Meet the Bloggers

 '...Pope Francis understands this in practical terms. He has already identified two kinds of behaviour that destroy love in the Church. They are complaining and gossiping. He is a practical man. He knows that we live in a society in which complaining and gossip is a standard fare. They sell newspapers and attract us to blogs because we love hear complaints and to read gossip. But Pope Francis is clear: they should have no place in the Church. He reminded us that the disciples, on the road to Emmaus were sad and complaining. He added: 'and the more they complained, the more they were closed in on themselves. They did not have a horizon before them, only a wall.' Complaining and griping about others, about things in one's own life, is harmful, he said 'because it dashes hope. Don't get into this game of a life of complaints.' Then, in another memorable phrase, he added that some ‘stew their lives in the juice of their own complaining.'


These are words from a recent homily delivered by His Grace the Archbishop of Westminster at a Mass for Pope Francis. Does Archbishop Vincent Nichols read blogs, I wonder? Or does His Grace hear what people write concerning the Church in England and Wales from second hand sources? I hope that His Grace doesn't just respond to second-hand information concerning what other people have read on blogs since such second hand information can be misunderstood and there is a potential for an element of gossip about what people have written. I'm sure that His Grace cannot be referring to many blogs that I read, nor such a peripheral one as my own since I don't really see much in terms of gossip on Catholic blogs, other than perhaps more 'mainstream' ones soon to go up on a paywall.

I never really understand why the Catholic Church in England and Wales do not employ the vast energy that Catholic bloggers spend, unpaid, in evangelising through the internet. True, many blogs are Church-referential. We do need to be more 'outward-looking'. There is a problem, perhaps, with what Pope Francis has talked about concerning the Church being too 'inward' looking, almost self-obsessed with Church interior affairs.

However, there are problems within the Church in England and Wales, at a national level and certainly it would be dreadfully sad if issues raised by Catholic bloggers concerning real, fundamental concerns of real lay persons, real priests, real Catholics were to be left unaddressed. Perhaps there are times in which the internet age fosters the tendency within bloggers to fail to think of leading hierachy figures as real people, rather than 'figures'. I think that, equally, there also may be a problem with leading hierachy figures failing to considers 'bloggers' as real people with real concerns - rather than just as 'bloggers'. Perhaps His Grace could organise a 'meet the bloggers' day - a kind of blognic - in which the deep concerns of bloggers can be put to His Grace in person. It would be nice for His Grace, who must hear some things about what people write on blogs, to be able to put a face to a name and to hear in person the concerns of lay faithful, especially, concerning such issues as heterodoxy among leading public figures in Catholic institutions, for example. After all, His Grace is hardly the enemy of bloggers, neither are bloggers the enemies of the Archbishop. How strange and awful it would be if that were the case!

I don't know. One shouldn't take these things personally and I really doubt very much that His Grace is talking about a blog as peripheral as my own. Perhaps, he is just referring to The Tablet blog, who have recently been gossiping about 'signs' that the Church is 'rethinking' gay relationships in relation to Church teaching and Pray Tell.

Yes, that must be what His Grace is referring to! In the meantime, I'm putting up a paywall on my blog. Within a year I have worked out, in a budget forecast, that I could make anything between £1.44 and £21.50.

Comments

Lynda said…
I think we can take it that Archbishop Nichols' main gripe is with orthodox bloggers who've called him out on his dissension from Church teaching.
Tim said…
Worth every penny.
Vincent said…
I may just be a little willing to think the best of people, but he seems to have been a little more Catholic recently...

Maybe BXVI holding back his little red hat has unnerved him a little...