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Friday, 9 November 2012

Bloggers and bishops

Brandon Vogt has a list of 7 Things Bishops Should Know About Catholic Bloggers. He has put this out in advance of a meeting next week hosted by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops following the success of last year's meeting of bloggers hosted by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. (See my post: Vatican surprises bloggers with successful meeting.) Without wishing to be presumptuous, I would humbly suggest that it would be a good article for our Bishops  of England and Wales to consider at their meeting this coming week. Who knows? Perhaps we could have a blogger-bishops fest at Eccleston Square?

Bloggers talking about blogging always gets bloggers blogging about it, and a "List of x Things" is a well-tried formula for getting readers either in print or online, so kudos to Brandon for the hit spike his post will generate! Thanks be to God, he talks a lot of sense.

I would agree with him on nearly everything but would add some shading to Thing #1. The relationship between bloggers and bishops is not simply friend or enemy. There are good Catholic bloggers who are friends of Christ and of the Church, saying the Rosary for the Bishop and putting the graphic on their sidebar, but being a critical voice too.

If this criticism is from some as yet undiscovered mythical part of Lumen Gentium which supposedly invented an alternative magisterium, then we can thank God that the Church does have the means of stating what is and is not part of her teaching.

If on the other hand, the criticism is in support of the magisterium or discipline of the Church against a perceived dissent or deviation, then there is a debate to be had. A bishop who is confident that he is expressing orthodox faith and is in line with the Church's law can explain this. A bishop who thinks the blogger is unorthodox or otherwise out of line can explain that too.

In the end, this is nothing new. We are all bound by the teaching and discipline of holy mother Church. Unless we descend into rampant gallicanism, Bishops are also part of the hierarchy which has at its head the Bishop of Rome, acting on a day-to-day basis through the dicasteries of the Holy See.

I believe, along with Fr Z that the internet operates a "reverse Gresham's law" where good information drives out bad. If that is true, then blogging can only further the Kingdom - even if the pesky bloggers are a bit awkward at times.
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