Junk Journalism & Bigoted Broadsheets – A Deadly Combination

Junk Journalism & Bigoted Broadsheets – A Deadly Combination

Junk Journalism & Bigoted Broadsheets - A Deadly Combination

The Pope is cool these days: he has 17 million followers on Twitter; he won’t use the fancy Papal limousine; he loves a game of football and used to hang around in tango bars when he was young. He even has an app.

What’s known as ‘the Francis effect’ sees him greeted like a pop star wherever he goes, with crowds of weeping nuns and young girls holding up hand-written signs with pink hearts which should surely say ‘I LUV Justin Bieber’ but, instead, have messages of affection for their Pope. (TV review: Panorama on whether the new Pope can start a Catholic revolution, The Herald, 3 April) Click on photo of Pope Francis to read the rest of this junk journalism… And click here to watch the BBC Panorama documentary on Pope Francis

And then tell us if you have ever read a more ignorant piece of anti-Catholic writing – ever? For those of you outside Scotland, don’t laugh, but we’ve got “anti-sectarianism” at the top of our agenda. It’s constantly described as “Scotland’s shame”. We’ve even had at least one top politician that I know of, actually admitting that we don’t have an anti-sectarian problem in Scotland, we have an anti-Catholic problem. Journalist, Julie McDowall – like many if not most other lapsed Catholics – is as anti-Catholic as the nearest Orangeman. And WOW! does it come across in her ugly article.  Do you see the connection? It’s usually because they’re ignorant, that they’re lapsed to begin with. Nobody who truly  understands our beautiful Catholic Faith could be lapsed. End of.

I’ve emailed a letter for publication to The Herald but wait – it’s highly unlikely to see the light of The Herald letters page. They had a blatant policy of censoring all letters from Catholic Truth, by command of their then Deputy Editor, Kevin McKenna (who now writes for the Scottish Catholic Observer – now, I said, “don’t laugh”) and although there was a brief respite during the editorship of Douglas-Home, who told me to begin submitting letters again since McKenna no longer worked at The Herald, under the latest Chief Censor, my letters are clearly being blocked again. Scoundrels, I think is the word I’m looking for. Yes, that’s it. Scoundrels.

Your comments welcome – and remember, unlike most other blogs (including The Herald blogs) this one isn’t moderated beyond the first comment from new bloggers and even that is for technical reasons, on the advice of WordPress. We’ve got nothing to fear from the truth – so let’s hear it folks. IS The Herald a bigoted broadsheet? IS Julie McDowall’s article nothing more than a piece of junk journalism?

Comments (85)

  • Josephine

    That supposed TV review is a disgrace. What a bunch of lies right through and what a disgusting way she spoke of Pope Benedict. I am amazed that got published. Well seen it’s not about any other religion or it would be in the dustbin.

    April 3, 2014 at 4:59 pm
    • GabbyGlasgowGirl

      I completely agree that Julie McDowall (who’s she?) has written a really horrible and untruthful review. She hardly mentioned the Panorama programme so was obviously looking for an excuse to bash the Church.

      What’s the bet that she’d living in a way condemned by God’s law and she can’t take the Church reminding her of the fact? I wakened up to that a long time ago, that my friends who were the most anti-Catholic were all contraceptors. I could be wrong, obviously, about McDowall, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m guessing aright.

      The editor is the person to blame though as he would never have published the article if it was about any other religion. “Junk Journalism & Bigoted Broadsheet” is exactly right, IMHO.

      April 3, 2014 at 5:12 pm
      • Nicky

        What else do you expect from The Herald? It’s well known for it’s anti-Catholicism. McDowall’s name-calling of Pope Benedict is appalling but in line with the rest of her junk. I agree “Junk Journalism” it is, and definitely a “bigoted broadsheet”.

        April 3, 2014 at 5:14 pm
    • editor


      Well said.

      I’ve just added a link to the BBC Panorama programme on Pope Francis, the supposed subject of Julie McDowall’s daft (non) review. I had considered posting a thread on it, but after viewing realised that it really said nothing new, added no further insights into this papacy at this time, so decided to leave it.

      Then Gabriel Syme alerted me to The Herald TV Review and it seemed much more important to publicise that pack of fibs than the documentary.

      Anyway, for those who missed the screening of Panorama and their take on Pope Francis’s “revolution” last night, you can view it here now.

      April 3, 2014 at 7:22 pm
  • Fidelis

    What a truly nasty woman she is. I was utterly shocked at this heartless comment in parenthesis:

    “What’s known as ‘the Francis effect’ sees him greeted like a pop star wherever he goes, with crowds of weeping nuns and young girls holding up hand-written signs with pink hearts which should surely say ‘I LUV Justin Bieber’ but, instead, have messages of affection for their Pope.
    (This is all a far cry from creased old Ratzinger, his grim predecessor, who may well have had a name but is destined to be known as ‘the one who was in the Hitler Youth’.)”

    To call Pope Benedict “creased old Ratzinger” and to insinuate that he was a Nazi because he was in the Hitler Youth (like all young boys were, they had no choice) is downright evil.

    I won’t be paying good money for the Herald again. A friend already tried to warn me off, saying he goes to the library to read it, so that’s me finished with it now. What complete lies right through. It does make you wonder what sort of parents she had to make her have such a jaundiced view of the Church.

    April 3, 2014 at 5:26 pm
    • editor


      Agreed. Julie McDowall’s nastiness towards Pope Benedict is just inexcusable. And since she’s very good at dishing out such personal mockery, I hope she’s equally ready to take it on the chin, because, while we’re always hard hitting here at Catholic Truth, we do, as a matter of policy, avoid making personal remarks. But, you know the old saying: “there’s a time and a place for everything.” Well, this is the time and this is the place for giving Mzzzzzzz McDowall a taste of her own medicine.

      I’m sure it tastes awful. Well, Julie, Sugar Plum, assuming that you learned something about Lent, during your youth (since you clearly didn’t learn about anything else) here’s a piece of friendly advice. If this “medicine” tastes awful – offer it up for Lent. 😀

      April 3, 2014 at 7:28 pm
      • Frankier

        As they say, the gauntlet has been thrown down.

