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February 13, 2008

Anatomy of a sockpuppet campaign

by Feòrag

Scotland: The organisation Catholic Truth is one of those one-person organisations, a bit like Christian Voice, which exists to get outraged at perceived slights to its imaginary friend. In the case of Patricia McKeever, what upsets her is pooves, and especially pooves in frocks. She's best known for her threat to blackmail and witch-hunt gay Roman Catholic clergy. Fortunately, the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland could see that she's a bampot, though not the MPD:

A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Glasgow accused Ms McKeever of perpetrating a medieval witch-hunt. He said: Catholic Truth is a tiny group on the fringe of the Church, utterly unrepresentative of mainstream Catholicism. They are a self-appointed team of heresy hunters, who have made a habit of bombarding the Vatican with ludicrous letters.

So, who to attack next? Why not the Order of Perpetual Indulgence? After all, they've only been active in Scotland since the early 1980s. So she fired off a series of missives to the contact address for the Sisters in her home city of Edinburgh. While all purporting to come from different people, the time-stamps show that it's unsophisticated spamming, with enough time between the messages to switch accounts. The messages were all written in the same voice too, and show plenty of evidence of her not having even looked at the site beyond the contact page. Fortunately for us, the Sister concerned has made use of the Forward feature of her e-mail client.

Message 1:

Subject: Order of Perpetual Indulgence
Date: Tue, 12 Feb 2008 23:05:01 -0000
From: Catholic Truth <editor@catholictruthscotland.com>

Dear Sir / Madam,

I write to express my disquiet at your website. Since the "gay" community is perpetually (if you'll excuse the pun) complaining about being discriminated against, it seems incredible that you would mock another minority group in this way.

It should be noted that Roman Catholics are the largest faith group in Scotland and not a minority.

I would welcome your reassurance that you will raise, with your colleagues, the matter of the inappropriateness - to put it mildly - of your website. I have no doubt that if I or anyone else posted such an unashamedly mocking attack on the "gay" community, we would be brought to book.

This mail has presumably gone three times round the world already, given people's tendency to forward funny e-mail.

It will be of much interest to us to receive your reply informing us of the steps you intend to take to bring an end to this anti-Catholic website.

Looking at the website, I note that it makes absolutely no reference to Roman Catholicism at all. There's a vague mention of religion being one of the things which contributes to people feeling bad about who they are, but no mention of any actual religion or sect.

Kind regards.

Patricia McKeever


Catholic Truth

Message 2:

Subject: Concern
Date: Tue, 12 Feb 2008 23:10:06 -0000
From: Catholic Truth <treasurer@catholictruthscotland.com>

I am writing with regard to your website "The Order of Indulgence" which I find most offensive.

One strike against: the name of the website is wrong. Patricia Elizabeth has clearly not even looked at it.

There is no question that if anyone posted a similarly insulting website making fun of homosexuals, they would be in trouble. Such is the oppression suffered by anyone who dares to criticise the "gay" lifestyle.

Oh look, Patricia Elizabeth also puts gay in scare quotes, just like Patricia.

The least that we expect is for all images of nuns and religious symbols to be removed from your site.

Hmm, the site contains precisely one out-of-copyright engraving of nuns, and absolutely no depiction of any religious symbols at all, unless red ribbons are religious now. The crosses have even been photoshopped out of the above engraving, presumably at the same time as the dodgy facial hair was added. But Patricia Elizabeth, having not seen the site, wouldn't know that. She's equally as unlikely to have looked at the photographs on the site and noticed that the Scottish Sisters don't wear any religious symbols on their habits (nor that half of them are GURLZ!)

I look forward to your reply.



Catholic Truth

Message 3:

Subject: Complaint
Date: Tue, 12 Feb 2008 23:23:30 +0000
From: Annette Mary

I have just visited your site and am horrified at the anti-Catholic bigotry thereon.

I'm still trying to work out how not mentioning any religion by name can be bigotry against one of them. Maybe my inability to understand this thinking is why I have such difficulty understanding religion in general. Perhaps Patricia Annette could explain?

What a disgrace. Every time I hear anyone talking about gaybashing or bullying or anti-gay-discrimination or whatever, I will talk about your website. Appalling.

E.A. McCabe,

Message the fourth:

Subject: Your website
Date: Tue, 12 Feb 2008 23:16:33 -0000
From: Catholic Truth <secretary@catholictruthscotland.com>

Your website - Order of Perpetual Indulgence - has been brought to my attention today. I am shocked at its content.

Clearly, "having a go" at the Catholic Church and Religious Life is par for the course - I searched in vain for some mention of other non-Christian religions. The Catholic Church is an easy target.

And I am still searching in vain for any mention of the Roman Catholic Church on the site.

I am very deeply offended at the contents of your website and write now to ask you to remove the offensive material without delay.

It is difficult to see how you could do this without deleting the current site and I believe that you should do this without delay.

Please confirm that you will, in fact, act to put an end to this anti-Catholic discrimination as soon as possible. Thank you.

The website notes that the Order is open to anyone, of any faith or none. Again, I am bewildered as to how this is discrimination, unless it's a lack of positive discrimination that is the issue. Again, maybe someone religious like Patricia Norah can explain.

Norah McGlame

Now there's an excellent invented name, nearly as good as some of the Sisters'!

Catholic Truth

For added entertainment, I know for a fact that the Sister to whom the missives were spammed is living the dreadful "gay lifestyle" which involves being in a monogamous marriage with a person of the opposite sex.

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Posted in Pooves and closet cases at 01:24. Last modified on July 12 2008 at 12:45.
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1: Posted by: Jonathan Lawrence | February 13, 2008 5:25 AM

Their (Catholic Truth) website is both amusing and offensive, lol. Maybe I'll cut and paste their emails, obviously it was a good enough template to repeat four times


2: Posted by: Blake Kirk | February 13, 2008 5:26 AM

Wow. That's some really impressive stupidity there. It's clearly world-class foolishness, and if the UK were fielding an Olympic idiocy team this year for Beijing, I'd be expecting to see Ms. McKeever as a member.