Monday, 26 April 2010

The Vatican and the Silly Civil Servant

It has been arranged for some time that the Pope, Benedict the XVI, will visit Scotland in September.

Now, after a silly youngster in the Foreign Office recorded all suggestions of a brainstorming session entitled: 'The Ideal Visit should see', the Vatican are threatening to cancel the visit.

This is the full content of The Ideal Visit should see memo:

Launch of Benedict condoms
Review of Vatican attitude on condom use
Bless a civil partnership
Reversal of policy on women bishops/ ordain women
Open an abortion ward
Speech on equality
Statement on views over adoption (change of stance
Training course for all bishops on child abuse allegations
Harder line on child abuse - announce sacking of dodgy bishops
Vatican sponsorship for network of AIDS clinics
Meet young unemployed people
Apologise for ...
Canonise/pseudo canonise a group
Announce whistle blowing system for child abuse cases
Go to job centre
Debate on abortion
All catholic school should be free entry to all
Speech on democracy
Vatican and C of E funded committee on Dialogue
Launch helpline for abused children

It is understandable why the Vatican, or anyone of the Roman Catholic religion would be taken aback by some of the ideas, but to take offence to the degree of considering cancelling the event is an overreaction. Many will be looking forward to this visit yet some Roman Catholics are still bewildered as to why no one in the Vatican took serious action against priests who interfered with children.

The taxpayers are paying for this visit, not the Vatican which, as we all know, is the wealthiest business in the world.

I should like to think a few of the hundreds of robed men who inhabit the palatial buildings around St Peter's Square had a bit of a chuckle at the whole list. If not they should get out more. As for the Vatican and the threats of being so grossly offended, I suggest some pray for a sense of humour - it's a splendid characteristic.

A message to the silly civil servant - beware, the Righteous are out to get anyone who doesn't follow their rules.


Oldrightie said...

This highlights the standards Labour have pervaded throughout our Civil Service. Broken? You bet.

Uncle Marvo said...

"does follow"?

You neglect to mention that the taxpayer funds the silly civil servant, too. Jobs in the FO are in great demand, for it entails doing sweet FA most of the day and then retiring early on loads.

I know some of them. Creme de la creme. Trough de la trough.

subrosa said...

Yet labour are still employing public servants OR.

subrosa said...

Afternoon Marvo. Well I was hoping my educated readership would know that. :)

Things haven't changed then in the FO. 50 years ago it was jollies, big salaries and incompetence. The FO was always a good number for Scots who came in the top 3 in the old civil service exams.

Ciara said...

I'm disappointed to see you push the 'oh, can't they take a joke' line, which seems to be the standard response in Britain these days when the giving of deep offence has been the intention (this goes doubly for your 'cartoon' and accompanying caption below). It diminishes your judgment in my estimation -- not that you care, I'm sure -- unfortunately and ironically the day after I recommended you to someone as an SNP blogger of discernment!

As regards the email itself: some 'jokes' should simply stay in the pub, if joke indeed was the intention. I can't imagine the private company that would allow such a use or abuse of company time; yet this is done on the public purse. Unprofessional is the least of the charges that could be laid against it.

And as regards the child-abuse scandal: I can tell you that there is not one Catholic I have spoken to who does not feel it keenly -- most of us are parents, after all -- and who does not think the abusers should be in jail.

The savagery of attacks on the Church and particularly on the Pope (who has worked personally to root out the poison of paedophilia -- a fact ignored by the media, of course) has nothing to do with caring for the victims. Don't think for a minute we don't know this.

I'm guessing you're not a Catholic. Yesterday was Good Shepherd Sunday in the Catholic Church, with prayers for vocations to the priesthood. I could tell you about the work done by ONE of our priests in setting up and running a church charity to pay for the housing of the physically and mentally handicapped in our local community, to allow them to live semi-independent lives. I could tell you about the tireless work done for the homeless by another. Or, further afield than Scotland, of the work of priests and nuns in the Third World, living in villages with local communities, working to raise their standards of living. I could tell you about the everyday pastoral work done by these clerical men and women who, again unlike many of us, have lived lives that have made a positive difference in the lives of hundreds of people. But that would be a bit too po-faced; where would be the joke in that?

Too often people feel free to criticise, making themselves feel virtuous by pointing out the failings of the Church. So what do they do to make the world a better place for themselves and for others? A bit more humility and a bit less 'joking' might be in order for all of us.

I hope you'll forgive my sense of humour failure. Good luck to you.

subrosa said...

Clara, the point of my post was to publish the whole list written by a stupid civil servant and to make the point that I feel the Vatican has overreacted with it's threat of cancellation.

In fact the reason I wrote it was because a Catholic friend of mine called this morning and she found the furore quite ridiculous. I won't divulge the conversation further but suffice to say to her (and others at her church yesterday) were far more concerned about the motive behind the exposure of this than the action.

Have you ever participated in a brainstorming session? That's the kind of list which could well emerge and some stupid, well paid civil servant, instead of destroying the flip chart list, actually wrote it in an internal memo.

No I'm not a Catholic. I'm not a member of any church but I respect other religions in the same way as I expect them to respect mine.

If you think the post is an attack on the Catholic church then you're wrong. It's a comment on how the Vatican is overreacting by suggesting it could cancel the visit. I say in the post that I know many who look forward keenly to this visit and perhaps I should have spelled out that I consider the Vatican, to threaten cancelling, is extremely unkind to these people.

All churches have failings, they're run by humans after all.

I've nothing to forgive if you've decided to take my post as a slight against Roman Catholics in general. It is plainly not written in that context. It is a criticism of the Vatican PR machine in over-drive.

Are you saying only Catholic priests do good works? Or perhaps you don't know many of other Christian religions have also done so through the centuries - one in particular being a heroine of mine Mary Slessor. That's mainly because she was a Dundonian and a female (very unusual in those days).

Oh by the way, I'm not an SNP blogger or a member of the SNP. I support them because I think they truly are concerned with the future of Scotland and because I also support independence.

Uncle Marvo said...


Feel free to pull this comment if I offend you.


I assume you're a Catholic with a capital C, as in Roman? If so, what are you doing thinking for yourself?

Look, nobody is generalising about Catholic priests and young boys. Only Irish ones, and not even all of them. The Church, especially the Catholic one, has been doing what it wants (not in a Dan Brown stylee either) since the Spanish Inquisition.

And of course they do some good. If they didn't, they'd be closed down.

Anyone seen their audited accounts recently?

Even God had a sense of humour. Otherwise She wouldn't have created men.

Please lighten up. Jesus.

subrosa said...

That doesn't offend me Marvo. Thanks for asking though.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

I would have been more than satisfied if they'd sent equally pertinent memos to the Whitehouse pre the idiocy of Afghanistan and Iraq.

There's many a truth hidden within jest and if truth hurts it's generally with reason.

This memo would get my vote.

Tuesday Kid said...

I heard Paul Ross fighting back tears on This Morning talking to Holly and Phil about this. Phil said he's done similar stuff (but not about The Pope) and Paul Ross protested that it just wasn't funny. He knows all about not being funny.

subrosa said...

There is indeed RA and also there are several ways people interpret information.

subrosa said...

I'd agree with you there Tuesday. Paul Ross isn't funny but he's nothing to worry about because he's paid a fortune just the same.

RantinRab said...

I see the pope is to bless a new stained glass window...

Joe Public said...

A great many anti-papists would indeed consider that list detailed ...."The ideal visit".

So, the problem is - whoever drew up the specification failed to define the preferred audience.

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