Another week of The Tablet sniping at the Catholic Church

The Tablet, self-described ‘International Catholic Weekly’, is known amongst faithful Catholics as the ‘Bitter Pill’ because of its constant attacks on the Catholic Church. Some weeks the attacks are full-on and unrestrained, other weeks its a drip, drip of cynical asides. This week’s issue illustrates the later diet of bitterness.

The editorial on the new Archbishop of Canterbury includes this nasty barbed conclusion criticising the recent Synod on New Evangelisation:

‘The challenge to re-Christianise the modern world has frustrated many church leaders before him. As the recent Synod on New Evangelisation in Rome demonstrated good new ideas are desperately needed, yet in short supply’. p.2

The Letters page includes one from Fr. Gerard T. Burke of Feltham, a supporter of the English dissent clique, ‘Call to action’.

‘We would do well to observe closely, and learn from, the means by which the woes of the BBC are addressed.While parallels between the two institutions are not exact (the Church’s director general,for example, has not seen fit to resign), we have much to learn from each other about ways and means of altering mindset for the better. Until that is done, words like “collegiality” and “subsidiarity” will continue to be, if it were not so sad, laughable.’ p.21

Even David Goodall’s book review of John Darwin’s Unfinished Empire: the global expansion of Britain, includes a side-swipe at the hierarchical Church:

‘But since the Second World War, Darwin tells us, “hierarchy and order”, the values on which imperial rule rested, have become outmoded (a sentiment which perhaps has echoes in the current travails within the Catholic Church)’. p.25

Protect the Pope comment: Lumen Gentium 14 sets out the right attitude of those Catholics who seek to remain in full communion with the Church:

‘Fully incorporated into the Church are those who, possessing the Spirit of Christ, accept all the means of salvation given to the Church together with her entire organization, and who — by the bonds constituted by the profession of faith, the sacraments, ecclesiastical government, and communion — are joined in the visible structure of the Church of Christ, who rules her through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops. Even though incorporated into the Church, one who does not however persevere in charity is not saved. He remains indeed in the bosom of the Church, but “in body” not “in heart.” (LG 14)

One of the problems with the current editorial policy of The Tablet is that it shows no love of the Catholic Church as it is constituted by Christ, a hierarchical Church. The Tablet officially claims to be a bodily part of the Church by calling itself ‘The International Catholic weekly’ but every week it makes manifestly clear that its heart does not remain in the bosom of the Church.


24 comments to Another week of The Tablet sniping at the Catholic Church

  • amator Dei

    If hierachy and order are the values underlying imperial rule, perhaps The Tablet merely thinks that imperialism is not a good model for Christian leadership. Who could? The Tablet is as committed to the Church (by which I mean the Church, not just the papacy or Vatican) as anyone and it is not alone in finding the centralising dictatorial style favoured by the current leadership a betrayal of true Christian values. I hope it will continue the much needed service in charity of pointing this out.

    • spesalvi23

      Have you ever looked into the situation of the Lutherans in Europe? Realistically, they represent the ideal church for all disillusioned, anti-hierarchy catholics.
      They’ve practiced all that wonderful synodal, democratic, committee, lay input version of Christianity for centuries.

      Has it brought people back from aimless drifting?
      Has it filled churches?
      Has it been able to teach the deposit of faith authentically?
      Has it managed to ‘produce’ solid Christians, who are firm in their faith, who are able to defend their position with knowledge and confidence?

      As an ex Lutheran, I can tell you what it has managed to do: confuse the living he** out of its members by tumbling along with the mainstream opinion flow – for whatever period that particular opinion might just be popular and /or supported by the current political regime.

      It has managed to turn protestants into baptized heathens who no longer believe in the divinity of Christ and who firmly state that the main mission of their church is to assure social justice in the world.
      God, Christ and His message are constantly soft-washed and diluted by countless committee meetings and subsequent voting sessions thereafter. Authority is not accepted.

      It’s nothing but a political party which occasionally meets in congress centers- holding hands, singing along to ‘save the world’.
      Saving souls is none of their concern – no wonder: many of them don’t believe in life after death!

      One of the biggest dangers we face as Catholics is the protestantization of every aspect of the Church!
      Faith and truth are not decided by majority vote.
      Not now, and not in the future!
      Peter received a clear mandate by Christ who knew very well that, without clear leadership and non-negotiable principles, His flock would be dispersed and hunted down by the wolves.

      BTW: Conversion works both ways.

  • George Gregory

    Let us pray that this weeks meeting in Rome between Abp Nichols and Abp Mueller and Nichols’ meeting with Cdl Bertone might at least end the Bitter Pill being placed at the back of his Cathedral.

    As long as it is there it indicates the support of our heirarchy for this malevolent force in the English Catholic Church.

  • Anthony Dickinson

    Very interesting parallel with the BBC……not! So much for loyalty to the Chief Executive ….. sorry the Holy Father.

    I do wonder what some of these 60′s and 70′s priests wanted/want to achieve. The greatest achievement of their project, as far as I can see, is their own bitterness and disappointment with the Church. That of course breeds bitterness and disappointment in those around them. Parishes then are built on that and being led by ‘dissenters’ become a thriving place for dissent. So that to the world it would appear that they were thriving but in reality that is not the case. All that glitters is not gold!

  • Michael B Rooke

    The Church makes clear in the Encyclical Redemptoris Missio ‘On the permanent validity of the Church’s missionary mandate’ that the principal agent of mission is the Holy Spirit.


    Here is a link for a downloadable pdf version.


    I suppose you could call your blog an International Catholic Daily ;) .

    No surprises, here. Still, it’s important to hold these people to account. Does Fr Burke’s bishop know about him? I suppose he must.


