Are attempts being made to silence Damian Thompson?


I picked this up from the blog of my friend Fr. Raymond Blake (whom I hope to see, perhaps in February).  I think it is worth some attention in the Catholic blogosphere.

My emphases.

I thought you might be interested to know that attempts are being made to shut up a certain Catholic journalist; no it is no-one on the dreadful Tablet, not even the ghastly sneering Bobby Mickens.

Apparently the Cardinal, [His Eminence the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster no doubt] and maybe others, the Papal Nuncio‘s name has mentioned, has made representations to the owner and chairman of the Catholic Herald and the editors of two national newspapers. They want the scalp of Damien Thompson, or at least they want his fingers broken so he can’t criticise the hierarchy, Eccleston Square, inaction on the Motu Proprio, Church bureaucracy, or make suggestions on Cormac’s successor, or criticise the dreadful Tablet.

Damien Thompson, once described as "a blood crazed ferret" by the Church Times, is a commentator on the Daily Telegraph, and Editor-in-Chief on the Catholic Herald, Thompson. He can be outrageous at times, but that in a healthy society, or Church, should be function of a journalist.

I find it truly worrying if senior clergy are trying to silence the press – not of course The Tablet, that is beyond censure by the hierarchy.

I have a couple view on this.

First, I think that over time market forces will take care of most of the stupid or wicked Catholic commentary.   I believe in sort of a reverse Gresham’s Law when it comes to information on the internet: good information will eventually drive bad information out of circulation.  A correlation of this law is that "people are smart".   This last point is the one most frequently violated by liberals, who are far more likely to desire that only one side of an issue have a free voice. 


Second, prelates may have a role in "silencing" some Catholic commentators.  However, that would pertain when the commentators were falling into error about issues of faith and morals or creating confusion about the Church’s proper discipline, etc.  For example, I think that it would not be out of the question for the Catholic hierarchy to exercise their office of oversight in regard some dimensions of the National Catholic Reporter.  I believe something was done in relation to the former editor of America.  It is difficult to balance all the elements in this.  However, I think I must come down on the side of freedom to comment and then depend on those "market forces" to sort things out.

I have as working paradigms in this issue the interesting exchanges between, for example, Umberto Eco and Card. Martini, or the press exchange years ago between Cardinals Ratzinger and Kasper.  I also am taking into consideration the way Pope Benedict opened himself to commentary and criticism in the preface of his book Jesus of Nazareth. 


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. miss book says:

    I hope they don’t give in to the bullying tactics-Damian is one of the very few knowlegeable Catholic journalists with sufficient honesty and integrity,to tell it as it is.

  2. John Collorafi says:

    Don’t let them silence you,

  3. Londiniensis says:

    The British establishment has endured the satirical magazine “Private Eye” for over 46 years. Like Mr Thompson, it can be scurrilous, unkind and outrageous, but also like Mr Thompson it has the knack of shining a bright light into areas which our masters would prefer were left ignored.

    So, after only 10 months of Mr Thompson’s blog, “Holy Smoke”, it appears that the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster has done our very own gadfly the invaluable service of trying to shut him up – invaluable as this will only serve to convince the sceptical that Mr Thompson is saying things that hit a nerve.

    The Cardinal might be better advised to try to discipline the editorial board of The Tablet.

  4. Monette says:

    I support Damian Thompson. He’s a good and honest reporter who just favours the ”spirit of the Motu Proprio”.

    (smiles) With a bit of luck, he could become a lay cardinal and clamp down on the illuminati bishops that were caught in the P2 affair. (smiles)

  5. Jeff Miller says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if this was true considering that Damian has been reporting on many quite embarrassing aspects of the bishops conference there, especially the reaction to the Motu Proprio. Though if true it will be another case of attacking a blogger for reporting uncomfortable facts and you certainly wish they were as fervent against heresy as they are towards opinionated bloggers. Though Damian’s style is certainly sarcastic he is often a fun read.

  6. Tom Lanter says:

    FR. Z,
    Remember the Vatican’s request to the Claretian’s U.S.Catholic magazine in 2002. At the time I thought that was very rare.


