Twitter has a very poor reputation – a reputation that is
often well deserved. It can be very nasty; it can be dishonest; it can be boring.
But it can also be a powerful tool for good, if used sensibly. I use it as a
source of useful and accurate information, doing my best to filter out the
rubbish and lies, and as a weapon against local council failures. I also use it
with modest success to promote my books and my blog. In all those cases, It works well for me.
More recently, I offered to help Linda Lawless, a friend and
member of my wife’s extended family in Australia boost her campaign to get
proper recognition from the Catholic Church that she was secretly fathered by a
Catholic priest. After months of
agonising, she decided to go public about the discovery she made through a DNA
test and agreed to join others in this compelling Australian Broadcasting
Corporation documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PADNmpeZEeM&t=329s
The ABC uploaded the documentary onto its YouTube
channel late last September, but it didn’t attract a great deal of interest,
even though the program rated very well when original transmitted in Australia.
Between the posting in September last year and January 7this year when I took a
special interest, there had been just 4,542 viewings. I began tweeting the link
to interested persons and groups, hoping to increase the viewings to, perhaps,
20,000. But Linda’s story obviously captured the imagination of a great many,
and as I write this, more than 200,000 have viewed it, and it is still climbing
by several thousand viewings per day.
It should be added that Linda’s campaign is not just for
herself, but for the many mothers and children around the world who have
suffered as a result of priests breaking their vow of celibacy. A great many
people have commented on this documentary, and an overwhelming number think
that the celibacy rule is at the heart of child abuse and the shame and secrecy
surrounding children of priests. But it doesn’t appear that this rule is going
to change any time soon, as a Vatican spokesman interviewed in the documentary
described priestly celibacy as a “precious gift”. Some gift!
A friend has pointed out that Lord (Roy) Hattersley, once one of the highest-profile politicians in the United Kingdom, was also the son of a Catholic priest -- born in truly scandalous circumstances. The details are HERE.