Is The Tablet declaring war?

Apparently England’s weekly The Tablet, which nearly succeeds in making the NCR look moderate, has in its crosshairs Fr. Tim Finigan.

Damian Thompson of Holy Smoke has sounded the claxon. 

As you know, Fr. Finigan, His Hermeneuticalness, is just about the most well-balance priest around.  He teaches at Wonersh Seminary, is a parish priest, writer, blogger and all around gentleman.  He offers his flock both the Novus Ordo and the TLM in harmony.  I would work as this man’s assistant any time.

For an example of what Fr. Finigan does for his parish, look at his report for their "Day with Mary".  Edifying.

I have been getting reports from various sources that more than one writer for The Tablet is flecked with spittle about Pope Benedict and his vision for the Church, especially over what he has been doing regarding liturgy. 

My antenae extended a few centimenters when I saw Damian’s piece.

Let’s have a look, with my emphases and comments.

Is the Tablet planning a hatchet job on Fr Tim Finigan?
Posted By: Damian Thompson at Feb 15, 2009 at 13:49:33

Fr Tim Finigan, author of the Hermeneutic of Continuity blog, is one of the finest parish priests in the country: a scholar, evangelist and pastor who is as happy spreading the Gospel over a pint in the pub as he is from the pulpit. But now there are rumours that the Tablet is planning a hatchet job on him, for the grave crime of… saying the Latin Mass. [Well... let's rather say Mass in Latin and move on...]

Fr Tim, PP of Our Lady of the Rosary, Blackfen, Kent, says three new rite Masses on a Sunday and one in the Extraordinary Form. [3:1] In other words, he is inspired by Pope Benedict’s vision of the older and newer liturgies existing side by side, enriching each other.

As in most parishes, however, there is a small group of Tabletistas who, in true "liberal" fashion, are not satisfied that most Masses in Blackfen use the Missal of Paul VI; they want to deprive other parishioners of the rights granted to them by Summorum Pontificum. So who do they go running to?

Step forward Ms Elena Curti, deputy editor of the Bitter Pill, whom I last saw ashen-faced with rage while Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos was explaining the fine print of the Motu Proprio. She is a zealot even by the standards of that dreary rag. I think we can look forward to an article in this week’s issue stirring up trouble in Blackfen[I think we Catholic bloggers should take it very ill were The Tablet to target Fr. Finigan.]

As it happens, dozens of priests in Fr Finigan’s diocese of Southwark routinely ignore the Vatican’s guidelines on the celebration of Mass, filling the sanctuary with unnecessary "Eucharistic ministers" and disfiguring ancient prayers with unauthorised improvisations. Indeed, this happens all over the country. But these abuses don’t get reported to the Tablet.

Why don’t we change that? If Ms Curti is so interested in "divisive" liturgies, then perhaps orthodox Catholics should give her a ring on ____ or email her [ECurti@thetablet.co.uk]. I’m sure she’d be thrilled to hear from you!

Again… I think we Catholic bloggers would take it very ill were The Tablet to attack Fr. Finigan or hurt his parishioners.

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61 Responses to Is The Tablet declaring war?

  1. Calleva says:

    I don’t think the Tablet would care what bloggers think or say. There was a discussion on Holy Smoke recently about the circulation numbers for the Tablet (aka The Bitter Pill) and they are surprisingly high. Perhaps this is because the wretched rag is sold in many if not most parish churches and not just in Britain but Ireland, where it originates from.

    I am wondering whether an attack on the excellent Fr Finigan would be a mistake (leaving out bloggers’ disapproval) – not everyone who takes the Tablet is a ‘tabletista’ lefty. The publicity for such a wonderful priest might raise awareness of him – a few letters of rebuke in the following copies would certainly even the balance.

    Taking a genuinely holy person to the cleaners is rarely a success strategy.

  2. Andrew, UK and sometimes Canada says:

    Wouldn’t an attack from The Tablet indicate that Fr Finigan is doing something right?

    Incidentally, I suspect that paper’s circulation is so high because of the numerous free copies distributed through university chaplaincies. Interstingly, also, for a “progressive” paper they have a regressive website that requires a paid subscription, while The Catholic Herald is moving with the times with free online content.

