Friday, February 06, 2009

Should the Vatican Employ "Spin"?

Henry V: I was not angry since I came to France
Until this instant.
Yes, I am angry. It seems that the generally accepted line is that, in regard to the lifting of the SSPX excommunications, "The Vatican stuffed up".

"They should have known." "They didn't do their research." "They didn't explain it properly." "They didn't consult." "They were naive." "They should have known it would be a scandal." "They need proper PR."

Well, I am sick of this.

When the Holy See makes an official decision about anything, it always issues a written declaration or statement. Various curial officials may express opinions from time to time, but official decisions are always in black and white. And in Italian, but we have translators to help with that.

So the details of any decision made are always available to the media in an original written source document.

BUT (and it is a big but), the journalists almost NEVER take the time to read the original statement, to analyse it, to take advise on its meaning etc. They grab the most sensational and newsworthy lines from the source document, and then go out and see what "vox populi" reaction they can get. They will intentionally leave out anything that might explain the rational behind the Holy See's decision because it has to be a "news" story (ie. a "sensation"). The do the exact opposite of what Martin Luther advised concerning the 8th Commandment, ie. they put the very worst construction on everything. And then their story is picked up and repeated around the world by the various syndicated press agencies, and it is reprinted again and again without anyone even once bothering to go back to the source. (Actually, I am forming a theory at the moment that there are in fact only SEVEN real journalists in the world, all the rest is syndicated copy.)

And THEN, the cries of horror start coming from all quarters, breaking off dialogue and calling for the Pope to resign etc. And do THESE critics bother to go back to the original source material, to analyse what is really going on? Do they stop for one moment to ask themselves whether the report they read in their newspaper is accurate? No. They go off like a hair-trigger shot gun, calling upon the Pope to apologise for "crimes" he never committed.

In the case of Bishop Williamson, the fact is that the Vatican was not only crystal clear in its original statement about what the lifting of the excommunications meant, but the Holy Father himself within days had publically spoken on the matter answering all the questions put to him regarding his reasons for reaching out to the SSPX bishops and his stance with regard to the Jewish people and the Holocaust. Still not enough. Then the Press Office of the Holy See issues a statement, restating AGAIN the same original points. Still the morning papers are hoeing into the Pope. Finally the Vatican Secretary of State issues a statement which spells out every detail of the case, AND STILL the world's media reports only a few lines from this statement while continuing to repeat the tired paragraphs from their previous columns.

I give up. There's none so blind as will not see, and none so deaf as will not listen.

But I will ask a few questions:

1) If the four SSPX bishops had recanted of the crimes for which their latae sententiae excommunication had been imposed, would it have been just for the Pope to have continued to impose the punishment out of fear that the act of lifting the excommunications might be wrongly interpreted by "the world"?

2) Do you really think it would be a good idea for the Vatican to employ "spin doctors", like common politicians?

Update: A Jewish opinion that concurs with mine


At Friday, February 06, 2009 11:17:00 am , Blogger Fraser Pearce said...

I find it hard to have much confidence in most reporting.

I agree: It wouldn't have taken much research by a reporter to work out what the lifting of the excommunications means.

But at the same time, shouldn't the Vatican seen this coming? I mean, given how reporting actually works?

I wouldn't go into a gorilla enclosure without a big bunch of bananas.

At Friday, February 06, 2009 11:46:00 am , Blogger Schütz said...

Actually, Catholics have a very good track record of walking into dangerous situations with nothing more than the proverbial "bunch of bananas"!

At Friday, February 06, 2009 12:00:00 pm , Anonymous Peregrinus said...

I’m with Fraser.

It wouldn’t have taken a lot of research to find out what the significance of lifting the excommunications was.

On the other hand, it was wholly unrealistic to think that the journalists would do that research. Journalists have never done research like that. If you think they need to know what the research would tell them, then you just tell them yourself. They expect that, and why wouldn’t they?. And, in any event, their deadlines don’t allow for research.

Should the Vatican employ “spin doctors”? Of course it should; can there be any serious debate about this? Anybody who cares how they, or their message, is presented in the media needs to work with journalists to ensure that there message is presented as they would want. We cannot mouth platitudes about modern communications having the potential to be a powerful tool for evangelism yada yada yada, and then ignore the media. It’s not just politicians who employ spin doctors; anybody who is in the business of issuing press statements – politicians, commercial organisations, advocacy groups, everyone – needs media skills. Why on earth would the church deny itself media skills?

