Monday, December 10, 2007

The Tablet: your opinion

I am told that the first sermon I preached here a local writer for the The Tablet walked out never to return.


Recently I have had a number of complaints from younger members of my congregation about selling the Tablet at the back of the Church. I have to confess I don't like it personally, I actually feel dirty after reading it, and therefore I haven't read it for ages. I know other bloggers have discussed the Tablet's sneering at the Pope recently, that is certainly a serious issue.

Just because I and others don't like it doesn't mean that we should ban it, it could be a reason for ensuring that we keep it.
Nevertheless, I always take people's complaints seriously, so I would be pleased hear objective reasons for either, continuing to sell it, or suggesting people who want to read it get it from the newsagent.
As we loose so much money with Catholic papers anyhow I am considering cancelling them all but the reason for not having the Tablet is a seperate issue.

26 comments:

Ttony said...

The things you should sell are things that will advance or advance the faith of those who purchase things from your parish. From that point of view, it doesn't matter if you make a loss on some things (and asking wealthier parishioners to drop £2 into the papers box for their Catholc Herald instead of just £1 might help redress the alance a bit).

The Tablet is often an occasion of sin: you really shouldn't sell it.

gemoftheocean said...

We in the US don't see it, so it's hard for me to try to give you much of an opinion about the Tablet, per se. From what you and others say, I gather it's very left-wing and often derogatory. [Is it on-line somewhere, so your overseas readers can get a clearer picture?]

For me free speech has always meant thus: Anyone has the right to say whatever they want [yelling "fire" when there is no fire in a crowed theatre excepted.] BUT, that does not mean I have to give a platform and help facilitate anyone's free speech. You want free speech? Fine. Pay for your own soapbox. Arrange for your own distributorship. Quite different from saying "the printing presses at the Tablet should be stopped." If it is something sold at the newsagents, then yes, by all means fair enough to suggest those interested parties take out a subscription, no one is stopping them.

Now as for yourself reading it. I suppose there is a certain merit in "knowing thy enemy." IF someone says "what about that scurrilous attack in the Tablet?" And you rely on hearsay, and go on a tear on that - if you've gotten the material facts wrong of what was actually said, you could end up with egg on your face. You don't *have* to read it, of course, but if someone complains about a particular article, insist on seeing the actual source.

Don't forget for some, without much training/background something like they put out (by accounts here) could in theory endanger their faith...should they fall sway to false arguments. Not everyone has the education to see through them.

Just my two cents...which isn't even worth two cents these days.

Anonymous said...

“Once the Pope’s legs start giving out – he is 80, after all – maybe Mgr Marini will bring back the gestatorial chair.”


One reason, from last weeks edition.

Fr John Boyle said...

I gave up The Tablet ages ago, then took it up again to give them a fair hearing and to know what the other side is saying, but gave it up for good after their sneering attitude to JP2 following the latter's death. Can't understand why anyone would want to pay into the Tablet's coffers.

pelerin said...

It has been interesting to read so much criticism on different Catholic blogs about the Tablet. I have never actually read it - when I first saw it for sale I presumed by its appearance that it was far too highbrow for me so have never been tempted.

Several months ago an elderly Priest friend mentioned that all those in his order read the Tablet and suggested that I read it. As I valued his advice, it saddened me to learn of all the criticism of the newspaper. Shortly before he died he kindly sent me a cutting from the Tablet of the obituary for Cardinal Lustiger and commented that what it said surprised him and contradicted what he had believed about the late cardinal. The journalist was certainly at odds with other obituary writers both here and in France.

No I certainly have no wish to buy the Tablet but am at a loss as to why our Missionary friend should have recommended it to me.

leutgeb said...

If you feel the Tablet is no good for you and you know much more the stand point it is promoting, then the more naive ( like me) or easily lead are going to be even more badly influenced by it.

I don't think that you would be alone, if you stopped selling it.

I skim it occasionally and whatever the subject of the article it never enthusiastically goes at anything. It is never written from the stand point of this is Catholicism, how do I conform (convert) myself to the ideal. If you are looking for a way of justifying poor behaviour, I bet the Tablet would find you a plausible excuse.

