The UK’s Catholic Herald writes of priest bloggers, especially Fr. Finigan

I am glad to post that the UK’s best Catholic weekly, The Catholic Herald, has posted a brief piece about priest bloggers.

What makes this article so congenial is that it talks about my good friend Fr. Tim Finigan, whose blog The Hermeneutic of Continuity stands out among clerical contributions in the Catholic blogosphere.  His Hermeneuticalness is not only a great observer of life in general, but a good parish priest.

My emphases and comments:

Priestly bloggers are a great gift to the Church

29 January 2010

We did not know until this week that the word "blog" was in the Holy Father’s vocabulary, but there it is – tucked away in his message for World Communications Day.

The Pope writes: "Priests can rightly be expected to be present in the world of digital communications as faithful witnesses to the Gospel, exercising their proper role as leaders of communities which increasingly express themselves with the different ‘voices’ provided by the digital marketplace. Priests are thus challenged to proclaim the Gospel by employing the latest generation of audiovisual resources (images, videos, animated features, blogs, websites) which, alongside traditional means, can open up broad new vistas for dialogue, evangelisation and catechesis." [What is great about this, first and foremost, is the proof this gives that someone around the Holy Father is paying attention to the fact that there are real and useful tools of social communication.]

The secular media have interpreted this as a papal invitation to priests to "get blogging". We suspect they are right. Pope Benedict XVI is unlikely to spend much of his day online, but he is almost certainly aware that blogging has become a powerful phenomenon in Catholic circles. Many of the world’s most engaged Catholics visit blogs several times a week, to pick up information and rumours about the Church, and also to air their views. One might protest that some of the information is inaccurate, that some of the rumours are false and that some views aired are contrary to Church teaching – but the fact remains that blogs fill a vacuum created, in part, by ecclesiastical structures that have lost the knack of communicating with the laity. [YES!]

It is no accident that among the most successful blogs are those run by individual priests, rather than dioceses. Not only do the faithful like to know what their parish priest is up to, but a seasoned and witty evangelist can build a cyber-parish that extends for thousands of miles. [It is a "diakonia" to a "digital continent", to paraphrase the Holy Father.] An outstanding example is our columnist Fr Tim Finigan of Blackfen in Kent, [HUZZAH!] who spreads the Gospel alongside authoritative news of papal and other liturgical initiatives that are sometimes overlooked by the official channels.

His blog is called The Hermeneutic of Continuity, a phrase used by Pope Benedict XVI [ehem... before Fr. Finigan applied it to his blog...] to emphasise the lack of rupture between the Church’s teaching before and after the Second Vatican Council; so well-known is Fr Tim’s blog that it has helped popularise the Pope’s thinking on this subject throughout the English-speaking world.

Many priest-bloggers are conservative in their liturgical preferences; but there is room in cyberspace for clerical writers who embody many different authentic Catholic approaches. [And "market forces" will be at work.] The internet can empower priests who have felt their influence decline as vocations and congregations decline. Indeed, it has the ability to reverse these trends.

We should therefore welcome it for what it is: a gift to the Church. [Do I hear an "Amen!"?]

 

Huge WDTPRS kudos to The Catholic Herald and His Hermeneuticalness!

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Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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16 Responses to The UK’s Catholic Herald writes of priest bloggers, especially Fr. Finigan

  1. Midwest St. Michael says:

    *It is no accident that among the most successful blogs are those run by individual priests, rather than dioceses. Not only do the faithful like to know what their parish priest is up to, but a seasoned and witty evangelist can build a cyber-parish that extends for thousands of miles.*

    Isn’t that the truth of it? My goodness – if the laity want the *authentic faith* of Holy Mother Church, they generally do have to turn to excellent Catholic blogs. It is a sad testament to say to try to get the faith via most diocesan newspapers (though, thankfully, not all) is like trying to get it from secular sources – or, sadly, heterodox sources.

    I thank God for blogs like Fr. Z’s and Fr. Tim’s. I know I get the truth from these sources – not dissent.

  2. Ogard says:

    It is not only the Blog, but the Blogger in action.

    I was last Sunday in Blackfen – not otherwise easy for me to access – and was delighted with the solemn Tridentine Mass as 10,30 in Father Finigan’s parish. It is now a standard, well accepted by parishioners, and excellently attended. Bilingual Mass booklets and leaflets with those parts that change on each occasion are available to those who wish to follow it whether by singing or reading only.

    An occasional communicant can be seen standing or stretching his hand, but they are an exception. An overwhelming majority understand that kneeling and receiving on a tongue is mature act of Faith, a sign of reverence and humility by which they affirm Transubstantiation including the Presence in each particle.

    It is wonderful to see the congregation: aged, middle-aged, young, and families with children.

    Great blessing! Let’s hope, “brick by brick”, others will follow the example.

  3. Magpie says:

    I only wish even more catholics visited these blogs.

    On a separate but related note, it has been some time since your last podcazt Father… =p

  4. TKS says:

    I prefer Catholic blogs for information. They are more ‘real-time’ and while sometimes comments are too reactive, at least they don’t go through filters like editors for PC-ness or ‘what will our advertisers think-ness’. Since I am super cynical of mainstream news outlets, and information outlets as a whole, this blog is my choice after much analysis. Thanks, Father(s).

  5. Tom in NY says:

    Has the AAS coined Latin words for “internet”, “weblog”, and “cyberspace?” Quis verba latina technologiae informaticae inveniet?
    Salutationes omnibus.

