Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Catholic Times: A Warning

A couple of the ladies in the parish could be in big trouble, both are keen photographers but they suggested a picture in the Catholic Times was "amateurish and badly cropped". Now if the photographer were as litigious as other contributors such as Msgr Basil Loftus this could be construed as defamatory slander.
Am I committing a libel against the Caatholic Times by reporting this or would I need to mention the photographers name?

A friend has a discussion group which discusses Tablet articles, I wonder if he too is on risky ground, encouraging  such discussion. Another friend writes book reviews for the Church Times, I am sure his pension is in jeopardy every time he touches pen to paper.

I am wondering if the Catholic Times is bit too hot to handle and whether I and others should remove it from the back of churches, just in case. Possibly the editor should mark those articles and other contributions which can or cannot be discussed.

Anyhow, I just wanted to thank my benefactor for the cheque for £2,500 for the "defence fund". I won't cash any cheque until it is needed, I would have liked to have written to you as I have to others but as you haven't given me your address this will have to serve to thank you.


Dominic Mary said...

No, Father, you could not be sued for reporting a straightforward fact without any expression of opinion.

Similarly, your friend with the Discussion Group is safe, as it is discussing the articles not the writers; whilst your friend who writes book reviews is safe as long as they do not contain personal attacks on authors based on material other than the content of the books.

Action for defamation is not quite as easy to succeed with as some people seem to think . . .

georgem said...

And for your penance . . . .

Fr Simon Henry said...

Perhaps we could start a petition of all those who agree with you on Mgr Loftus and he could sue the whole lot of us in a sort of reverse "cllass action".

Fr Simon.

Christine said...

Ah see where you are going "reductio ad photographicum".
Yes! I can't see the difference between criticism of a phographer's skill and an article in The Catholic Times by a high ranking priest.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you Father, I think the Catholic Times is a little "hot to handle."

Might I suggest you cover the front page with a film wrap as they do with the dirty mags in our local shop?


Independent said...

Was it Baron Von Hugel who advised a friend never to read the little religious journals on the grounds that they impaired not only faith but charity?

Perhaps churches which sell them should do so from a shelf above the reach of children.

Fr Francis said...

An English Court of its very nature is bound to uphold laws enacted by the British Parliament (including the establishment of the Church of England).

And the Doctrines of the Church of England include the 39 Articles which exclude a number of Doctrines of the Catholic Church.

So even if an English Court were to attempt to judge between different expressions of Catholic Doctrine, it is likely to regard expressions of orthodox Catholicism as being "heretical".

Therefore if Mgr Loftus is serious and not merely vexatious, a better way for him to establish his orthodoxy would be to appeal to the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith in Rome to examine his collected writings and to adjudicate accordingly.

The Bones said...

Fr Francis. Fabulous idea. Perhaps we could collate some of his writings and send them to the CDF on his behalf.

I would expect that his profound theological works would warrant some kind of 'special recognition'.

Fr Ray Blake said...

I don't publish anonymous comments, but I know of at least four vexatious threats in the past two years. There are even more in the past directed at very vulnerable people.

It MUST be made to stop.

A Bystander said...

I think the editor is complicit in Monsigneur's nasty little games, he presumably passes on the identities of his victims. I was threatened by this man, after writing a letter of complaint to the editor, so I am probably the fifth man.

Unlike you Father, I have family responsibilities and so I am unable to risk our financial future by entering the legal arena with this man.

I wish you well Father, but I must remain a bystander.

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