    Tom Lanter

  7. EDG says:

    Perhaps the bishops have no official way of silencing him (you know, using the the powers they have but don’t use to silence raving heretics such as some of those at the Tablet and other tasty places). But people can get marginalized very easily, and I think that’s what they’re trying to do to Damian Thompson, if this report is true.

    It’s one of the ways hostile bishops are intimidating priests now. The MP was supposed to free priests, but from what I’ve seen, very few priests have taken advantage of it. And the hostile bishops are holding them down not by direct suppression, but by implied threats and blustery language.

  8. Francis Brennan says:

    Fr. Z.,

    I likewise wouldn’t be at all surprised if episcopal moves are in hand to shut Damian Thompson up. His widely read reporting and blogging on the anti-Summorum Pontificum manoeuverings of the English hierarchy have clearly struck a very raw nerve, as has his campaigning for a successor to Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor to be selected from outside the liberal clique that calls the shots in the English Bishops’ Conference.

    The English bishops may succeed in ousting Damian Thompson from his position at the Catholic Herald, but he will land on his feet, move to another newspaper (or go freelance), and continue his blogging and article-writing unabated. His enemies in the episcopate are on a hiding to nothing. Damian Thompson has terrier-like tenacity and persistence, and I have absolutely no doubt that he will come out all guns blazing if senior English clerics try to silence him. He doesn’t have to worry about being marginalized or cold-shouldered — he has a huge following already, and it will most certainly get even larger if the liberal bishops try to square up to him. Such is the power of the internet.

  9. I think our dear Christian Catholic brothers would do well to think of the impact of the blogosphere, especially those blogs with lots of traffic.

    We could direct their attention to Hamlet’s words in Act II when speaking to Polonius about the players when they come to Elsinor:

    Good my lord, will you see the players well

    bestowed? Do you hear, let them be well used; for

    they are the abstract and brief chronicles of the

    time: after your death you were better have a bad

    epitaph than their ill report while you live.

  10. TonyM says:

    If this is true it makes the English heirarchy look all the more petty.
    They should leave Damian alone and go chase after the raving heretics at
    The Tablet.

  11. Matt Q says:

    • • • • • •

    Jeff Miller wrote:

    “I wouldn’t be surprised if this was true considering that Damian has been reporting on many quite embarrassing aspects of the bishops conference there, especially the reaction to the Motu Proprio. Though if true it will be another case of attacking a blogger for reporting uncomfortable facts and you certainly wish they were as fervent against heresy as they are towards opinionated bloggers. Though Damian’s style is certainly sarcastic he is often a fun read.”

    Perhaps the bishops have no official way of silencing him (you know, using the the powers they have but don’t use to silence raving heretics such as some of those at the Tablet and other tasty places). But people can get marginalized very easily, and I think that’s what they’re trying to do to Damian Thompson, if this report is true.

    EDG wrote:

    “It’s one of the ways hostile bishops are intimidating priests now. The MP was supposed to free priests, but from what I’ve seen, very few priests have taken advantage of it. And the hostile bishops are holding them down not by direct suppression, but by implied threats and blustery language.”

    Bishops cannot threaten a layman. As much as bishop wants to run his mouth, so can a layman. A layman is free to say as he chooses about the goings-on around him. If a bishop happens not to like it, too bad. Unless an outfit is a religious one such as “America” or the Claretian publication, the layman is free to say as he chooses, no one can do a dang thing about it.

    Regarding being “marginalized,” what would he be marginalized from? The power of Mr Thompson’s pen can very easily marginalize a bishop. Look at what is happening here is Los Angeles. The press out here doesn’t spare the Cardinal his feelings, his stature, and unfortunately, not the Church. Well, the Church institutionally more or less is not jibed at as much as the person of the Cardinal. Since the scandal has broken wide open over the past few years, the Cardinal has lived a much quieter life than he ever has before.

    So, take heart Mr Thompson. You can quite do the same with your Cardinal.

    By the way, in the real world, such bishops, etc., who carry on the way Murphy-O’Connor does ( like the ilk here ), would be considered traitors. I suppose everyone has a Mr Iscariot in their lives in one form or another. Archbishop Ranjith has explained this quite plainly to my satisfaction.

