Friday, June 24, 2011

Is The Tablet misogynistic?

Below is a letter published today in The Tablet, in response to their leading article (and other articles) on the use of Altar Girls at the Traditional Mass, from Annie Mackie-Savage, the Latin Mass Society Representative for the diocese of Arundel and Brighton. The bit in red is the bit they refused to print.

As a woman who acts as a local representative in Arundel and Brighton of the Latin Mass Society, I find your claim (Leader, 18 June) that not allowing female altar servers at the Extraordinary Form insults me is quite absurd.

I challenge you to provide your readers with evidence for this bizarre claim that the tradition of male altar service has anything to do with “ritual uncleanliness” (sic). On the contrary, this tradition is quite obviously a reflection of the fact that only men can be ordained as priests, and it is because male service at the altar emphasises the different roles of the sexes in relation to the sacrifice of the Mass that it has special value. The Extraordinary Form of the Mass represents the preservation for future generations of this and many other venerable traditions, and it is for this reason described by Pope Benedict as a “treasure” for the whole Church.

Before you reject these traditions as ‘insulting’ you should reflect on the fact that they formed the basis of the liturgical life of women, as well as men, for countless centuries. Is it not more insulting to women to picture us as helpless and passive oppressed victims of a misogynistic Church for nineteen centuries? Give us a little more credit than that.

Annie Mackie-Savage
Eastbourne, East Sussex


  1. Ms Pepinster of the "appalling" publication did have the "courage" to publish the letter and you're still not happy? She has refused to publish nothing. The letter has been edited which is entirely normal practice. I think you will find that The Tablet takes care to publish a selection of letters that represent a range of views and not simply those that the editor happens to agree with. They've even been known to publish letters from Mrs. McLeod!!  

  2. Joseph Shaw1:51 pm

    Peter said:

    <span>Ms Pepinster of the appalling publication ... She has refused to publish ... The letter has been edited which is entirely normal practice [at] The Tablet!!</span>

    Note: this comment had to be edited for reasons of space.

  3. Anthony Symondson SJ9:48 am

    The Tablet has been editing correspondence for years.  A former editor, John Wilkinson, would even telephone correspondents to check the cuts.  Generally the main substance and arguments of letters antagonistic to the journal's policies are kept and not mutilated.  One of the reasons for making cuts is to provide space for as many letters as possible.  But in this case I am sorry that Annie Mackie-Savage's concluding paragraph was omitted because it makes an important point.  The cult of 'woman as victim' is the worst expression of emotional blackmail but if the blackmailers' bluff is called, and they are categorised as victims to their face, their fury knows no bounds.  They see themselves as strong women, even though they resort to the worst female blandishments.