The Tablet attacks Fr. Finigan, then tries to silence his response

This is hilarious.  His Hermeneuticalness, Fr. Tim Finigan, who was recently the object of a mean-spirited hit-piece by Elena Curti in the pages of The Tablet, writes:


The Tablet have asked me to remove this post because it is a breach of copyright for me to quote their article in full. A new copyright-compliant version is available at the post: Responding to the Tablet – legally compliant version

It is hilarious to see the Tablet failing utterly to grasp the concept of publishing on the internet.

During a recent cordial phone chat about this sad affair, Fr. Finigan and I predicted that The Pill would come after him for responding in detail.

Right on schedule.

This says a great deal about The Tablet.

First, they drag him on a hurdle through the liberal parishes and chanceries willing to swallow the their message.

Then they whine when he frees an arm and bloodies their noses with his bonds.

They want him to go quietly.

Bullies are ever craven.

Second, they are stuck not only in the washed-up ecclesiology of the ’70’s, they are stuck in the ’70’s tools of social communication.

They think they are going to contain what they did to Fr. Finigan.

I checked Wikipedia for The Tablet and found that in 2006 it had a circulation, if the number is accurate, of 23,628.  I suppose most of that involves the copies off-loaded in parish churches.

I get more readers than that every day.

And I hope everyone of them will visit Fr. Finigan’s site!

You know… if they all sent Fr. Finigan £ 1.00 … just to, you know, offset the expense of his ultra-right wing clerical garb …. imagine what The Pill could write about next?  Imagine how irritating that would be to the progressivists. 

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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


  1. big bertha says:

    I think in your rush to make reprisals against the Tablet article, you are overlooking (perhaps deliberately) the fundamental and underlying difficulty about what Fr F is doing in Blackfen. The ‘problem’ arises from his interpretation of SP. has a very good analysis of the motu proprio with a differing rendering of the actual text than his/your position. Many think that so-called ‘traditionalists’ are guilty here of advocating what might be called ‘the spirit of SP’.
    I hope you will allow this differing opinion to remain on your blog to demonstrate your own tolerance.

    [I will allow the link to stand. Frankly, what you posted was way too long for the combox. I want short entries, if possible, not long cut and paste texts. I think that blogger who did that work should be involved in this rather than have you simply bring his stuff over here. He can contact me and we can can create a relevant entry for it.]

  2. LCB says:

    If he had a paypal donation box set up I would do $19.00, one dollar for each century he is in continuity with.

  3. I second LCBs gesture!

  4. boredoftheworld says:

    You know… since The Tablet started it I think the “Pound Fr. Finigan” campaign is a wonderful idea.

    Beyond that the sheer goofiness of this latest move is breathtaking. They publish a hit piece and then go bonkers when the target responds in his own forum … where they don’t have editorial control? Someone should remind the Tableteers that we’re in the 21st century now and they aren’t running the show anymore.

  5. LCB says:


    I have difficulty ascertaining what your actual point is. Perhaps instead of hitting copy & paste, you could explain your view, preferably in something shorter?

  6. boredoftheworld says:

    I dunno Bertha, that wall of text looks an awful lot like a copyright violation to me.

  7. big bertha says:

    Fr Zee, One of your readership [?] in the last few minutes (while i was actually reading it) has scandously changed the wikepedia article to read:

    ”The Tablet is a mean-spirited, grotty little newspaper, published in London and purporting to be Catholic. It has an international readership of about zero.”

    Although the tablet has a circulation of approx 25,000; it has an estimated international readership of 65,000. Compare this to the Catholic Herals circulation of only 20,000 (readership = 43,000). This places into context Damian T’s constant snipping about it.

  8. big bertha says:

    boredoftheworls – the author of catholic commentary has given permission for the blog article to be shared; there is a difference to this and breaching copyright of printed materials.

    LCB – i clearly stated my main point in the opening paragraph (i.e. the article highlights the difficulties associated with Fr F’s interpretation of SP.

  9. boredoftheworld says:


    Lighten up.

    When I was a child one of my babysitters was named Bertha, we used to bring her jugs of seawater to drink. We would watch Hee-Haw on Saturday nights while I ate bowls full of sugar covered orange slices and she drank seawater. I didn’t understand it but it made me laugh, your hysterical fear that traditionalists might just have a shot de-hippie-fying the Church is similarly entertaining.

  10. Jordanes says:

    As I posted in the other thread:

    From the Infallible Oracle Wikipedia, on the “fair dealing” exception to the U.K. copyright law:

    “Beyond non-commercial research, private study and incidental copying, another common exception to copyright is for criticism, review or news reporting. Fair dealing for the purposes of criticism or review only applies with sufficient acknowledgement and provided that the work being criticised or reviewed has been made available to the public. For news reporting fair dealing does not extend to photographs and acknowledgement is only required where reasons of practicality do not rule this out.”

    Sounds like Father Zuhlsdorf is covered, and Father Finigan too. He has acknowledged that it is a Tablet hit piece, one that was made available to the public, and he has republished and fisked it for the purpose of criticism. Ergo, no violation of copyright law.