    Father Z’s commentary and observations are good. His comment about “people being smart,” however–in a more generalized sense–is perhaps to be doubted. We can see over the years since the Council that the Darwinian Factor is quite in evidence, that the herds really have not yet thinned as well as they should have for a more healthy intellect. ( My sarcasm. LOL )

  12. Syriacus says:

    Some years ago: Bishop Roche was supposed to be at the present Ranjit’s post!

    Now? Things look ‘relatively’ better…

  13. I am so grateful for all these kind messages. I’d better not say anything about the campaign against me, other than that since I dish it out I should be able to take it. But let me tell you what is driving me mad.

    I can sense, for the first time in 20 years as a religious commentator, the stirrings of an authentic Catholic revival. At its heart lies the rediscovery of the liturgical riches of the Church, the great project of this pontificate, which Fr Z has done so much to publicise. But then I look at the Catholic community in England and Wales and ask myself: what are the bishops doing to nurture this revival? And the answer seems to be: nothing. No – less than nothing, since their reaction to Summorum Pontificum has been to try to frustrate its aims.

    I could have made this point gently. But that is not my style – and, anyway, gentle remonstrance gets us nowhere. So, writing quite independently of the Catholic Herald, of which I am NOT the editor, I let them have it with both barrels. It’s the only way to grab their attention.

  14. Augustinus says:

    Damien is to be commended for his willingness and ability to speak out about the situation in the UK. I don’t think he is being disloyal in any sense – he is simply stating the truth of the situation. The future of the Church in the UK is at stake here.

    It would be iniquitous if he is ‘punished’ in any way for writing as he has done. It would be much more preferable, and indeed honest, if the bishops could offer any refutation of the statements Damien has made. The fact of the matter is that they can’t – because he is telling it as it is. Let us all support him by our prayers and by other means if need be – those of us who have sat on the fence for so long should now seriously think about getting off it.

  15. elizabeth mckernan says:

    I do hope Damian Thompson is allowed to continue his blog. It generates wonderful postings from many thoughtful readers. It is also entertaining especially when one of the regular contributors – an atheist – has a go yet again at our belief in ‘an imaginary friend.’ He appears to be a keen reader of this blog so that he can ridicule the faithful and thus encouraging more and more people to comment.
    Fr Z – you mention a future meeting with Fr Blake. Does this mean you are visiting Britain and if so will you be giving any talks here?

  16. Cal Brian says:

    You hang in there Damian!
    Many of us over here in America enjoy your stuff very much…

  17. Big time Kudos to Damian. I enjoy his blog. The man tells it like it is. He doesn’t water it down. Some just can’t accept the truth. Oh well.

    Damian, never back down, mon!

  18. Diane K says:

    Damian Thompson says: “I can sense, for the first time in 20 years as a religious commentator, the stirrings of an authentic Catholic revival. At its heart lies the rediscovery of the liturgical riches of the Church, the great project of this pontificate, which Fr Z has done so much to publicise. But then I look at the Catholic community in England and Wales and ask myself: what are the bishops doing to nurture this revival? And the answer seems to be: nothing. No – less than nothing, since their reaction to Summorum Pontificum has been to try to frustrate its aims”.

    Trust me – when you talk about the “stirrings of an authentic Catholic revival”, and the attempts at hindering it, people all over the world can feel it. It is only in a few places that Catholics are allowed to freely enjoy those riches, and not tip-toe around it.

    How long do seminarians in dioceses around the world have to hide their fervent desires to be involved in this revival?

    I look at myself – 45 years of age and born in 1962. I have absolutely no recollection of any liturgy other than the Novus Ordo at around age 4 or 5. Yet, I have discovered within myself unbelievable hidden longings for the usus antiquior. Slowly with each TLM in which I assist – sometimes daily at Assumption Grotto in Detroit, memories are coming back to when I was a kid and teen, loathing the casual atmosphere in Church and craving for a sense of the sacred. I couldn’t tell anyone because I thought those days were long gone. I craved Latin, sacred polyphony, chant – all things to which I had little to no exposure.

