Exercises in intimidation: The Tablet attacks Fr. Finigan

UPDATE 2356 GMT 23 Feb.

The Tablet attempts to silence Fr. Finigan’s response.

UPDATE: 2014 GMT 19 Feb:

His Hermeneuticalness, Fr. Finigan responds.


I mentioned a while back that the UK’s ultra-leftist weekly, nicknamed "the bitter Pill", but regularly known as The Tablet was probably going to published an attack on Fr. Tim Finigan, P.P. of Our Lady of the Rosary in Blackfen near London.

This week they published a real hit piece.  A reader sent me the text.

Keep in mind that this article was written for no other reason that to discourage and intimidate priests in the UK from implementing Summorum Pontificum in their parishes.  Therefore, in this article, every tactic is used…. as you will see.

Here it is with my emphases and comments. 

That was not my Mass

by Elena Curti

Nearly 40 years ago, that was the comment of the keenest supporters of the Tridentine Rite as the new rite was introduced. Now the sentiment has been reversed in the suburban parish of Blackfen, where a priest’s introduction of traditionalist liturgy has split the parish  [But has it really?  Or is the "split" really a very small splinter group?]

Each Sunday at around 9.45 a.m. a team at Our Lady of the Rosary, Blackfen, in the south-eastern suburbs of Greater London, erects a wooden stepped platform faced in a marble-effect laminate on the altar. On this is placed a gold crucifix, six large candlesticks, vases of flowers and altar cards for the celebration of the old Latin Mass. Welcome to the parish of Fr Tim Finigan, popular blogger and leading light of the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales.

Fr Finigan is in the vanguard of priests determined to restore “tradition” to their parishes [notice the " "] and, step by step, he has introduced elements of the extraordinary form into the liturgy at his church. [So, it wasn’t a sudden imposition.] The centrepiece is the weekly Sunday Tridentine Mass at 10.30 a.m, introduced in the wake of the Pope’s motu proprio allowing wider celebration of the old rite. During his 11 years in charge he has also gradually brought in other traditionalist touches that have split the parish[Again, has it been "split"?]

Between 30 and 40 people no longer attend the church and a similar number have taken their place. [Yes… but that happens in the course of events anyway…. but read on.] The row about numbers has become so heated that supporters of Fr Finigan carefully count the numbers attending the Sunday morning old-rite Mass. [Not all that unusual to count in a parish, really.] An auxiliary in Southwark diocese, Bishop Pat Lynch, has been called in to mediate.

In what was once a fairly typical parish, [typical of what?] there are no extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist. [I have spent some time at that parish.  The church is quite small.  Even when full, there is no need for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion – which is the proper term.  However, some people think they must be employed out of a false sense of the role of laity and active participation.] Altar rails have been installed and the parish priest makes it clear that he prefers communicants to kneel and to receive the Host on the tongue[He has the right to express his preference, I believe.] Communion is not usually offered under both species. [So?] At a regular Sunday evening Mass in the new rite, there are no bidding prayers and the congregation is not invited to exchange the sign of peace.  [The sign of peace is an option left to the discretion of the priest.] Fr Finigan says the Eucharistic Prayer with his back to the congregation [No, he doesn’t.  He is facing liturgical East together with his congregation.] with the stepped platform, properly called a gradine, on the altar. [I thought the "gradine" was the stepped part above and behind the altar.  Fr. Finigan must be pretty talented if he says Mass from there.] Unaccompanied hymn-singing has been dropped after the priest complained it was a “torture” to continue to inflict it on the assembly[Well….]

Old-rite Masses are also usually celebrated on major feast days including Midnight Mass, and there is a regular Mass in the extraordinary form on Saturday mornings. The ordinary form is used for the Saturday vigil Mass and the Sunday 9 a.m. children’s Mass. Weekday Masses are in the new rite. [Now… does that sound unreasonable?]

But Fr Finigan’s critics fear that their parish is gradually becoming a flagship for the Tridentine Rite. [And this is the REAL point of this whole exercise.  The liberals are terrified down to their spandex liturgical dance togs that the older form of Mass may exercise an influence over the faith of the Catholic people.]  They claim that most of those who welcome the trend are newcomers living outside the parish.  [So?  Liberals never travel to find the Mass they like?]

“Six parishioners wanted the Latin Mass here. I have no objection to them having it once a month or once a week, but it should not be the main Sunday Mass and it should not be imposed over the whole parish,” said Les Thomas, a member of the delegation that went to see Bishop Lynch. [Now… how would Mr. Thomas know that there were six?]

Mr Thomas is one of nine parishioners [6 versus 9!  This is sounding like a fluctus in simpulo.] I met who claim that Fr Finigan’s dedication to “tradition” has hurt the parish. Most of them have served as readers and/or Eucharistic ministers. [I seeee…. and since there is no real need for "Eucharistic Ministers", as the writer incorrectly calls them, they are bent out of shape?  Is the picture starting to come together?] Four say they can no longer bear to attend Mass at Blackfen, the rest doing so under sufferance. [They are free to stay or leave.  Sad, but if they have to go, farewell and come again when it suits you!]

“It is a matter of principle. I won’t be driven out,” [Who is being "driven" here?] says Eddie Sweeney, a former master of ceremonies and scoutmaster who has lived in the parish for 57 years. The group describe feelings of irritation, discomfort and sadness at the changes that have been made. Those who prefer to stand for Communion and receive it in the hand say they feel selfconscious doing so at Fr Finigan’s Masses.  [So.. is this about feelings?  I am getting the sense that it is not about what is right to do liturgically or what the rights of other Catholics may be regarding the Church’s worship.]

Several said their adult children vowed never to go to the church again, such was their unhappiness with the liturgy. “People who have been away from church come back at Christmas and Easter and are totally put off. It is so sad,” [What does that mean, exactly?  "Put off"?  They didn’t like something… their feelings were hurt.  What are they actually expecting in a church, in a Mass, I wonder.  What was their formation at home and in catechesis?] said Jean Gray. A woman who asked not to be named said she had known Fr Finigan for many years and he had been a “rock” supporting her family through some difficult times. But she felt moved to complain after she asked him to celebrate a Mass for her daughter’s favourite aunt who had recently died. She did not realise at the time that it would be entirely in Latin. “My daughter cried through most of the Mass because she could not join in. Afterwards she said: ‘That was not my Mass.’”

[At this point we have to stop.  First, we have the issue of "joining in".  There is a false understanding of "active participation" at work in a statement like that.  Also, the writer has been doing nothing but playing on feelings.  She is trying to tug at the readers emotions in order to plaint Fr. Finigan in a bad light.  You can’t argue with emotions.  That is the whole point here.  You cannot defend yourself from this sort of attack.  Remember that the point of this article is to intimidate other priests.]

Rules introduced include an insistence on silence in the church before and after Mass, which critics said meant there was little opportunity for parishioners to mingle afterwards, losing an important point of contact especially for the elderly. [WHAT?  This is ABSURD!  Again, I have been at this parish.  People mingle and talk outside, in the hall next to the church (which they can reach without going outside or by steps.   I stood outside and in the hall and chatted with people after Mass without problems. There is a parish PUB nearby for crying out loud!  This is a red herring.  Furthermore: churches are sacred spaces for the worship of God.  They are not meeting halls or parlors.]

There were also complaints about their priest’s refusal to support Cafod, [Catholic Agency for Overseas Development… I don’t know what the money goes toward or how it is distributed.  I suspect it is like the older version of the Campaign for Human Development in the US, which had questionable aspects.]  his expenditure on traditional vestments and other clerical garb, the absence of a parish council and failure to account to parishioners how money from the collection plate was being spent. [Okay… this is pretty nasty.  First, there is a usual liberal false dichotomy of "traditional" v. "concern for the poor".  If you have a nice chasuble, you must hate the poor and want to take the bread from their parched lips.  But Curti is now, in a newspaper, suggesting that Fr. Finigan is not using parish funds properly.  That is an underhanded thing to do as a journalist if you don’t have proof.  Also, I don’t know much about Cafod or what Fr. Finigan does or doesn’t do about it, but one time when I was at Blackfen, there was a special clothing drive going on to help children of poor families.  I also remember Fr. Finigan telling me about fixing the roof and doing much needed  brick and mortar work around the place.]