  3. Long-Skirts says:

    D. Thompson wrote:

    “and disfiguring ancient prayers with unauthorised improvisations

    STARKENBURG

    The Holy Mass that cannot die
    Was said amidst the oaks,
    While pin-oak leaves came floating down
    Around the simple folks

    Who knelt upon the acorn floor
    All dotted nutty brown
    The acorns cracked and old knees snapped
    Yet still there was no sound…

    But the tinkling of the golden bells
    As the White Host Son rose high
    On priestly limbs like mighty oaks
    They branched up to the sky.

    And in that wood I laughed with joy
    Amongst the souls bowed down
    For the mighty oak was once a nut
    That merely held it’s ground.

    So Christian souls like acorn nuts
    Must burrow all around
    And be the seed that sprouts new oaks
    On consecrated ground…

    Where the Holy Mass that cannot die
    Is said around the oaks
    While pin-oak leaves come floating down
    Amidst a mighty folk!

  4. John Enright says:

    I think Fr. Tim F. is great! (Although I think his last name should be spelled “Finnegan.”) LOL! But seriously, Father, although I have a great impression of Fr. F., I think you are mistaken about taking an “assistant” position. You’re equal in all respects.

  5. Thomas says:

    Christ was equal to the Father, but still obedient.

  6. Jacob says:

    My local diocesan paper probably has pretty high circulation numbers too because the bishop requires that it go to every Catholic household and if the household doesn’t pick up the tab, the parishes have to absorb the cost. There is no opt-out.

  7. william says:

    John Enright: “Finigan” is the correct spelling. There is also a Fr Finnegan, who teaches at the same seminary as Fr Finigan and is likewise a blogger of traditionalist persuasion. Not surprisingly, they often get confused, to their mutual amusement and frustration.

  8. RBrown says:

    Ah, the triumph of the Internet! Liberal rags like The Tablet, whose purpose often seems little else than the reduction of Revelation to Social Justice, are used to having the last word.

    Then along comes blogs like those of Fr Finigan and Fr Z, run by educated, informed men (sometimes with contributions from the same) who haven’t bought the Tablet Party line. Unlike printed publications, these blogs don’t need a production staff and so are comparatively easy to get up and running. The angst of those who produce the rags over their withering sense of influence produces the journalists’ version of catcalls and fruit throwing.

    BTW, in the present issue of the Tablet there are two articles on the SSPX. Both are based on the false premise that Libs accept Vat II while the SSPX does not.

  9. RichR says:

    All we need are a couple of addresses if this happens:

    The Tablet

    Fr. Finigan’s diocesan chancery

    That’s all. I’d pay international postage to stand up for His Hermeneuticalness (BTW, isn’t he the next Archbishop of Westminster?).

    What a waste of time on the Pill’s part.

  10. John Enright says:

    william: I don’t doubt the spelling either way. My way is right for me because it’s my mother’s maiden name.

  11. O' Neill says:

    There are no less than 6 ways of spelling the name. It comes from the Irish Ó’ Fionnagín, meaning ‘of the little blondy haired one’. Irish language surnames were never anglicized uniformly, and in many cases there is great diversity in their spelling.

    Gaelic surnames all have meanings, for example Campbell (Cám bhéal) means ‘bent-mouth’, Kennedy (Ceannaideach) is ‘ugly-head’, (Cám-shrón) is ‘bent-nose’, Mc Crea (Mac Ratha) means ‘son of luck’, Mc Narry (Mac Náraigh) is ‘son of the shamed one’, McIlveen (Mac Gille Bháin) is ‘son of the white slave’, Mc Taggart (Mac an tSagairt) means ‘son of the priest’. etc etc

  12. O' Neill says:

    *Cameron (Cám shrón) is ‘bent-nose’.

  13. Jacob says:

    O’ Neill:

    What does Henry mean?

  14. O' Neill says:

    Henry is not a Gaelic name, but it is gaelicized as Anraí. There are many people in Ireland who have it as a surname, but I would presume that it is Hiberno-Norman.

  15. Anon Tablet Supporter says:

    [Since I don't allow comments on this blog from "anon" or "anonymous" I took the liberty of giving this poster a new nom de plume.]

    I simply cannot believe the hypocricy and idiocy in Damian Thompson’s post, and to a degree I must say the hypocricy of many in the trad blog world too.

    Damian Thompson, Fr. Z and others spend a great, great deal of their time criticising and doing ‘hatchet jobs’ on others. ["hatchet jobs"? Hardly.] And yet they cry foul when the same is done to one of their own.

    I’M SORRY, BUT THERE’S NO WAY THOMPSON GET AWAY WITH THAT… JUST NO WAY.

