9 September 2021

"BUT ..." Vivat Voltaire!!

 Fr David Palmer, a brother priest within the Ordinariate of our Lady of Walsingham, has, as we say nowadays, been "cancelled" after being appointed Catholic Chaplain of the University of Nottingham. This is because he has been found guilty of having a Twitter Account in which he has unambiguously asserted Catholic Doctrine with regard to Abortion and Euthanasia.

 

Perhaps I should provide some background here for readers who do not have 'Anglican Previous'.

We in the Ordinariate come from the Church of England, where we belonged (in many cases) to an organisation called Forward in Faith. This group ran a very splendid monthly called New Directions. It was edited by a witty and highly intelligent woman called Sara Lowe (now a Catholic); and much of the content was supplied by the Revd Dr Geoffrey Kirk. He was one of the most effective satirists of the century; he continued to write sparkling satire after joining the Ordinariate (sadly, he is now dead; his Catholic blog was called Ignatius his Conclave and it contains beautiful, still relevant, demolitions of Bergoglianity).

Back in those Anglican days, we were subjected to much criticism. Establishments, Anglican or Secularist, tend ... in the memorable words of Corporal Jones in Dad's Army ... "not to like it up 'em". (They particularly dislike satire ... not least because they simply cannot stand, poor proud poppets, being laughed at.)

Much of the criticism came in the form of "You are of course entitled to express your views ... but it is your tone and manner that are unacceptable".

(Notice in 'unacceptable' the management trick of using grammatical forms which elide admissions of agency.)

Sometimes, it was a matter of "We atcherlee agree with the substance of your opinions, but the tone and manner with which you express them bring us all into disrepute".

So we of the Ordinariate know all about the disdainful modes of attempted censorship which come so easily to the lips and pens of the lordly clerisy of the Zeitgeist.

 

Back to Fr David Palmer.

Nottingham University has asserted: "Our concern was not in relation to Father David's views themselves, or the tenets of the Catholic faith which we fully respect, but the manner in which these views have been expressed in the context of our diverse community of people of many faiths."

Loverlee!! (You won't have failed to notice the word manner. And another 'management' term is concern. Management People are never so endearingly human as to be hopping mad; as Very Superior Persons, they feel only the more lofty and Whig emotion of concern.)

Of course  they're not trying to censor Fr Palmer's (and the Catholic Church's) beliefs. Oh dearie me No; of course not. Stupid they may be ... undoubtedly are ... but they are bright enough to be aware that overtly doing that would put them in the wrong.


We live in an imperfect world and we clerics partake of that imperfection. In every situation, possibly, something could have been said or done ... given hindsight ... in a better way. But perfection and omniscience are characteristics of the Godhead. They are not conveyed by the Sacrament of Holy Order.

We are bidden to preach the Gospel eukairos akairos. And to do so meta parrhesias. Palmer did just that.

In my view, it is essential to support Fr David Palmer in every possible, conceivable, way. And not to have any truck with equivocating formulae smuggled in by the conjunctive BUT.

I don't know if Voltaire, entertaining old gent, ever really did say "I totally disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it".

If he didn't, he should have done.

10 comments:

motuproprio said...

The words are a quotation from Evelyn Beatrice Hall who affirmed that they are a paraphrase of Voltaire's words in the Essay on Tolerance — "Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so too."

pdm said...

Nice point about 'unacceptable', Fr Hunwicke. I myself have been meaning to write an article about the word. As you say, the sneaky thing about it is that one can use it without defining *to whom* something is unacceptable. Actually that's a perfectly reasonable thing for, e.g. a headmaster to do when addressing a boy: if he tells him that his behaviour is 'unacceptable', he obviously means that it is unacceptable to the masters of the school (who are entitled to judge the boy's behaviour).

But when adults use it towards adults, it becomes insufferable. What meaning the phrase has when so used, really derives from an analogy with the schoolmasterly use; the phrase is intended to imply that the community as a whole will not accept a certain action. But what it really means is 'we, the liberal elite, will not accept your behaviour, i.e. we will hurt you if you don't stop it'.

Orak said...

In Australia, one of the weasel word, management speak, PC flavours of the month is “inappropriate”

Fr Scott Bailey, C.Ss.R. said...

A priest who has never been cancelled is not a priest.

motuproprio said...

What is really unacceptable is not only to be right, but also to be scurrulously accurate.

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

If he said it, it's a false principle. I don't want belabour tbe point, but, if, in the Memento of the Living, you could remember my intentions and a certain kady, I'd be grateful.


AvB.

Voice from the roof top said...

God bless Fr. David Palmer.

OreamnosAmericanus said...

The Catholic chaplain at MIT, quite a brilliant and orthodox fellow, was "thrown under the bus" by the gutless Ordinary of Boston last year when he had the insensitivity to point out that Saint George Floyd, the new Saint Martin Luther King, was not exactly a saint.

That caused "pain". Now the poor man is teaching courses at a small orthodox Catholic college in the wilds of Wyoming.

Anyone who still thinks that the Church of Rome is in any significant way different from a UN NGO or a multinational corporation is clearly not paying attention.

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

Probably better to be teachimg courses at some small orthodox estsblishment. MIT, like so many tertiary institutions these days, is probably irreformable.

AvB.

coradcorloquitur said...

The flat, bureaucratic and debased language the Left consistently employs signals, in my view, to two dreadful traits of their dreadful ideology: 1) language must be bland and imprecise to fit or sneak in the liberal agenda with little or no opposition (who, after all, can be for "inappropriateness" or "unacceptability"?); 2) language must not be too precise as precision is a quality hated by the Left and associated with Western, linear, and logical thinking. No, they need and want wobbly speech to fit a wobbly, protean ideology. Even linguistically, the Left is subversive and dangerous. George Orwell's great essay, "Politics and the English Language," comes to mind. As a (possibly) disenchanted socialist Orwell would know well the tricks of the Left: an essay well worth reading or re-reading, so pertinent for our times.