Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Thoughts on What I Hate About Catholics Blogging

During the last year, I have noticed some Catholics who are bloggers have gotten downright nasty in their behavior. Whether it's a case of making oneself the judge of bishops (or the Pope) or a case of making oneself a judge of other Catholics who act differently than the blogger in places where individual discretion is allowed, these bloggers have a tendency to talk condescendingly about those they disagree with. For example...

  • Those silly bishops who think that the current minimum wage is unjustly low! Don't they get economics? (Maybe not, but why should we think YOU know as much or more than them?)
  • Those stupid right wing dupes who thought the Iraq War was just! How can they call themselves Catholic? (Umm, because then Cardinal Ratzinger said that St. John Paul II's words on that war was not intended to be understood as a binding teaching?)
  • Those heretical neo Catholics who like the "Novus ordo" Mass! Don't they know what Pope X said about the Mass? (Listen pal... I rather doubt you know anything more about what Pope X said or even who he even was outside of the information you got on a radical traditionalist website.)

These are exaggerations of positions taken by some Catholic blogs—but unfortunately not as exaggerated as you might think.

I think people should remember that the authority to bind and loose is given to the Pope (Matt 16:19) and the bishops in communion with him (Matt 18:18). The blogger does not have the authority to loose what the Church has bound, nor bind what the Church has loosed. So when the blogger writes on such matters he or she should seek to distinguish between what is Church teaching and what is the blogger's personal opinion.

The reason I say that is there are Catholics out there who are seeking to be faithful and are looking for Catholics they trust to help them understand their faith. The Catholic who blogs needs to make clear that while he (for example) dislikes the Ordinary Form of the Mass, his views on it being harmful are his opinion and not the Catholic teaching.

I think there needs to be a distinction drawn between "Catholic Blog" and "Blogging by a person who is Catholic." The former seeks to discuss the Catholic faith in whatever area their blog focuses on, doing his or her best to express the faith accurately and helpfully. The latter can blog whatever the hell he wants, but his opinions should not be considered as necessarily reflecting the Catholic position.

If the blogger will not do this, and abuses the association of being Catholic to promote his or her own view as if they had more authority than they actually do. Otherwise, perhaps the Bishops might have to invoke Canon 216 when it comes to people calling their blogs "Catholic." (I hope it does not come to that):

Can. 216 Since they participate in the mission of the Church, all the Christian faithful have the right to promote or sustain apostolic action even by their own undertakings, according to their own state and condition. Nevertheless, no undertaking is to claim the name Catholic without the consent of competent ecclesiastical authority.

The readers will have to decide for themselves whether I practice what I preach. All I can say is this is what I try to do when I write.

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