Mike Conway justifies his puff piece in the Catholic magazine Faith Today about homosexual activist Peter Tatchell

Mike Conway has attempted to justify to a subscriber his puff piece in the Catholic magazine Faith Today about homosexual activist Peter Tatchell. Mike Conway had written the article ”My hero Peter Tatchell”. Here is an excerpt from his piece:

[Conway]: “I recognise in [Peter Tatchell's] approach to social justice and the dignity of the human person echoes of Catholic social teaching which I am, if I may put it like this, very proud.”

[Tatchell]: “The more I learned, the more I realised that homosexuality is part of the natural spectrum of human sexuality. It has existed in every society in every era.”

[Conway]: “Peter identifies religious fundamentalism as the greatest threat to human rights”

[Conway]: “One of Peter’s heroes is Archbishop Desmond Tutu. [Tatchell]: ‘Almost uniquely as an African and Christian leader, Tutu has defended Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people.’”

[Tatchell]: “Sexuality and gender issues have been blown out of all proportion by most religious leaders.”

[Conway]: “It was a privilege to meet with Peter. He is a hero in so many ways: his lack of resentment, his ability to forgive and not hold grudges, and his love for people without fear or favour, is really striking and inspiring. Peter Tatchell is not only my hero but also my friend and my brother.”

Mike Conway wrote the following to a subscriber of Faith Today who has cancelled her subscription to Faith Today:

Dear reader

I was sorry to hear that you have cancelled your subscription to Bible Alive and stopped your Standing Order to our prison outreach work.

I wondered had you read the Peter Tatchell piece in full and whether we could trouble to give some feedback as to what was in the article that upset you.

We run all our features and articles through a team of Catholic theologians and priests who confirmed that the article was fully in adherence with Catholic teaching and highlighted the importance of dialogue and discussion with those who we may perceive as enemies.

[Protect the Pope comment: Notice how Mike Conway twists it, 'who we may perceive as enemies', as if seeing Tatchell as an enemy of the Catholic Faith was our fault, or a subjective misinterpretation, rather than the fact that he was the leader of the Protest the Pope campaign that viciously attacked Pope Benedict with lies, half truths and misrepresentations].

We carried the feature about Peter because of his human rights work, without fear or favour, and for the way he upholds the right and dignity of believers (of whatever denomination) to express their views – he is also as you can see in the feature indebted to the influence of Catholics such as Dorothy Day other Catholic social activists.

[Protect the Pope comment: Peter Tatchell 'upholds the right and dignity of believers (of whatever denomination) to express their views' does he? Is that everybody except Pope Benedict XVI? Hasn't Mike Conway seen the photograph of Tatchell carrying a banner mocking Pope Benedict wearing pink earrings and lipstick with the words 'Pope Betty - Benedict XVI: Queen of Homophobia'. Does Mike Conway think that this upholds the right and dignity of Pope Benedict, and Catholics who love and revere the Holy Father?]

I am sorry if the feature offended you but I am unsure how it has – if you were able to take the time to unpack or give us some idea that would be a great help for us in planning future editiions of Faith Today.

[Protect the Pope comment: Mike Conway, if you want to understand how a puff piece in Faith Today about Peter Tatchell offends Catholics read Protect the Pope's fisk of his Protest the Pope address before Pope Benedict's state visit to the UK.]

We recently carried a feature about Ann Widecombe who is vehemently in favour of the death penalty – a teaching the church has resisted but we felt our readers should hear her views, as much as we disagree with her.

[Protect the Pope comment: There has been a long tradition of Catholic support for capital punishment in some extreme cases but there has never been Catholic support for homosexuality. And the idea of comparing Ann Widecombe with Peter Tatchell is frankly offensive].

So again sorry that you wish to stop subscribing and donating to our work but please be assured of our prayers and best wishes.

Kind regards

Mike Conway

Managing Editor, Alive Publishing.

87 comments to Mike Conway justifies his puff piece in the Catholic magazine Faith Today about homosexual activist Peter Tatchell

  • Michael Petek

    “A puff piece in Faith Today about Peter Tatchell.”

    Isn’t there a typo in the second word of this sentence?

  • Rifleman819

    Deacon Nick ,

    A real piece of weasel wording , isn’t it?
    An apology without being an apology-and a sudden panic when the real threat-cancelling subscriptions-comes to the fore.

    If someone as disordered as Tatchell is a hero to this bloke involved in Catholic publishing then that really is a worry.The utterly specious juxtaposition of Peter Tatchell and Ann Widdecombe is a cheap and venomous little shot.

    • Augustine

      Mike Conway has form.

      He is the editor of “Bible Alive”. He was originally one of the English writers for “The Word Among Us” (TWAU) – an American magazine.

      The editors of TWAU were understandably rather miffed when Conway set up “Bible Alive” in the UK and pinched the TWAU format layout & ideas – as well as most of its UK readership.

      I note he ends his letter piously with “please be assured of our prayers and best wishes” – placing himself firmly on the moral high ground as if he were the Archbishop of Stoke on Trent.

      He probably thinks he is.

  • Lynda

    There can be no justification.

  • Joseph Matthew

    A title says so much. All I can remember about this article is “Peter Tatchell my hero.” And Peter Tatchell? What about a man whose hatred of Pope Benedict is troubling in the agony aunt Raynor sense?

  • BJC

    “I am sorry if the feature offended you but I am unsure how it has – if you were able to take the time to unpack or give us some idea that would be a great help for us in planning future editiions of Faith Today.”

    How condescending. I guess the big question has to be, what does Mike think about Humanae Vitae? Just guessing, but something tells me the reply would be something among the lines of it’s complex, raises many difficulties etc etc….,i.e. he rejects it. Let’s see if he’s bold enough to give us a reply.

  • Sonja

    Since the original article and subsequent veiled apology are outrageous — maybe feelings should be taken beyond the blog to his professional email box: mconway@alivepublishing.co.uk
    Just to make sure he is under no illusion of strength of discontent.

