Is it a Mortal or Venial Sin to Take The Tablet to the Sick?

I am paid, and generously at that, for care work and odd jobs by a gentleman in Brighton and a gentleman he truly is.

The gentleman is a subscriber to The Tablet. Yes, he is very elderly and we all know the reputation of The Tablet for being a Catholic version of Saga Magazine, only with less Catholicism, but he's been very ill in hospital for a while and now he is recovering his strength, so I've been taking the magazine to him because he likes it and that's his free choice. I haven't been hospitalised myself much in adulthood but I remember when I was little my mum and dad bringing my favourite magazine to me while I lay in hospital.

Obviously, I don't feel very happy when I hand over his weekly copy of The Tablet because I know, having read it through a few times recently, that its about as spiritually edifying as a big bag of porn.

Nevertheless, hand it to him I do, so that he can read it, because, at the end of the day, it gives the man a little happiness and that's that. He's ill, for Heaven's sake, seriously ill and he deserves to be able to read through his favourite Catholic weekly even if the majority of the magazine questions Church teaching, doctrine and practise pretty much maniacally and obsessively, week in, week out. Perhaps even the crossword is suspect. The question is, when I hand over the latest copy of a magazine that makes 'The Watchtower' seem like a doctrinally sound piece of religious journalism, am I committing a mortal or a venial sin? Readers of The Tablet will struggle with that question, I know, but my opinion is that it is mortal because reading The Tablet kills the life of the soul and separates the soul from God and His Church.


Veritatus said…
Even touching is Mortal!
Anonymous said…
Despite appearances this is not truly a Catholic Blog.
Anonymous said…
I can't answer your question, but I would take it to him as well and for much the same reasons.
Brunsveld said…
I love the way you put yourself in a position to comment on doctrinal soundness! There is a reason people like you don't get into positions of Catholic power..... you know NOTHING. Heretic
The Tablet consistently undermines Church teaching on abortion, marriage, artificial contraception to say nothing of its consistent undermining of the Successor of St Peter.

I endeavour to reflect the Teaching of the Church on this blog. Perhaps it is the Teaching of the Church that most offends you.
Shepherd said…
Well said Laurence; you are absolutely right.
Tablet defender said…
Can you please provide evidence to substantiate your libilous claim that the Tablet undermines catholic teaching on abortion?

If the Tablet is not truly a catholic paper, why so so many high ranking english bishops and members of the roman curia reguarly contribute to it?

You are mistaking constructive criticsm and legitimate enquiry as heresy. The Tablet is represents authentic catholic teaching more than the wierd interpretations on your blog.
The Laurence Heresy said…
As I have observed before, your position is uncomfortably close to that of Luther. In the name of a tradition which never existed (I assure you that none of the Popes who reigned during the high-age of European Catholicism had anything like your severity on doctrinal matters) you have chosen to condemn the hierarchy of the Church. Go ahead and nail your 95 theses to the door of the Vatican why don't you
Oh, really. And what 'constructive criticism' of the Catholic Church might that be?

Please enlighten me as to the great merits of The Tablet to teach the Faithful in comparison with those of the Holy Father, the Deposit of Faith which he guards and the Tradition handed down by Our Lord Jesus Christ to His Apostles to the present day?

If I knocked on the door of Pope Benedict XVI I'd kiss his hands and his feet. I expect that if you knocked on the door of Pope Benedict XVI, you'd want to challenge him on the Church's position on many matters.
The Laurence Heresy said…
What is so heretical about that??? Are you seriously saying that the Church is a closed book like some Islamic theocracy and not a forum for enlightened discussion??? I think you forget the history of our great tradition - humanism, the Renaissance, the post-schism Reform. All of these events were made possible by the flexibility of Church council and their willingness to listen to theological wisdom from intelligent authorities (of which the Church has many). They were not arrived at by simply following the whims of a Pope - you misunderstand Catholicism if you think that.

This does not come down to correct theology - it comes down to your petty attempt to appoint a source of intransigent authority in the world so that you can ignore the turbulence in your own soul. While I sympathise with your obvious inability to cope with the rigours of life, lust, and love (in its most general sense), I do not sympathise with your attempt to make Catholicism something it is not in order to assist you. Now go and say 50 Hail Mary's
The Laurence Heresy said…
Hail Marys
Confessor said…
Taking the tablet is neither a mortal or Venial sin. Wheras your consistent lack of charity and judgementalism is almost certainly a mortal sin.
Condemn the real heretics and schismatics said…
Let's hear you condemn the SSPX who are continuing to ordain priests despite the direct request by the Pope.
Ben Trovato said…
Looks as though you have touched a raw nerve here Laurence.

The Tablet led the charge against Humanae Vitae and has never yet recanted - despite the historical vindication of all Pope Paul Vl's prophetic warnings in that document.

That alone is sufficient to condemn it, and has done incalculable harm to English Catholicism.

That is sufficient, but of course there is so much more...
Looks like Tablet readers (or are they contributors, since I hear actual readership is declining drastically?) suffer a sense of humour problem as well as a problem with the Magisterium. Of course it isn't a sin to read The Tablet.
Laurence Heresy

The problem is if, as a Catholic, you cannot say you are in full communion with the Successor of Peter concerning Faith and Morals, i.e you agree with him in matters of Faith and Morals, then how, frankly, can you call yourself a Catholic?

The Church isn't a discussion group. Christ has spoken on Earth and down the centuries, through His Church. 'Whoever hears you', He said to the Apostles, 'hears Me'.
The Laurence Heresy said…
But that is absurd. Firstly, it has never actually been the position of the Church; only in rare instances has Papal infallibility been invoked - the invocation of infallibility is a practical strategy designed to hold the Church together during a time of crisis, it is not a toy to be used indiscriminately every time the Pope has an idea. Furthermore, the Pope does NOT, and he makes this clear, come to form his conclusions in isolation. he consults with a team of learned theologians, who consult with their understudies, who consult with priests, who consult with their flock. Clearly this does not imply that the flock determines the ideas of the Pope, but the Pope is an Enlightened ruler, and ideas are to be discussed, not merely accepted with blind faith. Your prohibition of thought is therefore anti-Catholic (perhaps you would find radical Islam more to your tastes - I think they will be happy to support all the swingeing condemnations you make)

Secondly, with respect to the hermeneutics of continuity, this does not apply to all ideas (that would be an absurd proposition). Church historians (those employed BY the church that is) have highlighted again and again the ways in which Catholicism has changed through the ages.

Your ideas are wrong, if not heretical. You cling to a tradition YOU invented because it calms you. Why not seek solace in your priest, or ask him to give you spiritual absolution if you have sinned so much. But don't project your sin onto Holy Mother Church, it tends to ruin it for us believers
I assue you I didn't invent anything about the Church.

After all, I'm a convert. I said, 'I believe all that the Church teaches and professes...'

The Pope is not an 'Enlightened Ruler' - He is the Vicar of Jesus Christ on Earth. He is also the Guardian of the Deposit of Faith which he cannot (in most matters) change.

The late and Great Pope John Paul II said on the ordination of women priests that there was no issue over it to discuss. Even if he had wanted to change it, which he didn't, he couldn't. The teaching has been passed down, handed on, just as so many of the teachings have been.
Anonymous said…
So what happens if one Pope contradicts another. Or the Bible? What happens then?
Ben Trovato said…
To portray the position of the Catholic who assents to the teaching authority of the Church as 'acting on blind faith' is mistaken.

Likewise there is much confusion in this thread about what is and what is not up for discussion.

There is much that is legitimate topic for debate - because it has not been formally settled and defined.

And there is much that is not legitimate topic for debate, because it has (eg the impossibility of women priests, the inadmissibility of artificial birth control and so on). These topics may not be debated (if by debate we mean attempt to refute), but may certainly be discussed, if the discussion is aimed at deepening our understanding of the truths of the Faith.

It is that distinction which seems beyond some critics here, and indeed beyond the editorial team at the Tablet.
I believe the Holy Father summed it up perfectly when he said to the Bishops of England and Wales...

"In a social milieu that encourages the expression of a variety of opinions on every question that arises, it is important to recognize dissent for what it is, and not to mistake it for a mature contribution to a balanced and wide-ranging debate. It is the truth revealed through Scripture and Tradition and articulated by the Church’s Magisterium that sets us free."
Anonymous said…
"it is important to recognize dissent for what it is, and not to mistake it for a mature contribution to a balanced and wide-ranging debate."

Right - so X says 'worship turnips'. Y says 'that's mental'. X says 'we need to recognise dissent for what it is'. You worship a turnip.

Now that is just plain silly.
The Tablet pretends to be Catholic or a vehicle for the promotion of the Catholic Faith, but it becomes pretty clear upon reading it that the writers, contributors and editorial team use the publication as a vehicle to campaign for fundamental changes in Church Teaching.

In other words, it uses the language of debate in order to express dissent.

You may believe that the Magisterium of the Church is a load of rubbish. That is your free choice, of course, but if you are a Catholic then you should really subscribe to and accept the Teaching of the Catholic Church (rather than the teaching of The Tablet). If you cannot do so, then instead of believing the Church to be in error, when She cannot err in Faith and Morals, you should humbly accept that the Anglican Church is the one for you.
...since that church is the one for those who cannot accept Truth.
Anonymous said…
"but if you are a Catholic then you should really subscribe to and accept the Teaching of the Catholic Church" - and don't argue etc. Got it. But you also say you're a recent convert. So not a Catholic originally, but one who equates Catholicism with not thinking or debating, and chose to join..... See, the picture becomes clear here. You - mentally crushed and scarred. Church - something you can (quite falsely) imagine to represent a little rock in the tumultuous sea of life. Result - a doctrinally erring deluded psychopath who fantasises about the discipline of a German pope which will provide him with the limits he is unable to impose on his own hedonistic existence. Later result - realising it's all a load of complete and utter sh*te and de-brainwashing yourself. Let's hope it comes soon
sanabituranima said…
You - mentally crushed and scarred. Church - something you can (quite falsely) imagine to represent a little rock in the tumultuous sea of life. Result - a doctrinally erring deluded psychopath who fantasises about the discipline of a German pope which will provide him with the limits he is unable to impose on his own hedonistic existence.

You= troll with delusions of being able to read Laurence's mind because you can read his blog.

Laurence, the Tabelt prints both truth and heresy. It is bad, but not as bad as you make out. It's dangerous and has some awful stuff in it at times, but I'm not sure you're committing a sin. Talk to a priest about this.
Anonymous said…
Catholics don't have minds, they have guilt complexes. Hence the need to subjugate their will to a wacky cartel of art hoarders who occasionally make arbitrary pronouncements about people's personal lives. Think about it, why does the Church care so much about sex? Not because it has any global significance, or Biblical justification (Christ said nada about any of this stuff) but because ALL Catholics without exception are mentally scarred from past sexual experiences and need to imagine that there is some authority out there that can shoulder the guilt. My philosophy is, if it makes you feel bad doing those things with a man's winky, don't do those those things with a man's winky. Much simpler than forming the delusion that a crazy old ex-Nazi has become your only source of moral authority. Jesus wept!
Anonymous said…
I illustrate my point thus (inside a Catholic's brain):