    Damian Thompson says the most cruel, nasty, unchristian and scathing things about others: Bishop Conry, Bishop Roche, Cardinal Murphy O’Connor, the BBC, the Anglicans, musicians… the list is simply HUGE. And never does he simply confine himself to saying what he disagrees with, but rather he insults and belittles them. He even admits in several places that he loves to “piss them off” and deliberately provoke and upset them.

    A recent post on Twitter of Thompson’s, for instance, said “why is it so much fun to annoy and upset liberals?”

    But yet, when one of his own is in the firing line, he cries foul!!

    NO WAY. There’s just no way he should get away with that.

    When he stops poking fun at the eating habits (to cite just one example) of Bishops, then he will have the faintest bit of credibility when he cuts into the Tablet.

    (and please don’t tell me that CAPS MEAN I AM SHOUTING. I know that. I am seriously annoyed about this!) [It is still rude to shout in another person's place.]

    P.S. If I was feeling really sneaky, I would allude to how many things Damian Thompson has got wrong lately. Hugh Gilbert, for instance. Seriously embarrassing, that one! Perhaps criticising the Tablet is his way of diverting attention away from his recent back-peddling.

  16. Ave Maria! says:

    Faithful priests are never a stranger to persecution!

    I wished to comment on the Day with Mary that Fr. Finigan supports there in the U.K.: this apostolate which is about 25 years old is VERY successful there. Thousands participate every year. It is a wonderful devotion. This was begun by a layman, Claudio LoStero and then Franciscans of the Immaculate now participate. The Franciscans of the Immaculate in this country also have Days with Mary. There was one on Feb. 14th in Griswold, CT. for example. But many parishes will not support Marian devotions and turnout in this country is generally small compared to what is seen in England. I attended a Day with Mary in Massachusetts in 2007 and it left me stunned with a dep quieting of the soul.

    Days With Mary can be found near the FI friaries in Maine, NY, Blomington, IND, LaCross, WI (Shrine of OUr Lady of Guadalupe) as well as New Bedford and Griswold. If any one has the opportunity to attend, it is an excellent spiritual experience.

  17. vox borealis says:

    Anon,

    Isn’t there a difference between snarkiness on a blog and “hatchet jobs” in more or less “legitimate” journalistic publications, especially those that claim to be Catholic. The standards of writing and tone are simply different for these two genres. You’ll notice that Damian does not complain about lefty *blogs* for hatchet jobs–that is expected of the genre.

  18. shadrach says:

    I feel uncomfortable that Elena Curti’s ‘phone number has been made public on the internet. I don’t think many of us would like that. [You are right. I will remove it from my entry.]

  19. Fr. Benedict says:

    Father Z., this is very disturbing and a sign of the internal schism in the Church which has been brewing for some time. As with the “Benedict bashing” over the Williamson affair, it signals a bitter counter-attack against orthodoxy. I pray Fr. Tim will stay strong: I expect he will, as he has a great devotion to St. John Fisher, a saint we are going to need alot more of as the clouds darken.

  20. So much for filial reverence that parishioners have to stoop to that imfamous pseudo-magisterium, the press.

    Bishop Vasa requires every person working in any kind of ministry in his diocese (even as simple as cantoring), to read “Giving Testimony to Truth”, and to chase it with a signature of fidelity to Church teaching (and he explicitly outlines some of the most contentious issues).

    I think Catholic newspaper reporters and columnists should be subject to the same

  21. Simon Platt says:

    Good heavens!

    There’s some nonsense here!

    1 Anon: DT’s post is neither hypocritical nor idiotic. He’s a polemic journalist who writes some entertaining stuff with a serious point behind it, and this latest is entirely consistent with that approach. And, pace Fr. Z, I suspect that he would be quite happy for the Tablet to make fools of themselves in this way.

    I’m sorry that you weren’t willing to attach even a pseudonym to your post.

    2. Shadrach: That’s not Elena Curti’s number. You could reach her at that number because it’s the number for the editorial office of the Tablet, the newspaper for which she is Deputy Editor. The number is publicly known and all and sundry are invited to ring. Surely this is obvious?

  22. Mac User says:

    Calleva:

    Please retract the vile assertion that the Tablet ‘originates from’ Ireland – it most certainly does not!

  23. Simon Platt says:

    Dear Diane,

    Thank you for drawing our attenion to that document from Bishop Vasa. Well done him!

