Catholic Church: the lobby and its fear of the public square

It has to be the strangest pairing in the Blogosphere, but my old Telegraph colleague, Damian “the blood-crazed ferret” Thompson has taken rather a shine to old Splintered lately… mostly for his acute observation of the politics of the high end of the English Catholic Church… Almost at random here’s a particularly interesting snippet on their modus operandi as seen by Splintered:

Lobbying ministers is fine, but lobbying ministers at the expense of any other methods, like, oh, making a public argument, is not. When the Sexual Orientation Regulations were going through parliament and the threat to the adoption agencies became clear, the word from Eccleston Square was “we’ve spoken to Mr Tony and he assures us we’ll be all right”. When the recent Children, Schools and Families Bill was going through, the line was “we’ve spoken to Ed Balls and he assures us we’ll be all right”.

And when the assurances turned to dust? Having eschewed making the argument in public in favour of talking to ministers, the bishops came to the argument late and just looked completely unreasonable. Losing an argument is fine, but losing an argument by default through not turning up until the last minute, and doing this repeatedly, is not fine.

Does any of that sound familiar? (Damien, shurely a no brainer for next year’s best political blog? He is Irish, honest…)

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  • Brian Walker

    The Catholic Church in Belgium isn’t getting on too well in the publlic sphere there is it? Interesting precedent?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jun/24/belgium-catholic-church-sex-claims.

    More innocuously, the Church has been forced to scale down the Pope’s’ visit to GB. In spite of denials, surely evidence of dwindling enthusiasm?

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/coventry_and_warwickshire/10403660.stm?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

  • Granni Trixie

    A good thing too. I always wondered if it was asking too much that the elephant in the room goes unnoticed for too long.I say this because, not least, the visit is likely to galvanise those who see the hypocrasy of the church in relation to child abuse and cover up as intolerable so they have to act.

    The visit is sure to end in tears.

  • The Catholic Church has its place in most countries, but that place should never have been in charge of any country outside of the Vatican. It is a good sign if some governments are beginning to exert the authority of the state over religion.

    This is an interesting article relating to the Irish governments attitude to the RCC not so long ago:

    http://www.irishexaminer.com/opinion/columnists/ryle-dwyer/weve-moved-onfrom-the-dayswhen-rome-ruled-our-republic-109273html

  • Cynic

    Why hasn’t this been done in Ireland North and South?

    Has the Irish Papal Nuncio ever got around to providing that material from the Vatican yet?

  • aquifer

    Triumph or Martyrdom is a high risk approach to politics that a few people around hear have tried. It worked for Ian Paisley and the Provos.

    Martyring other people is just murder and abuse.

    And I’m not going to hell for saying it.

  • I read the article from Static Youth and of course agree. No one or institution should be above the law, any law that relates to people, and inparticular those laws regarding child protection.