Monday, October 18, 2010

Fr Michael Clifton's last post?

Fr Michael Clifton posts this:

Bad News I regret to inform you that I am faced with an impossible situation. Mgr Loftus has refused to accept my apologies and threatens me with action in civil and church courts. As a result I am very worried and will speak to our Archbishop. However I will not be posting any further blogs and may well shut down completely pending resolution of this matter. Please pray for me.

I don't know if a similar letter is in the post to me, if there is, so be it.

It does seem very strange that a Catholic newspaper, the Catholic Times publishes articles that at least some people regard as questionable and when they are questioned threats of legal action are thrown about like confetti. Is the editor happy with this? are other contributors? are readers?

This is an important justice issue of freedom of speech that affects a fundamental right to debate in the Church, it should not be ignored!

Please contact the editor of  the The Catholic Times Mr Kevin Flaherty here, I did last week and received no reply, so a hard copy letter should also be sent to:
K Flaherty Esq
The Universe Media Group Limited
4th Floor Landmark House
Station Road
Cheadle Hulme
United Kingdom
Having read the first paragraph of an article in last week's paper, well let us say I felt the CDF might express discomfort about what was said about the physical resurrection of the Lord. In my personal opinion it was not congruent with the teaching of the Church.


Dominic Mary said...

As I don't think I have (knowingly, at least) read anything of his, I don't feel competent to comment on what - if any - success Mgr Loftus may have in Ecclesiastical Courts : though as I assume that ultimately it could end up before the Signatura, I'd have thought that the principles of the head of that Court might be worth his consideration.

In any event, though, I am quite sure - for reasons I've mentioned before - that he has no possibility whatever of succeeding in any claim in the civil courts, at least on the lines previously mentioned; indeed I think it likely that such a claim would merely be seen as ridiculous, which would hardly be beneficial to the Church.

I think it might be useful for him to consider the scond Reading in tomorrow's Office of Readings for S. Paul of the Cross . . .

Mulier Fortis said...

Well said, Fr. Ray.

Left-footer said...

Is this what the Catholic Church in the UK has sunk to? A retired Priest terrified of fellow clergy!

Prayer needed, and perhaps a defence fund.

Discreet Observer said...

"It does seem very strange that a Catholic newspaper, the Catholic Times publishes articles that at least some people regard as questionable and when they are questioned threats of legal action are thrown about like confetti."

Unfortunately, this has been the modus operandi of the liberal aggressors since they seized control in the 1960s. Anyone who challenged them has been subject to threats and ridicule in order to silence them. This is how they have succeeded for so long. Like effective revolutionaries they gained control of all elements of the media and have brainwashed or browbeaten in turn the hierarchies, the clergy in general, and the laity. The few who challenged them were isolated and cast to the margins and it took great enduring courage to continue the challenge.
Thankfully, more and more people are now starting to expose these charlatans for what they were, and are, and the protective wall they built around their institutions is starting to crumble. Unfortunately, the damage these liturgical bullies have done will afflict the Church for many years (decades?) to come. We should no longer be in awe of these people; perhaps they should be treated with the same contempt they have shown to everyone who was not in their club.
Any Christian who will not accept an apology needs to re-evaluate their faith and have an urgent chat with their confessor. This is an excellent opportunity for the laity to say that they are heartily sick of this kind of brow beating and want our clergy to be men of God, not men of litigation. What is that in the Bible about turning the other cheek?

MartinT said...

It seems frankly un-Christian in every sense for one priest to threaten another in this way and for any dispute over what are no doubt serious issues to be settled in this way. If there are arguments over matters of faith they can be conducted openly, passionately and also charitably. I hope Father Clifton can ignore the threats and carry on being his wonderful tactless self.


Laura said...

I stopped buying the Catholic Times precisely because of what this priest wrote every week.

Sadie Vacantist said...

I have heard stories about this Loftus and that he enjoys a fight. I think a boycott of the Catholic Times might be a start. Perhaps also some financial support of Fr. Clifton is also in order. I would imagine the bishops would enjoy an attack on the blogosphere by one of their own. Loftus is an intimidating figure who is well connected to the hierarchy.

A Friend said...

Father, I don't think the Catholic Times is read much in the CDF but I can assure you that blog is.

You have friends in Rome as I am sure you know.

Be courageous.

georgem said...

Discreet Observer, You have spoken for me, therefore I have nothing to add except my support for Fr. Clifton.

The Bones said...

I don't think that Mgsr Loftus is going to come out of this smelling of roses, somehow. It is he who is doing most damage to his reputation, in the sight of God or man and not the CDF either!

Robert said...

Maybe it's time for the Mitchell brothers to sort this Msr. Loftus out. said...

I am optimistic that Father Loftus will walk away from the court with a big costs order against him.

Left-footer said...

Sadly, Fr Clifton has announced the closure of his blog. I trust he has a good circle of supportive friends.

If our support and prayers could somehow be passed on to him, it might make him feel less isolated.

torchofthefaith said...

In our comment on your last blog-post we mentioned the culture of fear which is used to intimidate orthodox priests, seminarians and laity.

Here is yet another example. It is diabolical in the truest sense of the word - and a far cry from the liberty which Christ brings to the children of God.

It should be challenged at every turn.

Hurrah to you and Fr. Clifton. for having the courage to speak out. May God bless you.

P.S. - the picture of a toddler chucking confetti is spot on in this context.

God bless you!
Alan and Angeline

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

Well, well...liberal Catholics vindictive and litigious?!

(Putting on Surprise Face)

Joseph Reinor said...

Is the moral of the story... you reap what you sow?

Ma Tucker said...

Flee flee run for the hills! Please. If you don't have the moral courage to speak the truth to error and be prepared to defend your position then it's better to be quiet.

Anonymous said...

I hope Father Mildew realises that in closing his blog he leaves his own reputation in tatters, imho

umblepie said...

If every parish priest refused to sell the Catholic Times in his church, I'm sure that this would prove the most persuasive answer to those threatening Fr Clifton. One does not have to agree with everything that Fr Clifton writes, or the manner in which it is expressed, however for this retired 74yr old priest in indifferent health, to become the litigious punch-bag for a middle-weight church 'dignitary' and his commercial sponsor, seems unnecessary - particularly in view of subsequent apologies made; scandalous; and totally un-Catholic. If Mgr Loftus genuinely believes that he is in the right, then he should remember Our Lord's words, 'forgive us our sins as we forgive those who trespass against us'; if on the other hand he is acting from selfish motives with disregard for the truth, then he should remember the axim that 'what goes around, comes around'.

Kevin said...

Yes, I stopped buying the Catholic Times years ago, because it carried articles of dubious orthodoxy - it used to have the masthead 'Follow Peter' - I don't know if it still does - but it certainly doesn't 'Follow Peter' by carrying such articles. Just stop buying it folks. There's enough Catholic info on-line these days. It would be one less platform for Loftus to parade on, if it folded up. I'm sorry Fr Mildew has caved in. I've witnessed some vile bullying from 'liberal Catholics' over the years, and when fronted up, they always backed down.

Fr Ray Blake said...

I have reject four "anonymous", I am afraid I just pess the the delete button without reading them, if they were yours, please repost them, with a name, preferrably your own.

EditorCT said...

I'm very disappointed that Fr Michael Clifton is being worried like this.

I don't believe for a second that Mgr Loftus will pursue legal action, but he is obviously very far removed from the Christian spirit of forgiveness, when he refuses an apology.

I'm going to post this on our homepage at Catholic Truth and we have a piece already placed in our December edition, so let's see if he threatens me with legal action - I'll press my court suit just in case.

Anonymous said...