Which recreant are YOU??!
David said…
Dear Anonymous,

I observe that you are such a coward that you not only do not sign your name, you do not even venture a pseudonym. There are many things wrong with your rant, as unless you have serious psychological problems you are well aware. I know that you do not really desire a serious intellectual interaction with the things you asserted; rather, you desire only to inflict your immaturity on us in order to exasperate us. You have succeeded in exasperating me, at least. Well done.
Anonymous said…
Fine, I'll make up some random pseudonym like you (David Mitchell indeed - a likely story!). Hang on, what's this..... says on your profile 'convert'!! Yipee, another converso. I have noticed this - there are more or less no 'proper' Catholics left. I used to live int he North of Italy and the kids there just think it's funny that old ladies are into that type of old-world nonesense. But over in the UK, a country with scant connection to this mawkish cult in the last 500 years, young men who, for a variety of psycho-sexual reasons of self-hatred can't deal with the modern world, are becoming increasingly attracted to the Cult. You know, it's a bit like radical Islam. Most of the converts are young and socially unsuccessful males from Northern Europe. I suppose the idea of being 'anti-' something (anti-modernist, anti-sex, anti-rational, anti-gay, anti-climax when you die and realised you backed the wrong God) appeals to such men; the world is a confusing mass of opinions, acts, and obstacles. Where some men strive to understand, to listen, to enjoy, you turn on your heels and run to cower behind the pulpit of some ghastly 1960s concrete church with about 4 senile old women and 20 other angry young men who proceed to spend the afternoon lamenting all that's wrong int he world. Just think, when you're looking up at those maudlin statues pitying the poor and unfortunate, it is precisely you who require most pity, you poor unfortunate self-deluding convert who chose austerity to paper over the cracks in your fractured psyche.
Anonymous said…
Think about when you 'discovered' God, and you will be thinking about when you discovered your life wasn't going anywhere. See, I can read you like the book of common prayer
David said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
David said…
Thank you, Anonymous, that was most entertaining - particularly your incredulity at my baptismal name. I suppose St Paul wasn't a "proper" Catholic.

I see you take "the kids" who laugh at old ladies as your role models. Very wise.

Thank you for your in-depth psychoanalysis of me; I find it has edified me very much and will really help me to live my life in accordance with the will of Anonymous, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

I can see why you might reasonably make a comparison with Islam; but obviously Catholicism is different from Islam, as I am sure you can see. Simile non est idem.

I did not know that you knew me better than I know myself; if you could tell me some more things about me that I do not know, I would really appreciate it.

"Just think, when you're looking up at those maudlin statues pitying the poor and unfortunate, it is precisely you who require most pity, you poor unfortunate self-deluding convert who chose austerity to paper over the cracks in your fractured psyche."

You are right about my psyche being fractured; I fear I am too stupid to understand the rest of your most interesting vitriol.

"Think about when you 'discovered' God, and you will be thinking about when you discovered your life wasn't going anywhere."

Well, this was a process of eight years or so, so I am not sure what precise moment you are referring to.

Thank you for telling me you can read.

You are very entertaining. If you are really bothered about my name, I can send you a photocopy of my baptismal certificate.

God bless you.
Ben Trovato said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ben Trovato said…

Can I make a suggestion? Don't feed the trolls....

Anonymous said…
"I suppose St Paul wasn't a "proper" Catholic." - My point was clearly not that anyone who converts is not a proper Catholic, but that the people in Britain today who convert are not 'proper' Catholics. They're not even particularly spiritual people. In fact the last thing you will find them doing is reflecting on mystery or existence. You will however find them bashing gays, abortion, sex, modern society etc etc - all of which support their real agenda, which is hatred of self and other. Or, more accurately, an inability to cope with life. I bet when the other boys and girls are having fun you are telling yourself 'it's ok David, they are better than you now, but just wait till judgement day...'.

I do envy the mental freedom of the young, they have such a healthy appreciateion of life. Well, some young. I do not envy the mental anguish of spotty reclusive young men who have n'er so much as kissed a girl who then have to hide behind the cassock of an equally weirdo priest who has wasted his life in a cult. But my point was that these kids, from a Catholic country, really know what the cult is about. They have seen the Truth - and it aint pretty. I think it is easier to glorify Catholicism from these shores because you are not exposed to the full comedy brilliance of it. Easter in Italy is the best - a few old women follow the priests around a dusty square carrying a homoerotic christ-like doll and mumbling some prayers. Funny and charming. But when young men like you start doing it, it is not charming. Just funny. Well, weird.

"Thank you for your in-depth psychoanalysis of me; I find it has edified me very much and will really help me to live my life in accordance with the will of Anonymous, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."

Again - you illustrate my point perfectly. You don't NEED to subjugate your will to someone else's!! If I point out you are a God-damned mentalist for, at the age of 18, joining a wacky cult at the precise moment it is facing a huge child abuse scandal, that does not mean I am suggestion you sacrifice your will to my own. I am observing that in feeling the need to sacrifice your will in the first place you have demonstrated that you do not know what to do with your freedom. Life's a burden to you so you throw it away on a cult.

