After The Censorship: Blogging In The Age Of Francis
The matter of the “Protect the Pope” blog is making waves, and one can be confident the one or other will learn a thing or two from this.
What I have learnt (up to now) is this:
1. It is very easy to silence an ordained blogger, if he is a priest or deacon. A phone call or meeting or even a letter should be enough. The casus belli will always be easily found, as a good Catholic blog will be controversial, and someone will always complain by the bishop; and the bishop will not need anything more. He will then smugly invite the blogger in question to “enter into a period of prayer and reflection on the duties involved for ordained bloggers/website administrators to truth, charity and unity in the Church”.
2. It might soon become fashionable to silence an ordained blogger. True, Pope Benedict has encouraged priests and deacons to blog; but that was then, and this is … Francis. Francis is a man who has already expressed his fear that the TLM might be “divisive”. It would be very easy for him to state, when he finds the time is ripe, to say that priests and deacons should just stop blogging and spend more time in the favela, or traveling with the bus, or embracing wheelchairs, or making phone calls around, or doing all other edifying things he does. Just not blogging, because blogging is divisive, and can easily be uncharitable, and this, and that, and the other, no? At this point, cue the regular purge starting, as a great number of bishops will protect their chances of advancement by just doing what the powers that be wish that they do.
3. Things are, though, not so easy. “Protect the Pope” has never been so linked to, and Bishop Campbell (the blog’s censor) has never looked so bad. The blog is alive and kicking and it will continue to be so; it will, probably, become a beacon of, so to speak, blogging resistance. This will put the bishop in an even worse soup than he is now, then the order to the deacon to make the wife stop the blog would not look very good, or modern, or Francis-like; and very probably the blog wouldn’t stop, either.
4. Other priest bloggers have intervened: Father Z and Father Finigan make no mystery as to whether they like the Campbell soup, and Rorate Caeli predictably finds it inedible. Countless others blog, smaller taken individually but not insignificant if taken together, also deal with the issue. So let us make some calculations here: you close one blog, one hundred blogger criticise you, and they will take care you are not forgotten. As a strategy, it doesn’t seem very brilliant to me. There will always be so many blogs run by Catholic laymen, that even the suppression of all the clerical ones will have pretty much a zero effect. People go on the internet to look for information, and they shall find it. Whether from moderate priests or from less moderate laymen, it depends from the soup the clerical bloggers are made to eat.
So, as I write the 17 March the situation is as follows: the blog has never been so read, and even if it were to be silenced one day it would still be like wanting to stop the tide with a sand barrier, as we did as children at the seaside.Only, as children we knew we could not stop the tide, we just had fun trying. In this case, I have the impression there is all of the trying, but there will be none of the fun.
No. I don’t think it’s smart. Unless the bishop wants those who look for information to be more likely to land on my blog, that is.
Well, Your Excellency, what shall it be? Chicken, or chilli soup?
Posted on March 18, 2014, in Catholicism, Conservative Catholicism, Traditional Catholicism and tagged "Protect the Pope" blog, Father Finigan, Father Z, Pope Francis. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on After The Censorship: Blogging In The Age Of Francis.