    While detractors will say that my hidden longings must come from experiences in my infancy of the “old Mass” that I cannot recall, I beg to differ. There is another explanation and now that I see it blossoming all over the world, I am convinced it is a movement of the Holy Spirit. Those hidden longings do not originate from within me, but are graces to be acted upon.

    I am so grateful to God for mercifully granting me access to a parish where I can act on those graces while at the same time feel the deep pain of seminarians, priests, and lay people in other places who are being hindered from so doing.

    May God have mercy on those who work to thwart the workings of the Holy Spirit if He guides this movement.

  19. Habemus Papam says:

    Howzat for a back-handed compliment Damian. This is one of many signs that the liberal establishment are truely worried. Keep hiting those raw nerves my boy. The Internet is your friend.

  20. Henry Edwards says:

    I hope that Mr. Thompson — for whose forthright reportage during the year of Summorum Pontificum I am personally grateful — will not mind my quoting here the following extracts from his wonderful December 26 post:

    There is only one candidate for my religious highlight of 2007: that glorious day in July when Pope Benedict XVI healed a disastrous rift in the history of the Western Church by restoring the ancient Latin Mass to its full dignity.

    The Holy Fathers apostolic letter Summorum Pontificum was a thrilling and shocking event: thrilling for traditional Catholics because its liberation of the older Mass was so much more comprehensive than they had dared hope, and shocking for ossified liberals who believed that the Tridentine liturgy was a thing of the past. …..

    Summorum Pontificum is not an attempt to coax fogeys and sectarians back into the Church by relaxing the rules governing the celebration of the old Mass. It is far more radical than that. The document doesn’t relax rules, it abolishes them. …..

    ….. it is the particular genius of Pope Benedict to recognise that so many features of the classical Mass that struck the 1960s reformers as anachronisms the silent canon, the eastward-facing celebration, the precise sacerdotal gestures are truly timeless. …

    July 7, 2007, was one of the greatest days in the history of the Catholic Church. Our bishops may be too myopic and grouchy to recognise this, but perhaps their hearts will be touched in 2008 and the great reform can begin in earnest.

    Would that every bishop might read and ponder these words, as well as (and especially) those additional sentences at

    that seem more specifically directed to their Excellencies. In the genre of year-end reviews, I have seen nothing else that so epitomizes this wonderful year 2007.

  21. Ttony says:

    I’m sure Damian is strong enough to fight his own battles – but he will have more supporters than Ecclestone Square might imagine.

  22. Fr Renzo di Lorenzo says:

    Hey Damian Thompson, when, above, Augustinus mentioned “those of us who have sat on the fence for so long should now seriously think about getting off it”, it reminded me of what two “little old ladies” attending daily Mass said to me one day in reference to another priest who was forever sitting on this proverbial fence:

    “The fences these days are not constructed with a nice plank to sit on; they are made of razor wire.” But you knew that already!

    Thanks for giving us an example of what it means not to sit an any fence! Cheers!

  23. Fr Justin says:

    Matt Q: Though Damian is a layman, the bishops can indeed pressurize him, by laying pressure on his employers to dismiss him. This they have already done in the case of Alice Thomas Ellis, who dared to criticize the late Archbishop Derek Worlock in the pages of the Catholic Herald. The bishops demanded her instant dismissal on pain of ordering that no Catholic church stock the Catholic Herald in future. She was duly dismissed, to go on to write a marvellous column in The Oldie.
    Damian has been a little more clever in that he has not used the Herald for his attacks, but his own blog, Holy Smoke. So I think he might have legal recourse if the hierarchy laid pressure on the newspaper.
    In addition, there is the fact that whereas at the time of the Alice Thomas Ellis affair the bishops were in the ascendent, now they are on the back foot, being not-very-discreetly opposed to the Holy Father’s reforms. And now there is the very vocal blogosphere, which, I think, may well be very eloquent evidence of what Newman called the Sensus Fidelium. Any bishop ignores the blogosphere at his peril, for Damian can be eloquently defended from Alaska to Hong Kong, and an awful lot of people are going to get to hear about it!

