…Archbishop Celli contended that Catholic media should be at the service of the culture. He explained that media should know how to enter “in this search that man embarks upon every day […] as instruments of this ‘diaconia’ of the culture […] instruments that teach what it means to dialogue, to be men who respect others’ positions, who know how to welcome, who know how to understand.” “I emphasize it again,” Archbishop Celli stated, “We are not seeking a religious fundamentalism, because sometimes this is the risk. And the Church itself is not that; it is not a ‘tower of marble’” that proudly stands “in its possession of the truth”, but rather a Church that knows how to welcome, understand, dialogue, respect.”…(Source)

So Archbishop Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and no doubt a really good friend of Fr. Rosica, thinks that there is a “risk” of sounding a little too triumphalistic in our “fundamentalism”.  It sure sounds like he’s right in line with his friend in the wabbly fromage camp and against the “rigidity” of the Catholic blogosphere:  

“We have a right and a duty… to take objection with these young people (including young professors), who, through their theology courses and rigid beliefs, wish to move the Ecumenical movement back to a time it knew no possibilities for growth”… The next step is to work on “twinning” churches, where churches begin to do some real sharing and experimenting with liturgies.”

It’s all part of the “welcoming and understanding, sweaty-palm, back-slapping, good times” church. 

Oooops(That’s what the bean counters in the corporate accounting world used to call a “CLM” when I was a young whipper-snapper.  CLM = “career limiting move”.)

Tower of marble and possessing the truth

What’s wrong with that?  Why can’t it be both welcoming and triumphalistic? In fact, it is both.  It’s not either/or.  That’s a protestant invention, not worthy of Catholic sensibilities.  Open your minds and your hearts, dear fathers!  The reality is that the early Christians were not shy about welcoming people into the Faith, but they were not skimpy on being “triumphalistic” about Jesus or the Church, either.  In fact, St. Paul had other ideas about “pillars and truth”:

But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. – 1 Tim 3:15

Now, I don’t want to make too big a deal over Archbishop Celli’s comments which are, let’s face it, a dig against us triumphalists.  After all, he “emphasizes” how we should  learn how to “welcome” and “understand”.  All is cloaked in soft and gentle words.  Who can be against welcoming and understanding and stroking and swooning?  It’s like being against “human rights” or “social justice”.  Who could possibly be against that? /end sarcasm

What should have happened at this blogger conference is someone should have taken on Archbishop Celli and probed him a bit to find out exactly what he meant by his words in that article.  But instead, we find some of these bloggers forgetting one of the reasons for their existence is to decline the Professional Catholic-grade Koolaid which is served to them and instead boldly ask for the real wine

There’s nothing really worse in this gig than institutional, Katholic Koolaid bloggers who have traded in their discernment for a seat at the velvet table.  As soon as the Catholic blogosphere gives the Vatican bureaucracy and CanChurch a pass and effectively joins the rest of the Catholic lapdog press, that’s the moment we cease to be who we are and what we are for.  We will have lost our relevance.  Our independence, orthodoxy, and ability to call out the corruption is THE CENTRAL CORE FEATURE which makes us so needed and dangerous

Once the Professional Catholics put a condom on bloggers, our blogging intercourse is no longer dangerous.  It becomes safe and sterile.  And when it becomes safe and sterile, blogdom is dead….just like those who practiced “safe sex” are dead.

13 Responses to “Drinking Fine Wine Instead of the KoolAid: Catholic Bloggers Need To Stay Relevant And Independent”
  1. Dorothy Cummings McLean says:

    John, the Zenit article and the Palmo blogpost are from 2008. That’s like a thousand in blog years.

    The person who got more attention than anyone else at the Vatican blognic, and the other Roman blognic, was firebrand Hilary White of LifeSiteNews. She was interviewed by Vatican Radio and CNS, and she did ask the hard question at the Vatican blognic, leading Vatican officials to fall all over themselves swearing up and down that they didn’t want to censor or regulate the bloggers.