You are not a Holy Man Father ray. Another arrogant backstabber. Treat an old priest with contempt while your little bunch of toaddie parishioners cheer you on!
Not much of a christian, not much of a Catholic, definately not much of a priest!
Fr. Mildew was terrible, he spewed out some garbage and called himself traditional. He will not be missed.
Just remember Father, pride comes before a fall!!!!!!
We can write to your Bishop, The Archbishop, The Nuncio and complain about you. It is time the Catholic church took action against you celebrity bloggers!
You do more harm to the faith than any other body I know of.

Sadie Vacantist said...

@EFpastor emeritus

Yes, you are right but I can understand why he cracked.

gemoftheocean said...

Can a defense fund be organized if this Msgr. Loftus persists in making a jerk of himself? I think in situations like thisa big bullhorn can help. I wonder if Fr. Z can be persuaded to post about this if he hasn't already.

I think if everyone in the Catholic community came up with a little, it should take any money worry off Fr Clifton 0--- he shouldn't be bullied or silenced by the left. It would be unconscionable to let that happen. then "the creeps" win.

Fr Ray Blake said...

I don't normally read anonymous comment, I just delete them, unread.

I did however read the one above, I thought you might like to see it.

I am sure there are a number of people scratching quill on parchment to senior clergy about me even as I type.

Anonymous said...

If you get a belt of a Bishop's crozier I hope you won't close your blog, Fr. Ray

Left-footer said...

If Anonymous is typical of what you have to fear, Father, then you have little to fear.

Clare said...

I am disgusted at the bullying and intimidation from the 'liberal' wing of the Church who practise 'toleration' only towards their own pet causes. Talk about taking a hammer to a nut!

Hurt pride isn't a pretty sight is it?

Fr Mildew is a friend of mine - please pray for him. he's a fine priest and not in the best of health.

pattif said...

I am one of those who would have wished that Fr Mildew's response had been "Do your worst!"; indeed, I was inclined to think the apology and withdrawal of the "offending" post was regrettable. I now think that to have expected Fr Mildew to come out fighting was probably unreasonable; he seems genuinely worried and distressed, judging from his most recent posts.

One thing worries me: Fr M said he was going to seek advice from his Archbishop; now he says he is closing his blog down "on advice". I hope the juxtaposition of those two statements is simply product of my imagination working overtime.

I have a suggestion, which I hesitate to put forward, since I do not have a blog of my own, and the potential consequences of what I am about to suggest would not be visited on me. It occurs to me that all like-minded bloggers might post what Fr M said that The Litigious One finds so unforgiveable, in a kind of "I am Spartacus" gesture. My guess is he wouldn't have time enough (literally) or sufficiently deep pockets to come after all of you.

I'd be happy to appear as a witness for the defence in any action he might bring; I have access to quite an archive of the articles in question, and could put together a robust argument from his own writings that what was written was fair comment.

Meanwhile, I shall write to The Litigious One's editor; he should be in no doubt that his columnist's un-Christian behaviour reflects badly on his publication.

Thomas Mullett said...

(1) Fails to accept apology
(2) Threatens to sue
Has someone forgotten what they were taught in Catholic 101 (i.e. primary school):
(1) Forgive us our trespasses etc
(2) Turn the other cheek etc

This is bad old days abuse of power..

Kevin said...

Oh Anonymous! - what a big man/woman you are! Threatening Fr Blake from behind your anonymity. Pathetic. And in case you accuse me of hiding behind anonymity, my e-mail address is If you want to 'report' me, fill yer boots. There's nothing you can do. I'm a layman. And if you contact me, believe me, you won't find the courtesy afforded you by Fr Ray Blake and others on this blog. That said, I'm not a fan of Fr Mildew's blog - but that's just personal taste - he isn't unorthodox. That's the crux. I guess you're 'We Are Church' or 'Catholics for a Changing Church', or worse. Fortunately for Catholics, you don't decide who is holy, Anonymous. God does. If you want to administer judgements from 'on high' in future, at least have the guts to put your real name on it. But you won't, because people like you are spineless.

