The Tablet dismisses the pontificates of Blessed John Paul and Benedict XVI as a period of frozen winter

The Tablet has published an editorial that dismisses the pontificates of Blessed John Paul II and Benedict XVI as gripping the Church in a period of frozen winter, again implying discontinuity between Pope Francis and the previous popes:

‘Under its new Pope, the Catholic Church begins to feel like an animal that has emerged from winter hibernation, blinking in the sunlight and looking for pastures new. From around the world the signs of this reawakening are becoming visible.

For instance, some German bishops are interested in the possibility of women being admitted to a special diaconate, as a step towards diluting the heavily masculine profile of Catholic ministry. The idea needs pushing further, not even ruling out the prospect, floated not long ago by Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, that women could be appointed as cardinals, given that red hats do not necessarily have to be proffered to clergy. As the Epistles of St Paul make clear, leadership positions in the Church can in principle be as open to women as to men.’

Protect the Pope comment: Writing in the 1980′s Fr Karl Rahner SJ  used the code word ‘winter’ to attack the pontificate of Pope John Paul II because of his defence of the Depositum Fidei against liberal attempts to secularize the Catholic Church. The Tablet obviously holds the mistaken belief that the election of Pope Francis signals the ascendancy of their ‘secularization’ project. They are wrong.

http://www.thetablet.co.uk/article/164128

19 comments to The Tablet dismisses the pontificates of Blessed John Paul and Benedict XVI as a period of frozen winter

  • Michael Petek

    I suspect that Protestants may take exception to your comment. They typically take Christianity seriously as a revealed religion. Liberals do not. They have it in not only for the Papacy and the Eucharist, but also for the Divinity of Jesus Christ.

  • Joseph Matthew

    Once again we have to ask :should we tolerate the presence of Tablet pornology in church precincts?

  • anon

    Just looking at ‘A Rahner Reader’ published in 1975, slightly dry translations of essays in the Jesuit/Dominican:Aquinas tradition; as GK Chesterton wrote “To be! Is the answer.”

    Can’t see coded references to ‘Winter’ in the Rahner book; but regarding Jesuit action and Life matters in 2013, St Francis Xavier Church in Liverpool is hosting an interesting day conference on aspects of healthcare and dementia.

    Liverpool Hope University and the Angel Field project on the adjacent site may also prove a sign of Spring?

  • John

    The Tablet is a disgrace. They are seriously undermining the position of the Church in England & Wales. I think the problem is that the editor and most of the permanent journalists know very little about theology. They are very good journalists in the contemporary sense of the word which they are very good at sensationalism, finding divisive stories and propagating unease and cynicism about the Church. I have the impression that most of them, from the editor down, are only tenuously linked to the Church in the sense of leading faithful lives of Mass going and reception of the sacraments. Most of their contributors seem to be in the same ambiguous position. Pepinster delights in inviting lapsed Catholics to speak of why they find it difficult to relate to the ‘institutional’ Church but rarely allows orthodox Catholics an opportunity to express themselves.

    • Paul Waddington

      Are they that good as journalists? If they were good journalists, surely they would have realised by now that Pope Francis is not one to tolerate nonsense. The way in which the American nuns have been dismissed is surely an indication that he can be pretty toughand at the same time seem very reasonable.

  • amator Dei

    Sorry to disappoint John, but I do, as it happens, know the editor of The Tablet personally and know her to be a faithful mass-goer, highly qualified in theology, very prayerful and deeply committed to the Catholic Church and its wellbeing. What John and others clearly cannot understand or accept is that not everybody believes the Church is beyond criticism in every respect and is always perfectly in tune with God. Many many people I would imagine know that this is not the case and out of loyalty to the Church feel called upon to say so. “Orthodox” Catholics (i.e. those who cannot abide the thought that anyone could disagree with them and seem to want rigid uniformity in submission to authority) have plenty of opportunities to express themselves, not least in the many blogs like this one and several of the Catholic papers. Many of us are glad that there is at least one paper that is able to speak the truth in love. Floreat Tabula!

    • John

      Amator, I’m sorry but an orthodox Catholic is one who accepts the teaching of the Church in key areas of doctrine and morals. These are actually pretty well laid out in the Catechism. The Tablet seems to delight in questioning this especially in the area of sexual ethics but also in the very understanding of what the Church is. This doesn’t accepting everything blindly. The great saints such as Catherine of Siena or Bernard of Clairvaux could be scathing about those who were in positions of authority in the Church including Popes. However, they had a great for the Church itself. I don’t find this with Pepinster and the Tablet crowd who seem to delight in questioning but in a very disloyal kind of way. They seem to deny the very notion of the Magisterium and the special role of the Pope and the Bishops. Almost every editorial or article written by a Tablet journalist has a sting in the tail criticising the hierarchy. This isn’t about rigid orthodoxy but simply orthodoxy or perhaps you don’t think that is important.