    • Sonja

      In fact there is a load of advice here on who to email from SPUC
      http://spuc-director.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/catholic-magazine-faith-today-prints.html
      Trouble is the man is likely to revel in the attention and forget the cause.

    • Charles

      The more people who write to Mike Conway the better. I published his E-mail address in the previous post and wrote to him. You wont get a reply. Just like most English Bishops. It would appear that he will only reply if you stop subscribing.

      We need to bombard the the Bishops to stop using this pro tatchell publishing house.

      • Sonja

        I have written to all 4 Bishops of Birmingham today, via email — and to Archbishop Longley by post. On email I copied Mike Conway (for transparency). I am now wondering what else I can do or to whom else I can turn — to make as many people with influence aware that such editorial misconduct cannot be tolerated and must be addressed. A simple veiled apology until the next time is just unacceptable. Perhaps a campaign addressed at every Bishop in the land — since the publication is pretty much sold at the back of every Church in the country.

        • katherine

          Sonja – totally agree. However I would begin with Westminster where the puppeteer resides in splendour. There are of course obvious exceptions whom we should be supporting when they make a stand. Well done for your inspiring action.

          ps you may get a telephone call from Westminster…..

  • Rob

    “the idea of comparing Ann Widecombe with Peter Tatchell is frankly offensive”

    Which is the greater sin – calling for people to be executed by the state or mocking Pope Benedict?

    No fan of Tatchell but Widecombe advocates violence. That makes her far worse in my book.

    • Wake Up England

      Rob:

      Suggesting that The State might exercise its right to deploy capital punishment is not a sin, and you are misguided to suggest it is.

      Insulting the Vicar of Christ is a sin.

      I trust this answers your question.

      Now, let me ask you a question, Rob:

      Why do you post your unswervingly anti-Catholic comments here? You clearly have little knowledge of Catholic doctrine, social teaching or dogma (as is evinced by the majority of your comments).

      Are you a Troll?

      • Rob

        Well this is what the Catechism says.

        “Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm – without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself – the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity “are very rare, if not practically non-existent.” “

      • Augustine

        WUE “Rob: You clearly have little knowledge of Catholic doctrine…Are you a Troll?”

        I disagree, Rob seems to have quite a bit of knowledge – and although he is not a fan of Peter Tatchell, he doesn’t seem to be that much of a fan of Pope Benedict either.

        Not a Troll – but perhaps a fan of Liberation Theology and Greenpeace!

    • (X)MCCLXIII

      Mocking Pope Benedict is clearly the greater sin as, notwithstanding the apparent defects of your formation, Rob, it is not ipso facto sinful to support capital punishment.

      • Rob

        supporting capital punishment might not always be sinful. But calling for its reintroduction into the UK which is what Widecombe is doing is clearly against Church teaching – see my quote from the Catechism above.

    • It is clear that, for the [purposes of punishment] to be achieved,the nature and extent of the punishment must be carefully evaluated and decided upon, and [the state] ought not go to the extreme of executing the offender except in cases of absolute necessity: in other words, when it would not be possible otherwise to defend society. Today however, as a result of steady improvements in the organization of the penal system, such cases are very rare, if not practically non-existent. —Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae 56

      “If it can be shown that it is a real deterrent and its availability, not its regular use, is enough to deter murderers and save innocent lives, then I think that is a case that can be made.” – Ann Widdecombe

      Not exactly on the same page, are they?

  • Rifleman819

    Rob ,
    May I ask which one you are on?
    Planet I mean.
    I am sorry but your values are utterly distorted-convicted murderers are executed by law after due process of trial and appeal.
    To give you acurrent example in the Carribean-in Jamaica alone there are up to 1000 drugs-related homicides per year and where the former Judicial Committee of the Hof L in London routinely stopped execution from Jamaica and other Crown administrations where the Queen was Head of State.

    The Jamaica Constabulary Force ,armed with Webleys, was trying to take on sophisticated drug dealers with automatic weapons.In the end the authorities in the West Indies had had enough-they created the Caribbean Court of Appeal-and stopped the legal process going to London.The extent of murder and other deadly crime was threatening to de-stablise Jamaica society entirely.
    The death penalty was reintroduced.Cue a dramatic drop in murders.
    In 2011 the FCO and the Govt of Trinidad/Tobago funded a public opinion poll on the death penalty-results were 72% in favour , 19% against, 9% dknow.
    Kindly stop the smugness and the insulting irrelevance to the issue at stake.
    Perhaps you and Mr Conway might like to talk to bereaved families in the West Indies, with young lives terminated by ruthless criminals,before spouting rubbish.

    • Barbados still has the death penalty but hasn’t actually hung anybody since 1984. The same with many other islands in the region. Though there is much hand wringing no one ever actually gets hung. With only a couple of hundred thousand people it’s hard to find someone to pull the lever. Incidentally some Carribean islands have much less crime, including violent crime, than others …so I dont think it’s all down to the death penalty.
      https://www.amnesty.org/en/appeals-for-action/ending-deathpenalty
      Jamacia’s been talking about bringing back the death penalty (which they’ve never actually abolished) forever
      http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/The-case-for-resuming-hanging_13559242
      nothing happens …no one is ever hung so I doubt many criminals take it seriously.

      It’s a bit like Barbados’s anti-gay laws …technically homosexuality is illegal but no one’s actually been convicted of it in years because the government would die of political embarrassment. It’s more a kind of “those Eurpoeans and Americans dont tell us what to do thing” rather than a belief in the actual concepts. Although there is a lot of homophobia about the Carribean.

      “Perhaps you and Mr Conway might like to talk to bereaved families in the West Indies…”

      I often listen to people that are angry, hurt or violated and I have to say it doesn’t automatically turns them into great policy makers. Policy should be based on an objective evaluation of the facts … but hey if only I was to visit a ward of people dying of AIDS then automatically I’d completely change all my opinions …sorry, that’s a different page, innit?