        I think that is what they say anyway.

        April 3, 2014 at 7:51 pm
      • editor


        That IS what they say… Well said !

        April 4, 2014 at 12:33 am
    • Faith of Our Fathers

      I have just read that article from her man the Orange Lodge couldn’t have printed a more bigoted piece .I would bet my Grannies pension book that wasn’t the name of her priest but it sounds better for her purpose. One of the the things that get to me is how much people like her go on about we should give all the Churches possessions away and leave them empty why does she not start a poor box from that rag she tries to write in. Also darling if you know anything about Catholics its that we have special collections all the time all over the World to assist the poor plus all of the missionary works. Best without women like this within our Church .

      April 11, 2014 at 9:12 am
  • leprechaun

    Madame Editor,

    Juli McDowall says:

    The very nature of the Act of Confession is to reinforce the distance between the grubby sinner and the wholesome priest. Only he has the power to cleanse you. It can’t be done alone; you can’t feel regret and sorrow and obtain some kind of peace through prayer. Only the Church can issue that. Power is taken from the individual and given to the man in a black, buttoned-up dress.

    The Church teaches that the Sacrament of Confession (it is not just “an act”) is to enable the forgiveness of our sins and that priests, as the representatives of Christ, exercise the power of absolving us of our sins. Feelings and emotions such as regret and sorrow should not feature in our contrition – contrition is an act of the intellect and of the will – and God, in reading our hearts, knows whether or not we are truly sorry for having offended him.

    Where Julie McDowall was instructed in the Faith is a mystery to me, but what her understanding of the Church’s teaching is, and what it actually is, are about as far apart as it is possible to get.

    After I had read the above extract from her review it became quite clear that she has no credibility whatsoever as a commentator on the Catholic faith as handed down through the centuries – she cannot even distinguish between a cassock and a black dress (I do hope she never gets invited to a cocktail party or she might get some funny looks) – and she does not seem to be well enough instructed to play the role of a detractor either.

    If she is serious about saving her immortal soul, Julie McDowall needs to find a Traditional congregation where the Catechism is taught and apply herself to her studies.

    April 3, 2014 at 6:01 pm
    • editor


      Her ignorance about Confession is a real give-away. I’d wager that her first Confession was probably her last.

      I doubt very much if she’s bothered about saving her immortal soul – sounds to me like she’s much more interested in salving her conscience. Her rant against the Church is typical of those who are determined to live as they please and don’t want anybody warning them that if they do so, they might die in a state that is anything but pleasing to God.

      And you can bet your bottom dollar that if she reads this thread* she’ll be penning a column about uncharitable Catholics, hypocrites, etc. in the proverbial jiffy. Julie in a Jiffy pens more Junk Journalism – watch this space… Being “nice” to everyone, no matter the rubbish they talk (as In her case) is how shallow folk like herself define “charity”. To which I reply: gerragrip 😯

      * I followed The Herald instructions to email their columnists by putting [email protected] but it bounced back x twice. I then emailed it to the letters editor and asked him to forward it to her. I hope she receives it, because no letters of criticism are likely to be published which is why I kept mine short and to the point. She, however, is likely to publish another pack of lies, claiming that her inbox was jammed with uncharitable messages from disgruntled Catholics, and such like. She has no integrity, so don’t be surprised if The Herald publishes more nastiness from Julie, the Queen of Junk Journalism immediately, if not sooner 😀

      April 3, 2014 at 7:15 pm
    • Frankier

      Her surname suggests that there isn`t much of a Catholic pedigree there anyway.

      April 3, 2014 at 7:49 pm
    • Margaret Mary


      “If she is serious about saving her immortal soul, Julie McDowall needs to find a Traditional congregation where the Catechism is taught and apply herself to her studies.”

      I don’t think Julie McDowall is bothered about saving her soul. She’ll be one of those who thinks God couldn’t put anyone in hell so she’s safe. I don’t think either that she is bothered about learning to truth, so she won’t be looking for a traditional congregation.

      We should ask Our Lady for special graces for this journalist, so that her eyes may be open to the damage she is doing by spreading falsehoods about the Church.

      April 3, 2014 at 9:39 pm
  • greatpretender51

    It would be interesting to discover just why this hate-filled person is so bent on trashing the Church. Perhaps because the Church teaches that she can’t have sex whenever she wants to, and with whomever she wants to – notice that there was no mention of sex in her screed, just ignorant rubbish about the authority of priests and the wealth of the Church. I smell a rat behind all this contempt and resentment – the rat of a guilty conscience, no doubt.

    Another question would be, by what standards does this person qualify as a journalist? Perhaps her job interview consisted of only one question: “Do you hate the Catholic Church?” And since the answer was obviously in the affirmative, I’d say she was hired on the spot.

    April 3, 2014 at 6:16 pm
    • editor

      Great Pretender,

      I believe you’ve hit the nail on the head. Had to happen eventually 😀

      Always, always, always, in my own personal experience, when a lapsed Catholic is so filled with hatred of the Church, the reason is to be found in what is euphemistically called their “lifestyle”.

      April 3, 2014 at 7:32 pm
  • jobstears

    What an ignorant and vicious piece of writing! How on earth could the editor have allowed that article to be published? I am not familiar with the Herald, but if this is an example of the stupidity they publish, ( The priest can walk into a home anytime, but parishioners can only see him by appointment….duh..if she had to wait more than 5 minutes to see a priest she’d have something to say about that too!) I wouldn’t want to read it anyway!!!

    GP, I know of another liberal woman who has almost the same complaints against the Church (which she airs with equal venom) and interestingly, her chief disagreement is over the Church’s teachings on “reproductive rights” !

    The woman is disgruntled and distempered.

    April 3, 2014 at 6:57 pm
    • editor


      You are so right – the absolute balderdash which she writes about priests would have been hilarious were it not that Scotland is full of bigots only too ready to believe that sort of baloney.

      I once was astonished when a colleague at work told me, straight-faced and totally seriously sincere, that he knew a young woman who no longer bothered about the Church. She was Irish and told him that when she lived in Ireland she was reprimanded by her priest for not blessing herself every time she passed a church.

