Saturday, December 31, 2011

Bubble, bubble at the Tablet


Someone from the Tablet phoned me before Christmas to tell me about some special offer, if only I would sell it at the back of the Church. My short answer is always, "Only if you change the editorial policy." "How?", "Control Robert Mickens".

The mists of rumour surrounding the Tablet resemble the steam from the weird sisters cauldron. A few months ago there were rumours that there might be a change of editor, a name from Jonathan Cape was being suggested. I don't know if some of the Tablet Trustees are beginning to realise that Mrs Pepinster's style really is offensive to younger and mainstream Catholics, or if it was just something put round by disgruntled former Tablet writers. There were rumours of Archbishop Nichols, no great friend of the Tablet, complaining and insisting on change at a Tablet lunch and producing a slew of letters and emails critical of the editorial policy, primarily its continual carping and negativity towards the Pope. Slowly, slowly younger parish priests are finding the Tablet has no place at the back of their Church.

Recently one of the sisters Ms Curti interviewed Mgr Andrew Wadsworth of ICEL revealing a lack of journalistic research and ignorance that was just embarrassing.

Another sister, Abigail Frymann, The Tablet's "Online Editor" has a piece on the "Tablet Blog" in which she disparages the Ordinariate, complains about Westminster Cathedral being cold for the Ordinations of Mgr Newton et al and then whines about Ordinariate after a whole year only having 60 clergy and a 1000 laypeople, I think that is pretty good going actually. She then for some reason spends the rest of her piece banging on about the Australian TAC, not Anglican, not English, bishop John Hepworth. She forgets that the future of Hepworth was made quite clear at the promulgation of Anglicanorum Coetibus: that it was impossible for him to be ordained as a Catholic priest. It is just shoddy spiteful journalism and all under the heading "Ordinariate: floundering on the rocks?" Listen to the cauldron being stirred.

It reminded me of the other weird sister, Ma "P" herself complaining about the former Anglican bishop's wives hats and coats at the ordination! It was just bitchy.

As well, in this weeks Tablet, Greymalkin Mickens considers future papabili, you can hear him purring with delight at the prospect of the Holy Father's ill health, sickness or death, read Deacon Nick to remind you of the background.

One of my hopes for the coming year is someone reforms the Tablet, I don't want it destroyed, just something done about its bitchiness!

29 comments:

TH2 said...

Zing! Great analysis, Father, as per usual.

Richard Collins said...

Great post, thank you Father.
It always amazes me that so many churches still have copies of this magazine at the back.

gemoftheocean said...

'One of my hopes for the coming year is someone reforms the Tablet, I don't want it destroyed, just something done about its bitchiness!'

Oh, I don't know, Father. Sometimes you just have to build from ground zero after a radiant flash of turning everything into polished glass. Sometimes it's just best to bury the whole dead maggot filled cow(s) rather than try and salvage a hoof or two in hopes there might be a four leaf clover stuck in their somewhere. Not very likely and you'll end up saving time, space and money in the long run.

Matthew M said...

Well I agree about one thing: HATS! Ban hats especially on women but men too. I know things are different in 'Northern Europe' than they are in Eastern and Southern Europe, but hats????????? Disgusting. Hats are ALWAYS about showing off among the ladies. Veils or nothing please, no hats.

Gigi said...

@ Matthew M: well, as a female I wear hats in the winter that keep my ears warm, and in the summer I wear hats that give some cool shade. I tend to remove said hats in church, although I have worn "smart" hats to church weddings. So I don't think they're always about showing off. To my knowledge, men wear hats for warmth and shade too, and I might expect them to take them off in church as well.
I love the idea of wearing a mantilla but I confess to being too self-conscious to wear one on my own!
But I understand Father Ray's point: The Tablet is no place for sartorial bitchiness.
I haven't actually seen a copy of The Tablet in any Catholic church I've been in for a long time: I take it this is A Good Thing? Consequently, I haven't seen the derogatory comments about the Ordinariate, but 60 Ordinariate clergy after a year sounds like pretty good going to me too.

gemoftheocean said...

'THERE somewhere' [oy, yoy, yoy. What can I say: I'm recovering from severe anemia!]

fidelisjoff said...

Change at the Tablet will be via the values of this world i.e. revenue and profit. Unfortunately ,The Tablet remains in line with Catholic institutions e.g. Cafod, CES and of course the vast majority of E&W bishops. Why should it change?

