Scandalous Bishops And Angry Bloggers

Should he shut up, then? Michael Voris.



I read in the blogosphere invitations to the laity to avoid “judging” bad bishops in matters of faith, and feel the need to say one word or two about this.

1. If by “judging” we intend “subject to a trial in front of a tribunal” (as in an article I have read around, citing a father of the Church), I will agree that this is perfectly fine even today.  I would, personally, love to see Archbishop Mueller tried for heresy, but I do think that those who judge him should be religious. Preferably sound ones, like for example those of the SSPX.

2. If by “judging” we intend to reserve Bishops to the jurisdiction of canonical tribunals even in matters not of faith, I must disagree. Particularly in these disgraceful times, if a Bishop is, say, tried for child abuse I would be the last one to demand that he be judged by other bishops, rather than by the usual judges and/or juries like everyone of us.

3. If by “judging” we intend (which is to my knowledge not at all what that Father of the Church means) that a layman must shut up whenever a bishop disgraces himself, then I must disagree vehemently. Let us see why:

Even if we lived in normal times, I would see it as being accessory in another person’s sin if I saw blatant heresy or open error and would just decide that my duty is to shut up. My duty would be, on the contrary, to NOT shut up. Particularly if as a blogger I have, say, 20 or 30 readers (or, say, twenty or thirty times that number) who might be interested in reading what I write in order to draw from it some ammunition to use for their own benefit and for the benefit of their friends and relatives.

Adding to this, we do not live in normal times, and the reason why thousands of people like me are here at midnight writing on their keyboard instead of reading a good book or enjoy a good sleep is that the situation is so bad, that they can’t reconcile it with their conscience to simply sit on the couch and think of their novels. I have often said, and will repeat today, that the explosion of lay blogs would not exist in the first place, if the clergy had been able to do their job in a remotely decent way. I for myself would be reading my novel, for sure. 

If I were, therefore, to follow this principle of non ingerence in such matters, I would not follow Michael Voris; I would not approve of the blog of the excellent John Smeaton (extremely critical, and publicly so, of Archbishop Vincent “Quisling” Nichols in matters of homosexuality); I would not touch the excellent Messa in Latino, and I would not read the vast majority of the lay blogs worth reading. More to the point, I  would never have come to the idea of writing a blog myself.

Of course, and as in all things, caveat emptor. The reader looking for sensible blogs will have to make a decision as to which blogs he considers sound, and which ones are better left aside. In general, he will probably tend – as I do – to constantly visit blogs written by religious, and more power to him.  But this does not mean that the layman should simply shut up. He who doesn’t like the blog of the layman, or who thinks the layman should not criticise the clergy, should in my eyes simply avoid clicking it. He who thinks said layman is moved by personal resentments ofrdesire of making himself important instead of by love for the Church should avoid it even more carefully.

In addition, the concept that the layman must be vigilant in presence of bad teaching – or outright heresy – was in fact extolled by… the Second Vatican Council, and whilst obviously not being an infallible teaching of any sort, it makes a lot of sense even if it comes from such a bad place: the increase in literacy and the extremely cheap availability of literature opened to laymen a wealth of knowledge which only 200 or 300 years before would have been within the reach of only the clergy or the wealthy; today, every good intentioned layman can blow the whistle on his bishop or priests. Particularly so, when many bishops or priests don’t know the basics anymore.  I have heard with these ears a priest admit he did not know the ten commandments by heart and did not care to learn them, and I have known much worse priests than this one. These are the times we live in, that basic knowledge considered obligatory for a child of seven when I was a child of seven is now not considered obligatory by the parish priest, who has a degree in theology but can’t tell you the commandments. Will we, then, be surprised if many of them don’t believe in the Real Presence? And will we stay silent about it? Who will correct them: the Bishop?! 

Five or six hundred years ago a priest could have been openly  heretical and most of his lay parishioners wouldn’t even have noticed unless, so to speak, there happened to be some Dominican travelling around.  Nowadays, the same priest can’t con his people so easily anymore.

Even more crucially, the principle of the layman criticising the bishop is at the basis of the very renaissance of conservative feelings among young Catholics: feelings spread on the internet by posting, say, videos of cardinal Schoenborn’ laser-masses, and the like. The conservative revolution within the Church was born from laymen more attached to the Church than to wrong concept of blind subservience to their bishops. They reacted, because they had to. They voiced their concerns on the internet, because the clergy wouldn’t listen to them. Without them and without this mentality, we  would have clown masses at every corner, certainly no vibrant conservative Catholic world, and most certainly not even “indult” Traditional Masses.

Oportet ut scandala eveniant, and I thank God for the Internet and the many laymen who help to create the conditions in order that  this mess, created almost exclusively by the clergy, may be cleansed as soon as we can or, more probably, may allow us to go to our grave with the conscience that we have done what we could.

Having said that, I personally do not ask anyone to read my blog, or to link to it. If you pick a good blog written by a good priest, you can’t go wrong anyway. He will never be angry, I will, and he would never say that the Pope disgraced himself, I would. If you click here, you know you get a layman trying to do what he can, as best he can, with the poor lights given to him.

But I most certainly won’t shut up.


Posted on July 4, 2012, in Catholicism and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Bravissimo! Encore! Encore!

    Well said, Mundabor. Some of these blogs give the impression that there’s some kind of secret Marquess of Queensbury rules when discussing the obvious heresies of the episcopate. Certain blogs are run by “men” who think it’s a sin to be justly angry at insults to Our Lady.


    • Many heartfelt thanks, Senrex.

      I have edited the personal references as I think the matter should not be personalised, but it is heartening for a blogger to know he is considered a legitimate outlet of justified anger, rather than someone who, so to speak, plays pope or bishop.

      As an aside, when I lived in Italy the expression “do not judge” as used in Anglo-Saxon countries (= “shut up in front of every scandal”) was utterly unknown. I think it is a product of verse-spitting Protestantism…


  2. Hello Mundabor,

    I was reading through the thread where fintan and others were insisting that the SSPX were in schism. They really should get out more (or read more):

    I agree with your observation that it is better for the SSPX not agree to regularization now; something has taken a terrible turn for the worse in the Vatican. The power struggle has been won by the ecclesial leftists in the Roman Curia.

    God help us, Mundabor; I fear that evil is accelerating — within the Church and in the world.

%d bloggers like this: