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INDEPENDENT QUAKER JOURNALISM SINCE 1843
CONTENTS – VOL 168 NO 37 3 Pope faces challenges during his visit 4 Recording clerk: interim plans 5 A tide of light flows in Bradford Eithne Dodwell 6 Hard choices John Lampen 7 On the edge of the inside David L Saunders 8-9 Letters 10-11 Charity legislation: undermining or spotlighting? David Holmes 12 One Meeting’s decision Roger Sturge 13 Trustees: continuity or change? Edward Hoare 14 Is religion good for your health? Peggy Heeks 16 q-eye 17 Friends & Meetings
Cover image: The Bradford Women for Peace holding their web of ribbons in a demonstration for peace against the English Defence League visit to Bradford. Photo courtesy Eithne Dodwell. See page 5.
Quaker Theatre Company A scene from the play ‘Ordet’ (The Word), by the Danish writer Kaj Munk, which is the forthcoming production by The Quaker Theatre Company. ‘Ordet’ will tour various venues throughout Britain during October. Kaj Munk was a Lutheran Pastor and playwright in Denmark in the 1930s. When the Germans invaded Denmark in 1940 he denounced them from his pulpit and was found shot by the roadside the next day. Meetings wishing to book a play should contact the Quaker Theatre Company for full details and a booking form.
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the Friend, 10 September 2010 News
Pope faces challenges during his visit
In the seventeenth century women played a leading role in the development of Quakerism. Their position within other denominations has been a focus of controversy and change in recent times. Now the Roman Catholic church is confronting a call for reform and inclusion.
Grassroots Catholics are planning to challenge the pope on a range of issues, including women’s ordination, during his trip to Britain next week. Benedict XVI will speak in Glasgow, London and Birmingham on a state visit from 16 to 19 September. Andrew Summersgill, appointed by the Roman Catholic Church to coordinate the trip, has encouraged prayers ‘for pope Benedict and also for the success of the visit’. A project called Catholic Voices has recruited ‘a collection of ordinary people’ to speak about their faith in the media.
But other Catholic groups have formed Catholic Voices for Reform (CV4R) to call for change on issues such as sexuality and church structures. They include Catholic Women’s Ordination, whose posters reading ‘Ordain Women Now’ will appear on buses passing Westminster Cathedral, where the pope will celebrate mass.
‘We’re not trying to split things,’ said Myra Poole of CV4R, ‘We’re trying to move things on’. She told the Friend that disagreement ‘doesn’t mean you’re not a good Catholic’.
In contrast, all spokespeople recruited by Catholic Voices accept the Church’s official position. Coordinator Eileen Cole said, ‘people who had issues [with official teaching], whatever they might be, were not selected’. Asked by the Friend if this made Catholic Voices unrepresentative of Catholics, she said the project is ‘not a debate’ but is intended to communicate the Church’s teaching.
The pope’s supporters emphasise his commitment to tackling poverty and climate change. Catholic journalist Catherine Pepinster described Benedict as ‘the green pope’, insisting that, ‘his concern for the planet, and humanity’s place in it’ is central to his teaching.
The trip is a state visit because the pope is head of the Vatican State. This has angered the Protest the Pope coalition, who believe that, while the pope should be free to visit Britain, taxpayers should not foot the bill. They will hold a demonstration on 18 September.
Paul Blanchard of Protest the Pope told the Friend that they also want to take ‘a stand morally against his teachings’ on issues rator y,
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South including abortion and education. He said the coalition is open to ‘anyone who wants to protest [against] the pope’s visit’. Asked why no religious groups had joined, he said ‘that’s a matter for them and not for us’.
But despite the coalition’s insistence that they are ‘not antiCatholic’, several Christian groups seem to regard it as a secularist project. A spokesperson for the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (LGCM) said they did not wish to be part of ‘militant protest’.
He said that LGCM had been misrepresented as uncritical of the pope and emphasised that ‘any idea that we’re condoning the pope’s views’ was ‘simply not true’. Members will wear LGCM T-shirts at masses given by the pope.
A central feature of the trip will be the beatification of John Henry Newman, a former Anglican who converted to Rome in 1846. Amongst many other endeavours, he persuaded the Quaker owners of Cadbury’s to set aside a prayer room for Catholic workers.
Symon Hill the Friend, 10 September 2010