The Tablet launches disgraceful personal attack on Bishop Mark Davies

In its editorial covering the Soho Masses The Tablet has launched an intemperate, personal attack on Bishop Mark Davies, which also reveals just how dumb the editorial writers of The Tablet can be.  Its patronizing, disrespectful tone is very similar to the one it took regarding Bishop Patrick O’Donoghue, who also earned The Tablet’s displeasure for speaking frankly and directly in defence of the Church’s doctrine.

The Tablet writes:

‘How easily a few ill-chosen words can bring discredit on the Church is demonstrated by the Christmas sermon of Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury. He made the fatal mistake of likening the gay marriage proposal to “the inhuman ideologies” of Communism and Nazism, saying Christian civilisation itself was under threat. Compassion, not condemnation such extreme language shows a startling lack of good sense,not to mention historical perspective: gay marriage has killed nobody. ‘

This is what Bishop Mark Davies actually said in his Christmas homily:

‘Past generations have gathered in this Cathedral on Christmas night amid many shadows which seemed to obscure the future for them. We think of the ideologies of the past century, Communism and Nazism, which in living memory threatened to shape and distort the whole future of humanity. These inhuman ideologies would challenge, in the name of progress, the received Christian understanding of the sanctity of human life and the family. Winston Churchill, Britain’s war-time Prime Minister, a man without clear, religious belief himself, saw in this deadly struggle nothing less than the defence of Christian civilization. The alternative he vividly described as a dark age made more protracted by the perversion of science. I would appeal to our political leaders this Christmas to similarly glimpse these deeper issues where respect for the sanctity of human life and the authentic meaning of marriage as the foundation of the family are threatened.’


We gather on this Christmas night amid the shadows of early 21st Century Britain. The eyes of the nation turn to this “child born for us” (Is.9:1) tiny and frail, it is this beautiful revelation of the Son of God which casts light on the darkest shadows of our time. The widespread neglect and ill-treatment of the frailest, elderly people in our society: concerns high-lighted in the Care Quality Commission’s recent report. The growing concern about end of life care and what is happening to the most vulnerable. The dark side to our own society is surely connected to the discarding of human life from the beginning in abortion on an industrial scale, in reproductive technologies, in embryo experimentation which our laws have sanctioned. “Today there exists a great multitude of weak and defenceless human beings, unborn children in particular, whose fundamental right to life is being trampled upon” Blessed John Paul II reflected in his 1995 letter The Gospel of Life, “if at the end of the last century, the Church could not be silent about the injustices of those times, still less can she be silent today” (Evangelium Vitae n.5).

This Christmas we are conscious of new shadows cast by a Government that was pledged at its election to support the institution of marriage. This vital foundation of society which, the 2011 census indicates, now stands at is lowest ebb. At such a moment the Prime Minister has decided without mandate, without any serious consultation to redefine the identity of marriage itself, the foundation of the family for all generations to come. This is again done in the name of progress. The great English writer, G.K Chesterton, warned: “progress is a useless word; for progress takes for granted an already defined direction; and it is exactly about the direction that we disagree” (American Notes). The British people have reason to ask on this night where is such progress leading?

Protect the Pope comment: The Tablet editorial writer makes the sneering comment that ‘gay marriage has killed nobody’ but it is clear from Bishop Davies actual words that he was referring to the secular ideology that underpins attacks on the sanctity of life, marriage and the family based on the abandonment of objective morality founded on the created nature of men and women, husbands and wives. There is an obvious commonality between this secular ideology and the ideologies of Nazism and Communism, and like these inhuman ideologies the secular ideology in the ascendancy in the West is responsible for the killing on millions of unborn children.

The government’s plans for same-sex marriage are part and parcel of the same rejection of our created nature as men and women made in the image and likeness of God.  Pope Benedict’s Christmas address to the Curia criticizes modern ideologies of gender and sexuality that abandon objective morality founded in our human nature.  The legalisation of same-sex marriage will further entrench the false thinking that our human nature is a social construct that can be re-designed at will, contributing to the way of thinking that accepts abortion, and increasingly assisted suicide, as normal and moral.

