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Harry Coen

Charismatic editor who steered The Catholic Herald through one of the liveliest periods of its history

HARRY COEN, one of the most charismatic figures in the history of The Catholic Herald, died last week, aged 67.

He served as acting editor of the paper for an eventful four months in 1996. The Fleet Street veteran, who had worked as night editor of the Sunday Telegraph and as news editor of a gay newspaper, was appointed after editor Cristina Odone left the paper in the spring of 1996. He stepped down in August of that year when Deborah Jones was appointed editor.

Harry was born on January 23 1945 in the Republic of Ireland and died on his 67th birthday, January 13 2012. He is survived by his brother Tom, sister Anne and David, his partner for 42 years.

Not long after he was appointed acting editor Harry passed a hard-hitting article by Alice Thomas Ellis for publication. The article, headlined “My war against Worlock”, sharply criticised Archbishop Derek Worlock of Liverpool, who had died on February 6 1996. The article was picked up by the national press, provoking fierce controversy and prompting Alice Thomas Ellis’s dismissal as a Catholic Herald columnist. Harry insisted that he alone was responsible for the decision and denied suggestions that he was responding to orders from the English Hierarchy. When Harry stood aside for Deborah Jones, Otto Herschan, managing director, said: “I would like to express my sincere thanks to Harry Coen for his flair and professionalism in bridging the gap between the end of

Harry Coen at the editor’s desk in Herald House one brilliant editorship – that of Cristina Odone – and the beginning of another – that of Deborah Jones.”

In a column for the paper Harry described his “unexpected and unlooked-for editorship” as turbulent but ultimately rewarding.

He wrote: “There was the pain of the Archbishop Worlock controversy – against the odds (and the wishes of those who would like to see us come to grief) positive energies were unleashed to bring the Church as a whole closer to a proper and constructive resolution of the issues raised.”

He recalled the other major stories of his brief tenure: the resignation of Bishop Roderick Wright and the grisly disclosure that doctors had performed Britain’s first “selective abortion”. He also noted the frenzy in the secular press when the paper ran an article questioning the Queen’s role as supreme governor of the Church of England.

He concluded: “Even in the throes of disagreement – maybe even particularly so – I have been made proud to belong once again to such a community.”

Harry remained at the paper as an editorial consultant after the appointment of Deborah Jones as editor.

He would arrive at Herald House on press days armed with two packs of Dunhill International, which he would stack near to hand, a bottle of wine and a couple of Ginsters savoury pastry slices. He would then put the paper together cheerfully, skilfully and at breakneck speed. Deborah Jones, editor of The Catholic Herald from 1996 to 1998, writes: Harry Coen was the Fleet Street insider captured by the Herald to fill the gap between editors and then to help ease me into the unfamiliar world of journalism. His ready humour accompanied a deeply professional expertise, enabling us to navigate our way through the new technology of computer-generated pagesetting on mismatched computers and without full use of email and internet assistance. I can see him in the Victorian school room that still serves as the Herald workplace, with sleeves rolled up, wearing braces, with a stubbly beard, an air of dishevelment, and a cigarette in hand or dangling from lips. He would be advising a young journalist on the best angle for a story,

or where to find an expert to interview, or making contact with one of his wide network of columnists from the Telegraph or Express, or any other of the many papers he had worked on.

