Thursday, April 30, 2009

Welcome to the free market my friends

Melancholicus rather likes the nickname, namely The Suppository, coined by Mulier Fortis for that formerly Catholic journal The Tablet. Hence he shall start using it himself.

A few weeks back The Suppository featured an editorial which blazed indignantly against Catholic bloggers who, for some clearly malicious reason, seem to take a position diametrically opposed to that peddled by The Suppository itself. That piece was dealt with so ably and in so witty a fashion by so many Catholic bloggers that there is no need for Melancholicus to add his own ingredients to the stew. Instead he shall content himself with an observation.

What the staff of The Suppository are really upset about is not that ‘right wing’ bloggers have been having a go at them. No, for even liberals have a thicker skin than that. What upsets them runs much deeper and in its effects is much more profound than a mere fisking here and there.

The root of their distress is that with the spread of the internet and the proliferation of blogs representing what thousands of ordinary Catholics, both clerical and lay, really think about what’s going on in the Church, they have lost their control over the channels of Catholic communications. They are no longer able to set the agenda. Their own is no longer the only voice being heard. They are no longer able to confine public discussion to the fashionable left-wing causes of interest to themselves and their fellow travellers. Now they have to compete and, if they are to survive, they will have to do their work properly. It will no longer suffice to say what they like and have their diktat taken as the final word. Google has on a number of occasions already seen to it that they have been caught out in their spin-doctoring, their half-truths, and their outright lies.

Now they are immersed in the free market of ideas, and the buffets and billows of those waters are not to their liking. In order to win sympathy for themselves, they used to whinge and complain about the oppression under which free-thinkers like themselves were subject by the grey old men in the Vatican who were opposed to liberty, to freedom and to change. However, the recent growth of a samizdat press, thanks in large part to the internet, has turned this picture on its head. They are unmasked, finally, not as the brave champions of liberty struggling against authoritarianism, but as part of the propaganda ministry of a cabal of liberal bishops and revolutionaries long ensconced in power, the mouthpiece of a regime as arbitrary and authoritarian as they sought to portray the Magisterium of the Church, and far from being courageous freedom fighters, they are revealed as a tool of establishment power and control.

Small wonder they should feel uncomfortable and turn their anger against the light now shining on their darkest deeds.

The only channels of information on Church news once available to the average Catholic in England and Wales was the established Catholic press, and periodicals such as The Suppository, as well as occasional coverage in relentlessly hostile secular sources. With a singular exception, all of these portrayed events, persons and even defined Church teaching from a slanted and dissenting perspective. The Catholic faithful, appalled at the heresy being published weekly in these so-called ‘Catholic’ sources, likewise appalled at the audacity of those who published such heresy, were often denied so much as a right of reply. True, one could write a letter of complaint to such and such a newspaper or periodical. But would they publish it? The editors of these publications could exercise supreme control over what was selected for publication, with the result that their journals became vehicles for dissent. The Suppository is to this day still such a vehicle, as are many similar rags in Ireland—The Furrow, for instance, to name but one—but they no longer exercise a monopoly over the channels of communication. Their readership is falling, a new generation of Catholics has arisen who no longer unquestioningly toe the revolutionary line, and alternative platforms are now cheaply and easily available for the dissemination of alternative views.

And the old guard, hysterically reciting their satanic verses in shriller and shriller tones, are afraid.

It is natural they should be afraid, for defeat looms on the horizon.


Caroline said...

Excellent article. Loved it.

Faithful catholics can no longer be silenced!

Mac McLernon said...

Delighted that you consider the moniker to be apt!