Credit where Credit’s due

One of the valuable lessons I learnt last year is that sometimes it’s better not to air one’s grievances publicly. The internet is still a new tool and all of us are learning as we go in terms of how to most effectively utilise it. This time last year I made some criticisms about SPUC which resulted in a very unpleasant fall-out. Whilst I don’t regret what I said, and stand by many of my concerns, I also accept that I was blogging in a state of anger (never a good idea) fuelled by what I felt was unfair criticism and aided by a huge dose of pregnancy hormones. Hopefully SPUC of all people, should be able to understand that a woman experiencing her third pregnancy in as many years, coming 8 months after the birth of her previously unplanned child, was perhaps not in the best place emotionally and took the criticism rather too personally.

Therefore I ought to apologise for the intemperate nature of those posts, feelings were running high and admittedly I was being cleverly manipulated by a behind-the-scenes agitator, suggesting that I should blog. Mea culpa.

I still have reservations about the wisdom of whether or not it was a wise idea for SPUC to use its resources in defence of  marriage, but in the interests of balance, I ought to admit to an interesting conversation regarding with my father-in-law, who is still technically an Anglo-Catholic and long term member of SPUC. He informed me that he was having a meeting with his MP in the middle of January in order to discuss same-sex marriage. He doesn’t expect to get anywhere, given the MP is a Liberal Democrat, but felt the issue was important enough to make his views known.

I asked him what prompted this, to which the response was “I had an URGENT letter from SPUC, which said that something had to be done, so I straight away phoned up the young girl in their office, had quite a long in depth conversation and then made the appointment to see the MP”. So fair dos really. SPUC do seem to be rallying some grass-roots activism, which is no bad thing.

To be honest, I still believe their campaigning and strategy needs some updating and revisions. The fact that they were successful with my father-in-law is because he is pretty typical of the average SPUC member, i.e. over 65, a staunch Christian, not net literate (he doesn’t use the internet at all) and he tends to get very worked up by the angrily typed letters and edited handwritten slips of paper which look like they have been produced on an old-fashioned duplicating machine, that drop through the letterbox, containing their latest foreshadowings of imminent danger or deadly peril and urging strongly-worded letters and street petitions. I think SPUC’s appeal lies mainly with the retired reactionary Tory voters as well as the young traddie Catholic movement and at some point they will need to broaden their focus, but you know what, fair-play.

How many Catholics reading this have lobbied their MP yet? And if not, why not? I’ve just moved to Hove, so I’m wondering whether or not to have a bash at Mike Weatherly, the Tory Hove MP who narrowly won the key marginal from Celia Barlow, the former Labour incumbent and within a year of his election, lobbied David Cameron to shut down churches in his constituency who won’t conduct same-sex marriages. Modernise or close down was his rallying cry. Is two bites at the cherry (given I met with Caroline Lucas back in October) a little greedy, or is there no point? Incidentally I’m more than a little peeved – a Tory vote was recommended in the key marginals, if I recall correctly and it turns out that Celia Barlow had a much better pro-life record than I should imagine Mike Weatherly will have.

But I do endeavour to be fair-minded, so err yeah, credit where credit’s due. Although quite what L’Osservatore Romano’s reviews of Skyfall, have to do with a secular pro-life lobby group is beyond me. I’m not sure I agree with the sentiments therein, a group of seminarians and priests I know went to see the film and thoroughly enjoyed it. Didn’t someone say something about being in the world and yet not of it? If we want to warn youngsters of the dangers and pitfalls of life as a secret agent, or the false glamour espoused by James Bond, then doesn’t it help if we’ve actually seen the material in order to be able to engage effectively with it and view it critically?

But anyway let’s not go there again.

The finest Basildon Bond
Don’t forget your finest Basildon Bond

15 thoughts on “Credit where Credit’s due

  1. It was all going so well and then you made a cheap shot at their leaflets. I have personally delivered thousands (not an exaggeration) of SPUC leaflets in my life and can say that they always look good. When was the last time you even saw one?! Goodness me, Caroline. Get off your high horse will you?

  2. I too had some doubts over the wisdom of SPUC’s involvement in the SSM debate. It isn’t just involvement, it is an all out offensive. I suppose if you’re going to do something, you should give it everything. Increasingly seems to be an organ for the dissemination of Catholic social teaching.

    Such a thing in itself is obviously to be welcomed but there must be danger for SPUC in losing support from other quarters. There will no doubt be some people whose attitudes towards SS”M” would be characterised as liberal yet appear heart is allied to the pro-life cause. Vociferous campaigning on the issue will exclude them.

    As for the dying babies, there is a crisis ongoing at this very moment. The situation is quite dire enough and needs a prolife organisation’s full resources. To the child presently in his or her mother’s womb and whose protection is charged to all of us, what does it benefit their cause for SPUC to vigorously campaign against the redefinition of marriage to include same sex couples, unions which could never have led to this child’s conception in the first instance?

  3. Either apologise or don’t apologise, but don’t flannel it out. One is either sorry or not sorry – anything else is just self-justification.

  4. In hindsight, perhaps I was a bit harsh in what I said but my comment is still a valid one. As the other person said, either you are apologising or not. Anyway, I think your criticism is totally unfair. SPUC’s leaflets are very informative and well thought out. Yes, this is URGENT. People need to act NOW. I don’t know about you, but I don’t get the urgency of a situation when an organisation tells me I should act tomorrow, or after my cup of tea. If they told me it was only sort of urgent or important, I wouldn’t be that bothered. We live in a terrible apathetic society.