      When I pointed out that there is no rule that requires us to bless ourselves passing a church, that it’s a custom that some observe some don’t, but that anyway there is no possibility that her priest would be following her around to check if she blessed herself as she passed every church, he was adamant. I couldn’t believe that any intelligent person, Catholic or no, would actually think that priests follow Catholics around to see if they bless themselves every time they pass a church. Even if such a rule existed (which, as we know, it doesn’t) given the number of churches and the fact that on any given outing we may pass one or a hundred and one, it would be impossible for priests to follow us around. Utter tosh. But, note, utter tosh that some folks are only too willing to believe. Especially in Scotland.

      That’s why the likes of this numpty McDowall is so dangerous. She relies on the bigotry of non-Catholics to further her agenda.

      I must keep an eye to see if she ever has the sheer audacity to write a sentence about sectarianism in Scotland. If so, I’ll launch another thread (and link to this one!)

      PS especially for 3LittleShepherds… I think, if our plan to take up your suggestion to create some video debates comes off, we’ll invite Mzzzz McDowall and Mr Kevin-ban-Catholic-Truth-Letters-McKenna to a round table “discussion” on the subject of suppressing the truth. What sayest thou?

      April 3, 2014 at 7:43 pm
      • Frankier

        It`s surprising how many so-called catholics would back up her claims.

        But it`s not surprising that it is always lapsed catholics who make these claims that wouldn`t stand up to five minutes of scant scrutiny.

        Where`s McKenna when he is needed?

        On second thoughts, he`s the last person we need.

        April 3, 2014 at 7:57 pm
      • 3littleshepherds


        April 3, 2014 at 10:11 pm
      • 3littleshepherds


        That would be such a great debate! I wonder if they’d agree to do it? Can’t wait to see.

        April 3, 2014 at 10:18 pm
  • editor

    All comments to date spot on. As for “who is she?” – your guess is as good as Glasgow’s. I’ve yet to encounter anyone who has ever heard of her. Which goes to show, as long as you’re anti-Catholic, you’re good enough to write for The Herald.

    If you recall, in recent weeks The Herald devoted its front page to the news that half of Glasgow’s parishes were set to close. The editorial also highlighted the issue, spilling crocodile tears by the ton from the editor or whoever wrote it on his behalf.

    Then, after all that space devoted to the topic, not a single letter appeared in the Letters page any day that week or since. Yet, I submitted a letter on the same day that the front page report and editorial were published.

    So, there’s something seriously wrong at that newspaper. The new boy (can’t even remember his name) is never going to be able to sue anyone for saying that he’s hardly impartial when it comes to Catholicism. But if he wants to start somewhere, let’s hope he picks moi, because moi would just love to expose his self-evident bias in open court.

    April 3, 2014 at 7:04 pm
  • Frankier

    If you take the West of Scotland meaning of tube she certainly is a Tube with a view and a distorted view at that.

    She is obviously a demented soul and should be pitied more than laughed at.

    I would have thought that people in Britain would be more concerned about the treasures in Buckingham Palace than the Vatican.

    They would rather see the Vatican treasures hidden away in a trillionaire`s bank vault for the sake of a bit of tax avoidance than have them on view for the world to see.

    Definitely as evil a piece of anti-Catholic hatred (the turncoats are the worst) as you will ever see.

    And they want us to vote yes.

    April 3, 2014 at 7:43 pm
    • editor


      Spot on. The Vatican treasures is a yawn yawn non-starter for anyone with any common sense. Nobody owns them, nobody has the authority to sell them and their purpose is the glory of God. Whereas, Buckingham Palace….a very different kettle of treasures.

      “And they want us to vote yes” – exactly, Frankier. OR…

      As they say in gloomiest Glasgow – “Aye, that WULLLLLL be right ! “

      April 3, 2014 at 7:50 pm
  • Margaret Mary

    I have never read such a dreadful article. I am astonished that the editor of The Herald saw fit to publish it. It oozes bigotry.

    As others have said, the horrible comments about Pope Emeritus Benedict are without excuse. God forgive that journalist for spreading such poison.

    April 3, 2014 at 9:35 pm
  • Miles Immaculatae

    Anti-Catholicism is the last acceptable prejudice.

    April 3, 2014 at 10:19 pm
  • editor

    I have just emailed Roseanna Cunningham MSP, Communities Minister in the Scottish Parliament, with copies to the two agencies supposedly fighting sectarianism in Scotland. I also copied the Editor of The Herald in the only way given on their website, via Customer Services.

    For the Attention of Roseanna Cunningham, Communities Minister, Scottish Parliament.
    Copies: Dr Duncan Morrow & David Scott – anti-sectarianism agencies; Editor, The Herald c/o Customer Services

    Dear Ms Cunningham,

    I wish to lodge a formal complaint about an article in today’s The Herald.

    Purporting to be a review of a Panorama programme about Pope Francis, the writer, Julie McDowall, devoted her column inches to savaging the Catholic Church. See TV review: Panorama on whether the new Pope can start a Catholic revolution, The Herald, 3 April – original article is available to read in full here

    Having been brought up in the Catholic religion in Glasgow, and having lived and worked in various parts of the UK before retiring back home in Glasgow, I have never read anything so blatantly false and bigoted. Sadly, the anti-Catholic bigotry for which Scotland is notorious, clearly remains intact despite the establishment of various agencies supposedly intent on eradicating such ignorant prejudice.

    It is no excuse that the journalist claims to be a (lapsed) Catholic. Every journalist has a duty to ensure that their reports and commentaries are accurate. Where there is a personal interest and, therefore, possible bias, even more care should be taken to ensure accuracy. Ms McDowall’s “TV review” was packed with falsehoods and defames Catholic priests and faithful without distinction. It is outrageous.

    Such ignorance is inexcusable in someone employed to write for a national broadsheet newspaper. One other thing that is inexcusable, but, lamentably, endemic at The Herald, as I know from personal experience, is the failure of the Letters Editor to fairly reflect public opinion on anything to do with the Catholic Church. I know for a fact that my letters are deliberately suppressed and the most recent example of that will no doubt prove to be the absence of my letter, submitted this afternoon, on the matter of Julie McDowall’s nasty and utterly false portrayal of the Catholic Church in her “TV Review”.

