My friend Fr. Ray Blake of Brighton’s St. Mary Magdalen has this interesting piece:
Archbishop Faustino Sainz Muñoz, the Apostolic Nuncio [in the UK] has given an interview to The Tablet, apparently. Why such a good man should not choose a mainstream Catholic journal or newspaper but prefer a fanzine which sets itself the task of opposing every thought, word and deed of the Holy Father, I am not sure. Apparently in the interview he says Rome, now, seems to take more interest in the internet than in a "Ternas" submitted by him. [If that is true, that signals that the Congregation has finally adjusted its learning curve.]
Obviously Rome has learnt from the Williamson debacle but also learnt that the news and views of epicopabili are online, [...and, of course, views about them...] and readily available to the various Roman dicasteries but also to the media, and actually to individual members of the faithful, a whiff of scandal once on-line is there forever. Recent episcopal appointments in the States indicate Rome tends to appoint priests who have a positive and strong, paper and internet trail behind them, for the most part they have either worked in Rome or have been military chaplains, where their careers are heavily documented. [A point I have made often.]
I don’t think Rome takes much interest in priest bloggers, [You would be surprised.] though we all have regular Vatican visitors, we tend not to get involved in personal criticism but I am sure it is fascinated by what on-line newspapers have to say and I am sure someone trawls through pastoral letters on diocesan websites. One blog that does have influence is Damian Thompson’s, though I feel for anyone who is thrown into the bear pit of his readers. There is a rumour that Damian’s unrelenting ridicule of his pastoral ineptitude cost one ecclesiastic preferment to a high position. Today he has a very beautiful post about the meeting of faith and beauty at the Oratory Carol service. He always writes beautifully about music.