|Fr. Michael Cummins: Bloggers would go to Hell if there were a Hell.|
Catholic means “universal.” I do not believe that there is space for narrow-casting in the Church. In fact, I wonder if it might even be a sin against the unity of the Church. Seife lays out the fruits of narrow-casting: lack of true information, radicalization and isolation.
So writes Fr. Michael Cummins in Fr. Robert Barron's Word on Fire blog.
You see, back when three networks held a monopoly on the news, they had to be fair and balanced (no, really fair and balanced) or they would lose credibility and audience.
How quickly we forget the bias and inanity of those Big Three days. Seriously, in this day and age, Fr. Cummins holds up Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw and Katie Couric as the model for news?
Nowadays, every Tom Dick and Bear with a computer and an internet connection can set themselves up as a purveyor of things Catholic. No doubt it is irksome for Catholic establishment outlets like there's-a-reasonable-hope-that-Hell-is-empty Word on Fire has to compete with faithful amateurs who refuse to dumb down the faith.
Fr. Cummins' piece is a perfect example of why we have alternative sources of news and commentary.
Call me crazy but I have a hunch that Pope Francis knows what he is doing and that the Holy Spirit is in the midst of the Church. Maybe our United States “American” (I say this because this is the only cultural context I can speak to) tendency to interpret an event (i.e. the Synod on the Family) only by catering to a particular viewpoint is more of a reflection of a deficiency in our culture than a reflection of what actually transpired in Rome? Maybe we have become more conditioned by narrow-casting than we realize?
Call the Bear crazy, but maybe the truth isn't somewhere in the middle, or found in the official story, or in vague pious hopes, or beyond us as Americans.
How about the truth is just the truth, wherever it resides? And, also importantly, maybe error is error no matter where it issues from?
No doubt the Catholic independent media does tend to target two different audiences.
There are liberals and moderates who, either boldly or slyly, serve up a sort of Catholicism Lite. If there were only an establishment Church media, it would not achieve truth and balance any more than did the Big Three networks of yore. It would be bland and culturally accommodating. It would be full of reports on global warming, gun banning, and big, wonderful ecumenical meetings. Perhaps there could be Kasper's Korner, where each week a new permutation of couplings could be justified as holy matrimony. There could be Bravo! a show where Cardinal Dolan demonstrates how to value homosexuality.
Americans believe competition is a good thing. We have thought the best remedy for bad speech -- if that is what Fr. Cummins thinks this blog is -- is more speech, not censorship. Frankly, the Bear thinks the Holy Spirit knows exactly what He's doing in giving every Catholic a printing press at a time when the Church itself is manufacturing a crisis.
We already have plenty of Fr. Cummins' brand of "broadcasting." That is why there are conservatives who maddeningly just will not shut up about the ancient faith, even when the fumbling Catholic clergy lash out at them as sinners, SINNERS! (At least it's refreshing to know a priest's mouth can still form that word.)
If the legacy media were doing a good job, there would not have been such a demand for the Pajama Media. Similarly, faithful Catholics have to search outside the establishment Catholic media to find the faith in its fulness. Did the establishment Catholic media criticize a backroom synod that wanted Catholics to "value" the homosexual orientation and welcome adulterers to the communion line?
Fr. Cummins, if you want a unified Church without the occasional Bear tracking in mud and smelling up the place, then there is a simple solution. Promote real Catholicism. If you wonder why bloggers are "narrowcasting," with all due respect, look in the mirror.
If the clergy got its act together, the Bear promises that the vast majority of current conservative Catholic blogs would be retooled overnight into vehicles for trading cookie recipes.
Well, the good news is, if Word on Fire is right, bloggers won't have to worry about going to Hell.