Unknown said...

"I am sure there are a number of people scratching quill on parchment to senior clergy about me even as I type."

I wonder if their punctuation and spelling will be just as eccentric as your anonymous correspondent.

Presumably "senior clergy" are used to receiving such letters from people who are used to lurking in the dark and simply file them in the bin. That is if they can decipher them.

I am never sure what motivates such people that they feel the need to attack people under the cloak of anonymity. Malice ? Fear ? Cowardice ?

Sunshine and the light are of course the best disinfectants. In the cold light the inadequacy of what they have to say is brutally exposed.

Please do not get disheartened and please continue with your good work.

RJ said...

Rather angry and spiteful post from anonymous. Can't you put your objections in a more courteous form?

B flat said...

I heartily agree with Kevin's comment, and endorse Terry's encouragement.

I too, am sorry that Fr Mildew collapsed under pressure. The challenge was to him, not me, and I have no right to judge his decision. I hope he will reconsider and return to the fray.

But how are we to witness to the Truth with our lives, if we fear even economic martyrdom?

Carry on your witness to Christ, Father Ray!

Dilly said...


Fr Mildew has taken a prudent course of action, which does not impair his legal position.


Yes, indeed pride cometh before a fall - and that is not advice to be given to one side only in any legal action.

Please could someone tell me if The Catholic Times is taking action separately from Mgr Loftus - and if so, on what grounds?

Only post if not likely to prejudice proceedings. It is just so I can be accurate in my letter.

Dominic Mary said...

Fr Clifton is a fine priest, but not in the very best of health, and although I rerget the end of his blog, I cannot blame him for eliminating something which must, I am sure, have been causing him great concern recently. He will remain in my - and no doubt many other people's - prayers.

I just regret that certain people who ought to know better seem to be oblivious to the way they cause such distress in a good priest.

Mulier Fortis said...

I suspect that, in the days before email and the blogosphere, missives such as the one from "Anonymous" would have been scrawled illegibly in green ink...

Maureen said...

This appears to be a threat only. If a legal action was really in the offing, you would have received a communication from the attorneys representing Msgr. Loftus. If he has been unable to obtain legal representation, his threats are meaningless.

I am sorry Fr. Clifton has been distressed by Msgr. Loftus' threats. Msgr. Loftus sets a poor example.

Dermot said...

That is completely ridiculous. If somebody espouses heretical views, he should be denounced and challenged. In any case, keep blogging Father, and keep preaching the truth.

Jackie Parkes MJ said...

I got a nasty anonymous for posting about Fr Clifton's blog closure.I will heed Fr Ray & send it to trash.
regarding Fr Clifton he would have been fine to continue his blog without mentioning a certain priest or alluding to him. I know the fear of threats to sue etc & I must admit I did become very ill. So I suppose given father's ill health it might be best for now.
I'm going to buy the CT to take a look at what is written this week.
Fr Clifton & Fr Ray put up their real names..wheras the anonymous can't act so brave.
I hope the difficulty is sorted amicably eventually.
Forgiveness & charity go a long way..though some don't do this.

Sadie Vacantist said...

I suspect that anonymous expresses the views of most lay and clerical apparatchiks in the employ of the bishops. The post-Vatican II church has proved to be a cash cow not just for abuse victims but for those employed in the various lay ministries who have been instrumental in the destruction of the Faith in this country. I don't see any evidence of a sea change. A week after the Papal visit I saw one bishop in 'civvies' walking down my local high street. So much for witnessing in the public square!

nickbris said...

If these comments were all made by Catholics it is very worrying;I am losing the will to live.

Sharon said...

I saw one bishop in 'civvies' walking down my local high street.

Good grief!! A bishop in mufti walking down a street! That proves it - we are indeed going to hell in a handbasket.

