The Tablet’s little scream

What should worry readers in the following is the unavoidable conclusion that The Tablet can’t stand Pope Benedict. The editors of "the Bitter Pill" hold Pope Benedict in such contempt that the editors are willing to objectify even the new Archbishop of Westminster so as to pit him against the Vicar of Christ.

Read on.

When I was in the UK I had some discussion with friends about an interview in the best UK Catholic weekly The Catholic Herald with H.E. Most Rev. Vincent Nichols, the recently installed Archbishop of Westminster, arguably the most influential Catholic bishop in the UK.

Effectively, Archbp. Nichols said that Holy Mass is celebrated validly in both forms of the Roman Rite.  He said that "some people want to create too much of a tension between those two.  He also thinks that when people get caught up in "some aspect of how the Mass is being celebrated or the music that’s been chosen" then they begin to "turn their back on the Church’s ordinary pattern of prayer, the ordinary form of the Mass".

I think His Excellency is right.  There are two forms of the Roman Rite and they are both valid.  He is also right that some people get so worked up about, for example, liturgical abuses and music, that they weaken in their resolve to remain faithful to the Church.  

However, I observe that he made those observations about the newer form of Mass.  Apparently it is in the newer form where that happens.  Also, I would remark in return that it is probably good that people have strong reactions to the manner of celebration of Holy Mass.

Quite a few people I spoke with in England were rather disappointed with Archbp. Nichols rather weak observations. 

They expected from Archbp. Nichols something closer to the mind of the Holy Father.

Now, it appears that Archbp. Nichols wrote an introductory comment for the booklet to be distributed to some priests who will take part in a TLM learning workshop which had, to one extent or another, some connection with the Archdiocese of Westminster.  Apparently the involvement may stem from the facility used for the conference.

That said, this comes from the extremist lefty UK weekly The Tablet comes this editorial with my emphases and comments:

The old rite put in its place  [Already you can hear the high pitched whine of hysteria.]

One of Pope Benedict XVI’s most controversial initiatives has been his promotion of the Tridentine Rite of Mass [Interesting choice of words.  They acknowledge that the POPE is "promoting" this.  But… that would set them against what they know the Pope is promoting….] as an alternative to the revised rite that reflects the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. [What they are doing here is pitting anyone who "promotes" the older form against Vatican II.  Remember: the writer is certainly one of those "rupture" Catholics, who believes the history of the Church was fibrillated back to life in 1962.] Archbishop Vincent Nichols, newly installed at Westminster, has lost little time in defusing some of the reasons for the controversy in a forthright message to priests taking part in a training conference on the Tridentine Rite later this month. [Is that what he did?]

His message is unambiguous, []  and may not please some of those hoping to attend the conference. First, he has insisted that the training conference is officially sponsored by the Diocese of Westminster, “in conjunction with the Latin Mass Society”, thereby keeping it under his control. In church teaching and canon law, he states, bishops are responsible for the oversight of the liturgy. Many feel a bishop’s role in these matters has been undermined by Pope Benedict’s motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum”, which appears to allow priests to opt for the Tridentine Rite regardless of the attitude of local bishops.

Archbishop Nichol gives no shred of encouragement to those who want the Tridentine Rite to replace the newer version. Conference participants “will wholeheartedly celebrate the Mass in each of these forms”, he instructs them bluntly, adding: “The view that the ordinary form of the Mass, in itself, is in some way deficient finds no place here.” People who hold that view are “inexorably distancing themselves from the Church”, he says. There is no scope, in other words, for “Tridentine Rite” parishes that set themselves up in the spirit of being “more Catholic than thou”. Recognising the threat of such moves, Archbishop Nichols is seeking to nip a potential schism in the bud. ["schism"?  Again, that shrill hysteria cuts through.  Remember that Archbp. Nichols in The Catholic Herald said that both forms are legitimate and he associated abuses with the Novus Ordo, not the older form.  Where is the threat of schism?  From those who follow the rubrics and properly avail themselves of the law?  Or is it from those who violate the rubrics and make liturgical choices which are not in continuity with the Church’s tradition?] His firm leadership in Westminster is one that other bishops in England and Wales – and elsewhere – will welcome. The Catholic Church does not need its own version of “culture wars”, and in his message the archbishop in effect declares a priest’s personal tastes or preferences to be irrelevant.  [I have remarked at other times that nearly all liberals do not want to allow that there really is a conflict in the Church.  This is especially true among the dishonest liberals.  There are some few who will admit there is an extreme loony side among their ranks.  Mostly, however, they will only admit that there is a far right and that those people are the only extremists.  The rest of the Church is just fine, thank you very much.  This is the illusion The Tablet strives to create.]

