Monday, May 18, 2009

Has Peter Jennings Lost the Plot?

I only ask.

This time Archbishop Nichols' er, controversial spindoctor has landed in hot water for having treated a student to a "foul mouthed tirade" at a dinner organised by the Aquinas Institute at the college of Blackfriars which was attended by among others, Our Man in the Vatican, Francis Campbell.

According to the Telegraph, Jennings went beserk during the desert course, calling Matthew Tye, who is half Vietnamese "a low-life peasant", "a worthless piece of shit" and presumably to hammer the point home, "a shit" more than twenty times.

To be fair, that last bit's according to Tye who's sent a letter of complaint to Jennings' boss, Archbishop Nichols. For his part, Jennings has said that Tye's account is exaggerated, saying : "I may have called him a shit once or twice, I don't recollect how many times, but I think it's a storm in a tea cup. In fact, it is a typhoon in a tea spoon."

Jennings has written a letter of apology to Tye in which he claimed that he'd been provoked by overhearing the student referring to his dismissal as a spokesman for the Newman cause. Mr Tye denies he ever made such a comment and said he had not received a reply from the Archbishop Nichols.

Senior college officials have described Mr Jennings' behaviour as "a grave abuse of their hospitality".

This isn't the first time, Jennings has let his potty-mouthed temper get the better of him. Last month he called Telegraph journalist, Jonathan Wynne Jones "a total shit" after Wynne Jones' scooped the story about a pair of bishops opposing Nichols' candidacy for Westminster.

The Telegraph adds:

It is understood senior figures at Westminster Cathedral working for the previous Archbishop, Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, had expressed serious concerns about the possibility of Mr Jennings taking up a permanent position with Archbishop Nichols.

I'm told that one of the senior figures who expressed his concerns about Jennings was the nuncio himself. Apparently he made his feelings clear to ++Vincent on informing him that he'd got Westminster. "Peter Jennings," he said "no way Jose Maria", or words to that effect.

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