Thursday, 10 July 2008

Bishops Contemplate A Bit Of Blogger...

Finally, I get to post something original... and I haven't caught even a smidgeon of this in the blogosphere, so this could even be a Mulier Fortis exclusive. Please remember this little fact when you see it later on more famous (and more interesting) blogs... it would be nice to have a busy com-box for a change...
;-)

I have heard a rumour or two (no names, no pack-drill) that the Bishops of England and Wales discussed the blogging phenomenon during their Low Week meeting this year.

Nothing too surprising (or noteworthy) in that, you might think. Practically everything on the planet, if it possesses a pulse, has heard of blogging. It's even been mentioned on BBC Radio 4.

The interest arises from the further rumour that their Lordships discussed the "reining in" of several priestly bloggers in their dioceses... allegedly. I think there may even have been mention of some sort of "imprimatur" being required...

This is hugely entertaining, in view of the fact that almost no publications bother with the imprimatur these days, not even RE textbooks produced for use in Catholic schools... and, in reality, it is possible to be promoted in Catholic Cathedrals while publicly dissenting from Catholic teaching...

For some strange reason, the phrase "Come and have a go, if you think you're hard enough!" keeps flitting through my consciousness... I have a sneaking suspicion that one or two priestly bloggers of my acquaintance would smile seraphically at whoever attempted to deliver the gagging order and boot the whole issue straight "upstairs" ! I don't know which Vatican Department deals with such appeals, but I have little doubt that the priests in question would get a favourable hearing.

35 comments:

NC said...

How interesting!
I heard something to the same effect earlier this week from a (usually) reliable snapper up of unconsidered trifles.
Perhaps his Eminence, their Graces and their Lordships and, of course, the assorted Monsignori etc. who 'facilitate' the machinations of the Bishops' Conference are smarting from not a few of the home truths that are aired in the blogosphere. Hmmm.

puellapaschalis said...

Well judging from my own secondary school experience (which admittedly was CofE rather than RC) no-one read those dratted textbooks anyway. Ok, I did, but I'm a nerd.

Other than that the thought that comes into my head is "what is this, China?!"

"Bring it on if you think you're hard enough" is a nice reaction. Hehehehehehe.

Londiniensis said...

When we get a few former Anglican bishops, we can gladly let the Anglicans have a couple of ours - I am sure that would be happier in an ecclesial community where there is no great emphasis on doctrine and little regard for tradition other, that is, than a tradition of disobedience presented as "progress".

John Fisher said...

I suspect the problem they have is that the only clerical bloggers are of the orthodox mentality - and that includes cardinals (O'Malley in Boston), bishops (Lori in Bridgeport) as well as assorted priests on both sides of the pond.

They may also be smarting from a few home truths they may have been told by Rome at that April meeting - to say nothing of more recent intervenvtion of Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos.

Their problem is they can't quite envisage any form of life outside their pond-like club. Oh dear - I guess we should pray for them more.

dúnadan said...

It can't be true - Damian Thompson hasn't referred to it, and when did he last miss a chance to have a pop at the bishops?

That notwithstanding, what a shame and a missed opportunity it would be if the bishops tried to 'reign in' priest bloggers when they might have embraced the medium in some or other themselves.

Mac McLernon said...

Dúnadan, I did say it was a Mulier Fortis exclusive... and my sources on this are the sort Damian would kill for!

The problem is, liberals can't blog. They don't have definite opinions, because they might upset someone else. If your "truth" is as valid as my "truth" then I don't have the right to impose it on you, and have to be sensitive to your feelings in the matter...

And attempting to control the blogosphere is just stupid...

George said...

As their Lordships have been so dilligent in their management of the decline of the Catholic Church and its instituations such as Catholic Education in England and Wales for so many years the very least they should expect is a 'pot shot' or two across their bows from clerics and laiety that have had enough and will not lie down and take it anymore. IN PAST AGES people often took somewhat more drastic action (BOILING IN OIL COMES TO MIND!) so to suffer a few stinging comments on the blogosphere pointing out one or two of the more obvious omissions and dropped clangers is hardly much to holler about, especially as it has been brought on themselves. All I Can say is thank God for those Orthodox Clerics that manage to find time out from their incredibly busy weekly schedules to help educate (and entertain) hopeless ignoramuses like me in the finer points of Our Glorious Faith. Eternally grateful - thank you Fr's.

While writing of course one has to point out that we do have some bishops with backbone - the name O'donoghue comes firmly to mind and that brilliant document on Catholic Education. Why can't this be the norm rather than the exception is my question. We obviously have people of great calibre it's just that they are not being appointed to the right positions. I'll be only too happy to visit the Vatican with my list of suitable names!

Ttony said...

Errrrrrrrrr. I thought I was hearing things at a Governors' meeting when the Chairman said that Foundation Governors who "regularly published" would be "encouraged" to discuss with "diocesan authorities" whether what they published was "wholly compatible with the Bishop's overall thrust".

I asked if that meant that I couldn't publish my regular article in the Anglican Parish newsletter without the Bishop's permission, and would the Bishop like to explain why to the Anglican Bishop, who reads it every month.

"No, Ttony, it's the stuff people put on the Internet that he means."

I thought it was just here, and just governors.

JoannaB said...

Interesting news - maybe the Bishops should start blogging - that could be interesting!

Diane from Te Deum Laudamus! said...

Hey - I read it here first!

gemoftheocean said...

Ha---those guys don't have the "stones" to begin with - the "stones" having shriveled up, dropped off and rolled behind the couch long ago.

Why don't they take a long hike off a short pier and mind their own beeswax? A significant portion of them couldn't find their own backsides with a mirror, a flashlight, and two hands.

George said...

Gemoftheocean says 'couldn't find their own backsides with a mirror, a flashlight, and two hands'. Dwelling for a moment on the logistics of this comment, if one hand is holding the mirror and the other hand hand is holding the flashlight where do the other two hands come from??????? LOL!!!!!

Anonymous said...

George - you probably shouldn't ask that question. They may be ontologically linked with someone else with a helping hand!

a thorn in the pew said...

Someone needs to come up with a nifty "imprimatur banner" ala Photoshop so we can all be "matur-ed". It may not be official but it could be fun...

Ponte Sisto said...

I was under the impression that pressure was already being exerted in some quarters, but not by bishops (directly), but rather their professional lay Mafia.

As for the best place to buy dodgy books, I bought a copy of Lavinia Byrne’s “Women at the Altar” at a Catholic Cathedral. I was so scandalised, I had to retire from the scene for while to regain my composure. Haha! That was ten years ago and I still can’t be bothered to read it.

LCB said...

There is so much irony involved with this situation that I don't even know where to start.

Meeting Christ in the Liturgy said...

You go, girl!

Renae said...

Hello Mac! Just wanted you to know I just found your comment! Didn't want you to think I was ignoring you. Sometimes, comments on that blog float around for a while before they come to me, while others come right to my inbox. I'll never understand cyberspace.

Thank you for putting me on your blogroll! I see Mother of this Lot threatened to separate us. But it is summer break, after all, and she can't have eyes everywhere.

Can she?

Blessings, my blogger friend!

Renae

RJW said...

In response to Gem Of the Ocean: Maybe The "great Rev." Jesse Jackson got to them first?

RJW said...

P.S. Love your blog!

gemoftheocean said...

rjw: If Jesse got to them, he must have had a pair of bionic tweezers with a microscope attached. Honestly. The combined testosterone of a Navy Seal Team couldn't "jump start" some of them. Perhaps "we" could invoke "truth in advertising" laws.

George said...

Ponte Sisto said 'I bought a copy of Lavinia Byrne’s “Women at the Altar” at a Catholic Cathedral. I was so scandalised, I had to retire from the scene for while to regain my composure. Haha! That was ten years ago and I still can’t be bothered to read it'.

Dr Lavinia Byrne, is a former nun and supporter of the ordination of women, I can't imagine what was going through your mind when you paid good hard earned cash for this book Ponte Sisto? Were you deranged at the time? I wouldn't touch one of her books with a bargepole.

Perhaps you could have a cermonial Nov 5th. bonfire with this book on top. To help fan the flames several copies of the tablet might help spread the flames - the tablet spreads precious else other than heresy so it probably deserves a spot on the bonfire. Any other suggestions from blog readers (keep it clean and charitable please!)

miss book said...

No surprises there, then.The hallmark of the liberals seems to be that they are open to all views that are compatible with their own.
I pray for and salute all priestly bloggers out there who present the truth, all of it, even the difficult bits.God bless and reward them.

James M said...

Mac,

You make an interesting point when you say "Liberals can't blog". I think the reality of that is going to cause a happy kind of sea-change in the Church. The claims they make cannot stand up so they depend on silencing people...but they cannot do that in the blogosphere. They also depend on marginalizing the orthodox...but that is looking less and less possible in the blogosphere as it becomes more and more evident how people love orthodoxy!

praise God He is a great God!

