Regarding the controversy of The Tablet’s defiant dissent from many of the doctrines of the Faith and its habitual disloyalty towards Pope Benedict XVI Archbishop Nichols should follow the example of Bishop Finn of Kansas City who has announced this week that The National Catholic Reporter is not a ‘Catholic’ publication and should not advertise itself as such.
Catholic World News reports:
‘In a column appearing in his diocesan newspaper, Bishop Finn notes that he, as the bishop of the diocese in which the Reporter is located, has the duty to “call the media to fidelity.” He cites the Code of Canon Law, which (in #1369) calls for “a just penalty” for anyone who “excites hatred of or contempt for religion or the Church.”
The National Catholic Reporter, Bishop Finn remarks, has taken an editorial stance that puts the publication at odds with the Church, by “officially condemning Church teaching on the ordination of women, insistent undermining of Church teaching on artificial contraception and sexual morality in general, lionizing dissident theologies while rejecting established Magisterial teaching, and a litany of other issues.” He reveals that he has received numerous complaints about the Reporter’s editorial policies.
Bishop Finn reminds his readers that in 1968 his predecessor, Bishop Charles Helmsing, directed the editors of the Reporter to remove the word “Catholic” from the title of their publication. The newspaper’s editors refused. Bishop Finn says: “From my perspective, NCR’s positions against authentic Church teaching and leadership have not changed trajectory in the intervening decades.”
The bishop discloses that soon after arriving in Kansas City, he sought to engage theReporter editors in a discussion of their fidelity to the Catholic Church, but was rebuffed. “At other times, correspondence has seemed to reach a dead end,” he adds.
Bishop Finn concludes that “as the local bishop to instruct the Faithful about the problematic nature of this media source which bears the name “Catholic.” He says that he remains willing to discuss the issue with the Reporter staff, but as things stand, “I find that my ability to influence the National Catholic Reporter toward fidelity to the Church seems limited to the supernatural level.”
Protect the Pope comment: When questioned about The Tablet’s track record of dissent Cardinal Cormac-Murphy O’Connor is reputed to have wrung his hands and complained, ‘But what can we do? There’s nothing we can do!’ This appears to be the default response of bishops when the questioned about The Tablet, they raise the brick wall of self-declared impotence to act. Bishop Finn of Kansas City has just dispatched that lame excuse through his declaration that the US equivalent of The Tablet is not a ‘Catholic’ publication. So here’s a suggested plan of action for Archbishop Nichols in whose jurisdiction the headquarters of The Tablet is located. It’s only a suggestion as obviously the decision about what actions to take is up to him as the ordinary:
- Write to Catherine Pepinster, The Tablet’s editor, to inform her and her staff that The Tablet is persistently dissenting from the doctrine of the Church, providing examples, which are many and obvious. Make it clear that if this dissent continues the consequence he will declare that it is no longer lawful for The Tablet to call itself an ‘International Catholic Weekly’, that it will no longer be lawful for The Tablet to publicize itself as ‘Catholic’, and that it will have to amend its charitable trust deeds.
- Announce through the pages of the Archdiocese of Westminster’s monthly newspaper, The Westminster Record, that The Tablet is no longer in good standing with the Archdiocese and can no longer be considered a ‘Catholic publication’ because it persistently “excites hatred of or contempt for religion or the Church” (Can 1369).
- As the President of the National Bishops Conference he announces the action he has taken against the dissent of The Tablet.
Such a course of action would make it clear to the faithful that the hierarchy of England and Wales object to the dissent promoted by The Tablet and warn the faithful that The Tablet is no longer Catholic.