Monday, 6 September 2010

Catholic Voices at 'bearpit' debate with Protest the Pope

Last Wednesday saw Catholic Voices patron Fr Christopher Jamison ([pictured) and its coordinator Austen Ivereigh go up against AC Grayling and Peter Tatchell to oppose the motion, 'The papal visit should not be a state visit'. The debate, held by the Protest the Pope coalition at Conway Hall, and chaired by Polly Toynbee is reported by the Catholic Herald here and by the New Humanist here. Fr Christopher's speech is here. Excellent photos here.

'Protect the Pope' wanted to know why CV accepted Polly Toynbee as chair. Ivereigh replied: "We knew Polly Toynbee would be scupulously fair in her chairing — and she was, making sure that pro-Pope people had their voices heard at least as much as the PtP lot. The humanists hosted the debate, and were therefore entitled to pick their own chair. As it happened, Toynbee and the other humanists were gentle and reasonable — trying, in vain, to get their people to listen and give Catholic Voices the courtesy of a hearing."

In fact, Toynbee at one point uttered the immortal line: "Could I please appeal to my fellow rationalists to let the Catholics speak?"