At Friday, February 06, 2009 12:34:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

it was wholly unrealistic to think that the journalists would do that research.

Really? Dumb me. I thought that was what proper journalism was all about.

If you think they need to know what the research would tell them, then you just tell them yourself.

The point is that the Vatican DID tell them in its original documentation, and repeatedly after that. But no one was listening to anything other than the sound of their own voices.

Should the Vatican employ “spin doctors”? Of course it should;

But do we really want a Vatican Version of The Hollowmen?

At Friday, February 06, 2009 12:47:00 pm , Anonymous matthias said...

In the media anything with the labels
CATHOLIC or CHRISTIAN are easy targets. Last week's Compass PROGRAM,on ABC2 was a repeat program that dealt with the Australian Christian martyr Graeme Staines-a man who I was honoured to know for a short time-who was murdered in Orissa State in 1999. Dear old Geraldine Doogue tried to use the case as a study of missionaries in general and she got opinions of those who would support Staines's murderers ie Hindu extremists who thought that he let himself be "sacrifised" to enhance missionary activity. yeah good one,he was stopped from letting his sons get out of the burnign car. This was a man that the president of India called "a role model for all indians". A good example of media manipulation

At Friday, February 06, 2009 1:20:00 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is ridiculous.

The plain fact of the matter is that the MSM does not care about the truth, it only cares about selling beer and shampoo. And destroying the Judeo-Christian tradition.

I do not see that the Church should ever cater to the MSM at all. It should do whatever is right and leave the MSM to carry on with its wicked shite.

Does anyone here seriously think the Pope and his advisors had no idea what kinds of reactions and stories would follow this decision?

Seriously, folks, do try to get to grips with what the Official Press is all about.

It does not care about the truth.

Read Belloc's "The Free Press."

At Friday, February 06, 2009 1:23:00 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

BTW, David, this blog and various others constitute today's "Free Press." Just keep writing the truth. That's your job.

At Friday, February 06, 2009 1:35:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Thanks, Lou. What's "MSM"?

At Friday, February 06, 2009 1:39:00 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mainstream media. Sorry, I had no idea myself what it meant for years and now I use the abbreviation myself. Oops! The MSM are owned by, what, 4 individuals?

So that blogs etc are not mainstream and any crank can write a blog. Which is why journos hate us so.

At Friday, February 06, 2009 2:12:00 pm , Anonymous Peregrinus said...

Peregrinus: . . . . It was wholly unrealistic to think that the journalists would do that research.

David: Really? Dumb me. I thought that was what proper journalism was all about.

Lord bless your innocence, David, no.

Journalism is about being first with the news. This was always so, but it is ten times more so since the electronic media came to predominate over the print media. And journalists assume that their sources know this.

If you know something which you would like journalists to report, then it is rational and self-interested behaviour to tell them, and – given that you may have some expertise on the subject in hand and they probably do not – so far as you can, to see that they have grasped it, and its significance. It is not rational to tell them some of what you know and hope that, notwithstanding the pressure of deadlines, they will take the time to do research in an area they know little about, so that they can work out the rest of what you know, but haven’t bothered to tell them.

Journalists therefore expect that, if you would like them to include some point in their story, you will give them that point. They do not normally delay filing a story to do research in case you have forgotten to tell them something pertinent to the story. (They might do that if they think you are deliberately hiding something, of course, or if they know there is relevant information which you haven’t got, but neither of these apply here.)

At this point, it seems that there were two distinct problems which, between them, resulted in the very poor coverage of this story.

The first was that most of the journalists didn’t understand the significance of lifting the excommunication, largely because they didn’t understand the significance of excommunication in the first place. This shouldn’t come as a complete surprise; there’s a widespread misconception, shared I think by many Catholics in the pew, that excommunication means that you are excluded from the church, that you are no longer a Catholic. Precisely because this misconception is widespread, it was always going to be necessary to take particular pains to dispel it if the story was to have any hope of accurate coverage. It wasn’t, in fact, enough to ensure that journalists understood the significance of the gesture; since their readership would forseeably misunderstand it, it was necessary to try to use the media to explain the significance of the gesture to their readers, so as to correct the misconceptions which the readers would probably start with. Since front page news reports are not a good way of correcting popular misconceptions, what was needed was quite a focussed campaign, with knowledgeable media-friendly figures lined up in the major media markets (briefly, the US) to be available to talk about the measure, and what it meant, and what it didn’t mean. With hindsight, nobody seems to have spotted this need.

