Thursday, 7 October 2010

The word we are not allowed to use: heresy

The excellent Fr Blake of Saint Mary Magdalen recently wrote an article extremely critical of the traditional Catholic media in the UK.  And now someone is threatening to sue him for it.

The problem with the Catholic media...

The problem he pointed out, was that the Catholic media seems to be uncertain of its mission:

"Forming a loyal, well informed laity, should be its purpose, helping to proclaim The Truth should be its purpose, instead it scratches the itch of its indisposition, continually looking inwards, moving chairs as the Titanic is sinking. The national Catholic Press is bad and diocesan newspapers are even worst, most parishes have difficulty giving them away."

He noted that:

"I have banned the Tablet from my church, I just got sick of its carping about the Pope and its liberal agenda, I am told it is improving. Fr Clifton, who reads The Tablet with occassional bursts of irritation, complains almost continually about Msg Basil Loftus who writes for the Catholic Times, and others wonder about the orthodoxy of the Herald and the Universe. I tend to feel that I ought to ban all Catholic papers."

Are they heretics?

Now Mgr Loftus is threatening to sue him for suggesting that he was a heretic, and for allowing comments on his blog to the same effect.

Please do go over and support Fr Blake on his blog.

Fortunately in Australia, should it ever come to it, truth is a defence.


R J said...

Ah, but is truth a defence in Australia? (It certainly is in America.) Years have passed since I needed to study the various Australian states' libel laws seriously, but my memory of those laws was that truth was not a defence at state or territory government level, even if it might be at a federal government level. I would be happy to stand corrected by anyone who knows more than I currently know (as it would be easy to do) on the subject.

Terra said...

RJ - Yes Australian defamation law was reformed in 2006 and is (more or less) uniform across the country. Defenses include honest opinion (previously known as fair comment) and justification/truth.

Anonymous said...

There is a defence of truth in the UK as well.

+ Wolsey

R J said...

OK, thanks for that information, Terra. News to me.

Felix said...

Sorry, Terra, but you won't get much traction from asserting that "truth is a defence".

The victim of your alleged libel will bring a slew of theologians, and perhaps a bishop or two, all attesting to his shining orthodoxy.

The judge will be reluctant to reach an independent decision on such arcane matters. He or she will instead conclude that you haven't established your claim that this person is a heretic.

(Caution. The above is probably true - you can't foretell how any litigation will end up - and in any event is not meant to provide legal advice.)

Terra said...

True enough Felix, but you could have a great time exposing some of the heresy issues around in the meantime, which I kind of think was where Fr Blake was going...!