    Hilary White doesn’t swallow Kool-aid. It’s an open question whether or not she’ll even swallow her cancer medication. Nobody tells Hilary what to do, say or swallow.

    I recommend reading the accounts of people who were at the Vatican blognic and the Other Roman blognic. Hilary reported the Vatican one at LifeSiteNews. My article about the Other one will appear this week in the CR. Meanwhile, there’s no point freaking out because no-one thought to ask about comments Celli made three years ago. And nobody gave up anything to sit in the Via della Conciliazione for the blognic, except their own cold hard cash for the travel expenses. And all the Vatican gave them in return was four hours of respectful attention, bandwith and prosecco.

    It was a good thing.

  2. Pacheco says:

    I’m sure it had positve aspects to it.

    But, really, Catholic bloggers should be doing a little bit of fact-checking before accepting invitations from Church officials whose comments and associations are just a wee bit problematic.

    Besides, it’s always good to keep bloggers on their feet. Institutionalism is the kiss of death. Think of this post as a community announcement.

  3. Dorothy Cummings McLean says:

    Listen, the guy in charge of the Vatican blognic was a perfectly decent father-of-children layman from the Pontifical Council for Culture. (“You can read more about him this week in the Catholic Register. Order your copy today!”) He had to involve the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, of course, but the guy at the helm of the blognic was certainly not Cardinal Celli.

    And you can’t seriously tell me that any blogger who got picked was going to say, “No, thanks, Vatican. I don’t want to talk to you about what blogging means to me because Cardinal Celli might be there.” Come on. That’s like turning down tea with the Queen because you don’t like Prince Philip’s jokes. In fact, it’s worse, because the Queen couldn’t care less what blogging means to the world, and the Vatican does, in fact, care what blogging means. This was a great chance to tell them. Incidentally, there were some big time serious journalists hanging around, and at least one of them was amazed at how nice the bloggers–and Voris– were in person. PR win for the Vatican, and PR win for the bloggers.

    Sorry to nag at you, John old son, since you are holding the D&Ps toes to the flames, for which I thank you, but the beauty of the internet is that it is self-correcting, and that Catholic bloggers hold other bloggers to account, or so I said at Hilary’s blogger shindig. What you call “CanChurch” had squat to do with the Roman blogger events last week.

  4. Pacheco says:

    Dorothy, I would prefer you hold your thanks for me over D&P and instead report the ugly truth in your articles. Why do the editors at the Catholic Register not serve the real wine? What are they afraid of? This is part of the problem in the Catholic lapdog press. It’s too chicken to mix it up. No wonder the Pope is calling for prayers for the media!

    And as for the Blog conference, perhaps it’s just my own little paranoia, but anything that Rosica and his friend Cardinal Celli have any influence over should be treated with thick gloves.

    No one gets a pass in the blogosphere, Dorothy. Not even bloggers…even if they don’t know something they should be educated about.

    Better that we bloggers start to rattle the cages at the Vatican and in every Church bureaucracy, than to go along to get along.

    Don’t you find it very odd that Elizabeth Scalia starts talking about “charity” at this conference? What fer? Who was suggesting that topic to her? Do you really believe she just felt inspired to talk about this particular topic? What a coincidence that it was a theme repeated by the Vatican ostpolitik! This was the same woman who implied some wild innuendo about Fr. Corapi’s coloured beard, if memory serves me correctly.

    Please. Something smells rotten…even if it’s not coming from all of the bloggers.

  5. Ok John, let’s start with some fact-checking:

    Claudio Maria Celli is an archbishop, not a cardinal.

    I note also that you have said that Archbishop Celli is “no doubt” a good friend of Fr. Thomas Rosica. This is what we in the biz like to call “pure unadulterated speculation” and it doesn’t look good in print. Maybe he is, maybe he ain’t, but when you write it like this, it looks like nothing more than scandal mongering, possibly leaning towards paranoia.