      • Rifleman819

        Anthony,
        I was not claiming anything of the sort-don’t link AIDS/anti-gay legislation to the issue of capital punishment..there can be lots of violent crime short of deliberately killing people.

    • Rob

      Widecombe was talking about the UK (or possibly England) NOT Barbados.

      But I love your argument that the death penalty is good because it works. I hadn’t put you down as a supporter of utilitarianism, a philosophy which separates morality from its religious basis.

      • Rifleman819

        Rob,
        I was advocating it in the UK as well as Barbados- anywhere where a democratic legislature has voted forit…..in fact you are not correct in saying the Church condemns the death penalty .It does not.The Catechism clearly states-item 327 that “wilful murder” is one of the 4 sins crying to heaven for vengeance-the Catechism’s words not mine.
        The imposition of the death penalty serves two purposes…..a.it is the supreme punishment for the supreme crime b.it is a very effective deterrent.Only in the very last resort should it happen -but it should be used where required.

        I doubt if you are old enough to remember the executions in Malaysia of two Australians Kevin Barlow and Brian Chambers on 7th July 1986 for heroin smuggling.The then PM (Bob Hawke) of Australia accused Malaysia of barbarism- Mahatir Mohmmmed their then PM replied “I agree-drug smugglers are barbaric.If you in Australia do not want to execute such people-that is fine.But please do not lecture us about the defence of Malyasian society.Salus populi suprema lex”

        The Malaysian PM pointed out that the accused had had a fair trial-wigs/gowns, rules of evidence , an Appeal system based on the British system and so on.

        If you look at the various studies since the abolition of capital punishment in the UK -despite the attempts of the Home Office to massage the figures-you will see a relentless rise in the figures.

        I was growing up in central London in the 1960s-officers in the Met then had the same pattern truncheons as issued to the Peelers in 1929-no tab vests , pepper spray , extendable batons or Armed response vehicles.

        A question -if you discovered that poor Deacon Nick was worth £45 million and kept most of it under his bed or that someone malign wanted him terminated and was going to pay you £3 million-would you take the contract?? …if a.the penalty was death on conviction for murder or b…some other penalty?

        You would be a bold chap to choose option a. I think.

        • Rob

          “If you look at the various studies since the abolition of capital punishment in the UK -despite the attempts of the Home Office to massage the figures-you will see a relentless rise in the figures”

          Can you provide a citation of this please. Murder rates in the UK did rise since the 1950s, but they stabilised in the 1980/1990 and apart from a peak in 2002 (responsibility of a Dr Shipman) they have been rather slowly declining since. 2012 had the lowest number of homicides since 1983 (despite population increasing during the same period from 56 million to 63 million)

          http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-18900384
          http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/9411649/Graphic-how-the-murder-rate-has-fallen.html

          Even this pro-hanging site shows a far from relentless graph.

          http://fullfact.org/blog/murder_rate_doubled_death_penalty_abolished-2924

          Murder rate did rise since the abolition of the death penalty. BUT it is now on a downward tragetory without its re-introduction.

          Curious.

          • Rifleman819

            Rob ,
            This was explained in a very carefully researched piece about homicidal crime-stab someone in somewhere vital in the body in about 1963 ….it would likely be fatal.
            With paramedical skills at a supreme level now and hospitals’ A and E Depts, esp in the larger conurbations…developing life-saving skills with puncture wounds and with helicopters, drugs , ventilators etc etc ……a near certain death even 10 years ago can be pulled from the brink.Not blather either-I am an NHS Foundation Ambulance Trust governor and have been out with the crews in RRVs and frontline ambulances…..and watched what these wonderful men and women can do.

            And the point about capital punishment is this-no one really knows (by definition)…how many murders were averted by fear.Fear of going through a trap-door with a rope around your neck.

        • “A question -if you discovered that poor Deacon Nick was worth £45 million and kept most of it under his bed or that someone malign wanted him terminated and was going to pay you £3 million-would you take the contract?? …if a.the penalty was death on conviction for murder or b…some other penalty?”

          There was a great article in the Metro a few weeks back based on the research of Samuel Cameron who collected data on contract killings from media outlets and examined 52 cases in Britain stretching back as far as 1972.
          He found the average cost for a contract killing was between £700 at the low end of the market and £2000 at the high end (if you dont count professional contract killings that we dont know about like the Jill Dando one because they’re so good no one gets caught).

          http://metro.co.uk/2013/11/14/cash-for-contract-killing-the-economics-behind-hiring-a-hitman-4185590/

          ‘The obvious reason the sum would be in low in some cases is that the people don’t have very much money to pay the person,’ said Prof Cameron. ‘The money’s a token. It’s like somebody saying they’ll come round and help you plaster your house or renovate your basement. And you say, “Take something”, and they go, “Oh no, I can’t” and you say, “Here’s £500” – it’s that.

          I honestly dont think most people think through the consequences properly before they murder someone.

          As to professional drug dealing type killings. Well, if you’re a professional drug dealer then you’re usually in a gang and as such you’re liable to be murdered anyway. There’s loads of people killed all the time Norwood who are linked to petty crime and involved in minor power struggles. The people like Mark Duggan who’s mum causes a wave of outrage involving the Guardian the IPCC then …oh, it turns out that her claim that he had no criminal convictions wasn’t true after all and …he didn’t “deserve to be killed because he was not an angel”. I’m not in favour of judicial killing but if a few petty gangsters get shot by the PoPo it’s not keeping me awake at night. Call me cold …but they know the risks. Honestly, in that world crime and violent crime becomes a way of life and I dont think bringing back execution is going to solve it.

          I dont think the death penalty is about deterant, I think it’s about vengence and I dont think we should stoop to that level. I mean, up till the middle of the 19th century the death penalty was the penalty for just about everything and it never stopped crime or people killing each other. As JP II points out prisons as we know them are a fairly modern invention. The state even tried publically disemboweling people to stop them overthrowing the state – that failed dismally. Surely if anyone should realise you cant control people through capital punishment it is Catholics.

