The Tablet & Other Far-From-Catholic Rags: Irresponsible Bishops Must Act

The Tablet & Other Far-From-Catholic Rags: Irresponsible Bishops Must Act

From Christian Today:

The Catholic Church in the UK is descending into civil war behind the scenes after a major row over abortion was sparked by a controversial editorial in the respected journal The Tablet.  

Bishop Mark Davies, Diocese of Shrewsbury is one of the Bishops who complained about the Tablet editorial 

A number of bishops were ‘scandalised’ by the article, Christian Today understands, and are urging Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, to intervene. One figure accused the weekly magazine which is sold at the back of Westminster Cathedral – the home of Catholicism in the UK – of trying ‘to obscure the witness of Christian teaching’.
Click here to read the entire report Catholic Church at war? Bishops’ dismay at ‘tragic’ editorial in The Tablet criticising teaching on abortion

From Catholic Truth:

The fact that there are bishops expressing shock-horror at The Tablet’s latest (but far from unique) attack on the moral law and Catholic teaching, is unconscionable. The scandal of the loss of moral sense – and the particular responsibility of bishops – was addressed by Pope John Paul II in his encyclical Veritatis Splendor way back in 1993.  In any case, do these bishops seriously expect us to believe that they do not know that they are responsible for every soul led astray by the scandalous publications sold in their parishes, shops and cathedrals?  Yet there will be Catholics drooling with delight at the remarks of a handful of English Bishops criticising – on this one occasion – The Tablet, for it’s latest attack on the Church for its refusal to condone the evil of abortion.  See  some key extracts from Veritatis Splendor below…

Extracts from Encyclical Letter of Pope John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor: (The Splendor of Truth – Regarding Certain Fundamental Questions of the Church’s Moral Teaching) August 6, 1993

Our own responsibilities as Pastors

114. As the Second Vatican Council reminds us, responsibility for the faith and the life of faith of the People of God is particularly incumbent upon the Church’s Pastors: “Among the principal tasks of Bishops the preaching of the Gospel is pre-eminent. For the Bishops are the heralds of the faith who bring new disciples to Christ. They are authentic teachers, that is, teachers endowed with the authority of Christ, who preach to the people entrusted to them the faith to be believed and put into practice; they illustrate this faith in the light of the Holy Spirit, drawing out of the treasury of Revelation things old and new (cf. Mt 13:52); they make it bear fruit and they vigilantly ward off errors that are threatening their flock (cf. 2 Tim 4:1-4)”.178

It is our common duty, and even before that our common grace, as Pastors and Bishops of the Church, to teach the faithful the things which lead them to God, just as the Lord Jesus did with the young man in the Gospel. Replying to the question: “What good must I do to have eternal life?”, Jesus referred the young man to God, the Lord of creation and of the Covenant. He reminded him of the moral commandments already revealed in the Old Testament and he indicated their spirit and deepest meaning by inviting the young man to follow him in poverty, humility and love: “Come, follow me! “. The truth of this teaching was sealed on the Cross in the Blood of Christ: in the Holy Spirit, it has become the new law of the Church and of every Christian.

This “answer” to the question about morality has been entrusted by Jesus Christ in a particular way to us, the Pastors of the Church; we have been called to make it the object of our preaching, in the fulfilment of our munus propheticum. At the same time, our responsibility as Pastors with regard to Christian moral teaching must also be exercised as part of the munus sacerdotale: this happens when we dispense to the faithful the gifts of grace and sanctification as an effective means for obeying God’s holy law, and when with our constant and confident prayers we support believers in their efforts to be faithful to the demands of the faith and to live in accordance with the Gospel (cf. Col 1:9-12). Especially today, Christian moral teaching must be one of the chief areas in which we exercise our pastoral vigilance, in carrying out our munus regale.

115. This is the first time, in fact, that the Magisterium of the Church has set forth in detail the fundamental elements of this teaching, and presented the principles for the pastoral discernment necessary in practical and cultural situations which are complex and even crucial…

116. We have the duty, as Bishops, to be vigilant that the word of God is faithfully taught. My Brothers in the Episcopate, it is part of our pastoral ministry to see to it that this moral teaching is faithfully handed down and to have recourse to appropriate measures to ensure that the faithful are guarded from every doctrine and theory contrary to it. In carrying out this task we are all assisted by theologians; even so, theological opinions constitute neither the rule nor the norm of our teaching. Its authority is derived, by the assistance of the Holy Spirit and in communion cum Petro et sub Petro, from our fidelity to the Catholic faith which comes from the Apostles. As Bishops, we have the grave obligation to be personally vigilant that the “sound doctrine” (1 Tim 1:10) of faith and morals is taught in our Dioceses.