But the second problem was that, apparently, the Pope was unaware of Williamson’s record of holocaust denial, and thus did not appreciate the enormity of the scandal that would be caused by the misconception that he had been restored to good standing in the church. This, of course, greatly magnified the damage done by not taking the trouble to ensure that misconceptions were dispelled, but it also might go some way to explaining why the pressing need take that trouble was not appreciated.

But, on its own terms, the Pope’s ignorance staggers me. I mean, I knew about Williamson’s record in this area, and I‘m not particularly interested in the SSPX. The Vatican has had a number of fairly senior cardinals involved in outreach to the SSPX for quite a number of years, considering the problem presented by the schism and what could be done to heal it. (If I recall correctly, Ratzinger himself had some role here, before his election.) Those cardinals, I assume, were supported by other staff. There’s always been more than a whiff of grapeshot whenever the attitude of the SSPX, and of ultratraditionalist Catholics generally, towards the Jews has been considered; Williamson may be isolated in his holocaust denial, but in his wider theological attitudes to the Jews we all know that he has quite a bit of company in the SSPX. And yet the Pope was apparently unaware that the most egregious example of antisemitic attitudes that the SSPX could offer was Bishop Williamson, and he was unaware of how extreme that was. This suggests either that the matter was not properly considered and investigated by those whose job it was to address the problems posed by the SSPX, or that it was but nobody bothered to tell the Pope what they had found, with the result that he made his decision without being properly informed by those who should have informed him. Either of these scenarios appals me, and there is no way in which we can blame the press for them.

At Friday, February 06, 2009 2:47:00 pm , Blogger Vicci said...

Very interested in your comments, P.
One thought: is Williamson genuine
in his 'denial' (does he honestly
believe what he says?)
If he is, then he may be wrong..but can hardly be labelled a 'criminal'.
If not, he is a liar with an Agenda,
and should be summarily dismissed from office, one would think.

Quite apart from the excommunication question.

At Friday, February 06, 2009 2:49:00 pm , Blogger Tony said...

David, my summary of your position is:
1. railing against the sun
2. using a sensationalist (ironic eh?) view of the media
3. conflating communications professionals with 'spin doctors' (journalists love that straw man approach).

Re #1. The MSM's relationship to news hasn't changed since the MSM became the MSM. I think Pere's right about it's dark side becoming more apparent with modern communication, but the other side of the coin is true too. We can now watch good things in real time as well as bad stuff.

The issue is, what do we do about it? Some organisations (and individuals) handle it better than others, some are more pro-active than others, etc. IE: it's a management issue.

RE #2. Your characterisation of the media is, in journalistic terms, tabloid at best. Have you done the research and come up with a balanced view in the way you demand of journalists? Or have you been reactive and picked out the juicy bits to make a splash?

RE #3. The church needs to engage with the media in a professional manner. It needs people who can build relationships and tell stories that the media want to hear.

So when you say 'When the Holy See makes an official decision about anything, it always issues a written declaration or statement', that may be OK when communicating with Bishops or other internal audiences, but it is clearly not enough when communicating with the world via the media. You know? GET OVER IT!

Communication professionals (like lawyers, held in much disdain) can't guarantee that the MSM monster won't bit, but they can often put out fires long before they turn ugly. They know how to handle crisis. The would know, for example, that as soon as a story breaks you need to respond quickly, very quickly with a credible response. 'We didn't know', just doesn't cut it.

At Friday, February 06, 2009 3:47:00 pm , Anonymous Peregrinus said...

Hi Vicci

I think you present a rather simple binary set of options (either he believes this in which case he is Honest But Stupid or he doesn’t, in which case he is a Liar) that doesn’t reflect reality. Belief – and, God knows, Christians should be aware of this – is not so simple.

Assume for the moment that he does believe what he says. [i]Why[/i] does he believe it? To what extent does he believe it because he [i]chooses[/i] to? Is he more receptive to, and does he attach more weight to, evidence that favours a denialist position than to evidence which points the other way? Is he selective about what he read or investigates? Is he open to truth, or is he looking for psychological support for what he would wish to be the truth? Does he view all evidence through an intellectual lens distorted by anti-Semitism?

There’s a belief, or an assumption, in many quarters that it is difficult or impossible to arrive at a denialist position on the Holocaust without having a fairly powerful distorting lens of prejudice and bigotry to get you there; the evidence in favour of the historicity of the Holocaust, viewed dispassionately, is simply too overwhelming. On this view Williamson is either lying, motivated by anti-Semitism, or he has deluded himself, driven by anti-Semitism. If our concern is anti-Semitism, we really don’t care which, do we?

At Friday, February 06, 2009 4:08:00 pm , Blogger Paul said...

Hi David,
I agree completely that journalists are lazy and don't check their facts. Of course, not many people care when it involves attacks on Pope Benedict or the Church, but their laziness also extends to the topic that really matters to people, viz money.
Take all the journalists who are giving their opinions about subprime mortgages, the financial crisis and a slowing China. Look back at what these "experts" were saying a few months ago...... who reports on the reporters???

At Friday, February 06, 2009 4:25:00 pm , Blogger Vicci said...

Thank you, P.
(btw: you may find <> works, instead of [], on this site.)

On this view Williamson is either lying, motivated by anti-Semitism, or he has deluded himself, driven by anti-Semitism.

I knew a gentleman once, who stated the Holocost was indeed
'made up', presumably by the Jews.
I was shocked to the core, so much
that I neglected any sort of rebut.
The man had a difficult life, both
as a soldier on the Eastern front (German) and later as a refugee.
I have since often wondered why he
held his position. Was it 'belief',
conditioning, prejudice..or what?
He seemed to hold a bent against "jewish business practices",
which may have been part of his life-experience.
But to deny the Holocost?

Gosh, what next? Will folk start to deny the Resurrection?

At Friday, February 06, 2009 5:03:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Just one point, Tony: Yes, I do always make it a point to check out the source of any story I report and comment on on this blog. If I reproduce a factual error, and that error is pointed out to me, I always correct it in my origina post.

Perry, I think the strategy you describe - that of having "campaign" PR troops going out to prepare the ground before these sorts of big announcements - is really cool, but it doesn't actually speak to me of "Church". It is perhaps way to 21st Century for an organisation that still has chanceries...

At Friday, February 06, 2009 5:53:00 pm , Anonymous Peregrinus said...

Well, I don't see any inconsistency between having chanceries and making use of readily available communication and media skills. If we did it in the counter-reformation, we can do it now. But if I have to chooose one over the other, I'll ditch the chanceries.

At Friday, February 06, 2009 7:49:00 pm , Anonymous R J Stove said...

I second Louise's recommendation of the great Belloc's The Free Press.

Three years back, I wrote the following comment about media "ethics" on someone else's blog. As far as I can see, nothing about mainstream journalism has changed since I wrote it, except for the worse (my main concern then was mere plagiarism, rather than the wholesale malignity we've seen against the Church in l'affaire Williamson):

"Many years ago, when I went to work part-time for a famous think-tank, I was solemnly informed by one of the leading policy wonks that it was useless to issue a press release which made the slightest intellectual demands on the reader. What was required - my wonk mentor assured me, whether accurately or not - was prose dumbed-down enough to be plagiarised word for word by journalists, who in turn would be plagiarised word for word by editorial-writers, who in turn would get the press release's contents out into the mainstream. (This was of course the pre-Internet era.)

Being at the time perhaps the youngest and most naive graduate this wonk had ever had to advise, I must have muttered something vaguely on the lines of "Um, isn't plagiarism wrong?" As I recall, the answer was something like "Oh dear, you have got a lot to learn."

I have never been able to take seriously since that time the moral pretentions of "spin".

At Saturday, February 07, 2009 12:28:00 am , Blogger Joshua said...

The real issue is this:

If religious affairs reports were sports reporters, and they knew as little about sport as they do about religion, and reported on sport with the same level of cynicism, prejudice and ignorance, they wouldn't just be sacked, they'd be besieged by outraged sports fans.


At Saturday, February 07, 2009 8:58:00 am , Blogger Tony said...

Just imagine all the negative things said about the media in this string were right. So what?

I think all the negative things said in this string about the media are very similar to the way bad media handles issues, ie, mostly by 'strategic' distortion peppered by anecdotes.

But again, the way the media handles sport and the way it handles religion is different. That's the world Joshua!

(Church agencies are not immune to this either BTW. I've kept an eye on LifeSite News over the years and any tabloid journalist would feel at home there!)

You can either have a head-in-the-sand approach and release communications in the clumsy way the church does now (this is not the first example) or have people who know what they're doing and get the best out of the reality of church/media relations.