Furthermore the distinctive feature of the Tridentine Rite, and the single most pressing reason why the bishops at Vatican II wanted it reformed, was the absence of any role for the laity. [Rather boring, no?  They have little comprehension about what authentic active participation is.  And so they mouth weary clichés… like this one…] They were little more than spectators  [blah blah] of what the celebrant was doing at the altar; [I wonder why children seem to behave better at Holy Mass in the older rite than they do in the newer?]  in practice this meant many of them concentrated on their own private devotions. Archbishop Nichols insists it is an “established principle of good liturgy” to encourage the active participation of all those taking part in the Mass, a principle needing “careful consideration and application by every celebrant”. [Every word of which is applicable to both forms.  But watch this risibly titanic leap coming up!] Implicit [yah.. implicit… so implict that it isn’t really there…] in this directive is the rejection of any [wait for it…] discrimination against girls and women among those who assist at Mass, such as altar servers, readers and extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist. [Did you get that?  They fall into the trap of an ugly sort of clericalism.  First, it is not necessary to be a minister at the altar in order to "assist at Mass".  Any person, even the cripple old lady with limited hearing and sight, who can’t carry stuff around, is assiting at Mass because she is baptized and she has united her heart to the sacred action she can neither hear nor see.  The Tablet is promoting an ugly clericalism by saying that unless lay people do what priests do, then they are somehow not able to participate.  Shame on them!]  That some Tridentinist ["-ist"  HA HA!] priests have banished females from the sanctuary or lectern in the name of authenticity [HUH?  That’s a new one.] has more than a whiff of misogyny.  [Again… that little shriek of hysteria.  What an unworthy blunder for a publication that for so long in the past had a good reputation.]

Thus has Archbishop Nichols neatly answered virtually every objection to the motu proprio, [Ummm…. isn’t that backwards?] and the Tridentine Rite can henceforth take its proper – and necessarily marginal [ROFL!   So… they are promoting the marginalization of a group within the Church.  And who is it who is promoting schism?] – place in the life of the Catholic Church. Indeed, he has made it accessible to those who are fully committed to Vatican II.  [Apparently Pope Benedict is against Vatican II.] This timely display of clear leadership from the new president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales bodes well.

Simply stupid.

In the meantime, go back and read what Archbp. Nichols thought in September 2007.

In his speech to the Latin Mass Society in Oxford, Archbishop Nichols said: “Please remember that what you study here is not a relic, not a reverting to the past, but part of the living tradition of the Church. It is, therefore, to be understood and entered into in the light of that living tradition today.”

In the meantime, I tried to contact the folks at LMS for a comment and get the text that has sparked this.

So far, nothing from them.  Apparently LMS isn’t too worried about this.

Again, I think we have to conclude from The Tablet‘s editorial that the editors of that once prestigious Catholic publication truly hold Pope Benedict in such contempt that they are willing even to attack him through the Archbishop of Westminster.

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  1. shane says:

    The article is available here.

  2. Brian K says:

    “The view that the ordinary form of the Mass, in itself, is in some way deficient finds no place here.” People who hold that view are “inexorably distancing themselves from the Church”

    Maybe The Tablet has not read Cardinal Ratzinger’s views on the subject?

    What happened after the Council was altogether different: instead of a liturgy, fruit of continuous development, a fabricated liturgy was put in its place. A living growing process was abandoned and the fabrication started. There was no further wish to continue the organic evolution and maturation of the living being throughout the centuries and they were replaced — as if in a technical production — by a fabrication, a banal product of the moment. Gamber, with the vigilance of a true visionary and with the fearlessness of a true witness, opposed this falsification and tirelessly taught us the living fullness of a true liturgy, thanks to his incredibly rich knowledge of the sources. As a man who knew and who loved history, he showed us the multiple forms of the evolution and of the path of the liturgy; as a man who saw history from the inside, he saw in this development and in the fruit of this development the intangible reflection of the eternal liturgy, which is not the object of our action, but which may marvelously continue to blossom and to ripen, if we join its mystery intimately.