    Also, Big Bertha, how do you know the person who vandalised the Wikipedia areticle also reads Father Zuhlsdorf’s weblog?

  11. big bertha says:

    Jordanes – because it happened literally within a minute of Fr zee putting up the link.

  12. big bertha says:

    We are in the process [“We…” do you work for The Tablet?] of writing a second article detailing the conservative catholic blogosphere’s reaction to this article, which includes death threats to the author, disgusting smears about the bishops and other dirty tricks like the deflamatory changing of wikipedia. It will certainly make interesting reading.

  13. Irenaeus says:

    Ooohh, we’re quaking. Especially that bit about Wikipedia being changed — good grief, it’s Wikipedia, not a real source of info.

    And isn’t it the Tablet’s fault for starting all this? I mean, usually when conservatives have a complaint about something, libs adopt a blame the victim approach.

  14. Jordanes says:

    In other words, you don’t know that the person who vandalised the Wikipedia article also reads Father Zuhlsdorf’s weblog. It’s also interesting that you say, “We are in the process of writing a second article.” So you work for The Tablet. That explains a lot.

    By the way, where in “the conservative catholic blogosphere” have bloggers been posting death threats against Elena Curti?

    Of course I won’t ask you to provide evidence that the vandalism of the Wikipedia article was “deflamatory.” I’ll just take your word for it that it was fire-retardant or resitant. ;-)

  15. Dr. Eric says:

    “Vandalized” Wikipedia?

    Are you serious?

    *Dr. rolls eyes*
    *Dr. now needs surgery to return eyes to the forward position*

  16. big bertha says:

    By the way, where in “the conservative catholic blogosphere” have bloggers been posting death threats against Elena Curti?

    There was (at least) posted on this blog and subsequently removed by Fr ZEE.

  17. big bertha says:

    We are in the process of writing a second article detailing the conservative catholic blogosphere’s reaction to this article…

    This was tongue in cheek. Get a sense of homour!

  18. chadstei says:

    I just sent an email to Elena Curti telling her my opinion to her article. I can’t wait to see what kind of responce I get. If any.

  19. Athelstane says:

    Hello Bertha,

    Any idea what the median age of The Tablet’s readership is? I’m just curious.

    It is appalling that anyone would send death threats – the Tablet, to anyone, for any reason – but I must say I am astonished that any traditionalist Catholics would resort to such a thing. Can you provide us with any details?

    Finally, regarding Catholic Commentary’s commentary on Summorum Pontificum – 1) I think most would agree that “traditional latin mass” is a bit of a misnomer, given that the novus ordo/ordinary form can be said (and indeed, according to Sacrosanctum Concilium from Vatican II, ought to be celebrated, to some degree) in Latin, which is why most references to it hereabouts seem to be “Extraordinary Form” or perhaps “Gregorian Rite” or “Usus Antiquior.” I think we’re all shaking out the nomenclature right now. 2) It seems hard to credit that the Holy Father would not, in fact desire more celebrations of the EF/UA by issuing his motu proprio, especially given both his comments in the accompanying letter, and statements made by Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos. Exactly how, when, and how frequently such new celebrations should take place is, of course, fodder for further discussion – especially once the Vatican issues the long-awaited clarifying letter on SP.

  20. Jordanes says:

    Ah, so a single threat from a commenter here and removed by Father Zuhlsdorf constitutes “death threats” to the author in the conservative Catholic blogosphere?

    I just stopped by the Wikipedia article on The Table and examined the recent editing history there. I thought it was very interesting that of the vandals there added a snide remark about “Father Zee,” which is one of your shibboleths. Playing a little tit-for-tat, eh?

  21. Dr. Eric says:

    I didn’t know that asterisks made bold. Hmmmm…

  22. Dave says:

    Bertha…. take some time out and go change Wikky to whatever you think it should say.

    It is not a credible site for that very reason.

  23. Richard says:

    The blog quoted in the first comment does not seem to deal with what Summorum Pontificum, and the Pope’s letter issued with it, actually say.

    He says:
    “in my view, the intention [is] that this permission should be used to respond to the situation of those attached to the extraordinary form; it should not, in my view, be used to promote the extraordinary form”

    Yet the Pope’s letter accompanying SP he makes it very clear that he welcomes the spread of the extraordinary form, and sees advantages in that:

    “young persons too have discovered this liturgical form, felt its attraction and found in it a form of encounter with the Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist, particularly suited to them”

    I have also posted this comment on the blog linked to.

  24. Suspicious says:

    Is it just me, or does it seem too much of a coincidence that the Wiki article was changed just while a Tablet employee was reading it?

    I would wonder where the “death threat” came from as well. It is after all a very good thing to use to rubbish your opponents without having to actually deal with their arguments. But that would be taking suspicion too far.

  25. Chris says:

    1.) Father, please get your counterpart across the pond to put a donate button on his site so I can give him money I can’t afford to part with. I’m willing!

    2.) Please set up a second donation box so I can fund whoever is “vandalizing” the Wiki page The Tablet. Hopefully we can fund him/her to do this full time.

  26. Dino says:

    Looks like a battle in the Wiki War. Editing referred to here had been edited (censored?) by the time I could pull it up on the screen.

  27. big bertha says:

    Comment by chadstei — I just sent an email to Elena Curti telling her my opinion to her article. I can’t wait to see what kind of responce I get. If any.

    You will get an out of office reply redirected to her secretary so don’t get to excited.

    Suspicious – I am not a Tablet employee, read follow up comments (was a joke).

  28. Christa says:

    I find it interesting that we are suddenly informed of “death threats” and other malicious activities against The Tablet, which I, for one, never even HEARD OF until Father Z posted this article and Father Tim’s response.

    So, suddenly, rabid American Catholic traditionalist bloggers are suddenly frenziedly editing Wikipedia and making death threats? And right before Lent, too!

    I am sorry to say that my suspicious nature makes me a tad skeptical. I well remember Tawana Brawley and countless others in the United States who made vile accusations, only to later be found to have faked the whole thing for personal gain.

    I require a bit more proof than the word of someone who has an ax to grind, and who furthermore is aligned with a paper trying to stifle dissent.


  29. TJM says:

    Father Z,

    You nailed the Tablet to the wall on this one! They are soooooooooo yesterday. One of the reasons you have more readers is that you post interesting, useful information on current events in the Church rather than rerunning the 1960s and 1970s over and over again.

    All the best,


  30. Mark says:

    Fr. Z:
    For what it’s worth,

    17 U.S.C. § 107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use

    Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include —

    (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;

    (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

    (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

    The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.

    Source: US Copyright Office.

    Seems to me that articles copied in the blogosphere are reproduced for the purpose of criticism, comment, or news reporting. FWIW…YMMV.

  31. Sharon says:

    I think that rather than rushing in and attacking Bertha it would have been better to engage her intelligently and discuss her reservations re the interpretation of SP on blogs such as these.

    Bertha, if in fact your comment . We are in the process of writing a second article detailing the conservative catholic blogosphere’s reaction to this article… was a joke, it wasn’t a very good one in the light of the righteous concern for Fr Finigan on this blog and many others.

  32. RichR says:


    I don’t understand. Doesn’t a person have the right to confront his accuser? If he was publicly attacked in print, he has the right to publicly defend himself.

    Anyway, where’s that PayPal button on the tHoC blog?

  33. Red Maria says:

    Big Bertha’s right about some of the nasty green-inked missives which have been sent to Elena Curti since her article on Father Tim Finigan appeared. I can confirm that she has been the recipient of some very unpleasant hatemail.

    S/he’s wrong on the copyright issue, however and I think the Tablet is also wrong – in principle – and possibly on a sticky wicket legally by demanding Father Tim remove the article from his blog.

    Anyway, The Tablet should abide by the principle of Copyleft.

  34. Joseph Mary Pius says:

    To “Boredoftheworld:” Your entry on jugs of seawater and sugar-covered orange slices is riotously funny :0)

    I think it’s great that the world can see that we are not all a bunch of sour-dour trads, but that a lot of us have off-the-wall, silly senses of humor.

  35. wsxyz says:

    Damian Thompson has posted bank information for Fr. Finigan\’s parish here

    I just sent him ?50 using

    (disclaimer: the only connection between and me is that I have used the site twice now to transfer money to foreign bank accounts)

  36. wsxyz says:

    Ok, so my “pound sterling” symbol didn’t come out right… But let continue to pound Fr. Finigan.

  37. Father Totton says:

    I am sorry, but I don’t get the bit about sea water and sugar coated orange slices.

  38. big bertha: I read the original post you put up here earlier today which Father has now replaced with a blog link. The blog post was composed by “Joe” who I assume is not an alias you are using? I don’t mean that to be snarky. It’s an honest question since nearly everyone in the blogosphere uses an alias, including myself.

    Joe’s main complaint appears to be that he does not see anywhere in Summorum Pontificum a call to “advocate” for use of the EF and he’s concerned because now he sees that happening. There is no call to ‘advocate’ for the EF in the motu proprio-he’s right about that. But, I’m not convinced that the motu proprio, just because it does not directly call for advocating the EF, means the faithful can’t ask for it since that language is in there. I believe that is the “advocacy” that Joe is talking about: people are asking for it.

    That said, the motu proprio does not require advocacy by the faithful since any priest with the faculties to say Mass can use the EF. They don’t need to wait for the stable group of faithful to come over and ask for it. So, Father Finigan would have been entirely justified in deciding to use the EF without waiting for his flock to ask for it. However, I seem to recall Father Finigan saying that he still uses the OF in some of the Masses at Blackfen so clearly there are options available to someone who may prefer one form over the other.

    I strongly disagree with Joe’s claims that the EF has not implemented the idea of “mutual enrichment” with the OF. Maybe the mutual enrichment is not DONE yet because this is a new process but I don’t have any doubt the mutual enrichment is happening. As Father Zuhlsdorf says many times when he uses the phrase “gravitational pull”: both rites will enrich the other. I already see this happening and I predominently attend Mass in the OF.

    I think what Joe is really afraid of is what The Tablet fears. The EF Mass is actually happening. It was even before the motu proprio but now even more priests will use the EF. They fear one day the OF will be gone. I’m not a prophet. I don’t know.