In communication terms this SPXX issue is a disaster and it needn't have been. Even if the initial disaster couldn't have been averted, good communications people could have helped make the responses better.

And it's true some PR people -- enough of them to give the profession a bad name -- are paid liars. Others are professionals with integrity who care about the organisations they work for.

At Saturday, February 07, 2009 9:23:00 am , Blogger Joshua said...

Yes, Tony, I probably should have said that I agree that it would greatly help the propagation of the Gospel if some professional communications experts (not spin doctors but ethical people of course) were assisting the Vatican to avoid getting its message ensnared in at least partially-preventable complications...

At Saturday, February 07, 2009 9:48:00 am , Blogger Paul said...

Now, wait a minute, please. If "spin" is only "getting the message across by falling into line with the publication needs of the media", then I suppose its ok.
On the other hand, if spin means "changing what you actually do after considering how the media will report it", then that is definitely not ok.
After the media gets bored with the SSPX issue, the St Mary's parish in South Brisbane will hit the airwaves soon. To what extent should Archbishop Bathersby be considering the Courier Mail when he is pondering what to do?

At Saturday, February 07, 2009 12:05:00 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can either have a head-in-the-sand approach and release communications in the clumsy way the church does now (this is not the first example) or have people who know what they're doing and get the best out of the reality of church/media relations.

Tony, I for one, have no problems whatever with the Church doing the best it possibly can to get its message out there properly. I do, however, think that on the whole, it will make precious little difference, because of the bias of the MSM, which is all about profit and not anything else. And insofar as its owners are secularists, it is also opposed to the Church.

As for sports, they are not opposed to anything fundmental about the MSM, so there is no reason for journos to be careless in their reporting.

Bottom line: you can do a really good job with PR and it will still typically go haywire.

At Saturday, February 07, 2009 8:59:00 pm , Anonymous Brian Coyne said...


In response to the following which you wrote...

"This suggests either that the matter was not properly considered and investigated by those whose job it was to address the problems posed by the SSPX, or that it was but nobody bothered to tell the Pope what they had found, with the result that he made his decision without being properly informed by those who should have informed him. Either of these scenarios appals me, and there is no way in which we can blame the press for them."

The other possibility is that the Pope acted in this matter without consulting anybody. That would seem to be the interpretation to place on this give the public comments of people like Cardinal Kasper. This was not so much a "communication failure" on the part of the Vatican, or the Curia. It was a communication failure on the part of the Pontiff.

One could go on and argue that there might have been subsequent failures in the way the Curia/Vatican has handled the aftermath — as Cardinal Pell seemed to suggest in his comment on ABC radio on Thursday or Friday.

At Saturday, February 07, 2009 10:08:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...


This will be the sort of thing that you really hate, but I think it is worth pointing out: The pope is under no obligation to consult on this matter, despite how wise we lesser mortals might think it would have been for him to do so. He has "a universal authority" which "can be ercised independently (canonically speaking) and personally without need for recourse to any other authority" (Daniel S. Hamilton, "Ravenna and the Roman Primacy", Homoletical and Pastoral Review).

And, as John Allen noted in a recent column, the Pope - and especially THIS Pope - really doesn't make his decisions with an eye to tomorrow's headlines (he isn't a Jim Hacker in this regard) but with an eye to the good of the Church. In this, he acts more like a pastor than like a CEO.

When I was in ministry, there were times when I consulted my elders about things - especially if I were relying on them to implement the decision. There were other times when I exercised the authority of the pastoral office and said "thus it shall be" for the good of the congregation.

The Pope does the same thing on a larger scale, and I for one am glad that he acts with this freedom without regard to the approval of men.

At Sunday, February 08, 2009 1:20:00 pm , Anonymous Brian Coyne said...

LOL, David. You undoubtedly are right from the legalistic point of view. When a decision has the effect of accelerating the catastrophic flow out of the pews that has already been caused by pontiffs believing they are God and not consulting anyone else one might wonder what God's Godself might think of this 'wisdom'?

Whatever the legal rights of the Pope's capacity to act in the way he has in recent weeks, it could hardly be claimed it has been a wise decision, could it? Or do you people claim that driving eighty or ninety whatever it is percent of the baptised out of the pews in the space of a century is some indicator of enormous wisdom, good governance, and a superior capacity to discern "truth" or "the mind of God"? I wouldn't have thought it was. The direct opposite in fact.