There is no vitriol. Look, you might have been in the wrong body for 8 years! Jesus, I don't know how you came to feel so ashamed/confused/unable to understand why you get overlooked. I note you live in Durham - it's the student life son, you should have gone to a real party town where you could have got laid. The old respectable universities are always a killer - they have led many a young man to imagine there is a God at the root of his sexual frustrations. You never know, you might meet some nervous, lank haired Catholic girl at the weekly prayer circle who you can show your humbrol painted airfix models to! Just kidding, I'm sure you will meet a nice lass soon - don't fret about it. Anyway, the kids who get all the girls just end up being dumb, at least you will have some spiritual depth (real depth I mean, not just the imaginary kind that comes from religion)
David said…

I know, I know - perhaps I should not find someone possessed of such tragic incomprehension so amusing. (I get overlooked? That's news to me. I haven't been a Catholic for eight years; that was not what I said.)

Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens. Against stupidity the gods themselves struggle in vain.
sanabituranima said…
I know I shouldn't feed the trolls, but I thought perhaps poetry would get through where reason has failed.

"All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost.
The old that is strong does not wither;
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be Blade-that-was-broken:
The crownless again shall be king."
Anonymous said…
Oh God, why are you people ALWAYS into Tolkein?? Can't you just read someone else. I know there's only about a billion titles in world literature to choose from, but just read one other book for the love of God. Why is it, and I ask myself this each and every day, that the same people who are born in Britain, can't adjust to modern society, and harbour a deep-seated loathing of this world, a) convert to Catholicism, b) read Tolkien, and c) read Chesterton. Are they the only prominent religious figures you know of????

Surely, even if you must confine yourself to writers who were also Catholics/Christians, you can do better than a terse epic about dwarves. Why, I just can't understand it, it's maddening. Why this obsession with good fighting evil and emerging victorious? What dark filth besmears your brains. Why do you insist on seeing evil at every turn, and then imagining some pathetic little apocalypse in which the shoots of good emerge? Please tell me, I'd love to know. Do you go to your prayer circles and listen to the old biddy going on about sex and sin then shuffle off back to your dorm rooms to read Tolkien on dwarves and furiously try to avoid self-polluting? Do you ever have fun? Is there any single thing in this worl, this world here and now that you LIKE?? Is it ALL just filth to you? Is your only hope that you MIGHT get a better life next time? Jesus f-ing Christ, you are the most pathetic people int he world. Even if there is a God, which I doubt, but if there is, he will laugh at you too for wasting his world on such tedium
David said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
David said…
I thought perhaps poetry would get through where reason has failed.

Well, it was worth a try. I realize now that reason will not work with someone who concludes from your quoting that poem that

(1) you read Tolkien, and only Tolkien, and no other author,
(2) you also read Chesterton, but you still only read Tolkien, and no one but Tolkien,
(3) you only read Catholic/Christian writers...

So poetry was worth a try. But that doesn't seem to have worked.

Why, I just can't understand it.

Comment moderation is now live. 'Anonymous' comments will not be displayed. Is 'anonymous' people wish to comment then they can use a pseudonym, assuming, that is, that I publish their comments, which is up to me.

People genuinely interested in healthy debate are welcome. People only interested in insulting the Catholic community who lack even the courage to name themselves shall have their comments binned, having wasted a couple of minutes of their lives.

