Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.
There is much bustle as the papal visit approacheth. One reader writes from Ireland:
You would almost think it was all choreographed to chime with the Papal visit.
In general, over time, over years in fact since Benedict’s election, I’ve noticed the drip drip of articles and how they have been positioned by BBC, usually at weekends before a Sunday - mention of priest/cardinal/pope in some attack/scandal/crime/prejudice etc. I mean recently a bishop was burgled here and they just had to mention the ‘stolen rosary beads, his wallet and two bottles of alcohol’ as the items stolen. And then this quarky proclamation:
Is it some press release or some zealous journalist seeking to debunk the Western philosophical tradition with this discovered gem of atom splitting consequence that they just to unleash?
Am I mad to think its a conspiracy of minds? Or just plain old Screwtape?
Often wonder what CS Lewis or GKC would have made of the net..
PS some bloggers here I feel in their criticism of ‘papal altar as having a Scientologist look’ really don’t help, rather adolescent, and of course do a disservice to the Papal visit, for once he is here who will notice the gigrig design.
Secondly, Irish bishops here in North, in the UK have made very little effort to coordinate travel and buses to cross over to see the Pope in Scotland etc. A mere 2500 tickets were allocated. Sad, albeit Irish catholics would sooner travel to sunny Rome than Glasgow, where in recent poll indicates less than ten per cent oppose the visit to Scotland.
Certainly the Beeb’s conviction that all religions are equally superior to the Catholic Church is manifest. However, I don’t think the Hawking thing was anything but Hawking, spouting on his weird irruptions into the atmosphere. It’s quite in keeping with his loopy fears about alien attack and his nutty panics about our need to get off Planet Earth before we all perish.
As to the Beeb’s transparent hostility, one of the Ents in the English episcopacy has, I am happy to see, bestirred himself to notice what the young Sarumans at the Beeb have been doing these past thirty years. It’s striking that in the comboxes after the piece, hardly a Brit even bothers to deny the basic charge. Contempt for the Church is so deeply rooted in English Chattering Class culture that it’s a point of pride. It will be fascinating to see how many have not bowed the knee to Baal when Benedict actually arrives and the crowds start showing up. I suspect the Chattering Classes will be in for a surprise when they see how many come and seriously worship. Not that the Chattering Classes will learn from this. So have hope! I think you will have a pleasant surprise. All the Beeb has, like Saruman, is its Voice.
PS. Chesterton would have loved the Net. Lewis, I think, would have no use for it. Tolkien would have regarded it as he regarded a Palantir: a magical means of relating facts in the service of lies and misdirection.