Archbp. Nichols slaps down The Tablet’s coverage of the new translation

From the "Hoist On His Own Petard" file:

Here is something from the blog of Damian Thompson which I missed the other day… as I was traveling and my iPhone was on vacation.

It seems that the Rome correspondent of The Bitter Pill (aka The Tablet), Robert Mickens … I assume it was Mickens since he is the Rome correspondent for The Tablet and he is also participating in the circulation of a petition against the new translation … incited the Archbishop of Westminster during a press conference to go after The Pill about the issue of the new translation of the Missale Romanum.

Archbp. Nichols was asked an "ambush question" about the translation.  The Archbishop smacked down The Tablet as not being fair and balanced.  He called them out, which was an unintended consequence of the question.

Tablet: Translation of the Roman Missal – a number of priests in the English-speaking world are not happy with the translation. Is this an area of dissent?

Archbishop Nichols: I’m obviously aware that the article [by the leading US campaigner against the new English translation of the Missal] that was repeated or summarised in the Tablet came from America magazine. I’m also aware that the following week [in America magazine] a complementary view explaining the work of ICEL and their intentions was published. I haven’t seen that published in the Tablet yet, which may be wise, to balance up the debate.



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  1. I can’t wait for the new translations to come out…Way to go Abp Nichols…

    William, even though my personal preference is for the 62 Missal I must say it’s a bit to jump the gun to say the people that assist at the OF don’t “want to be there!” I attend both forms and am happy to assist at either one.

  2. Thomas G. says:

    Interesting, though, that the Archbishhop didn’t directly address the question: is opposition to the new translation an act of dissent?

    By talking about “balancing up the debate”, I imagine the Archbishop indirectly stated that such opposition is not dissent . . . yet.

  3. TJerome says:

    Good for Archbishop Nichols. I bet that smarmy reporter wasn’t expecting a slap-down from His Grace.


  4. BenFischer says:

    I’m not sure why the Archbishop’s comments are newsworthy. He is, after all, only quoting the words of St Paul: “Don’t worry about people running off with itching ears as long as they get both sides of the story.” Then again, St Paul wrote: “Hold fast to what you have heard from us, both verbally and in writing, and in the dissident rag distributed in the back of Church. It all comes down to your conscience anyway, so it’s all good.”

    Perhaps there’s movement in the right direction, but only a little bit.

  5. The Archbishop’s response is more like 1.5 lashes with a wet noodle. It’s not just understatement. It legitimizes “the other side,” i.e., dissent.

  6. TNCath says:

    Archbishop Nichols: “I haven’t seen that published in the Tablet yet, which may be wise, to balance up the debate.”

    Are the new translations up for debate, Archbishop Nichols? I’m not so sure this is a “slapdown” as much as it is simply a begrudging acknowledgment that the new translations have caused some controversy. I too am puzzled by his dodging the question. Archbishop Nichols’ circumlocutive answer sounds a bit like some of the Irish bishops of late.

    Could not Archbishop Nichols have said, “Well, there obviously has been some concerns voiced by some of the clergy, but, I believe in time both the clergy and the laity will welcome the new translations thus contributing to our ongoing work to improve the way we celebrate the Mass”? Instead, we get a rambling answer that suggests His Grace just didn’t want to commit to anything specific.

  7. Supertradmom says:

    For an Englishman, this is a slap-down….

  8. Yup. The English have perfected the art of flaying folks with a tiny turn of phrase and voice. Picture Professor Snape saying this, and you’ll get the idea.

  9. Traductora says:

    I’m a little puzzled as to how a bunch of aged bureaucratic mid-brow Americans from the Church’s worst liturgical period believe they have the right to hold up something that is of vital importance to the entire English-speaking world, including the people who gave us Shakespeare.

  10. Anthony OPL says:

    Put it this way, Abp Nichols has come out and said to the Tablet “I’m onto you”. Remember, he’s not just a local ordinary in the hills somewhere, he is the president of their episcopal conference. He is next in line for a red hat, he holds the pen that signs the cheques. Under Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, the Tablet was left unchecked in its bias and sabotage – Abp Nichols has, in a quietly English fashion, said “not in my house”.

  11. jaykay says:

    “Abp Nichols has, in a quietly English fashion, said “not in my house”.”

    Now if he would only follow through and get the Suppository removed from sale in his Cathedral… :(

    But nevertheless, his reaction *is* definitely a slap-down, a la mode anglaise, which means deadly under- statement. That little phrase “which may be wise” says it all. It’s the English version of Romanita. They’ve been at it for centuries.

  12. nhaggin says:

    Meiosis may well be the English national characteristic. Yes, it’s a slap-down, even more so in the correct tone of voice.

  13. CPKS says:

    Agreed with jaykay: “which may be wise” is the i.f. in the v.g.

  14. Supertradmom says:


    Here is a perfect example of the modernist heresy of moral relativism

  15. Supertradmom says:

    sorry, wrong thread. I do not know why my computer switches windows in the middle of something I am typing….a gremlin?

  16. Hidden One says:

    Oh, it was a smackdown alright. Were I him, I might have said the same thing and inflected my voice so as to deliver quite the flaying. His Grace might have been more prudent/nicer, however, and only bashed them with a quarterstaff.

    A Canadian.

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