Originally Published on: Sep 7, 2013 @ 15:17
My friend Fr. Ray Blake, parish priest of St. Mary Magdalen in Brighton, England, was treated shamefully by a malicious newsie for a thoughtful, serious, introspecive piece he wrote on his blog about the poor.
Fr. Blake’s piece HERE. Take a look at it. It is engaging and compelling.
A write for The Argus in Brighton, Bill Gardner, picked up Father’s blog entry and twisted it. The writer for the Daily Mail, Will Robinson, also picked it up to pick on it. Robinson either has no critical reading skills (which seems to be pandemic among journalists), or he is simply a bigot. Wills twisted what Fr. Blake wrote about how difficult it can be to work with the poor (Father provided examples that could vex a saint) and about recognizing his own complacency.
I’ll let Fr. Finigan take over from here. Check out everything he has to say over at his place. HERE
Fr Ray Blake wrote a characteristically thoughtful and provocative post about the poor who turn up on his doorstep in Brighton. His article challenges romantic notions about the poor by detailing some of his experiences of the reality of helping poor people – which he does with heroism. He has to cope with lies, nuisance and mess, but his point he makes is that rather than become complacent, we must let the poor mess up our lives.
Enter Bill Gardner, journalist for The Argus in Brighton who writes a stupid article portraying Fr Blake as though he were simply attacking the poor. Fr Blake has replied in spirited fashion, inviting Mr Gardner to come and help with one or other of the projects that St Mary Magdalen’s runs for the poor. (See, for example his thoughtful article on Soup Runs.) The Daily Mail has also run another stupid article in the same vein as Bill Gardner.
Unfortunately there are some journalists who are not particularly interested in getting a genuinely good story but simply concerned to impress their editor with something that will look sensational enough to help sales of the paper. The Argus-Mail take on Fr Ray looks like an example of Dumb and Dumber, but realistically we have to say that it is simply malicious, unprincipled and a disgrace to a profession that labours under public criticism. I imagine that principled and honest journalists must be cursing those who sully their profession with the kind of rubbish that Fr Ray has been subjected to.
Fr. Z Kudos to Fr. Blake!
Please read his blog entry and then add a comment of support.
UPDATE Sunday 8 Sept 15:37 GMT:
Fr. Blake has posted his own response to the “unscrupulous journalist” (I prefer “low-information hack”) who trashed him in Brighton’s paper in an article that has gone viral.
Good for Fr. Blake. I still stand with him.
UPDATE Monday 9 Sept 17:52 GMT:
Here is a good take on what the malicious newsies did to Fr. Blake. HERE
Here’s the truth as I see it. Having known this priest for five years I can confirm that the poor are more than welcome at his parish; his tolerance is almost limitless. Fr Ray runs a soup kitchen for the homeless in the evenings and if people ring his bell at all hours of the day then it’s probably because he almost always answers it. If he has a politics, I’d call it Christian Socialist – in that Old Labour, community activism kind of way; copies of Tribune, rosaries for peace etc. And, being a priest in Brighton, he not only serves gays and lesbians (without a second thought) but also the large contingent of homeless people who are drawn to its admirable local support network. A great number of them suffer from drug addiction and mental illness; these are not the cap-doffing tramps of some Victorian novel but people with real problems that would test the patience of a Saint. In other words, Fr Ray actually has to confront on a daily basis the kinds of challenges that liberal journalists and politicians only talk about in the abstract. If he says that the poor can be difficult, he’s not being nasty. He’s being honest.
UPDATE Monday 9 Sept 1950 GMT:
It seems that Bp. Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton (where Fr. Blake is, of course) did an interview on the Beeb and made a statement about Fr. Blake’s controverted blog post.
UPDATE Tuesday 10 Sept 14:28 GMT:
It seems that Fr. Blake’s bishop, Most Rev. Kieran Conry was interviewed on the Beeb and apologized for Fr. Blake.
Bp. Conry should have read Fr. Blake’s blog first. What a shame.
For more go HERE.
Does anyone have a transcript?
UPDATE Friday 13 Sept 23:57
Fr. Blake is angry. He is understandably angry.
I have just been out shopping and was talking to ‘an occassional’ parishioner who has a few problems and one of my regular crack addicts came past, we chatted very briefly, he was obviously in a hurry, she was rather disgusted by him and said, ‘I thought you hated people like that, he is disguting ….’ I told her off of course and asked how she had formed that opinion of me, she had been reading the Brighton Argos.
I am so angry, they have really trashed my reputation, it hurts, and I am angry and it hurts my parishioners.
If you read the Argus’ unscrupulous journalist Bill Gardner’s twitter account he revels in his animus against me not I think because it is me nor because I am clergyman, ‘a vicar’, no, it is because I am a ‘Catholic priest’, it seems quite apparent this is an anti-Catholic thing, from his point of view at least. His stories, however, have been approved by his editor. Gardner informed me my blog was often discussed in the Argus Office.
Here is one extract from his Twitter account, […]
Read the rest there.