Fr Michael Seed is not like most priests in England and Wales today. This is mainly because he appears in the broadsheets a lot: he is caricatured as priest to the great and good: he says Mass for the Prime Minister's family in Downing St; he has instructed several high profile converts. He also does a lot of work with down-and-outs, but that gets little publicity. To describe his childhood as "abused" is to airbrush a traumatic story: just enter "Nobody's Child" into the search field at amazon.co.uk and read the synopsis.
Fr Seed is reported in today's Telegraph as having seriously angered the Cardinal. Fr Seed has apparently used his contacts to raise the £2M needed to fund each of four Academies (each prospective Academy has to raise £2M if the Government is to provide the rest of the funding). According to the paper:
'The Daily Telegraph has learnt that Fr Seed's connection to the academies project has caused concern at the most senior levels of the Roman Catholic Church, with Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor privately expressing "deep unease".
The Cardinal is unhappy that Fr Seed should have been seen to be involved in helping a project so closely associated with the Prime Minister. The Cardinal has told senior bishops that he feared the introduction could be seen as blurring the boundaries between the Church and party politics. Neither the Cardinal nor Fr Seed would comment last night.'
If anybody manages to question the Cardinal on this subject, it would be interesting to know how he thinks Catholic, and joint Catholic-Anglican, Academies have raised, or are raising, their £2M, and whether he thinks that establishing these new schools is wrong because they blur the boundary between the Church and party politics, especially when Blair, Brown, and Cameron are all massively in favour of them.
Somebody who risks (and often gains) obloquy to bring people to the Church, and tries to persuade the rich to part with their money to benefit the poor - in particular the children of the poor - might not be doing much to further CAFOD's agenda, but seems to me to be doing quite a lot to further Our Lord's.