British Catholic magazine in hot water over health care editorial

British Catholic magazine in hot water over health care editorial

Damian Thompson
Damian Thompson


The well-known British Catholic editor Damian Thompson is throwing his weight behind Archbishop Charles Chaput's critique of The Tablet for insisting that the "U.S. bishops must back Obama" on his health care reforms.

Thompson, who is the editor of the British Catholic paper the Catholic Herald, blogged yesterday about Archbishop Chaput's column that accused The Tablet of "knowingly misrepresenting Catholic teaching on abortion."

"More seriously – and embarrassingly for English bishops who regard the Tablet as their house journal – Archbishop Chaput also apparently accuses the magazine of intellectual dishonesty in describing abortion as a 'specifically Catholic issue,'" wrote Thompson.

After writing about The Tablet's health care editorial on his blog, Thompson said that "Catholics of many shades of opinion express disgust at its stance."

The rallying cry from The Tablet in favor of Obama's reform effort was ridiculed by the archbishop for offering "unhelpful and badly informed opinions" on the American domestic policy debate.

As CNA first reported, the editorial was criticized by Archbishop Chaput for misusing the Catholic theme of finding "common ground" and for sounding "very much like acolytes" of President Obama.

Thompson's post was followed by one from The Telegraph's Will Heaven, who pointed out that this is the second time in recent weeks that The Tablet has been corrected by a senior bishop.

Just this week, The Tablet had to print a letter from Bishop Alan Hopes of Westminster, who reprimanded the magazine for saying that Archbishop Vincent Nichols was "seeking to nip a potential schism in the bud" and putting the Latin Mass in its "necessarily marginal" place when he held a Latin Mass conference.

These gaffes caused Thompson to comment that "under its current editor and deputy editor, this publication has become an embarrassment to the Catholic Church in England and Wales. That’s a view I hold quite independently of my connection to The Catholic Herald, incidentally: the Bitter Pill’s circulation figures and profits are a matter of indifference to me, but its sniping at papal policies, highly partial news reporting and theological ignorance strike me as unforgivable."