          Besides I think being locked up for life is a fate worse than death. A kind of living death. Paul Staines had a campaign to get a debate in parliament over the death penalty for which he needed 100,000 signatures. It was a dismal failure.

          Also honestly it’s not very Christian. I dont see how you get from “love your enemy” to “hang ‘em high”.

          • Rifleman819

            Anthony ,
            After 20 centuries thinking about it -the Church begs to disagree with you.
            A lot of criminals are complete cowards-would you risk the noose for dosh? Some do , admittedly.A number of murders never happened because of fear of the drop-and criminals often searched each other for firearms before a “job” because you could easily hang for being an accessory to murder as well. More robust times, certainly.

            I am not a “vengeance” man myself …but certainly a deterrent chap. That was the lesson that Malaysia and Singapore/Indonesia have sent out across Asia -including dim Europeans/Westerners acting as heroin drugs mules (and therefore equated as murderers) who don’t seem to understand that these three states “mean” it when they feel their societies are under threat.
            My best mate at school was the son of an inspector in the Met (in the days when Police inspectors still wore WW2 ribbons)and the last man in the Force to 3 of his colleagues alive before they were shot dead by Harry Roberts on 12 August 1966-it led to the biggest manhunt in British criminal history.There was an overwhelming call for the reintroduction of the recently abolished death penalty.It filled the papers for weeks…..the recent murders of two female officers in Manchester were sadly not news after about three.That is the extent to which we have become inured to the casual and violent ending of life in the UK.

            You have never lived in a society without routinely armed officers, Tasers ,anti- stab vests ,extendable batons, pepper spray etc .I have.There is a difference between your society and mine…….believe me.

            And again read what it says in the Catechism about the right of the State ,in extremis, -to protect its citizens.

            If potential murderers know that ,if found guilty of premeditated murder, they will hang………you will get fewer murders.

            I once had the chance of asking at after- dinner drinks a famous member of my Regiment and an even more famous Judge-Sir Melford Stevenson KC about the death penalty….he was one of the last judges to wear the black cap……..but that’s another story.

          • Nicolas Bellord

            For me, as a retired lawyer, the problem of capital punishment is that the courts can and do make mistakes. If you then discover your mistake after having hanged the wrong man there is not much you can do about it. That is a clincher for me. Further I think you will find that the murder rate per thousand, in the UK, has remained much the same for at least the last century or more.

          • Augustine

            “The problem of capital punishment is that the courts can and do make mistakes.”

            Exactly.

            But there can be exceptional circumstances that permit capital punishment. For example if a small group of people marooned on a desert island discovers a murderer amongst their group.

  • Bob Hayes

    It is always a sight to behold when a contributor lobs in a alleged comparator (in this case Ann Widdecombe) and deftly succeeds in moving discussion far away from the core issue. So, for the sake of clarity:

    Mike Conway is the editor of what claims to be a Catholic publication and he fawningly declares that ‘Peter Tatchell is not only my hero but also my friend and my brother’.

    From Peter Tatchell’s website:

    London – 29 July 2013
    “Pope Francis has offered a change of tone in Vatican pronouncements on gay people but not a change in substance. The church’s hardline stance against gay equality and relationships remains intact. It opposes same-sex marriage. The Catechism condemns homosexual love using strident, inflammatory and homophobic language…” [...]

    “At best, his statement is a shift away from old-style vengeful condemnation and punishment towards a more conciliatory and merciful church. Although he preaches forgiveness, he still regards homosexuality as a sin for which people must repent. This is only marginal theological progress.

    “The Pope’s refusal to countenance women priests reiterates the Vatican’s age-old assumption that women are inferior and unfit to be spiritual leaders. It is pure patriarchy and sexism.”

    At the least it appears Mike Conway suffers from conflicted loyalties; more likely is that he is rapidly disengaging from Catholicism.

    • “(in this case Ann Widdecombe) and deftly succeeds in moving discussion far away from the core issue”

      To be fair it’s a more interesting subject that the same old recycled nonsense about homosexuality and abortion that usually dominates this site. I think one can admire PT as a man of integrity. He clearly believes what he says and is prepared to make huge personal sacrificies to his cause …even if much of what he says is twaddle.

      • katherine

        Anthony Millar – at the risk of sounding boring, as I’ve already given this advice to others on this blog – please find the exit AND USE IT. I like this site, thats why I visit. If you dont, you know what to do. However I suspect you like to keep your finger on the pulse regarding what the rest of us are thinking. Very Tablet. Very Archdiocese of Westminster.

        • Not like the site? Me? I love the site – for all the wrong reasons. Where’s the fun in talking to people who agree with you all the time. I used to wind up Dawkins as well but I find his website almost impossible to navigate these days. You’d think a scientist would have a website that actually worked and loaded quickly but this seems beyond the Dawkins institute of Science and Reason… which is somewhat ironic.

          To give a serious answer – I suppose the site serves a purpose – which is to articulate and promote what Deacon Nick sees as the truths of the Catholic faith and one does have a certain fascination with people who are prepared to be seen as unpopular. I also think it does quite a good job of refuting some of the more ludicrous accusations against the church …althought sometimes it diverts into what I would describe as …er …hysteria?

          By “nonsense about homosexuality and abortion” I mean not so much that the Church’s views in this area are nonsense but more that the problem with such discussions is by definition Nick & the Church have no ground to give without going into heresy which is what the entire website exists to refute so ….this results in arguments that can be classified as “Oh yes it is!” and “Oh no it isnt” and the whole thing disolves into a pantomime of people competing to be outraged vs people who are here to troll and disagree. The death penalty issue is interesting precisely because there is no black and white answer.