    Sorry for the long comment, and I probably should not be discussing this in depth in Father’s combox, but I felt that some of the commenters here were being a little harsh on you and not really reading what you were trying to say.

  39. Father Totton says:

    furthermore, If Ms. Curti was trying to make a point about Fr. Finigan’s interpretation of SP, that point doesn’t come across. After reading the article, the impression I was given was that Blackfen only offered Mass in Latin (OF or EF) exclusively ad-orientem and with none of the characteristics which, for good or ill, have come to define Mass in the OF. Such is simply not true. The responses I read (both here and at Fr. Finigan’s site) critiqued the original article on that basis – not missing the point at all. Curti describes the one weekly OF Mass as if it were the only one offered in the parish f not true and misleading, ergo, bad journalism.

  40. TJM says:

    I think the OF will survive but in a much more traditional form influenced by the EF. Also younger bishops, priests, and laity, have grown tired of the banal and trite OF liturgies which reflect none of the richness of the Catholic liturgical tradition. Many of them have also become immersed in the Conciliar documents and other documents describing the Church’s liturgical expectations. Unfortunatley, many of Ms. Curti’s generation are hopelessly stuck in the 1960s. I guess they are incapable of growing beyond what they learned during that decade. They also appear to read Sacrosanctum Concilium in a highly selective way because the Conciliar documents certainly do not support the shenanigans many of us see in the typical OF which they are supportive of. Tom

  41. Aine says:

    She’s big bertha here, big benny aka joe at Fr Tims, and again big benny at Holy Smoke blog posting the same link. I haven’t been to other blogs but I wouldn’t be surprised if she hasn’t vsited them.

  42. Subvet says:

    “I get more readers than that every day.”

    And all much smarter and better looking.

  43. boredoftheworld says:

    I am sorry, but I don’t get the bit about sea water and sugar coated orange slices.

    Father Totton,

    I never understood the bit about the sea water either. It confused and amused me, just like Big Bertha.

  44. I couldn’t find his PayPal button. When Father puts it up, I’ll be happy to support him!

  45. teresa says:

    I support Father Finigan unrestrictedly.

    I got to know these modernists even before my own baptism. At that time I was only a catechumen. But they told me that the people who organize TLM try to brain wash new comers. How mean of them! So I know through my own experience that these leftist and modernist catholics are no loving Christians but people with a lot of hatred in their heart. They talk evil about their own brethren and are alway ready to use lies.

    So that is why I dislike and despise these kind of people.

  46. Andrew, UK and sometimes Canada says:

    Tablet defames Fr Finigan. Fr Finigan responds. Tablet claims he cannot respond in this fashion.

    If the Tablet has any sense of fair play (unlikely) they will now permit Fr Finigan to pen a full length article in their next issue.

    Anyone else who thinks this should exercise their democratic rights to petition the editor:

  47. Father Totton says:

    The manner in which the Tablet is using copyright law to manipulate use of their text reminds me of the use of copyright laws by USCCB, ICEL and now GIA to hinder the use of such texts for purposes of evangelization and Divine Worship.

  48. What else would you expect from whining modernists?

    *Big Bertha:* you apparently don’t like the enthusiasm that we Catholics have for our heritage. Why is that? And are you in favor of the “Masses” that Fr. Finigan has shown in his version of “It’s not my Mass?”

  49. dcs says:

    Since satire is protected by copyright laws, perhaps someone should write a satire of the Tablet article in which a parish priest takes the initiative and tries to impose the Novus ordo on his parish.

    These 200 parishioners describe feelings of irritation, discomfort and sadness at the changes that have been made. Those who prefer to kneel for Communion and receive It on the tongue say they feel selfconscious doing so at Fr Happy’s Masses.

    Rules introduced include an insistence that people gossip in the church before and after Mass

    That sort of thing. It might be humorous!

  50. dcs says:

    It practically writes itself:

    There were also complaints about their priest’s refusal to support Peter’s Pence, his trashing of traditional vestments and sacred vessels, and the presence of a ‘clique’ of laywomen who decided how money from the collection plate would be spent.

    “Fr. Happy says the Canon facing the congregation,” one parishioner lamented. I have to look at his face all throughout Mass. How am I supposed to pray the Rosary or slyly read the newspaper while he’s watching me like that?”

  51. terryprest says:

    If you look at the ABC website which produces and audits the circulation figures for newspapers in the UK, you will see that the most up to date figures show that circulation for The Tablet has declined by about 1000 per issue.

    The link is

    One would have thought that they would be glad for all the publicity that they can get these days.

  52. therese says:

    Big Bertha — you are being very approximate when you quote the sales of the Pill at “Approximately 25000”. Here are the audited figures. Needless to say your figure of 65000 international readership has not been agreed with by the Audit Bureau of Circulation.
    Here are the figures from the previous year.

    For those who have not worked in the UK Publishing Industry – ABC figures are the accepted independent industry standard measurement – and all information pertaining to these figures is in the public domain, so it is rather silly of Big Bertha to Big them up and think her inventions and distortions will go unchallenged. Oh sorry – I forgot – that’s just what they do think at the Pill.

