Who’s Who in Catholic Life – 2014

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Dominie Mary Beatrice Stemp, Catechist and Freelance writer – published in Catholic Life monthly and the Catholic Herald – has kindly submitted the article below for publication in our newsletter and on the blog.  You can read more articles by Dominie by visiting her blog – click on the picture…

I’m particularly interested in the article below, because Joe Kelly is the editor of the Universe, one of the UK wide “Catholic” newspapers sold in many, if not most churches throughout these nations. Some years ago, I had a fairly extensive email conversation with him in which it became increasingly clear that he was about as Catholic as Christopher Hitchens.  Anyway, I do not wish to distract attention from Dominie’s article, so will say no more about that for now. Read on and then share your thoughts about it all. Is such a list (of essentially “VIP Catholics”) useful? Distasteful? Silly? What, then?

BOOK REVIEW OF ‘WHO’S WHO IN CATHOLIC LIFE – 2014’

 When I asked Joe Kelly – editor of this annual ‘Who’s Who in Catholic Life’ – what qualifications got one into this ‘select’ directory, he said – “they have to be practicing Catholics”. But what is a practicing Catholic these days? Looking at the entries, it would appear they don’t have to sign up to the teachings and doctrines!  Astonishingly the largest entry is Professor Hans Kung – he gets almost 2 sides of information – amazing for someone who’s teaching licence was withdrawn in Catholic institutions! And he isn’t British, nor does he live in the UK. So, the editor’s idea of a practicing Catholic nowadays means someone who perhaps attends Mass on Sundays – a cultural sort of Catholic – a ‘no-string’ attached one.

The directory is published by the Universe Media Group, and it is an A5 hard-back with an attractive brown mottled cover and gilt writing, priced at £19.99. Joseph Kelly writes in the introduction, “This directory of notables differs from others in that it records not only those of public stature, but also those who’ve dedicated their lives to others in a more private though no less significant way”.

The first section has all the Cardinals, Archbishops and bishops of England and Wales, plus there is a section on the Irish and Scottish hierarchy (Cardinal Keith O’Brien gets a look-in too). Contact information is given for each entry – including emails. Some bishops have more information than others, such as their hobbies, for example Bishop Conry’s recreations are, “Music, cooking, looking for mushrooms and wine and motor sports”.

 Of the laity – people like Andrew Parker Bowles is listed and details of his two marriages are given. Well – let’s face it, we all  have to ‘lighten up’ nowadays according to the smiley Cardinal of Honduras!

 It is good to see Jack Valero – co-ordinator of Catholic Voices and Opus Dei – has an entry.

The veteran Daphne McLeod of Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice has an entry as does the veteran blogger Deacon Nick Donnelly – of the excellent ‘Protect the Pope’ blog.

[Sadly the ‘inquisition’ began last week and Deacon Nick has been told to pray and reflect! Hmmm]

There is a necrology section of deceased clergy.

There is a list of professions with Catholics listed – such as abbots, academia, accountants etc. Under journalists – Catherine Pepinster is there along with Charles Moore.

A Catholic Almanack lists Catholic information and services including MPs, educational chaplaincies and institutions, Catholic societies and libraries and welfare and caring services.

Catholic MPs Damian Collins and Iain Duncan-Smith – both who voted for same-sex marriage have entries. Sadly MP Jacob Rees Mogg isn’t mentioned and he voted against the bill.

There is a Youth Ministry Provision – under the care of Bishop Conry and all dioceses have a contact for this. There is a list of media advisers in all the dioceses – looks like the dioceses are becoming more tech-savvy, which is good. Plus a list of all the diocesan magazines is given.

The newly named Catholic Medical Association (UK) is listed – an excellent organisation in the field of medical ethics, and completely loyal to the teachings of the Catholic Church.

41 responses

  1. Perhaps Mr. Kelly should divide his book into sections: “Orthodox Catholics,” “Dissenters,” “Heretics,” and “Apostates.” Of course, we know full well which sections would be full, and which would be rather thin, or more likely, absolutely empty.

    • Great Pretender,

      Dear Mr Kelly would consign Yours Truly to the Apostate section, that’s for sure. He once ran a blog (not sure if it’s still on the go) under the auspices, I think I’m correct in saying, of Gabriel Communications, and, apparently, any mention of Catholic Truth was removed. Just imagine the scene: praise for Islam, Hinduism, you-name-it, all well and good and more than welcome, but mention Catholic Truth and you’re banned. Whoever it was first said “you couldn’t make it up” should be given a medal.

      • Gee Editor, I could have sworn you would have appeared under the “Schismatic” section…. 🙂

        • GP,

          If I’m in there at all, I won’t be complaining. Better to be a schismatic VIP than no VIP at all 😀

          I started out thinking that the Kelly Directory was/is distasteful but the more I think of it, I think it’s just downright silly. Especially if I’m not in it…

  2. I don’t know why I am still amazed when I read these things, but seeing it all in black and white somehow brings home just how bad things are. For example, this bit: “Of the laity – people like Andrew Parker Bowles is listed and details of his two marriages are given.”

