Look at me! Look at me! I'm rude and naughty!
Although her remarks were welcomed by the Guardian, the Tablet, and similar anti-Catholic organs, criticism came from an unexpected direction. Professor Richard Dawkins, the distinguished biologist, theologian, psychologist and poet ("There's not a bonnie bird that sings, But minds me o' my gene.") was unimpressed. "This lady is supposed to be a professor," he pointed out. "That is, a person universally respected for her erudition and dignity. She's just annoying Catholics in the hope that people will talk about her more. Perhaps she's got a book to sell; anyway, she's starting to give professors a bad name."
"I'll send her one of my professorial tee-shirts," says Dawkins.
Although Tina Beattie is "professor of Catholic studies" at Roehampton, this cannot be taken to imply that she is a Catholic, or that she supports Catholicism. After all, Professor Malaria, who holds the chair of Tropical Diseases, is not a supporter of tropical diseases: on the contrary, he regularly publishes hard-hitting "Diseases!? Arentchasickofem?!" articles in the Guardian.
Bishops: help the Justice for Tina campaign by inviting her to your diocese!
For those who gave up reading Tina's piece after five lines, on account of its clunky and turgid style, we are delighted to reprint the very last sentence, even if it is total gibberish:
How about a maternal church in which the shepherds smell of bruised, hurting and dirty women dying in childbirth?
Sounds great, eh? Still, this evening Tina Beattie was unrepentant. "Repentance? Isn't that a papist thing?" she said. "Not my cup of tea at all!"