Cummon Sadie, don't be coy - name the bishop. That way we will know you aren't making things up.

Sadie Vacantist said...


Tell me what your blog is and I shall post it.

Michael Clifton said...

Thank you Fr Ray for giving me that publicity. Ahuge increase in readership followed! One of these was from Patricia McKeevor who might send you a little correspondence to show exactly why Mgr Loftus is so difficult to nail. Your readers would be well advised to steer well clear of him for now. By the way do you know how to run a private blog ? I also must point out that my retirement from main line blogging was due more to finding it tiring than to mGR Loftus. He just made me give up rather earlier.

Michael Clifton said...

Sorry in my previous comment it was not Patricia but the Editor of Total Catholic who has the remarks he can send you

Crouchback said...


Do you agree with me that in these challenging times, the nation needs, nay, requires the return of that great legal drama.....Misleading Cases.....???

When people start flaying each other over scarce "resources" we will need whole brigades of Philadelphia lawyers....Pronto.

Therefore the urgent return to our screens of this compelling real life drama can't come quick enough.

The burning question is: now that Moore Marriot is no longer with us......where can we find a matinee idol to play our hero, Albert Haddock....????

EditorCT said...

I thought everyone would be interested to know that I have had LOADS of supportive-for-Father-Clifton emails following the report on our homepage at and the voting polls have consistently demonstrated disapproval of Mgr Loftus and both the Catholic Times and the SCO.

I know that Kevin Flaherty's email is at the top of this page so thought I would add Liz Leydon's email address at the Scottish Catholic Observer

I've written to both editors to alert them to our boycott. I believe a few people have also emailed to say they won't be buying the papers again while Mgr Loftus is writing in them.

Among the supportive messages for Fr Clifton have been emails and conversations with a number of priests, so I do hope that Fr Clifton will withdraw his apology, reinstate his blog and tell Mgr Loftus he'll see him in court. I'll be counsel for the defence - all those years of watching Perry Mason will pay off at last...

It won't happen, of course - there'll be no court action. Sob, sob...

God bless Fr Clifton (and Fr Ray Blake) and have mercy on Mgr Loftus.

Red Maria said...

That anonymous comment was both utterly repulsive and deeply stupid.

If I say any more I will descend into fluent Anglo Saxon.

Let me take this opportunity to express my solidarity with Fathers Ray Blake and Michael Clifton.

I am very angry about this.

I shall be in touch with Father Michael about his setting up a private email list.

Libel laws and the threat thereof have absolutely no place in doctrinal discussion.

I repeat, I am very angry about this.

Anonymous said...

Now Father Clifton says it was tiredness that made him give up. He had previously told us that his decision was based on "Advice" following legal threats. Curiouser and curiouser.

Sadie Vacantist said...

@EFpastor emeritus

Yes, the hatred of the hierarchy towards the blogosphere is visceral. Not one of them has established a blog of his own. The Tablet wouldn't dare establish a com box for the simple reason that intellectually the Second Vatican council and liberalism is finished and has been for many years. The bishops get around this problem by appointing 'pastoral' men to their ranks: Cunningham, Doyle, Drainey, Davies, Evans etc … for the simple reason there are no intellectuals left to defend this indefensible project. To question these appointments is invite the ad hominem attack that one is 'anti-pastoral'. It's a classic liberal ploy. Front up the operation with nice guys so that any critique of the present ecclesiology constitutes a questioning of their 'nice guy' status rather than the failed ecclesiology which they have been tasked to defend. One of the ironies of this strategy is that O'Donoghue, an appointment from this 'pastoral' template, turned on his own and commissioned the "Fit for Mission" document. The only decent thing to emerge from his rank in decades and intellectually coherent to boot.

mikesview said...

Father - I echo 'Laura's' comment. She gives the precise reason why I will not give the CT house room, and regret to say, the CH is not far behind.

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