    I look forward, very much, to your early reply, detailing what action will be taken to deal with this latest example of blatant anti-Catholicism at The Herald.

    Kind regards.
    Catholic Truth.

    It’ll be interesting to see just how seriously they take this; I know at least one other person has written to lodge a formal complaint. Then – if we get fobbed off – we’ll know that the anti-sectarian rhetoric is precisely that, and nothing more – rhetoric.

    April 3, 2014 at 10:20 pm
    • Josephine

      Please let us know if any of them reply. I’ll be amazed if any of them answers, I really will.

      April 4, 2014 at 12:07 am
    • Frankier

      Roseanna Cunningham is another, liberal by her own admission, catholic made of the same useless material as McDowell.

      A couple of years ago she talked about certain football fans in Glasgow “making the sign of the cross aggressively” (whatever that may mean) to incite trouble, claiming that she saw it happen hundreds of times. This was to enable Salmond to inflict his draconian laws against these certain fans to, in the words of Christine Graham MSP, even things up.

      I can honestly say that I have attended more football matches than she ever will and I have never ever saw any fan blessing themselves either aggressively or otherwise.

      In my book she is no better than McDowell and it will be interesting to see if she ever replies.

      April 4, 2014 at 12:36 am
  • Graeme Taylor

    The devil is having his day……and sadly has many, many vicious little helpers.

    April 3, 2014 at 11:29 pm
    • Josephine

      I agree – there are plenty of people helping the devil to attack the Church. God forgive them.

      April 4, 2014 at 12:08 am
  • pewcatholic

    Have just read it, and am appalled. The Herald is supposed to be a ‘quality’ paper. Unlike the tabloids, it should take a measured, intelligent and objective attitude in its coverage. This personal, hate-filled, neurotic article, largely irrelevant to the topic it was covering – a TV programme – and obviously the product of some long-held grudge, should never have been allowed space in such a newspaper.

    Did someone say there is a new editor? If so, he isn’t doing his paper any good.

    April 3, 2014 at 11:52 pm
    • pew catholic

      Have just been back to the Herald site to read the comments. Quite a lot of them show a disgust at this really dreadful article.

      April 4, 2014 at 12:06 am
      • Josephine

        Pew Catholic,

        When I looked earlier there were a lot of comments agreeing with her though saying it wasn’t as bad as she makes out. I must check again now, in case more have been added.

        April 4, 2014 at 12:08 am
      • editor

        Pew Catholic,

        I’ve been contributing to the Herald blog but so far none of my comments have been published. I’ll take another look tomorrow to see if anything made it through the censorship that goes on there. But I doubt it.

        And, I have to say that I can’t see much “disgust” over there – some mild disagreement, yes, but also some blatant bigotry and nastiness directed at the Church, liturgy etc.

        There can be little doubt that Scotland’s alleged shame is definitely alive and well at The Herald.

        April 4, 2014 at 12:24 am
      • Josephine


        I can’t see any of your comments on The Herald blog. I presume you blog there under your own name. There’s nothing there.

        April 4, 2014 at 12:27 am
      • editor

        Just checked it myself – you’re right. I’m not there. I’m the Invisible Woman. Some men think they’re the best kind… 😀

        April 4, 2014 at 12:33 am
  • Wendy Walker

    Dear All
    I was sent this e -mail yesterday regarding radical so called feminists causing mayhem at a U N meeting regarding THE HOLY SEE and their reproductive wrongs and of course Homo rights .


    Perhaps you would please read the article and sign the petition ?
    For too long these vicious harpies have had their way and say …Pro Life Souls must wake up to what we really are facing for keeping quiet too long ……
    By the way The Petition regarding the incineration of Babies which then heats Hospitals has passed 50,000

    April 4, 2014 at 10:08 am
    • editor


      Many thanks. disgraceful behaviour by those nutty women. I’ve signed the petition and urge others to do so – takes all of a couple of seconds.

      April 4, 2014 at 11:16 am
  • Stephen McBride

    The comments left here are disgusting. As a catholic, I was taught from an early age to turn the other cheek, and forgive those who trespassed against me. You have ALL entirely missed that point. What on earth makes you think that you’re right and that God wants you to behave in such an apalling and vindictive manner? I would make sure your own spiritual lives are in order before castigating someone else’s beliefs or lack thereof. Shame on you ALL!!

    April 4, 2014 at 11:00 am
    • editor


      There’s no vindictiveness here. There’s plain speaking and since Julie McDowall appears to be VERY vindictive, defaming ALL priests and faithful, then we are entitled to speak our minds uncensored – something not allowed to the public at The Herald although columnists and “reviewers” like Julie McDowall are given free rein to spread falsehoods about Catholicism. After every terrorist bombing attributed to Muslims, the media pundits rush to assure us all that Islam is, nevertheless, a peaceful religion. After every scandal within the Catholic Church, we are told that the Church needs to change, is corrupt etc. Get with the programme, Stephen – Julie McDowall is but a very small part of a much larger anti-Catholic industry.

      And don’t make the common mistake of thinking that “turning the other cheek” means turning a blind eye to falsehoods. That’s not the case. We have a duty to correct errors, especially when they could result in scandal – and even a glance at the (heavily censored) Herald blog shows that is the case. Julie McDowall has allowed people who know nothing about the Church beyond what they are told by the media, to say “I told you so”…. and call the Church “corrupt” and “poison”.

      That MUST be challenged. It’s got nothing at all to do with “turning the other cheek.” If she insults any one of us, personally, we may turn the other cheek. If she attacks Holy Mother Church, leading ignorant people astray, then we must speak plainly in defence of our Faith.

      April 4, 2014 at 11:13 am
    • Wendy Walker

      Dear Stephen
      As you may know I am not a Catholic ..BUT your reply shocked me ..why do you think Abortion ,Pornographic sex ,so called contraception ,and every other ill we are facing and battling with has flourished ?…Precisely because good Souls HAVE turned the other cheek and done nothing !…Hence the virulent and violent opposition have all the say .It only takes fro good men and women to do nothing for evil to prevail ….I say WELL DONE to everyone who has the courage to speak up for what they believe being lily livered achieves nothing

      April 4, 2014 at 12:43 pm
    • Frankier

      No Stephen, shame on YOU!