Matters came to a head last October when one parishioner, Bernard Wynne, a retired management consultant, set out his grievances in an email to Fr Finigan and asked for a parish consultation. He copied his message to a number of parishioners and invited them to make their views known.  [So… this fellow who wasn’t a parish trustee or anything other than a parishioner just decided on his own to do this.  I wonder what the real reason was.  Was he too an unnecessary minister of Communion?  Did he have his feelings hurt in some way and was striking back?] The ensuing correspondence resulted in about a dozen people objecting to Fr Finigan’s approach and about the same number supporting him.  [So, he stirred up unhappiness and created a split.  Nice.  I am reminded of Anthony Trollope’s The Warden and Barchester Towers wherein John Bold and Mr Slope stir up the bedesmen to make trouble for the warden, Mr Harding.  In the end, everyone is wounded … and all for nothing.]

In her email Susan Reynolds, a parishioner for 35 years wrote: “I grew up with the Latin Mass and remember sitting watching men and women saying the Rosary, slyly reading the newspaper or making responses they didn’t really understand. The English Mass made us participants and co-celebrants in the sacrifice of the Mass. The instruction to ‘open the windows and doors’ is one of the most liberating things to happen in the Catholic Church. If you listen carefully you can hear them being shut in Blackfen.”  [O brother!]

Fr Finigan’s response was a 35-page essay, in which he set out the thinking behind his use of the “traditional liturgy”. But it is in a lecture to the Latin Mass Society’s training conference at Oxford last year for priests learning how to celebrate the extraordinary form that he set out his strategy. He told the priests they were the “infantry” who need to overcome “real problems and difficulties” in bringing the extraordinary form to their parishes. He said the priest had a responsibility to persevere even in parishes where there were not a large number of people requesting the old rite.

Parish reaction to the introduction of the old rite would find a few “very favourable”, a few “strongly against”, and “the substantial majority who simply wonder what Father is doing now”. [sounds about right] It was, Fr Finigan said, “important not to neglect this majority of our parishioners in deference to a vocal minority”.  [A reasonable point, though admittedly the minority needs attention also.]

When I spoke to Fr Finigan he admitted there had not been a stable group at Blackfen who had requested Mass in the extraordinary form as set out in the motu proprio, [Huh?  Not even three?  That is all there is needed for a coetus. I thought there were six.] but over a period of time he said most parishioners had accepted the liturgy and some, particularly young people, had become very enthusiastic about the old Latin Mass. He pointed out the three Masses in the ordinary form that people could attend on Sundays, adding: “I am not going to be able to please everybody. I would like people to gradually be able to settle down and accept the way things are now.”  [reasonable]

The parish priest rejected the idea of a consultation [Again, the usual liberal line is that everything has to be done by consensus.] or the setting up of a parish council on the grounds that it would be a “bear pit”  and “people would be at each others’ throats”. With regard to the parish’s finances, he said he was arranging to get help so that a summary of income and expenditure could be published for parishioners.  [Okay… so he did in fact respond.]

Fr Finigan put me in touch with five parishioners who support the changes at Blackfen. One was a mother of seven-year-old twins, Wendy Kane, who lives just outside the parish boundary and has been attending Our Lady’s for seven years. She felt delighted with the liturgy and said it had strengthened her faith and that of her family, adding: “The extraordinary form is not what I grew up with and I never experienced it before. I personally find it a beautiful form of worship.”

Another supporter, Julia Jones, a 38- year-old teacher who moved to the parish last summer, said: “I have been very moved by the silence and palpable feeling of devotion, especially during the Eucharistic Prayer. I have gained greatly from the experience in only a few months. I really do believe that I have found ‘the pearl of great price’.”

Bishop Lynch said this week that the whole parish needs to build communion through prayer and social activities. “You need a situation where people respect diversity but can also come together,” he said.

Fr Finigan trained for the priesthood at the English College in Rome and has worked in parishes in south-east London for 23 years. Through his blog, The Hermeneutic of Continuity, which recently had its millionth hit, he has become well known. He is also a visiting tutor in Sacred Theology at St John’s Seminary, Wonersh; and there can be no doubt that he considers bringing the old rite to his parishioners central to his ministry.

Some welcome what Fr Finigan is doing. It is equally clear that some do not. If Fr Finigan is right, and the priest’s responsibility for the liturgy in his parish is absolute, there is nothing parishioners can do about it. And there could be many more Blackfens in the future. [And that, folks, is the real point of this article.]

The progressivists are terrified.

They are afraid that Fr. Finigan might succeed. 

They are attacking him in order to discourage other priests from doing what Fr. Finigan is accomplishing.

They hate what he stands for and they earnestly will work for his failure. 

And not just failure. 

They want him to fail and suffer in his failure.

They will do anything and to anyone to prevent the older form of Mass from resurging.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in SESSIUNCULA. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Confiteor says:

    Disgusting. The Pope is too kind to these rabid dogs.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: real schism is coming. Let them leave. Good riddance.

  2. irishgirl says:

    What you said, Confiteor!

    Fr. Finigan, keep up the good fight; don’t let the liberals win!

  3. Fr Edward says:

    There are tears running down my cheeks.

    God bless you Fr Tim!

  4. Prof. Basto says:

    I almost posted a coment with the F. word directed at this Elena. But then I deleted it, before sending it, because I dont want to be excluded from this blog, which I assume would have been my punishment. Perhaps this extreme reaction is due to my Latin roots.

    Which brings me to the question. Are you sure, father, that the use of the expletive is never justified? Even against bigots such as this woman?

  5. Chironomo says:

    I continually come back to Joseph Ratzingers statement that he envisioned the possibility of a much smaller but more Orthodox Church carrying on the faith at some point in the future. Perhaps someone out there remembers which writing this is from, as I don’t recall. The lines are being drawn and it looks like both sides are armoring up and preparing to do battle. If neither side backs down, won’t there eventually have to be some kind of statement, action, document or whatever from the Holy See? Can both sides continue to be seen as being “right”? I don’t think so…

  6. Steve K. says:

    I nearly fell out of my chair with laughter at this:

    “Between 30 and 40 people no longer attend the church ”

    Really. So now the progressives, after having driven millions upon millions of people out of the Church, wrecked religious communities to the point of their near extinction in the West, and caused a precipitous drop in priestly vocations with their kooky, ad-libed liturgies, their un-Catholic beliefs and the rest of the Spirit of Vatican II madness they imposed on the church, now, at long last, suddenly care about church attendance? If that isn’t chutzpah, I don’t know what is.

    Get thee behind me, Satan.

  7. r7blue1pink says:

    I just shrug my shoulders…

  8. AM says:

    “Those who prefer to stand for Communion and receive it in the hand say they feel selfconscious doing so at Fr Finigan’s Masses. ”

    Oh, don’t worry. I had that problem when I started kneeling to receive, at my parish. You’ll soon get used to it; I did.

  9. RANCHER says:

    Said it before, will say it again. The Roman Catholic Church” “the fewer, the prouder, the more orthodox”. Quality before quantity. Let the CINO crowd defect. It’s happened before and the one true Church continues to survive. God Gless this Priest and others like him.

  10. Matthew says:

    In light of Williamson affair, the far-left has declared war. Not even Fr. Finigan, one of the brightest stars of the “reform of the reform” is immune. Yet in a way, we should be glad–this is wonderful publicity, and makes Elena Curti look petty. The best thing that we, as loyal Catholics, can do, is respond to this with charity. I know it’s tough, but responding to vitrolic spew with Christian meekness only makes the tabletistas seem like they are tripping over each others’ walkers and canes to take pot-shots as genuinely holy people. I offer this advice because I know how beloved Fr. Finigan is, and how this article isn’t going to go over well with thousands of people worldwide.

    Confiteor makes mention of a liberal schism. Although I don’t think things are that divided, we are undeniably undergoing a major paradigm shift in the Church–a shift, if I may borrow a phrase, from a Hermeneutic of Rupture to a Hermeneutic of Continuity.

  11. ASD says:

    Fill up her email box with messages to this effect:

    Thanks for article about Fr. Tim Finigan, P.P. of Our Lady of the Rosary in Blackfen. It sounds like a wonderful parish. I wish our local parish was more like it. Regards, XYZ.


  12. Luigi says:

    “The group describe feelings of irritation, discomfort and sadness…”


    Irritation is a Mass where we are subjected to hymns whose lyrics are such that you’d rather be martyred than profess the words in the town square.

    Discomfort is the stares you get when you don’t join the rest of the congregation in clapping for the catechists / the organist / the couples who have an anniversary coming up, etc… during the Sacrifice of the Mass.

    Sadness is knowing that most of these poor fools have no clue what they are doing.

  13. Maureen says:

    So let’s get this straight.

    Every Sunday/vigil, Father says the ordinary form Mass 3 times and the extraordinary 1 time. This is horrendous and oppressive.