The Tablet’s willful misrepresentation of Bishop Davies’ Christmas homily exposes the ill-will that the journalists of The Tablet bear towards this faithful and loyal bishop of the Church. Shame on The Tablet, and shame on your impoverished standards of journalism.

33 comments to The Tablet launches disgraceful personal attack on Bishop Mark Davies

  • Karla

    The Tablet does not have credibility, it is a sham paper masquerading as an authentic Catholic news source

  • Speaking as a younger Catholic I can only say that the Tablet is extremely outdated when you go around the country and see what is actually happening in the Catholic Church.

    At all the Catholic Youth events I have been involved with they never ‘pull their punches’ when it comes to telling the young about correct Catechetal teaching. Mortal sin is always highlighted and the imperative need for confession. There are queues for confession at all the events I help with. I do not think that the Tablet as worked out that things started to change about 10 years ago. There is little they can do to change the orthodoxy which is happening in the Church. The younger generation are now told to not follow the lies of liberal Catholicism and are warned by certain youth leaders I know to avoid the Tablet. Their parents are also advised to steer clear of it.

    The Tablet is written by dinosaurs and only reaches the same old audience. The only people who read it in our church are over 70 and they are no longer pro-active within the church anymore. To me it comes across as an irrelevant publication in today’s English Catholic Church.

  • Lynda

    This is a very good sign that Bishop Davies is a faithful, courageous, Bishop of the Church. If the Tablet and it’s ilk were to praise a Bishop, that would mean he were not doing what he ought as spiritual and moral leader of the Faithful.

  • Bob Hayes

    The Tablet was evidently looking for an excuse to attack Bishop Mark Davies. That it has done so by way of an inaccurate and truly shoddy piece of journalism [sic] is indicative of the amoral nature of the publication.

  • Paul Waddington

    I urge everyone to stop buying The Tablet.

  • Rifleman 819

    The Tablet is best used as hamster bedding. But this attack on the bishop comes from fear , not bravery.

    Bishop Mark Davies needs to find a mirror and smile sweetly…… be attacked by the Pill is a real accolade.

    It means they are well and truly worried by him.The parishes in the diocese of Shrewsbury can just stop their order for this apology for a newspaper.

    And employ the residue as bedding for Protestant hamsters ….not good Catholic ones.

  • Nicolas Bellord

    The Tablet has long been in favour of abortion so there is no surprise here. It is amazing how clearly the battle lines are being drawn.

  • John

    You should read Tina Beattie’s article on Mary in this week’s Tablet! In it she disparages the traditional Catholic devotion to Our Lady and uses Mary instead as a symbol of the struggle for social justice. Her interpretation of Lumen Gentium is highly tendentious suggesting a split between a minority of conservatives (those who wished to maintain the traditional devotions) and the progressive majority (bishops like herself of course) who were embarrassed by this. This of course is to read back into the Council a very contemporary and ‘progressive’ version of what actually happened. It is almost certain that none of the Bishops were ‘progressive’ in the Tina Beattie mould and all wished to venerate Our Lady as the Mother of God. What a group of idiots they are who edit and write for the Tablet!

  • Genty

    To be reviled by that publication must count as a badge of honour for +Davies.

  • John Dare

    Reading it, seems no different, and maybe more balanced than some of the name calling from this site.

    Get a grip folks, name calling is a two way street.

    • Rifleman 819

      John ,
      Again sorry you are completely adrift here.I remember you bravely defined yourself on an earlier blog as a “cultural Christian” and I don’t know how much you may be aware of the provenance of the tensions between the factions of Catholicism that there sadly are in England and Wales.
      The Tablet comic is actually attacking one of the bishops of the English Catholic church for …er…. upholding the Catholic Faith.
      Yet the Tablet claims to be ” Catholic”.
      What you call “name-calling” is actually a robust defence of the Catholic Faith for which hundreds of brave men and women were disembowelled during the 272 years of the Penal era.
      The Church of England and Nonconformist churches have little or no cultural memory of any persecution or prejudice.Catholics have.
      And that is why the reaction to what some might describe as “renegades” in the Catholic community can be quite strong.

  • Simon

    ‘ … the fatal mistake of likening the gay marriage proposal to “the inhuman ideologies” of Communism and Nazism’

    You don’t agree with that? He made the comments. Reflect upon them and ask how the millions of good, believing gay people feel.

