Tuesday 5 November 2013

Catholic magazine "Faith Today" prints feature article "My hero Peter Tatchell"

Tatchell protests outside Westminster Cathedral
This month's edition of Faith Today magazine contains a feature article entitled "My hero Peter Tatchell", written by Mike Conway, the magazine's managing editor. Mr Conway is also the chief executive and co-founder of Alive Publishing, which is the publisher of Faith Today, as well as Bible Alive, Catholic Today (the newspaper of the Catholic archdiocese of Birmingham) and books by Archbishop Vincent Nichols and other Catholic clergy. Alive Publishing is also an Official Publisher to the Holy See.

Here is a flavour of Mr Conway's entirely sycophantic interview with Tatchell:
[Conway]: "I recognise in [Peter Tatchell's] approach to social justice and the dignity of the human person echoes of Catholic social teaching which I am, if I may put it like this, very proud."

[Tatchell]: "The more I learned, the more I realised that homosexuality is part of the natural spectrum of human sexuality. It has existed in every society in every era."

[Conway]: "Peter identifies religious fundamentalism as the greatest threat to human rights"

[Conway]: "One of Peter's heroes is Archbishop Desmond Tutu. [Tatchell]: 'Almost uniquely as an African and Christian leader, Tutu has defended Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people.'"

[Tatchell]: "Sexuality and gender issues have been blown out of all proportion by most religious leaders."

[Conway]: "It was a privilege to meet with Peter. He is a hero in so many ways: his lack of resentment, his ability to forgive and not hold grudges, and his love for people without fear or favour, is really striking and inspiring. Peter Tatchell is not only my hero but also my friend and my brother."
The article is interspersed by call-out boxes containing out-of-context quotations from Pope Francis. One box features a photo of Tatchell in front of a same-sex marriage banner. The article ends with the text:
"For more information about Peter's human rights campaigns and to make a donation: www.petertatchellfoundation.org"
At no point in the article does Mr Conway even hint at Catholic or other criticisms of Tatchell.

The truth which Mr Conway and Faith Today have concealed from its readers is widely-known: that Peter Tatchell is a leading and most determined opponent of the Catholic Church and Her teachings upholding the sanctity of human life and the true dignity of human sexuality. Mr Tatchell was one of the main organisers of the "Protest the Pope" rally against Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the United Kingdom in 2010. Tatchell said that the rally:
"was against the Pope and his often harsh, intolerant teachings; especially his opposition to contraception, women priests, gay equality, abortion, fertility treatment, embryonic stem cell research and the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV."
Before the rally, Archbishop Tartaglia of Glasgow said that Tatchell’s 1997 letter which argued that "not all sex involving children is unwanted, abusive and harmful" cast “huge doubt on [Mr Tatchell's] claim to be an expert on human sexuality or a credible critic of the Pope or of the Catholic Church”.

Mr Conway's article is preceded by an "Editor's Letter", in which he says:
"[H]ere is a real issue that we have to face up to. There is no doubt that the media perceive the church as homophobic and condemnatory towards people of different sexual orientation, other than heterosexual. Whereas the truth is that the church is radical in her teaching towards sexual orientation as she simply refuses to identify any human being purely by their sexual orientation because every person is, just that, a person created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26), called to an eternal destiny and loved by God the Father."
At no point does Mr Conway reference, explain or defend the Church's teaching that:
  • "Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder." (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, On the pastoral care of homosexual persons, 1986)
  • "Homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered... They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2357)
Mr Conway thus mispresents Catholic teaching on sexuality. This is despite the fact that Alive Publishing :
  • claims that: "Our magazines, books and newspapers are rooted in a vision which is...guided by the teaching authority of the Catholic Church..."
  • reasons for subscribing to Faith Today include: "Be supported by the teaching of the Church" and "Be inspired to stand up for your faith"
I encourage readers of my blog to take some or all of the following actions:
  • complain to Mike Conway: email mconway@alivepublishing.co.uk
  • complain to Alive Publishing: email general@alivepublishing.co.uk Post: 124 City Road, Stoke on Trent, ST4 2PH. Tel: 01782 745 600.
  • complain to Fr Seamus Heaney, a trustee of Alive Publishing: email info@delvinparish.ie
  • complain to Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham (Alive Publishing is located in Stoke on Trent in the Birmingham archdiocese): secretary's email fr_dominic.cosslett@rc-birmingham.org Post: Archbishop’s House, 8 Shadwell Street, Birmingham, B4 6EY.
  • complain to the Vatican Publishing House (which declared Alive Publishing to be an Official Publisher to the Holy See): email segreteria.lev@lev.va
  • raise the issue in places where Faith Today is stocked e.g. in your local parish, Catholic school, Catholic bookshop etc.
Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
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