It strikes me as having that rather snotty, English(of the England top nation, separate from everyone else esp the continent type), superior, skeptical, cynical attitude that you encounter sometimes from Anglicans. Lots of them are very sincere, good etc, but the old Catholic stereotypes persist and they really have a weird attitude to the Pope. It's all about power for them and the Tablet seems to echo this.

Is it true that the readership has lots of non-Catholics?

Final reason it's boring. I hate those stupid boxes telling you to share things with people or make a collage. It's like an assembly book for primary schools. That stuff is rubbish.

It's thanks to that kind of thing that we have to listen to blah blah blah Jesse Tree, Advent Wreath, Bidding prayers, lengthy intros to Mass blah blah. Way too many words.

Bit like this comment. No colour pics either. Looks tatty and miserble.

The Catholic Herald prints long excerpts of the Pope's writings, so you that you can muse on them yourself and for that reason alone is worth supporting.

Parochus said...

As parish priests, we don't display just any material for sale at the back of church. The faithful have the right to assume that what we offer to them is the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church. Whilst this may occasionally be questionable in respect of other English Catholic periodicals, in their case I am prepared to assume that this it is not an intentional and consistent editorial policy. I am unable to make such an assumption with respect to the Tablet and, therefore, cannot in conscience offer it to the people. (They can, of course, take an individual subscription, but I am not aware of anyone in this parish who does.) While faithful Catholic priests continue to stock the Tablet in their parishes, it only encourages them in their policy of "loyal" oppostion to the Church. Failing the unlikely intervention of our hierarchy, market economics is the only language the Tablet is likely to understand.

Mac McLernon said...

Personally, I think that the Pill is rather dangerous. Not everyone is aware of the level of dissent in the rag, and because the Tablet is referred to as "Catholic" people might actually be misled by some of the articles... the constant sneering at the Pope is also inevitably going to rub off on the unwary, just in as far as it will colour their attitude to the sneering of the BBC (for example.)

I would get rid of it from the back of the church, but make it clear to anyone who wishes to receive it that it will be kept in the repository for them (that way you aren't "depriving" the hippies and giving them a stick with which to beat you, but you aren't allowing the filthy rag to corrupt the unsuspecting church-goer!)

pattif said...

I have long believed that it is important to read the Tablet, to keep abreast of what the enemy are up to. Not that I put my money where my mouth is, though - I read the sacristy copy.

Fr Pancras Cluny said...

I certainly think they could make a start at improvement by finding a new Rome correspondant. Mr Mickens' carping is just too much and too out of date for that matter!

Henry said...

Cut them up into suitable sized pieces and hang them up in the loo.

Ottaviani said...

Get rid of the Pill - why help the dissenting fools spread their errors to the uninformed.

The Catholic Herald is the only paper worth selling nowadays. That and the "Pro Eccelsia et Pontifice" Newsletter.

Cosmos said...

Keeping up with the enemy is a good reason to have a copy on your desk, not on the table at the back of the Church. Bad theology is much more dangerous for the casual layman than the trained theologian who might take opion as fact- or at least valid.

I have always thought that keeping half-hearted, sentimental, or slightly rebellious materials around a Church gave the impression of either an endorsement or a tired institutionalism from a clergy who was simply went along with the motions.

The Church needs to begin purging itself of dsitracting nonsense like that paper.

Dr. Peter H. Wright said...

I wonder if parish priests should bother stocking "Catholic" newspapers and periodicals in their churches.

I buy the Catholic Herald by postal subscription. (And I strongly recommend it.)

Benfan said...

Speaking as a mother.
There are my personal views. Then there is my duty as a mother and wife. If I thought something was bad for my family's faith and I have a duty of care and responsibility then I would not allow them(if it was within my authority and ability ) to be exposed - simple as that. If I could be sure that the people who were exposed could handle it spiritually then I would not argue too much about it. However, I still wouldn't facilitate that exposure.

John F said...

No matter how it describes itself, The Tablet is not a 'Catholic' newspaper and should not be presented as such by being available in Churches. In this instance it is more than a matter of 'taste'. Personally, I find that publications like The Universe are a total waste of paper and it is not worth buying. However, it does (so long as I recall - it is so long since I looked at it) aim to uphold Catholic values and isn't inherently unorthodox, and thus priests could justify selling it.

