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Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Archbishop: "Bloggers not part of the Church"

Robert Kumpel of St John's Valdosta had a forthright post the other day following up on the story on LifeSite News about the statement of Archbishop James Weisgerber of Winnipeg, Canada.(See: Answering the anti-blogger Bishop.)

The Archbishop has been annoyed by the internet coverage of the Canadian Bishops' official agency Development & Peace, which has been accused of funding numerous radical leftist organizations that promote a pro-abortion and pro-contraception ideology. Archbishop Weisgerber has said that an investigation has found that there was no evidence that Development and Peace has been involved in such funding. LifeSite News continues to insist that there is incontrovertible evidence, referring to its two earlier articles: MUST READ: All the Evidence of Development and Peace Pro-Abortion Funding …So Far and Mexican Pro-Life Leader Confirms: Groups Funded by Development and Peace are Pro-Abortion

In response to this controversy, the Archbishop has attacked Catholic bloggers, saying
"These bloggers who claim to be more Catholic than anyone - I think first of all they're not part of the church, they're not Catholic in the sense that they have no mandate, they have no authority, they have no accountability. And they speak very, very definitively about what it means to be Catholic, and they're followed by so many people."
Robert Kumpel quotes Apostolicam Actuositatem n.10. One might also add the Code of Canon Law:
Can. 211 All the Christian faithful have the duty and right to work so that the divine message of salvation more and more reaches all people in every age and in every land.

Can. 212 §3. According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.
As to accountability, bloggers know that they are very quickly brought to account if they say something untrue or misleading, and their opinions can be speedily quoted, analysed, supported or refuted by others.

Many do indeed speak definitively about what it means to be Catholic, very often quoting the teaching of the magisterium which is also quite definitive on the matter. One wonders that the preferred alternative might be: speaking ambiguously about what it means to be Catholic? One should also remember the many personal stories of faith that are to be found in Catholic blogs, telling of the struggles of witnessing to the faith at work, at College, in the family, and on the streets.

When sweeping negative statements are made about Catholic blogs, I instinctively turn to the New Liturgical Movement blog with its excellent articles, painstakingly and carefully written, mainly by lay people, for no material reward, purely for the love of God and His Holy Church.

Robert concludes his article with this pointed observation about what the real problem is here:
With the internet, everyone is more accountable. Bishops are now accountable (well, at least a bit MORE accountable) about how they spend our money. Priests, bishops, nuns and catechists are now more accountable for what they say, teach and preach. One stupid remark from the pulpit on any given Sunday can be all over the blogosphere on Sunday night. This is one of the reasons that the rupturistas who have lied to us about Vatican II for the last 40 years aren't getting away with it any longer.
Perhaps it would be a bit harsh for one stupid remark from the pulpit to be splashed over the internet; but the internet does come in handy when those stupid remarks are repeated week after week, and there is no adequate response to complaints from the faithful. Likewise when people are refused Holy Communion because they kneel down, when there is a Halloween Mass with people reading the scriptures or giving out Holy Communion in witch and devil costumes, when there is a "doner kebab" Blessed Sacrament procession, then some accountablity kicks in, thank God.

BTW - Robert Kumpel's blog St John's Valdosta is well worth having on your blogroll and in your feed aggregator. It is a favourite of Sir Dan of the Blogosphere who alerted me to this story.
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