  24. Sean says:

    If anything were to come of this an obvious question would be the extent to which a bishop should utilise scarce diocesan resources (not least his own time) to oppress and damage a layman by fiat outside any process of canon law.

  25. Athelstane says:

    Hello Mr. Thompson,

    You have a good many fans on this side of the Pond.

    Don’t let the critics get you down. Keep up the good work. The tide is, indeed, turning.

  26. Craigmaddie says:

    Sensus Fidelium

    It’s strange but I was once told by a senior cleric that I should give up my preference for the Traditional Latin Mass because the Novus Ordo had been well and truly “accepted by the Sensus Fidelium”. But what does that really mean in light of the prolonged efforts of so many bishops to suppress any desire for the traditional liturgy of the Church?

    As a convert I can perhaps see aspects of how the insitutional Church operates that cradle Catholics might not. And one of the strongest impressions I have had since being received into the Church is that there has been set up – since the 1960’s – a series of taboos that one must observe and shibboleths that one must pronounce in order to be seen as “acceptable” and “one of us”. A love for the Traditional Latin Mass puts one well beyond the pale in a great many ecclesial circles in the UK.

    There is a kind of insitutional neurosis brought about by not accepting that the much-vaunted New Springtime simply did not take place and that the Church has been in crisis for the last 40 years. I once lived in East Germany a couple of years after the Wall came down and I am struck by the parallel of how the hierarchy there treated those who didn’t swallow their self-congratulatory trumpetings about the state of the German Democratic Republic with how the episcopal hierarchy in the UK treats those who have not been able to swallow the “good news” of the New Springtime. Marginalisation, mockery, and sidelining – but never actually trying to answer criticisms.

    Keep up the good work of being our “gadfly”, Damien!

  27. moretben says:


    Yes – LOL! “The sensus fidelium is wherever the Magisterium says it is”

    Your Berlin Wall analogy is, in my opinion, precise. Ideology imprisons people, making them first unwilling, and then unable to tell the truth. The ideology that has held so many captive over the past half-century is distilled to perfection in the NCR editorial fisked here recently, in which power politics is identified as the essence of the Liturgy. Whoever wrote that has become accustomed to viewing his faith through the lens of Marxist ideology – has indeed accepted the subordination of the faith to Marxist ideology.

    Church in confrontation with Antichurch. God bless our Pope.

  28. magdalen says:

    You keep on speaking up and telling the truth, Mr. Thompson! For 40 years the
    FAITHFUL have been marginalized and ignored. The liberal element has had their say.
    Even in our novus ordo Mass and in the lectionary, brothers and sisters, are
    some of the effects of the hatred for male pronouns and etc.

    I visit the sick at the hospital. Today I met an elderly couple. They travel 40
    miles every Sunday to attend a schismatic Latin Mass. My diocese has never
    allowed an indult and no plans to move forward on the extraordinary form
    of the Mass has been mentioned. I have heard the story and seen the effects
    that this couple told me of before. All their children who went to ‘catholic’
    schools lost their faith. Their Mass was taken from them and an Anglican liturgy
    given instead (even though valid). And their hearts were broken and remain so.
    I see it time and again. Old grandma or old grandpa who are fervent in their
    faith and their children do not have it, their children are divorced and
    remarried and the grandchildren are not even baptised.

    “They’ took our Mass.

    I am with Diane above–I do not recall the Latin Mass(other than an ‘ora pro nobis)
    but I LONG For it and the couple of times I have experienced it, my heart
    cried out to the Lord–WHY? Why these 40 years of decimation of the faith? Why
    are our young people in my parish only having social justice retreats and taught
    nothing of prayer or the sacramental life. Why does father only ever talk
    about himself and never preach the gospel? Why? I have to endure and offer
    this but it breaks my heart too.

  29. JARay says:

    I am one of Damian’s fans. I think that the Church in England is going to owe much to Damian in his expositions of what is going on there. More power to his elbow.

  30. Catholicus says:

    I am sure Damian has detailed knowledge of where many “bodies” are buried, if it should come to that. But it is antecedently unlikely that a newspaper such as the Telegraph will heed private communications or threats from Cardinal O’Tarmac – more likely that it will publish them!