          • Rifleman819

            Anthony ,
            Sorry wrong again.”What Deacon Nick sees as the truths of…..”
            No certainly not.In this regard Deacon Nick has no truth- for it is not “his” to dispense.Let me explain.
            Nick is impeccable in relating virtually every post he makes on the site to the item as measured against what the Universal Church teaches
            and proclaims.
            In simple terms perhaps Nick is like the Ryanair bookings clerk at Luton airport who tests your cabin baggage against the dimensions thingy before you fly. If it fits according to Ryanair’s criteria you can take it onboard as cabin baggage. If it does not -you can’t. So it is with the teaching of the church.

            Don’t like it?

            Then find another airline.

          • Deacon Nick Donnelly

            That’s very well put Rifleman819. I measure what others write or say against the ‘regula fidei’ the rule of faith set out, and safeguarded by, Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the teachings of the Magisterium, ordinary and extraordinary. Deacon Nick.

          • katherine

            Anthony – thank you for the time and effort that went into your response to my request.

            From now on I shall simply skip over your contributions as I’m not interested in games. God Bless you.

          • Rifleman819

            Anthony and Deacon Nick ,

            On the “opinion” thing again .

            For the last 454 years the Church by Law Established has been the official, Erastian ,State ecclesial body in England-whose doctrine has been governed by Acts of Parliament and by the CoE Synod since 1970.
            Going back to the very start of the Reformation -with Luther’s 95 Theses at Wittenberg on 31 Oct 1517…It is only 8 years later that the German Peasants’ War started on 16th July 1525…in part inspired by nascent Protestantism.A furious Luther wrote a series of vitriolic diatribes against the labourers rebelling against the lords.Germans are often depicted as lacking irony.
            Having defied the Church’s authority-Luther was now himself defied-and he in turn quarrelled violently with Bucer, Calvin and Zwingli.
            There is a lesson in this-by all means stick a theological two-fingers up to Rome and establish your own church-but don’t expect your own authority-”scriptura sola, sola fide”-to be unchallenged for very long.
            One heresy has a chain reaction with others-until you get more varieties than Heinz’s 57.And heresy is literally “picking and choosing” from some doctrinal smorgastbrod that suits you.
            That is why I bet George Carey and Rowan Williams must have ulcer problems and that Justin Welby in his turn will develop them.
            And that is why PtP exists…………..to expose “picking and choosing” amongst Catholics.

      • Bob Hayes

        Having a Voltaire moment Anthony?

  • The one thing that brought Tatchell to my attention was his support for lowering the age of consent to 14 years. Is that the stuff a hero is made of?

    • Bob Hayes

      Indeed John.

      Peter Tatchell also enthusiastically supports the production and dissemination of pornography as a stimulus for masturbation. In 2008 he claimed ‘If porno magazines and films assist frequent masturbation, then porn is helping save lives’. He also argued that young people should be exposed to pornography: ‘Sex mags and vids can be great sex education for young people. Unlike the coy, euphemistic nonsense that passes for sex education in schools, quality porn shows young people about sex – the techniques and skills involved, and how to satisfy yourself and your partner’.

      http://www.petertatchell.net/pornography/porncanbegoodforyou.htm

      Are these among the characteristics that make Peter Tatchell a ‘hero’ for Mike Conway. I really think Mr Conway should tell us.

      • Lynda

        This is the opposite of education. What extreme unreckonable evil! The deliberate ruination of the moral reason and degradation of mind and heart of children. It’d be better that a mill-stone be tied round his neck …

  • Mr Grumpy

    So disingenuous. The valid purpose of “dialogue and discussion” with Peter Tatchell would be to try to convince him to put his great gifts at the service of Christ. How can uncritical adulation do that?

    You can be sure that the Ann Widdecombe piece wasn’t headlined “My heroine AW”. Mike Conway is fully entitled to his vehement opposition to the death penalty provided that it is founded on vehement affirmation of the sanctity of life. But then how could the pro-abortion, pro-euthanasia Peter Tatchell be his hero?

  • Rifleman819

    Mr Grumpy ,
    Absolutely correct………often found …anti-capital punishment but pro-abortion.
    Beats me how you square that one.

  • Rifleman819

    Rob ,
    The capital punishment debate again………………..from various sources some key figures appear to be:-

    YEAR Homicide rate per mill of pop
    1965 6.8
    1995 12.8
    1997 14.1
    2002 16.6
    2003 19.8
    2010 11.2

    Source: fullfact.org/blogmurder rate 2924

    Whichever way you cut the basic stats there is an undeniable pro-rate, like for like,upward trend.
    If you factor in the allowance for emergency care medicine and saving lives, esp stabbing and gunshot wounds….then almost certainly the rise in death rate would have been more.

  • Wake Up England

    Really, the matter of Capital Punishment is quite clearly explained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Vide paragraph 2266 idem:

    “Preserving the Common Good of society requires rendering the aggressor unable to inflict harm. For this reason the traditional teaching of the Church has acknowledged as WELL FOUNDED the right and duty of legitimate authority to punish malefactors by means of penalties commensurate with the gravity of the crime, NOT EXCLUDING, in cases of extreme gravity the death penalty.”

    Wilful murder is an extremely grave sin.

    It’s extremely clear, Catholic teaching states that the state has the moral right to execute criminals if it sees fit to do so.

    • Bob Hayes

      Capital punishment is no longer addressed in 2266. 2267 sets out Catholic teaching and references Blessed John Paul II’s Evangelium vitae (56), viz the circumstances in which capital punishment is just ‘are very rare, if not practically non-existent’.

  • Wake Up England

    May I also point-out the uncomfortable truth that, had it not been for Capital Punishment, the Redemption of Mankind would not have happened on Calvary?

    Our blessed Lord was no stranger to executions; he would have seen them almost daily; and yet He did not condemn them (which he could have). And nor has the Church ever forbidden capital punishment of questioned the perfect right of the state to execute criminals if it deems it necessary to uphold the Common Good. Up until comparatively recently the Church actively supported capital punishment by the State where necessary.

    • WUE,

      Your comment brought to mind the words of the Good Thief:

      “And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.” . . . Luke 23: 41.

      It’s interesting that Jesus did not contradict the man’s words regarding capital punishment; though He could have done so.

