Be that as it may, the letters chosen for printing in the present issue (I would quote them in full but may not do so owing to the Tablet's Web.0-style copyright restrictions) show a willingness simply to believe what is printed in the newspaper rather than to consider the possibility that the Tablet may have a further agenda in portraying my parish in a negative light: namely the relentless policy of undermining the magisterium of Pope Benedict and Pope John Paul II before him.
I see little point in replying to the implied defamation present in many of the letters and will confine myself to commenting on the astonishing claim of Mgr Basil Loftus who quotes the Catechism "the parish initiates the Christian people into the ordinary expression of the liturgical life” (n. 2179) and slides from this to asserting that what Pope Benedict called, in an entirely different context the "extraordinary form", has no place in parish life. I am not sure how he reconciles this view with Summorum Pontificum 5.2 which says:
Celebration in accordance with the Missal of Bl. John XXIII may take place on working days; while on Sundays and feast days one such celebration may also be held.But then he also says that Latin in the ordinary form has no place in the "Sunday Eucharistic Assembly" (he means Holy Mass.) Mgr Loftus regularly lectures his readers on the interpretation of Vatican II and I am bound to wonder whether he is familiar with Sacrosanctum Concilium; for example:
Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites. (36.1)and
steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them. (n.54)He concludes his letter with a suggestion that my parishioners should no longer contribute to the Offertory Collection. Fellow parish priests will no doubt share my feelings on such interventions from people who think they know my parish because they have read the Tablet.
Incidentally, along with the many copies of letters to the Tablet, I have also received several copies of what is obviously a standard reply. This inculdes the assertion:
"The article came about because The Tablet was approached by a group of parishioners in Blackfen"I have also received a letter from a parishioner (one of those who has complained) stating that no parishioner in Blackfen had set out to approach a newspaper of any kind. I am told that a parishioner attended a talk in London called "The Church Today" and spoke about the parish of Blackfen; and that as a consequence, the parishioner was then approached by a journalist from the Tablet.
Which of these accounts is true? I have absoultely no idea: I know what happens in my parish but I will not attempt to adjudicate between the Tablet and its sources.