I am reliably informed that since the very worthy Father Finigan has left, two novelties have surfaced.
1) The new parish priest (Father Fisher) can celebrate the Traditional Mass, but he won’t.
2) The “Tablet” has made his reappearance.
I do not doubt that many of you miss Father Finigan, and I agree with you such a one is not easy to replace. But there is, in my eyes, a great difference between a substitute without the talent of his predecessor – which is excusable – and one who undermines his work – which isn’t -.
The Tridentine Mass goes out just as, rather symbolically, the “Tablet” gets in. You can, dear parishioner, now avail yourself of a number of excuses as to why what is happening is not bad; or not so bad; or not very bad. You can say to yourself that the new man (Father not-much-of-a-Fisher) does not want to celebrate the Tridentine Mass because he feels he would not be as good as his predecessor. Or you may tell yourself that perhaps he has an unpleasant cough, that would – for the moment at least – suggest it is better to cough exclusively in vernacular. Perhaps you may want to examine the possibility that Father has a lisp, and thinks this stands in the way of a worthy pronounciation of the words, among others, “Dominus”, “Agnus”, “Miserere” and, obviously, “corpus”. The possibilities are endless.
The same applies to the sudden reappearance of the “Tablet”. Perhaps Father Finigan didn’t consider it an obscene rag from and for the enemies of Catholicism, but was simply allergic to that particular paper? Could it be that the “Tablet” has now become orthodox? What if Father Fisher is, in a very cunning and Francis-like move, selling the Tablet again in order for his parishioners to understand how bad it is? Or perhaps his bishop has threatened him with horrible persecution – like, say, beating him with a feather – if he does not sell the magazine?
The last line of defence might, as so often, be: “but he is so nice”. Nice people, so this reasoning goes, can’t be bad priests. Everyone knows that. Father is nice; therefore, everything must be OK, eh? no?
Or, my dear parishioners, you can decide that you will not swallow any strange story; that you will look at reality straight in the eyes; and that these changes so soon after the new man’s arrival can only mean one thing: Father Finigan’s parishioners are going to be slowly, but surely subject to a parish reeducation camp, that will only be considered concluded when the “Tablet” sells well, dissent is fashionable and so lío, and Francis is the best Pope e-v-a-h!
What to do, my dear parishioners?
Look long and hard for a TLM solution suitable to you. If you can afford to travel some distance, consider it. Do not exclude any possibility. There are two SSPX possibilities in London only, of which Wimbledon should be feasible for many. You may want to consider it even if you were a NO parishioner. One day, you might remember how you decided to attend the TLM when… it went away, and may the Lord reward you richly!
You may, in all cases, not have any suitable Tridentine alternative and realise now you have lost the one you loved. I feel with you for your loss. But TLM or no TLM, I suggest that you do this: make the choice, today, that you are not going to attend in a parish that offers the “Tablet” for sale. Not once. Starting from this very moment.
Nothing good can come, in the long term, from a priest who not only tolerates, but reintroduces the “Tablet” after his worthy predecessor removed it. Nor can you lull yourself in the hope that by “staying” and “fighting your battle”, the parish climate will change. How many “Tablet”-like priests do you know who have been converted by his own parishioners? How probable is it that he will change his ways? How probable that the parishioners will slowly change theirs?
My advice to you, my dear parishioners, is that you immediately stop attending in Blackfen, with no ifs and no buts; that you look, and keep looking, for TLM options in the months and years to come, availing yourself of that possibility as soon as you reasonably can; that you draw a line in the sand, and decide that the time of nice and smiling priests siding with the world has come to an end, and you will not attend anymore in a parish that sells the Tablet, for the good of your own soul and of the souls of those entrusted to you.
Take courage, my dear parishioners. Don’t cling to a past now gone. Father Finigan is now rather far away, and the “Tablet” is smiling at you from the shelf instead.
Is this parish, the same but now another, the place where you want to attend? Is this the priest you want to entrust with the task of guiding you towards salvation?
The TLM is out. The “Tablet” is in. Or I could put it in another way: Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi, Lex Vivendi. You have the truth of this in front of you. It is being, in fact, being rubbed under your nose as I write this.
One life, and after that the judgment. Do not entrust people who offer to you the “Tablet” to read the task of guiding you on your way to Purgatory. From their magazines you will know them. Do not be deceived by the gradualism with which he will go at his work: orthodox homilies perhaps, and here and there a hint of former times. This is one who sells you the Tablet, and can celebrate the Tridentine Mass but won’t.
Let Father answer for it when he dies.
