"James MacMillan, Britain's foremost Catholic composer and a long-time contributor to The Tablet, has written to the magazine's deputy editor Elena Curti describing her article about Fr Tim Finigan and Our Lady of the Rosary, Bleckfen, as a "disgrace" that may be actionable.
"I hope the good parishioners of Our Lady of the Rosary can find it in their hearts to forgive you and pray for you," he tells her.
This week's Bitter Pill contains a hatchet job by Curti on Fr Tim - one of this country's finest priests - for offering Mass in the Extraordinary Form alongside the new rite. In one place, Curti implies that Fr Tim is less than open about parish expenditure on vestments – a disgraceful imputation that he is able to refute easily.
Over the last few days, I've sensed that The Tablet has seriously blundered by allowing its most biased writer to stir up trouble in one of the few parishes which is putting Summorum Pontificum into practice. Fr Finigan is a formidable and holy priest – and a nice bloke with friends across the Catholic world. In a properly run Church he would be a bishop.
Now Dr MacMillan - whose masterpiece, the St John Passion, has just been recorded by Sir Colin Davies and the LSO - has written to Ms Curti to express his fury at the trashing of Fr Finigan. He writes;
Dear Ms Curti,
I am a Scottish Catholic composer who has on many occasions contributed articles to your magazine, The Tablet. I have always seen the journal as an important and sensible Catholic voice in the media. Nevertheless, I have been alarmed at the drift of the paper in recent months, especially relating to matters to do with the liturgy, which is a special interest of mine. Your latest article on Fr Tim Finigan has unfortunately plumbed new depths that I thought I would never see in a Christian publication. The whole tone was disrespectful, mischief-making and opportunistic, lacking no palpable sense of Christian charity. The Tablet has a special responsibility not to allow these issues to develop into a "civil war" between Catholics. Our liturgy is in a deplorable state and, in the spirit of Vatican II, it is imperative that steps are taken to reform the reform for the good of the faithful. There is no attempt by the Pope, or Fr Finigan for that matter, to turn back the clock. The limited reappearance of the Extraordinary Rite will contribute to a renewal and blossoming in our wider liturgical education and awareness, and in the process advance the faith of Catholics starved of good practice in this regard.
The implied assaults on the character of Fr Finigan were a disgrace, and at one point, when you suggest financial impropriety, may be actionable. I hope the good parishioners of Our Lady of the Rosary can find it in their hearts to forgive you and pray for you.
James MacMillan CBE
I agree with every word of that; and I've also suggested that Holy Smokers might want to contribute to the expenses of Our Lady of the Rosary in staging a dignified liturgy: the details are here."
Sunday, February 22, 2009
From Damian Thompson :