  53. therese says:

    Grrr – you have to select the certificates section online in small panel on left, and select “the tablet” to get the current certificate for 2008 – issued in Feb 2009.

    Tellingly the circulation has gone down from 23k+ to well under 23k.

    I am now off to enjoy some schadenfreude and a radox bath.

  54. Calleva says:

    I’ve just written to the Tablet to protest the unfair article by Ms Curti and the Tablet’s subsequent mean-mindedness towards Fr Finigan’s fisk. I did so in measured tones which at no time descended to name-calling. I think that a reasonable tone of measured rebuke will work far better anyway. The Pill is mostly read by people of a certain educational attainment, if you write as one, they will see a potential reader, now lost.

    I can’t see Fr Tim’s email address anywhere on the Hermeneutic blog so I couldn’t send him a copy. It occurred to me that he might be bolstered to receive messages of goodwill in his inbox and I certainly don’t want to block up his combox with a copy of my letter to Ma Pepinster.

  55. Paul says:

    Fr. Z, do you have a link to the original article bu Curti without any comments? Does anyone have a link? Thanks.

  56. Henry Edwards says:

    Cathy of Alex: I strongly disagree with Joe’s claims that the EF has not implemented the idea of “mutual enrichment” with the OF. … As Father Zuhlsdorf says many times when he uses the phrase “gravitational pull”: both rites will enrich the other. I already see this happening and I predominently attend Mass in the OF.

    I suspect everyone sees this “mutual enrichment” whenever he attends an OF Mass celebrated by a young priest who’s recently learned to celebrate the EF Mass. The effects on the new Mass of the spirituality of the old Mass are inevitable. Hmm … might Ms. Curti be willing favor us with a second installment discussing the OF improvements resulting at Fr. Finigan’s parish from the gravitational pull of the EF?

    And, despite my own affection for the TLM as the historic vehicle of the Faith, it’s perfectly clear to me that Pope Benedict is much more concerned with using the EF to rescue the OF from the abuses that have plagued it than with restoring it as the prevalent form.

  57. I have someone who calls him/herself “big benny” posting similar comments on my blog. As Private Eye would say, “I wonder if they are by any chance related?”

  58. ssoldie says:

    big bertha/ big benny As a Traditionalist who attends the “Gregorian Rite Mass” I find your comments moronic, I also find them to be so much babel(trad), but prefer to them as (blather) that sounds more (progressive). But continue, as suspitions are confirmed, and we all need a laugh at least once a day.

  59. therese says:

    Terryprest –
    are you an alias for John Titor? While I was struggling to get the links to the ABC figures I never saw your post (honestly). How did it sneak in ahead – and with better grammar?

  60. ssoldie says:

    FR. Z, How do I send american $ to Fr. Finigan?

  61. pelerin says:

    Calleva – Fr Finigan’s email address is on his parish website.

  62. RBrown says:

    NB: If every mass in Fr Finigan’s parish were Latin Novus Ordo ad orientem, then they would properly be considered the Ordinary Form.

    I wonder whether the Tablettes would object.

  63. Andraea says:

    I can donate $16 in honor of Pope Benedict XVI. God bless Fr. Finigan.

  64. LCB says:

    Please let us know if His Supreme Hermeneuticalness sets up a means to provide him with greenbacks.

  65. RichR says:

    The attack on the Church gets worse…….

    Seems like the world is looking for an excuse to bash many these days.

  66. John Polhamus says:

    Big Bertha, I thought you might like to read my comment taken from my signature on the petition to require an apology to Fr. Finegan. Grist for your “dark…mill.” (That’s a morally “compliant” allusion to William Blake. Mind that textual gap!).

    “It’s so refreshing to see your magazine forced to employ such techniques to defend its deteriorating position, and that of its lame duck Cardinal. To get a condescending response was formerly a sign of progress. To get lies and distortion represents the middle ground on the way to Victory! Vitriol, which is sure to follow, will mark the utter collapse of your position. God Bless.”

  67. Member of the Church Militant says:

    Please sign this petition demanding an apology from The Tablet to Fr. Finigan:

  68. Mitchell NY says:

    For the woman who caused such inflammatory responses, she appears to have been exorcised, she she hasn’t shown her “big” something here in hours…Good riddance..

  69. terryprest says:


    Er, who is John Titor ?

  70. Paul says:

    FATHER Z, do you have a link to the original article bu Curti without any comments? Does anyone have a link? Thanks.

  71. Lynne says:

    “Please let us know if His Supreme Hermeneuticalness sets up a means to provide him with greenbacks.”

    Here’s his snail mail address…

    Father Finigan
    Our Lady of the Rosary
    330a Burnt Oak Lane,
    SIDCUP, Kent DA15 8LW UK

  72. supertradmom says:

    Instead of being incensed that the article has been co opted online, The Tablet should be thrilled that all of us conservatives are actually reading something from it. What a joke!