  24. Mara Cafolla says:

    Why should The Tablet not do a piece of journalism about Fr Finegan? The return to the Tridentine liturgy is controversial in the Catholic world – and acceptance of it is far from universal. From reading traditionalist blogs, one would get the impression that it had been generally welcomed among Catholics (a questionable assumption). But we hear little from such bloggers of how alienated some congregations have become from traditionalist priests appointed to their parishes.

    Even Mr Thompson has recently written of his fears that a future Pope may deem the ‘hermeneutic of continuity’ project a failure and consign it to history. So it seems strange that he should object to some adversarial journalism about a liturgical traditionalist in the present moment (if such indeed the piece proves to be).

    There is legitimate dissent among Catholics from the liturgical preferences of the present Pope. Why should speaking up for what was accepted under three previous Popes be a mark of a bad Catholic now?

    One final point: it is noteworthy that the best Catholic journalism has come from the liberal wing of the church (John Allen etc.). If the Catholic right is so credible why can it not get its act together anywhere in the English speaking world to produce a newspaper that commands intellectual respect beyond its own constituency. If Catholics on the right had any intellectual self-confidence, they would be relaxed about points of view different from theirs. It says much for the fragility of the positions such as Mr Thompson that they are so paranoid about those who do not see the world as they do.

  25. Simon Platt says:

    Dear Mara,

    Have you actually read what Damian wrote? It doesn’t seem so.

  26. boredoftheworld says:

    Why should The Tablet not do a piece of journalism

    Someone call me when that happens… I won’t hold my breath.

  27. O' Neill says:

    In fairness, The Tablet has written about Fr Finigan before and were very mannerly and courteous.

  28. RBrown says:

    Why should The Tablet not do a piece of journalism about Fr Finegan? The return to the Tridentine liturgy is controversial in the Catholic world – and acceptance of it is far from universal.

    Being the good Catholic that you are, you no doubt know that in Catholic doctrine \”universal\” refers to what is true always and everywhere (semper et ubique), not what is accepted by everyone.

    Granting you use of the word, however, I will admist that it\’s sad that the acceptance is far from universal, just as it also sad that the acceptance of Humanae Vitae is far from universal.

    The Gregorian Rite is the historical Roman Rite of the Church. That\’s good enough for me. Latin is the language of the Church. That\’s also good enough for me–and for John XXIII (see Veterum Sapientia).

    From reading traditionalist blogs, one would get the impression that it had been generally welcomed among Catholics (a questionable assumption). But we hear little from such bloggers of how alienated some congregations have become from traditionalist priests appointed to their parishes.

    In those US congregations that have become alienated from traditionalist priests, it\’s likely that at least 50% are practicing contraception.

    Even Mr Thompson has recently written of his fears that a future Pope may deem the ‘hermeneutic of continuity’ project a failure and consign it to history. So it seems strange that he should object to some adversarial journalism about a liturgical traditionalist in the present moment (if such indeed the piece proves to be).

    He didn\’t say \”adversarial journalism\”–he said \”a hatchet job\”.

    There is legitimate dissent among Catholics from the liturgical preferences of the present Pope. Why should speaking up for what was accepted under three previous Popes be a mark of a bad Catholic now?

    What you need to recognize is that, except for encouraging vacuous sentimentalism, your way of doing things has been a pastoral flop. Few vocations. Scandals in the priesthood and religious life. Failed marriages. People thumbing their noses at Catholic doctrine.

    Why would someone with your intelligence want to invest in such a losing enterprise?

    One final point: it is noteworthy that the best Catholic journalism has come from the liberal wing of the church (John Allen etc.).

    Are you sure John Allen is a liberal?

    If the Catholic right is so credible why can it not get its act together anywhere in the English speaking world to produce a newspaper that commands intellectual respect beyond its own constituency. If Catholics on the right had any intellectual self-confidence, they would be relaxed about points of view different from theirs. It says much for the fragility of the positions such as Mr Thompson that they are so paranoid about those who do not see the world as they do.
    Comment by Mara Cafolla

    So what are these liberal newspapers that command intellectual respect?

  29. Mara Cafolla says:

    Dear Simon

    What Mr Thompson wrote two weeks ago was this (and I believe I paraphrased him honestly)

    “But there’s a problem. The Pope is in his 80s; he’s easily old enough to be the Archbishop of Canterbury’s father. If he dies before the damage to his reputation caused by the SSPX affair has been repaired, and while so many of his opponents still occupy important episcopal sees, then the next conclave may choose a middle-of-the-road mediocrity who regards the “hermeneutic of continuity” as a failed ideal.”

