Fr. Z muses: repression of Catholic speech and what we can do about it.

Right now we are told that transparency and dialogue are important.  When the Synod (“walking together”) opened, Francis called for openness, dialogue, even criticism, saying, “all to speak with courage and parrhesia (candour), that is combining freedom, truth and charity….  Only dialogue can help us grow. Honest and transparent criticism is constructive and helps, while useless chatter, rumours, innuendo or prejudice don’t.”

A few items to consider.

First, the 2018 Synod (“walking together”) in the final document indicated that it could be necessary to impose a kind of approval standard on Catholic websites.  In the present regime, I think we know what that means.

Next, it seems that Francis has communicated through the Nuncio that bishops should “black ball” Card. Burke.

Also, Bp. Schneider has been told that he shouldn’t be outside the Archdiocese of Astana and/or he must communicate to the Secretariat of State where he might go.

One of the things that just popped into my head is a horrifying episode from history.

In the 1950’s Mao Zedong called for intellectuals of the time to share their criticisms so that there could be flourishing of the ‘ongoing revolution’.  Mao quoted a poem saying, “Let a hundred flowers bloom; let a hundred schools of thought contend”.  What happened was predictable.  Intellectuals spoke up and they were, subsequently, crushed.

Historians are divided about Mao’s intentions: Did he set a trap?  It seems so.

One is reminded also of Thrasybulus and the Tall Poppies.

When the Synod (“walking together”) brought forth the final document, they force marched the multi-lingual voters paragraph by paragraph through texts provided transparently only in Italian.

We may need – before too long – a Catholic “samizdat” movement.

Here’s an idea.  Let’s imagine something for a moment.

Someone (don’t know who) creates a company/foundation which can raise money to provide

  1. super fast internet for certain figures who are or will be repressed or not allowed to travel
  2. good camera, microphone and tech assistance to the same
  3. big screen and necessary tech for two way video conferencing on an ad hoc basis for long distance AV conferences

I don’t know if I got my point across with that.  Here’s the idea.  Say that Bp. Schneider is stuck in Astana because the Secretariat of State commands him not to leave to go to the Diocese of Black Duck at the invitation of Bp. Noble and Msgr. Zuhlsdorf to pontificate and to speak.   Instead, the foundation/company has been providing faster than usual internet to Bp. Schneider, and then to Black Duck, so that Bp. Schneider can deliver is high quality stream of his talk and even take questions etc.  It could be made live and then on demand.

Get my idea?

I’m just thinking in print.  Of course this sort of thing could also be used for bring great people and their ideas to places which ordinarily wouldn’t be reachable.

Perhaps some of you who are far more tech savvy than I am will have ideas.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. MaHrad says:

    I have been feeling this sense that those with certain skills may need to step up and offer those skills. Back in the day it was the carpenters and brick layers along with seamstresses that offered their talents for new churches to be built or expanded. This may be a time when donating time and skills rather than giving money will be more important for the spreading of the faith.

  2. chantgirl says:

    Recent news stories indicate that independent donations payment processors and web hosting platforms are also needed. As certain factions lose their ability to jedi mind trick the populace, more brutal tactics of suppression can be expected in the church and the culture.

  3. maternalView says:

    we need a Breitbart of Catholic media

  4. Michael Haz says:

    AV equipment is certainly a very good solution…..until a *person who has authority* says “uh uh uh, now internet for you!” When that happens, our Bp. or Abp will need to have access to a secure, private, and nearby small venue in which the equipment resides.

  5. JEF5570 says:

    Won’t they just then extend the prohibition to the new apostolate then? It seems that with this sort of anti-nominalistic regime, there’s no solid ground upon which to fight.

  6. Man-o-words says:

    Might I propose that such an organization already exists? Church has really grown over the last 10 years and is filling that gap. With better fundkng, I think that it would be able to unlock these good-but-blackballed prelates voices.

    Fr. Z, you might reach out to MV amd team and propose this idea.

  7. Lurker 59 says:

    This dovetails with some ideas that I have been thinking about.

    One of the things that is incredibly popular and craved amongst “the youth” (how I hate that term) is experiences where there is interaction between content creators and their audience. This is to the point that individuals readily part with money to have these experiences as the experience is valued higher than any actual product. It is an incredibly effective way of building a community and getting a message out.

    Think the PODCAzts done live with audience interaction and a bit more freewheeling on the trajectory of the topic. It also needs to be done on a regular basis, almost like a radio show.

    If you are looking for the tech to set this up, audio equipment is more important than video as any modern cell phone will be adequate in the video department.

    In terms of “faster than usual internet”, that can be problematic, especially outside of the US. If you also have to deal with not just bandwidth but data consumption, there are real limitations and financial considerations.

  8. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Given what happened to, I think we need to spread out and diversify, and not provide one single big target that can be de-platformed on a single day.

  9. EC says:

    I’ve been speaking about the synod with others here in Rome… we have been wondering just how expensive it was… and how cheap it could have been to organize such a thing with internet instead.

  10. Sue says:

    I’m thinking is ready for this right now. More donations will certainly help out.

  11. Bellarmino Vianney says:

    “Historians are divided about Mao’s intentions: Did he set a trap? It seems so.”