  73. big bertha says:

    Dear all,
    I have not been ‘exorcised’. I simply had to go to work. I am sorry i am not available 24 hours a day to respond to your comments.
    Yes big benny/bertha are both two sides of my blodosphere identity purely because for some reason my former handle wasnt accepted by one or two of the blogs i was commenting on.
    I am not ‘Joe’ the author of the article which i posted a link to. I have simply posted a well written and thought provoking reflection expressing comments with a differing viewpoint to some here, that is called debate – there’s no neeed to read conspiracy theories into everything! [You (and some others) seem to think this is an open forum. It isn’t. I set the terms and extent of the debate as my whim dictates.]
    I have no particular gripe with the EF although it’s not my preference. However i do support it’s wider use in trying to end the ridiculous ‘liturgy wars’ of recent years.
    The reason i drew attention to this article was because it examines many traditionalist interpretations of SP as exaggerated. The motu proprio permits priests to freely celebrate the EF as their private mass. It does (arguably) not permit regular scheduled OF masses to be supplanted by the EF at will. [The MP does not say that the parish schedule cannot be changed.] I accept most of you will disagree but what you are advocating is perhaps the ‘spirit of SP’ not the meaning stated in, or drived from, the actual text. [Well… so far you have also gone off the text.] The OF reamins the normative form of the mass. [I didn’t see any form of “normative” in the MP.] Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos comments about the pope wanting the EF in every parish are in fact disputed [Really?] and are a bias interpretation of that interview by Damian Thompson. Cardinal Hoyos has not confirmed that this is what he meant to say. [Didn’t he make similar comments elsewhere? For example in his introduction to the DVD of the FSSP?] It was a very public attempt by Damian undermine the A of W which has not gone down well at all, including by Rome. [Who says? You?] Indeed shortly afterwards Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos commented in Rome that ‘these people’ (ie so called traditionalists) are insatiable and are never content. This appears to be a very direct rebuke of Damian’s attempt at mischeviousness. [I was present at the conference in which Card. Castrillon said that. That comment was not aimed at the sort of things Damian Thompson does, but at those who demand too much, such as the abolition of the Novus Ordo, too quickly and in an unreasonable way. Again, I was there.]
    The fact is that the local bishop remains the moderator of the liturgy in his diocese and his decisions regarding scheduled masses still take precedence over individual priest’s personal preferences, especially when resolving disputes such as this case. [So.. you content that provisions of the MP have no force in the face of the bishop’s authority to micromanage parish Mass schedules.] I think this will be a rather hollow victory for Fr F (if it is a victory at all). The bishop will naturally not wat to undermine him in public but i am sure we will see him moved sideways (probably to a traditional parish in the next 12-18 months. [You are trying to sound like an insider. Perhaps you might have the courage to name yourself.] I would also highlight the pope’s comments in SP about the objectional social elements [The Pope wrote about “objectional social elements” in Summorum Pontificum?] to many traditional groups and individuals. Unfortunately the unmeasured response of many to the tablet’s article serves to prove that this remains a problem for the church. [The pot calling the kettle black.]

  74. dcs says:

    The fact is that the local bishop remains the moderator of the liturgy in his diocese and his decisions regarding scheduled masses still take precedence over individual priest’s personal preferences, especially when resolving disputes such as this case.

    I’ve never heard of a bishop micromanaging a parish to that extent, but never mind. The Pope’s explanatory letter to Summorum Pontificum makes clear that these decisions aren’t really up to the Ordinary: “The present Norms are also meant to free Bishops from constantly having to evaluate anew how they are to respond to various situations.”

  75. big bertha says:

    I am not an ‘insider’ (more conspiracy theories?) but we all know how these things are usually handled by bishops so we will have to wait and see if my predictions about Fr F are a fair guess. Perhaps if Fr F had been more responsive to his parishoners [And how would you know he wasn’t responsive? Are you one of the people referenced in The Tablet? Are you going only by The Tablet’s account?] then they would not have felt the need to take the issue to the bishop and the whole affair would not have got out of hand. [Noooo…. some people still make trouble even after you have done everything reasonable to deal with them.] It seems that he was completely unwilling by his own admission even to meet with them and discuss their concerns which does seem a little high handed and i imagine that they very probably (rightly or wrongly)felt that he left them with no other option than to ‘go higher’. [So… you don’t take Fr. Finigan’s account on face value. Gotchya.] Maybe this reflects an outdated authoritarian view of being a parish priest? [LOL! Silly.] Of course this is only speculation [yep] and i acknowledge that he appears to be well loved by many as has been given testimony. Perhaps when the immediate storm has calmed, Fr f will have time to reflect on the whole sorry saga. Personally, i think he (and yourself) would have done better not to have prompted the unleashing of the worst side of many traditionalists. [Which you are perfectly willing to help along.]

    As you know the Pope did make comments about the objectionable attitude of many traditionalists in his letter accompanying the SP. I fail to see how you can in effect defend the many horrendeous attacks that have been made in the conservative catholic blogosphere which is totally out of proportion to the original article itself which was an interesting reflection on the difficulties that may lie ahead if Fr F’s model of implementing the reform of the reform is rolled out across these lands. [“out of proportion”…. I am not so sure, given the last few decades of how traditionalists have been so harshly treated. Still… it is sad to see discord.] Would you not do better to use your position as a respected priest to have tried to calm the excesses of many here and engage intelligently with the debate instead of launching a scurrolous no bars held back counter-attack that only confirms the sterotypes which some hold of traditionalists? [I think I already have. Read some of the other site!]