    Father does a lot of free work for the parish and the nation’s priests, as well as blogging. This is horrendous and oppressive.

    Father wants everything to look nice and orderly, and this is horrendous and oppressive.

    There’s one Mass which in true 1970’s style doesn’t have singing, because nobody volunteered to play the organ, and this is horrendous and oppressive.

    The people of the parish choose either go to some Mass or not, and this is horrendous and oppressive.

    Oh, God of Justice and Love, who shall deliver us from Blackfen’s Evil Mastermind ?

  14. Garrett says:

    Ms. Curti’s “journalism” makes my skin crawl. Perhaps she should take notice that young Catholics such as myself (I am 22) are by and large favorably disposed towards Tradition, while those who are hysterically against it are, shall we say, a little long in the tooth. Biology will have its way, and the slow, incremental climb back towards Tradition cannot be stopped, no matter how many 60-somethings bemoan it. May God have mercy on all our souls!

  15. jarhead462 says:

    WAAAAAAAA! People can’t socialize in the Church. WAAAAAAA! EMHC’s and readers feel left out! BOO HOO! Father wants people to kneel. SOB SOB, snif! Father wants his Parish to act like actual Catholics!
    Go Fr. Finigan, Go!

    Liberalism is a mental disorder.

    Semper Fi!

  16. JC says:


    Just did that! Great advice.

    I wish my PP in Vegas would at least have a crucifix in our church (no joke). Blackfen is blessed with Fr. Finigan. We need much more like him.

  17. Gail F says:

    This is one of the loopiest things I’ve ever read. You don’t see until the end of the article that this Fr. Finegan has THREE other weekend masses, none of them Tridentine. Aw, the poor people who don’t like it have to go all the way to — well, nowhere else. But they have to wait as much as — well, a couple hours. But the N.O. mass is being — well, the N.O. masses outnumber the Tridentine one three to one. So really there is NO STORY HERE AT ALL, if you’re looking for a story about “traditionalists trying to turn back the clock for everyone” or some such thing.

    Confiteor, that was not exactly a charitable wish.

  18. Steve K. says:

    Prof. Basto, could you have just posted a link instead? That was quite long.

  19. leo says:

    WOW! This article is beyond vile!

    As Father said: Playing upon people’s emotions to elicit a reaction against Fr. Finigan (or better yet: The Traditional Mass in general) is not only a cheap shot but also not really an argument. The problem is, that using emotions, whining, crying, sobbing, trampling on the floor, blowing the nostrils, turning on the heel and walking away in indignation has become not only fashionable but also quite accepted since the sixties and the charge of the feminist juggernaut.

    The positive thing is, that I can practically smell those people’s fear.

  20. Maureen says:

    It might also backfire, in that I’m sure there’s very few people in parishes, whether they’re priests or sacristans/Mass coordinators, who will be thrilled at the prospect of a magazine presuming to pass judgment from afar on their altar decor and parish doings. A blogger is just some chick with an opinion and a digital camera, but a national Catholic news magazine? Caring about little itty bitty Blackfen?

    On reflection, I think maybe those Paddy Power betting numbers must have really scared someone….

    In fact, this whole thing is a considerable backhanded compliment. Apparently, the really newsworthy centers of influence are Westminster and Blackfen. What next, a full color feature on the vast political clout wielded by the parishioners of St. Tiny’s of Podunk Parva, the true rulers of our world?

  21. LCB says:

    30 or 40 left because of liturgy?

    Wait wait wait… so, when people leave because of liturgical change a bad thing has happened>

    So, follow me now, what the sandalistas did, driving millions away, was… a bad thing?

    So, let me get this straight, the change of liturgy that caused 30 or 40 to leave…. should not have happened?

    Okay, I’ve got it now… the ORIGINAL CHANGES shouldn’t have taken place!

    That means, according to the very logic laid out in this piece, Fr. Hermeneutic is undoing the original changes that shouldn’t have taken place, and thus doing the right thing!

    If there was any need for proof that the liberals reject logic and reason entirely, this is it!

  22. Maureen says:

    Read that as “A blogger like me is just a chick or guy with an opinion and a digital camera”

  23. Edward Martin says:

    Interesting to note that the ones in favour of the TLM are the under 45 crowd and the \”progressives\” all appear to be retired types.

    I was looking at a poll on the \”4Marks\” social networking site, \”What change would you like to see in the Catholic Church\”. There are over a 1000 responses, so not a bad sample size. The results can be broken down by age groups. The results were telltale.

    The number one desired change with those age 50 and over – \”let priests marry\”!

    The number one desired change, after \”removing dissident bishops and clergy\”, for those under the age of 40 – \”bring back the Latin Mass\”

    I laughed about the comment that adult children who attended at Christmas and Easter didn\’t like it. So they go to Mass twice a year and the Mass should be made to appeal to them? My own parish priest told me last Christmas, \”whatever you do don\’t come to the 8pm Christmas Eve Mass, it\’s a nuthouse (or something akin to that)!\”

  24. jack says:

    It’s war now. Let’s grab our spiritual AR-15s, put on our spiritual gas masks, dig our spiritual trenches, and follow our spiritual commanders, among them Fr Finigan.

  25. kate says:

    The Title says it all, really, ‘That was not my Mass’.

    I have ownership of the Mass,no liturgy except the one I favour,I have to see each and every movement of the Celebrant because seeing is understanding and if the priest doesn’t give me Mass in the way I favour he’s not doing it properly.I can complain because Priests are there to serve me the way I want to be served,and the way I want is best for everybody,anyway.
    Mass is about what I do for God and the Priest needs to remember that………..
    I’m going to be praying for Fr. Finigan and his Parish, and for the Diocese- I hope that it will give such an exemplary priest its fullest support.

  26. Lourdes says:

    Edward Martin – “..the ones in favour of the TLM are the under 45 crowd…”

    Please, let’s not start splitting people by age group. As someone who is over 50, I attend the TLM in my diocese and the ages are spread out from 40ish to retired with a few young families. Believe me there are problems in every age group. The TLM is not going to be revived by the under-45’s alone.

  27. Balbino Katz says:

    Dear Father, you wrote :« Furthermore: churches are sacred spaces for the worship of God. They are not meeting halls or parlours. » I wonder if this point of view could be understood as anachronistic. [In which direction?] Once upon a time, I mean during Middle Ages, churches and cathedrals were also busy meeting places for lay people. [Sure they were. And I have seen a church in Rome, designated for the Chinese community, rapidly transformed into a place for a reception for Card. Zen who was there saying Mass. Pews were moved aside, temporary tables erected and food served. The point is, however, they used the church itself because they literally had no place else to go. We have to be reasonable about our Father’s House. But when you have a nice garden and a hall and a PUB, for pity’s sake, your church isn’t where you chat.]

  28. Kelseigh says:

    Steve K:

    Here is a link to Fr. Finigan’s level-headed response to the vomitous Tablet article:


  29. Maureen says:

    Balbino Katz —

    Once upon a time, there were also people hawking snacks inside church during Mass, as well as chickens and dogs wandering around. And pickpockets. And the odd in-church assassination.

  30. Prof. Basto says:

    Sorry Steve,

    If Father thinks fit, let my post be deleted. I am quite disturbed by this news. And indeed, a link would have been better. But, in the wake of the moment, it didn’t occur to me.

  31. Oh how I wish we had Fr. Finigan here in Baltimore, Maryland, USA! The noise in church before and after Mass is so loud you can not have a private prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. You may as well be in a baseball stadium.
    My pastor refuses to have a traditional Mass in our parish. I must go into downtown Baltimore to attend the only traditional Mass in our Archdiocese.

  32. Neil says:

    A low and nasty attack on Fr Finigan. Anyone who has met him (as I have) knows he is a kind, generous, intelligent and able man.

    Father, for your information. re CAFOD.

    You don’t know quite how corrupted things are in England and Wales.

    CAFOD is the official famine relief and overseas development agency of the Bishops.

    It has taken a position on the use of condoms in the Third World which has compromised its Catholic character.

    Fr Finigan, and several other brave priests, refuse to collect for it.

    It is beloved of the liberal elites and professional Catholics in the UK, who are very closely associated with the Tablet.

    CAFOD was, for many years, headed by a practising and unrepentant homosexual activist. While this is a great cause for concern, in and of itself, it is CAFOD’s actions and public policy positions that have caused the informed Catholic faithful to shun it.

  33. Marilyn says:

    “The liberals are terrified down to their spandex liturgical dance togs”

    Father Z, your comments always hit the mark, but you outdid yourself with this one.

