter Smith's meeting yesterday with leaders of the Protest the Pope coalition. It is very welcome news that the coalition have no plans to disrupt the events of the Papal visit, and that this has been made clear in a very public way will hopefully remove one of the deterrents to Catholics participating in the events of the visit. However, one of the things that Archbishop Smith asked was that any protests against the Pope's visit should take place in a way that respects those taking part in the events of the visit. This event, taking place on the Friday of the Pope's visit is hardly able to be described as "respectful". That any profits will go to an organisation advocating on behalf of those abused by religious leaders does not make this event any more acceptable.
Dolphinarium has posted on Peter Tatchell, who is being very prominent in Protest the Pope, and who is the host for the above-mentioned example of "respectful" protest. It does put things into a rather interesting context. Not for the faint hearted!
And following along the same thread, an absolute first for this blog - a link to Holy Smoke. There is normally the distance of several virtual barge poles between this blog and Holy Smoke, but since vitriol is the condiment of the season - and I would, of course, never engage in vitriol myself, but just for once I might try it to see what it tastes like - it seems appropriate. Holy Smoke has commented on Peter Tatchell's programme about Pope Benedict XVI for Channel 4 television. Read the original blog post, but it might be as well to give most of the comments a miss (a long way down the comments is some real discussion of the content of the post, but searching it out will take you an age). I do recall Peter Tatchell commenting somewhere that many of the Catholics he had tried to interview for the programme declined to take part (not surprising, that) which might explain the imbalance of participants to which Holy Smoke refers.
To return to Independent Catholic News report, it is amusing to see an acknowledgement on the part of anti-Pope protesters that the threat to arrest the Pope during his visit to the United Kingdom is what it was from the very beginning - just so much hot air and empty posturing.