Tuesday 16 April 2013

Why do bishops hate blogs?

No gossip was exchanged during this meeting.

Archbishop Nichols has used a homily to to make a complaint ... about those who complain...?!?

He complains about blogs - identifying them as among those responsible for the sort of behavior that Pope Francis spoke of as destructive to the Church - complaining and gossiping.  Deacon Nick ably points out that this takes the Holy Father's words quite beyond their original meaning and context.  The Archbishop says of these "complainers" - "They sell newspapers and attract us to blogs because we love to hear complaints and to read gossip.. they should have no place in the Church."

Nice to feel wanted!

What I find so strange is that this is a blanket reference to blogs - no matter that many of them are not complaining or gossiping but rather liberating those ordinary members of the Church - Lay, Religious and clerics - who would otherwise have no voice, liberating them to discuss and bring out into the open what touches them about life and the Church - and Her leaders.  Liberating them to find encouragement and support from way beyond the confines of those they would usually come into contact with.  Liberating them from the stranglehold of the professional Church people who run the diocese and have the ear of the bishop, who usually get to make their voices and opinions heard without any trouble.  They also have been known to put the Church's message "out there" in the modern world - up for attack, discussion and defense.

Dear Archbishop, some lowly Catholics further down the hierarchical system find that their "complaints" (i.e. concerns, anguishes,  agonies and fears) often go unheard and unheeded - the use of the modern means of communication - including blogs - gives many a voice who are otherwise ignored.  It democratises the Church in a good way but, of course, it means that those at the top are more readily held to account.

Something more sensible about catholic bloggers by Brandon Vogt: 7 things Bishops should know about catholic Bloggers.


Johannes Faber said...

In the interest of fairness, he is not saying that bloggers - or even blogs - have no place in the Church:

"Pope Francis understands this in practical terms. He has already identified two kinds of behaviour that destroy love in the Church. They are complaining and gossiping. He is a practical man. He knows that we live in a society in which complaining and gossip is a standard fare. They sell newspapers and attract us to blogs because we love hear complaints and to read gossip.

But Pope Francis is clear: they should have no place in the Church."

The word 'they' throughout that whole section refers to 'gossiping and complaining'. He says that it is gossiping and complaining that sell newspapers and attract to blogs, not bloggers: and it is gossiping and complaining that have no place in the Church, he says.

Whether you agree with what he said or how he said is one thing - but he was not saying that bloggers have no place in the Church.

Lynda said...

I think it is only dissenting, disobedient Bishops that hate blogs that are loyal to the Church and the Deposit of Faith.

Genty said...

It's enough for me to know of the importance Pope Benedict attached to social media. He saw it as a 21st century means to evangelisation.
Some members of the hierarchy dislike blogs because they don't conform to their personal agendas. But they do give thinking and savvy Catholics a voice. Quelle horreur.
It's a difference of attitude between giants and pygmies.

RJ said...

If we were visiting blogs to indulge in gossip and complaining, that would be wrong, but they provide a source of nourishment and support in the Catholic faith, which is really great. I doubt that the Archbishop was condemning blogs per se.

GOR said...

If members of the hierarchy were more attentive to their knitting, I suspect there would be fewer incidents of complaints. Is it too much to expect that our ‘lords and masters’ be orthodox…? How often have the legitimate concerns of the laity been fobbed off and condescendingly ignored by their bishops…?

When the regal episcopacy lives in bureaucratic cocoons, insulated from the lives of the rudi et crudi, the natives will get restless. And, while extremes are inevitable, the blogsphere has proved a worthy reality check for the hierarchy – not to mention a source of valuable information and orthodox teaching.

One suspects that had the Internet been available in Monte Cassino circa 1239 – and, given its location, a good connection would have been assured – a certain young Thomas of Aquino would have embraced it wholeheartedly – unafraid of any Objections that might ensue.

Jacobi said...

++Nichols is not happy with the internet and bloggers, just as his predecessors were, doubtless, unhappy with the printing press.
The answer is to not to oppose new technology, but to use it properly, Pope Benedict’s use of twitter, being a good example.

So much of the chaos in the post-Vatican II Church has been caused by the use of imprecise language. Social gossip is cohesive, malicious gossip is maline. Negative complaint is destructive, legitimate complaint is constructive and appropriate.

Bishops should devote more time to being shepherds of their flocks, teaching orthodox Catholicism in an authorative way, and less to being politically correct, press managing, damage limitation bureaucrats.

ps that a suggestion not a criticism.

Anonymous said...

But Father - bloggers could sow seeds of dissent amongst thinking Catholics. Where would we be then?

Patrick Cannon