  6. Tom in NY says:

    Addendum:
    Please congratulate Fr. Finigan for his thoughtful comments!

  7. Fr. Z, if you are looking for a suggestion for a future PODCAzT, I would humbly but boldly recommend addressing Vatican II’s Decree on Social Communications, Inter Mirifica, in light of the tremendous advancements made in the same realm since the Council. I think linking the priest-blogger “movement” or “phenomenon” (although I think those words don’t do justice to the reality of it) with the call to “adapt[...] these media to the objectives of the apostolate” (IM 15) might help bring to light some of the ACTUAL and MEASURABLE objectives of the Second Vatican Council, and educate people on what the Council actually wrote about the use of media for dissemination of the Catholic faith (rather than dissension therefrom!).

    Just my two cents.

  8. Lee says:

    After the Herald wrote, “His blog is called The Hermeneutic of Continuity, a phrase used by Pope Benedict XVI” you wrote:” [ehem… before Fr. Finigan applied it to his blog…],” but I wonder if this is correct.

    In an address to the Roman Curia on Dec. 22, 2005 Pope Benedict used the phrase “hermeneutic of discontinuity” three times, and opposed to it an “hermeneutic of reform.”

    1. “On the one hand, there is an interpretation that I would call “a hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture”…

    2. “The hermeneutic of discontinuity risks ending in a split between the pre-conciliar Church and the post-conciliar Church.”

    3. “The hermeneutic of discontinuity is countered by the hermeneutic of reform.”

    In light of this, I think it is likely that Fr. Finigan is in fact the first person to use the phrase “hermeneutic of continuity” in opposition to a “hermeneutic of discontinuity,” showing that His Hermeuticalness is at least episcopabile.

  9. wanda says:

    ‘Gift to the Church’, AMEN! Deo Gratias!

  10. To Lee (30 January 2010 @ 1:06 pm):

    See Sacramentum Caritatis 3, esp. footnote 6.

    The difficulties and even the occasional abuses which were noted, it was affirmed, cannot overshadow the benefits and the validity of the liturgical renewal, whose riches are yet to be fully explored. Concretely, the changes which the Council called for need to be understood within the overall unity of the historical development of the rite itself, without the introduction of artificial discontinuities.(6)

    (6) I am referring here to the need for a hermeneutic of continuity also with regard to the correct interpretation of the liturgical development which followed the Second Vatican Council: cf. Benedict XVI, Address to the Roman Curia (22 December 2005): AAS 98 (2006), 44-45.

  11. irishgirl says:

    I love going on the ‘priestly blogs’ such as Fr. Finigan’s…..and yours, Fr. Z, of course!

    May they forever flourish!

    ‘Huzzah’, indeed….

  12. catholicmidwest says:

    but the fact remains that blogs fill a vacuum created, in part, by ecclesiastical structures that have lost the knack of communicating with the laity.

    YES, YES, YES, a million times. I have no idea what our priests and bishops here do all day, every day, but they might as well be on Mars for all the effect they have and the communication they foster. [I suspect they spend most of their time eating and going to meetings with the same sorry crowd of people deciding things that don't have much to do with any of the rest of us.]

    Meanwhile, the rest of us catholics are trying to figure out what it means to be Catholic in a real sense, and it’s not easy out here.

  13. catholicmidwest says:

    Yes, well online is the only place a person can find another catholic to talk to outside of the 45 minutes on Sunday when we’re not supposed to be talking to each other. Grrrr.

  14. catholicmidwest says:

    “The hermeneutic of discontinuity risks ending in a split between the pre-conciliar Church and the post-conciliar Church.”

    Ahh, the obvious finally is said by Rome. It’s already happened all but the paperwork. Luckily it’s lopsided and most people will go with the real church. I think.

  15. Lee says:

    To Jeff Pinyan:

    Fr. Finigan’s began his blog “The Hermeneutic of Continuity” on April 6, 2006 and explained, “The title for this blog is inspired by an expression of Pope Benedict XVI in his address to the Roman Curia on 22 December 2005.” The expression, of course, was “hermeneutic of discontinuity,” so it is evident that 1)Fr. Finigan is resposnbile for the positive rendition of this thought and 2) that footnote 6 of Sacramentum Caritatis-which was issued on February 22, 2007- suggests that Pope Benedict follows Fr. Finigan’s blog and took the hint to put the concept positively.

  16. Ogard says:

    If there is a “hermeneutic of discontinuity” there had to be a “hermeneutic of continuity”, even of the Holy Father did not explicitly use the latter term; although he does seem to have used it (see Jeffrey Pinyan).

    Both the liberals and the SSPX are in unholy alliance in maintaining that the present state of affairs in the Church reflects a discontinuity with the Church prior to Vatican II. They differ, however, in the position they take in relation to this alleged discontinuity.

    The liberals welcome it as far as it goes but want more of it, and have no scruples when it comes to misinterpretation of both the past and the present, to press for realization of good future days as they conceive them.

    The SSPX disapprove of it and have no scruples when it comes to misinterpretation of both the past and the present, to press for a return to the past as they imagine it.

    The Holy Father disapproves of both. He sees the present as it is, and is trying to identify the valid elements, which, although new in the sense of an organic development of the received message, are also old in the sense that the received message is sustained in its essential elements. This is his notion of reform, which he wants to continue.

    On the other hand, he deplores the liberal attempts to dispose with the essentials of the received message, as well as the SSPX attempts to dispose with the organic development in an attempt to impose what they conceive to be “tradition” (while, in effect, it is their misunderstanding of it). The Holy Father would have none of it.