A month ago Fr Ray Blake wrote a thought provoking piece on the challenge that working with the poor presents; in particular the fact that those of us who are insulated from the destitute can romanticise them, whereas they can challenge us and rock our sensitivities. Please read the post here.
A month later and his comments have been picked up by a journalist on his local newspaper, the Brighton Argus, who has given them a particular spin, representing Fr Blake as complaining about the poor and calling them all “b——-“. You can read his grotesque distortions here.
Fr Blake’s own take on the matter is here.
Needless to say, none of the papers provide a link to the original blog-post.
In my opinion this episode encapsulates the problems that we have with the media:
- there is little attempt to wrestle with moral complexity, complex stories are given the most superficial spin;
- there is a decided element of “groupthink” in the press – the three stories that I’ve highlighted could be the work of a single author were it not for the differing by-lines – and neither the author of the Telegraph piece nor the author of the Daily Hate piece seems to have looked at the sources for the story (much less spoken to Fr Blake);
- the truth hasn’t got its boots on, yet the lie has gone around the world – even if a retraction is published, these stories will colour anything else said or written about Fr Blake.
In fairness, the Telegraph has published a more balanced piece, but even here the sub-editor has let the world know his take on the issue.
I don’t buy the line that “the Media” is an evil conspiracy against Holy Church, but, as this incident seems to demonstrate, there is a lot of indolence, sloppiness and prejudice out there.
Please pray for Fr Blake and please ask St Francis de Sales to intercede with Our Lord to knock some diligence and good sense into the heads of those who practice the journalist’s trade.
UPDATE: TTony suggests a Novena to St Michael for all parish priests please see details here.
UPDATE 2: Bruvver Eccles puts it far better than I did here.
UPDATE 3: Fr Finigan puts it bluntly:
The Argus-Mail take on Fr Ray looks like an example of Dumb and Dumber, but realistically we have to say that it is simply malicious, unprincipled and a disgrace to a profession that labours under public criticism. I imagine that principled and honest journalists must be cursing those who sully their profession with the kind of rubbish that Fr Ray has been subjected to.
Read the rest here.