    It is also a logical fallacy that can be described as “guilt by assoication”. If the man is a friend of Fr. Rosica, does that make him a villain? Does it make him an enemy of the Faith? Some of my closest and oldest friends are atheists. Am I an atheist? One of my oldest and dearest friends is an alcoholic. Am I an alcoholic? I’m willing to believe that Archbishop Celli is not a sock-puppet, but a man with independent opinions, not to mention considerable seniority over Fr. Rosica. He probably agrees with some of Fr. Rosica’s opinions. But hell, I probably agree with some of Fr. Rosica’s opinions.

    Even Fr. Rosica is probably right about at least five things excluding the time on his watch.

    In your post above, you include a long quote, the bit in blue that starts “We have a right and duty…” but I can’t figure out who that is a quote from. Your link leads only to another post on your own blog where the same quote does not appear. Is that quote above from Archbishop Celli? If it is, can we please have the original source?

    John, I’m on the verge of begging you to stop helping on this issue. I’ve read a few of your posts and a number of them have made me cringe.

    You don’t like the softy-toffee language the Vatican uses. Fine. You don’t like some of the people in there. Fine again. But to impute wicked motives to everyone all the time just on principle is foolish, and frankly, the conspiracy-nut talk is starting to make it sound as though you have been sipping a little coolaid of your own.

    I didn’t go to the Vatican blogger conference looking for a fight. I went there to hear what they had to say. I like to call this “being fair-minded”. It’s an English thing.

    There was some healthy scepticism in the room. There were quite a few people there who thanked me for getting to the microphone and saying bluntly, “We are not interested in seeking vatican or diocesan approval for what we think and what we write”. There were also a few annoying neo-cons who preached at us about ‘charity’ like a pack of Mary Poppinbots (no names…no names nnnnggg) but there was good will on both sides. You can’t fake that kind of thing.

    If it is possible, please John, try to assume at least a tiny wedge of good will on the inside.

    SOME of them probably want to shut us up. SOME of them probably want to put us in their machine and turn us into the perfect little Catholic Stepford bloggers. But it’s important not to fall into the same trap that the neo-cons fall into. They have a habit of thinking that everyone Inside is the Good Guys, and that nothing that comes from Rome must be examined with a grain of salt. But for our part, we have a similar fault of assuming that everyone in there is a wicked crypto-commie bent on destroying the Faith and we are often stubbornly determined to refuse to take that with a grain of sugar.

    In short, can you please cool it.

    Just chill.

  6. Dorothy Cummings McLean says:

    Jeepers, the CR was all over D&P just a few weeks ago, and right during the ShareLent campaign. Father de Souza thundered, the actual editorial rumbled. What more do you want? Wait, don’t answer that. I know what you want, but it’s not the CR’s job to do 24/7 coverage of pro-life news. That’s the Interim’s job–oh yeah, and LifeSite’s. If people want to read about D&P, they know to go to LifeSite. But some people want to read other stuff, and the CR knows and respects that.

    If you want to see more about D&P in the CR, write in all up into a 1000 word document and send it off to the editor, with a short-but-clear cover email. Jim’s call.

    From what I hear, the assembled bloggers at the Vatican blognic rolled their eyes when they were lectured at by Scalia and gently snored through Palmo’s presentation. The phrase “establishment blogger” has been born, with everything that goes with that. I hope the woman’s making a decent paycheque because she lost major points with the Catholic blogosphere with the “charity” talk. In her situation (the next day), I pointed out that the really crazy stuff is in the comboxes, and it’s up to bloggers to keep their comboxes clean. That said, Scalia was free to say anything she wanted, and everyone else was free to accept, reject, make fun of her later, drink more prosecco, etc., etc.

    What else can I tell you? Oh, yeah. Father Rosica. I don’t know why you persist in thinking Father Rosica is any kind of player in Rome. One loveable thing about European Catholics is that they almost never know who American priests are, even the big name priest-theologians like John Courtney Murray. Aucune clue, like my Montreal-based brother likes to say. You should ask German theology students about this. Hil-AIR-ious!

