Spectator Debate: 'England Should be a Catholic Country again'
'The Anglican Communion is deeply, and perhaps irrevocably, split, and the Catholic Church is offering a berth to any Anglican who wants to convert. In this year of the Pope’s visit, is it time for England to become a Catholic country again?
'Anglicans and Catholics battle it out in a Spectator debate chaired by Andrew Neil on Tuesday 2 March 2010 at the Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 between 6.45pm and 8.30pm.
'Seating is limited so we would strongly recommend booking early to avoid disappointment.'
And then they introduce their speakers:
Speakers for the motion
Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor studied for the priesthood at the English College in Rome and was ordained in 1956. He served as a parish priest in Southampton, and later as Private Secretary to Bishop Derek Worlock. In 1971 he was appointed Rector of the English College in Rome. In 1977, he was ordained Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, a position he was to hold for some 23 years until his appointment as Archbishop of Westminster in 2000. He was created a Cardinal by Pope John Paul II on 22 February 2001 and serves on the bodies of seven Vatican dicasteries. He retired as Archbishop of Westminster in May 2009.
Piers Paul Read
Piers Paul Read is the author of a number of novels, among them A Married Man, The Free Frenchman and, most recently, The Death of a Pope. His works of non-fiction include Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors; The Templars, a history of the crusading order; and Alec Guinness. The Authorised Biography. He was educated by Benedictine monks at Ampleforth, studied history at Cambridge, and is a vice-president of the Catholic Writers’ Guild. He wrote Hell and Other Destinations, A Novelist’s Reflections on This World and the Next in 2006 and a new novel, The Misogynist, will be published by Bloomsbury in July this year.
Reverend Dom Antony Sutch
Reverend Dom Antony Sutch has been parish priest of St Benet, Beccles, since 2003. He was born in 1950 and was educated at Downside School and Exeter University. He was headmaster of Downside School between 1995 and 2003. He has been a contributor to BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the day since 2003.
Speakers against the motion
Richard Harries was Bishop of Oxford from 1987-2006. On his retirement he was made a life peer (Lord Harries of Pentregarth). He is currently Gresham Professor of Divinity and an Honorary Professor of Theology at King’s College, London. He has written books on a range of subjects, most recently Faith in Politics? Rediscovering the Christian Roots of our Political Values, to be published by DLT in March. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and has been a regular contributor to the Today programme since 1972.
Matthew Parris was born in 1949 in Johannesburg, and was educated in Britain and Africa, graduating from Clare College, Cambridge, and going on to study International Relations at Yale. Elected Conservative MP for West Derbyshire in 1979, he gave up his seat in 1986 to become presenter of Weekend World, a political interview programme, until 1988. He was the Parliamentary sketchwriter for The Times for nearly 14 years but gave it up at the beginning of 2002 though he remains a columnist for the paper. He also writes for The Spectator every week. He was the winner of the Orwell Prize in 2004.
Stephen Pound was born in 1948 and educated at the LSE. He has been Labour MP for North Ealing since 1997. Before entering the Commons he was area housing manager of Paddington Churches Housing Association, and is a lay reader at his local Catholic church.
It perhaps says something of The Spectator's view of religion in England that to oppose this motion they have selected a panel consisting of a (very) liberal Labour-supporting Anglican, a Roman Catholic Labour politician and an Atheist.
Could they not find in the whole of England... err... a Protestant? A Conservative Anglican? Just one, perhaps?