They Still Don't Get It!

I got the heads-up from Canon Kendall Harmon’s site to a newspaper article, Romeward Anglicans: a case of too much politics – of the kind that influences the thinking of most people of a fairly high intellectual level.

What do I read?

It was confirmed this week that no group has yet applied to the Catholic bishops of England and Wales for an ordinariate.

I don't believe this!!! If that journalist had done his homework, he would have read and would know that applications will not be made to the local Episcopal Conferences, but to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Then perhaps, the local Catholic bishops will be asked by Rome to provide infrastructures and harmonise the Ordinariates with normal Catholic life, but that is another matter.

This is why I am so anxious to maintain the high quality of The Anglo-Catholic, so that at least there is one source of objective – and true – information.

Damian Thompson, Blogging and Episcopal Accountability

I had the idea of contacting Damian Thompson via Facebook, and fed him with all the information I have on Bishop Nourrichard and what has happened in France. He would have then made his own investigation and found the press articles and video clips using the links I gave him and others. He then published this article on his blog.

Some have called this brilliant young English journalist a blood-crazed ferret. Others attribute the failure of Bishop Arthur Roche of Leeds and expert parish-closer to get the See of Westminster to Mr. Thompson's relentless blogging. Here is his Stop Roche campaign. It would seem that this journalist and his blog are highly influential, even with the Roman Curia. Since the Bishop Williamson affair, the Roman Curia has adapted to the new internet information culture and has learned about its importance. Write well, and they will take notice, for the better or the worse.

The blog (especially in the hands of a professional journalist of traditional Catholic sympathies) has been a great boom to flushing out the cult of secrecy and lack of accountability. When a Bishop decides to make changes in his diocese, his rights are not absolute. He must justify them and know that he will have to pay for wickedness and injustice, because there is nothing secret that will not be shouted from the rooftops.

Here is his article on Bishop Richard Williamson of the Society of St Pius X. Mr Thompson was also merciless with the Legionaries of Christ affair and the revolting corruption of its "saintly" founder the late Fr Marcial Maciel. Damian Thompson does remind me somewhat of some of the zealots in the early twentieth century who denounced suspect theologians to the Pope! He is taking the Christian commitment of his Confirmation seriously.

Blogging is a ministry of the word, a huge amount of power vested in individuals – with very few checks and controls. We have to blog responsibly and morally, being careful not to destroy the reputations of persons without either their deserving it or a greater common good coming out of it. It is a big responsibility, as much as ordinary parish ministry.

The acts of some of the sleazy prelates occupying Anglican and Catholic diocesan sees today can be "outed", published in blogs worldwide for everyone to see. Sometimes in this way, justice is done by the hierarchical superiors of those bad bishops. A good blog can be an instrument of reform. Oscar Wilde once said of the journalists in his day, “In old days men had the rack. Now they have the Press. Journalists can be cruel and unjust, or can begin movements of reform and correction of wrongs. There are also evil journalists or men and women motivated by ideology. This is human nature and it happens in every walk of life. Let us support good journalists!

The Anglo-Catholic has a role that is more educational than anything else. Sometimes, like Damian Thompson with his razor sharp wit and zeal, we have to denounce evil to bring out a greater good. That is the freedom the Internet gives us, and we ask God for the grace to use it well and responsibly.

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Damian Thompason's article: The fight against Futurechurch: blogging

The Catholic bishops’ Magic Circle wants to close down this blog. In fact, it has a whole list of Catholic blogs it would like to suppress. Why? “Misleading information,” say the bishops. I don’t think so. It’s accurate information they don’t want to leak out.

A few nights ago I joined a group of Catholic bloggers in a pub in Victoria. They included the world-famous Fr Z from America, Fr Tim Finigan and Mac McLernon (”Mulier Fortis”). We felt like a group of East European dissidents swapping samizdat literature in the 1970s.

There are liberal Catholic bloggers out there, but it is persecuted traditionalists who have seized control of cyberspace in the English-speaking world, with disastrous results for the secretive Futurechurch project.

Every vindictive move against the traditional liturgy is reported. Every slip is exploited. And, worst of all, conservative Vatican rulings can no longer be concealed from the faithful. No wonder the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales discussed controlling blogs at its last meeting.

Let me give you an example of the sort of thing the liberal bishops hate. Yesterday, following a story on this blog, Mgr Robert Reardon of Cardiff was revealed as the “Monsignor X” being lined up as Bishop of Menevia despite having acted as witness at the wedding of an unlaicised priest years ago. Reardon’s unbelievable comment: “If someone can show me the church law I am supposed to have broken, I would be interested, but I’m not aware of it.”

Well, he is now. Dr Edward Peters, a Catholic canon lawyer who writes a blog called In the Light of the Law, immediately provided chapter and verse. The heading of his post: “Well, here’s what’s wrong with assisting at the invalid marriages of AWOL priests.”

Ooh, that was disrespectful! Magic Circlers such as “Bob” Reardon aren’t used to the sardonic tone of traditionalist bloggers. Why, I even hear rumours that Bishop Arthur Roche has taken offence at my references to his figure-skating past. (Don’t worry, Arthur – that black-and-white footage of you taking a tumble at the 1972 Blackpool Tower Holiday on Ice is safe with me!)

The case of +Arthur is an interesting one, I think you’ll agree. If it wasn’t for the internet, the public wouldn’t know about his shockingly high-handed closure of thriving churches in West Yorkshire. Nor would people in the diocese realise just how much money goes down t’drain at Hinsley Hall, the magnificent HQ of Arthur’s curia.

Follow the money: that’s good advice for traditionalist Catholic bloggers. There is so much to be learned about the Magic Circle mafia by, for example, exposing the links between dioceses and the publishing companies owned by the composers of dreary litrugical ditties.

But let’s move on to the wider issue of Pope Benedict’s programme of renewal for the Catholic Church. It is partly thanks to priest-bloggers such as Fathers Zuhlsdorf and Finigan that orthodox Catholics know the chapter and verse of Summorum Pontificum.

Just think: if it wasn’t for the blogosphere, the Bishops of England and Wales might be able to claim that they were implementing the Motu Proprio. But a quick review of the blogs reveals that they are dragging their heels in the most shameful way.

Some blogs are more serious than others. The New Liturgical Movement, for example, is positively magisterial in its coverage of conservative reform. This is where you find small items of news that liberal bishops’ conferences would rather not see get out, such as yesterday’s announcement that Pope Benedict has appointed enthusiasts for the Old Rite as his personal liturgical advisers, clearing away the last remnants of the Piero Marini regime admired by “Blubby” Mickens of the Tablet.

OK, I’ll shut up now. I think you get the picture. Traditionalist blog posts are like hand grenades thrown into the headquarters of Futurechurch. Magic Circlers, having grown up in the 1960s, tend to have a romantic view of guerilla wars of liberation. Let’s see how they cope with being on the receiving end of one…