      • Maybe he had other things on his mind. Or maybe Jesus tries not to have a bust up with secular authority for other more complex reasons
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Render_unto_Caesar
        Saying that “had it not been for Capital Punishment, the Redemption of Mankind would not have happened on Calvary?” is a bit like saying without original sin we wouldn’t have had the Messiah …true but I don think Jesus can to promote original sin. If nothing else it must be one of the most famous miscarriages of justice of all time.

        “Up until comparatively recently the Church actively supported capital punishment by the State where necessary.”

        In the words of Ray Nicolet in Jackie Brown “I’m glad you pointed that out because it saves me the trouble of pointing it out to you..”

      • Wake Up England

        The Good Thief is called Saint Dismus.

    • Bob Hayes

      But didn’t Pilate approve the execution of Jesus Christ for no other reason than that it facilitated his governing of the Jews? I doubt that the matter of justice topped his priorities, given the Gospel accounts of the events.

  • Rifleman819

    For Nicholas Bellord,

    Two points Nicholas….I respect your view and Anthony’s but you can equally argue the converse-3 times this year there has been news of convicted murderers (One I think a double -murderer) who were released on licence..only to commit another murder.

    Secondly ….homicide rates per million of the population do show a doubling of murder rates since 1965.

    And by definition one will never know the numbers of “murders” or contemplated murders before 1965 because those tempted were also gambling with their own lives.There is a basic difference between risking a life sentence( another lie) and the itchy feel of a bit of hemp round your neck.

  • Nicolas Bellord

    Sir John Fortescue’s De Laudibus Legum Angliae (c. 1470) states that “one would much rather that twenty guilty persons should escape the punishment of death, than that one innocent person should be condemned and suffer capitally.”

    That is a legal maxim repeated by Blackstone, Benjamin Franklin and others and really goes back to Lot pleading for the lives of innocent men.

    The fact that a man may be released from prison and then commit another murder surely proves my point that mistakes can be made.

  • Rifleman819

    Nicolas,
    Indeed…I would not disagree …but equally “Salus populi suprema lex”…prior to the reintroduction of the death penalty Jamaica suffered 1000 drugs-related murders a year.At what point does the balance come?…..pre-medidated and intentional murder , the full “mens rea et actus reus”…actually deserves little mercy.
    With DNA advances and other techniques and the advice to juries I think that the situation is very different from the 1950s.
    The stark alternative is that civil society therefore puts up with/tolerates the ultimate crime with often so-called life sentences under 10 years.Worth the risk for a hardened criminal.

    • Nicolas Bellord

      Rifleman819: I totally accept that it depends upon the circumstances of the particular society as to whether capital punishment is proper or not. In the extreme case of a howling mob attacking legitimate authority it may be necessary for the forces of law and order to open fire with the intention of killing. Or in a primitive society where there is no sound prison system capital punishment may be justified. Possible Jamaica is on the margins but a developed society such as we have in Europe should not need the death penalty. It is interesting that Portugal was one of the first countries in Europe to abolish the death penalty and substitute life imprisonment and life meant life – although more recently that has come under attack.

      • Rifleman819

        Nicholas,
        I think you might half concede the point-where does a society have to drop to before it becomes an utter shambles?

        Will London in 2014 be a safer place than it was in 1964?

        And the whole passage of Sydney Silverman’s abolition bill hinged on conning Parliament that “life” meant life-a feature the Home Office never had any intentions of keeping.
        And we stopped judicial executions in 1964 and started parliamentary abortions in 1967…..again on a similar lie in the other direction.And we now efficiently kill 200,000 unborn a year.
        We shall see what happens ……………..maybe a whole new ball-game if Scotland gains independence next September -across a whole gamut of policies in the new “United Kingdom of England , Wales and Northern Ireland”-presume that will be the name of this new nation??

  • Thomas

    Mike Conway … Exposed at last. Thank you, Protect the Pope. [moderated comment]

  • “In simple terms perhaps Nick is like the Ryanair bookings clerk at Luton airport who tests your cabin baggage against the dimensions thingy before you fly. If it fits according to Ryanair’s criteria you can take it onboard as cabin baggage. If it does not -you can’t. So it is with the teaching of the church.

    Don’t like it?

    Then find another airline.”

    If you think Christianity is all about rules then you just haven’t read the new testament. The implication of this (that Rome is beyond criticism and everyone who thinks so should just leave) is also nonsense. Read Matthew 23 “They pile heavy burdens on people’s shoulders and won’t lift a finger to help”

    “You have never lived in a society without routinely armed officers, Tasers ,anti- stab vests ,extendable batons, pepper spray etc .I have.There is a difference between your society and mine…….believe me.”

    Yes I have and I don’t think this change is down to the abolition of the death penalty.
    Also I have a problem with dehumanising the workers in the penal system by forcing them to carry out judicial killings for us.

    Anyway, it beats me how or why you lot who supposedly think the next life is better than this one and spend all your time telling us about the afterlife think that death is a greater deterrent than life.

    No one who’s actually a Christian should use the words “actually deserves little mercy” surely?
    If you want vengeance why cant you wait till the day of Judgement?

    • Rifleman819

      Anthony ,
      More than mildly incoherent here.Firstly how can you claim what you state….I was born in 1952 and I hope am still alive and sentient as I write this.You were not -nor growing up in London in the 1960s-I was and can tell you that the difference across many fields is vast.You have absolutely no experience of the earlier period because you were not alive then.
      How do we force workers in the penal system? What is a “worker” in the penal system-the Lord Chief Justice or someone working for Serco on the minimum wage?
      Anthony-have you ever seen violent death -a murder? I have.A soldier in my company murdered someone in Canada when we were on exercise-a person’s head smashed to pulp and brain matter all over the place.My platoon had to move the body after the RCMP forensics team gave permission.Not nice.
      Canada abolished capital punishment in 1967-my unit had to get out of the provincial capital very fast indeed..for the victim was a native Canadian Indian -and female.
      Yes I do say that fear of the rope works.And yes-”deserving of mercy and Chhristianity “go together but so does justice.
      I don’t want vengeance ….I want deterrence…I wish to prevent murder.

