Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Cath News watch - fighting the new Missal again!

So OK Cath News reports on what is said about Catholics, and that sometimes means reporting things critical of the Church.  I get that, even though I think they could often frame things better and provide more context.

But there is a big difference between highlighting what is being said in the catholic and other media, and publishing think pieces on this quasi-official site that actually attack new pastoral initiatives mandated by Rome, viz the new missal.

And yet that is what Cath News once again does today, on good old Cath blog (yes, Michael Mullins, editor of said blog strikes again).

Debate: there is a time and place

Now the missal is not doctrine, it is a pastoral measure, so I'm not saying no debate on it is ever possible.

However, there is a time and place to debate these things.

And there is also the old maxim: Rome has spoken, the case is closed!

The time for debate was before the final decisions were made.  And maybe again in a few years once there has been sufficient time to assess the effect and acceptance it has gained. 

But not now.

Right now we have a duty to accept the decision with good grace whether we like it or not, and get on with making it happen.

And even if it were still open for debate, the place is not official sites, but private blogs and such like places. 

Because when it comes to the missal, shouldn't a site associated however loosely with our Bishops' Conference actually be helping to promote the implementation of the new missal rather than leading the rebellion?

The editor of Cath Blog has to go....

There has been a pretty consistent pattern on Cath blog, of pieces that promote dissent and disobedience.  That distort mainstream positions (not to mention misrepresenting my work!).  And very few indeed from the opposite, conservative perspective.

Time for a change of personnel, or even to just dump the feature altogether.


Depressed Catholic Observer said...

It is truly amazing the apparent hold that the Jesuits, and Fr. Michael Kelly SJ in particular, along with their cabal of 'professional catholics', have over the Bishop's conference in this regard.
I have been told that some bishops are very unhappy about Cathnews, but Cathnews simply tries to flatter them in response - trying to buy them off with positive publicity about their dioceses.
It is depressing that this is the state of the Bishop's Conference. The main publicity organ of the Catholic Church in Australia controlled by a bunch of managerial types who are only interested in their own worldly-compromised agenda.
But I shouldn't be surprised, after all it appears that most bishops are beholden to the heads of their respective Catholic Education Offices.

Sigh, things have to get worse before they get better.

Just sack the Jesuits and their cabal and give it all to the editor of The Record. The West has, by far, the best Catholic paper in the country.

MJS Central west NSW said...

I have left 2 comments on Cathblog and they have not been posted as they are in a similiar vein to your comments about their reporting. I have e-mailed the editor to find out why my comments were not posted and have not recieved a reply. Is Christine Hogan related to the headmaster at St Ignatius in Sydney who made the attacks on Tony Abbott in a school newsletter and said the only balanced reporting you will get is from Cathnews and Eureka Street? If so a pattern seems to be emerging.

Kate said...

MS Central - as outrageous as silence and failure to allow your posts is, probably better that she kept quiet than engage in the kind of inappropriate responses I got to my requests to correct yesterday's cath blog article! Quite inappropriate behaviour indeed.

But yes you are right. Clearly either you agree with Cath News' liberal line, in which case you get published and treated politely - but if you don't...

Schütz said...

I've had a bit of a rant on my own blog, Kate. Quite uncharacteristic of me! :-)

Actually, there were some decent comments (as well as the usual silly ones) posted after the article. I think the most insightful was the one about the fact that we are celebrating the 400th anniversary of the King James Version of the Bible this year. Anti-Catholic and anti-Puritan at the same time, the language of this translation of the scriptures is still unsurpassed, and has given us such riches in our English language.

Last night I was lecturing on Anglicanism, and had my 1763 edition of the Book of Common Prayer. In it, it had tables for the calculation of Easter up till 2199! Amazing! They actually thought that their translation would last till then! Well, it lasted till 1963, when Anglicans the world over began messing with their prayer books and bringing in local versions in "modern" English (all down hill after that - although it has to be said, a lot of what they adopted was ICEL!!!).

Tony said...

I find it ironic that you promote the idea that 'Rome has spoken' and the time for debate is over -- even though there was no widespread debate encouraged before the decision was taken -- but expect the CathNews service to be open and democratic.

I have posted many comments on the CathNews site without success and without explanation as to why they weren't published. I simply don't bother any more.

It's the way they do business and it seems to me to be very much inspired by the 'Rome has spoken' attitude you are fond of.

Kate said...

Tony - I'm not advocating democracy when it comes to Cath News (or anything else for that matter), but rather accuracy, balance, fairness, professionalism, transparency and a bit of 'thinking with the Church'!

There is an important distinction between that and democracy in my view.

When it comes to Church decision-making on things like the Missal, I actually do think it would have been good to have some more explicit structured lay input into the process. But I don't mean democracy. I mean transparent consultation with informed people with some expertise in each country not necessarily with a view to providing input, but to eventually spreading understanding of the reasoning.

But my point is that once the decision is taken, however that is done - and I certainly don't think it is something to be voted on (in fact I thought there was rather too much voting in the process, with bishops' conferences around the world) - we have to accept it.

For those who were interested, the information was around and widely debated online. It was always open to people to lobby Australia's reps on the various committes associated with project, certainly AB Coleridge and Cardinal Pell both mentioned the missal project regularly in their assorted public commentaries.

I'd also highly recommend Archbishop Coleridge's piece on this subject in the current edition of the Catholic Voice on the Canberra-Goulburn website. He notes that the process wasn't perfect, but suggests angst about the missal is really code for deeper/other issues...

Tony said...

I can assure you, Kate, I'm no champion of CathNews but I'm also interested in 'accuracy, balance, fairness, professionalism and transparency'. I wish that such things were held to be valued throughout the church.

So when you imply that CathNews is so biased that it deserves a 'CathNews Watch' or that a blogger should 'go', in fairness I'm inclinded to wonder why.

As an exercise I had a look at a recent archive search here and I could see plenty of evidence of articles that fall into the the 'think with the church' category, for example, 'More men turning to priesthood' or 'Congregations can be helped with new translation' or 'Feature - Youcat, the youth catechism book for WYD'.

I think it's very fair that you should be able to defend the accuracy of your own words if they are misrepresented, but I don't see the 'pattern'.

We seem to have some common ground in thinking that recent changes could have been handled better and I have no doubt that there are 'deeper' issues, but I think there is a pattern here in the way the church does things and, again, I think CathNews, writ small, is part of that culture.

Fr Ronan Kilgannon said...

Dear Kate, there are more lay people in the Liturgy commission in the diocese where I live than clerics or religious. I have the impression this is true of other dioceses too. I do not think it is correct to say there was no lay consultation.

Kate said...

Tony - The articles you point to were not on Cath blog as far as I can see but Cath News more broadly.

I'm certainly not suggesting that everything on cath news (on even cath blog)is fillled with dissent!

Overall I think it is trying a bit harder (with greater and lesser degrees of success!) on its general news story selection. Cath blog however is a differnet story...

Kate said...

Father Kilgannon - Fair point!