  34. joe says:

    I would like to thank Ms. Curti and The Tablet for allowing me to exercise magnanimity, longanimity and assorted other flavors of Christian charity as we approach Lent.

    Pray for Fr. Finigan and especially for Ms. Curti, that the rays of Divine grace soften her heart.

    (How this article affects my family history of hypertension, however, is another matter.)


  35. Marilyn says:

    “The liberals are terrified down to their spandex liturgical dance togs”

    Father, your comments are always right on the mark, but this one–well, this one is just too good!

  36. Michael says:

    We can all talk and talk, but my suggestion to all who can reach Blackfen on Sunday: take your cross and go, and persist.

    To all who can’t: send to Father Finigan as much as you can afford, and stop contributing to places for which you are not sure that they deserve it.

    It goes beyond saying: pray for him, and write to his Ordinary.

  37. Fr Steven Fisher says:

    Perhaps I ought to point out to those of you who aren’t aware of it (because you are in America or some other such place!) how widely read The Tablet is. The Tablet has a circulation of just over 23,000; and is shipped to over 120 countries. Just work it out folks. My parish, among numerous others, doesn’t stock it at all. In many parishes it will be one, maybe two copies. Some parishes a few more. I know it also prides itself on how many Anglicans read it. It is basically read by a very small strata of Catholics in England. It isn’t really very influential. But it does take itself very seriously.

  38. Paul the Other says:

    “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

    Me, I think this article is a good thing. The right people are screaming.

  39. Paul the Other says:

    Actually, that’s probably the wrong attitude. I’ll go back to my closet now….

  40. Edward Martin says:


    My comment was more an observation of the people mentioned in the article. The “complainers” were a retired indvidual and two others with adult children.

    The ones who viewed it positively were a woman with 7 year-old twins (most likely under age 45) and a woman age 38.

    Perhaps the split was intential on the author’s part.

  41. Tomas says:

    Matthew: this Tablet screed is more like a Hermeneutic of Contumely. Holy Father, shut this #%@!*& paper down!

  42. Vox Borealis says:

    “Several said their adult children vowed never to go to the church again.’People who have been away from church come back at Christmas and Easter and are totally put off. It is so sad…’”

    Hahahahahahahaha…That’s really funny. I mean, this was meant ironically, right? Because surely the author is not presenting a serious objection that tradition should be abolished to placate people who don’t attend mass, who only show up at C and E. The author, again, cannot want us to take as credible the threat that adult children will “never go to mass again,” when it is clear these are the very adults who never go to mass anyway.

    So, I can conclude only that this is all in jest.

  43. Al says:

    Hmmmm sounds like the Good Father is acting like a “Father” and a “Man” and he is giving his children what they need….not what they “want”. God is great! We need more men like this…bring back strong Catholic Men and Fathers.

    You know who would have made a good Priest? Vince Lombardi! Father Vince Lombardi! Thats what we need

  44. TJM says:

    She sounds frightened. She reminds me of “journalists” in the US who are frightened about Fox News and Talk Radio. They conveniently forget there
    is ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, etc., etc., all available to spread liberal orthodoxy.

    I wish Father Finigan well in all of his endeavors. Tom

  45. Andraea says:

    God bless Fr. Finigan. Don’t get discouraged, frustrated and be saddened. You are on the “Truth” side.

  46. Nathan says:

    Fr. Zuhlsdorf: “They will do anything and to anyone to prevent the older form of Mass from resurging.”

    Spot on, Father. I’m just surprised that Ms. Curti did such a slipshod job of it. The whole article comes across as sour grapes and junior-high level rumormongering.

    In Christ,

  47. Genna says:

    As I suspected. The complainants are all of a certain age and don’t like being “dispossessed” of their weekly chance to be seen sharing priestly duties. Sorry if that sounds mean, but in the parishes I know it’s the same middle/late middle aged faces – usually about 8 of them – who do “the honours” at Mass. They do the readings badly, make the most of their bidding prayers moment by going on and on and on and crowd on the altar as extraordinary ministers so it looks like a train station platform. I once witnessed a woman extraordinary minister who was given a Host to take to a sick person pop it in her handbag. Give me strength. God give strength to the fine Fr. Finigan and may his bishop support him against these mean little egotists who have got above themselves in their shameful vanity and have confused “their” Mass with God’s Mass.

  48. Thomas says:

    Maureen Baldwin- No local TLM? You must go to my Maryland parish in Millersville- oh wait now that I think about it, NO parish other than At. Alphonsus offer a TLM in the Premier See. that you Archbishop O’Brien! ;)

    You know, being the one of two in a parish to do something can indeed make you feel uncomfortable. In my case, I just manned up and kept kneeling. Too bad the Balckfenners couldn’t just kept their whining to themselves and stood in peace.

    I will offer this weeks fasting up for Fr. Finigan.

    Thomas in MD

  49. Antonio says:

    God bless Fr. Tim.

  50. If this is the best that they can do, there’s really nothing to worry about. The Curti article isn’t remotely close to a threat. It reads like high school journalism. It’s a cobbled-together paper of completely expected liberal talking-points. What IS surprising is the space given to supportive voices at the end. I suspect Ms Curti may have been taken aback by the quality of support that the very popular Fr Finigan has, which through his blog ranges internationally (unlike her own!).

    Keep up the good work, Fr Finigan! Don’t let the sandalistas get you down!

  51. Athelstane says:

    Well: It was pretty close to as bad as we expected.

    Regarding EMHCs: However, some people think they must be employed out of a false sense of the role of laity and active participation. I think we all know what the GIRM says here: EMHC’s are to be used if the “size of the congregation or the incapacity of” the celebrant requires it, and no other clerics are available; but we have all seen enough masses where this is plainly not the case – an attendance of a few hundred and yet there will still be the veritable army of EMHC’s up there in the sanctuary. It’s become a kind of ecclesial human right, regardless of the actual need. And always, seemingly, for that small clique of clericalized laity.

    The parishioners might have a real quibble if Fr. F. had converted *all* the masses to TLM, or all but a few inconvenient ones; but it seems most are still OF, and even versus populorum. Maybe more on point is the concern about lack of lay input or oversight of parish finances: here is truly an area where lay gifts can be best used (not in the sanctuary). But I have no idea what the real arrangement in Fr. F’s parish is. It would have been useful if Ms. Curti had really queried Fr. Finigan and given him a full chance to explain how the finances are administered. Can’t see any evidence that she did so.

    She at least bothered to get comments from supports of the new liturgical initiatives – but it clearly felt like a tack-on. At the end of the day we really don’t have much clue how many support it and how many are really opposed, but we are given the impression that the latter vastly outnumber the former.

    Fr. Finigan is, alas, right to reject a consultation committee on liturgical matters – these always devolve into scrums. There is plenty of opportunity for lay roles in the administration of the parish, and smart priests will find ways to help make that happen, insofar as lay interest is present.

    I’d say I’m appalled by Ms. Curti’s lack of understanding of liturgy, or the obtuseness of the upset parishioners (is it really so hard to socialize out in the narthex before or after mass? My God!), but I’m not surprised, alas. At the end of the day, you can’t help but feel that Fr. Z is right: even one traditional mass – or ordinary form mass done ad orientem – would be one too much for the milieu on display here. Sad. Very sad.

  52. Henry Edwards says:

    The progressivists are terrified. …..They will do anything and to anyone to prevent the older form of Mass from resurging.

    Perhaps some one can tell me what they are afraid of. Seriously. This is not merely a rhetorical question.

    For years I’ve devoted more time (as well as talent and treasure) than I could afford to this particular vineyard, promoting the traditional Mass in a variety of ways. And I still don’t fully understand what we’re up against.

    I know what fear is. Fear of not being able to find a Mass free of distractions from reverent worship as I understand it.

    But these “progressivists” have no reason for any such fear. At least not during my lifetime or theirs. The TLM will remain a niche liturgy, and they’ll remain in control as long as they live. They’ll never have any trouble find the liturgy they prefer.

    So, I repeat ….. What, really, are they afraid of?

    Can anybody help me understand this. Seriously.

  53. The liberals really aren’t that peaceful.

  54. Athelstane says:

    One more thing:

    “Those who prefer to stand for Communion and receive it in the hand say they feel selfconscious doing so at Fr Finigan’s Masses. ”

    Unfortunately I’ve actually seen this happen in a very conservative OF community – or at least scattered perceptions thereof. Of course, nothing like the depth or scale of the browbeating that’s been done to communicants trying to receive in traditional posture – I myself have been forced into an in-the-hands posture.