      Again you can use these arguments about nuclear weapons-there are men still alive now in their 90s who were due to take their place in the projected conventional invasion of Japan.Planners estimated that Allied casualties could cost up to a million men-my dad was one of them due to go.
      After repeated warnings Japan still vowed to fight on-after the second bomb dropped on Aug 9th 1945…Japan surrendered on 15th.
      One can safely argue the ethics, morality and theology behind this 68 years later….but to the million Allied servicemen at the time …it meant their survival on this earth.

      • Lynda

        In certain murder cases, e.g. mass murder, and where the identity of the aggressor is certain, execution is a valid, and perhaps even the most just punishment. And punishment and retribution are valid reasons for a sentence to be handed down by a lawful judicial authority after due process.

      • Lynda

        Can the intentional killing of a whole city of non-combatants, including women and children, ever be justified by the probable saving of many other lives by ending the war several more months earlier than otherwise would have been likely? Isn’t this attempting to justify what is wrong per se on the basis of probable avoidance of other evil? One may not do evil that some good may come of it.

        • Rifleman819

          Lynda ,
          Opens a fascinating debate-but the men and women in the Allied Forces in the Pacific in the summer of 1945 did not have that luxury.

          Aquinas-style moral theological conferences have little relevance when you are checking your weapons , grenades , Bangalore torpedoes…..and hoping to avoid casualties against a fanatical enemy whose resistance at Iwo Jima cost the US Marine Corps 17 Lt.Colonels killed in as many hours.

          And the closer you got to Japan , the fiercer the resistance would become.

          Yes ….too …Dresden was awful…but as was Coventry and Dachau.

      • A new nadir in PTP logic. We’re not allowed to comment on anything pre-73 because we weren’t there… despite the fact the PoPo have been able to sign out weapons since the early 50s if trained.

        “Anthony-have you ever seen violent death -a murder? I have.A soldier in my company murdered someone in Canada when we were on exercise-a person’s head smashed to pulp and brain matter all over the place.My platoon had to move the body after the RCMP forensics team gave permission.Not nice.”

        Sorry the volume of gorey violence you’ve been exposed to is not relevant. If you have PTSD please see a mental health professional. The “you dont know what I’ve been through” brigade who wheel out their personal experiences against statistical evidence and common sense are the bane of the world.

        Sorry I still dont see lots of PoPo going about routinely tooled up. And I dont see why you’re so obsessed with firearms anyway …

        You would think the RCC community would have more sense than to push capital punishment. I mean “In certain murder cases, e.g. mass murder, and where the identity of the aggressor is certain” what like the Guilford 4 and the Birmingham 6 …who do you think Cameron would be stringing up first when push comes to shove?

        And I dont remember this less violent past you’re so fond of … what when the IRA didn’t blow up the Caterham Arms or Bishopsgate? Hummm… You cant solve these problems with judicial killing. It is foolish to think so. The kind of people who commit mass killings want to be maytrs. Brady’s always writing to the papers asking them to hang him. What about Andy Breivik? People who commit mass murder are either in organised crime when they think they’re untouchable or they’re psychopathic personalities who are unlikely to be detered by anything.

        • Rifleman819

          No Anthony -you can comment whatever you like, but the fact that it is not lived reality for me but not you makes a difference -stats??…have a look at what I posted!PTSD-No have never had that.I know several who have though.Weaponry-I was a short -Service infantry officer in the Regular British Army…….and yes …surprise, surprise I know a fair bit about weapons…..but I have never had , nor desire to , hold a civilian firearms licence.
          Mr Cameron strings no one up-he would fail the Health and Safety inspections for trainee executioners.
          Why are you getting a trifle -”Teddy throwing” btw…..is it ‘cos “smart-arseness” is paying diminishing dividends?
          A sure sign of immaturity, Anthony ,is getting wound up-you seem to larf at dishing it out ….not so dignified being on the receiving end, is it?
          Caterham bombings-again I would guess anecdote for you….and Bishopgate.My era -not yours I would guess.

          Now you really are rattled….organised criminals in a society that executes murderers don’t tend to stay around after a murder do they?
          Why might that be? One guess.

          You have a brain -use it.Try to argue cogently;there are several bloggers here who can if they wish wipe the floor with you intellectually.But they don’t.Watching you wind yourself up trying to wind us up is much , much more fun.

      • Nicolas Bellord

        Mgr Ronald Knox in “God and the Atom” (1945) argued that the Americans should have given a demonstration of an Atomic Bomb on some uninhabited island first. I think he is right morally but what should have been done if that demonstration failed to convince Japan to surrender? It is significant that it took two bombs to convince them.

        • Rifleman819

          Nicolas,
          Yes you are right……but again a very pragmatic understanding of the then Japanese psyche.
          And the point about two bombs is a very good one…..that it took two nuclear detonations to convince them might tell us now that the one million casualties the Allies were planning for could well have been totally realistic.

  • “In simple terms perhaps Nick is like the Ryanair bookings clerk at Luton airport who tests your cabin baggage against the dimensions thingy before you fly. If it fits according to Ryanair’s criteria you can take it onboard as cabin baggage. If it does not -you can’t. So it is with the teaching of the church.”

    Nonsense… I mean if anyone in the service sector set to pick as many pointless fights as Deacon Nick does they’d be sacked …or down an Employment Tribunal.

  • Rifleman819

    Anthony ,
    So you say ……can you illustrate where Deacon Nick “picks pointless fights?”.
    Is this Deacon Nick personally or where Deacon Nick shows where an action or projected action is not in concert with the Catholic Faith?

