13 Responses to A parcel of rogues

  1. The Mail couldn’t even get the name of Fr Ray’s church right.


  2. Peter Northcott says:

    Oh come on! Yes it was gutter journalism, and I’ve read his attempt to ‘extract foot’: a la Voris, after he attacked the Catholic blogsphere last week on his Vortex, and is probably paying dearly for it, too.

    But, if there’s one fault many of the English traddie priests have – whether Anglican or Catholic – it’s a public schoolboy immaturity and the snobbery that goes with it. (Actually, Anglo Catholics are worse, especially if they trained at St Stephen’s House, Oxford, where grown men did (don’t know if they still do) juvenile things like celebrate the feast of St Agatha by having breast-shaped Blancmange with a cherry on top for their pudding that day.)

    I’ve been privy to a few of their more unguarded moments at social events. They love to make fun of those who don’t love the TLM, or the disgusting habits of the working classes – how they eat burgers and chips and don’t like Palestrina. It’s fun to watch someone make a comment of this sort, in passing, and then watch them run with it. Most of my experience listening to this sort of stuff was about 20 or so years ago in the pub after Faith Forum meetings at Spanish Place.

    As a recent example, I was at an ordination about a year ago, and I overheard a gaggle of seminarians from the English College bitchin’, in the style of Lily Savage over the sherry and canapés, about the Bishop, so little has changed.

    Let’s hope he learns from this to keep his supercilious views to himself in future. He must have it pretty bad if he can’t even stop it creeping out onto his blog…


  3. sixupman says:

    Fr. Blake runs a most interesting and balanced ‘blog’ – I would also call Fr. Blake a well balanced cleric, before cataloguing him as a “traddie priest”.


  4. Brother Burrito says:

    I am disgusted by this newspaper piece, and am moved to write the following to its author.

    Dear Sir,

    The definition of a gutter-press journalist is someone who gets overpaid to broadcast their ignorance and prejudice to as wide an audience as can be fooled to read it.

    Congratulations on fulfilling your job description.



  5. Brother Burrito says:

    Peter Northcott,

    Please enlighten us as to who you are, and in what capacity you are qualified to pour your scorn, as you have so liberally?


  6. The Raven says:


    That seems a terribly uncharitable position to take: Fr Blake was talking about the challenges that down and outs, drug users and alcoholics bring to their care; he was not “chiding the lower orders” for their poor taste.


  7. Roger says:

    St Joseph Labre comes to mind.


  8. Toad says:

    “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.”

    Unlike such fields as Banking, Medicine, Politics, Education, the Catholic Church, the Anglican Church, Facebook and Tap Dancing – where indolence, sloppiness and prejudice are utterly unknown.


  9. The Raven says:


    The difference is that a banker or lawyer who is indolent will have a string of irritated clients and a banker or a lawyer who is sloppy will be sued by the clients affected.

    Whereas a newspaperman who writes an indolent, sloppy article will deceive his readership and defecate on the reputations of those he misrepresents without (for the most part) fear of law or fear of a disgruntled clientele (who in the whole are happy to be mislead, but not to be bored).

    And does the fact that other professionals may be hacks absolve the newspaperman? Nope.

    And for that matter, does pointing to a plain case of hackery mean that all journalists are hacks? Nope.

    As a chap with a degree of inside knowledge, Toad, I would be grateful for your take on the affair.


  10. kathleen says:

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Good, faithful priests like Fr. Ray Blake need lots of loyalty, support and affection from their flock to help them bear these heavy “crosses”, thanks to the biased criticism of unscrupulous journalists (like the ones you link to) and hateful comments from the general public.

    Having read through the articles and comments, it appears to me there are really two issues here:
    1. Who are the real poor? (And how should one deal with them?)
    2. The problem of prejudiced, anti-Catholic, biased reporting in the media (and that you elaborate on further, giving three interesting points.)

    Concerning the first “issue”, I think it was Father’s use of the word “poor” that set the wolves loose. As is quite clear, not all these troublesome beggars (drug addicts, drunks, mentally unbalanced drifters) are truly poor as one understands this word. Many have made begging a way of life (whether by choice, bad luck or addictions, is another question) and these are the ones Father has found so trying and challenging to his patience and his conscience. I admire his genuine honesty – something the bigoted journalist of ‘Argus’ failed to recognise – and who could not say they have not found themselves with the same dilemma as Fr. Blake at times?
    These are the ones who are “messy”, and don’t care about it, not in general those who are really poor materially, but who still have their dignity intact.
    Yet even the “messy poor” deserve to be treated with kindness and humanity, as Fr. Blake obviously does, even if he admits he finds this challenging and tough at times. Who can blame him?

    The man who disrupts the Sacred Mass should be stopped – although admittedly I don’t know which way of doing so would be best! He is well aware he is being annoying and very disrespectful, and yet he plays on the Catholics’ sense of kindness and tolerance to stage his little pantomime. It’s disgusting behaviour!

    On the second point, I think this twisted piece of gutter-press journalism could stir up all sorts of dangerous consequences (something the, er, “journalist” in question seems quite insensitive to) as this comment from blondpidge shows:
    I really think a complaint ought to be put in to Mr Gardner’s editor. Having checked his timeline on Twitter he is completely unrepentant, stands by his piece and furthermore incites hatred against Fr Ray in way that could potentially invite violence.

    An appalling and shoddy piece of “journalism”. Whilst I am sure Fr will no doubt offer it up for a really juicy intention, actually this type of thing could be potentially dangerous and deter good priests from blogging.


  11. Toad says:

    Raven has asked Toad, as an ex-unscrupulous dishonest, unprincipled, journalist, for his biased opinion on this.
    1; I personally deeply sympathise and agree with Father Ray. “The poor’ can often be a pain in the neck. (And not only the poor.) We get a bit of that sort of behaviour round here from time to time with “pilgrims'”
    2: The Argus story is – as others have pointed out – nasty and evil tempered, and misrepresents Father Ray, in my opinion. However, it is not strictly inaccurate. And does not misquote him.
    3: Father Ray would have been best advised to write a letter of complaint to the Editor making his points, and quietly let it go at that.
    4: Kicking up all this colossal fuss about it, including showcasing it on CP&S, the world’s finest and most influential blog, where it will be picked by by 17 other blogs, (Have re-blogged this on ParanoidCatholic.Com ) while no doubt music to the reporter’s ears, and bonus grist for his mill, – is counter-productive. And putting the hack’s life-size picture up on Ray’s blog was plain dopey. Or so I think.
    “Never get into arguments with people who buy ink by the barrel,” said Mark Twain. and he was right, as usual.
    Stories if left untended, have very short shelf-lives.


  12. The Raven says:

    Thank you for that, Toad.

    I rather suspect that you overstate the impact that CP&S will have in the wider world: in fact, as far as the rest of the world will be concerned, the story is probably already forgotten, it’s only us and realparanoidcatholictv.com still buzzing about about this.

    I suspect that you are right that Mr Gardiner will get a kick out of the fuss that he has created (he only looks as though he is fifteen in his snap).

    (Written in my capacity as an unscrupulous dishonest, unprincipled, amateur journalist, parading my biased opinion).


  13. Roger says:

    Well handling the noisy at Mass.
    It isn’t actually the priests problem is it? How about the Communicants? You just simply go and sit next to the great unwashed, because you will find that their pew has emptied. Sometimes a simply ear and a cup of tea can make a huge difference. You see it isn’t about the priest celebrant its about the Church in all its members. Make a point of sitting next to the drug addict, the beggar, the drunk. A smile and sympathy.
    By the way this works.


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