    Being Canadians (Ontario Canadians) you and I feel like the guy is a Big Name (and he is a Big Name for Catholic Toronto), but that might mean squat to Rome. Yeah, he probably made a good impression on a Vaticanista or two during World Youth Day, and deservedly so, but that was years ago.

    Just because he’s a “consultant” doesn’t make him +Celli’s bestest buddy or any kind of buddy whatsoever. Do major players in the Curia even have buddies? Maybe they are driven back to their villages under cover of darkness and wake up their boyhood friend Karl or Pino (now a retired auto mechanic) and talk about the old days over a stein of beer or jug of wine, but that’s as far as imagination takes me. Incidentally, what DO you have to do to be made a monsignor in Toronto?

    Anyhoo, you can’t draw a line from what you call CanChurch to the Vatican blognic. As far as I know the only Canadian actually at it was Hilary Baby, and the guy who came up with the idea in the first place is as English as buttered toast and tea.

  7. Dorothy Cummings McLean says:

    Oh, hi there, Hilary. Posts crossed in the ether.

  8. Pacheco says:

    Ok John, let’s start with some fact-checking:

    Claudio Maria Celli is an archbishop, not a cardinal.

    Thanks for the correction. I’ll change my posts. I thought I saw somewhere that he was a Cardinal.

    I note also that you have said that Archbishop Celli is “no doubt” a good friend of Fr. Thomas Rosica. This is what we in the biz like to call “pure unadulterated speculation” and it doesn’t look good in print. Maybe he is, maybe he ain’t, but when you write it like this, it looks like nothing more than scandal mongering, possibly leaning towards paranoia.

    Paranoia? Hardly. They talk the same way and with the same talking points. That’s what counts. People can draw their own conclusions from his own words and how they align with Fr. Rosica’s. Do you deny it? If so, why?

    It is also a logical fallacy that can be described as “guilt by assoication”. If the man is a friend of Fr. Rosica, does that make him a villain? Does it make him an enemy of the Faith? Some of my closest and oldest friends are atheists. Am I an atheist? One of my oldest and dearest friends is an alcoholic. Am I an alcoholic? I’m willing to believe that Archbishop Celli is not a sock-puppet, but a man with independent opinions, not to mention considerable seniority over Fr. Rosica. He probably agrees with some of Fr. Rosica’s opinions. But hell, I probably agree with some of Fr. Rosica’s opinions.

    Uh…Hilary. This is not simply “guilt by association”. Not every member of this Council is “guilty”. I never said that they were or he was. Please don’t put words in my mouth. BUT, there is enough on this Archbishop for BLOGGERS to keep their antennas up. If you don’t think so, that’s fine. I have a different opinion. “Instruments of cultural and religious fundamentalism” in “our media”, Hilary? Just who do you think he is referring to in that? Muslim and Protestant bloggers, perhaps? Context is everything.

    Even Fr. Rosica is probably right about at least five things excluding the time on his watch.

    It’s the things we don’t agree on, Hilary, that are the problem. Otherwise, why should anyone report on Fr. Rosica’s rants at all? After all, you might agree with him on 99% of the things he says. Why not just ignore those pesky (important) things that you don’t agree with him on? That’s not true unity or charity, Hilary.

    In your post above, you include a long quote, the bit in blue that starts “We have a right and duty…” but I can’t figure out who that is a quote from. Your link leads only to another post on your own blog where the same quote does not appear. Is that quote above from Archbishop Celli? If it is, can we please have the original source?

    It’s from the Windsor Star from 1986. Click on the link again and read the whole thing.

    John, I’m on the verge of begging you to stop helping on this issue. I’ve read a few of your posts and a number of them have made me cringe.