    But remember what I wrote at the end of my bit further up the page….you don’t have to fly Ryanair…..pick another airline.
    Deacon Nick does not speak for Jains, Hindus , Congregationalist, Muslims , Baptists , Methodists, Jehovahs’ Witnesses, Anglicans-these people have their own airlines…….he has the Ryanair rulebook …..for Catholic flights only.
    You are always welcome to check in at any other denominational terminal , youknow.
    Deacon Nick could not nor would not stop you ….I’m sure.

  • Wake Up England

    Anthony Miller derives amusement from being pointlessly contentious on this blog.

    he has recently boasted of “winding up” people on other blogs which concern themselves with things Catholic.

    I question whether this pastime is healthy, constructive or profitable to other readers and contributors.

    Having a talent to annoy is a dubious attribute; particularly if used maainly to attract attention.

    I find Anthony Miller’s continuing facetiousness (and his gratuitous contrariness) largely counter-productive to this blog and its integrity.

    This blog is not a computer game, Anthony Miller. Most of us here are trying to protect Almighty God’s teachings and his Holy Church.

  • Rifleman819

    Wake Up ,

    Anthony is immature…perhaps he needs to go out on patrol with a Met firearms squad in parts of south London……and confront Black on Black handgun deaths…in the Trident campaign.Might, might give him pause for thought.

    Some of his “clever” wind-ups are actually very predictable…..but he has , as he has told us , a physics degree……………so he isn’t dim …..but not bright enough to understand he is not fooling us.

    Keep up the good work Anthony……..

    • Well, erm … I did leave you all alone for ages then I happened to put Caterham into google on day and noticed Deacon Nick was busy trying to excommunicate the entire parish and indeed the whole of Surrey probably as part of his relentless campaign against ACTA. Still what does collateral damage matter? What does it matter if you smeared an entire community in your attempt to confront …what …12 people? Who you could have easily identified by doing some proper research

      Deacon Nick is not like an Ryan Air clerk. Ryan Air has many faults but I haven’t noticed Michael O’Leary having routine pops at every other airline on the internet or striding round everywhere in public telling everyone else how to live. He just does what he does. Still, is that the corporate image you want to aspire to : a faceless corporation notorious for its concealed charged and inhuman and inflexible customer service that only caters to the absolute bottom end of the market. A man who sees aircraft simply as “flying busses” and would take out the seats if people moving around wouldn’t destabilise the plane?

      By the way what happened to the ACTA transcript we are waiting with baited breath…. or have you found that either the meeting was too tedious to transcribe or that you need to learn shorthand? Or are you still trying to figure out the best way to decontextualise everybody.

      I’m not the only person who thinks this blog has conceptual problems
      http://www.lovingit.co.uk/2013/10/do-all-bloggers-turn-nasty-in-the-end.html
      for one thing it’s completely impersonal which, from a literary point of view,
      makes it hard to read. When was the last time Deacon Nick told us about his own life?
      Even Ray Blake tells us about his own experiences and that makes his blog more readable.
      Apart from one personal post and the odd flash of unintentional self revelation I have no idea who Deacon Nick is… is he really just a copy of the Catechism given human form?

      “This blog is not a computer game, Anthony Miller. Most of us here are trying to protect Almighty God’s teachings and his Holy Church.”

      I’m sorry that you cant find a completely uncritical audience.

      By the way no one’s answered my postulated question : why do you think the death penalty will deter people and is so frightening when you’re the people who promote the story of life and life after death? I was always taught (and maybe this is out of fashion) that life was something we had to sort of endure to get to paradise …so why would anyone be that bothered about being hung if they believed?

      • Rifleman819

        Anthony ,
        You are the boy with the vivid imagination-it is circa 1954 and it is Wandsworth , Scrubs, Strangeways or where ever….the warders have just changed over ….Albert Pierrepoint says “follow me…….” and you are telling me that your BP , saliva, blood sugar are just the same ….about 40 seconds from death?

        Your mates in the Dog and Duck…..who dobbed you in to the rozzers are looking at the big grandfather clock as the hands turn ….and just really glad it was you and not them.

        Your postulated question……….would you be just a tiny bit frightened, a tad discommoded, if an enraged Deacon Nick was standing over you with an axe -bought that morning with his discount from B+Q plus Nectar points…..because of your utter jejune comments unworthy of a physics graduate on this blog?
        No …I hear you say-”Do your worst…I shall dine in paradise”…such “sang froid”…from Caterham of all places.
        BTW-what is wrong with the Catechism………..don’t like ….buy the Pink Times instead.Both are instructional …on different planes.

    • “and confront Black on Black handgun deaths…in the Trident campaign”

      I lives whit black woman innit. Dont need you to tell me and my brevren about shooters, bruv. Me travel all dark corners of the streets in the dark and works all pubs and bars you too rural to know. Me play theatres and drug dens. So allow it, man. What do you know about being black? Nofink

      • Rifleman819

        Anthony ,
        Be careful Winston , Errol an’ Leroy not readin’ diss…………..day might fink you dissin’ dem.
        Get out de 9mm Ingram M TREE.(M3/MAC10 for the technical, You can be blown away in 2 secs by a .45 ACP round-messy)…………An’ you is history………

      • Wake UP England

        Why do you waste everyone’s time here with your posts Anthony Miller?

  • Nicolas Bellord

    Anthony Miller is just tedious and should be ignored.

    • Lynda

      Yes, he does not make logical arguments. It may work elsewhere but not among people capable of critical thought and recognising a lack of logic, and juvenile debating tactics involving several logical fallacies. He consistently fails to stick to the issue, but rather must use innuendo and groundless slurs against people to deflect from the poverty of argument.

  • Rifleman819

    Anthony ,
    I shall be away on holiday for a bit….so I wish you and all other regulars here a good and peaceful fortnight or so.Take care.

  • Rifleman819

    Deacon Nick ladies and gents,
    Many thanks-I’m off as it happens on a trip round the Baltic, including St.Petersburg.
    Apart from NATO exercises in Denmark -all completely new to self and Mrs Rifleman.
    I stress now that neither of us are in anyway connected with Pussyriot and Greenpeace…………..!

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