    I firmly believe that the traditional posture is the ideal; that receiving in the hand encourages too much familiarity, too much disrespect and even disbelief in the Real Presence. But it’s also clear that under current rubrics, Catholics have the clear right to receive either way, so long as they do so reverently. Every priest ought to make a point of making this clear every now and then – and I have no reason to assume Fr. Finigan does otherwise.

  55. Jeff Pinyan says:

    I wish I had a Blackfen near me.

  56. kate says:

    Fr.Z., if you thought it was appropriate to arrange a Spiritual Bouquet for Fr. Finigan, I’d be among the first to sign up..

  57. Ron Webber says:

    Exercises in intimidation?

    OH PLEASE!! Don’t make me laugh!

    How much time do you, Fr. Finigan, Thompson and others spend intimidating others? I wonder what Bp. Roche’s view on that would be? I wonder what Dan Hale’s view on that would be?

    Even on this thread there are people suggesting mail-bombing the person who wrote the article.

    Intimidation? Okay, well if the trad blog world wants to make that one stick they will have to get their on house in order first.

    And please don’t give me that rubbish about the blog world being narutally combative and derogatory. Wrong is wrong anywhere.

  58. TJM says:

    By the way, Ms. Curti must be on vacation or hiding. I got an automatic reply to my email defending our friend, Fr. Finigan. I suggested she
    read Sacrosanctum Concilium tonight and then decide who has properly implemented what the Council Fathers called for in terms of the Mass. Tom

  59. Susan Peterson says:

    The attack in this article is designed to magnify a small amount of discontent and make it worse. There is little excuse for the writer.

    There may be some excuse for those who are discontented, in that they were pretty much trained by the Church as they experienced it to have certain expectations of church and worship. The attitudes they have were systematically cultivated and are still being cultivated in many, dare I say, most English speaking (I am ignorant of other places) Catholic parishes. I think most people here have had the experience of being distressed when the type of music and the words of the music offended us, when there was no sense of awe or holiness or dignity at a mass, etc etc. I know that since I have been attending the Byzantine rite, the EF, or the Anglican Use mass, almost to the exclusion of local Novus Ordo parishes, when I return to those parishes I see things which would once have seemed ordinary to me and which now seriously offend my sensibilities.

    There is no reason to think that it doesn’t go the other way around. People who have been taught in their religious ed. classes that the Eucharist is “Our Family Meal as Christians” , that mass should “celebrate the community” and so on, are going to have difficulty understanding truly God focused worship. They may well be uncomfortable and distressed.

    I think Fr. Newman in S Carolina (do I have the right Carolina?) has done a really good job, for instance, of explaining Ad Orientem celebration to his people, with an entire lenten series of bulletin articles about it. Even so, he wrote that for funeral masses and other celebrations likely to have a large number of people from outside the parish he would retain ad populum for now. The Oratorians in Toronto, dedicated to liturgy, have carefully and slowly phased in ad orientem celebration. I think people are able to deal with about one change a year in the basic shape of their worship, and this includes mass times. I think it was a mistake to put the EF for the regular 10:30 mass, which is probably what most people go to who aren’t going to the mass for people with children in religious education. That was sure to cause resentment. The EF people are enthusiastic enough to get up early, so put that one at 8 am, or else later at noon or so. Leave the most popular mass time alone except for one change at a time, phased in very slowly. Explain the reason for each change over several Sundays. You can’t fire all the extraordinary ministers at once. Pick the ones who sometimes don’t show, and thank them for their services, saying the numbers at the X time mass show the need for only two EMHC’s. Eventually work it down to one, and so on.

    I can see how someone who has a pure vision of what mass should be would have trouble with this approach, but any other approach is going to make some people unhappy. I am only surprised that only nine could be found.

    Susan Peterson

  60. Flabellum says:

    This article gives a very different perspective on the revival of the EF in the UK

    A wonderful way for children to encounter God
    By Andrew M Brown
    13 February 2009
    At the London Oratory, the spirit of Vatican II has been shown to mean something. Some parishioners with children asked the Oratory fathers if they could have a Tridentine Mass for families. The Oratory listened.

    And now, once a month (usually) in a Little Oratory crammed with families, Fr Julian Large celebrates Mass in the extraordinary form.

    It’s not an official, publicised Mass because the Oratory already has a full schedule. They fit in this extra Mass to answer a wish of the people and they get as many families as they can cope with.

    There’s even a degree of cultural plurality. Last time I sat next to a patrician young woman wearing a fur jacket and designer jeans (and studying the German edition of Magnificat); the time before that, it was a black lady with her little boy.

    I’ve taken our three-and-a half-year-old son along a few times. He says he likes it, which could be to please me, but he has never resisted. He responds to the purposeful atmosphere of the old rite. It’s all becoming reassuringly familiar for him. We’re going to take his little sister along next time. Small children seem to love rituals like crossing themselves. Some of the mothers teach their children to sing the traditional hymns.

    Generally I must say I’m perfectly happy to go to the new Mass. Before going to these children’s services I had only attended a couple of Tridentine Masses. I remember one about 10 years ago. No one said anything. Everyone but me had a missal. Some people pressed rosary beads. I noted the odd scowl of pious concentration. I didn’t feel desperately keen to go back.

    The children’s Mass, on the other hand, is a “dialogue Mass”, so you find a surprising amount of participation. As much of the liturgy as possible is in English, the readings and so on. Anyone with a nodding familiarity with the ordinary form would be able to understand what’s going on.

    Fr Julian gives a homily that doesn’t tax the attention span of the young, with light-hearted bits as well as clear explanation of the meaning of the various parts of the liturgy.

    There is a fluidity to his movements at the altar and an ease with the ancient language that banishes artifice and instead gives the liturgy the quality of a natural human expression. In the silences you cannot help but feel the presence of something solid and eternal.

    Really, this Mass is a wonderful way for children to develop a relationship with God. And children have a capacity for apprehending mysteries that can elude the rest of us.

    Above all, I am struck by how normal everyone looked. How refreshing to see a Sunday morning Tridentine Mass packed with the young – fresh-faced children and their proud mums and dads. Is this what the Pope is thinking of when he encourages the widespread celebration of the ancient form of Mass? Might a generation of Catholics grow up who associate the Eucharist with beauty?

    The Sunday before last I went to a church where the parish priest has taken things further than the Oratory fathers. At a parish in Wandsworth, south-west London, the 11 o’clock main Sunday Mass which most people attend is in the Tridentine form.

    It hardly seemed out of the ordinary that for the closing hymn everyone sang “Faith of Our Fathers”. When you go to places like this you no longer see the familiar Church in managed decline. You see a Church brimming with new life.
    (The Catholic Herald)

  61. Nathan says:

    Henry Edwards: “Perhaps some one can tell me what they are afraid of. Seriously. This is not merely a rhetorical question.”

    Henry, you raise a very interesting question, and one that shouldn’t really be answered in the usual terms that many of us reading use.

    Let me take a stab at it, one that admittedly is not completely thought out. If you view the Church primarily what the it seems that progressivists conceive as ecclesiology, then the Church becomes, in effect, a political institution. In that context, power and influence are the prizes to be had. Control and influence in the Church becomes a zero-sum game, so if Fr. Finegan (and his ilk) are allowed to thrive then the “new springtime” is accordingly diminished.

    Or, perhaps less supported by the current discussion–maybe they know, in their heart of hearts, that what they support really isn’t consistent with what the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church teaches and has always taught. The only way to succeed in (to borrow from that dreadful song) “singing a new church into being” is to completely wipe out any expression of traditional piety or to so marginalize it that no one pays attention. That’s a much more cynical answer, though.

    If that is correct (or partially correct), it wouldn’t matter if they stayed in their positions or still had parishes where they could practice as they wanted. The simple fact that parishes like Fr. Finegan’s had a place in the Church at all would be, well, anathema.

    Could you use the leadership of the Episcopal Church in America as an example? It’s simply not enough that they marginalized any parish or group that might have any problem with sodomy or abortion or women clergy as the pinnacle of human achievement. They are completely inflexible and would rather they left their church than to cause them any reason to “celebrate their diversity.”

    Does that make any sense, Henry?

    In Christ,

  62. Erin says:

    Father, what is the reason that Communion is given under only one species at the TLM or sometimes at novus ordo Masses in more traditional parishes?

    I assume sometimes it’s due to a lack of priests to distribute Communion, but as I understand it the TLM always has Communion under one species only so that can’t be the sole reason.

  63. Bob K. says:

    Boy that sounds like a parish I would want to be part off. It actually sounds Catholic!.

