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Of blogs and bishops
Posted By Eric Sammons On October 26, 2010 @ 8:50 am In Technology,The Church | Comments Disabled
A while back I was at a conference and a discussion arose about blogs. A bishop who was in attendance warmed to the subject and was quick to denounce bloggers, stating that they need to look at the beam in their own eye before condemning the speck in others’ eyes. It was clear that this bishop found no value in the Catholic blogosphere and wished it would just go away.
I thought of this incident when I read this AP story:
Pressure is on to change the Roman Catholic Church in America, but it’s not coming from the usual liberal suspects. A new breed of theological conservatives has taken to blogs and YouTube to say the church isn’t Catholic enough.
Enraged by dissent that they believe has gone unchecked for decades, and unafraid to say so in the starkest language, these activists are naming names and unsettling the church…
John Allen, Vatican analyst for the National Catholic Reporter, has dubbed this trend “Taliban Catholicism.” But he says it’s not a strictly conservative phenomenon — liberals can fit the mindset, too, Allen says. Some left-leaning Catholics are outraged by any exercise of church authority.
Yet on the Internet and in the church, conservatives are having the bigger impact.
Continue reading …
If I were a bishop I too would most likely be suspicious of Catholic bloggers, as often it is true that bishops get unfairly criticized – and it is frequently the case that the most negative bloggers – the “bishop bashers” – get the most attention. I can only imagine what my job would be like if every day I had a legion of bloggers following my every action to see whether I performed in a way they felt was satisfactory. I suspect I would wish they would go away as well.
Furthermore, too often bloggers can criticize bishops without basing their criticisms in love. They can assume a bishop has bad intentions and treat him as the “enemy” when often the bishop is just making a difficult prudential judgement in a particular case. I once wrote about the Three Credits of Love , and if anyone deserves the three credits, it is the successors to the apostles.
And yet I think there is a positive contribution that bloggers have made to the Church, even those which mostly focus on negative aspects of Church life. Blogs have re-energized the faith life of many Catholics, as orthodox faithful who have endured years of misery in a dissenting or dying parish have seen that there are other Catholics out there who care about their faith and love the Church unreservedly. Church bureaucrats who hid behind their bishop’s cloak have been exposed when they do something against the Catholic Faith. Bishops themselves now know that when they allow heresy to be proclaimed in their diocese that it will be made public (and be made known to the Vatican).
I am a strong proponent of the authority of bishops, yet I am not a fan of clericalism. Throughout Church history bishops have faltered and it was the laity who kept the Faith alive in the world. I am thankful that in our time there are a good number of very good bishops proclaiming the Faith in power and in love, but I am also thankful that many lay people take their faith seriously enough to defend it in the public square, even when they have to defend it against the bishops themselves.
Article printed from Divine Life – A Blog by Eric Sammons: http://ericsammons.com/blog
URL to article: http://ericsammons.com/blog/2010/10/26/of-blogs-and-bishops/
URLs in this post:
 Catholic bloggers aim to purge dissenters: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39821248/ns/us_news-life/
 Three Credits of Love: http://ericsammons.com/blog/2010/07/26/the-three-credits-of-love/
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