      If it was left to people like you, Catholics in this country would be afraid to leave the safety of their own home.

      Personally, I have only two cheeks and I certainly wouldn`t be turning them to get slapped a third time whether or not it would be an unchristian thing to do, I am not all that holy. There comes a time when turning the cheek becomes a sign of cowardice.

      You wouldn’t happen to have the name Tom in your full title would you?

      April 4, 2014 at 1:02 pm
    • Frankier

      S McBride

      Are you sure your remarks weren`t meant for Ms McDowell? They would have been the perfect response to her vile article.

      Maybe you knew, though, that they would have been consigned to the nearest
      bin. No turning of the other cheek in the Herald office, eh?

      Ms McDowell certainly doesn`t seem too keen on forgiving those who, ALLEGEDLY, trespassed against her, nor do you exactly fit the description of a forgiving soul either.

      Meanwhile, keep turning the cheek Stevie boy, if you don`t do it who will?

      April 4, 2014 at 1:54 pm
  • Dr John Dowden

    It can be difficult to turn the other cheek on childhood trauma.

    One such came when our idiot Head of English announced the prescribed books we were doing for A Level – Oscar Wilde for gay literature, Virginia Woolf for the lesbians and James Joyce for the Irish Roman-Catholics. We did not see the funny side of this, since Oxford places depended on GCE results.

    Joyce was easily the most incomprehensible of the lot and, after a hard struggle with the text, the sort of consensus we arrived at was that the Portrait of the Artist was some sort of surreal fantasy of Dublin life, wildly exaggerating a Jesuit education. The best sense to make of it was that Joyce had recalled Roman-Catholic sermons and teaching when he himself had taken drink, without pausing for what Dublin bars, apparently, called the ‘holy hour’. Whatever kind of literary nonsense it was, it patently was untrue. Portrait of the artist stoned out of his tiny mind.

    There was method in the school’s madness: we were forced to formulate a personal response to difficult texts, so we made the grade and off we went to college – it is unlikely that any of us ever read another ‘challenging’ novel again. Years later the penny began to drop: Joyce was not writing surreal fantasy – this was an actual description of the psychological and physical abuse routinely meted out in one of the city’s leading Roman-Catholic schools. The lecherous old goat swishing the cane past his cassock was real

    There is no doubt that the Glasgow Herald review is a one-sided opinion piece, rather than balanced journalism. The author tackles both ‘guilt’ and the Vatican’s ‘gilded’ halls, and it is deeply unimpressive to see an allegedly quality newspaper where the sub-editors are too illiterate to be able to distinguish ‘guilt’ from ‘gilt’: writers can be an illiterate lot but subs are paid to know better. Not impressive.

    But there is something at the back of all this. ‘Piskies drift away from the beliefs they were brought up with as children but they tend to remember their Bibles and the good old hymns quite fondly and any criticisms of idiot vicars and obsessive choirmasters tend to be mild. The Holy Romans often seem to drift in to vehement, blood-spitting denunciations, recalling horrible little details with a quite visceral hatred. Something has, clearly, gone very wrong to producing this sort of intensity of response.

    There is a new book out, investigating childhood experience of confession, which lays the blame squarely on startling innovations introduced by Ultra-Catholics towards the end of the nineteenth century, most notable by the arch-moderniser, Pius X. He was a notably ignorant man – had to be given special permission to become a bishop despite his defective education – and his innovations seem to continue to bear bitter fruit. John XXIII, soon to be canonised, did something to open the windows and bring about an aggiornamento but from the latest, obviously deeply-felt, outburst in the Herald, it seems however that the evil legacy of Pius X’s ill-judged innovations have lived on in Scotland’s denominational schools into at least the 1980s and 1990s. They have produced an astonishingly bitter reaction in this Portrait of the Reviewer as a Young Scottish Roman-Catholic.

    From the outside, one solution might be to suggest that no more of the general taxpayers’ money goes into funding a denominational school system which can produce reactions of this sort.

    April 4, 2014 at 1:09 pm
    • editor

      Dr John Dowden,

      The fact that you very rudely insist on referring to the Catholic Church as “RC” when I have explained to you ad nausem that that is not our name, means that I’ve no intention of responding to any more of your posts. In fact, I stopped reading at what I’m sure is the first of several uses of “Roman Catholic” in your latest comment.

      If you choose to use our correct name, I’ll respond. Otherwise, when I get time, I will go through your comments and remove “Roman” but will not respond.

      Feel free to blog elsewhere.

      April 4, 2014 at 1:44 pm
    • jobstears

      “… Pius X. He was a notably ignorant man – had to be given special permission to become a bishop despite his defective education – and his innovations seem to continue to bear bitter fruit”.

      It looks like the good Pope was not the only one with a defective education, Dr. Dowden! A little knowledge is always dangerous, and you prove it. You know nothing of the man you have labelled as ‘notably ignorant’, except for what his detractors have written and you appear to be quite content with that. I am truly amazed, that for someone who is at pains to impress the world with his erudition, you would admit to reading pop-psychology and forming opinions based on that!

      You are very much like the disgruntled reporter, Dr. Dowden, you use the thread, no matter what the topic, to air your own pet peeves with the Catholic Church.

      Bigotry, like a rotting carcass, reeks no matter how deeply it is buried.

      April 4, 2014 at 3:52 pm
  • Frankier

    The Doc doesn`t refer to Roman Catholic but Roman-Catholic.

    All I can say is that some people were easily traumatised in childhood, poor souls.

    It seems to me that James Joyce isn`t the only person to get stoned out of his tiny mind. I wouldn’t mind having a wee sip out of the container sitting next to Mr Dowden at 1:09 pm today

    Let`s hope he`s a saw doctor and not the doctor on call at the moment.