As to you, I suggest that you keep your distance from both the magazine and the priests who sell it.
The matter of the “Protect the Pope” blog is making waves, and one can be confident the one or other will learn a thing or two from this.
What I have learnt (up to now) is this:
1. It is very easy to silence an ordained blogger, if he is a priest or deacon. A phone call or meeting or even a letter should be enough. The casus belli will always be easily found, as a good Catholic blog will be controversial, and someone will always complain by the bishop; and the bishop will not need anything more. He will then smugly invite the blogger in question to “enter into a period of prayer and reflection on the duties involved for ordained bloggers/website administrators to truth, charity and unity in the Church”.
2. It might soon become fashionable to silence an ordained blogger. True, Pope Benedict has encouraged priests and deacons to blog; but that was then, and this is … Francis. Francis is a man who has already expressed his fear that the TLM might be “divisive”. It would be very easy for him to state, when he finds the time is ripe, to say that priests and deacons should just stop blogging and spend more time in the favela, or traveling with the bus, or embracing wheelchairs, or making phone calls around, or doing all other edifying things he does. Just not blogging, because blogging is divisive, and can easily be uncharitable, and this, and that, and the other, no? At this point, cue the regular purge starting, as a great number of bishops will protect their chances of advancement by just doing what the powers that be wish that they do.
3. Things are, though, not so easy. “Protect the Pope” has never been so linked to, and Bishop Campbell (the blog’s censor) has never looked so bad. The blog is alive and kicking and it will continue to be so; it will, probably, become a beacon of, so to speak, blogging resistance. This will put the bishop in an even worse soup than he is now, then the order to the deacon to make the wife stop the blog would not look very good, or modern, or Francis-like; and very probably the blog wouldn’t stop, either.
4. Other priest bloggers have intervened: Father Z and Father Finigan make no mystery as to whether they like the Campbell soup, and Rorate Caeli predictably finds it inedible. Countless others blog, smaller taken individually but not insignificant if taken together, also deal with the issue. So let us make some calculations here: you close one blog, one hundred blogger criticise you, and they will take care you are not forgotten. As a strategy, it doesn’t seem very brilliant to me. There will always be so many blogs run by Catholic laymen, that even the suppression of all the clerical ones will have pretty much a zero effect. People go on the internet to look for information, and they shall find it. Whether from moderate priests or from less moderate laymen, it depends from the soup the clerical bloggers are made to eat.
So, as I write the 17 March the situation is as follows: the blog has never been so read, and even if it were to be silenced one day it would still be like wanting to stop the tide with a sand barrier, as we did as children at the seaside.Only, as children we knew we could not stop the tide, we just had fun trying. In this case, I have the impression there is all of the trying, but there will be none of the fun.
No. I don’t think it’s smart. Unless the bishop wants those who look for information to be more likely to land on my blog, that is.
Well, Your Excellency, what shall it be? Chicken, or chilli soup?
Absolutely beautiful blog post from Father Finigan.
As it is not very long I allow myself to re-post it in its entirety.
“My Mum Forced me To Clean My Teeth”
“I am heartily sick of the protest “I don’t go to Mass because my parents forced me to go when I was young.” OK Son, what else did your parents force you to do?
Your parents forced you to wash before you went out in the morning. Those cruel tyrants made sure that you cleaned your teeth before you went to bed. They dragged you kicking and screaming to school so that you could learn to read – and the teachers collaborated by forcing you to learn the alphabet and put the words together.
To top it all, after looking after your physical needs, they had the temerity to exercise their authority by looking after your spiritual needs and taking you to Mass on Sunday.
If they had neglected to see that you were clean, had suitable clothes, eat some sort of nourishing food, get some education and cross the road safely, they would have been visited by social services and given a care plan so that you could be healthy and safe.
And you are complaining because they took responsibility for your eternal life?
In this context, it is relevant to quote again the classic:
Ten reasons why I never wash
- I was forced to as a child.
- People who wash are hypocrites – they think they are cleaner than everybody else.
- There are so many different kinds of soap, I can’t decide which one is best.
- I used to wash, but I got bored and stopped.
- I wash only on special occasions, like Christmas and Easter.
- None of my friends wash.
- I’ll start washing when I get older and dirtier.
- I can’t spare the time.
- The bathroom is never warm enough in winter or cool enough in summer.
- People who make soap are only after your money”.
I would add the following:
“11. Some soap representatives turned out to be child abusers.”
“12. If I start using the soap, I’ll have to make an effort to stay clean.”
“13. If I start using the soap, there’ll be unpleasant discussion with my stinking neighbours.”