He was unfailingly helpful to me and also to those just setting out on their careers in newspapers. We crossed swords over that, as he was generous in finding small freelance jobs for them to do whereas I wanted their exclusive attention on the Herald. But I knew, and respected, a master of his craft, and a good man. Joe Jenkins, former deputy editor of The Catholic Herald, writes: While he was a quick-witted journalist, fine writer and a sage of newspaper production, Harry was above all else great fun. His arrival at the Herald injected a new energy into its news-gathering operation. The modest size of the staff meant that the paper’s reporters had seldom ventured out of London to chase a story. Now I was being despatched around the country to write longer articles about news events whose impact on Catholic communities and individuals merited greater investigation. But Harry’s legacy at the Herald is the pride taken in the appearance of the paper. It was no coincidence that while he was acting editor it took on some of the design values of the Sunday Telegraph, where Harry had been Dominic Lawson’s night editor. Harry would have been delighted that the pages of the Herald are now more elegant than ever. He was a loyal and generous colleague whose sharpwitted presence in the newsroom ensured you would never have a dull day (especially if he came armed with a bottle or two of Cremant de Bourgogne, produced by friends in his adoptive village in France). As Harry would have said: “God bless.” Christina White, former features editor of The Catholic Herald, writes: In a different life he would have been a sea captain, roaming the oceans of the world in search of prizes. Harry Coen’s literary hero was Jack Aubrey, master and commander of the Patrick O’Brian novels, and in tribute he always wore his hair in an Aubrey-esque pigtail – tying his locks back when he had a particularly irksome bit of editing to do. Harry came to the Herald in 1996 as acting editor in the interregnum following the departure of Cristina Odone and he stayed on when Deborah Jones was appointed editor to sub the paper and generally bring the callow editorial office into line. We loved him. He brought a proper whiff of real journalism to the Herald and he was a magician with a newspaper page, conjuring headlines and fashioning copy. His was a world of Fleet Street, of infamous columnists, of long, boozy lunches. He adored a scoop. A determined smoker, he was at his happiest, Dunhill International cigarette in hand, bashing away at the keyboard – the captain at the helm as the office ebbed and flowed around him. Huzzah, Harry! Editorial comment: Page 13

CARITAS Social Action Network (CSAN) has welcomed the House of Lords amendment excluding child benefit from the proposed household benefit cap of £26,000.

The bishops’ conference agency said that the successful amendment, introduced by the Rt Rev John Packer, Anglican Bishop of Ripon and Leeds, was “vital to protect children facing poverty”. Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith wants out-ofwork payments limited to £26,000

Bishops’ agency backs Lords over welfare reform BY ED WEST

a year per household, which he claims will save “something in the order” of £600 million towards deficit reduction.

But the amendment to the welfare reform Bill was carried by 252 votes to 237 after numerous faith groups and charities expressed concern over the impact that the cap would have on children.

Responding to the vote CSAN, an umbrella group for Catholic charities, said: “We are pleased that the House of Lords has voted in favour of this very sensible amendment. Excluding child benefit from the cap will allow a degree of flexibility in recognition of children’s basic needs, and will mitigate the impact on some of the poorest and most vulnerable families in our society.

“We hope that the Government will take account of the concerns expressed by those working to support these families and will review this area before the welfare reform Bill returns to the House of Commons.”

Last week Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark said that a cut in child benefit “could seriously disadvantage larger families and push more children into poverty”.

He said: “The welfare Bill is an incredibly complex legislation and I do not envy anyone who wishes to sort it out. What’s happening is that the poorest and most vulnerable get the worst result.”

But the archbishop said that Government overspending in recent years meant there had to be cuts and that it would be “simplistic” to be entirely opposed to a benefits cap.

“I’m not saying there’s an easy panacea. With means testing you can end up spending billions on administration. But I’m getting alarm signals from people working out in the field,” the archbishop said.

On Tuesday the Lords made seven more amendments to the Government’s Bill, including an amendment by independent crossbench peer Baroness Meacher to limit cuts to top-up payments made to the parents of disabled children.

The Government, however, has vowed to overturn all the amendments made in the House of Lords.

Kinnoull Centre for

Spirituality Home of the Redemptorists in Scotland Monday 20th to Friday 24th February 2012: Jesus, a man of Passion Fr. Denis McBride CSsR We explore the double story in the Gospels of the passion of Jesus and the passion of the disciples, the trial of Jesus and the trial of his principle disciple. Two stories are unfolded alongside one another: Jesus and his community. Where are the passion stories being told today? Course cost: £260 Denis McBride is presently Director of Redemptorist Publications. He directs courses of study and personal renewal for priests, religious, and lay people. He has lectured in parish halls, colleges and universities to a variety of groups.,His lectures are not only informative and enlightening, but his delivery is entertaining and compelling. He has written 14 books and produced 56 CDs, each an absorbing reflection on God's saving work. Also available: Our seven week Sabbatical for Priests and

Religious. Please do contact us for further details.