Ponte Sisto said...

I guess you've got to read what they say before you can engage them. For my part, it's too much like hard work. Listening to her on "Thought for the day" wears me out.

Mac McLernon said...

Now, now, George... everyone's entitled to make one mistake... mine was buying a copy of "Catholicism" by "Fr" Richard O'Brien... in my defence, I was doing the Catholic teachers' certificate and it was being touted as "essential" course reading material.

I came across a few bits I found somewhat incomprehensible, and not quite as expected. I assumed it was due to my woefully poor catechesis... I then found out that the American Bishops had proscribed it. I was so disgusted, I binned the book. I couldn't even bring myself to give it to a jumble sale, in case I led anyone else astray!

George said...

Isn't it amazing how ready the 'authorities' who write the courses and proscribe the reading material for teaching the Catholic Faith, seem to do their best to make the candidates lose their Faith the moment they start the course! Similarly dodgy books should NOT be for sale in the Cathedral or in Catholic Churches - neither should the Tablet for that matter, we found out the truth about that 'catholic pup' through bitter personal experience years ago!

Surprising what you can find at jumble sales organised by catholic schools and parishes - stuff that shouldn't be mentioned let alone offered for sale or indeed, purchased. Yikes!

George said...

Ponte Sisto 'I guess you've got to read what they say before you can engage them'. No - read the gospels and good solid orthodox books, these will give you the knowledge, leave the rest to the Holy Spirit - He will give you the words (Trust Him).
Reading this kind of rubbish just muddles you, unless you have a very solid foundation in your Faith. As you say reading this stuff or listening to these people is really hard work - it's not worth your precious time.

Mac McLernon said...

No, George... proscribed as in "banned", not "prescribed"...

The CES was promoting it here in the UK, the American Bishops had it removed from seminary reading lists...

George said...

Sorry Mac, Brains not fully engaged, but you know what I mean.

Londiniensis said...

So lets see ...

Fathers Tim, Ray, Sean, et al. get suspended a divinis for not complying with their Lordships' resuscitation of the Index Auctorum et Librorum Prohibitorum. In a neat re-invention of the Inquisition, their Lordships then hand over the miscreants to the secular power by suing for libel (as we know in the UK, it is not the quality of the case which prevails in libel cases, but the depth of the parties' pockets). The defeated parties have to sell their computers to meet damages and legal costs. Trebles all round at Ecclestone Place!

Maenwhile the Cardinal's cousin, who spouts near-heretical twaddle dressed up as exegesis, gets a bishopric.

Mmmmm ... could happen ...

Former Student said...

"...the 'authorities' who write the courses..."

One "authority" in England which can be trusted to write faithful courses is the Maryvale Institute in Birmingham. I'd recommend their courses to anyone.

One other advantage Maryvale has is that it doesn't seem to be patronised by the bishops' conference or Eccleston Square.

I did the BA (Divinity) Course there and it changed my life for the better.

Try it out: www.maryvale.ac.uk

Fr John Boyle said...

A comment on Fr Z's blog sums up the canonical situation regarding publishing. I'm not sure that it would be reasonable for Bishops to ban a blogger without a just cause. The priest could always appeal against the Bishop's decision. Any such priest would no doubt plead the injustice of the decision given that other priests are given the freedom to publish dissenting opinions in certain more traditional (sic) forms of publication.

What the Bishops could do would be to take a look at what he has written and then challenge anything that is not orthodox or that does not promote the unity of the (local) Church and require him to remove any offensive material. This would imply the existence of an invigilation department that keeps an eye on all priests' blogs.

Another option they would have would be to enforce the canons previously referred to and require us to submit everything for approval - which would clog up their bureaucracy somewhat.

Priests have, of course, promised respect and obedience to their bishops/Ordinaries. But they also have the right to free expression like anyone else, provided it is clear that they are speaking on their own behalf and not against the teachings of the Church. The never have that right.

This is still a new phenomenon which will take time for the Church to regulate or otherwise.

Glad to see the laity support for clerical blogs!

PeterHWright said...

It is very good to read the opinion of Fr. John Boyle, a canonist, a wonderful man, and an exemplary priest.

I would merely add that for one reason and another, it is simply not possible to censor bloggers.

What a pity we did not have this technology back in the 1960s. I rather think things would have turned out differently !

George said...

"I rather think things would have turned out differently !" Better late than never eh, PeterHWright! Let's hope (Christian Hope!) that with the blogs at our disposal, and used wisely, things might turn out a little better for the future, than if we did not have the blogosphere medium.

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