    It does indeed seem as though certain Jesuits and others “within” the Church utilize the Nazi/commie tactic of entrapment. This is also apparently being done on a much wider scale by secular authorities, even with the help of persons who call themselves “Catholic”, and they even perform these entrapment/harassment tactics during the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

    This commentator has written about such tactics likely utilized by certain entities; if they want a person to be charged with a crime, they apparently first unlawfully surveil a person by simply making their home and cell phones live wiretaps at all times (this is may very well be a felony on their part; but, the surveilled person is essentially powerless and cannot prove the surveillance in most cases). Then they have plain-clothed persons harass, harass, and harass the surveilled person (through acting bizarrely and clearly staging/faking certain actions on a regular basis in public) with the intent of causing that person to either utter a threat or commit a violent act out of normal frustration which goes along with being harassed on a regular basis.

    Another apparent tactic they may use is the following: lets say that a faithful Catholic man is seeking a faithful Catholic adult female to first potentially speak to, then potentially court/date, then potentially marry.

    These people attempting to entrap may use younger girls that appear to be adult females, and they have the girls appear at the Adoration Chapels and/or Churches where the targeted male regularly attends. They ask the girl to look/stare at the male strangely. The girls then sign their name in the Chapel visitor books, which the male, out of curiosity to determine why the girl is staring at him, later does an internet search of the girl’s name to determine who that person is and why they would be staring at the male.

    Bam. There’s the trap. It can then be (wrongly) presumed that the male is interested in the girl when in reality he is just doing people research through the internet.

    They could also set such traps as the following: lets say a priest, through random social media use, discovers a young person who is into drugs and is clearly heading down the path to hell. The priest views the young person’s Instagram page where she posts bad pictures of herself inebriated; and out of authentic compassion, charity, and concern for the salvation of the girl’s soul, so that she will change her life, the priest begins to regularly pray and fast for her.

    Now, in the meantime while he is praying and fasting for the girl, he also checks her Instagram page on a regular basis to see if the girl is showing any signs of improvement, and to see if his prayers are bringing forth grace for the girl’s salvation and the changing of her life.

    Further, lets say that this same priest does this praying, fasting, and viewing public internet profiles for numerous people – particularly young people into drinking, drugging, and other grave sins. He could quite easily be falsely accused of perversion for viewing the internet pages, when in reality he is merely looking for potential improvement, possibly due to his prayers.

    Or, even further – lets say a priest is a type of novice sociological or genealogical researcher; his “research” is mainly done merely to have the knowledge of who is related to who, and/or how people interact in the world today. The easiest methods of sociological and genealogical research is through viewing social media.

    Now, any priest genuinely concerned with the salvation of souls could be falsely accused and/or trapped quite easily; he could have his internet hacked and be surveilled, then any person could ask their son or daughter to appear to the priest to be involved in sinful behavior. The priest, then, could begin praying and fasting for the troubled adolescent, and the priest may, out of curiosity, regularly check social media pages of that person to check for improvements. That priest could then be falsely accused of perversion – if, say, the troubled person publishes raunchy photos on their Instagram page.

    Faithful priests particularly should be aware of such tactics that can be used to entrap them and make them appear to be perverse, when in reality they are not.

  12. Fr. Reader says:

    @Lurker 59
    “In terms of “faster than usual internet”, that can be problematic, especially outside of the US.”??

    Worldwide broadband speed league 2018
    Per and M-Lab (2017/18)
    Avg. connection speed (Mb/s)
    1 Singapore 60.39
    2 Sweden 46.00
    3 Denmark 43.99
    4 Norway 40.12
    5 Romania 38.60
    6 Belgium 36.71
    7 Netherlands 35.95
    8 Luxembourg 35.14
    9 Hungary 34.01
    10 Jersey 30.90
    11 Switzerland 29.92
    12 Japan 28.94
    13 Latvia 28.63
    14 Republic of China 28.09
    15 Estonia 27.91
    16 Spain 27.19
    17 Lithuania 27.17
    18 Andorra† 27.14
    19 Hong Kong 26.45
    20 United States 25.86
    21 Slovakia 25.30
    22 Madagascar 24.87
    23 France 24.23
    24 Finland 24.00
    25 Germany 24.00
    26 New Zealand 23.77
    27 Czech Republic 23.71
    28 Slovenia 21.41
    29 Portugal 21.28
    30 South Korea 20.63
    31 Bulgaria 20.20
    32 Poland 19.73
    33 Canada 19.48

  13. Fr. Reader says:

    Not that I understand much about Internet speed.

  14. JustaSinner says:

    Now THAT’S easy to do Father. Everything would fit in a largish suitcase and can be mobile; the camera and stdio on a box. Lights too! Small make up kit, viola, studio on the run. The receiving site would need a big screen, broadband internet access, and a computer with microphone and camera—for the Q&A sessions. Heck, you could make a pelican case with all that equipment and send it with instructional viseo to the receiving site as needed.
    Need a cool name for the foundation—-something catchy and Latin-y Father? Need some fund raising—-I know of someone with a huge following—and entre to the guest speakers. Less than $25k to start. Ongoing fund raising to make shipping gratis for all parties. Cuvilian run—-lay-persons?—-so Holy See minus can’t thrawt effort. I guess they COULD ex-communicate, but San Fran Nan Pelosi ISN’T and she spews heresy against the faith! They COULD ban the Clergy from speaking out period. Now THAT would be interesting to see…

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