    I have seen, I think, almost all the leaflets which SPUC has produced over the years because there are piles of them in my parents’ house. I am always impressed. If that is not good enough for you, I don’t know what is. Please name me a UK pro-life organisation which produces better leaflets?

    Daniel, with regards to whether SPUC should be involved in the SSM debate or not, for me, SPUC has come to be an organisation which seeks to protect the family (not just the unborn), of which the unborn are members who are disregarded by our society. I really find it strange and sad that SPUC’s most passionate critics are people who are themselves pro-life and against SSM. You are asking yourself how is abortion linked with SSM. Kristen Walker Hatten, who writes for Live Action, states time and time again that abortion does not exist in a vacuum. SSM is linked with the deterioration of the family and the importance of children in a family. Part of the reason why the average UK citizen sees nothing wrong with the re-definition of marriage is they have forgotten that marriage is primarily for the creation and upbringing of children, which cannot be done (naturally) within a homosexual relationship. Why have we forgotten this? Because we don’t value children anymore; they are no longer seen as integral part of marriage. We may create and kill them as we wish. Indeed, it is our ‘right’, we are told. The debate on SSM has actually provided a golden opportunity to remind people why marriage exists and the importance which we must place on children and their well-being within a marriage because we *should* value them! Yes, we need to remind people that marriage should be a safe haven for children because we *should* value them. I think they need to be reminded of that before they start to understand the argument against SSM. People are horrified when we hear of children being abused and killed, but why are we surprised? You cannot ignore them, leave them out of marriage or even kill them through abortion and experimentation and then expect everyone to value children as they should. Finally, people just don’t *get* why we are against SSM. They can’t get past the idea that we must be bigots Who better to emphasise that marriage is for children than an organisation which campaigns for the protection of human life from conception until natural death, especially the protection of unborn human life? Organisations like SPUC, who can get this message out into the public sphere, are absolutely invaluable and they do a fantastic job.

    I hope I have explained some of my reasons for supporting SPUC in their campaign against SSM and why it is depressing to see pro-lifers opposing them.

    1. Fair enough Rhos. Maybe I am basing my opinions on the stuff I received as regularly as 2010. To me, as a vaguely clued in young-ish person with some PR under my belt, I have found some of their publications, I’m thinking in particular of the Safe at School campaign, a little over-excitable in tone. I realise these are important issues which is why I’d like to see them tackled perhaps more effectively. The Safe at School campaign had undertones of a tabloid pedophile expose which was unhelpful as they could be seen as overly-hysterical. Just my opinion, that’s all. LIFE seem to produce better quality materials, but of course there is the question as to whether or not hard copies are necessary in today’s climate. That’s a question for the market-research bods mind.

      I want to see SPUC succeed, trust me, which is why I am sad to criticise. I do understand why SPUC have undertaken the campaign, its just personally I don’t think this was wise.

  5. As someone who is not involved in this at all and who has had an internet falling out, I have to say that Caroline seems to have gone above and beyond the call of duty in this post. I am, frankly, sick and tired of people requiring false flattery. False flattery is a sin. Mind you, she didn’t have to say what she thinks, but there is nothing wrong with what she thinks. It’s an opinion, and she is clear that it’s a personal opinion. I have had it up to my neck with pearl clutchers. Rhoslyn, I’m not talking about you at all. I’m talking about the tone in general, wherein people are required not to say what they think about something whenever it’s going to hurt someone’s feelings. Her intention wasn’t to hurt feelings but to do good. If her intention were to hurt feelings, that would be another matter, and I know there are some out there (NOT YOU, Rhoslyn) who would like nothing better than to hurt Caroline’s feelings and make her feel small so that they can feel bigger. Love you, Rhoslyn! It’s not about you. It’s about the whole thing in general.

  6. Dear Lisa, I see your point. We should not be false with one another. We are not all going to be best friends and I am the first person to tell my enemies to stop smiling to my face when they’d rather spit at it. However, that does not mean we have to have our spats out in the open. I think there is a desperate need for behind-the-scenes meetings between pro-life organisations to discuss issues such as these. I’m not saying this will happen straight away or that it will be easy to organise or carry out meetings like these, but it is just so foolish (and amateur) to air your dirty laundry for all and sundry to see.

    1. Ah Rhos. I wish I could publish a post I have on ice. It’s not about SPUC and acknowledges John’s thanks to ++Nichols for his Christmas homily & that SPUC paid for the UK leg of the icon of Our Lady of Czestowocha.

      It talks about unity re the issue of pro-life & SSM but sadly I am advised that if I publish it will set the crazies off again…

      Ah well, I may send it to you privately

      1. Which, again, speaks to intent. The intent wasn’t to malign, but to help, and so her post shouldn’t have been so upsetting to everyone. I have Bipolar Disorder and Asperger Syndrome. It seems to me that the things that I have to say that are most important of all are deemed “foolish and amateur,” but my intent is to do good. This is how people like me are kicked to the curb in society. But that’s where Jesus is so I shan’t complain.

  7. Aw, Lisa! You know well enough that my intention is not to kick anyone to the curb. I do not want to stop anyone from voicing their opinion, but I think that voicing their negative opinion about other pro-life organisations publicly is foolish and it is not wrong to say that. More than that, I think you cannot honestly deny that there is not at least a fragment of truth in what I say. There is too much work to do for us to be spending time complaining about other pro-life organisations and letting everyone know (including pro-aborts) that the pro-life movement is fragmented. Is this something we need them to know? No. Will it help us? No. Will it make things worse? Almost definitely yes. What do we have to gain from doing it publicly? Absolutely nothing.

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