    Mr Thompson was acknowledging the fragility of the “hermeneutic of continuity” project. Open discussion of it – and, even, dissent from it – is in the mainstream of thinking Catholicism.

  30. O' Neill says:

    I am aware that The Tablet has a rather hairy editorial line, but it’s essential reading for anyone desiring to keep up with the Church this side of the pond. Robert Mickens is quite hostile to the traditional Mass, but he’s very well informed about liturgical news and various goings-on in Rome (being very friendly with the press corps there). He wrote a article this week about the likely future canonical status of the SSPX, pointing out (though probably lamenting it) that the SSPX will likely to be allowed to ‘constructively criticize’ VII, point to the IBP precedant. A very interesting and well informed piece.

  31. Simon Platt says:

    Dear Mara,

    I’m sure Dr. Thompson doesn’t need me to defend him, but …

    No. It still doesn’t seem so.

  32. scholastic says:

    Everyone:

    If writing the Tablet, or anyone else, please write with charity. We won’t get anywhere by being nadty.

  33. Calleva says:

    Mac User – the Tablet’s owners are in Ireland, I am sorry I didn’t make it clear. We had a discussion about all this on Holy Smoke some while back and I cannot now find it. I gather the Pill does have some good theatre reviews and such, but the editorial line is such that I never buy it. You never know, it may change. Back in the 1980s and before, the Catholic Herald was appalling – I used to call it the Socialist Herald and it published articles full of hate about Cardinal Ratzinger. It changed hands and is now excellent (though not as good as your National Catholic Register).

    Damian Thompson may on occasion go rather far, but he is excellent reading and a wonderful antidote to all the ghastly patronising pap thrown at the laity via the anodyne parish bulletin covers, the Universe, etc.

  34. Mara Cafolla says:

    Final thought. Isn’t it astonishing how traditionalists go into paroxysms of rage about a piece that has not even appeared in print? One of Mr Thompson’s posters has recently posted a link to Ms Curti’s coverage of a press conference given by Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos in London (and to WDTPRS comment on it). Yet our host on this blog was hard pressed to take exception to the piece – picking up merely on semantics.

    The Catholic right loves dishing it out – but lacks the capacity to take criticism. And here we see a personalised campaign against a journalist to disrupt her work even before she expresses herself in print. You have to wonder what the motives are.

    It is not decent – and I suspect that thoughtful people on all sides of the debate will know that. It’s unAmerican – perhaps, even, unEnglish.

  35. Hugh says:

    Mara’s first para. can be slightly altered [square bracketed text substituted] to capture exactly the late 1960′s Catholic world as I experienced it:

    “The [New Mass] is controversial in the Catholic world – and acceptance of it is far from universal. From reading [official diocesan newspapers], one would get the impression that it had been generally welcomed among Catholics (a questionable assumption). But we hear little from such [official sources] of how alienated some congregations have become from [trendy] priests appointed to their parishes.”

    Spot on, Mara!

  36. Simon Platt says:

    “Paroxysms of rage”? “Semantics”? Hardly. I invite readers to judge for themselves: Fr. Z Dr. T

  37. Timothy Mulligan says:

    If the traditional Latin Mass survived the 1970′s, 1980′s and 1990′s, it is not going to die now.

    It has proven itself, truly, the Mass of the Ages. We are witnessing a miracle in Church history. Lazarus after being in the tomb “four days,” has risen. On July 7, 2007, the Vicar of Christ said: “Unbind him and let him go.” And now the enemies of Tradition want to kill Lazarus. Cf. John 12:10-11.

    You who hate the transcendent, the beautiful and the holy: you will not succeed. Lazarus has risen. Jesus Christ is Lord of history and Head of the Church.

  38. JayneK says:

    Is it right to spread inflammatory rumours? Wouldn’t it be better to wait and see if the Tablet prints something negative about this laudable priest before becoming indignant about it?

  39. Thank you for drawing our attenion to that document from Bishop Vasa. Well done him!

    Yeah – and the charity with which he wrote it is quite visible in his words. Now, we need to get it in every diocese, then apply it to members of Catholic newspapers, and universities.

    As much as this is all about the liturgy – the attacks on Fr. Finnigan, it is about something much deeper…..truth. Let’s face it, along with reverent liturgies often comes a dose of truth, in place of fluffy homilies lacking substance or loaded with loop-hole theology.