In addition to banning The Tablet, priests could also exercise care in other publications left at the back of churches. Far too often dubious pamphlets about alleged visions (such as those of Medjugorje)can be found - thereby giving the impression that they are approved.

In short, ditch The Tablet.

Nickname said...

The Tablet is a bien pensant bore but the back pages are worth reading and the news-round in the Church and the World and local news gives an good summary of what's happening. Christa Pongratz-Lippit's (is that spelt right?) tear-stained pages on the Church in Austria and Germany are hilarious. Mickens, the Rome correspondent, is a superannuated cliche and not worth reading. If you are losing money don't sell it. But if it is regularly pinched that proves that some enjoy reading it. As for the rest, it beats an antique drum.

Cappadocian Sister said...

To me it personifies the insidiousness of the 'pseudo intellectualism' of the liberal elite who have dominated the Church in E & W. We do not need a church of self appointed theologians but of Saints (some of whom will be excellent and faithful theologians.) It feeds the minds of those trying to lead good lives but not yet saints with false teaching dressed up in Theo-philosophical jargon. The devil is cleverer than the lot of us put together pro and anti Tablet readers alike. I can only think he relishes the propagation of The Tablet's dissenting materials particularly on sale within a Catholic Church. (Mind you if I was as 'enlightened' as the average Tablet contributor I would of course understand that The Devil is not real but is just a literacy device!) You hardly need me to say this to you Father but there are few such things that are neutral - if a Catholic newspaper is not wholly faithful to The Truth it doesn’t gain some neutrality by the balance of an occasional better article........if it is not clearly 'good' then steer clear. It can be tolerated by allowing parishioners to buy it from newsagents but to sell it at The Church is to promote it and cooperate with evil.

Anonymous said...

i don't think you should stop selling the tablet. it may not be to your taste but you shouldn't prevent others from choosing to if they wish. not selling it feels like you're making a (political) statement - which, of course, would be the real reason for not selling it!

Nickname said...

You're right, Ma. Under canon law a priest should not baptize a child unless there is a reasonable hope that he/she will be brought up in the faith. Unfortunately many parents see baptism as an entrance qualification to a Catholic school, rather than a sacrament, and mother's think it will be a passport to a white wedding, despite the fact that their darling daughters will have long settled down with their 'partners' before being pushed up the aisle. Hell opens its door wide for all concerned unless repentance ensues. None of this can be excused by invincible ignorance as, presumably, they were instructed before committing sacrilege. Such is the Church and world in which we live.

Et Expecto said...

Two points:

Firstly, if you dropped the Tablet, would there be more sales of other more orthodox Catholic papers which might reduce the losses on papers?

Secondly: Is it time for a take over battle concerning the Tablet? Is there any possibility of getting some Catholics in control of it?

Aquinatic said...

Since the editorial policy of The Tablet for almost 40 years has been hostile to the teaching of the Magisterium of the Church (Humanae Vitae in particular)it seems to me plainly wrong to allow its sale in your church. To many its availability there will look like endorsement.

couissent said...

Just ban it, Father! It's a dreadful rag. I'd dearly like to drive it out of business, or preferably have it bought under orthodox ownership.

Bill said...

You feel soiled after reading it (a not uncommon response, I understand),and yet continue to be a middle-man by making it available to others?

Please just stop selling it Father. Any die-hard readers you have amongst your congregation can be advised to take out a subscription. Let them poison themselves.

Hilary said...

The main thing to remember, I think, is that to the "ordinary lay person" anything that is in the church is understood to be fully endorsed by the priest, and by extension, by the Church.

I've campaigned to have the Canadian version, The Catholic New Times, removed from churches because, simply, if people pick it up and read it, they think they are doing so with the full approval of their priest.

Any equivocations or reservations that priest might hold about the material's contents, are utterly unknown to him. He just reads it in the, perfectly fair, assumption that whatever is at the back of his parish church is not going to do his soul any harm.

This is precisely how the Faith was undermined in so many people. "But father approves" has been the watchword for 40 years.

Simon Platt said...

I would suggest that if you just don't like it personally then you should keep it on sale, but if you think it's a bad influence then you should drop it.

Your judgement seems sound to me. I'd be interested to know what you decide.