A particular responsibility is incumbent upon Bishops with regard to Catholic institutions. Whether these are agencies for the pastoral care of the family or for social work, or institutions dedicated to teaching or health care, Bishops can canonically erect and recognize these structures and delegate certain responsibilities to them. Nevertheless, Bishops are never relieved of their own personal obligations. It falls to them, in communion with the Holy See, both to grant the title “Catholic” to Church-related schools, universities, health-care facilities and counselling services, and, in cases of a serious failure to live up to that title, to take it away.  [Emphasis added] –  Source Veritatis Splendor (Splendor of the Truth) Given in Rome, at Saint Peter’s, on 6 August, Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, in the year 1993, the fifteenth of my Pontificate.


Clearly, publications using the name “Catholic”, which are plainly hostile to the Catholic Faith, should be included in the above list.

And why do those bishops expressing concern about this particular Tablet editorial not express concern about the many other editorials and articles routinely  featured in that deadly publication?  On page 11 of our current newsletter, we report outright falsehoods by Clifford Longley, who actually places words into the mouth of Pope John Paul II that flatly contradict the actual words of the pontiff on embryo experimentation. So what’s the problem now, all of a sudden?  Also, what about the other so-called Catholic publications which are all, to a greater or lesser extent, “liberal” – that is, essentially heretical in their ethos and content? Is it too late, or should the bishops act, as required by their office, to protect the faithful from these poisonous rags?  Is it pessimistic in the extreme to say that, frankly, these rags, The Tablet included, will continue to be sold in Catholic outlets, continue to poison what is left of Catholic faith and morality, despite the expressed concern of (a minority) of bishops in England? With, note, no expression of concern at all  from any bishops in Scotland. 

Comments (40)

  • editor

    In the Christian Today report, we read:

    …But Brendan Walsh, the editor of The Tablet, hit back at the criticism, saying the bishops are ‘in a bit of a bind’.

    He told Christian Today: ‘The sanctity of the life of the unborn is one of the cornerstones of our beliefs as Catholics. Our leader in the issue of September 16 sympathised with the position of the Catholic MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, who personally opposes abortion in even the most difficult of circumstances, but has said he would not try to impose his views on others. It’s a position that attracted considerable hostility, but was also widely understood and respected, and could even be the start of a helpful conversation about life issues.

    ‘The Catholic bishops – it seems to me – are in a bit of a bind. They want to celebrate and protect every human life, from the moment of conception. But if they hold fast to the view that women should not be allowed the right to choose an abortion under any circumstances, the Catholic voice is less likely to be listened to.’ END OF QUOTE.

    Brendan Walsh (and the bishops) need to remember that they will be in even more of a bind at their judgment if they permit politically correct considerations to silence them in the utterly grave matter of protecting the life of the unborn children being mercilessly butchered in their mothers’ wombs in what amounts to State sanctioned murder.

    The Tablet really is a rag down there in the depths of the gutter, as Catholic Truth has been pointing out for years now. I’m shocked that any priest or bishop still reads it.

    October 14, 2017 at 1:57 pm
    • Lionel

      Indeed, you are perfectly right on the issue, Editor!
      You summarized very well the challenge…
      This dreadful Tablet should be removed from the stands in churches.

      October 14, 2017 at 10:07 pm
      • editor


        In every single instance without exception, when I’ve been in conversation with a priest or religious who were criticising our publication, Catholic Truth, and asking to be removed from our mailing list, they have answered “yes” when I asked if they subscribed to The Tablet. Every single instance, without exception. They fail to join up the dots. They cannot see the connection.

        Which proves that we’re dealing with genuine apostasy – the extent of the loss of divine and Catholic Faith is just stunning.

        October 14, 2017 at 10:22 pm
      • Lionel

        Alas! I believe it.

        October 15, 2017 at 10:51 pm
      • Lily


        A few years ago I heard of lay people who removed The Tablet from their churches and threw them away, LOL! I don’t know if that is true or not, but I wouldn’t be surprised!

        October 15, 2017 at 9:23 pm
      • Michaela


        I admire their bravery!

        October 15, 2017 at 10:29 pm
  • John R

    Father Zulsdorf always refers to The Tablet as “The Bitter Pill”. It is an absolute disgrace that this rag is still sold in Catholic churches. It has long since lost any credibilty of being a Catholic periodical. I can remember when it was a faithful Catholic periodical, but then, I have a memory which goes back many years.
    What is even more worrying is that so few of the bishops have actually protested about its latest attack on Catholic teaching. How some of them think that they will be able to face Jesus after they have died, is beyond me.