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Bishop: all Anglicans can join ordinariate Teammate says he was shocked at life change


Continued from Page 1: During his time as a footballer Mr Mulryne dated a model, Nicola Chapman, and was once sent home from the Northern Ireland squad in 2005 after breaking a curfew to go drinking. His career was cut short in 2008 by injury, and he decided to return to Ireland.

After returning home and becoming involved in charity work he turned his life around, according to former Norwich teammate Paul McVeigh, who said he had visited his friend in Rome and was surprised by the change.

Mr McVeigh said: “To my amazement, and most likely to the rest of the footballing fraternity’s, Phil decided to train to become a Catholic priest.

“I was still in contact with him and knew that he had turned his life around and was doing a lot of charitable work and helping the homeless on a weekly basis. Still, it was a complete shock that he felt this was his calling.

“I know for a fact that this is not something he took lightly... When I arrived in Rome, I was met by a very contented-looking Phil, who took me back to the Irish College.”

Mr Mulryne’s mother said the decision to follow his vocation was a “big decision”.


A BISHOP has confirmed that former Anglicans who were received into the Catholic Church years ago can join the personal ordinariate created by Benedict XVI last year.

The Pope established the world’s first personal ordinariate for groups of former Anglicans that wished to enter into full communion with Rome in January 2011. There was discussion at the time about whether ex-Anglicans received before 2011 could also join the structure under the terms of Anglicanorum coetibus, the apostolic constitution describing the nature of personal ordinariates. Writing in the January 2012 issue of The Newman, the journal of the Newman Association, Bishop Alan Hopes clarified that the ordinariate was open to all former Anglicans.

The bishop, who serves as an auxiliary in Westminster diocese and as episcopal delegate to the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, wrote: “The personal ordinariate is for former Anglicans – but Anglicans who converted some years ago can, if they so wish, say that they would like to become members of the ordinariate. There is that dual possibility.

“The decision-making body is the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.”

Irish abuse victim to address world’s bishops in Rome


AN IRISHWOMAN who was abused by a hospital chaplain in the 1960s will tell bishops meeting in Rome next week that the Church’s mishandling of the abuse crisis risks alienating abuse survivors from their faith.

In an interview with The Catholic Herald Marie Collins said: “Being treated in the way that I was by the Church can destroy your Catholic faith and actually exacerbate all your problems. I was a practising Catholic up to the time that I reported [the abuse] to the diocese in 19951996. I now find it very, very difficult to practise my religion.

She added: “I’d like to see the Church going back to the basics of what Christ said. He did not teach that institutions are more important than little children.”

Representatives of most of the world’s bishops’ conferences and 30 religious orders will attempt the summit to launch a global initiative aimed at improving efforts to stop clerical sexual abuse and better protect children and vulnerable adults.

The conference, “Toward Healing and Renewal,” will be held on February 6-9 at the Pontifical Gregorian University and is being supported by the Vatican Secretariat of State and several other Vatican offices.

Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which deals with priests accused of abuse, will give the opening address. Other speakers include mental health professionals and bishops from different parts of the world who will talk about responses to the abuse crisis in their countries.

The conference is designed in part to help bishops’ conferences and superiors of religious orders to respond to a 2011 circular letter from the doctrinal congregation requiring every diocese in the world to develop guidelines on handling allegations of abuse.

After the conference, the Gregorian University and other institutions will launch an “e-learning centre” which will offer online resources in five languages. The centre, based in Munich, Germany, is designed to help Church leaders to respond pastorally to the issue of sexual abuse in the Church and society as a whole. The centre has been funded for an initial three years.

According to the programme, participants can attend workshops in their own languages, including one designed for those who are not bishops or priests, “to bring forward perspectives that can often be missed by ordained leaders”.