Sorry it has come to this, peeps, but some of the comments I have received recently are beyond the pale.
Anonymous said…
Dave mate, I was basing my judgement on the fact that she cited Tolkien at me. And it says you're a big fan on your blog I notice!! Great. I am also basing my judgement on the dozens of Catholics I have met in the de-bugging programme I help run. We operate next door to a government operation to reform young muslim men who were radicalised by bearded out of touch clerics lambasting modernity. In our programme, which is incredibly similar, we try to encourage the young men to realise that the warped priest who told them that condoms were the tool of the devil was in fact crazy, owing to the fact that he has spent his entire adult life living with men in a little house sealed off from the outside world which he despises. We try to get them to throw away their copies of Chesterton - a sub-par Victorian humorist - and open the pages of books which give them an insight into new ideas not based on arbitrary pronouncements which, at a stretch, can be accomodated within the framework of the bible - a scattered and self-contradicting collection of Near Easter Jewsish mythologies buttressed onto some imaginative re-tellings of a mesianic figure written by authors who did not themselves meet him and who give different accounts. I can give you the number if you fancy joining the rehab programme - there is a 90% chance that after one year you will start to enjoy life again and not feel ashamed for having normal thoughts of sexual congress. Or you could stay locked in your room thinking about dwarves fighting dragons and mythical bearded men dancing on water and owning a big castle int he clouds that you can visit when you die (yeah......right. Now THAT'S wacky)
sanabituranima said…
I am relieved that you are depriving the trolls of a place for their hate.

It sounds to me like your vitriol against the Catholic Faith is quite wide-ranging. You consider Catholics to be a strange, mad cult with whom you have nothing in common.

Given that you have nothing in common with Catholics, please either engage in a proper debate if you wish or refrain from commenting at all.

From now anything in your comments which I believe you are posting just to antagonise Catholics will be deleted, Bro.

In other words, if you really want to debate with people on this blog concerning the Catholic Faith, do so without resorting to such bullying tactics and please do not insult the Most Holy Name of Jesus. I am quite sure you can raise an argument without doing that.
Just got your most recent message. Goodbye, JCWFM! Hope you enjoy trolling elsewhere.
D Mitchell said…
Sorry, how is this blog about Catholic faith?? Discussions of theology are scant indeed. It is a blog about a) gays, and b) abortion. I suppose once could add c) hatred of modernity. I'm sorry for the vitriol - I really don't understand what world you people live in. This longing for a lifestyle that never existed anyway. Most of the Popes of the Middle Ages, men of great learning and culture, would probably be deemed heretical or debauched by your standards. You seem to wish for a mode of existence that you yourself would not enjoy. It is quite simply barmy. I take this as a serious theological point! Really, I do. Your religious beliefs are, I contend, derived from your hatred of the world. That's why every single one of them is nothing to do with celebrating God of Christ, but mocking the world. Ah anyway, make it a Catholics only blog, you'll get bored before the trolls do
Not Dave Mitchell from Mitchell and Webb?!
MMVC said…
See below for confirmation that The Tablet is truly toxic.

The Tablet: 'there are grounds for reconsidering the Catholic Church’s present position on abortion'
Blogged by James Preece 10 Hours ago...
David said…
I think the person calling himself "D Mitchell" (which happens to be my name) is one and the same with our friend Anonymous.
David said…
I think the person calling himself "D Mitchell" (which happens to be my name) is one and the same with our friend Anonymous.
Imrahil said…
Dear @Anonymous, you do raise a point against Catholicism if, as you maintain, someone has seen the truth of it and it weren't pretty.

Only I do not believe that this is the case.

I am not going to prove that to you because you wouldn't listen - indeed I could just say: "read ..., by Chesterton" and then the result would be that, well, as it is in Chesterton it be obviously wrong.

(By the way, I can read another author than Chesterton and Tolkien. Take Reinhard Raffalt; Michael Ende (*especially* the Notion Potion), Ottfried Preußler, Alfred Döblin, etc.)

But I do ask you to take into account all the merriment you are sure to have seen after a Corpus Christi procession. At any rate it is "a strange chance if chance it was" (now that, of course, was a provocation) that only Catholicism has brought forth carnivals, the Octoberfest and Irish Pubs, and that practising Catholic girls are by large more pretty than other ones.

If you consider only resignation a healthy appreciation of life - well, I don't. But if you, as I should hope, mean a joyful appreciation of life when you say a healthy one, then you should not blame Catholics, who have one *especially* in Catholic countries. (Again, excuse me, for this is a Chestertonian argument.) And by the way, why "appreciation of life" comes together with an attack against attackers of a certain crime (I take reference to German law), I don't know either. Just saying.