    I didnt say that the bishop can or should micromanage local parishes but as moderator of the liturgy in his diocese (specifically acknowledged in the SP) he does have the right and probably duty to intervene in situations like this to restore harmony. [Well… were there any more than a half dozen people pushing this thing against Fr. Finigan, that might be the case.] Until the long awaited clarification document on the SP is published, we will have to wait to see what the proper interpretation is. Until then, you could at least be more even-handed by considering the possibility that your (and others) rendering of the document may be a little over-zealous premature. [In the absence of a more restrictive interpretation on the part of the proper authority, perhaps we should follow the Church’s general manner of interpreting the Church’s laws.]

    I cannot see how i have shown an objectionable social attitude other to politely question your interpretation of SP. [Polite is a matter of perspective.] On the otherhand, i (and Eleni Curti) have been bombarded with what can only be considered abuse. [Was what Elena Curti did the right thing to do?] As far as i can see my language has been measured which is in direct contrast to some of things posted by others on this blog and elsewhere. Can i suggest that in the interests of unity you would at least denounce some of the hatred that is being espoused and not give your tacit consent to such objectionable comments which do a great dis-service to the unity of the church (and ultimately the traditionalist cause). As someone who has so far strongly supported the wider availability of the EF, i feel i am having to review my position and wonder if a vast majority of catholics posting on sites like this are not of the Williamson ilk. [If I understand what you seem to be implying, I should just toss you off this blog.]

    Finally may i say that usually i enjoy reading your blog even though if sometimes i do not agree with your viewpoints expressed. I am a catholic in good standing and usually attend Mass at Westminster Cathedral and enjoy some latin (particuarly chant) but also appreciate the benefits of the introductio of the venacular.

  76. big bertha says:

    I address your comments in order…
    We know that Fr F refused to meet these parishoners or discuss the subject of the liturgy from his own admissions (see his long response on his blog). I think this was fundamentally a mistake which directly lead to the issue getting out of hand. If the issue had been aired ‘in-house’ then maybe the bishop would not have felt the need to become involved. [Well… that is easy for you to conclude from a distance. It is a moot point, anyway.]
    On the contrary i think most people [Most… not all. Some people are happy only when they are unhappy.] do not wish to make trouble if they are treated reasonably and have better things to do with their time. These people were committed catholics concerned about what was happening in their parish. Doesnt the new code of canon law say that parishoners have a right to make their views known to their parish priest? Thats a bit hard if he won’t engage with you?!? [I think it depends on how you “engage”.]
    I don’t see that i am helping traditionalists unleash their attacks, [?] i am responding to such comments whch started long before my intervention. I am not responsible for how some traditionalists choose to represent themselves.
    Perhaps the experiences of how traditionalists were treated in the past has left a chip on their collective shoulders but does that justify some of things that have been said? [Justify? No. Explain? Yes.]
    Yes i think we can call death-threats [?!?] and very personal attacks (eg calling her a lesbian etc)as an over-reaction to what was actually said and from some of the comments it is clear that not all have even read the original article. Similarly threats by some to burn copies of the tablet from the back of churches seems like some of the worst aspects of muslim fundamentalism. [Messy, too.] There can be no unity with the pope without unity with the local bishop. Some of the recent personal attacks on the bishops in this country only serve to cause the discord that you refer to. I think they desrve greater respect although of course constructive criticsm is to be expected. I could say the same about some of your comments about our bishops here, ie have you even met them?
    Actually i dont think it was only a half a dozen people that complained only that Elena Curti talked to half a dozen from each side for her interview. [You lost me there. The point is, I think, that very few people complained about what Fr. F was doing.] We can safely assume that many discontent parishoners would not have gone to the trouble of complaining officially and would have simply voted with their feet so perhaps the numbers just reflect the tip of the iceberg? [Tip of the ICEBERG? I think Fr. F offered some numbers about the Mass attendance. He is the only one really in a position to know and, knowing him, I don’t think he would fudge them.] There is some suggestion that many others have left to go to neighbouring parishes which i think is rather sad. [That is simply the way things are today, in a very mobile age. People parish shop. That’s what happens when there is less continuity between parish than once there was.]
    In the absence of the waited interpretative document should we not presume towards the status quo? [I think in the absence of such a document we should apply the usual principles of interpretation, odiosa restringenda, etc..] Certainly, the local bishop is responsible for agreeing changes to the sunday mass schedules which the parish priest says in his name. [So… the PP is just a functionary and the bishop should micromanage Mass schedules. Okay.]
    I cant see from the article that Elena Curti ‘abused’ Fr F at all. [WHAT?] Ok to some extent it refected a position but it was always a commentary not an objective news story and she did give Fr F the opportunity to respond and included his comments. I would think that the proper channel for him to respond is to write to the tablet properly in the proper manner not to infringe UK copyright law – as christians do we not have a duty to respect the law of the land (except for extraordinary moral circumstances which this scenario does not represent)? I cant see that she accused him of financial irregularity other than to point out that he hasn’t published a summary of the parish’s accounts nor is there a finance committee established which i think canon law (but certainly diocesean guidelines) require. I think this was relevant since in the pre-vatican 2 era priests were very often authoritarian in this way(rather than authorative) and so raising this aspect of the character of modern ‘traditional priests’ was arguably relevant. Certainly nothing was said that was slanderous according to UK law and she didnt suggest he was pocketing parish funds. I don’t think it would have got past the tablet’s lawyers had it been ‘dodgy’ as we say in the UK. [That’s your view.]
    I am from the UK and on the news tonight we have seen the return of Willamson and the headlines ‘Catholic Bishop returns to the UK’. I also see the many comments on Damian Thompson’s blog by traditionalist catholics that can only be viewed as an apologetic of his offensive views. We need to be careful to distance ourselves from his position and not give the impression that traditionalist catholics are part of this extreme wing of the church in this country. There is a lot at stake and although the two topics may not be strictly related, they are by the coincidence of the timing. The TV and papers will be preparing articles on Williamson and the church in this country, i hope to God that they do not refer to the conservative catholic blogs or this thing will explode and do as much damage to the UK church as it has done on the continent. It is within this context that i referred to Williamson and for these reasons that i called for a ‘toning down’ of the debate. It’s not very easy being a catholic in this country at the moment and the constant snipes are taking their toil. Sadly some of these are justified as can be given testimony by the tone of comments on many blogs. Let’s not score an ‘own goal’ here!

