I am writing to protest at a BBC news report in which a lady (who already works in the media) called Penelope Middelboe was filmed voicing her opinions on the papal visit during Mass at St John Vianney's church, West Green in north London.
It seems the parish priest had given permission for the filming, but was under the impression he and his parishioners might be asked their opinions on the papal visit. Instead Ms Middelboe, who has no connections with the West Green community, voiced her views on women's ordination and then left. This episode has caused a lot of hurt and mistrust in the parish.
St John Vianney's is a poor parish that does a terrific amount of good work in the local community and nationally. Their parish priest Fr Joe Ryan is the head of Westminster Diocese Justice and Peace committee. You would have seen him and his parishioners with thousands of other Christians marching in London against the war on Iraq; protesting over the G7 summit; alongside people of other faiths in the annual Climate Change prayer service and rally; outside the MoD calling for Trident to be dropped and many other important causes.
It is quite bizarre that the BBC only considered this church as a useful backdrop to an interview with this woman discussing something that is really not the most important issue for most mainstream Catholics.
Please revisit St John Vianney's, and and some other parishes and take the trouble to find out what they really do. And please don't do any more tacky 'set-ups' like this.
editor Independent Catholic News
deputy editor Westminster Record