  31. Paul Priest says:

    Over the months Damian has become more than a friend to us all [and I include his ideological enemies in this];for he is a constant support to the authentic Church within this isle and all for which it stands.

    Even his opposition to the actions of certain Bishops/professional laity has been in the name of charity; he is the first to acknowledge the good in anyone ; and where some of us may perceive malice and mendacity, he has usually primarily implied misguided intent or confused understanding as a main motive [e.g. in his commentary on Bishop Conry’s acts it was with a deep regret and sadness that a good man and priest should involve himself in such ‘politicking’ on becoming a bishop .]

    I have rarely come across a man who cares so much [sometimes to such an aggravating extent one would wish to shove his head into a TV set] ; yet he never boatrocks for its own sake; and most definitely doesn’t muckrake [for a man who ‘…knows where so many of the bodies are buried’ he is extraordinarily reticent, silent and the height of tact in that regard]

    I love the man [even during the rare and fleeting times I don’t particularly like him, or the more frequent periods where I disagree with him] and I thank God for him.

    He’s a good man , and is more sensitive and empathic than we could ever realize on a peripheral reading of his message threads.

    If His Eminence [and I believe another certain gentleman of import – renowned for his tantrums and vindictiveness] have their own way it will be to their own detriment – for Mr Damian Thompson is probably the best ally they could have ever had – had they but possessed a modicum of sincerity and authenticity.

    For Damian to be removed from the Herald at a time like this would be a victory for the enemies of the Church. May God forgive them in their delusions.

  32. Patrick Rothwell says:

    Damian Thompson is considerably less outrageous in his critique of the shortcomings of the Catholic hierarchy than The Wanderer and (now ex-Catholic) Rod Dreher, both of whom are notorious muckrackers and scandalmongers. (Sorry Father Z, but I loathe the newspaper you write for). Actually, I don’t think Thompson is particularly outrageous at all even though (IMO) he should be very careful about even giving the appearance of implying that the Catholic bishops of England and Wales are in a state of semi-schism, which they are not. I’m particularly grateful for Thompson’s well-justified denunciations of the soi-disant “pastoral” music cartel that dominates the liturgical scene in England. I wish more Catholic journalists in the United States – in both the Catholic and secular press – would do the same thing.

    In any event, outside of mishandling sex scandals, it’s hard to think of a worse way for the bishops to damage their public reputation by pressuring the Catholic Herald or the Telegraph to fire Thompson. For their own sake, they need to back off.

  33. Tony Harland-Clarke says:

    We must be outstandingly grateful to the bishops of England and Scotland for pointing out just how stupid His Holiness is for having the timerity to presume he knows better than they! How ridiculous!

    Seriously, it is hard to imagine people so able to rationise wrong as to convince themselves that Damian Thompson should leave the Herald.

    Pell for Cardinal. Now!

  34. Patrick: Sorry Father Z, but I loathe the newspaper you write for

    That’s okay.   I would only ask if you have ever read any of my columns in The Wanderer?

  35. Habemus Papam says:

    Thats right Patrick, its all about music. Nothing to do with absentee shepherds leaving the flock to starve.

  36. Habemus Papam says:

    So Damian Thompsom “should be very careful about even giving the appearance of implying that the CATHOLIC Bishops of England and Wales are in a state of semi-schism, which they are not”.
    And what might happen if he is’nt very careful, Patrick??

  37. Patrick Rothwell says:

    Father Z, I don’t recall reading your columns in the Wanderer other than what you have written here – and in any event what you’ve written here (which is quite fine, IMO) has nothing to do with my objections to the Wanderer!

    Habemus papam, all I’m saying is that Damian should be careful of what he says, because if he isn’t, it gives certain people the pretext to do certain undesirable things. The bit about “absentee shepherds leaving the flock to starve” is just that sort of sarcasm and hyperbole that is highly unhelpful and accomplishes nothing positive.

  38. Rose says:

    Mr. Thompson wrote a column raising questions with regard to the Blair conversion. The Telegraph would love nothing better than an email from the Cardinal-mentor of Tony Blair’s conversion, asking to muzzle Damian Thompson. Be real, the bishops are smarter than that.

