Sister Myra Poole: The Nun Who Compared Pope Benedict with the BNP

Blogged by James Preece on 21st February 2010

I don't know if you've been following the adventures of "Stand Up For Vatican II"? Or should I say "Stand Up 4 Vatican 2" (so trendy). I've not blogged about them (much) because I hate drawing attention to these people who you probably wouldn't have even heard of if I hadn't mentioned it.

In short, they are a group of the usual suspects trying to bring us all back to the 1960's. They are all terribly worried about the new translation and all the other stuff Pope Benedict is encouraging. They held a huuuuge national meeting in London, only 200 people turned up. More people than that visit this blog every day.

An account of that meeting (saying how wonderful it all was) appeared in The Tablet. Somebody else who was there wrote a letter to The Tablet in response but The Tablet wouldn't print it (for some reason). Anyhow, it's found it's way in to my hands so I will print it...

Dear editor,

In his letter (Lack of nurtured Catholics, 6th February 2010) Frank Regan makes a number of claims about the Stand up for Vatican II meeting which don't tally with my memory, or the detailed notes I took of the event.

First, if Frank Regan thinks the meeting he chaired was a "significant experience of an inclusive church", he needs to get out more. In contrast to the multi-ethnic, socially-diverse reality which is the Catholic Church in the Britain, the meeting's attendees were all white, mostly aged over 70 and in the main middle class.

Secondly, when he claims that those present spoke "without rancour, with love for their church" he is being economical with actualité. One of the speakers, Sister Myra Poole, recently publically compared Pope Benedict XVI to BNP leader Nick Griffin. As an active anti-fascist whose great grandfather was murdered by Nazis in Dachau, I find that comparison contemptible. At the meeting she gave a vainglorious speech, much of which involved her praising herself. When she wasn't doing that she was delivered an paranoid Dan Brownesque rant about the supposed influence Opus Dei has at the Vatican, complaining that the Vatican caused a lot of trouble at the World Council of Churches, insisting that "misogyny is so deep in this church" and saying that she should tell her congregation that if they get anything from the Vatican "they should bin it". That's not my definition of speaking without rancour, with love for the Church.

It's true that the laity were spoken of in disparaging terms as "knowing nothing" at the meeting but such sentiments are a function of the fact that groups like Catholics for a Changing Church which organised the meeting have little, if any, grassroots support in British parishes.

That should surely be the last nail in the coffin of Stand Up 4 Vatican 2. They are an irrelevance and a nasty one at that. Can it be true... did a Nun, Sister Myra Poole really compare Pope Benedict to the leader of the BNP?

From Sister Myra Poole SNDdeN

Sir, — I am deeply ashamed and personally dissociate myself from the actions of Pope Benedict XVI, supported by the Archbishop of Westminster, the Rt Revd Vincent Nichols, over the proposal of Personal Ordinates for those An­glicans who convert to Rome on the question of women Bishops.

I know I speak for many others as well. The papacy has shown scant courtesy to the members of its sister Church, and publicly insulted the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The situation of women in the RC Church is dire, but in spite of that we have run Catholic Women’s Ordina­tion for nearly 20 years, and with some considerable success.

Many people may not know that Archbishop Nichols was the Church’s representative on the National Board of Catholic Women (NBCW) in the 1990s, and it was he who suggested the title of a booklet published by the NBWC, Do Not Be Afraid, on the position of women in Church and society. If only he had taken this title to heart, as many of us have done, women would now be in a much better position.

The details of this proposal have yet to unfold; but I think this action could backfire badly on the reputa­tion of the papacy and the RC Church, especially in England. The idea that this Pope is determined to work towards Christian unity is a myth. This proposal did not come from the Council for Christian Unity in Rome, who, I understand, were not in favour of this action, but from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, headed by Cardinal Levada.

The only unity Pope Benedict XVI and his advisers want is the unity with those who are “right-wingers”, to use a political term. If the Pope had to appear on the BBC’s Question Time, he would get an even worse reception than the British National Party leader.

The question now for RCs who have a much greater understanding of what Church should and could be is openly to call these present actions of this papacy to account in the light and spirit of Vatican II. With others, I wait to see how this situation will unravel.

MYRA POOLE
Catholic Women’s Ordination
210 Compass House
Smugglers Way, London SW18

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So there you have it. It's not quite as bad as the Nun who was operating as an escort at an abortion clinic but it's leaning in the same direction. Do the SNDdeN have nothing to say?

While we're on the subject of Stand Up 4 Vatican 2, don't forget to check out Mullier Fortis' post on one of the ways they operate...

I have seen an email from Bernard Wynne calling for members of the group to send letters and petitions to their diocesan bishops, giving suggested wording. Particularly interesting was the instruction to have about 10 names actually on the letter to the bishop, with a statement to indicate that several other people had also appended their names - and to have these extra names recorded separately. This is, I am told, a popular political manoeuvre, as these extra names have not necessarily seen the exact wording of the letter being sent...

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It's all done with mirrors...