This decision was a cock-up of monumental proportion whatever sort of spin you'd like to put on it.

Cheers, Brian

At Sunday, February 08, 2009 1:58:00 pm , Blogger Joshua said...

Three things have cleared out the pews:

1. The erosive impact of modern secularism and easygoing morality;

2. Boring and erosive liberalism, with all it brings of restless change and mediocrity;

3. Faithlessness.

The Popes have held to what was ever taught, as is their duty. Too many in the West have either given up completely because led astray, or have been driven away by liberal abuses (teaching heresy and ruining worship), or themselves become misbelievers (deceiving and deceived), of the sort who haven't been to confession since 1968 - declaring in their satanic pride and arrogance that their whim is the measure of all things.

In this last category I place that false Coyne.

At Sunday, February 08, 2009 2:41:00 pm , Anonymous Brian Coyne said...

Just one further point, David, while I have your attention. I've given long thought to this question of what originally sparked the conversation between us. The wording is "Sentire cum Ecclesia" not "Sentire cum Pontifex Maximus" isn't it? Ecclesia meaning "Church" or "the Body of Christ" that we need to be listening to or obedient to. This idea of Pontifex Maximus was a relatively late addition to the picture. Perhaps judging by the evidence of the last 100 years and the Grand Exit of the Baptised out of the Pews it might have reached its use by date and our pontiffs, rather than seeing themselves as the exclusive, or unique, or especially graced "channels to the Divine insight" might get back to coordinating the international effort as the coordinator of the global effort to discern what our loving Creator-God is saying through ALL men and women, eh? They earn their respect from the people for their capacity to consult all and listen to all in this collective human quest to penetrate a little further the Divine Mystery — much along the lines of what John Henry Cardinal Newman sensed in his insightful set of essays "On Consulting the Faithful in Matters of Doctrine". What say you? As this recent sorry saga would seem to indicate a few "checks and balances" might prevent this sort of thing happening, eh? I would have also thought this was the great and fresh insight that the collective bishops of the world discerned was "the way forward of the Spirit" at the Second Vatican Council. A few though in the Curial Palaces didn't seem to like that idea and, at every turn, seem to have endeavoured to turn the clock back on any wisdom any upstart bishops might have had that collectively they might better discern "the mind of God", or "the will of the Father in Heaven", than themselves, or their nominee as Pontifx Maximus.

Cheers, Brian

At Sunday, February 08, 2009 3:37:00 pm , Blogger Joshua said...

What is this nonsense?

Public revelation ended with the death of the last apostle.

To claim some sort of ongoing revelation to "all men and women" (how trite: I bet it only means leftwing bourgeois persons) is to wish to be a Mormon or worse.

Living in fantasy land!

At Monday, February 09, 2009 12:03:00 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"We are Church," David, get with the programme.

I agree with Joshua (nothing new there) with the real causes of the emptying of our parishes.

At Monday, February 09, 2009 5:20:00 pm , Blogger Tony said...

Bottom line: you can do a really good job with PR and it will still typically go haywire.

I don't agree. I've never suggested that having a good communications policy with good communications professionals will guarantee that things won't go haywire, but not only will there be less catastrophes, there'll be better communication all round (even on non-controversial subjects).

The analogy might be harsh in the current situation, but the fact that people's 'fire plans' didn't save so many in Victoria doesn't mean fire plans are not worth having.

But if you start from a position of such hostility to the MSM, I can understand why you think there's no point. The MSM is a fickled monster, of that there is no doubt, but organisations do effectively manage their relationship with the monster.

At Tuesday, February 10, 2009 5:03:00 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

but organisations do effectively manage their relationship with the monster.

Only because the monster is not fundamentally opposed to them, Tony, that's my basic point.

At Tuesday, February 10, 2009 7:38:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

Re the emptying of your parishes, I agree with Joshua too.

In fact, you could put the three points into two words -- Vatican II. Or these two words -- Nouvelle Theologie. Or these two words -- Concilium and Communio, the tweedle dee and tweedle dum of liberal dissent from Catholicism.

At Tuesday, February 10, 2009 10:17:00 pm , Blogger Joshua said...

Hey, don't knock Communio, I've just subscribed to it, and my friend and former employer and lecturer Dr Tracey Rowland has an article in the current issue! Ditto for the Nouvelle theologie -among them, the great Bouyer, God rest his soul, whose writings I have found very profitable ever since my undergraduate days.


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