18 March 2007

The Westminster Stakes - an Interlude

Paddy Power seems to be receiving no bets at the moment on the succession to Cardinal Murphy O'Connor: the odds are as they were the last time I posted on the Westminster Stakes. I had thought of doing a post giving some of the in-depth form analysis punters aspiring to a serious investment on this particular book might like to take advantage of, but decided to put that off for a while, and instead do a snapshot of the reactions to Sacramentum Caritatis, given that its author (The Man in White) will be the judge and jury on the winner of this particular race.

Damian Thompson, Editor-in-Chief of the Catholic Herald, noted the fact that the Apostolic Exhortation was effectively ignored by the Hierarchy on its publication. Now that they have had a few days to reflect, what do they say?

The Bishops' Conference of England and Wales has noted the publication and provides links to the document itself, and to a summary (curiously contained on the "Year of the Eucharist" page).

However, if you are the sort of Catholic who expects that your Bishop's diocesan homepage will give you some information about the Pope's Exhortation, then you are in for a surprise.

Hexham and Newcastle thinks that the document is about globalisation and environmentalism. Northampton thinks it's about Latin. Nottingham just links to the Vatican website. Westminster gives a reasonable (if very short) summary. And that's it: none of the other dioceses mention it. Even bearing in mind that the dioceses of Wrexham and Shrewsbury do not have functioning websites, the response is - well, poor.

I have learned about the Wakefield Rhubarb Festival, and about the new Catholic Assistant Chaplain General of the Armed Forces. But don't look to the diocesan websites in England and Wales to find out what the Pope thinks about the Eucharist.

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