    October 14, 2017 at 2:00 pm
    • editor

      Father Z must have heard about the time of Humanae Vitae when The Tablet took a definite “pro-contraceptive” position and earned the title “The Pill” from faithful clergy.

      As for supportive (of The Tablet) clergy being able to face Our Lord after their death – I seriously doubt that many of them will get the chance…

      October 14, 2017 at 2:05 pm
      • Helen

        “As for supportive (of The Tablet) clergy being able to face Our Lord after their death – I seriously doubt that many of them will get the chance…”

        Editor, a catechism question: Won’t ALL men and woman have to face the Lord irrespective of their final destination?

        October 16, 2017 at 11:48 am
      • Michaela


        I wondered about that, too, but then I remembered something I’d read (probably on this blog, LOL!) that not everyone sees Our Lord at judgment, some only hear his voice. I took it, that’s what editor meant.

        It made sense to me because we were taught that you could not see God and not love him but those who have rejected him, don’t and now at judgment can’t love him. I wouldn’t be fair if a massive sinner saw God, realised he’d been wrong to reject him and then said “sorry”! LOL!

        That’s how I interpreted the statement anyway.

        October 16, 2017 at 11:53 am
      • editor


        Only the “blessed”/saved see God. The Church teaches that the damned fall into Hell at the moment of death, and St Thomas Aquinas teaches that at the final judgment, although the damned will “behold” Christ, they do so as man, not seeing his divinity (this may apply at the Particular Judgment – would need to check). St Thomas Aquinas points out (and St Augustine is quoted as saying essentially the same thing) that if the damned saw God, Hell would be changed into Heaven. What Michaela says about the damned not seeing but hearing the voice of God, rings a slight bell but I cannot recall a source for that and don’t have time to check it right now.

        So, yes, what I was suggesting – unashamedly – in my post which you quote, is that several saints, including St Athanasius, got it right when they say that not a lot of bishops will make it to Heaven: The walls of hell are paved with the skulls of bishops.

        And thus, those contemporary bishops who are negligently exposing their people to poisonous rags like The Tablet and other pseudo-Catholic journals, are placing their own souls in danger of eternal damnation, as well as risking the spiritual safety and ultimate salvation of the people in their care.

        October 16, 2017 at 6:20 pm
  • Pat McKay

    That old cowardly cop-out again….. ‘personally I object to abortion, but I’m not going to impose my views upon others’….

    That’s rather like saying….’I’m opposed to slavery, but who am I to tell anyone what they can and can’t do with their own property?’….

    October 14, 2017 at 4:22 pm
    • editor


      Well said. The fact that even someone reputed to be as intelligent and “traditional” as Jacob Rees Mogg can’t see the sheer nonsense of that position, speaks volumes.

      October 14, 2017 at 10:23 pm
  • Deacon Augustine

    “….they make it bear fruit and they vigilantly ward off errors that are threatening their flock (cf. 2 Tim 4:1-4)”.178”

    LOL, have any of the bishops ever read that bit?

    To the best of my recollection, there used to be at least two of the English bishops who sat on the board of trustees of the Tablet and they never did anything to clean it up. Looks like they have quit now though, because the latest board of trustees is here:

    It reads like a Who’s who of chattering liberal gentry and perverts. As it doesn’t have “Catholic” in the title there is probably very little the bishops can do about it apart from stop selling the filthy rag. Time to let it die an unholy death. From the look of its financials it should be dead already. I wonder who is keeping it on life support – George Soros?

    October 14, 2017 at 9:08 pm
    • Athanasius

      Deacon Augustine

      “I wonder who is keeping it on life support – George Soros?”


      What we Catholics badly need in this country is a witchfinder general!

      October 15, 2017 at 12:17 am
      • Deacon Augustine


        Once I’ve done mopping up in my current field of ops, “witchfinder general” would suit me down to the ground for my next project. I might have to update the definition of “witches” to include “modernists” and “progressives”, but I have always believed that there are some areas where a little bit of “aggiornamento” is thoroughly justified. 😉

        October 15, 2017 at 11:37 pm
    • crofterlady

      Deacon Augustine, thank you for your insightful comment. However, I wanted to see the context of your biblical quote:

      ….they make it bear fruit and they vigilantly ward off errors that are threatening their flock (cf. 2 Tim 4:1-4)”.178”

      so I looked it up and I can’t find it in 2 Timothy 4:1-4. Can you check and let me know? Thanks.