    April 4, 2014 at 2:17 pm
    • editor


      Hyphenated or not, “Roman” was invented by the Protestant reformers to push their branch theory, that those Catholics who adhere to papal authority and supremacy are but one branch – the Roman branch – of the Catholic Church and it is this heresy which Dr Dowden (and the entire ecumenical movement) promotes. No educated Catholic should ever use the term. That there are entire dioceses with “Roman Catholic” in their title and on their websites, merely underlines the sheer ignorance abounding in the Church today.

      April 4, 2014 at 3:25 pm
  • Benson Dentford

    The Irony is not lost on me that those who believe themselves “devout” are the ones who understand their religon the least. The author of the article was clearly expressing a hope that the new face and ideals of the current pope who acts so differently from his predecessors might change the Catholic Church for the better.
    To deny that the Church in its current form is not corrupt is true naivety, a Catholic who believes in the teachings of Jesus would be all for bringing the purity of the church up to the standards that the religon itself is held to.
    The article was NOT anti-christian, it was anti-church, can you honestly say that you believe the current incarnation of the church is as perfect as you would be led to believe?

    April 4, 2014 at 3:45 pm
    • editor


      Julie McDowall wasn’t writing about the current state of the Church – we are foremost in criticising negligent bishops and priests. That’s what we DO. But, for the record, as every informed Catholic knows, Pope Francis is not going to make things better – he’s a major part of the problem in the Church right now, misleading uninformed, ignorant people like Julie McDowall into thinking the Church – the perfect and spotless Bride of Christ – can change or be “reformed”. No, the Church must be restored, not “reformed”. Check out our entire website asap.

      Julie McDowall was talking about her alleged experience from her youth, making it sound horrendous, with priests guilty of forced entry into homes and the faithful being “unwashed” etc. A very nasty piece of junk journalism.

      I do not believe that she experienced ANY of what she alleges. Look at her photo. She’s too young to remember anything before Vatican II and after Vatican II it was all “Father John” and “Father Joe”, who NEVER visited homes – still don’t, wore, collarless (often pink) shirts and, if they heard Confessions at all, told the penitents that they’d committed no sins. I could go on, but have to be elsewhere in twenty minutes.

      No, let’s by all means speak the truth about the current crisis in the Church. Only don’t expect The Herald to publish letters on that topic. I know, they refuse to publish mine. They’re an anti-Catholic bunch, and the lapsed Catholics who write for them in the Julie McDowall vein are nothing more than useful idiots. Even if she repents later of having so led people away from the Church founded by Christ to save souls, she won’t be able to correct the damage done – that will be facing her at her judgment. So, angry as we are with her, we ought to pray for Julie McDowall.

      April 4, 2014 at 4:01 pm
      • Benson Dentford

        As I said, you have misunderstood the article, the author has expressed a hope for change within the church, the personal experiences she outlines are examples of the poor relationship between priest and his parish that she hopes will change.
        The fact that you have seemingly glanced of the article and only taken in the sections that you believe to be an attack on the religon is evidence of the naivety I just mentioned.
        You are also assuming far too much about the the goings on within every individual parish, you have no way of knowing how much truth there is in the tales of her experiences, meaning any comment you make on that is moot.
        It is responses like the ones exhibited here that are contributing to the downfall of the church, and why it is seen so negatively by outsiders.
        Instead of viciously attacking any form of criticism, you should take it on board and see what can be done about it.

        April 4, 2014 at 4:10 pm
      • Josephine

        I’ve read her article more than once and very carefully at that.

        If you were a Catholic you would know that no priest ever forced is way into anyone’s home. You would also know that priests are very gentle in Confession and always were. Even those who confess the most grave sins are received with gentleness.

        Her bitterness is coming across loud and clear and that suggests a bad conscience.

        Are you a Catholic, Benson Dentford? If so, have you experienced any of the stuff she claims? I most definitely haven’t.

        Also, I would add that not only have I never experienced any at all of the stuff she claims but neither have any of the Catholics I know, most of them are lapsed also but think she’s talking rubbish.

        April 4, 2014 at 4:46 pm
      • Benson Dentford

        Everyone’s experiences are going to differ, that is a given. My point is that you should not discount someone else’s for not matching your own.
        The priest “forcing” his way into her home, or the harsh confessions were not described as being literal, more the psychological effect a priest’s authority may have, particularly on a young mind.
        I am of the opinion that we should all be open to discuss such matters civilly, without turning it into a grudge match of some kind.
        We are fortunate enough to live with religon that is supposed to allow us to express our views openly, and have them accepted even if they differ from the wide consensus, I only wish people could understand that privilege.

        April 4, 2014 at 4:52 pm
      • Frankier

        What a waste of time it would be to take a load of almost comical rubbish and lies on board to see what can be done about it.

        April 4, 2014 at 9:05 pm
      • chasdom

        Just a quick question Editor, why do you always have to be ‘somewhere else’ whenever anyone legitimately, and usually correctly challenges you?? Seems to be a pattern for you. Ignoring the truth or is just plain rudeness on your part!!!!!

        April 4, 2014 at 6:44 pm
      • editor

        So, Chasdom, does replying at greater length than necessary to a blog comment take precedence over duties of state or promises to help those in need? I had both to attend to this afternoon and evening. Must drive you crackers that I’m so holy. Signed Saint Editor…

        After all, I DID answer the blog comment and at some length, too. What am I LIKE 😀

        April 4, 2014 at 9:06 pm
      • Frankier

        Maybe it’s really because she genuinely needs to be ‘somewhere else’ without feeling the need to explain it to someone with a mind bordering on paranoia.

        April 4, 2014 at 9:13 pm
      • editor


        Your charity is breath-taking. Chasdom has a mind? Really?

        Kidding Chasdom 😀

        April 4, 2014 at 11:48 pm
      • fryderykfranciszekchopin

        Chasdom, are you judging Editor by your own standards? Is that what you do, make excuses when you can’t answer somebody??

        April 5, 2014 at 12:53 am
      • editor


        You now have a Spring bonus on top of that last pay rise 😉

        April 5, 2014 at 8:01 pm
    • Josephine

      You can’t be “anti-church” without being “anti-Christian”. As is often pointed out on this excellent blog, the Catholic Church itself is Christianity.

