Enjoy It While It Lasts? The Future Of Orthodox Blogging Priests
If you surf around for blogs written by Catholic priests, you will not be able to avoid noticing that the tones are becoming more and more critical. Some priests are more open in their criticism and do not shy away from the “F-word” (Francis, that it). Others are more circumspect, but nevertheless very clear in what they say and who is the addressee of their complaint. Other still criticise left and right of the target, Voris-style, but you sense the darts get nearer to the bull’s eye.
One truly wonders how long this will go on.
We must understand two important elements here:
1. Dissent is acted against extremely slowly, if at all, but in the new “time of mercy” there is no mercy for Catholicism. The LCWR continue their antics undisturbed, but the FFI are brutally persecuted after suspicion of “Proto-Lefebvrianism”.
2. If a professor or a theologian dissent from Church teaching no less than an official enquiry of the CDF will, perhaps, persuade them to at least tone down their tone. In contrast, every orthodox blogging priest can be ordered by his bishop to shut down his blog overnight.
It does not take a genius to recognise that if the present “age of m… arijuana” continues, the danger that many of these blogger priests will be requested to either renounce to criticism of the Destroyer or shut down their blogs is very real.Come October, it seems reasonable to think there will be open resistance and condemnation to any Kasperite measures that were to be adopted, or proposed, or offered to “reflection”. At this point, more an dmore bishop will be tempted to “go Campbell”, and order their priest to shut down their “divisive” blogs, that puts heretics against Catholics when everyone knows Jesus wants us to all play cards together.
Many priests will, I am sure, comply in a spirit of obedience; persuaded that no blog is indispensable; that others will carry on the flag; and that the responsibility for the cessation of the blog will be exclusively on the shoulder of the bishop.
But at some point a priest will simply refuse to comply, believing that the bishop is simply not due obedience when he acts in open complicity with evil; this priest will rather invite persecution and legal confrontation than stop caring for the salvation of souls through his blog.
At this point things will become interesting, because the matter will land in front of ecclesiastical courts, and they will have a rather hard time officially sanctioning the right of a bishop to muzzle perfectly Catholic opinions of their own priests because, being Catholic, they are deemed divisive. Then the bishop himself can be asked to stop being a bishop because either he is catholic, and then he is divisive, or he is not divisive, and then he is not being a bishop.
Let this kind of legal confrontation become very frequent and very public, and what we have is a first-class showdown between perfectly Catholic priests and their perfectly anti-Catholic bishops.
It might be, I often think, good for a priest with the intention to resist the muzzling to simply state it – purely hypothetically of course – in his own blog. Something on the line of: the bishop is a wonderful, wonderful shepherd and all that, but wrong orders will not be obeyed, and if the event were to happen (which it will neva! evah!), well then in this utterly hypothetical case, see you in court.
Not that it will ever happen, of course. No. ‘Course not. Perish the thought.
In this case, I think, there would be a kind of United Catholic Front, of people who simply say “I think blogging is integral part of the way I work as a priest, and I will be a priest through my blog as I am a priest otherwise, unless I am told in court I am wrong”.
Just a thought.