Andrew Lyons said...

Oh, I don't know Father -- destruction and then reincarnation may not be such a bad thing!

Anonymous said...

Great post Fr. Ray. The Tablet and its supporters are so passe.

Lindi.

John Scott said...

Matthew M.: I'm not sure what the proper designation is for someone with an irrational hatred of hats. Misotholiast? Misopetasist? Whatever it might be, it could morph into something rather frightening. You ought to seek treatment before it sends you off the deep end. And you should definitely avoid live Mariachi music performances.

Fr Douglas said...

Permit me to correct you about John Hepworth. Bp Heworth has already been ordained as a priest in the Roman Catholic Church. So the question was whether he would be allowed to minister again as a priest within the proposed ordinariate.

AndrewWS said...

I have posted the following comment on the Tablet blog. Let's see if they let it through:

"No, the Church does not have more important things to be worrying about. The Ordinariate was set up (as will be its counterparts across the Atlantic and in the Antipodes) in response to pastoral need and as an aid to mission and the renewal of the Church. There is nothing more important than that.

All the Ordinariate's clergy have been vetted and cleared by Rome, with a nulla osta to show that they are fit and proper persons to be ordained. If you have evidence that the Church's authorities have been hoodwinked by those in "irregular relationships" (nudge, nudge, wink wink) you should name names and run the risk of a suit for libel. If you do not, you should shut up and refrain from this sort of innuendo.

if you think the Ordinariate is doing badly after only a year, perhaps you should make some comparisons. It is unprecedented, and such comparisons are difficult if not impossible, but how many members did Opus Dei have after only a year? The Legion of Mary? The Labour Party?

This is a snide and ignoble article. "

English Pastor said...

A wise Pastor took me to the side when I was a Deacon and asked what publications I read. I did not mention the Tablet as even then, 20 years ago, it was a rather anti-Roman publication. He told me that it was imp[ortant to read the tablet,"because if you don't know what the opposition is saying you cannot address the errors they promote". I do not recommend the Tablet for reading by the laity who in general have neen taught to think in terms of and to hold to a hermenutic of rupture, which they will find affirmed and fed in the pages of that very 'Bitter Pill'.

John Fisher said...

I do not know if you have been following the Hepworth case. He is already a Catholic priest. He left becoming an Anglican after he was sexually abused as a seminarian and later a priest. This has been acknowleged by the Archdiocese of Melbourne.
However the Archdiocese of Adelaide had not assisted him. The truth is the diocese is dominated by some homosexual priests one of whom is convicted by still working in the Theology College.
It seems to many the investigation process was flawed as Archbishop Hepworth did not take part, the person investigating was local and the denial by the Monsignor accused simply accepted.
Yes Archbishop Hepworth was brave. His case is so tragic.

Fr Ray Blake said...

EP & JF,
I made a mistake about JH leaving the Church after priestly ordination.
He is a man I very much admire. He negotiated the setting up of an Ordinariate with Rome, in the full knowledge that he would not be a priest in that for which he was preparing the way, a bit like Moses, an truly admirable man!
And yes, he deserves our sympathy for what seems to have led to his apostasy.

shadowlands said...

Hats are handy if you haven't got time to sort your hair out. You feel hidden and safe in a hat.
Add a large pair of sunglasses and your'e incognito!
Great for panic attacks, if you happen to suffer from social phobia and have run out of milk!

Et Expecto said...

The Tablet finances, which can be examined by going to the Charity Commission site, are a little bit delicate.

If a few more parishes declined to stock it and some more individuals stopped taking it, the publication would be forced into liquidation. Then someone else could take it over and adopt a different editorial stance.

nickbris said...

Dear Father Ray,a Happy & Blessed New Year to you.
Thankyou for setting up this Blog,some of us have never had a chance to express our opinions before but you have given us a chance to join in the life of the Parish and get some things off our chests.

Long may this continue.

To change the subject a little,some of us have discussed further the "Green Letter" and have come to the conclusion that it has been concocted by an outsider who is trying unsuccessfully to sew seeds of discontent amongst us.

This ploy will not work as we all still LOVE YOU

rossini404 said...

