|'Badley Church, Suffolk' by Harold Steggles (1936)|
Well, I woke up early this morning, put on my 'I love Pope Francis' badge (Ed Stourton lent me one of his spares) and switched on to the radio equivalent of the liberal Catholic magazine The Tablet - namely Radio 4's Sunday, hosted by Tablet trustee Ed Stourton.
Today's topics included: (a) the raising to sainthood of the murdered El Salvadorean liberation theology-sympathetic Cardinal Oscar Romero, discussed with a Catholic charity worker (which cast conservatives in a bad light); (b) a report by a Catholic group on the need for prison reform, discussed with a Lib Dem peer (who denounced "penal populism"); and (c) a discussion of a resignation in the US Catholic Church over sex abuse, where both guest and presenter (Ed) cast the present Pope and his unfortunate cardinal in the best possible light.
Also discussed were: (d) the UN's World Food Day, plugged with a participating charity; (e) Anglican "institutional homophobia", discussed with an aggrieved married gay Anglican cleric; and (f) the 50th anniversary of the Olympic black power protest, discussed with one of the black power saluters.
The two other items were BBC-on-BBC interviews on (g) the gay cake case and (h) the released pastor and his prayer for President Trump.
All very 'Sunday'!
Still, one of the featured BBC reporters, Mark Simpson (the BBC's Northern Ireland correspondent) showed afterwards how to be charming on Twitter. The estimable Jane Kelly was criticising his comments on the 'gay cake' case, and he responded:
Jane Kelly: Your reporter Mark Simpson declared, 'There are no winners in this case,' the winner was free-speech. You could also remind him that he is supposed to be a 'reporter.'
Mark Simpson: The question was asked in the context of the personal toll that the 230 week case has taken on the participants.
Jane Kelly: I see, that explains your sympathy for the man who lost, saying he 'looked devastated.' For me that was because he just assumed he would win.
Mark Simpson: Jane, Jane, Jane. That’s simply not true. But, hey, you’re entitled your view. I admire your work. Always have. And I respect your right to call it as you see it. Free speech. Enjoy the rest of your weekend. And next time you’re in NI, I’ll buy the coffee.
Jane Kelly: Thank you very much, you are very gracious. I used to visit NI a lot, a truly fascinating place. I have changed sides a bit though, now see the Protestants as a tribe in danger of extinction.
Mark Simpson: I look forward to hear your reasoning. Keep in touch.