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Thursday, July 08, 2010


UPDATE: It appears that it was Fr. Dowling himself who asked his talk be removed from ICN -- a talk about how a climate of fear squelches honest criticism of the Vatican -- he being fearful of the possible repercussions .... see America magazine's post, Dowling modifiers.

I saw this post at US Catholic today ......


Are Catholic online news sites being censored?

Thursday, July 8, 2010
By M Scherer-Emunds

Two recent events have raised the specter of online censorship, or at least of undue pressure by Catholic Church officials on Catholic news organizations.

Today the British-based Independent Catholic News, a daily online Catholic news site set up by a group of Catholic journalists, apparently pulled down the reprint of a June speech by South African Bishop Kevin Dowling it had published yesterday.

That event followed on the heels of an incident in May when the Austrian Catholic news agency Kathpress was pressured to remove from its website a report on a speech by Vienna's Cardinal Christoph Schönborn. The Kathpress report on Schönborn's outspoken criticism of Cardinal Angelo Sodano and other Vatican shortcomings resulted in international headlines and eventually led to what the National Catholic Reporter described as "an almost surreal kiss-and-make-up session" between those two cardinals last week at the Vatican.

Like Schönborn's, Dowling's speech, delivered to a group of laity in Cape Town, included unusually frank criticism of the Vatican. Dowling, one of the few "liberal" Catholic bishops left in the English-speaking Catholic world, lamented "what has been happening in the Church especially since Pope John Paul II became the Bishop of Rome and up till today - and that is 'restorationism,' the carefully planned dismantling of the theology, ecclesiology, pastoral vision, indeed the 'opening of the windows' of Vatican II – in order to 'restore' a previous, or more controllable model of Church through an increasingly centralised power structure." ......

A friend had e-mailed me the ICN story yesterday, but when I tried accessing it again this morning, I was greeted by the following message: "Error accessing this article information. It may have been deleted."

In response to e-mail and voice-mail messages inquiring about the removal of the article from the website, ICN's editor Jo Siedlecka this morning replied that it was "too complicated to explain" and that she would be "putting it up again soon." ......


The talk by Kevin Dowling has reappeared at ICN here. For those interested, I have a past post from 2009 about Bishop Dowling here - Bishop Kevin Dowling


Blogger Deacon Denny said...

Very interesting, Crystal. I remembered that earlier post -- a lot of comments, including mine. I read the article you linked here, including comments, and followed other related strings, too. I share most of his observations and feelings about trends in our Church, and it gives me support and hope to read his candid thoughts.

But I don't personally experience censorship in the Church, other then the self-censorship variety, when "discretion" prevails over "saying what I think," or at least over "what I think I think." Of course, I do fly under the radar most of the time, as far as the institution is concerned.

2:20 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Denny,

Maybe the censorship thing only happens to high profile people like Thomas Reese SJ who was replaced as editor at America magazine, or theologians like Roger Haight SJ who are kept from teaching at Catholic Universities?

Fr. Martin has a recent post about the subject here - A Fear-Based Church?

3:12 PM  
Blogger Deacon Denny said...

Thanks again. I read Fr. Martin's article, and have added him to the blogs I'll look at regularly.

Oh, I do think it's true that there's a lot of fear, and that things are worse in that regard now than they were during John Paul XXIII and Paul VI. But there's also a lot more freedom on the part of the laity to express their views than ever before, and in some cases the hierarchy has to actually listen! My wife sits on the Seattle Archdiocesan Lay Review Board (the one that examines charges of sexual misconduct) -- would THAT have happened in the 70's or 80's? NOT!

7:04 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Yeah, you're right. Things are changing too I think because of the internet - the church can't really hope anymore that no on will notice what they're doing or will be so ill informed that they won't understand the significance of what they're doing, and those who dissent can get their message to almost everyone who's interested. Yay :)

9:26 PM  

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