• First published in 2004 as Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion (BNOR).

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Ruth Gledhill Claims Fr Kit Cunningham was Part of “Campaign of Vilification” over Reporting of Paedophile Priests

Ruth Gledhill’s column in the latest Church of England Newspaper makes a disturbing allegation about the media influence of Father Kit Cunningham. Cunningham was a popular figure and known as the “unofficial Roman Catholic chaplain to Fleet Street”, and there has been much shock and distress at revelations that shortly before his death in December 2010 he had privately admitted to paedophilia and had returned an MBE. Cunningham’s predations at a school in Tanganyika in the 1960s were outlined in a BBC documentary a few nights ago – he was not only an abuser himself, but allowed others to abuse as well.

Ruth’s column is behind a pay-wall, and so mindful of that I will provide a short quote only:

…Father Kit was unofficial chaplain to the Catholic Herald and also ran a club for journalists, The Keys. About a year or so ago, I was subjected to an extremely nasty campaign of vilification, after The Times ran a series of stories exposing paedophiles in the Catholic Church. A website was set up to attack me, nasty stories appeared in other publications…

One of those responsible for whispering poison against me was Father Kit. I never liked him and I knew he did not like me… But I never once suspected Father Kit to be a pedophile…

I am trying to forgive those who tried to destroy my life and work. There has been no apology to me from these people and of course there never will be…

Ruth has also left a comment about this on my blog here.

Together at Last: Pastor Terry Jones and Rabbi Nachum Shifren

As has been widely reported, last week saw Pastor Terry Jones protesting in Dearborn. Jones and his predictable stunts are of little interest in themselves, but it is perhaps worth keeping a note of the various characters who are willing to ally themselves with him. In April 2010 there was a short-lived flirtation with Fred Phelps, and last year Jones showed an interest in coming to the UK to meet the English Defence League and the National Front, although both plans fell through. Further, his anti-Islam book Islam is of the Devil was published by Creation House, which is owned by the influential neo-Pentecostal media empire Strang Communications (it was later withdrawn, but not publicly repudiated), and the book came with a foreword by Jack Coe Jr, son of the 1950s-era faith healer of the same name. In April, Jones and “Surfing Rabbi” Nahum Shifren appeared together in April, after Jones was briefly arrested.

Shifren and Coe were also part of last week’s protest; Abby Ohlheiser of the Revealer was there:

Shifren reveled in the crowd’s anger, almost immediately calling the protesters “Low-level scum” and “communist rabble.” Something was yelled back, Shifren repeated, “Yes! Fuck the Jews. That’s right, they said it,” and went on to say that earlier, crowd members had told him to go to Auschwitz.   Almost the entire content of his speech was insults, a repeat of insults thrown at him, a return of the lobs with some of his own.  “These rappers and gangbangers, these low-level ne’er do wells,” he said. These are lede-grabbing quotes, if not for the protests later.

Shifren, it should be recalled, is also a popular figure with the English Defence League – he attended a rally in London last October, and the EDL’s financial backer Alan Lake has attacked me for examining Shifren’s anti-gay views (somewhat strangely, Lake claimed that my original post amounted to “masturbating in public”).

One wonders whether Shifren has ever asked Jones about his appearance on Mark Dankof’s anti-Jewish Ugly Truth Broadcast in August 2010:

Dankof: Dr Jones, I would hope, I would at least hope that you would give some consideration to the things that we discussed here today. You have been given a job to lead the flock, and I think at this point the real danger that is facing Christian America isn’t from a bunch of third world people who do not have the ability to influence the minds of our young people. It’s the people sitting in offices in New York and in Washington DC and Tel Aviv and in Hollywood who literally are infecting the minds of our young people with the same leaven of the Pharisees which Jesus warned us about.

Jones: Oh, I would definitely agree. There’s no doubt about it.

Dankof: And listen, when you’re burning these Korans on Septmber the 11th, throw a couple of Talmuds in with it, would you please?

Jones: OK. (1)

(1)theuglytruth.podbean.com/2010/08/07/the-ugly-truth-podcast-special-edition/ at 41:30