    [I tuned out about half way through. Your comments are way too long and I have far too much to do. RAbbit hole closed.]

  77. Red Maria says:

    I assume that the comments in red in two of the posts above are by Father Zuhlsdorf. I will address a few of them.
    Big Bertha pointed out that he and Elena Curti have received abusive messages about the article. I can vouch for that in Elena’s case. She has received a number of unpleasant emails studded with foul language and ugly insults.
    In response to that, Father Zuhlsdorf asked “was what Elena Curti did the right thing to do?” to which the answer is, as a journalist, unequivocally yes. If people contact her with information about a legitimate story – which is what happened, a parishioner contacted her about it, not the other way around and something like a dozen of them wanted to speak to her about it – she would be failing in her duty as a journalist not to investigate the story, interview the parishioners and report her findings. No matter how much one disagrees with the article, I think it’s unreasonable to expect a journalist to suppress a legitimate story.
    Father Zuhsldorf spoke of the harsh treatment meted out to traditionalists in recent decades. The point about legitimate stories works both ways. There were many Catholics who felt personally wounded when the Tridentine Mass was snatched away from them in the 60s and felt that the ordinary form was imposed upon them. There are some now who feel a few bishops are obstructing the implementation of Pope Benedict’s Motu Proprio and unreasonably denying them the Extraordinary Form. If such people contact a journalist about their experiences, one would hope that that journalist faithfully reported they had to say.
    I happened to run into Elena Curti last night and asked her about the controversy her article generated. The first thing she said and in fact stressed was that Father Tim Finigan was a very good parish priest who gave exceptionally good pastoral care to his parishioners. [You wouldn’t know that from her article.]
    I should also mention that for all that some traditionalists have a dim view of The Tablet, they’d be pleasantly surprised by some of those who really dislike it. The blatantly anti-Catholic porn-funded abortion front group “Catholics for Choice” was hopping mad at a Tablet piece a few months ago. So it’s not all bad news by any means.

  78. Red Maria says:

    Father Zuhlsdorf said you wouldn’t know that Elena Curti thought Father Tim gave exceptionally good pastoral care to his parishioners from her article.
    I don’t quite agree.
    This is a quotation from the article:
    “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.”
    Incidentally, I mentioned here and on Father Tim’s blog that Elena Curti had received hate mail as a result of her article. Needless to say, Father Tim, who is a gentleman, utterly condemned such actions and he also said that he’d received abusive messages himself about it.
    I realise that people are attached either to the Extraordinary Form on the one hand or the Ordinary Form on the other but sending hate mail to people about it is outlandish behaviour.

  79. Enough is enough is enough says:

    I also read from Fr F’s blog that the sunday evening OF mass he offers is (what is described by one of his disgruntled parishoners on Fr Ray’s blog) as a ‘truncated mass’ without bidding prayers, procession of gifts and other elements (which I can’t fully remember). Given that the prayer of the faihful was one of the elements specifically mandated by VC2, and is prescribed for sunday celebrations, does this not constitute a ‘liturgical abuse’?

  80. RBrown says:

    I also read from Fr F’s blog that the sunday evening OF mass he offers is (what is described by one of his disgruntled parishoners on Fr Ray’s blog) as a ‘truncated mass’ without bidding prayers, procession of gifts and other elements (which I can’t fully remember). Given that the prayer of the faihful was one of the elements specifically mandated by VC2, and is prescribed for sunday celebrations, does this not constitute a ‘liturgical abuse’?
    Comment by Enough is enough is enough

    In so far as Latin is “specifically mandated by VC2” and its use is much more important than bidding prayers, why single out Fr Finnigan?

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