Sunday 24 February 2013


Just as a follow-up to the previous post...

This morning's Sunday was largely focusing on Roman Catholic matters again, examining (a) the accusations being made against the UK's most senior Catholic, Cardinal O'Brien, as reported in the Observer; (b) the latest news from the Vatican following Pope Benedict's resignation; (c) tensions between the Vatican and the English Catholic Church; and (d) a letter to the Independent by a number of liberal British Catholics calling for more democracy in the Church. 

What of our ongoing concerns? Well, I spoke too soon about Robert Mickens. Yes, Robert Mickens of the Tablet was back, talking in collegiate fashion to Ed Stourton about the "spiny and prickly questions" brought about by Benedict's decision to resign. Then Tina Beattie of the Tablet reappeared as the most-used 'talking head' in a report by Trevor Barnes, spreading her anti-conservative message. 

So was this a relapse on Sunday's part? No, because for the final discussion (on those calls for the advancement of 'the spirit of Vatican II' and the democratising of the Catholic Church) featured Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith of the Catholic Herald as one of its contributors (alongside one of the signatories of the letter) - as requested by me a couple of weeks ago! (Actually, I asked "How about Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith instead of Tina Beattie?" We got both! - which is fine by me. That's how it should be.)

So, after two years without a single guest from the more traditionalist Catholic Herald (while there were over 20 appearances by contributors to the more liberal Tablet), two have appeared within two weeks...which suggests to me that the BBC did listen to those complaints sent to the programme and to the Complaints Unit on the strength of this blog's presentation of the evidence. I'll stick with "Result!" then - and keep my fingers crossed!

The rest of Sunday included an interview with Dr Usama Hasan of the Quilliam Foundation after "three men from Birmingham" (as Ed put it) were convicted of plotting terrorists acts that would seek to rival the 9/11 attacks in terms of bloodiness. Dr Hasan discussed the issue of Muslim charities in light of their fraudulent involvement with one, and said that "jihad" has two meanings, of which the "peaceful" meaning of a spiritually-guided fight against such things as poverty and hunger is the important one for most Muslims. 

Just as Sunday tends to turn to the Tablet for Catholic issues, so it tends to turn to the Quilliam Foundation for Muslim matters. For Jewish concerns, it favours Ed Kessler and Rabbi Jonathan Romain. For Sikh matters, it turns to...well, er, no, it doesn't actually turn to anyone because it almost never discusses Sikh issues (just once in two years!). In a similar way, for Pakistani political issues, it (like Dateline London) turns to Dr Shahid Sadullah. He's a nice, liberal Pakistani journalist. Dr Sadullah was on today, discussing Pakistani political issues.

Away from the Sunday "speed-dial" contributors, there was a piece examining the religious impulses behind the Chartist movement and an interview with the new Director for Reconciliation for the incoming Archbishop of Canterbury.

Worth a "listen again", perhaps, if you missed it.

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