    –Cardinal Ratzinger in the Preface to the French translation of Monsignor Klaus Gamber’s most famous book, Die Reform der römischen Liturgie (The Reform of the Roman Rite)

  3. I wonder whether the editors of The Tablet would argue also that those who regard as in some way deficient the extraordinary form of the Mass — the result of over a millenium of organic development under the influence of the Holy Spirit — thereby inexorably distance themselves from the Church.

  4. truthfinder says:

    Goodness, one part I find funny is that this same person (or type of person) would most likely say that having a better translation of the NO is too difficult (think “ineffable”) but uses “misogyny.” I know what it means, but if they’re going to use any “hard” words, they should be open to them in the liturgy as well.

  5. maynardus says:

    I expect “spin”, but it really is shameful to see such mendacity in a “Catholic” publication. There is noboby more illiberal than a liberal who isn’t winning the argument. See Obama, Pelosi, Frank, Emmanuel et al for other examples.

  6. RichR says:

    Can I pick my jaw off of the floor? Putting words in the Archbishop’s mouth is what this seems to be. I sense the Tablet is trying to put him in his place….not the Traditionalists in their.

    Where does the Archbishop really stand?

  7. Jeff Pinyan says:

    How can they even pretend they’re telling the truth? What a blatant display of spin and putting words in the Archbishop’s mouth!

    The Tablet needs to (re?)read Inter Mirifica (esp. n. 14) and get with Vatican II!

  8. medievalist says:

    Reading +Vincent’s comments as available in this post, it seems that he says exactly what the Pope has said. There are forms of the Roman Rite. The Pope didn’t call for one to replace the other so why does the Tablet crow that “there’s no going back”? Ironically, this is the most in line with Peter that the Tablet has been in some time.

    All the Tablet has done is spin +Vincent’s entirely proper words through its own twisted hermeneutic (a big word with which they may have some familiarity).

  9. medievalist says:

    P.S. Placing the conference under episcopal control is good. It means that the EF is part of the regular life of the Church rather than outside of it.

  10. irishgirl says:

    ‘The Bitter Pill’ is a crock.

    And they call themselves ‘Catholic’?


  11. Setting aside for the moment the trash that the Tablet printed, and looking at the action and words of Archbishop Nichols, there is actually great wisdom in what he did and it is in perfect conformity with SP. As we know, one of the big points of SP was that the Holy Father was hoping for there to be a gravitational pull effected on the Novus Ordo, so that the celebration of the EF would enhance the solemnity and orthopraxy of the manner in which the OF is celebrated. By having priests attending this conference celebrate both forms at the conference, he is actually, it seems to me, better facilitating this gravitational effect.

    The Archbishop is right to point out that there is no room for the view that the Novus Ordo is intrinsically defective. That does not mean that we can recognize that there are often defects in the manner in which it is celebrated, nor does it prevent us from striving to see the Novus Ordo celebrated with excellence and orthopraxy. I say kudos to Archbishop Nichols.

  12. Oliver Hayes says:

    What a joke of a rag! The Bitter Pill seems to have lost all its pretensions to academic and journalistic respectability, let alone Catholicism. I now find it surprising that even liberals should take it seriously..

  13. augustinianheart: there is no room for the view that the Novus Ordo is intrinsically defective

    I don’t think it is reasonable to say that the Novus Ordo is so defective that it is invalid. I think there is room, however, to discuss whether or not it has defects.

    The Novus Ordo is not perfect. It is not entirely above criticism.

  14. ssoldie says:

    The Holy Father refers to the T.L.M. as ‘Gregorian Rite Mass’, that makes it around 1500 years old, and was then codefied at the Council of Trent. What happened after the Council (Vatican II) was something else entirely: in the place of liturgy as the fruit of development came fabricated liturgy. From the preface of the French edition by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger:’Reform Of The Roman Liturgy’,now Pope Benedict XVI),” WE abandoned the organic, living process of growth and development over centuries, and replaced it – as in a manufacturing process-with a fabrication, a banal on the spot product”.

  15. becket1 says:

    I would love to see the Tablet do an article on the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox and their Liturgies in regards to lay participation. They would be a laughing stock in the East. Hey Tablet, it is called “Tradition”, what can’t you understand about that word.

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