  64. Flabellum says:

    Erin, communion under one kind is the norm in both the OF and the EF. There is legislation that permits communion under both kinds in certain defined circumstances in the OF. It has not been customary in the EF.

  65. Stephen says:

    The devil’s pitchfork does goad the progressivists on.

  66. Erin says:

    Also, I don’t really understand what the people are so upset about. I don’t want to attend a TLM, and so – get this – I don’t. It’s not like Fr. Finnegan has banned the NO Mass. If some parishioners don’t like the TLM, why don’t they just attend the NO?

  67. Nathan says:

    Henry Edwards, one more thought. If Father Zuhlsdorf is right on the “gravitational pull” of the TLM on the OF, then the leaders of a progressive parish might not want Fr. Finigan’s parish next door, and especially not encouraging vocations!

    In Christ,

  68. Erin says:

    Flabellum, I know that, but I’m asking, why is it the norm?

  69. Matthew says:


    Communion only in the host in the TLM has nothing to do with shortage of priests, but Dogma and tradition. The council of trent solemnly defined that the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ is contained in the Host. There is no need or spiritual benefit in receiving the Precious Blood additionally(unless, perhaps, you have a gluten allergy and can’t recieve the Host). It is also far easier to spill the Precious Blood, a grave disrespect to the Holiest thing on Earth. I am not sure what the Early Church policy on Communion under both species was, but practice developed organically into just the Host at some point. Also note that Sacrosactum Concilium says that the people should recieve the Precious Blood on special occasions–weddings, religious professions, etc. It was never meant to be an everyday thing. Remember that practice in the East has been quite different.

  70. Father Totton says:

    WOW! When I read the article (with Fr. Z’s Emphasis and comments) I was given the impression that Fr. Finigan had pretty much obliterated versus populum from ALL Masses at Blackfen. It is a very unfair characterization. Then I went to the parish website to realize that the EF is really a very small percentage of Masses offered in the parish, and in fact, that there is little (even for a progressive) to object to based on what is offered here. In fact, if Blackfen is as bad as Curti describes, then my own parish is infinitely worse! [and I consider us to be moderately centrist – others would disagree!]. WOW! I don’t know what else to say.

    I am reminded of a conversation I had the other day with a funeral director. The family of the deceased had asked that I use the white pall for the funeral [default is black]. They were pleasantly surprised when I acceded to this simple request, even agreeing to wear white vestments. At which point, I explained to him [the funeral director, NOT the grieving family] that ours was truly the most liberal parish in town. We give people options [as Fr. Finigan does at Blackfen]. Mass is said in both forms of the Roman Rite, in both Latin and English for the Ordinary Form. The faithful may choose to recieve Holy Communion Kneeling or standing, they may choose (though I have my preference) to recieve Holy Communion in the traditional manner, on the tongue, or, according to indult, “in the hand”. Finally, they may even choose the color of vestments worn at funerals (Black, Violet or White according to the IGMR). I know of few parishes which give people so many options, and I challenge those who consider themselves “liberal” to live up to that title, instead of hiding behind the word.

  71. Simon Platt says:

    Dear Erin,

    I think Matthew is quite right, but I should like to add also that many heretical sects* deny the truth of the dogma that Christ is present entirely in either species, and require distribution of both bread and wine in their services, for reasons of symbolism. Of course symbols can have great value, and for exactly that reason our Holy Mother the Church permitted – indeed mandated – reception under one kind only, the better to demonstrate this central truth of our Faith, against the errors of the heretics.

    Communion under both kinds – of course I mean for any other than the celebrant – is a very recent novelty.

    This subject is so important, I hope Fr. Z or some other Rev. Fr. will chime in and correct any error Matthew or I might have made.

    (*I know, “heretical sects” sounds dreadfully unkind. I’m sorry about that but I think it’s necessary honestly to call spades “spades” in this context.)

  72. Steve K. says:

    “If some parishioners don’t like the TLM, why don’t they just attend the NO?”

    Because it’s not about that for them. Read Nathan’s good summation above, that really captures a lot of it. If I can add, they (the progressives) are very clear to themselves what this is all about: their version of the Faith and what the Church should be is not just different that what it has always been up until about 40 years ago (which would be bad enough), it is opposed to it, and cannot exist side by side to their minds. They want the Catholic Church to be what they wish it to be, and as long as the Faithful has an alternative to what they wish them to believe, that can’t happen. So it’s not enough for them to worship as they please, they must stamp out traditional belief, other people cannot be permitted to choose something other than what they, the progressives, want them to believe. This is called institutional capture, the “long march through the institutions,” you can read about it in Gramsci, and the progressives/ the Left have been waging this against the Catholic Church for decades now.

    So it’s not enough for them to go somewhere that accommodates their kind of worship – they don’t want you or anyone else to worship in the EF, or have any exposure to the Deposit of Faith not mediated through them, because it undermines their attempt to seize control of the Catholic Church and alter it to their wishes. As hard as it is to believe sometimes, underneath all that happy clappy can be found a raging, unholy hatred against the traditional Church and her teachings. This is a spiritual war we are in, and Ms. Curti’s execrable article is a shot fired against the faithful in this war.

  73. Henry Edwards says:

    Thank you, Nathan, for a couple of excellent answers that I’d not formulated in such clear cut terms. Namely, in their view (1) that whatever we win, they loose (zero-sum wise), and (2) that their massive failure cannot compete with even a modicum of our success, so our genie simply cannot be let back out of the bottle.

  74. Baron Korf says:

    wait wait wait wait!

    Did I read that correct?!?!

    A parish pub??

    That’s almost worth a trip across the pond in and of itself.

  75. Henry Edwards says:

    Yours too, Steve K. I’d comment a bit further, except I’m rushing off to an evening TLM, which where I’m headed must be celebrated under cover of darkness. (Just joking, of course. Or am I?)

  76. Steve K. says:

    Baron Korf, that is awesome is it not?

  77. Mary Ann, Singing Mum says:

    I used to fret about the very same minutia some people whine about in this article, so I humbly acknowledge an understanding of the terror they have inflicted on themselves. The fear is letting go of an errant, if snuggly, ecclesiology.

    My husband and I are seeing the EF in a new, sacred, and beautiful light. Following the example- and writings- of our Holy Father, and a kind auxiliary bishop we trust, our minds have been opened.

    You’re spot on to point out how the writer chases feelings. Were there any substantive doctrinal concerns? Just recently a good friend who is orthodox in many ways expressed an exact gripe about the EF in this article, ‘it isn’t my Mass’. Off-kilter ecclesiology like this really has gained ground. I’m afraid to admit its because of our ‘its all about me’ culture and how the Church has played into that with the way the OF is most often celebrated.

    Fr. Finegan is doing the necessary and painful work of helping his parishioners grow (grow up?) in their understanding of Catholic liturgy and the God they worship. May God reward him.

  78. pelerin says:

    Last summer when sitting outside a church enjoying the sun before Mass in a neighbouring town, I was joined by a lady who explained she was not a parishioner but often sat on this bench. She explained that she was actually an Anglican and after a short conversation she told me she was curious to know whether the newspaper ‘The Tablet’ was a Catholic one.

    I replied with a long ‘Ummmmmmm’ not being sure what I should answer. ‘Oh’ she said ‘ you mean it’s rather liberal.’ At this we both laughed – she had understood perfectly my hesitant reply.

    Many will be saddened by this unwarranted attack on Fr Finigan. To say this has split the parish does seem to be a gross exaggeration as he appears to be offering both the EF and the OF thus ‘catering’ for all in his parish. And this is exactly what the Holy Father wants.

  79. Matthew says:

    I suppose that Fr. Finigan could just suppress The Tablet when he becomes Cardinal-Archbishop of Westminster. He who laughs last…

  80. AnAnonymousSeminarian says:

    Fr. Z,

    Priests like you and Fr. Finigan, as well as the other priests I have encountered who simply pray the Mass (no matter which language or form) reverently and according to the rubrics are of great encouragement to me. You are the examples my generation of seminarians looks to.

    May God bless both of you.

  81. Simeon says:

    Has Ms Curti not read “Celebrating the Mass” – A pastoral Introduction issued in 2005 by the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of England and Wales?

    Par 92 – final section

    “Even before the celebration itself, calm and opportunities for silent prayer and reflection have their proper place in the church, in the sacristy and in adjacent areas so that those gathering for the assembly of the Church may recollect themselves and begin to prepare for prayer together. Providing opportunities for such calm and quiet is one of the many ways in which a community is able to show hospitality to those gathering for worship.” (page 32)

  82. I will offer Friday morning’s TLM for the good Father.

  83. meg says:

    FYI – Fr. Finigan has responded to this piece on his blog.