      April 4, 2014 at 4:50 pm
      • Benson Dentford

        That’s where I believe people are going wrong, the Church is man’s interpretation of religion, the bible, the system, the churches themselves are all built by men.
        The Church is not religion, its simply the hand that delivers it. In my view you are free to interpret God and religion as you please, regardless of how it may differ from the churches “offical” view.

        April 4, 2014 at 4:55 pm
      • editor


        That’s the elementary mistake made by so many of the Church’s critics. You think the Catholic Church is a human institution only whereas it’s both divinely instituted and peopled by humans. The only “churches” which are totally human, are the various Protestant groups – C of E, Episcopalian, C of S, Methodist, Baptist etc. All created by human beings. Only one was established by God the Son while on earth – and that is the one we call “Catholic” – and Christ guaranteed to be with His Church until the end of time. There is only one true religion, and one true Church.

        As for “in (your) view we are free to interpret God and religion as we please….” WRONG 😯

        Christ told His first appointed churchmen: “He that hears you, hears Me”. And “Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build My Church. And the gates of Hell shall never prevail against it….”

        So, you are completely off track. We’re not wrong for obeying God’s law as interpreted for us by His Church acting on His explicit authority.

        You are wrong for thinking that we’re wrong, if you get my drift…

        April 4, 2014 at 11:53 pm
    • greatpretender51

      No, Benson, the irony is that you claim to understand the Catholic Church while claiming that she needs to change for the better – in other words, that you have absolutely NO understanding of that which you claim to understand.

      And the modern Church is not corrupt because of its traditions, teachings, or disciplines: it is corrupt because it has abandoned those things, wholesale, since Vatican II.

      So perhaps you should clarify: does the modern Church need to change its corruption? Yes it does. Does the modern Church need to continue running up the white flag in her ongoing surrender to the corrupt world? That is, continue what Pope Francis is doing daily with his scandalous, heretical statements?

      If you truly understood the Church, your answer to that second question would be “No.” Or better yet, “NO!!!”

      April 5, 2014 at 3:41 pm
      • greatpretender51

        (My comment above was supposed to be in reply to Benson’s of April 4, 3:45)

        April 5, 2014 at 3:43 pm
  • charlesmcewan

    I was educated in a Scottish non-denominational school and the belt was used every day. On one occasion in Primary 7 the teacher called out one of the boys for the belt because as she said “You haven’t had the belt for a few days”. In times past Scottish education was brutal. Whether this occurs in State schools or in Catholic schools is a matter of great regret but it was certainly part of the general culture. The media focus however is generally on the Catholic bad examples. I also have a friend who had a very dysfunctional upbringing and what saved him was the nun headteacher who loved him so much and helped him lead a normal productive life. The brutalizing however has not stopped in our modern enlightened society. Close on 200,00 people killed every year in Britain alone and not a single doctor prosecuted – not even those who pre-signed forms for patients they knew they were never going to see, just so that there could be two signatures on the form to justify the slaughter. By all means let us criticize and as the editor says we are at the forefront of criticizing the woeful leadership we have had from homosexual bishops covering up for their partners in crime. The problems in society will not be solved by proscribing the One True Church of Church of Christ because it is only by following Christ’s teachings that society can expect to function peacefully. Yes, there’s been lots of mistakes and plenty of traitors but let’s take off the blinkers.

    April 4, 2014 at 6:02 pm
  • charlesmcewan

    Benson, Of course you are free to interpret what you want. However, when you make up your own rules you are no longer part of the religion. What we see today is wishy washy thinking, focusing on misdemeanors and crimes by clerics and lay people and complaining that the Church does not move with the times. These people should be honest and leave but unfortunately we live in a time of great confusion and the hand of satan can be seen more and more in our institutions and general culture and the biggest success of satan has been to convince people that the Church should change to accommodate their addictions and even their perversions

    April 4, 2014 at 6:57 pm
    • editor

      Well, Charles, you won’t be surprised to know that making up your own rules at least gets you space on The Herald blog.

      I’ve just checked it again and while not one of the several +++++ comments that I submitted – mostly replying to other (un-informed) bloggers – has been published. Not one. Yet, our friend Benson is up there, big time. He’s saying what The Herald wants to hear, or should that be what The Herald wants us all to read.

      That The Herald is bigoted and censored is manifestly beyond dispute.

      Oh and, for the record, none of the folks supposedly in charge of eradicating sectarianism in Scotland, has so far replied to my email. Now, there’s still time, so I’m not giving up on the MSP and the anti-sectarian charities just yet. Let’s wait and see – just don’t let’s hold our breath.

      April 5, 2014 at 12:20 am
      • Frankier


        The folk supposedly in charge of eradicating sectarianism in Scotland are anti-catholic bigots themselves.

        I went to G*****e F#####s a long time ago because of blatant religious discrimination against me when building contracts were being handled by the councils in Ayrshire . No funny handshakes, no chance.

        I found out a couple of years ago that he was no better than them.

        April 5, 2014 at 11:48 am
      • editor


        I can be dense at times, so this is probably one of those times, but for the life of me I can’t work out who or what is G*****e F#####s

        If – as I suspect – there’s less than ladylike language in there, say nothing. But if (as others might suspect) I’m just being dim again, then please enlighten me.

        I do have to say that I’ve got a very strong feeling that the so called anti-sectarian charities are no such thing, and this, my first ever communication with them. will confirm or deny my gut instinct. So far, I’ve heard nothing, had no reply whatsoever, not even as much as an acknowledgement. I can’t help suspecting that they are all consulting in order to come up with a good, consistent, fob off line. It won’t wash, of course. But they’re more than likely to try.

        April 5, 2014 at 8:07 pm
      • Frankier


        George Foulkes.

        April 6, 2014 at 9:11 pm
      • editor

        He never even crossed my mind, Frankier. But I’m relieved to see his name, just the same! My imagination was working overtime 😀

        April 6, 2014 at 9:51 pm
      • Eileenanne

        A comment of mine has so far been allowed. An earlier attempt to say much the same in different words did not. I am not willing to blame the Herald for cutting it out. It is possible I failed to hit the “post” button. 🙁 as in the past when I had a comment rejected by the moderation team I received an email informing me and so far today I haven’t.