    At first I was taken aback but then I remembered that Pope Francis had spoken about “people in second marriages” and now I am preparing to read that these same people are allowed to receive Holy Communion after the synod on the family, so it is only to be expected that the liberal Catholics will be more open about what they really believe now. Joe Kelly is a well known liberal, so his “Who’s Who” directory isn’t really much of a surprise. I suppose the only surprise is that he includes someone like Daphne McLeod who is a more conservative type of Catholic.

    To answer the blog question – I think a directory like this is a combination of distasteful and silly. There should not be any hierarchy of lay people based on how famous they are. What is the point of it anyway? Does anyone know? Is it just an ego thing?

    • Fidelis,

      You’re not the only one to be taken aback by Pope Francis’s remarks about the divorced and remarried – and about everything else he’s saying and doing. Read this open letter from a woman in Argentina who knew him. She is not, as is clear from her letter, a diehard “traditionalist” but a neo-Catholic. She goes along with it all, or most of it. But she represents those who still have sufficient Catholic sense to know that “Holy Father Francis” is dynamite – in the worst possible sense.

      Interesting to think, though, that the author of the above letter would certainly NOT make it into Kelly’s Who’s Who in Catholic Life Directory – not in a million years!

      • That’s some open letter. That woman has Pope Francis taped, all right. I was most interested in her description of him arriving at meetings hot and flustered after insisting on travelling by bus, then making sure everyone knew about his “simplicity”. Her whole description of him before he was elected pope ties in with his behaviour after being made pope. I get less impressed with him by the nano-second.

  3. I am extremely shocked to read this in Dominie Stemp’s review:

    “Catholic MPs Damian Collins and Iain Duncan-Smith – both who voted for same-sex marriage have entries. Sadly MP Jacob Rees Mogg isn’t mentioned and he voted against the bill.”

    That cannot be an oversight, surely? Is there a pro-sodomite sympathy at the Universe, as I have heard there is at the Herald?

    • At a wild guess, I’d say “yes” to your closing question but I must add that I’ve not inside information on this. Just a wild, if intelligent guess.

  4. The purpose of a directory such as this is to display to the world at large that the ‘new’ Catholic Church is able to accommodate a wide selection of views, a broad spectrum of opinion in which the old traditional Catholic can be depicted as an extremist whilst those of a more malleable disposition can be classified as the good guys loyal to Papa Francisco, and desirous of an even greater relaxation in custom and practice.
    It is proving to the secularists that there is nothing to dislike about mainstream Catholics since it is clear that a substantial number within the folds of the Church, from the highest to the lowest, are only too pleased to adopt modern practices such as divorce, multi marriages, contraception, homosexuality, sodomy and abortion.
    Some time ago The Tablet published a list of something like The Hundred Most Influential UK Catholics — a list which contained a similar selection of the lapsed and rebellious,
    Compilations such as these are of no value to true Catholics but since they seem to enjoy the favour of the Catholic Press, there must be a market for them!

  5. Silly, distasteful and utterly pointless.

    I think Mikididi has a good point about the directory being a way of proving “to the secularists that there is nothing to dislike about mainstream Catholics”. It gives the impression that these cafeteria-style Catholics are the new face of the Church, replacing the tired, worn-out dinosaurs!

  6. Jobstears,

    I add my agreement with that. This directory seems to follow Pope Francis remark – “Who am I to judge”.

  7. I am surprised at this part of the book review:

    “It is good to see Jack Valero – co-ordinator of Catholic Voices and Opus Dei – has an entry”

    Does Dominie Stemp not realise that Jack Valero is very much a modernist? I saw him interviewed on TV about condoms and he was so weak and completely misrepresented the Church’s teaching on them.

    Catholic Voices has the approval of the E & W Bishops so it’s obvious that they are not going to be contradicting modernist policies.

        • Miles,

          Catholic Voices was explicitly set up to teach Catholics how to speak in the media. They are trained to present the Faith (as they believe it) in the media in a way very similar to the way politicians present their “views”, dumbing down what will lose votes!

          I must say that I am surprised that Dominie Stemp appears to speak of Catholic Voices with approval.

          • Ordinary people see right through this. I think it is counter-productive for evangelisation. It makes them appear to be embarrassed about what Catholics believe. How is that going to convince people?

  8. There have been similar books published in the past, each one as idiotic as the other. I bought a book about fifteen years ago that was called something like “Ten Celebrities Tell Why They Are Catholic”. It was hilarious. I can’t remember all ten, but two of the so-called celebrities (and so-called Catholics) were Cherie Blair and Dermot O’Leary who are both about as Catholic as the Dalai Lama!

    • Petrus,

      I’d love to know the reasons why the likes of Cherie Blair and Dermot O’Leary says they are Catholics. It’ll be about “belonging” to a group, probably, something like that. They are completely clueless.

      • Josephine,

        Probably. I can’t remember exactly what they said, but I do remember it was garbage!