  39. Mark says:

    Father, I read a couple of your columns in the Wanderer not too long ago while visiting my Mother-in-Law (a subscriber) and I’m entertaining getting a subscription for myself just to read your columns. :-)

    In Christo,


  40. Paul, South Midlands says:

    “Be real, the bishops are smarter than that.”

    Sadly, no they are not. Many of them are the Blessed Dereks sycophants and tailcoat hanger on’s. The most aptly named Derek WAS very smart. They try and continue his wizardry but the wheels are coming off.

    Their biggest failing (in terms of their ability to see Dereks revolution through) is that they just don’t get it that the mediums of communications with the masses have been revolutionised utterly and Derekite control methods don’t work anymore. Derek is the root of all this and Derek would soon have adapted to the new media but Derek is dead.

  41. Calleva says:

    The most important factor in all this is not will-they, won’t-they, sack Damian? but: who will replace Cormac M O’C as Cardinal? Rumours abound that the new guy will have been carefully selected; allegiance to the ‘Benedictine’liturgical reforms will no doubt be a top requirement. And the new guy will have a very different view of Damian’s blog. Incidentally, the Daily Telegraph sponsors ‘Holy Smoke’, Damian’s blog, and there is no way that any outside organisation could shut it down, thank goodness.

    We in England and Wales badly need a prayerful toughie who doesn’t scare the liberals but who will see that Summorum Pontificum is put into effect on our island and who will sort out the malaise in catechesis.

    The liberals still have huge influence over here, but are already beginning to look a bit over the hill. Not so long ago the Catholic Herald was as awful as the Tablet. It was known as the ‘Socialist Herald’ in our house. It’s not like that now!

    Incidentally, today I assisted at my first Tridentine Mass since I was about five years old. How could such a powerful, devotional liturgy ever have been banned (as it was effectively)? It’s a sin and a scandal.

  42. Habemus Papam says:

    Patrick Rothwell: There you go again, “it gives certain people the pretext tp do certain undesirable things”. Such as?
    This is about more than aesthetics. Many Catholics long for a return to solid teaching, the Holy Mass, the Seven Sacraments and it is their duty bbefore God for our Bishops to provide these. They are not. This is fact my friend, not hyperbole.

  43. RBrown says:

    Isn’t the Catholic Herald a lay enterprise (like OSV and the NCR) that is staffed by laymen?

    If so, that is unlike America, which is an outlet of the Jesuits. And the editor who was removed, Fr Reese, is an SJ priest. Further, he was removed on orders from the Vatican.

    Mr Thompson seems to be defending the Vatican and the pope, which would not bode well for any attempts by the English hierarchy to dump him.

  44. Frederick Jones says:

    Dr Thompson is not only learned but supremely independent. Long may he continue to delight us all by opposing all who absorb the spirit of the, age in pugnacious and almost always polite polemic.

  45. Little Gal says:

    “Dr Thompson is not only learned…”

    What kind of Dr. is he…medical, Ph.D? What’s his field of study?

  46. Damian Thompson is a good man who loves God, loves the Church and loves the Pope. If this is his crime, then let his accusers show their hand.

    In my own diocese of Portsmouth, ‘they’ proudly crow how the Pope has nothing to do with them. “… this is England, not Rome.”, they crow. Who needs removing?

  47. Habemus Papam says:

    The Telegraph seems to have answered with a report of Cardinal Murphey O’Conners remarks to Polish immigrants; basically “learn English and abandon your own chaplaincy”.

  48. Tito says:

    Keep praying and blogging Damian. You are doing a fine job and I’m sure the Catholic blogosphere will be there for you if the good Cardinal is successful in silencing you.

    In Jesus, Mary, & Joseph,


  49. Pat says:

    Patrick Rothwell said that the Wanderer is a notorious muckracker and scandalmonger? Glad to hear he has given his seal on Fr. Z’s column but what about the rest of the paper? I know this blog is most interested in the issue of Damien Thompson keeping his head right about now but Mr. Rothwell made some serious charges against this paper and I’m wondering if anyone can defend The Wanderer or is what Mr. Rothwell said accurate.
    Also Mr. Rothwell, since you have made these charges against the Wanderer, could you provide examples?