Interview: Page 7

NEWSBULLETIN Benedictines to auction off £100,000 worth of treasures ABOUT £100,000 worth of treasures from St Augustine’s Abbey in Kent are to be sold at auction next week.

The objects being put up for sale include church plate, chalices – including a Charles I chalice made in 1633 and an Arts and Crafts chalice worth £13,000 to £15,000 – as well as a 19th-century monstrance.

The treasures are being sold by Dominic Winter auctioneers after the remaining Benedictine monks at the abbey decided to move to the smaller Chilworth friary near Farnham in Surrey.

The monastery, designed by A W Pugin, was the first to be built in England since the Reformation. It was founded in 1856.

Pro-lifers reject counselling move PRO-LIFE group SPUC has expressed concern about fresh restrictions being placed on pro-life counsellors under new Department of Health guidelines.

Last month it was announced that the department was considering changes to pregnancy counselling rules that would break the monopoly of abortion providers and replace it with “a system of ‘voluntary registration’ ”.

But SPUC director John Smeaton said that changes threatened pro-life counsellors and that the department was “either considering or had already decided in favour of legal or quasi-legal restrictions on pro-life counsellors”.

Currently a cross-party group of 10 MPs which met in secret to discuss the proposals is divided over whether counsellors would have to declare any ethical stance, such as pro-life beliefs. Tory MP Nadine Dorries told the BBC’s Newsnight that counsellors should have no agenda whatsoever, “be it religious or financial”.

Priest joins Occupy protest A PRIEST of the Diocese of Westminster addressed Occupy protesters outside St Paul’s Cathedral on Saturday.

Fr Joe Ryan, chairman of the diocesan justice and peace committee, said he was an “ardent supporter” of the movement and congratulated campers for tackling injustice. He also criticised “obscene” bonuses, saying the word “bonus” should be taken out of the dictionary.

Benedictines to leave parish THE OLIVETAN Benedictines are planning to leave the Cockfosters parish of Christ the King, north London, it was announced on Sunday.

Auxiliary Bishop John Arnold of Westminster visited the parish to break the news. He said the order were unable to send any more monks to assist and form a viable community in the parish. The two resident monks, therefore, are to withdraw, he said.

Archbishop to speak in Cambridge ARCHBISHOP Vincent Nichols of Westminster will talk about Jewish-Christian relations in a lecture at the Woolf Institute, Cambridge, on Wednesday, February 8.

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Irish party debates screening civil servants ‘loyal to Rome’


THE IRISH Labour Party is to debate a motion demanding that civil servants dealing with the Church should be “screened” to ensure they do not show “inappropriate deference” to the Church or consider themselves “Catholics first”.

The proposal, which was first set forth by a Dublin constituency party, will be debated at Labour’s next national conference in Galway in April.

It is contained in a report on the Church’s role in national schools drafted by party activists and adopted by a constituency council in Dublin. The document, called “Illegal Religious Discrimination in National Schools in Ireland”, recommends a number of proposals, including that “Catholics first” admission policies be abolished for all schools.

The report, written by party activist John Suttle, claims that state-funded Catholic schools prioritising Catholic children are discriminatory and were never allowed under the law.

The report claims that this was allowed to become practice over the decades because of “inappropriate deference by officials of the state”.

To resolve this, recommendation 15 from chapter 11 of the report says: “All senior officials in state bodies which are likely to have to deal with the Catholic Church should be screened to ensure that they will not show inappropriate deference to the Catholic Church. Those who feel they are ‘Catholic first and Irish second’ should seek promotion in other organs of the state.”

The report, which was adopted last year by the Dublin NorthCentral constituency council, will be proposed by the Clontarf branch at the conference, and would become official party policy if passed.

Mr Suttle said: “When it comes to state-supported schools in the primary sector, religious discrimination on entry is illegal and is not allowed under anything.”

Dublin North Central TD Aodhan O Riordain, vice-chairman of the Dáil Education Committee, said he supported it.