  84. supertradmom says:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/4679842/Catholic-leader-refuses-to-let-Vatican-figure-hold-Latin-Mass-at-Westminster-Cathedral.html “Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, the Archbishop of Westminster and the most senior Catholic in England and Wales, has over-ruled the society. (The Latin Mass Society),” regarding Archbishop Burke’s invitation to say the TLM in Westminster Cathedral. Are we surprised at the liberal and mediocre staff at The Tablet publishing anti-TLM propaganda, when Cormac himself has created a tempest in a tea-cup? His Eminence could have accepted the invitation to Archbishop Burke to say the TLM is England’s premier cathedral, despite the lack of protocol.

  85. supertradmom says:

    An Englishman told me today that it is no secret that Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor does not like the TLM. Can anyone verify this heavy statement? If this is so, The Tablet is sailing in smooth waters.

  86. shadrach says:

    We should pray for Fr. Finigan. This ad hominem attack is vile; especially the sneaky financial innuendo which, frankly, is slanderous. However, all actions taken – letters written to ‘The Tablet’ or to Ms Curti – should be measured, polite and to the point. If Ms Curti is subjected to the type of sour drubbing that she has given a king among priests by any of us, those who deal it to her will give her and like-minded people the excuse to dismiss our point as the action of sour people. Let’s defy the caricature, confident in the rightness of our position. Every letter and conversation about the sacred liturgy and its correct use has an opportunity to convert people, even hard hearted opponents of what is good and holy. Conversion is always possible: Look at the example of St Paul. We are often unaware of the positive impact even our most casual comments and actions can have… especially on those that oppose us, or on those we are unaware are watching. Importantly, let’s pray for Fr. Finigan.

  87. mfran422 says:

    you know, in reading the hand-wringing of some of the parishoners in that article, over their opression and sadness from the TLM being forced upon them and not being able to “join in” …

    … i can only think, my goodness, how the church hierarchy has failed them over the last 40 years. Catholics are no longer Catholic. being Catholic has been stripped of all meaning and identity. a majority of Catholic parishoners are ignorant of who they are and what they believe. the church has allowed its children to become fools.

    i love and appreciate Holy Father, for his vision of a “marshal plan”, among other things, but where is the urgency? feed the lambs and cut out the malignancies!

    ultimately, Christ’s Church will stand alone in the world, and i have to keep reminding myself to play my part and keep the faith, however many times it feels like i’m beating my head against a wall :(

  88. Brian says:

    [b]”The English Mass made us participants and co-celebrants in the sacrifice of the Mass.”[/b]

    And this is the main problem I have with the Mass said in English. It has led to a complete blurring of roles to the point that parishoners in some cases are attempting to usurp the role of priest. I hear people in the congregation saying aloud the words of the Eucharistic Prayer along with the priest.

  89. Chris says:

    Gail F’s comment above hit the nail on the head- what exactly is “the big shocking story” supposed to be?
    A few people got mad and left (or threatened to leave) this parish?
    A faithful priest is doing something completely in line with Church teaching?
    Wow, okay.

    Did this “journalist” every consider how many people have been alienated by 40 years of progressive liturgies (by people who think its “their Mass”!)???
    I just don’t get it.

    God bless His Hermeneuticalness, Father Finigan!

  90. Brian says:

    This just makes me want to spit. I’ve attended five different Catholic churches in the past three years since I’ve been baptized, and I have not yet been able to avoid the tambourine-clanging, guitar-strumming, hooey that the progressives seem to love. Five churches over three years, in two different parts of the country, and not in ONE have I felt comfortable.

    Sometimes, its too loud during and after communion to just pray and try to focus on Jesus. I have to wait until I go HOME to pray, because the band (generally a collection of aging hippies who can’t let go) is too loud in the CHURCH. We even had an electric guitar last year at Easter! I’ve had to receive communion from old women showing too much skin, angry people slapping the wafer into my hand, and shockingly, even priests who look confused when I try to receive on the tongue. I could not be any more alienated and disenfranchised if I went to a Baptist church! And these people have the gall to whine about ONE church doing things in a traditional, dignified, LEGAL way? As if it were so difficult to find “their Mass”? Why won’t these bullies just leave us alone?

    I want to be charitable, I want to be a good Catholic, but I’m getting to the point where I cannot tolerate these hateful, arrogant, Protestant-wannabe bullies anymore. When is this going to end?

  91. Phil Steinacker says:

    Maureen Baldwin,

    Do you maintain a blog or a web site? The link embedded in your posted name

    is broken.

  92. English Catholic says:

    I too am appalled by this article, and have already written words of support to Fr Finigan, and a polite, but firm e-mail to the editor of the Tablet (Curti in copy) making my feelings plain.
    But please let’s be less rash about wishing for schism. Is this really the greatest gift we want to bestow on the Holy Father? That he goes down in history as presiding over the greatest split in the church since the reformation?
    The tide is turning. Time is on our side. Patience will deliver the prize. Curti and her ilk know this, and articles like these are just their death throes. The younger generation (me included) know where we stand. And it is more than a barge pole’s length from Curti.

  93. Mark says:

    Fr Z,

    I just have one point that I think need clearing up you say “What was their formation at home and in catechesis?]”.

    For nearly 50 years in the UK we have had little or no catechesis either in our Catholic Schools or at Mass. It is understood that the first place of learning the Catholic Faith is in the home, all well and good in theory but how can it be in practice if the parents are not first catorgized effectively from those who are charged with that responsibility, the Bishops and their Priests who have collectively abrogated this responsibility since the 60’s. I know I am of that 60s generation, don’t therefore be surprised or wonder why the troops don’t know the drill, when it hasn’t been required or taught. Forty plus years of woolly homilies, bad hymns and banjos, no don’t blame the sorry pew fodder for the lamentable lack of knowledge in their faith or formation, lool a little closer to home.

    I guarantee if you ask most Catholics in the UK why Catholic and not Anglican (Protestant) they will not be able to answer, and if they could most likely wouldn’t for fear of ‘offending’ their Parish Priest and the helpful brigade of useful fools with their ‘Churches Together’ (heard of that yet) policy and inviting Methodist, Baptist and any other –ist or -ism you can think of to give the homily at Mass.

    Today’s mess in the UK as I strongly suspect in the rest of the west can be squarely laid at the feet of the clergy from top to bottom, we never asked for Vat 2, but we have had to live with it.

  94. Sam Schmitt says:

    “Perhaps some one can tell me what they are afraid of. Seriously. This is not merely a rhetorical question.”

    It’s all about “lex orandi, lex credendi.” Liberals know that the way we worship is intimately connected with what we believe. Worship that is faithful to objective norms instead of the whims of the assembly, is rooted in tradition instead of the trends of the last generation, that takes the power of beauty and reverence seriously instead of disparaging it, is centered on God instead of ourselves – liturgy like this this can’t help but turn people’s minds toward a fullness of Catholicism that is sadly lacking in many parishes.

    Once a more traditional form and/or ethos of worship gets accepted in a parish, it’s the beginning of the end of the liberal agenda, and they know it. People become connected to their true heritage and begin to realize that what has been offered in its place is, at best, superficial; at worst, false and dangerous.

    As Fr. Z keeps reminding us – “Save the Liturgy – Save the World!”

  95. Mary Rose says:

    Dear Fr. Z,

    I was so incensed over this article that I blogged my response. I am sending a link to Ms. Curti. Her hit piece on Fr. Finigan was flat-out inexcusable. I tried my best to be charitable.

  96. Matt says:

    I have to say, it\’s ironic to listen to \’conservative Catholics\’ decry the methodologies used by \’progressive Catholics\”. Haven\’t you paid enough attention to realize that they are just using plays directly out of the playbook that you all started to use years ago? I remember the newspaper ads that the \”Roman Catholic Faithful\” took out calling different bishops \”heretics\”…I remember listening to a nun in Alabama preach disobedience to a Cardinal….

    None of this is new…it\’s just that the pendulum has swung in a slightly different direction at this moment in the church\’s life. It\’s fine to want to be upset with biased journalism and progressives hiding behind buzzwords. However, this is the same thing that conservatives have done for years. Conservatives for years have attempted to seize a moral high ground that was never in dispute. And now you\’re upset because there is a backlash from differnet parts of the church…

    How are you even surprised?

  97. DM says:

    This rag is sold at the bookstand at the back of my church. Is there anything one can do to end the parish habit of placing this poison in the hands of innocent parisioners?

  98. Jordanes says:

    Matt said: It’s fine to want to be upset with biased journalism and progressives hiding behind buzzwords. However, this is the same thing that conservatives have done for years.

