Saturday, December 29, 2007

On "silencing" commentators

Fr Zulsdorf has made a few comments on the previous post:

First, I think that over time market forces will take care of most of the stupid or wicked Catholic commentary. I believe in sort of a reverse Gresham’s Law when it comes to information on the internet: good information will eventually drive bad information out of circulation. A correlation of this law is that "people are smart". This last point is the one most frequently violated by liberals, who are far more likely to desire that only one side of an issue have a free voice.

Second, prelates may have a role in "silencing" some Catholic commentators. However, that would pertain when the commentators were falling into error about issues of faith and morals or creating confusion about the Church’s proper discipline, etc. For example, I think that it would not be out of the question for the Catholic hierarchy to exercise their office of oversight in regard some dimensions of the National Catholic Reporter. I believe something was done in relation to the former editor of America. It is difficult to balance all the elements in this. However, I think I must come down on the side of freedom to comment and then depend on those "market forces" to sort things out.I have as working paradigms in this issue the interesting exchanges between, for example, Umberto Eco and Card. Martini, or the press exchange years ago between Cardinals Ratzinger and Kasper. I also am taking into consideration the way Pope Benedict opened himself to commentary and criticism in the preface of his book Jesus of Nazareth.


Jeffrey Smith said...

Rather overlooks the responsibility of individual bloggers to keep things under control. Whatever "market forces" may be, they certainly don't police the internet.

Anonymous said...

Only if we can silence you, Ray. It cuts both ways. Just because you wear the robe doesn't mean that your kowtow to the "magisterium" - which is really nothing more than swallowing propaganda without chewing thoughtfully - isn't full of crap.

Silence America, go ahead, its readership will rise up and say "fuck you" to the vatican for its overreach. The leader that does not have respect for the minds of his followers deserves nothing short of such a rebuke. It would be a tribute to the grace of God.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Ray,

You doubtless saw the Evening Standard article about Damian Thompson and the Cardinal on January 7th ("A Modern Inquisition") which mentioned you.

The most intriguing remark was the assertion that Pope Benedict reads Fr. Z's blog -- I wonder where the reporter got that from?

"The claims about Murphy-O'Connor's 'fatwa' (if we can mix religious terms) against Thompson has been spread by 'Fr Z', the most famous blogger in the conservative Catholic world. The Pope is said to be one of his most avid readers."

Wouldn't that be a fine thing!

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