Mr O Riordain, who previously called for the abolition of the Dáil prayer and is a close ally and adviser on educational matters to the Education Minister, Ruairi Quinn, said he had a “particular view on the relationship between Church and state” – that “religious ethos has no place in the education sector of a modern republic”.

A spokesman from the Catholic Communications Office disputed this and said parents should be able to choose to have their children educated in the ethos of a Catholic school – or schools belonging to other faiths.

The Catholic Church “is committed to providing Catholic schools to cater for the needs of parents who wish to exercise their constitutional rights to provision of faith education.” Cardinal Seán Brady, the primate of All Ireland, said that the Church “holds the view that the children of Catholic parents have first claim on admission to Catholic schools, just as Protestant children have first claim to admission to Protestant schools, and Muslim children have first claim to admission to Islamic schools and so on.

“Of course wherever possible – provided they have places and resources – Catholic schools welcome children of all faiths and none.”

Cardinal Brady said that Church schools were a “good example of cooperation between the parents, teachers and community”.

David Quinn, director of the Iona Institute think-tank, said the proposal was “indicative of the sort of thinking that is going on” and “deeply undemocratic and McCarthyite.”

He said: “If you were a weekly Massgoer you would be noticed.

This goes beyond anti-clerical. It’s a secularist screed.”

Mr Quinn said : “The Clontarf Report is completely mistaken in its assertion that denominational schools are breaking the law when they admit children of their own faith ahead of other children. This is explicity permitted, for example by the Equal Status Act. To pretend otherwise is simply an attempt to bully denominational schools.”

He continued: “However, the report’s recommendation that senior civil servants should be screened to ensure that do not show ‘inappropriate deference to the Catholic Church’ is deeply undemocratic and would amount to a witch-hunt against Catholics in that it would single out Catholics from among all other civil servants.

“This recommendation is an echo of the suggestion made in the Dáil by Ruairi Quinn in 2009 that some officials in the Department of Education were ‘members of secret societies such as the Knights of St Columbanus and Opus Dei’, a suggestion for which he provided no evidence whatever.”

Mr Quinn added: “Why not screen civil servants to ensure they are not unduly deferential towards a given political party, including Labour, or towards some other vested interest? Where would such a ‘screening’ process stop?”

He concluded: “The fact that this report has been adopted by the Dublin North-Central constituency branch of the Labour party is bad enough. If it is somehow adopted by Labour at its annual conference it would be much worse.”

Archbishop hails ‘pilgrim college’ on anniversary


THE ARCHBISHOP of Westminster has described the Venerable English College in Rome as a “pilgrim college”.

During a homily at a Mass marking the 650th anniversary of the college’s hospice Archbishop Vincent Nichols said: “At the heart of all that is done here should be the same spirit of pilgrimage that is expressed in that image: a student body, on its knees, seeking out the person and truth of Christ, and encouraged to do so by his, and our, Blessed Mother. In this sense, above all others, may this be a pilgrim college.”

He continued: “This community, above all, must be a community of pilgrims. Of course those who are formed here pursue an academic programme, seeking out the best of the learning in the Church for their future ministry. They also learn about Roman diplomacy and the need for skill and sensitivity in the work of the Church. They also meet and are formed by many leaders, from different walks of life, and rightly may aspire, as may all seminarians, to leadership roles themselves in the service of the Lord.”

He described pilgrimages as the “hallmark of Christian life and a feature deeply embedded in the life of a continent”.

He said: “Who can fail to recall the great flood of young people who, in the course of the World Youth Day held here in the year 2000, passed continually through the Holy Door of St Peter’s for three days, including, I believe, during most of the long night hours too: a seemingly unending stream of humanity going ‘ad limina apostolorum’?

“Remember, too, the millions who came here in 2005 to pray for Pope John Paul II, the successor of St Peter, as he lay in death. They came to touch base again, here at the seat of that succession.”

The English Hospice of the Most Holy Trinity and St Thomas was founded in 1362 and has welcomed English pilgrims to Rome since that time. The English College was founded 217 years later in 1579 .