      October 16, 2017 at 1:11 pm
  • editor

    Deacon Augustine,

    The Tablet doesn’t have “Catholic” in its title but others do – Catholic Herald, Catholic Times, Scottish Catholic Observer… And the fact that it is widely described in reports as a respected Catholic journal, is sufficient reason for the bishops to prohibits its sale in Catholic outlets. Which, of course, they would do if they didn’t like it. Reflect.

    Not so long ago – celebrating an anniversary or some landmark or other – The Tablet boasted that over 40% of its readers were Anglicans, which perhaps explains its “charitable objects” (e.g. “to advance the Christian religion”).

    I agree about the list of trustees – disgraceful.

    October 14, 2017 at 10:17 pm
    • Deacon Augustine

      “Which, of course, they would do if they didn’t like it. Reflect.”

      Oh, if only it were that simple, editor. I know for a fact that there are bishops who don’t like the Tablet one bit, but they are terrified of appearing “censorious” and incurring the wrath of the “liberal elite”. Or they justify their inactivity by telling themselves that they would only draw more attention to it than it deserves.

      As ever, the greatest impediment to them vigilantly warding off errors that threaten their flock is that good old sin of human respect.

      As a father in the natural order I have always taken the view that I will be accountable to God for everything to which I have allowed my children to expose themselves. I only wish that our fathers in the supernatural order would have a similar concern for their own accountability.

      October 15, 2017 at 11:51 pm
      • editor

        Deacon Augustine,

        If only you knew how utterly tired I am of hearing excuses for these negligent bishops. “Terrified of appearing ‘censorious’? “Incurring the wrath of the ‘liberal elite’? Talk about “of mice and men”…

        Emasculated clergy is one of the hallmarks of the contemporary Church. They’ve surrounded themselves with bossy females, in and out of the sanctuary, and they take refuge in – as you acknowledge – the sin of human respect, dubbing it “prudence” when it is nothing more than moral cowardice.

        Your final paragraph sums up the issue. Unlike a father in the natural order, these bishops do not comprehend the gravity of their position before God, that they will be held accountable for each and every soul in their care, and that includes the lunatics running The Tablet asylum who need episcopal correction as much as their readers need episcopal protection.

        It really is “that simple” Deacon. If they truly, in their souls, realised the immensity of the damage to souls effected by reading the trashy Tablet, if they could see their Judgment scene and the possible consequences thereafter, I believe they would instruct all parish priests to stop selling it and to stop endangering their own souls by reading it. It’s poison, IM-pure and simple.

        Or maybe you think they just don’t understand the seriousness of it all? Like this numpty…

        October 16, 2017 at 10:08 am
  • RCAVictor

    “114. As the Second Vatican Council reminds us…”

    I for one am thoroughly sick of what the Second Vatican Council “reminded” us, “taught” us, and whatever else it allegedly did for us. In fact, the only thing Vatican II did for us was to sell the Church out to her enemies and lay down a deliberately vague blueprint for a new religion, a cult of man.

    That said, I wonder why The Tablet is nicknamed “The Bitter Pill,” when it should be called “The Poison Pill.” Poison, that is, coated with the sweet syrup of human respect.

    I do think it is too late for the bishops. They have squandered our inheritance for a mess of pottage, and show no sign of repentance. It’s not too late for us, however, to cling to the Faith and resist their cowardice and corruption.

    October 14, 2017 at 11:48 pm
    • Athanasius

      RCA Victor

      Well did Gerald Warner dub it The Second Vatican Catastrophe!

      October 15, 2017 at 12:18 am
      • Lily


        “The Second Vatican Catastrophe!

        LOL! That’s a classic, for sure!

        October 15, 2017 at 9:22 pm
  • Lily

    The idea that Cardinal Nichols would intervene to criticise The Tablet shows just how out of touch that publication Christian Today is.

    He’s bound to support The Tablet as he is an outright modernist himself!

    October 15, 2017 at 9:21 pm
    • Deacon Augustine


      Looking at the other articles on their site, it appears that “Christian Today” is an evangelical protestant rag. I am surprised they picked up the story at all, but not surprised that they would be unfamiliar with the key players in the Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales.

      I would imagine that their interest has been piqued because until recently all the other Christian groups who cared about pro-life issues could rely on the Catholic Church as being the most reliable support in the cause. Sadly many of them are working out that even in this area of morality, something is badly wrong in the current regime. Somebody is going to have a lot to answer for.

