Friday, October 22, 2010

Mgr Basil Loftus, world-class bore, shuts down a priest's blog with threats of legal action (Contribution)

A nasty row has broken out between one Mgr Basil Loftus, a world-class bore on the subject of Vatican II, and Fr Michael Clifton (<<< pictured here), a retired priest and traditionalist blogger who apparently accused Mgr Loftus of heresy (or something close to it). 

As a result, it seems, the monsignor has managed to effect the closure of Fr Clifton’s blog.

I can’t bear Mgr Loftus; no point in pretending otherwise. He is an opponent of many of the best policies of the Holy Father and snootily dismissive of those Catholics who love the traditional Mass. 

(When he retired in 2002, he told the local paper self-importantly: “I enjoyed the challenge of bringing the reforms of the Vatican Council to small country parishes…”) 

He now lives in Scotland. 

For some reason The Catholic Times employs him to write a column. You can read an expert fisking of his nonsense by Fr Z here.

Anyway, Fr Clifton explains why he is closing his blog, which he writes under the pen-name “Fr Mildew”:
I have been contacted by phone, with letter to follow, warning me that [Mgr Loftus] will sue for libel or defamation for … [writing in an earlier blog post] an allegation that he was a heretic.
What’s going on? 

I must tread carefully here, because Fr Clifton has had to take down his original criticism of Mgr Loftus, who wrote a piece (not available online) about the theological significance of the priest facing the people rather than eastwards. 

Fr Clifton, who has a bee in his bonnet about “Lofty”, says he claimed only that Loftus’s views about the relative importance of the priest and the congregation in the Mass were “proximate to heresy”. 

In a later post, still online, he says:
It is a tricky point. I have therefore amended the text of the post to remove words which might be considered offensive whilst explaining in a little more detail what I meant. I have therefore also written an apology for the wording I used to Mgr Loftus, regretting the use of the words in the original text.
One can understand why Lofty would have been upset: “heresy” is not a word to be used lightly, especially given the monsignor’s remarkable achievement in bringing the reforms of Vatican II to rural parishes. But surely an apology would suffice. 

Apparently not, judging by the latest entries on the “Fr Mildew” blog, announcing its closure:
Bad News. I regret to inform you that I am faced with an impossible situation. Mgr Loftus has refused to accept my apologies and threatens me with action in civil and church courts. As a result I am very worried and will speak to our Archbishop. However, I will not be posting any further blogs and may well shut down completely pending resolution of this matter. Please pray for me. I have now decided that the blog will be shut down completely. No further comments will be allowed on this or any other post and the facility to make comments will be removed and deleted if they still take place. All old posts will be deleted as soon as I can do this. Sorry to end like this. I was going to shut down at Christmas but circumstances mean that I shut down earlier.
And Fr Clifton isn’t the only priest-blogger to have incurred the rage of the monsignor. 

I have just had a very irate Mgr Basil Loftus telephone me to complain about remarks about him in my previous post on the Catholic Press. As the Monsignor only wanted to rant rather than talk and then put the phone down on me I will reply to him here … I must admit I have hardly read a word he has written, life is too short, so I am unable to judge whether he is heretical, which is what he objected to. However it does strike me as being extremely odd that someone who writes so freely in the Catholic press, making accusations, apparently, about others and their opinions should object to the opinions of people here and that he should be so high-handed in his objections rather than enter into a debate.
The Monsignor threatened to sue me for suggesting that he was a heretic, if the comments were not removed within seven days. I don’t intend to do that. I believe in free speech, within reason and I rather relish the thought of trial in a British court for heresy.
Well, I’m not going to fell into the trap of accusing Mgr Loftus of heresy. 

Let me accuse him instead of being pompous, biased, out of touch and (to repeat myself) a world-class bore. 

He is, thank God, on the losing side of just about every liturgical argument that matters. 

But it looks as if he’s managed to shut down the blog of an elderly priest who disagrees with him. 

Well done, Lofty! 

That’s the spirit of Vatican II!



Anonymous said...

Many of the traditional Catholics who run blogs and post on others, are accustomed to saying whatever they like-no matter how harsh and damaging-and getting away with it.
Over this past week Mgr. Basil Loftus has been mocked and vilified by that particular community.
No matter how justified they think they might be, their behaviour lacks compassion, mercy and anything that resembles charity.
Certain members of the clergy and other webmasters have asked the faithful to cease buying the Catholic papers that Mgr. Basil Loftus contributes to. Presumably so the papers concerned will drop Mgr. Loftus and he will lose income. I find that very disturbing indeed.

diff said...

Mgr Loftus Has threatened and bullied an elderly priest to the point where he has stopped blogging. Mgr Loftus being under the mistaken impression that Fr. Clifton called him a heretic, while Fr. Clifton did no such thing. Mgr Loftus is also severely lacking in Christian Charity. While articles he writes (such as a recent one "debunking" the Physical resurrection of Jesus)are reason enough not to buy said papers.