  40. RBrown says:

    Mara Cafolla,

    Note that above I referred to two current articles in the Tablet Online, and both of them are sterling examples of poor journalism.

  41. Jim says:

    “Charity” is a one-way street with the Tabletistas and their ilk.

    I still remember the day in 1965 when our Gregorian schola was summarily disbanded after we declined an invitation to participate in guitar masses or get packing. Whisperers declaimed us as rigid. The whole experience –I was a convert in my early 20′s — caused me no end of grief. What attracted me the Church in the first place was how the Liturgy seemed so connected to the apostolic age. That sense of awe and antiquity vanished like smoke when the altar was flipped around, guitarists in jeans appeared in the sanctuary, and a banal translation was substituted for the Mass of the Ages. While I did not give up my faith, I stopped attending mass for about 20 years, only returning after my son was born.

    A priest like Fr. Finigan is a great treasure. I have known a few like him since I returned to the church, including my current pastor (I now attend a Byzantine Catholic parish). All faithful Catholics need to defend him vocally from attacks by heretical forces within the Church, especially the Tabletistas, who are the antithesis of charity.

  42. Maureen says:

    I think the anger being expressed here is not so much because some mag of one liturgical tendency is perhaps preparing to say nasty things about some priest of a different liturgical tendency.

    No, I think it’s because Fr. Finigan comes across as a really nice guy and dedicated priest who’s done a lot of good online, and it’s shocking to the blogosphere that anyone would consider saying a rude word about him. Much less a UK Catholic magazine, whom one would expect to be happy about a UK parish priest from some little town becoming such a successful promulgator of the Faith online.

    It’s not like he’s competition to them. It’s not like they care what goes on in most of the Catholic blogosphere, even, seeing as folks mostly don’t blog to their taste. It’s not like the joke bets at Paddy Power for him as the next archbishop were all that high, either, before Paddy Power closed down the betting. So I just don’t get it, myself.

    Well, hopefully it’s all just a sad misunderstanding.

  43. scholastic says:

    >>“Charity” is a one-way street with the Tabletistas and their ilk.<<

    That may well be, it is a street that we shouldn’t abandon. No matter what the other side does, we will always be doing ourselves right by acting with charity.

  44. tertullian says:

    Mara Cafolla:

    I,for one, both enjoy and appreciate your point-of-view, however myopic it may be. Please permit me to semi-fisk your posts:

    “Why should The Tablet not do a piece of journalism about Fr Finegan? The return to the Tridentine liturgy is controversial in the Catholic world – and acceptance of it is far from universal. From reading traditionalist blogs, one would get the impression that it had been generally welcomed among Catholics (a questionable assumption). But we hear little from such bloggers of how alienated some congregations have become from traditionalist priests appointed to their parishes.”

    Fr. Finegan would be a fine subject of a piece in The Tablet, please bring it on. You are correct, the “return” of the TLM is controversial for, try-as-you-might, you and your fellow travellers haven’t been able to drive a spike through it’s heart, given the devotion to a very motivated group of Catholics. It couldn’t possibly be universally embraced when the great population of Catholics still don’t know about the Motu Proprio (largely thanks to you and your fellow Bishops who try to marginalize it…yes, reading your posts, I wouldn’t be surprised if you weren’t an English Bishop)

    Revolutions are driven by a vanguard of believers, usually representing but a small percentage of the greater populace. This is no different.

    “Even Mr Thompson has recently written of his fears that a future Pope may deem the ‘hermeneutic of continuity’ project a failure and consign it to history. So it seems strange that he should object to some adversarial journalism about a liturgical traditionalist in the present moment (if such indeed the piece proves to be).”

    And it’s a legitimate fear, if overblown. But this project, like so many in life, is a numbers game. If Pope Benedict lives long enough to name enough like-minded men to the rank of Cardinal, then he wins, you lose. Game over. We’re in a race…

    “There is legitimate dissent among Catholics from the liturgical preferences of the present Pope. Why should speaking up for what was accepted under three previous Popes be a mark of a bad Catholic now?”

    Here’s where you show your real (and selfish) hand. You approach being a Catholic as a zero-sum game. It’s all or nothing. Either the Church is a fashion statement that reflects the passing fancy of a few effete self-centered, egotists (yes, I know it’s redundant) or it’s sublime and timeless, having been handed down for centuries as a treasure to one and all.

