I’ve run out of superlatives to describe the awful column penned by Mgr Basil Loftus in the Catholic Times. To say it’s “awful” is akin to saying there’s a bit of unrest in Iraq these days.
The man doesn’t have a Catholic thought in his head and his utter hatred for the authentic Catholic religion is tangible in just about every sentence. He expects to be allowed to get away with his attacks on the Church but won’t tolerate any criticism of himself – click on the image in order to read some history of the Monsignor’s (some would say “almost violent”) reaction to criticism.
Last week, he re-defined Natural Law, to permit (need you ask) artificial contraception, homosexuality, cohabitation, blah blah. Of course, he didn’t say that he was re-defining Natural Law; he blamed the “Synod Agenda” for the forthcoming Synod on the Family. That’s his modus operandi: oh, it’s not li’l ole me, saying this, it’s this obscure theologian, or that heretic or … the “Synod Agenda”.
Anyway, this week he took a swipe at Father Thomas Ladner, the Austrian priest unjustly (and at any other period in Church history, incomprehensibly) punished for teaching the Faith. (See Challenging Young people to live the faith relevant to today’s everyday life, Catholic Times, 15 August, 2014)
In the Gospel according to Basil, the case of Fr Ladner “illustrates how much change was needed in the way the Church approaches religious education for children” adding “this 36 year old young fogey – who affects an everyday style of clerical dress – shovel hat, cassock and exaggeratedly full Roman collar – which was never in vogue in Austria, where priests wear secular dress – has been suspended by his bishop from teaching religion to children. Ladner’s ‘out of date terminology’ and an insistence on the starker aspects of the ‘four last things’ – death, judgement, Hell and Heaven – were judged by the diocese concerned to be ‘unsuitable’ for the age group of the children concerned.’ “
To justify this baloney, Loftus (he is on record with his disapproval of titles such as “Monsignor” so forgive me if I indulge him in this respect) cites Pope Paul VI’s “insistence on a ‘re-examination of methods of pedagogy in religious education’, arguing that “Only if religion is taught in the same fresh and inspired way that, for instance, mathematics is taught today, will it be seen to be relevant…”
The problem with this rigid application of contemporary pedagogy is that it ignores the experience of great saints and Doctors of the Church like St Thérèse of Lisieux, who said she had been so well taught about her Faith that by the time she was three years of age, she knew that she loved God and wanted to give her life to Him.
I know we have an almost inexhaustible list of the faithless who might vie for our vote in a “Heretic of the Year” competition, but Loftus really has to be in the lead. His writings have long been suspect but since the election of “Holy Father Francis” his attacks on the Faith have become increasingly bold and more imaginative. Today, he is trying to convince us all that “innovations” are a good thing in the Church: remember that cry of Pope Saint Pius X: “Far, far from our priests be the love of novelty”? Forget it. Loftus exhorts us to “appreciate such new developments in doctrine as we now have in the fields of ecumenism, and to acknowledge the need to correct previous errors, such as those in Pius XI’s Syllabus of Errors, which have now been rectified by the innovations of Vatican II’s Declaration on Religious Freedom.” He goes on: “Today, moral theology and doctrine are coming together in the wake of the acceptance of evolution and the rehabilitation of Teilhard de Chardin, as theologians look again at what has been taught about the nature and transmission of Original Sin, as well as re-examining the concepts of personal moral responsibility in actual sin.”
Loftus has left us. No question about it. His hatred of all things traditional and truly Catholic breathes heavily throughout his every column in the Catholic Times, Scottish Catholic Observer and now, I’m told, the Universe. So much for the Catholic papers being a means of spreading the truth. Laugh? I thought I’d never start.
There’s sufficient here already to give a flavour of the extent of Loftus’s faithlessness, which expresses itself very nastily, as for example, when he refers to the sacred vestments as “the kind of diaphanous lace frippery usually seen only on the tea-tables of elderly spinsters…” And this, under a large picture of priests offering the traditional Latin Mass – for which, of course, Loftus manifests a particular and diabolical hatred. (see Getting rid of lace garb in the liturgy, Catholic Times: 12 February, 2012)
He’s also on record with his mockery of anything approaching childlike faith; devotions, including Benediction and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament are belittled in another article. Here, we read: “In a real sense, too, our spiritual life has to move on from just the Baby Jesus, or indeed any other aspect of Jesus, to the realisation that Christ’s own life is oriented to the Father… [and then] at Pentecost, we have come of age…In Pantomime terms the Holy Spirit has usurped Christ’s role as principal boy in the Church.” (We are Kingdom people growing up in the Faith, Catholic times, 12 June, 2011).
Close to blasphemy you say? You may be right. Thing is, there’s no way to express our concerns about Loftus. Letters to the Editor (certainly the ones I’ve written and others that I’ve seen when readers kindly send me copies they’ve submitted) do not get published OR if they ARE published, there’s a rebuttal alongside from Loftus. This is highly unprofessional of the Editor, of course, but that’s the way they’ve decided to deal with anyone who dares to criticise this priest-columnist. Don’t ask me how much he’s paid for his attacks on the Faith – I won’t speculate except to say it’s too much, far too much, and as he will find out at his Judgement, definitely not worth the consequences of undermining revealed doctrine, God’s natural moral law, and thus creating doubt in souls.
In the absence of any other means of making our concerns known to this priest, therefore, we’ve decided to challenge him to defend his writings in a public debate. I, moi, will debate with him, and at least one other blogger has agreed to be supporting speaker. All will be revealed in due course. If, that is, the Monsignor is up to the challenge. Catholic Truth will host the event, so what do you think – will he? Won’t he?
And we are willing to extend the challenge to any priest in the UK who would like to defend their decision to make the Catholic papers available for sale in their churches. They are selling poison, damaging the Faith of Catholics who are living at a time of great crisis in the Church and who trust their priests to give them bread, not stones.
So, Monsignor, you first. Will you take up our challenge?
Fathers – any of you willing to debate with us?
Defending the indefensible is tough, right enough – no question about it. So let’s see if any of them will try.