    Hilary, that’s not a very smart thing for a blogger to say. If I were to stop blogging every time someone cringed, I’d be out of business…and so would 99% of bloggers. The 1% remaining would be the institutional bloggers, droning on about dumbed-down “charity”.

    You don’t like the softy-toffee language the Vatican uses. Fine. You don’t like some of the people in there. Fine again. But to impute wicked motives to everyone all the time just on principle is foolish, and frankly, the conspiracy-nut talk is starting to make it sound as though you have been sipping a little coolaid of your own.

    I said “some bloggers”, Hilary. And I didn’t say, “wicked”. Nor did I imply it. I just asked people not to drink the KoolAid. That’s far from “wickedness”.

    I didn’t go to the Vatican blogger conference looking for a fight.

    That’s part of the problem. :)

    I went there to hear what they had to say. I like to call this “being fair-minded”. It’s an English thing. There was some healthy scepticism in the room. There were quite a few people there who thanked me for getting to the microphone and saying bluntly, “We are not interested in seeking vatican or diocesan approval for what we think and what we write”. There were also a few annoying neo-cons who preached at us about ‘charity’ like a pack of Mary Poppinbots (no names…no names nnnnggg) but there was good will on both sides. You can’t fake that kind of thing.

    Well, I’m glad to hear that. Why wasn’t that in your report? :)

    If it is possible, please John, try to assume at least a tiny wedge of good will on the inside. SOME of them probably want to shut us up. SOME of them probably want to put us in their machine and turn us into the perfect little Catholic Stepford bloggers. But it’s important not to fall into the same trap that the neo-cons fall into. They have a habit of thinking that everyone Inside is the Good Guys, and that nothing that comes from Rome must be examined with a grain of salt. But for our part, we have a similar fault of assuming that everyone in there is a wicked crypto-commie bent on destroying the Faith and we are often stubbornly determined to refuse to take that with a grain of sugar.

    Not everyone is crypto-commie. But not everyone is an angel, either. It’s necessary to keep the heat on…and keep all bloggers on their toes. Remember, Hilary, the president of the Council who hosted the Blogger conference has said that “Our media should not become, allow me to say it this way, instruments of a religious or cultural fundamentalism.” Like I said, not sure how you read that, Hilary, but for me, I think I know what he is trying to say.

    The opposite side of conspiracy nuts are the KoolAid drinkers. And given what has transpired in the Church over the past number of years on a number of fronts, it’s pretty clear that we need less KoolAid drinkers and more conspiracy nuts.

  9. Pacheco says:

    Dorothy,

    #1 “CanChurch” is not necessarily “Canadian”. Check the definition that I hyper link to.

    #2 Re: “Jeepers, the CR was all over D&P just a few weeks ago, and right during the ShareLent campaign. Father de Souza thundered, the actual editorial rumbled. What more do you want?”

    They can stop printing Michael Swan’s propaganda.

    They can print LSN’s articles from time to time on this subject (and likely for free).

    They can stop referring to the “allegations” and stop giving Casey a free ride when he makes bald-faced false statements which THEY KNOW ARE FALSE.

  10. Sorry, forgot. There’s no talking to you. And I just don’t have the patience or the interest to go through all this point for point.

    Celli=Rosica? Deny it? No. I merely shrug. A lot of people in the Church hold these opinions. So what? You’re looking for villains, and I’m sure you’ll find them.

    I’m looking for allies. And I’m finding them too.

    But seriously, are you actually telling *Hilary White* that she’s not combative enough? Are you SURE there’s no coolaid in your cupboard?

  11. “Why wasn’t that in your report?”

    John,

    Because. It. Wasn’t. Important.

    Shee…

  12. Pacheco says:

    Hilary,

    I’m not looking for villains. I’m just the KoolAid Drainer.

    ___________

    It was important to *me*. It would be nice to have those kind of details — otherwise, all we hear about is “charity talk” and “aggresive tones”.

  13. Pacheco says:

    Thanks for dropping by, though. Hope you are feeling better with your treatment. God Bless You.

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