      October 15, 2017 at 11:59 pm
  • Michaela

    It really is a joke that the bishops are expressing disapproval of this one editorial on abortion, when there have been plenty of attacks on abortion and other Catholic teachings for years and years. I never read the rag now, but I have done in the past – I’ve never bought it but friends have shared copies with me and I have always been appalled by it.

    I’m disgusted that these bishops continue to allow it to be sold to the faithful in their charge. It’s a total disgrace.

    October 15, 2017 at 10:28 pm
  • RCAVictor

    So….has anyone asked Bishop Davies if he’s removed The Tablet from his parishes? Or intends to? And if not, why not?

    October 16, 2017 at 3:29 pm
    • editor

      RCA Victor,

      That’s a very good point indeed. Why go complaining and allowing himself to be quoted on the attack, while tolerating the rag in his diocese? Bishop Davies needs to put his action where his words are, to sort of coin a phrase!

      October 16, 2017 at 9:09 pm
      • RCAVictor


        Or….to put his faith where his mouth is….?

        October 16, 2017 at 10:09 pm
      • editor

        RCA Victor,

        I just don’t know what to make of these bishops – they’re so easily over-powered by the “liberal” elite…

        October 16, 2017 at 11:11 pm
      • RCAVictor


        Maybe they’re not being overpowered. Maybe they’re just bowing to peer pressure…if you catch my drift….

        October 17, 2017 at 3:34 am
      • editor

        RCA Victor,

        You are very charitable. Maybe it’s because I’ve got the kind of nature I’ve got, but I have never been affected by peer pressure, even as a schoolgirl, and I just could not stifle what I truly believe. I, therefore, find it difficult to understand or excuse any bishop who has accepted that office and then refuses to act to enforce Catholic belief and discipline. I just cannot understand it.

        October 17, 2017 at 10:11 am
      • RCAVictor


        I wasn’t being charitable at all, actually (though that is going to be my “Virtue of the Month” for November!). I was saying that these bishops are, in their mentality, part of the liberal elite rather than part of the Church. Thus they and the elites are actually, in a certain sense, peers (though it might be more accurate to describe them as slaves, meekly obeying whatever the elites dictate to them).

        Since that is the case, they don’t see themselves as “set apart” to shepherd the souls of their flocks, and therefore govern strictly according to worldly standards.

        Standards which are, at this point of advanced cultural degeneration, completely insane.

        October 17, 2017 at 3:19 pm
      • editor

        RCA Victor,

        I knew exactly what you meant – I was simply saying that I cannot understand it. Cannot understand the mentality that allows other people to adversely affect them doing what they should be doing, whether that’s brother bishops (peers) or the media or whoever and wherever. I do not understand such weakness of character.

        October 17, 2017 at 3:48 pm
      • RCAVictor


        I don’t understand it either, but clearly they don’t even know what they should be doing, as Catholic bishops. In fact, I don’t understand the whole diabolical disorientation, when it is so obviously a collection of shallow lies and stupidity.

        October 17, 2017 at 3:57 pm
  • crofterlady

    Editor, I was very interested in your reply to Helen above and looked up the source of “the road to hell is paved with the skulls of bishops” only to find a rich source of same. I post:

    October 16, 2017 at 7:31 pm
  • editor


    Yes, that is one of those quotes that is attributed to more than one saint. Must have been quoting one another! I am almost certain that I first read it attributed to St Cyprian, but he’s not on the list!

    October 16, 2017 at 9:07 pm
  • gabriel syme

    It is sad that the best the UK’s Catholic media can muster is the “Catholic Herald”, very much a middle ground publication winking at robust Catholicism while being careful not to upset the Bishops at their tea. The latter point is proven by the fact it removed the facility for public comment on its website articles early-on in this dismal Pontificate we are currently enduring.

    The excellent “Catholic Truth” newsletter aside, reliable and inspiring publications are like hens teeth in the UK. (I’ve heard praise for “Christian Order” too).

    “The Tablet” is a joke. I was going to suggest it might find some worthwhile use as toilet paper, but then its smooth, glossy pages would mean it’s as poor in that role as it is masquerading as a Catholic periodical.

    The “Scottish Catholic Observer” is pretty poor, as evidence by the fact it will likely go out of business in the short to medium term.

    I have seen a parish sell “Catholic Voice” which is better than others, but still lacking. It is also imported from Ireland, a fact which is itself an indictment on the UK’s offerings.

    I was going to wish for a fully Catholic mainstream publication for sale in the Churches – but then, how many priests would have both the interest and the nerve to stock it?

    October 18, 2017 at 10:15 pm

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