  9. On the whole I think Catholic Voices is doing a good job, but sadly they seem constrained by the bishops’s ‘party line’ over civil partnerships etc. From what I can see, a C V does not have too much freedom. They do quote the Catechism though. On the upside, it is making non-Catholics think.

    • Dominie,

      Catholic Voices do have to toe the party line which is why they are part of the problem, not the solution, in the Church crisis. The woman who was on the Big Questions on the day of the canonisations was oozing enthusiasm and kept saying that John Paul II was a saint because his message was that every individual is unique and special. She really came across as a simpleton.They worry about media image instead of getting the truth out there.

      They can’t claim to be constrained by the bishops over civil partnerships or anything else. That’s the excuse of the soldiers in Hitler’s army. However, we can’t blame anyone else when we do wrong. They were confirmed to spread the Catholic faith and they must do that if they are to please God.

      How do you know CV is making non-Catholics think? I think non-Catholics can see through their media image mentality and I don’t think they will respect it. I know I don’t.

    • Dominie,

      If “putting your foot in” means telling the truth and refusing to be cowed by the modernist bishops, then you should join – but they wouldn’t let you. I remember them saying that they had rejected “Taliban” Catholics when people applied to join, and by that they meant fully believing Catholics, which they are not. They are very weak on contraception, condoms and homosexuality, and some of their founding members are obviously modernists.

  10. Peter Smith of Catholic Voices did a fairly good job in this interview on BBC Breakfast TV

    He didn’t give details about what happens in an abortion or mention how it goes against God’s law but that is typical of the pro-life movement in general.

  11. What a mealy mouthed response to killing a baby!
    The word catholic should not be allowed to be used in their title, “Catholic Voices”
    Almighty God give us, we beg, real men as our bishops. Amen.

    • Graeme Taylor,

      I agree. He didn’t mention any of the facts about abortion once – it’s unbelievable that he could omit the word “murder” when discussing abortion.

  12. The fruit of vat 2 has not been good. And yes Josephine, I would be too outspoken so they would not accept me. Gosh even one of my Tweets got picked up and I got a telling off!

  13. When Bp Egan was ‘over ruled’ by the Bishops conference over his correct stance of saying pro SSM politicians should not present themselves for HC, I tweeted to the Bishop Conference that they (the Bp’s Conference) were wrong and Bp Egan is right. This was not uncharitable and just stating facts. Well someone didn’t like it and whoever reported it printed my Tweet out and when I got to my Opus D centre I was shown the ‘offending’ tweet. I was told that while it may be right, I can’t say things like that or they will think I speak for Opus Dei, and I guess they don’t want to fall out with the bishops conference. I have no idea who saw it, or who said what to who. All I conclude is OD do not want to fall out with the bishops! I have to say I disagree. But looks like I am now under surveillance and probably my blog too!

    • Dominie,

      That, in a nutshell, is why I have absolutely no time for Opus Dei. When we first published our newsletter, the Glasgow Opus Dei people were the first to ask to be removed from our mailing list. Your story reminds me of a “friend” of mine from years ago who was amazed when I said something less than positive about a bishop. Her reply? “But he’s a BISHOP!” Talk about useful idiots. The Opus Dei folk are a major part of the problem not remotely part of the solution.

    • One thing (among many) I find objectionable with OD, is that they expect the highest standards of moral character from their peasant members and cooperators, but this attitude you describe is spineless. It is disgusting they should obsess over human respect and currying favour when these are attributes they hold others in contempt for. It’s just hypocritical. It’s one of the things that put me of OD when I was a little involved with them.

    • Another thing, as you’ll know, OD has a very strong liturgical spirituality. At my centre they even had Latin Benediction. In spite of this, in general, OD doesn’t seem to have any interest in the Traditional Mass whatsoever. I remember begging a Holy Cross priest for the Traditional Mass, several of us were interested. We were turned down, the reason given to me was ‘awaiting the Archbishops sentiments’, even though the priest claimed to be pro the Traditional Mass. He is now a bishop. The Archbishops opinion of him was more important than his love for the Sacred Liturgy. What would Saint Josemaria think of this? I just got fed up and disillusioned by it all.

      • I too am curious about why they aren’t showing willingness to learn the Vetus Ordo. One Opus Dei priest in a talk was asked this and he said he saw no reason to learn the old rite, he just said simply the NO was fine. Odd even though pope. B wants every priest or at least seminarian to learn it. It is nearly 7 years since SP. But the associate priests of Opus Dei do say the. Old Rite, quite a few do, but then I guess they are not as ‘constrained’ as the full OD priests. The problem with any organisation is that when they get ‘accepted’ by the hierarchy it’s another ‘ball game’. Like the Ordinariate – they only dealt with Rome, as the bishops conference ‘didn’t want to know’. Now, they are mainstream and running cradle Catholic parishes and one of their priest bloggers Fr Hunwicke is ‘being watched’ he shows sympathy to Archb Lefevre. This is the trouble when they get into the main stream. The SSPX have a degree of protection as they are ‘outside’ but once in I guess they too may have to hold the party line. All rather beaurocratic and silly. V2 introduced all these silly conferences anyway

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