Thursday, July 15, 2010

In Praise of Splinty, and him on The Tablet

I have never gambled, I have always had a great fear of becoming addicted to it, I have to confess I have been addicted Radio 4 for years, same with renaissance lute music. My latest addiction, here I want to thank Damian Thompson, is Splintered Sunrise, it is just about the best Catholic blog out there, it is balanced, amusing, well written, well informed. It is a bit gossipy, it seems to dislike the beige Catholic establishment as much as I do.
The latest post does a resume of the latest copy of the Tablet. It illustrates rather well the  incestuous nature of that liberal fanzine. It points out how self-serving and ridiculous it is.

Yes, it is a bit cruel about individuals at time: Cardinal Wingnut, Ma Pepsi, Elena Discourteous feature, last week he published a rather frightening picture of Austen Ivereigh with clones.

Talking of the Tablet Fr Tim author of the phrase "Tabula delenda est" after falling victim to Elena Discourteous reports a spat between it and Joe Shaw of the LMS.

By the way, last night I had supper with a former Tablet contributor, his conscience won't allow him to do it anymore, I think Bobby Mickens' hatefilled anti-BXVI sentiments had a lot to do with it.


Our Lady of Good Success-pray for us. said...

The 'bitter-pill' is a confusing read. It does seem to be peppered with a few pro-Catholic bread crumbs in an anti-historical-Catholic forest leading to... And they do seem to want to put poison in the Pope's tea or at least in the tea of any readers who think well of him. The Pope piece of the week before last spent most of it's space magnifying the faults of some Great-Uncle of Pope BenedictVI but stopped using any proper nouns halfway through so that by the time it got to the last of the ancestor's faults it seemed as if the writer was speaking of the Pope once again. The feature articles are usually twisty-turny pieces that start off saying one thing and then do a 180 and most often they're written by an academic who's just put out a book that gets a plug at the end. And if you look the book up it's often telling the world what rubbish Catholicism is. It reminds me of Rowan Williams book 'Tokens of Trust' - by the end of the book I wasn't entirely sure the Archbishop believed in any of the promises of Christ or if we are all supposed to take the whole thing as manipulable nominalism (if that's the right term). It's not religion it's...something else.

Robert Chatterson said...

it sounds like you're really not intelligent enough to understand the Tablet, maybe you would be better off sticking to one of the catholic papers aimed at ignoramouses (eg the universe ot the sacred heart messenger) instead.

Rupert said...

Ah Robert I see you are follower of Elena Discourteous!

Anagnostis said...

On the contrary, Sonia: "religion" is exactly what it is.

georgem said...

And please, Robert, do check the spelling of ignoramus, that's ig-nor-ra-mus (Latin root) before you post. We like to have our insults spelled correctly on this blog.
I think you can take it that many of us have been readers of The Tablet in our time and so we do understand where it is coming from, though possibly not where it's going.

Our Lady of Good Success-pray for us. said...

I guess I've stepped on marching team of tablet toes or else hit a few nails on the head.

Anagnostis said...

Not me, Sonia! I'm on your side! To clear up any ambiguity in my earlier comment, what I mean is that The Tablet typifies "religion". "Religion" is not a good thing! It is, precisely, "religion" (both "original" and re-erected)from which Christ intends to free us.

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. (Romans 1:20-23)

RJ said...

I find myself more in tune with what Sonia says than Robert. I don't think I'm an ignoramus. Haven't read the Tablet for quite a while, but it seemed to me 'bitter' was a good description.
Moretben: that bit about 'religion' sounds like something from one of the Protestant theologians (Bonhoeffer?).
Not sure what you mean by 'religion' in this context. At best an expression of the abuse of religion?

Anagnostis said...

I can assure you, it's thoroughly Orthodox! You know what they say about the "stopped clock", though. Christianity is not "religion", but the end of relgion, and the tearing down of every mythology, ideology and ethical system. Christianity is not man searching after God, but God searching after Man. It is the revelation, not of an anthropomorphic "Deity" who requires to be placated, but of the "theomorphic" meaning of man and the cosmos, whom and which God has already reconciled in Himself, "trampling down death by death". It is God who has acted first, not us. To speak of Christianity as a "religion" (in other than a sociological sense), places it alongside "religions" as one among many. Even if one maintains the view that is uniquely the true one, or more "true" than the others, even to place it among the others is a tragic falsification.

"Tabletism", on the other hand, presents an idea of Christianity wholly accommodated to an ideological, ethical, human understanding of Man, in the image of which God requires to be reconstructed. It's a human construct, dressed up in churchy talk and churchy preoccupations.

RJ said...

I associate religion with its public communal expression in liturgy, which is very much at the heart of our faith, so that's probably why I feel uncomfortable with attacks on 'religion'.

Clearly, there are different senses of 'religion'. The Apostle James wrote that "True religion is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world", which suggests that there is such a thing as true religion.

As you say, however, the Christian faith is not a human construct. I do tend to agree with you about the sort of thing that comes out of the Tablet camp: it reminds me of some of the stuff I heard from theologians who were supposed to be Catholic. 'Rationalistic' would be a word that occurs to me: implicitly according human reason (i.e. one's own judgement) the supremacy in judging what is to be believed. Am I being grossly unfair?

Anagnostis said...


“Pure religion” is (so the Greeks tell me – my own Greek is far worse than my rudimentary Latin) a very inadequate translation of θρησκεία καθαρὰ. Of course, Greeks are always complaining of the unadaptability of any language but the original to the fullness and subtlety of Holy Scripture; be that as it may, “thriskia” here connotes (I'm told) piety, spirituality, God-centeredness, more than “observance” of public cult: “If any among you thinks himself God-centred...”

So, yes, I'd agree: there is a true and authentic God-centredness, piety, spirituality, which consists essentially of bridling one's tongue, devotion to the poor, metanoia and the struggle against sin. I'd agree also that the Divine Liturgy is the sine qua non, the means and the very condition of entering into this reality, the reality of the Kingdom and of the age to come.

And that's precisely why I'd be unhappy with casting the Liturgy in “religious” terms – in the context of a “two storey universe” - us down here, “publicly” placating God “up there”, in the expectation that His anger against us will be appeased, His favour won, and all sorts of benefits accrued in consequence - here in this life, and afterwards when our “souls” have floated off to Heaven. This, it seems to me, is very remote from Biblical and Patristic Christianity. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that the anthropocentrism of the Tabletistas finds its mirror-image in the “tradition” of the “Traditionalists" which is, in reality, nothing more than a hankering for re-erected “religion” of another complexion; equally aristotelikos ouk alieftikos , to paraphrase St Gregory of Nyssa - “of the philosophers, not of the fishermen”.

Independent said...

Baron von Hugel, of whom the Tablet presumably approves, advised his niece in the interests of the cultivation of her spiritual life never to read minor religious publications. He presumed that they were a cause of uncharity.

The Lord’s descent into the underworld

At Matins/the Office of Readings on Holy Saturday the Church gives us this 'ancient homily', I find it incredibly moving, it is abou...