    Your worst transgression is the repeated insistence that it’s Latin or nothing. Flat-out lie. Mortal sin?, probably.

    “One final point: it is noteworthy that the best Catholic journalism has come from the liberal wing of the church (John Allen etc.). If the Catholic right is so credible why can it not get its act together anywhere in the English speaking world to produce a newspaper that commands intellectual respect beyond its own constituency. If Catholics on the right had any intellectual self-confidence, they would be relaxed about points of view different from theirs. It says much for the fragility of the positions such as Mr Thompson that they are so paranoid about those who do not see the world as they do.”

    This is breathtaking in it’s hubris.

    “Mr Thompson was acknowledging the fragility of the “hermeneutic of continuity” project. Open discussion of it – and, even, dissent from it – is in the mainstream of thinking Catholicism.”

    Define mainstream. My definition is Pope Benedict. Who is yours?

  45. FT says:

    Why is so much bandwidth being wasted discussing an article which is not in existence and only rumoured to be in the planning, the content of which can only be guessed at?
    The headline of Thompson’s blog is a question, and usually in journalism when the headline is a question, the answer is no.

  46. Jim says:

    Scholastic,
    You are right about charity and I did not mean to imply the contrary. The Lord expects us to forgive, but He does not require that we forget the hard lessons of our lives.

  47. fra paolo says:

    In the past I haven’t embraced what one might call ‘woolly libertarian’ mindsets that the ‘average person’ assumes – the idea that one should tolerate bad practice because ‘it doesn’t hurt anyone’. However, in the case of the often bitter confrontations over liturgy, the ‘woolly libertarian’ probably is right.

    The ‘ecclesia’ of the Church has plenty of room for tolerance. In terms of fundamental belief (eg, Lk, X:27, 36-7), my ‘woolly libertarian’ wouldn’t see the point of journals, bishops, faithful fighting over whether to have the Ordinary or Extraordinary Form. As long as those who wished the Ordinary Form could go to the Ordinary Form and likewise those for the EF had the option available to them, we could all focus on living in accordance with the verses from Luke.

    If you want to see one of the ways Satan works in the Church, I’d look at the tussles over liturgy. The Pope has offered the perfect solution for our time, when liturgical uniformity isn’t any longer seen as fundamental in the way it was at Trent. Those who want the EF should insist on their rights to their rite; those who don’t like it should still be charitable, if they wield power within the Church.

    For the EF party, it does no good to get worked up over something that hasn’t actually happened. I’m disturbed to learn that a respected weekly is planning to ‘do a hatchet job’ on a respected blogger and, more importantly, priest, for no apparent good reason. Yet, it hasn’t happened, and it may never happen. Drawing attention to it simply results in bad feeling on all sides. Even if it did happen, the Christian response is surely to go no further than raise questions, rather than to fight about it.

    Or, ‘why can’t we be friends?’, as the song puts it. (I’m sure it gets sung in one or two OF Masses now and then.)

  48. Paul, Bedfordshire says:

    We need not, I hope, be too concerned as long as we pray. Those who oppose the interpretation of the council through a prism of continuity are clever and intelligent people, but their efforts are fatally flawed.

    As I see it their beliefs mean that they only use the tools of the politician to try and get their way. Effective as these tools can be, of what use are they against the prayers of thousands?

    Have Novenas been offered for the intention of preserving the use of guitars in Mass? Have Rosaries been offered with the intention that priests will disobey the Church’s rules and continue to use multiple extraordinary monsters where they are not needed to “empower” the laity? I thought not. Game over.

  49. Michael UK says:

    Your Anon poster may well be Gerard of Holysmoke fame – he is now banned for continuing sychophancy regard to E & W Bishops’ Conference and defence of the indefensible on their poart. +++Murphy-O’Connor let slip thet “our” man had not been elected to the Papacy – speaks for itself.

  50. chironomo says:

    “One final point: it is noteworthy that the best Catholic journalism has come from the liberal wing”

    Now there’s a credibility buster….

    I suppose it would depend on what the subject of the Catholic journalism is… perhaps you were thinking of Sr. Joan Chittister’s numerous articles equating the situation of the SSPX and women seeking to be ordained priests? I would call such articles propaganda at best since on one hand the two situations are not at all analogous, but also there is a clear attempt to promote an agenda, not report news. Blogs are not news, at least they are not journalism in the same sense that a major paper is.