    • Rifleman819

      Simon ,
      Perhaps you ought to reflect on how the millions of faithful Catholics worldwide feel when dissent and deviance combine to attack the teachings of the Church.
      Across the whole spectrum of human problems for the last 20 centuries the Church’s teaching has been very clear.The Soho Masses group expects something the Church cannot allow-to have their”take” on faith and morals being accepted as a norm.It never was , is not nor ever will be.
      The fact that the hierarchy in the ADW has sent out ambivalent signals in this regard is a problem for the archdiocese.
      Reflect on this then-people’s souls are at risk. Nothing less.

      • Andrew Connor

        Don’t fight over this. This site is fuelled by sectarianism. Let us love one another. I am sure this message predates bishops and martyrs alike.

  • Mel

    What I don’t understand is why Catholic parishes still stock it. I honestly believe that any parish that sells something opposed to the very truths it should be upholding is committing a serious sin. Parish priests who justify its place for sale in a parish, seriously need to examine their conscience. Secondly it is up to diocesan bishops to speak out against The Tablet being stocked in parishes. If the people of Liverpool could drive out The Sun Newspaper, then surely our diocesan bishops can use their episcopal clout to get The Tablet to either comply with Catholic sensibilities or banished from our parishes, thus being consigned to newsagents and other secular outlets.

  • comte de Frebonius

    The recent interview which Bishop Davis gave to the Catholic Herald is something to behold: a man of deep faith and of deep conviction that that faith has to be shown to all. To be reviled by this petty and rubbish publication shows that the Tablet and the Satanic forces see in Bishop’s Davis, Egan and the Bishop of Lancaster authentic pastoral zeal. As a priest in the North of Ireland, these men of Christ gives me hope to try an emulate their piety and courage which comes from Christ. Please pray for the new bishop of Limerick, Mgsr Leaghy; a good, pastoral man, who will do much good,DV!

  • Freddie

    Is it not time that this so called catholic publicatiion was closed down,it is always attacking the Church on different matters

  • Patrick

    The Tablet has form on character assassination.

  • Nicolas Bellord

    Simon: The Bishop was comparing these ideologies to where: “the sanctity of human life and the authentic meaning of marriage as the foundation of the family are threatened.’ Why should this worry gays? Whatever relationship two gays of the same sex have it is not marriage. What exactly is your problem? Or do you just want to pretend something?

  • Angela Ireland

    If Bishop Mark Davies was not being attacked by rather praised by the Tablet that really would be worrying.

  • Rifleman819

    John Dare ,
    I’m sure your wife is a gracious lady to allow you on this blog!

    • John Dare

      Yes, to be honest she is utterly bemused by this blog, as a most people I know.

      The reference was to a standard saying of hers. ‘I can say it if its true’. I have tried to point out the practical, philosophical and ethical limits of that line of thought, but….

  • Rifleman819

    The Tablet has its uses-even as hamster bedding but I saw a solitary copy in my local WH Smith.Turning to the back of this awful publication I was nonetheless heartened to discover that 6/22 dioceses are coming up for episcopal retirements.
    And sadly the ABL has handed a resignation request to the Vatican on grounds of ill-health.
    Interesting times.

  • Adriana Martinez

    When certain “Catholic” publications disagree with one, it gives confidence that you’re going down the good way.

    God bless Bishop Davies!

  • Kay Byrne

    I have just read all the previous posts and have to add my thoughts. I don’t think Bishop Davies’ words were well chosen at all and were certainly Not words for a Christmas sermon. Christmas Masses give a special opportunity to speak directly to hearts and minds of the people who don’t go to Mass regularly as well as to the regulars. He could have brought to people the Christ child, the simplicity of Christ’s message yet it’s depth too. That God encircles us with His love, and the certainty of that love. To get across that message on those few occasions when many visit rarely is to seize a wonderful opportunity to transform hearts and thinking, to discover within people faith they may be searching for.
    The fact that his sermon was released to make headlines in the press strikes of publicity for publicity’s sake. I’m not sure of Bishop Davies’ methods even though I can accept some of his words.

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