Tuesday 24 August 2010

The Sins of the Catholic Church, No 4,782

In July 1972 an IRA bomb went off in Claudy, County Londonderry, killing nine people, three of them children. Today a report was published that the IRA leader responsible for this bombing was Fr James Chesney, a Catholic Priest, but he was never prosecuted (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-11061296). After a secret meeting between then Northern Ireland Secretary William Whitelaw and the leader of Ireland's Catholics, Cardinal Conway, the Catholic Church and the British Government struck a deal whereby Fr Chesney was moved to a parish in the Republic of Ireland, were the North Ireland police couldn’t reach him. Fr Chesney died in 1980.

Yet again the Catholic Church has covered up the crimes of one of their priests, this time in collusion with the British Government. They have done this countless of times before, especially in the cases of child abusive, showing little or no regard for justice. This time the priest was a murderer and they still moved him out of reach of the police. How can the Catholic Church claim to be a Christian organisation when they act so immorally?

The head of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady, said the church was not involved in a cover-up over Fr Chesney. How can we believe this when they were the ones who moved Fr Chesney to the Republic of Ireland where he was out of the reach of the police and didn’t once hand him over to the police for questioning. The argument has been made that the police couldn’t have arrested a Catholic priest in Northern Ireland, in 1972, because it would have just fanned the flames of the sectarian violence; but the church could have excommunication Fr Chesney, the present Pope, in his previous role, excommunicated people for far less. The Catholic Church’s hands are red with this cover-up, just as much as William Whitelaw and the Tory government of 1972.

The Catholic Church isn’t just morally bankrupt but willingly corrupt. They have routinely covered up child abusive for decades upon decades, now we find out that they have also covered up a terrorist and murdering priest. What depths won’t they go to? Can anyone answer this?

Later this year the Pope will be visiting Britain and we’ll have to pay twenty million pounds plus for the privilege. I no longer want the Pope to pay ALL the expenses of his visit; I DON’T want him visiting here at all. If I had my way the whole organisation would be disbanded and their great wealth given to the poor and disadvantaged, given to all the people the Catholic Church has harmed or lied about.

I don’t know if there is anything the Catholic Church can begin to do to make amends for its sins, but they don’t seem at all interesting in doing so...


Wednesday 18 August 2010

Look At All the People Looking All The Same

Last Sunday, Martin and I went to Three Mills Island, just up the road from us at Bromley-By-Bow. We went there so Martin could take some photographs (One of them illustrates this blog). It’s one of our interesting local places.

When we arrived there we found that it was already full of people and, without even hearing them speak, I knew they were from a coach party. Just by their appearance, they screamed that they were on a coach trip. They were “sensibility dressed”, laced up shoes, casual trousers and anoraks (the women as well); were sat together in couples and small groups; eating their packed lunches and drinking from thermos flasks.

As we wondered around, Martin taking his usual hundreds of photographs, I watched those people from the coach party (and they were a coach party because their coach turned up and in an orderly line they boarded it). They were so obviously alike, as if they had to look and behave this way to be accepted on the coach trip. Which made me think about how we want to belong to a group or crowd, and so often we do that by the way we look and dress. The first time I went to Lakeside Shopping Mall I was shocked by how alike almost everyone there looked. When we’re in any shopping mall I often watch the people around me and how alike those groups are, especially the teenagers. The groups of boys all wearing the same tops and trousers, with the same hair cut. The groups of girls with the same hairstyle and make-up, all of them in the same lengthen of skirt.

I know, as human beings, we want to belong, and often we do this through the way we look and act. When I was coming out and trying to build my own identity that was important to me, I wanted to belong with the gay men I saw in the clubs. It took me a few years to realise I didn’t belong with that group, the gay men out on the gay scene. The first thing I did when I realised this was to grow my hair out long. Strangely that did make me more attractive to other men, but gay men I meet away from the gay scene.

For me being my own person is the most important, and with that I’ve found acceptance in the most interesting and diverse groups.

