Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Loftus attacks Cardinal Burke

I have had other and better things to think about than Mgr Basil Loftus in the last few weeks. But just to remind him and others that I have not forgotten about him - far from it - here are a couple of quotations from his latest effort: 19th Jan, The Catholic Times.

It begins:
'Catholics who are divorced or remarried, those who are gay, and those who do not believe that the physical expression of married love must always be open to the conception of children, are not the first ones, or even today the only ones, to find themselves in a seemingly impossible situation. And long before Holy Father Francis came on the scene practical solutions have had to be found. They can help us now to understand what Francis has termed his "epoch of mercy", his practical solution.'

Later in the same column, he writes:
' "If in our heart there isn't mercy, the joy of forgiving, we are not in communion with God" (Pope Francis' Angelus Address, 15th September 2013). Surely there is food for thought here for those who are so keen to excommunicate and thus to deny Holy Communion to politicians who have to genuflect in the Temple of Rimmon when their political masters debate issues of sex and marriage which are not compatible with Church teaching. Effectively, it seems that it is those judgemental zealots themselves who "are not in Communion with God", even though one of them, Raymond Burke, is, for the moment, the Cardinal Prefect of the Church's highest law tribunal.'

The practical contradiction between criticising 'judgementalism' and then attacking a named Cardinal as a 'judgmental zealot' 'not in Communion with God' is, sadly, typical of Loftus' writings.

Is there any point saying that, since Cardinal Burke has been confirmed in office, he is Pope Francis' head of the Apostolic Signatura? Perhaps not. Loftus' angry polemic operates at a level rational criticism can't reach.

He has form. Last November he referred to 'Sri Lankan cappa magna fetishist and Tridentine-rite devotee, Malcolm Ranjith.’ Last June (in a Letter to the Tablet) he said a talk by Bishop Davies of Shrewsbury 'may even call for anger.

And in a double barb aimed at Archbishop Nichols and the Nuncio, Archbishop Nichols, he wrote:

(Letter in The Tablet 22 June 2013): ‘Something has to be done to challenge those cardinals, bishops and priests who simply don’t get it. Is an appeal for £500,000 for work on Archbishop’s House, Westminster, and the some £1 million reportedly spent recently on the nunciature, compatible with the example Francis wants to “send ... to other cardinals, bishops and priests” when he lives in a clergy hostel?’

(The sum of £1m to be spent on the Nunciature is, I hasten to add, pure fantasy.)

When those attached to the Traditional Mass criticise bishops, this is often held up as a demonstration that we are a practically schismatic. I certainly won't and couldn't claim all such criticisms are justified. But what I will say to those worried by traddy criticisms: Don't you read the Catholic newspapers? What sort of tone are they setting? The Catholic Times is a newspaper operating with ecclesiastical approval. Kevin Flaherty, Editor, please note.


  1. We have stopped taking the Catholic Times in this Parish, due in no small part to Mgr Loftus.

  2. There is a man whose shoes Loftus is not worthy to untie.

  3. Joseph have you ever considered calling or emailing him directly instead of just countering him on this blog? Perhaps he should know he cannot go uncontested.

  4. He doesn't do email as far as I know. But we've had an exchange of letters:

    He returned mine to me, for reasons which are obscure.

    1. I think you'll find it's a generational thing. If you ever read correspondence from the 20s and 30s it's littered with people returning people's formal letters, and forwarding and returning manuscript letters from others. It's quite touching that there is somebody quite so heroically ignoring the photocopier age, never mind the Internet age . He'll have been placed in sets too where he was "too clever" to need to learn to type, as he'd always have a typist to hand: not his fault at all, but a reflection of when and how he was brought up.

    2. But what does it mean? Was it supposed to polite, or rude?

  5. If we lead people to sin because we have watered down the teachings of the Church; we are not being merciful, in fact, quite the opposite. We can love people even though they sin.

  6. I am surprised that Mgr. Loftus continues to use his title. An ex-parish priest of mine, now deceased, who attended the Council as an expert and who saved thousands of lives in the third world through his fund raising efforts declined to use the title presumably through humility and dislike of 'flummery'. Strange that such a progressive priest does not see the irony.

  7. It is not surprising that an old heterodox priest like Mgr. Loftus holds these views. His real significance is that he gets published extensively in Catholic venues. I think it is these venues that might be the focus of your criticisms, as propagandising for the views he expresses through printing his screeds, rather than Mgr. Loftus himself; this gets down to what is important about his writings.

    1. I tend to agree with you.

      So called "Catholic" papers who publish heterodox views in the name of free speech, or countering censorship, or whatever, are sailing very close to the wind, and should be called to account..

      I recently came across a reference to the nine ways in which one can share in the guilt of anothers sin.

      Consent, praise or flattery, being partner to the sin and, implicitly if may say so, by defending the ill done, might just apply to these papers.

  8. Turns out of course that it's costing significantly more to keep Pope Francis in his hostel than it cost to keep Pope Benedict in in his apartment. They have had to close an adjacent car park for security reasons, increase security and pay the car park owners for loss of business.

  9. 'Catholics who are divorced or remarried, those who are gay, and those who do not believe that the physical expression of married love must always be open to the conception of children, are not the first ones, or even today the only ones, to find themselves in a seemingly impossible situation.'

    And as usual, Msgr Loftus mixes his fruits all together. When you're in full cry, the distinctions go by the board.

    Never mind that the merely divorced, can, in fact, usually receive Communion, all things being equal; so, for that matter, can the remarried, provided they were married by the Church after a declaration of nullity. Nor are gays denied Communion by the simple fact of being gay.

    One could think that the only way Msgr Loftus gets through his moral theology each day is simply by ignoring large swaths of the Pauline epistles, penned by that old curmudgeon whom the progressive Christian must both both grudgingly admire and disdain at the same time. But clearly, Msgr Loftus must do so with the red letter text as well. Impossible positions, indeed. "And Jesus beholding, said to them: With men this is impossible: but with God all things are possible." (Matt. 19:26)

    Even, possibly, an orthodox and sound column in the Times by Msgr Loftus. One day, hopefully not too far in the future.