  51. Simon Platt says:

    To add a small correction to Michael’s post, “Gerard” wasn’t banned from Holy Smoke for sycophancy, but for disruption.

  52. irishgirl says:

    I hope that nothing happens to Fr. Finigan-as in ‘trouble with his Bishop’!

    John Enright-’Finigan’ is your mother’s maiden name? Cool! That’s my last name….except it’s spelled with ‘two n’s and an e’ !

  53. “…which nearly succeeds in making the NCR look moderate…

    I know that you are referring to the ultra-leftie National Catholic Reporter rag, however some newer visitors to the WDTPRS blog may mix this up with excellent National Catholic Reporter newspaper.
    Maybe there could be some sort of way of distinguishing between the two as both hav NCR as their initials…just a thought.

  54. correction

    There, I did it myself = the excellent paper is the National Catholic Register

  55. RBrown says:

    Fra Paolo,

    The precept from Luke to Love God is not meant to be merely emotional or interior–it must have exterior manifestation. Worship is its most pure manifestation. Consequently, liturgy is not merely an expression preferences but rather must of its essence be an expression of the faith of the Church, esp. the doctrine of the Eucharist.

    And so the use of Latin expresses the universality of the Church, as well as its immutability and non-vernacular nature (that it favors no culture or language).

    Likewise, the construction of the Eucharistic liturgy (including the direction the priest faces) must express the doctrine that the mass is both Sacrifice and Sacrament–not, as Protestantism says, a meal.

  56. Katrina says:

    I wonder how many Tablet subscribers are actually Catholic in the sense in which we know and love the term. I thought the Tablet was Rowan Williams territory: favourite reading for a lot of ‘catholic’ Anglicans who are social liberals. Does anyone know what the circulation is?

  57. Neil says:

    I would counsel against getting too sucked into the world of Damian Thompson. Nothing has actually happened yet, and I most certainly don’t think it is wise for a bunch of “paranoid” Old Mass attending types to go off the deep end protesting about a rumour.

    I speak as an Old Mass attending type, who has met Fr Finigan, and who is well aware how well respected he is among good orthodox Catholics.

    It makes people like us look silly.

    If The Tablet want to write something nasty about Fr Finigan, let them. I am far from convinced they even have any plans to. But if they do, then I am sure it will be widely reported in the blogosphere and The Tablet will get a full postbag.

  58. Credo says:

    At a parish I went to a few years ago I noticed a pile of so-called “Catholic” newspapers at the entrance and within the first few pages there was an article that trashed the Pope, another that was written by Catholics for Free Choice promoting abortion as fine and dandy, another advocating for womynpriests, and another promoting homosexual “marriage”.

    Well, I proceeded to grab the pile of newspapers and make a nice fire once I got home. I also contacted the priest and bishop to discuss the issue and they said they wouldn’t do anything since “Catholics should know what is ‘real’ Catholic teaching what’s not”; this was no surprise coming from them. Since then if I see a stack of papers in a church that is promoting evils such as abortion, homosexual “marriage”, and so forth, they’re gone.

    Why do so many of the faithful tolerate such scandalous and evil garbage to be in their churches and just walk by it and complain? How is this different than porno magazines being distributed in our parishes?

    One could even argue perhaps that scandalous papers callng themselves Catholic that are full of dissent and misleading souls to Hell, are worse than porno magazines which at least aren’t pretending to be Catholic.

    We are all guardians of the Catholic faith, afterall. I can picture many great saints grabbing a stack of heretical magazines and newspapers from a Catholic church and burning them out front of the church to make a point. Now, even I don’t have that much courage!

  59. steve jones says:

    I am very pessimistic about the future. Williamson reckons we are due a chastisement whilst Wagner reckons we have already had one. What is it to be? To a European, the USA seems to be the only hope in that they will fight a holy war against Europe but I remember reading the British Cardinal Heenan who claimed that the American bishops caved in at the Vatican Council. Heenan couldn’t believe it when he witnessed the Germans dictating terms to them. The Anglo-Saxons were totally disorganised in general, he claimed. 45 years on and we have brought renewed persecution upon ourselves.

  60. "Vesper" says:

    Rosa Mystica ora pro nobis!

  61. Fr. BJ says:

    ALL: Be sure to read Fr. Finigan’s update, as well as the exceedingly fine paper that he wrote addressing his parish about the present troubles. Great stuff!

    http://the-hermeneutic-of-continuity.blogspot.com/2009/02/parish-dispute-goes-loud.html