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entry is Professor Hans Kung – he gets almost 2 sides of information – amazing for someone who’s teaching licence was withdrawn in Catholic institutions!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.