Et Expecto: while the Tablet's readership is indeed in decline, the finances of the Tablet - and, indeed, the Tablet Trust - are far from delicate. The wretched organ is sitting, Smaug-like, on top of heaps of money, donated, doubtless, in earlier times by faithful Catholics.

Fr.: Is La Pepinster's rule worse than those of her predecessors? I know of the organ only by sight, really - the one edition I tried to read I quickly threw across the room in disgust.

Her magazine has a rather difficult job. People who want absolute loyalty (sometimes to a Pravda-esque degree) already have a paper they can read. Isn't a magazine meant to drill down and be a bit hostile and questioning? I don't say the current editorial board are right but if you are going to ask for it to be torn down... what shape should it take in future?

Fr Ray Blake said...

Rossini,
One simple thing, as I say, it could lose its bitchiness or spitefulness which might be a less sexist description.
It could start employing serious journalists who don't have "issues", Mickens for example writes continually as a failed seminarian with authority issues.
Maybe it needs some younger people or those who have moved on from the 1970s/80s.
It could start employing people who do not see the Pope as being anti-Christ and have a modicum of sympathy for, or understanding of, his theology and vision.

But for me it is the spite that is the issue.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Rossini,
One simple thing, as I say, it could lose its bitchiness or spitefulness which might be a less sexist description.
It could start employing serious journalists who don't have "issues", Mickens for example writes continually as a failed seminarian with authority issues.
Maybe it needs some younger people or those who have moved on from the 1970s/80s.
It could start employing people who do not see the Pope as being anti-Christ and have a modicum of sympathy for, or understanding of, his theology and vision.

But for me it is the spite that is the issue.

Lynda said...

The Tablet as it currently is, would need to be destroyed, were a Catholic paper of that name to come in to being. The Tablet is not only not a Catholic paper but virulently and spitefully anti-Catholic. It treats the Church as its enemy. It is farcical to suggest it needs reform. One might as well say the NYT could be reformed into a Catholic paper!

Physiocrat said...

All those on the list are younger than me. One is really old when one is older than the Pope!

Richard said...

Rather alarmed at the anti-hattery, since I regularly wear hats; big broad-brimmed ones.

In winter they keep the rain off and keep my head warm; in summer they protect from the sun.

Richard said...

Hmm. Looking at the accounts, the Tablet's financial position doesn't seem that bad.

Last year (2010/11) the Tablet publications lost £25,000. But against that the Trust has typically at least £75,000 per year of other income, mostly investment income from its £million of investments - more than enough to keep subsidising the loss.

Going back, it's a bit more mixed. Losses on the publication were around £25,000 in 2008/9 and 2007/8, but well over £100,000 in 2009/10, 2006/7 and 2005/6.

Basically the Trust has enough investments to keep subsidising a £25,000 annual loss indefinitely, but not to keep subsidising a £100,000+ loss. It depends which of the recent years is going to be typical.

One thing I did notice is that they outsourced their advertising sales after the disastrous 2009/10 loss, so perhaps that has put them back on a relatively secure financial footing.

Of course accounts only show what happened 18 months ago, and there might be something bad coming up in the next year.

But from what I can see, if they are going to be hit financially, enough to make them change their editorial policy, then they are going to have to be hit a lot harder than they have been recently.

nickbris said...

The key to selling anything is to generate as much free publicity as possible,if newspapers can get this by printing garbage then they will print it.

The Tablet certainly gets plenty of publicity and even censoring by not offering it for sale generates even more sales.

Free advertising put Richard Branson & Anita Roddick on the map and they both turned out to be mega.

The more we discuss the Tablet,negatively or positively the more they like it.

Fr Ray Blake said...

No Gigi,
I deleted the ones concerned with the information which I sent you.
But as you raise it. I think I have deleted something you said which I didn't intend to - sorry.

Delia said...

Mischievous, malevolent and modernist - a huge pity, because otherwise I would subscribe to it, given that it contains some good stuff on current affairs, reviews, etc.

Gigi said...

@ Father Ray: don't worry, I was probably waffling anyway!
@ Shadowlands: I have to say that, in Brighton, at least, I've seen hats that you wouldn't be able to hide in even from Google Earth! :-)
The Tablet: I've now tracked down a couple of fairly recent articles - the subject of which is irrelevent here - and my immediate reaction was that the tone was snide and superior. That was my second reaction too.