Are you tired of nearly institutionalized dissent in the now Jurassic park of the old Catholic media?
The USA has the National Catholic Reporter and a whole raft of still sub-optimal diocesan newspapers… though I must observe that many are improving and magazines. You can surely think of a few. The UK has its weekly fishwrap The Tablet (aka The Bitter Pill or as I sometimes call it, RU-486 when it went all wobbly it approval).
Enough is enough. Who is propping up those publications?
My friend Fr Ray Blake, the great parish priest of St. Mary Magdalen in Brighton, has a very good entry which riffs on what Pope Benedict recently told the bishops of England and Wales gathered in Rome for their ad limina apostolorum visit.
Some time ago someone from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith told me that an English Archbishop had told the then Prefect that The Tablet was neither supported by or promoted by any bishop in the heirarchy of England and Wales. Now that same Prefect is Pope.
I am sure that The Tablet did not figure high in the discussions during the Ad Limina visit but I would love to know if it was mentioned.
I am not sure what that Archbishop meant by "support or promotion", presumably it didn’t include selling it at the back of his Cathedral, or bishops, including the Nuncio, giving it exclusive interviews. If the bishops are going to give a sign that they take the Pope seriously then we should expect a certain pruning in the newspapers and periodicals at the back of our churches, we should also expect complaints about dissent to be taken seriously and investigated.
If the full saving message of Christ is to be presented effectively and convincingly to the world, the Catholic community in your country needs to speak with a united voice. This requires not only you, the Bishops, but also priests, teachers, catechists, writers – in short all who are engaged in the task of communicating the Gospel – to be attentive to the promptings of the Spirit, who guides the whole Church into the truth, gathers her into unity and inspires her with missionary zeal.
If The Tablet or any other newspaper or magazine doesn’t do this, then it should not be made available for sale at the back of our churches.
In a social milieu that encourages the expression of a variety of opinions on every question that arises, it is important to recognize dissent for what it is, and not to mistake it for a mature contribution to a balanced and wide-ranging debate. It is the truth revealed through Scripture and Tradition and articulated by the Church’s Magisterium that sets us free.
This instruction from the Holy Father is not limited to England and Wales.