Archbishop Nichols described the importance of the hospice for shelter, nursing care and diplomacy.

He said: “A pattern of great change, instructive for us today, can be seen in the role of this hospice across the centuries. This hospice offered shelter to the pilgrim. It also offered nursing care and burial to the sick and the dying.

“It also became a place of great diplomatic activity, with all the comings and goings connected to the great See of Peter. Indeed, we can recall with pride that diplomatic relations between our countries and the Holy See can be traced back to 1479 and this hospice must have played a crucial role in them.

He added: “This hospice also served as a home for those coming here to study the New Learning and to bring the fruits of Roman academic life to the Church in England and Wales.”

David Howell, a seminarian at the English College, said that the anniversary reminded him that Catholicism was ingrained in England’s identity.

He said: “It is possible to think today that England has abandoned its pre-Reformation heritage and that the Church must start from scratch, but this anniversary celebration reminded me that England’s Catholic past is an integral part of its identity which can be put to use in evangelisation today.”

Cafod celebrates 50 years with Mass at Westminster Cathedral

THE CATHOLIC Agency for Overseas Development (Cafod) celebrated its 50th anniversary on Saturday with Mass at Westminster Cathedral.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols and Auxiliary Bishop John Arnold of Westminster concelebrated Mass for hundreds of

Cafod supporters. During his homily, Bishop Arnold said that human dignity is integral to development. He said that real development “lies in allowing people their innate dignity and well-being. It means allowing people to create their own sustainable livelihoods, giving people a voice so that governments may be called to account for their policies and their actions, both in their domestic and foreign affairs and allowing for the exposure of what can be the ruthless pillaging of natural resources by multinationals with no thought of benefit for the people of a region – so often the root causes of poverty. Cafod has to develop its own expertise in so many of these areas such as livelihoods, healthcare, HIV/Aids, food and nutrition, advocacy, the environment and climate change.” Charterhouse: Page 20

Worshippers put off by cathedral parking charges BY ED WEST

NOTTINGHAM’S Catholic Cathedral has lost 100 parishioners a week and is losing almost £2,000 a month in donations after the city council introduced parking charges on Sunday.

After charges were introduced all day Sunday Fr Geoffrey Hunton, dean of St Barnabas Cathedral, said that the Cathedral had lost about 10 per cent of its congregation, amounting to a loss off £400 a week, while choir services had also been disrupted.

Patrick Carragher who serves on cathedral’s parish council said that they were losing £450 in some weeks. He said “they were quite satisfied” that a correlation existed between the decline in attendances and the charges.

Officials at the cathedral have requested a further meeting with council staff in late February, although the council has said that the changes are here to stay.

Mr Carragher said that the current charges were not consistent with road planning guidance, which “makes it clear that revising parking arrangements must be with managing congestions. He added that from 8am to 8pm there are significant hours during which there is no congestion,” since Sunday shopping is still restricted to six hours for most outlets.

Mr Carragher said that typically there were few cars parked outside the cathedral during its 10am service and that there was also a great deal of space outside the six o’clock Mass, the largest.

He said that the cathedral provided a valuable service to the entire community in the work it did with groups such as alcoholics.

“We want to impress on them the full value of the civic life. We cater for a very mixed community, a wide crosssection of society, people from around the world,” Mr Carragher said.

Before the changes from Nottingham City Council allowed the cathedral to issue pre-paid voucher books that would save £70 per year, but with an initial outlay of £50 there has been little uptake.

“We’ve got a massive refurbishment in the cathedral, and in the current economic climate it is difficult to get people to put more on the plate.” Mr Carragher said.

“We have a lot of people on low wages. We are feeling that pinch. If we can get any easing from the council we will be grateful.”

Many other English councils have introduced Sunday charging, including Manchester, Birmingham, Oxford and Stoke.

But, last month Westminster borough council withdrew plans to charge for parking on Sundays after a campaign by businesses and protests from church groups.

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