So what made me have all these strange thoughts on a quiet Sunday afternoon trip out?

At the moment I’m finishing off a short story about identity. A man finds out that he’s actually a human clone, and that knowledge shatters his identity. He thought of himself as an individual, when in truth he is merely one of many copies of another.

With me, life doesn’t just influence my writing but my writing can bleed into my life... what fun...


P.S. You can see more of Martin’s pictures from Three Mills Island at: http://martins-day.blogspot.com/2010/08/three-mills-island.html

Friday 13 August 2010

“Do As I Write and Not As I Do”

I am not a fan of self-help books. In my experience they are far more about the author’s prejudices and political views. They are often based just on the author’s experiences, plus maybe a few of their friends’ too, and are more about that person’s views then a book of practical information. Simply look at the shelves full of them at any bookshop; also take a look at their authors’ credentials, most of them have no more experience than the majority of the people in the bookshop.

Imagine my reaction when I was asked to review a self-help book by the Nursing Standard, but I have a policy to never turn down writing. I’ve a good relationship with them and I owe them a lot, so if they asked me to review a telephone book then I would.

Fortunately, the book (Living Confidently with HIV) is the exception and not the rule. It is a self-book written by healthcare professionals and is based on their professional experience. This book stands head-and-shoulders above the herd of the rest, so writing the review was fairly easy. The hardest reviews are those for the books that are poor or just plain bad, because those have to be written in a non-petty tone, even if I just want to through the book out of the window because it’s so bad.

The review was published in this week’s copy of Nursing Standard. If you want to read the review you can find it on my website (http://www.drew-payne.co.uk/index_files/Page1419.htm)


Sunday 1 August 2010

All Things Remembered

Recently I visited St Leonards’ Hospital, in Hackney, East London. I was there to run Infection Control Update sessions, but I had time to look around of the hospital – also called trying to find the restaurant to get some lunch. It was a wonderful old Victorian hospital, though completely impartial for modern healthcare, which is now used for old-patient care and houses a community trust’s administration.

In one of the hallways were two, very large plaques commemorating two of the hospital’s famous employees, Dr James Parkinson and Matron Edith Cavell. Both of them are famous for very specific things, yet the important things they should be remembered for have been almost forgotten.

James Parkinson gave his name to Parkinson’s disease. In 1817 he published the paper An essay on the shaking palsy, which described the first cases of Parkinson’s disease. Edith Cavell was a nurse in Brussels during the First World War, she helped British soldiers escape German occupied Belgian and back to Britain; the Germans caught her and executed her for treason. She became a cause-celeb and was turned into a “heroine” for British patriotism.

Yet, both of them introduced very important innovations and changes that have had a positive impact on modern healthcare, but that part of their lives has seemed to be completely forgotten about now.

James Parkinson was the first doctor to isolate infectious, or “fever”, patients on a separate ward at St Leonards’ Hospital. This was the forerunner of modern isolation procedures, it was the first time measures were taken to stop cross infection from infectious to non-infectious patients. This has saved the lives of millions of people over the years (regardless of the stories in our media).

Edith Cavell introduced and championed nurse education. Originally, Florence Nightingale was against educating nurses, she said that women’s natural “aptitudes” were all that was needed to be a nurse (sic). How wrong she was. Educated and professional nurses have saved millions of people’s lives over the years.

It’s strange what people are remembered for and what parts of their lives are forgotten about after their deaths. Sometimes history whitewashes people and other times all it focuses on are the scandals of someone’s life. Why did history ignore such important elements of James Parkinson and Edith Cavell’s lives?

This led me to wonder what I would be remembered for (Such happy and positive thoughts I have...). Would it be my writing? Would it be my friendships and my relationship with Martin? Would it be my professional career? Will I be remembered at all? I’ll never know and that’s a good thing. But it has got me thinking, how people are remembered and why.

Watch my writing; you may see more about this later.