    Oh! You have smileys. :)

  • Mike2

    In 1903 a minister in the Church of Scotland, Henry Grey Graham, converted to the Catholic Church. He wrote a booklet for the Catholic Truth Society of Scotland to explain his conversion. In the booklet he wrote:
    “Assuredly, such confusion, chaos, and contradiction in matters of religious belief must to every Catholic, appear a perfect travesty of the Christianity founded by our Divine Lord. He thinks of the tens of thousands of priests, and the hundreds of millions of lay-folks in the bosom of the Catholic Church absolutely united in their religious tenets, and submitting as one man to her authority in questions of faith and morals. He knows that anyone of these, whether priest or layman, who should dare to disbelieve or doubt or deny a single article of defined doctrine, would straightway be guilty of a grave sin against God and would be cut off as a dead branch, and would be good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under the feet of men, and cast into fire. Such a thing as a priest presuming to pick and choose among the church’s doctrines and yet be suffered to act and speak as a priest is a thing simply unthinkable.”
    Henry Grey Graham became a priest and eventually a Bishop.

  • Joseph Matthew

    If I were living in Feltham, I would be looking for a parish outside the area for the sake of my children. I would want them to grow up in the orthodox Catholic faith.

  • Robin Leslie

    The Tablet represents a particular secularised end of Catholicism.
    Insofar as it is a minority religious position in the global Roman Catholic Church in all its cultural diversity and unity it cannot claim any universality at all so it should drop the title
    ‘The International Catholic weekly’ as though it represented the
    Catholic Church.
    It is a sociological maxim that ‘firm institutional boundaries give
    religions greater durability’.
    Change is already taking place in the Church but it will hardly be
    the change the Tablet wants, it will certainly not be via a
    ‘hermeneutic of rupture’!

  • Clifford Longley

    Sorry, Nick, I can’t let you get away with that. The Tablet statement “As the recent Synod on New Evangelisation in Rome demonstrated good new ideas are desperately needed, yet in short supply’ was entirely respectful, and said what many have said including some of those who took part in the synod itself. If you are not prepared to tolerate even that degree of tactful comment, which is in no way cynical – anyway, who are you to judge? – then you are declaring yourself to have a very closed mind indeed. Rather a contrast to Archbishop Longley, who told the synod that listening to what people were saying was essential. “There can be no effective proclamation of faith without an attempt to understand how the message is likely to be heard, how it sounds to others. That involves a profound act of listening after the example of our Lord himself In the scriptures in a number of encounters with others he is described by the evangelist as ‘knowing what they were thinking’ before speaking to his listeners.”
    I shall pray for your conversion.

  • maryclare

    The Tablet – the international magazine for CINOs….catholics in name only. All cafeteria catholic views represented in it.

    What a shame that this publication often does o’nicks work for him…what an opportunity missed for real evangelism and presentation of the Gospel and the Church as She really is.

  • Robin Leslie

    Clifford Longley is, of course, right that listening to the most vociferous of our enemies
    or opponents is essential in our ordinary everyday lives let alone at levels where argumentation ideology and faith are concerned. However there is a difference between ‘closed minds’ and simple ‘reaction’. People react to other’s views, behaviour and actions when they either feel threatened or perceive those views, actions etc. as offending their sensibilities and, as we all know through experience, our religious beliefs and sensibilities are deep and carried in the most vulnerable part of ourselves.
    If many of us respond with strong feelings to what we perceive as shallow and self-centred behaviour it is because that is a reasonable response not because we have closed minds.
    Does Clifford Longley think that we should be open to everything and anything? That would be the way to MacDonaldising our faith and practice like the universities. He is right about our responsibility to our audience who, from this website’s perspective is largely the general public, though undoubtedly it will contain a spectrum of Catholics and other Christians.

  • Joseph Matthew

    Sorry Clifford,I can’t let you get away with that. The fact that you end with praying for the “conversion” of Deacon Nick speaks volumes. The truth is that orthodox Catholics have more in common with evangelicals and Greek Orthodox than with modernist “Catholics.”
    If you are right and we are wrong, we need to either convert or leave the Church. If we are right…..

  • Clifford Longley

    Joseph – We have much more in common that you think. Would you say an orthodox Catholic is one who subscribes wholeheartedly to the entire teaching of the Second Vatican Council? If so then I am such a one, and so are the vast majority of Tablet readers. What is a “modernist” Catholic, pray tell? A figment of your imagination, perhaps?

    • Clifford, you should subscribe to the teaching of the Holy Mother Church. There was no new teaching introduced during the Vatican2. After all, it was a pastoral council, not a doctrinal.Sure, mistakes have been made (e.g. Novus Ordo Mass), but I am afraid you see the Vatican2 as some kind of a “new start” for the Church. Thank God the tide is turning, the liberals get old and young generation of faithful orthodox Catholics will restore the Church.

    • Eric

      I agree that we all have very much in common. There is an element of the narcissism of small differences in these kind of discussions.

  • Robin Leslie

    Vatican 2 was not the last Word for the Church, it was appropriate to its time and much that is
    eternal remains in the Councils documents. However time and circumstances change and so the Church exercises her authority and tradition to decide on its mission and prophecy to the changed world. Circumstances are never determinative for the Church in its fidelity to Our
    Lord, but it remains faithful through all the changes that it makes and all the dangers and hostility it faces over time. We can say that the Church is eternal and not simply nor primarily an institution. Vatican 2 will itself be replaced by another Council at the appropriate time
    and we should be very careful to avoid another schism!

  • Joseph Matthew

    Clifford- It is good to know that you have finally decided to subscribe to the entire teaching of the Second Vatican Council. By this I presume you mean adherence to the documents of the Council rather than to the “spirit” of the Council.May I please ask if your dissent from Humanae Vitae has led you to lend your support to same sex “marriage?” Is there a certain logic in your dissent ?

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