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I crossed the Tiber before there was an Ordinariate, but I follow its progress with interest and prayer; in many ways, for Anglicans, it is the best way back into the Church. As a sympathiser, and a member of a blog, it was with some interest that I read that Archbishop Mueller had issued:

a word of warning about the potential problems caused by the “new media”, particularly through blogs. He said that some of the ordinariate clergy and faithful wrote blogs, which, while being a helpful tool of evangelisation, could also “express un-reflected speech lacking in charity”. The image of the ordinariate was not helped by this, he said, and it fell to the ordinaries to exercise vigilance over these blogs and, where necessary, to intervene.

It would take a degree of naiveté which I lack not to see this as one of the reasons for the outbreak of the declaration of a conflict free zone on Fr Hunwicke’s blog and Dcn Nick Donnelly’s enforced period of ‘reflection and prayer’; the hierarchy have clearly had enough of the tone which has crept into some traditionalist blogs. What surprises me here is that whatever anyone could say about them, both the bloggers mentioned are models of how to conduct a critical discourse, and by picking on them, the impression is being created that the hierarchy is not interested in creative and constructive criticism, but is willing to yield sioxantehuitard wet-dream of a Catholic Church which resembles the Church of England. What a good job AATW is not amenable to such requests, as our friend quiavideruntoculi has gone much further than either of those gentlemen, and his tone is, shall we say, less respectful (for the sake of the humourless, that is English understatement).

Were someone to do a word-association test with me and say ‘pigeons’ I should in all probability say ‘cats’; I have very seldom encountered an orthodox position on anything which I have not been tempted to counter; I like to work my way through to my own views. On the view that I should certainly be an early target of any censorship, I have always been an advocate of free speech; by which I do not mean the mealy-mouthed version we are now allowed by political correctness. So, I am one of the last people who would welcome others being told to cool it; yet in this case I do.

I do because it seems to me that the Cardinal is correct. We may well disagree with our fellow Christians, but saying they are not proper Catholics, or even implying it, does lack charity. I am tired, frankly, of the excuse that this is ‘tough love’; it isn’t, it is a form of superiority complex in which one Christian tells another that they are thankful they are not a poor sinner like they are; just what Jesus wanted us not to do.

The Church has a Magisterium, a teaching authority, and there is precious little point in deciding that it is deficient and that one is, oneself, far more competent than it is; little point, that is, if one wishes to give witness to the hope that is in us. That hopes does not lie in contrasting one’s own construct of what Catholicism is with what the Magisterium permits. No doubt it is intensely irritating to some tempers to see x or y ‘allowed’; but it would be better for such tempers to restrain themselves and try to understand why that might be – rather than jumping to the conclusion that the Magisterium’s understanding of these matters is in some way deficient; or, worse, that there is no Magisterium and no Pope.

No one is forced to be a Catholic or a member of the Church.. I am sure that there are liturgical shortcomings which cause some people real grief; whenever I listen to the Gospel read in Church, I long for the glory of the Authorised Version ‘ get thee behind me Satan’ is not only more evocative that ‘Be off Satan’, it gets the message across in a better fashion – ‘be off’ sounds, frankly, silly – who actually talks like that? But, if that’s what we use in Church, it is what we use.

I saw where this sort of sniping at each other got the Church of England, and I see no reason why it won’t get the Catholic Church to the same place. If we cannot refrain from that sort of thing, then we might consider giving it up for Lent. But, one las thought – this should not be unilateral.