"It would be hard for any Catholic editor not to say, ‘Well, if this happened to America magazine, perhaps it could happen to others,’ ‘ said the Rev. Pat McCloskey, the editor of St. Anthony Messenger, a 311,000-circulation Franciscan monthly based in Cincinnati.
You know I really don’t believe the Catholic editors at Crisis, This Rock, Catholic World Report, etc are worrying that this will happen to them.
”I’m afraid that a move like this one will cause more and more Catholic thinkers to say that they want to write for publications that are not identified as Catholic and to teach at schools that are not identified as Catholic, because there is more freedom there.’"
So what exactly would be the change? Many modern theologians write for Catholic periodicals that really can’t be identified as Catholic or teach in Catholic schools that can’t really be identified as Catholic. And why if St. Anthony Messenger believes that they are printing a Catholic magazine that they are worried about something similar happening to them?. I think the lady doth protest too much. Obviously they realize that they are have been thinking outside of the box, or really outside of the dox as in orthodox. That is the frustrating part of many of these periodicals like this that I have read. They seem Catholic but it is a Catholicism slightly out of focus and makes your eyes water reading it. They also often have some very solid articles but others seem to dance around orthodoxy and try to both disparage and defend Catholic teaching at the same time. For example reading Sister Joan Chittister’s articles (folks don’t try this at home I am a professional pundit) since the election of Pope Benedict XVI have been really funny in what was not said. You can almost see the restraint waiting to break out in every sentence of what she really feels about it.
Publications such as Commonweal, an influential opinion journal produced by lay Catholics, are less vulnerable to pressure from the Vatican because they are independently incorporated and not controlled by a religious order or diocese. Nonetheless, the editor, Paul Baumann, arrived at work yesterday to find the threatening e-mail from a critic.
”It’s hard to imagine how any church authority can shut down the sorts of debates that thinking Catholics are engaged in," Baumann said. ”What’s most troublesome is that for the ordained, for those theologians who are priests, and for people working in Catholic universities, this will inhibit the honest exchange of views."
I have a soft spot for Commonweal since they previously took the time to attack my humor in their print magazine. Now I am partially open to means of humiliation and critiques, unfortunately getting zinged by Commonweal to me is more like an imprimatur. I have mixed feelings about these periodicals worrying about what they print. Part of me wants them to totally come out and print what they are thinking instead of the false fencing that often gets engaged in. To give them the proverbial rope to hang themselves. This is not a very charitable attitude and the other part of me struggles to pray for them that the full truth may be proclaimed.
I believe G.K. Chesterton compared the Church to a large playground and I think this is a very apt analogy. Just why so many want to dance on or beyond the fences is difficult for me to understand.
I have also been meaning to link to this very funny song parody at Thumos called Both Sides Then (as sung by Thomas Reese)