Page 6, 22nd October 1999

22nd October 1999
Page 6
Page 6, 22nd October 1999 — Why Roe vs Winning looks terribly familiar
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Locations: Manila, London

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Why Roe vs Winning looks terribly familiar

AM 1 ALONE in noticing the striking similarity between the names of Jane Roe, fragrant spokeswoman of the Abortion Law Reform Association, who led the opposition — such as it was to Cardinal Winning's support of a pregnant 12-year-old, and a certain other Jane Roe, otherwise known as Norma McCorvey, and at the centre of the infa mous Roe vs Wade test case in America in 1973. She used the pseudonym Jane Roe to protect her identity when she claimed she had been raped in order to win the right to abort her unborn child.

Apparently I am not. "Loads of people have asked me that," she tells me.

"I married a Mr Roe — and funnily enough it was in 1973."

Jane Roe — sorry, the contemporary Jane Roe — was surprised to learn from yours truly that Norma McCorvey went on to become a Catholic. Will Mrs Roe? "Absolutely not."

I didn't think so.

JOHN BATTLE, former Catholic Herald columnist and minister of state at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has, I learn from the popular prints, been alarming his neighbours in south London with the second-hand sounds of "throbbing music" and "general frivolity".

One would expect no less from the admirable Catholic member for Leeds West. He is, after all, a former energy minister. So "BISHOP" Pat Buckley has come out. The priest suspended by the Church for his unorthodox approach to his ministry — marriage ceremonies in nightclubs, the "ordination" of a nun etc — has made much capital of his support for women who have had physical relationships with Catholic clergy.

So where better to announce his sexual orientation than in his unmissable column in... the News of the World. Now TO a matter of great importance. There is, I understand, something of a discrepancy in the mode of addressing the Church of England's energetic press officer in chief, the Revd Dr Bill Beaver.

Can it be explained why in some quarters, notably in The Times, the American ex-advertising executive and Vietnam veteran has been rebranded as the less dynamic-sounding William Beaver? Is it Bill, or is it William?

My exhaustive research reveals the answer. Church of England spokesman Steve Jenkins tells me: "No — he hasn't been rebranded. He's probably called Bill because we insist on calling him Bill, when his name is in fact William.

"I think we should just call him the Revd Dr — it's far more respectable." Glad that's sorted out, then.

FANTASTIC as it sounds, a cult has been born in the Philippines to push for the beatification of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

"I did not realise that there was such a group or that they had pictures of the former president in robes that they prayed to," says Fr Nilo Peig, the bewildered vicar general of Bangued Diocese, which covers the province some 200 miles northwest of Manila. "No one ever mentioned the group or their practices to me or the bishop." The picture the cult uses in its worship uses the face of Marcos tastefully superimposed over the face of Christ in an image of the Sacred Heart.

But there is little official support for the curious veneration of the man whose persecution of his political foes was almost as famous as his wife Imelda's love of footwear. A bis onfierence spokesman in Manilcar it rzicely: "The Sacred Heart of starzis for love, understanding, malczozdpczsion. Marcos stands for othi,ge,s." Quite.

Edi td by Martin Llrpre




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