    Something traditionalists have never, ever done, of course, since they indisputably occupy the moral high ground . . . .

  99. Tom in NY says:

    Further proof, in American: “Orthodoxy sells.” At your next dicastery meeting in Rome – “A lesson the Church can use from the commercial world is that a strong identity attracts and keeps customers.”
    Salutationes omnibus.

  100. Matt says:

    No…they don’t indisputabily occupy anything….they answer arguments with answers that were never in dispute…

  101. priest up north says:

    Thank you Father for your commentary on this article. I found it somewhat disturbing (and humorous) that a “too smart for his own good” priest of diocese I serve (Duluth) felt need to e-mail this very article to some of us – probably from the motive of support for the author and the disgruntled parishioners that it focuses upon. I was tempted to send this man the link to your blog, (for the sake of your commentary), but I do not really care to engage this man on these issues (especially since I am his mother’s pastor, and he surely hears more than enough about the ways I hope to lead the parish, for which he will probably confront me someday…)

  102. mafeking says:

    Jealousy, jealousy. The Tablet strikes me as some kind of green-eyed monster jealous that somebody else in the playground is more popular.

    I think this article is good news and shows the devil is going fists flying at the most important targets. First Benedict and the SSPX, now Fr. Tim. Watch out Fr. Z and Fr. Ray (Blake) something tells me you’re next. The devil obviously reads the internet. He will go after anyone who’s important in changing the tide of opinion.

    It’s interesting to contrast all the nonsense of the past two weeks with the devil’s reaction to the ‘spirit of V2’. He didn’t say a dickie-bird. There is definitely something satanic about all this reaction. We must be back on the right track and B16 has to follow through his changes. Never has a clearer signal been given.

  103. “Remember that practice in the East has been quite different.”

    The Body and Blood are commingled in the Chalice, and it is placed on the tongue with a spoon. There is a picture here:


  104. Paul Waddington says:

    I recommend that all readers contact the Tablet and complain about the article. Tjhe address is


  105. David and Janet Elvans says:

    Please, Fr Finnigan, move to Whitby (Diocese of Middlesbrough) though of us who wish to keep to Catholic Tradition in ALL its senses would welcome you here. David and Janet Elvans

  106. Dolly says:

    I’ve not posted a comment on your blog before, but was interested to note your use of the title “His Hermaneuticalness”; I was wondering if you would happen to know who first termed this phrase? [Who else?]

  107. Paul says:

    Ms Curti has form in saying “That was not my Mass”. It’s what she’s been doing since 2003: https://www.thetablet.co.uk/article/3320

    And when I googled her name (go on, try it), I saw that twice already she had appeared here:

    In 2007 and 2008, as now in 2009, the post is headed “The Tablet”, but the byline on the offending article is “Elena Curti”. Hm.

  108. Paul says:

    Oh, and of course just the other day she was on the BBC World Service saying that “everybody” has known for ages that Williamson was a Holocaust denier, so there’s no way the Pope couldn’t have known without being completely out of touch.

  109. Frank Swarbrick says:

    How does one add to all the above comments on the L’affaire Finigan’? Having known Father for many years, I imagine he would conclude these comments by quoting Saint Augustine:

    “In necessariis, unitas; in dubiis, liberatas; in omnibus, caritas” – Saint Augustine.

    “In necessary things – Unity; In Doubtful things- Freedom, In all things-Charity”.

  110. Jim Gallagher says:

    Sorry – couldn’t bear to read through to the end of the ‘ordure’ so typical of The Tablet, (promoted by every bishop in our land via their cathedrals). Just want to say God bless Fr Finigan and may he keep up the good work.

  111. Jayna says:

    “Four say they can no longer bear to attend Mass at Blackfen, the rest doing so under sufferance.”

    Now they know how many of us feel about attending improperly celebrated OF Masses. Perhaps this will open their eyes to what others have been going through these past four decades. Personally, it blows my mind that someone could find a truly Catholic Mass a sufferance to attend. Maybe that says more about the state of their faith than they would like to admit.

    Father, you are so spot on in saying that they are terrified. My parish is positively infested with entrenched progressives who absolutely refuse to see the changes going on around them. They still believe that they represent the majority of Catholics who are “looking forward” rather than indulging in the nostalgia that anchors us simple minded conservatives to tradition. Just the other day, one of them was lamenting the fact that a parish in the archdiocese had renovated their church to take on a decidedly more traditional architecture. It is absolutely beautiful and all she could do was deride them for wasting money on what she thought was a self-glorifying edifice when they could have been feeding the poor. They are in the last throes of their “revolution” and they can’t stand the fact that their vision of the Spirit of Vatican II is itself being renovated.

  112. Thomas says:

    Thank you Catholics of the US for your sympathy and understanding. This article is deplorable – insinuating, distorting… but that’s par for the course for the once-great Tablet these days. With that crude suggestion of financial irregularity, Miss Curti may well find herself on the wrong end of an action for defamation. Many of the faithful here are seriously annoyed.
    As the English say, ‘we don’t want to fight, but by jingo if we do…’

  113. I often wonder when I hear or read comments/articles what Jesus would have said.
    Father, I think He would have supported you by carrying you on his shoulder so there were only one set of front prints.
    So that those who try to bring you down cannot reach you and when those who throw falsehoods at you He will have blocked the sound from your ears and when they twist meanings and truths He will give you the gifts of the Holy Ghost – wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord.
    I only wish I had a Priest such as you at my parish.
    God Bless and know you are supported by those who know you and those like me who admire you

  114. Joe says:

    You’re questioning attitude ‘but has it really’ shows that you obviously are biased. Many associates have have linked me time and time again to various posts of yours and I am always sickened by the total bias. You are just as bad as those you oppose.

    “as a result of which his back will be to the congregation” That is a statement of fact, and you are reading into it and drawing your own conclusions based on your agenda. The lession of Jesus concerning the splinter in the brothers eye but the log in the others comes to mind.

    The current ‘infighting’ in Catholicsm is almost laughable if it weren’t so pathetic.

    “They claim that most of those who welcome the trend are newcomers living outside the parish. [So? Liberals never travel to find the Mass they like?]”

    One is supposed to support their own parish, not church hop to whatever type of Mass you like regardless of TR or NO form.

  115. ex-Blackfen parishioner says:

    I am an ex-parishioner of Our Lady of the rosary blackfen. I am a teenager, and I attended mass there every week without fail for 15 years of my life. My family and I moved parish about a year ago. I would like to say that I did not feel I had to move because of the introduction of the traditional latin mass, and in fact, I think it is wonderful for a small church like this one to have a broad variety of worship- that way, there’s always a mass that suits everybody. What I did find upsetting was that the main masses were said like this, even though from knowing the people in the parish, I would say the majority preferred the English mass. I also would like to pick up on the fact that in the article, it states that this traditional way of worhip attracts young people- I think this is quite absurd. I attended Our Lady of the Rosary school, and had many, many young friends in the parish, I can confidently say that almost every single one of us prefer English mass (obviosuly with the odd exception). My other problem with the church was the fact that, after seven years serving on the alter almost every week, I felt unable to continue doing so, for the simple fact that I am a girl; boys of a much younger age than me were getting far more important jobs on the alter and I was given what I was call ‘beginners’ jobs. I felt pushed out. I think that this was unfair, especially seeing as I had been so devoted and given up so much of my time to help the church through serving- I know that I am not the only one who felt like this.

    What I don’t understand, when the Catholic church should be a place of harmony love and most importantly togetherness in the Lord, is why we cannot simply strike a balance, where everyone can be happy and enjoy the church community. There shouldn’t be all this bad feeling.

  116. Great to hear that you are still going to Mass and I hope all is going well with you. The sad thing is that with the teenagers in the parish, the majority stop going to Mass by year 11. I’m sorry if you felt that you got the less important jobs when serving. As far as I know, the girls get good jobs at the Masses where they serve. But I don’t generally dish the jobs out and there can be some unfairness sometimes – you shoulda told me!

    In fact, as things are now, there are lots of young people who have come to like the traditional Mass – others still prefer the English Mass. There’s something for everyone and it is a pity that some people have got so upset and gone to the press.

    Anyway it is good to hear from an ex-parishioner and do get in touch if you want. (rosary@freeuk.com)

  117. Good on Father Finigan. The reason these people object is because they love being on the altar themselves showing everyone how holy they are when dishing out communion or reading scripture. Bring back the traditional Mass, even if only as a means of getting these show-offs away from the sanctuary.

Comments are closed.