  50. James says:

    Please support Damian Thompson by writing a comment of support for his blog on the Diocese of Westminster website:

    Let them know we will be not be silenced, the truth is too important.

  51. Henry Edwards says:

    Pat, as a longtime subscriber to The Wanderer, I doubt that it needs any defense, having held its own pretty well as a faithful if rather straitlaced Catholic voice for almost a century and a half. However, its editors recently invited reader suggestions for improvements, and I’m thinking of recommending that they try to spice up its admittedly rather sobersided pages by finding some wholesome muck to rake and even some good scandal to monger.

  52. Pat says:

    Where I come from the priests throw out the Wanderer whenever it’s left with other reading material.That was the extent of my knowledge of the Wanderer until I came upon this site.
    I asked about someone defending the paper because Mr. Rothwell called it a scandal monger etc. I understand what you’re saying about raking some mud and even mongering some scandal in the sense that there is plenty to be exposed and when this happens we’re going to see some pretty ugly stuff come to the light of day. But since I’ve never read the Wanderer I was wondering if someone could defend it against any unfair charges which were made by Mr. Rothwell. He was clearly not talking about the scandal that occurs when the rot is exposed but accusing the paper itself of causing the scandal.

  53. Henry Edwards says:

    Pat: … but accusing the paper itself of causing the scandal.

    I’m not surprised that The Wanderer’s unswerving and unapologetic devotion to Faith, Pope, and Magisterium is a “sign of contradiction” (if not a scandal in any literal sense) to many priests and others. Most of us surely know all too many of these types.

    In any event, for good constructive muckraking, stick with WDTPRS. This blog, I mean; it always seems to me that only Father Z’s milder stuff gets onto the more pristine pages of The Wanderer.

  54. Habemus Papam says:

    Pat, I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for an explanation from Patrick Rothwell. I’m left wondering what “certain undesirable things” could happen if Damian Thompson is not “very careful”. Horses head on the pillow, perhaps?

  55. Pat says:

    I will certainly stick with this blog, it’s been a real education for me and I’m very thankful for Fr. Z. Somewhere around when the motu proptio came out I found this blog and must say it’s been a real education. I understood that the Mass versus populum (though I didn’t know the term) was mandated by VAtican II as well as Mass in the vernacular and I was pretty shocked and confused when I found that this wasn’t in Church documents. It is rather ironic that this is the way things are presentd despite at the same time, at least where I come from the NE, it\s pretty much an article of faith that you don’t have to obey much that comes from the Vatican. It’s much better here in the Bible Belt, at least where I live now, you can actually find some Catholics who accept Church teaching, even the hard ones.
    Habemus Papam,
    I really didn’t expect Patrick Rothwell to give examples for his slander but thought I’d try.
    Blessed New Year to you both and Damian Thompson as well. And a very Blessed New Year to Fr. Z.

  56. William Tighe says:

    I have been reading *The Wanderer* for nearly 25 years, and find it an almost wholly admirable publication. It has been unsparing in exposing, among other matters, the circles of perverts (homosexuals and pedophiles) among the clergy who have consistently worked at undermining doctrinal and moral teaching in the “AmChurch” for decades, as well as the promotion of heretical absurdities such as the “ordination” of women at gatherings sponsored by Catholic agencies and even dioceses.

    For an example of the sort of thing for which I admire *The Wanderer* I might allude to the multipartite series which it ran over a decade ago entitled “Agony in Albany” which was a detailed expose of the machinations of the then and still current Bishop of Albany, perhaps the most consistently illiberal “liberal” bishop in the Catholic hierarchy in this country and the way in which lay administrators (often female religious of liberal views) have been foisted on priestless parishes, those who favor WO (= women’s ordination) and SS (= sanctified sodomy, i.e., “‘gay’ unions”) have had virtually free rein to disseminate their views, and so forth. In fact, if I were to criticize *The Wanderer* it would be because it hasn’t run any of these sort of hard-hitting exposes lately.

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