Damian Thompson: More on Ordinariate Wikileaks

15 12 2010

From the Daily Telegraph’s blogs:

Did the WikiLeaks cables attributing an anti-Ordinariate briefing to Francis Campbell, our Ambassador to the Holy See, seriously misrepresent him? A well-informed source tells me that they did. Getting at the truth of this matter will not be easy, but if Mr Campbell has been misreported by a “shoddy” US cable, as my informant claims, then my criticism of him has indeed been too harsh.

This is what I have been told:

1. The cable “doesn’t quote Campbell accurately”. It doesn’t correspond to the report he actually produced: he never linked violence to the Ordinariate, but spoke instead of extreme anti-Papal Visit rhetoric and hinted very cautiously that some thought it might turn violent. In the same document he spoke of the atmosphere of surprise amongst Romans and Anglicans at the publication of Anglicanorum Coetibus and difficulties ahead. The US cable, based on this report, “erroneously linked the two”.

2. The liberal ecumenical lobby in Rome may have tried to influence Francis Campbell, but he is far from being their mouthpiece and is by no means opposed to the Ordinariate.

My informant adds: “I thank God that you’re trying to defend the Ordinariate from the attacks of the Catholic establishment (both here and in Rome, where opposition makes the CBCEW’s obstruction seem utterly insignificant) but, in this case, you’ve given a loyal son of the Church a real kicking for no reason. He’s done a lot of good work in that job, Damian, in the face of serious opposition from the usual suspects.”

What WikiLeaks has revealed, clearly, is the murky nature of this whole business. The Ordinariate has dedicated enemies in Rome, some of them English. The analysis attributed to Francis Campbell by the US cable seems to have their fingerprints all over it. Is is too much to ask, I wonder, for Mr Campbell to state publicly what he did and didn’t say? Or do Foreign Office rules prohibit that?