      • amator Dei

        John, I’m sorry but an orthodox Catholic is one who accepts the teaching of the Church in key areas of doctrine and morals. These are actually pretty well laid out in the Catechism. Maybe your reading of what is “key” differs from that of other people, so you are demanding a standard of orthodoxy beyond what others would regard as necessary. What you say about The Tablet is skewed by this excessive demand – very disloyal, denying the special role of the pope, almost every article criticising the hierarchy etc. Clearly we are not going to agree on this, but I can disagree without wanting to stigmatise others in this kind of way.

        • John

          Amator, It’s not what I think is key that is important but what the Church’s Magisterium thinks is key that is really important. The Magisterium expresses itself in different ways of which the Catechism is one. This is not something made up arbitrarily but is the distillation of the teaching in the most important areas of the Church’s life. Do you accept that a faithful Catholic should obey this teaching or does s/he have the right to pick and choose?

        • “an orthodox Catholic is one who accepts the teaching of the Church in key areas of doctrine and morals.”

          Please tell us how you discern which areas of doctrine and morals are “key”?

          Catholicism is not an “a la carte” religion where you decide which doctrines you will accept based on their compatibility with your a priori liberal canon. You either accept all the doctrine based on the Church’s God-given authority to teach in His Name (even if you might struggle or need grace to accept it all), or you are not a Catholic.

          If you set yourself up as the judge of which doctrine is “key” or not, then you belong to your own “church” of one – not the Catholic Church.

    • ParryP

      “Many of us are glad that there is at least one paper that is able to speak the truth in love”
      Gordon Bennett, so the Tablet has a higher order of truth, one that transcends the Truth found in the Magisterium. I don’t think it is any coincidence that “Battle” is an anagram of Tablet. I also feel that any person who allegedly is “faithful mass-goer, highly qualified in theology, very prayerful and deeply committed to the Catholic Church and its wellbeing” has even less excuse (let alone reason therefore) to promote disobedience.

    • BJC

      Catherine Pepinster may have an MA in Philosophy & Religion but she has no qualifications in Catholic theology and its obvious from what she writes she doesn’t even understand the meaning of basic terms in Catholic doctrine. Week in week out she makes a monkey out of herself by misunderstanding the meaning of the word Magisterium whilst all the while behaving as if she thinks she does. Does she know the meaning of sanctifying grace? I don’t think she’s even heard of it. The two sources of revelation for a Catholic? Again I don’t think she would even know what they were or where to begin.

      None of this is surprising though when you look at the background. Lapsed Catholic who went through the completely useless Landings programme and then went to the well-known liberal college Heythrop which doesn’t have pontifical status. Goodness knows what strange ideas she picked up down there. As we all know it was the original site for the inaugural dissenting ‘Call to Action’ conference in 2012.

      http://www.cathud.com/RESOURCES_CATHOLIC/pages_MR/press_catholic.html

      http://protectthepope.com/?p=5847

      The best thing Catherine Pepinster could do is pick up a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and read it from cover to cover and compare it to what I suspect is her own ropey knowledge of Catholic beliefs. It will be a revelation to her. No one is going to take her seriously unless she can demonstrate she knows what she is talking about and at the moment she can’t. Its like reading a bad version of Clifford Longley who seems to be regarded as the Pope down at Tablet HQ.

  • John, you state: “They are seriously undermining the position of the Church in England & Wales.”

    Being Scottish, I have no real stake in this. We have enough problems of our own! But should you not have said; “They are seriously undermining WHAT SHOULD BE< BUT ISN'T, the position of the Church in England & Wales."

    • John

      Well the individuals in the Church including bishops and priests will always fall short of sainthood but I think the Tablet rejoices when there is bad news or divisive issues. If someone comes to me interested in joining the Church I steer them away from the Tablet…..

    • AkP

      Very good point!

  • Winter? We’ll, call me Mr Frosty, because Benedict brought me home to the Church. If I’d wanted hippie theology, I’d have converted to Protestantism.

  • Joseph Matthew

    We have in our time been blessed with one of the great philosopher popes followed by one of the great theologian Popes. Don’t let Pepinster, Longley and the Tablet brigade fool us into believing that there is an insurmountable gap between Pope Francis and Pope Benedict. But there really is such a gap between the Rock and the Tablet.

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