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17 juillet 2009 5 17 /07 /juillet /2009 13:31

My colleague Jonathan Wynne-Jones has an absolutely riveting story that senior Catholic bishops have written to the Papal Nuncio telling him that Archbishop Vincent Nichols should not go to Westminster because he is “too ambitious”.

Someone has got it in for Archbishop Nichols

There was a “stop Vin” campaign last time round, and this time his enemies are really worried. Worried enough not just to write to the Nuncio, Archishop Faustino Sainz Munoz, but also to leak this fact to Jonathan. How gripping.

Here’s my take on the affair, which is almost purely guesswork. I think the ghastly Magic Circle (president: CMOC) has fallen out of love with Vin, who was a paid-up member of it when he was general secretary of the Bishops’ Conference back in the 80s. 

The falling-out is mutual. Archbishop Nichols is increasingly unsympathetic to the sprawling, over-fed, lazy bureaucracy of Eccleston Square, which exists chiefly to promote the loopy political hobbies of the hardline Magic Circlers of the south coast. He has also moved closer to the mainstream of the Catholic Church: he’ll never be the same sort of Catholic as Papa Ratzinger, but at least he doesn’t want to burn him in effigy, like certain bishops I could name.

Is +Vin’s mild reorientation a product of ambition, realism or a genuine change of heart? Probably a mixture of all three. But, to the Sandalistas, he’s betrayed the memory of his old mentor, Archbishop Derek Worlock. Also, being a man of strong will, he’s not going to allow the same shinypants and grim feminists to keep siphoning off church funds for their pet projects if he goes to Westminster. So he’s a threat.

I just don’t know what to make of Archbishop Nichols, with whom I once had a row back in the days when he was Fr Dave Spart, sending the bishops on racism awareness courses. He has mellowed since then, and won important battles with the BBC and over Catholic schools, though I wish he would rein in Oona Stannard and her sickeningly PC Catholic Education Service.

The other day, Birmingham diocese allowed a celebration of Mohammed’s birthday to take place in a Catholic chapel and +Vincent’s reaction was spectacularly feeble. It made me think: he would be awful in Westminster. On the other hand, look at how much he has done to raise the profile of the Catholic Church in Birmingham, look how vigorously he has promoted the cause of John Henry Newman, and consider his appreciative responses to papal initiatives at a time when the Bishops’ Conference offered what one commentator called “screaming silence”.

Vincent Nichols has certainly achieved more in Brum than Archbishop Peter Smith has in Cardiff, which is not saying much. Beneath all the “confidence” that his enemies resent, I think he has the instincts of a real pastor. He may not be the right person for Westminster, but he doesn’t deserve this sort of back-stabbing. I do hope we discover who was behind it.



Source : www.telegraph.co.uk


Cordialement le Blad.

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