Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Archbishop of Dublin Criticizes Catholic Blogs

In a recent address, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin made some withering remarks about Catholic blogs.

He said: "There is a growing tendency to “tabloidism” in sectors of the Catholic press and there is a growing and worrying phenomenon of blogs, which are not just partial and sectarian but at times very far away from the charity with which the truth should be expressed."

His Excellency didn't seem to differentiate between bad blogs and good blogs.

He also said this about the Church's use of social media:

There is a temptation for us to think that we are using modern media and social communication and not notice that have failed to understand what is involved. It is not just a question of having a website and posting You-tube presentations. All you have to do is look at the number of hits some of these presentations have to see that they are actually not fostering dialogue. For many who are seeking deep answers, there are times when all we offer is a trivial and bickering inward looking Church which do not really reach out to the needs and challenges of living the faith in our society.

Reading this on the same day as the Holy Father's interview with America magazine, which seems full of bombshells to me, leaves me in something of a whirl.

I doubt Archbishop Martin will ever come across this blog, but if he does, I hope he would take into account posts like these before he condemns Catholic blogs as not attempting to "reach out to the needs and challenges of living the faith in our society":

Bad or good, I was at least trying to do exactly what the Archbishop described.

If I seem to be reacting defensively to the Archbishop, that is not my intention. I do think that a Catholic owes his Bishop, still more his Archbishop, all due deference and his words have left me very thoughtful. I have been to two Masses celebrated by Archbishop Martin, and on both occasions I was struck by his air of earnestness. The first time, at Midnight Mass in the Pro-Cathedral, he stood at the doors outside shaking the hand of everybody who left, which seemed to me like a very beautiful and humble gesture. So I cannot help but pay attention to what he says.


  1. I hate when the clergy are so vague. If you aren't going to make your stance properly then you really shouldn't bother at all because you're just going to annoy people. I'm not going to comment on this point because I'm not entirely sure what the Archbishop's point is.

    He does make some decent points about how people in the Church should be open to dialogue with others, but there is also a time for calling a fool a fool, and he does take it a bit far by trying to paint at least some parts of the Church as "narcissistic". Vague language again, so who exactly is being the narcissist? Devout catholics?

  2. I agree that he comes across as vague sometimes. I also think he is often rather naive, not realising that the subtle points he is often trying to make are going to be distorted by the media megaphone.

  3. I definitely wouldn't argue the Archbishop as one of the bad members of the clergy though. I can't remember exactly what he said or when, but I remember hearing the Archbishop talking about different things before and thinking he's not bad (or as bad) as some people make him out to be. I suppose given his position and knowing the media's stance to all things Catholic, he just wants to be careful about coming across as too aggressive. Who knows.