        I emailed the editor to say I had cancelled my paid online subscription. No reply yet.

        April 5, 2014 at 1:18 pm
      • Eileenanne

        My comment is now gone. I honestly cannot see why. All I did was list a few issues which the Pope cannot and will not change, including the fact that God is Love and is always ready to forgive anyone who repents.

        April 5, 2014 at 2:59 pm
      • editor


        Good for you for submitting such a comment but the fact is, The Herald blog moderator(s) is unpredictable. Sometimes I’ve been amazed at comments they’ve let through, and at other times, astonished at unpublished comments which were less forthright. There’s no real explaining it. They are definitely inconsistent. I think they will now be so rattled at the fuss we’ve caused about Julie McDowall that they will be enforcing their house rules (even those not hitherto in existence!) like nobody’s business on that particular thread.

        I’m delighted that you emailed the editor to say you’ve cancelled your online subscription. I am now wishing I’d taken one out, so I could have cancelled mine, as well 😀

        April 5, 2014 at 8:10 pm
  • Michaela

    That TV review is nothing more than a piece of hate speech.

    April 5, 2014 at 12:34 am
    • editor


      You are right – that alleged TV review is, indeed, a piece of hate speech. If Ms McDowall had written about any other religious group, rabbis and Jews, imams and Muslims in the way she has written about Catholic priests and laity, she’d have had a visit from the police by now. There is no question about that, not a shred of doubt in my mind.

      Whoever it was said that Catholicism is the last accepted (and promoted) prejudice was spot on. Why is it not the subject of radio phone-in shows? Local “Reporting Scotland” TV reports? Answers on a postcard please.

      April 5, 2014 at 8:14 pm
  • gabriel syme

    In Scotland, a footballer (Leigh Griffiths) is in trouble for singing a racist football song, which calls Rudi Skacel (a Czech player) a “refugee”.


    It is true that asylum seekers did/do face racism in Scotland and so people should not use the term “refugee” as a pejorative. But the term is not offensive in and of itself.

    Is it not amazing that calling someone a “refugee” as part of a football song – which are usually provocative / tasteless / idiotic as a rule – is considered racist and a newsworthy event……….

    ……..while deriding the intellect and hygiene of a social minority group, one which has until recently faced overt public discrimination, is what passes for a ‘television review’ and responsible journalism.

    Only in Scotland.

    April 6, 2014 at 10:58 pm
    • Fidelis

      Gabriel Syme,

      That’s absolutely unbelievable. I completely agree, that word is not insulting in any way. If anything, it just describes a person’s status and is not at all offensive.

      As you say “only in Scotland” could such blatant bigotry and double standards be tolerated and even acceptable.

      April 7, 2014 at 12:07 am
      • Miles Immaculatae

        Personally, I think it is offensive. The Czech Republic is an EU partner, and is therefore guaranteed the free movement of its people. Skacel is an EU national who has a legal right to live and work here. A refugee on the other hand, is someone who has claimed asylum. They may not work, and their freedom to live here is subject to judicial process.

        Czech persons are not refugees! No more than French or German persons.

        I think the point Griffiths was making was that central and eastern European countries are backward. Think Transylvania and vampires. That’s offensive.

        If Skacel were from Afghanistan or Somalia, then Griffiths would have a point. Nevertheless, the comment would still be offensive.

        April 7, 2014 at 1:09 am
      • editor


        We will have to disagree about that one. Even if “refugee” is regarded by some as “offensive” (it would never occur to me to equate “refugee” with “backward”) it’s not half as offensive as calling Catholics “unwashed” and peddling the rest of the McDowall falsehoods, especially about priests – there’s just no comparison.

        I repeat: Catholicism is the last tolerated and approved prejudice. No question about it.

        April 7, 2014 at 11:12 am
    • editor

      Gabriel Syme,

      Thanks for posting that BBC sports report. I agree, there is nothing about the term “refugee” that is “in and of itself” offensive.

      Double standards are the norm, though, where Catholicism is concerned. If anyone watched The Big Questions yesterday, we had another example of Catholic bashing by the former MP Dr Evan Harris, who paid the young man from the Catholic Herald a backhanded compliment in the form of a swipe at the abuse scandals in the Church. Yet, without doubt, he would be one of those PC types who, in any public discussion about terrorist attacks by Muslims, would be quick to preface his “concerns” by pointing out that Islam is a “peaceful religion” and these terrorists are a minority. Breaking news… so are abusing Catholic priests.

      The really Big Question seems to be are YOU anti-Catholic?

      Answer: “Yip”

      Response: Cool !

      April 7, 2014 at 11:16 am
  • Frankier

    The anti-Catholic media in Scotland are only interested in condemning Griffiths because of who he plays for.

    As far as I am aware, I might be wrong, the video was taken when he played for Hibernian and he has already been punished by the SFA.

    I have no time personally for this player but he is being used as an excuse by the above mentioned media to air their blatant sectarianism.

    If he had sung Paddy McGinty`s Goat they would have accused him of singing sectarian songs.

    That is just the way it is in this lovely wee “tolerant” country.

    April 7, 2014 at 1:00 pm
  • Frankier

    I should have mentioned that The Herald is one of the biggest haters of Celtic FC as well as the Catholic Church, so anything they write about either can be taken with a large pinch of salt.

    April 7, 2014 at 1:03 pm
    • editor


      I think the answer to The Herald’s evident anti-Catholic bias is simply not to read it. I’ve cancelled their daily headlines and don’t miss them one bit. I’ve asked the reader who is in the habit of bringing me copies of articles (in case I’ve not seen them) to stop doing that (and he agreed) so that I’m not remotely tempted to submit another letter for publication which they can chuck in the bin.

      There’ll be a short report on the Hate Speech at The Herald in the next edition, for the record, and thereafter, I want nothing to do with them. I sincerely suggest that other CT bloggers similarly shake off the dust – The Herald is, literally, bad news.

      April 10, 2014 at 12:01 am

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