I have been neglecting Mgr Basil Loftus on this blog, recently, but for some reason he has chosen to attack me specifically in his latest column in the Catholic Times (12/12/14). I'm not going to write about that here and now, however, except to say that his claim about dissension within the Latin Mass Society on his account is pure fantasy.
I am in good company: as well as the familiar target of Cardinal Burke, Loftus takes aim at the ''St Peter' priests' who he says are active in Shrewsbury and Lancaster dioceses. He is, presumably, confusing the Fraternity of St Peter, who are based in Portsmouth diocese, with the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, which works in Shrewsbury and Lancaster. Perhaps he means both, anyway. He draws in the Sons of the Holy Redeemer too.
One only has to think, in our own countries, of the 'Tridentine' Redemptorists in the Orkney Islands - almost but not quite visible across the water from my study window as I write this. There are other communities of 'St Peter' priests in the dioceses of Shrewsbury and Lancaster who are not only totally cocooned in pre-Vatcian II rubrics and pre-Pius XII liturgical outlook, but who enjoy immunity and isolation from the 99.9 recurring per cent of the rest of the Catholic Church, as though it were a contagious disease against which their baptism has not vaccinated them. Because, as [Robert] Mickens avers, this goes to ecclesiology, not just to maniples, lace and cappa magnas, then [sic] it becomes very worrying.
As if this at least quasi-schismatic ecclesiology were not enough to link today's crypto-Lefebvrists with the second and third century perfectionist heresies, they go on in their language, not least on innumerable 'blog-sites', to ape the rudeness of those predecessors by the way they have, to quote Mickens, constantly "mocked and scorned those with whom they disagree."
Is this the same Robert Mickens who was sacked from The Tablet for his being rude about Pope Benedict on Facebook, hosting a discussion on his page which looked forward to his death? The very same.
Are these religious institutes referred to, particularly the Fraternity of St Peter and the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer, not established, under the authority of the Holy See, precisely in order to avoid any danger of schism and 'Lefevbrism', at great personal cost to the founding members? They are indeed.
However, I think Loftus' tirade needs not so much refutation as a wider audience, for its absurdity to receive the ridicule it deserves. Although I am not a lawyer, it looks to me very much like libel, and especially the canon legal equivalent. Canon 220 says:
No one is permitted to harm illegitimately the good reputation which a person possesses nor to injure the right of any person to protect his or her own privacy.
To put Mgr Loftus' complaints about other peoples' rudeness in a proper context, I have decided to make publicly available a compilation of quotations I have made from his writings. You can download it as a PDF here.
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