All means of communication are forbidden!
This seems to be what Archbishop Nichols is suggesting in a recent sermon in a Mass for Pope Francis.
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 gossipping. 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.One of my parishioners used to work in a shady business were above the counter on the staff side hung a notice, which said, "The customer is always wrong!", actually it was a branch of Social Security, the Church can adopt this sort of triumphalism so easily.
His Grace, as Deacon Nick, points out is very seriously misinterpreting the Holy Father, bloggers who are hopefully within the Church are right to be a little concerned about His Grace's words following his condemnation of those who criticised his support of the Warwick Street dissident Masses with the sharp rebuke "they should hold their tongues".
Gossip is diabolic, especially when it is tinged with calumny, as Pope Francis has also pointed out. However there has been, especially over the last 40 years, a rather deliberate effort to silence any legitimate criticism of the Church whilst as Pope Benedict said "dissent" is mistaken "for a mature contribution to a balanced and wide-ranging debate". There is a certain bias in supporting those who we agree with and condemning those we disagree with.
The Church, or its leadership, should never regard itself as above criticism. We are no longer living in the age of the Inquisition, nor are we living in that time when the heirarchy could cover-up the clergy's criminal activity.Cardinal Sodano dismissed the media's reaction to sexual abuse scandals within the Church as "petty gossip". There is gossip and there is gossip, some gossip is actually necessary and a sign of health.
Fr Henry makes the comment, "some lowly Catholics further down the hierarchical system find that their "complaints" (i.e. concerns, anguishes, agonies and fears) often go unheard and unheeded - the use of the modern means of communication - including blogs - gives many a voice who are otherwise ignored. It democratises the Church in a good way but, of course, it means that those at the top are more readily held to account."
Today Pope Francis spoke about the Holy Spirit driving the Church forward and the danger of those who want to drag the Church backwards, "We don’t want to change and what’s more there are those who wish to turn the clock back.” "This is called stubbornness and wanting to tame the Holy Spirit.” The great achievement of the Second Vatican Council was to open up the Church and to recognise the legitimate pluralism within it. To go back to a time when people like Archbishop Nichols could command tongues to be held whilst at the same time permitting the Tablet to be sold at the back of his Cathedral and dissidents to lecture in his diocese is indeed a turning back of the clocks and quite contrary to everything we have seen of Pope Francis so far.