I looked over the site briefly. It’s not the most uncharitable place online. Strong opinions. Targets above in the hierarchy and outside the Church. Typical Catholic stuff, good and otherwise.
In the aftermath, some protest erupted there in the commentariat. In part, the whole culture of complaint helps to generate this. People have difficulty separating the incessant opposition to things-they-don’t-like. Conspiracy theories bloom. Bishop Michael Campbell is now a bad guy.
Still not a good thing for the bishop in the sense of getting negative attention. But if he’s getting hammered in the British blogosphere for it, maybe he was on to something for asking Deacon Nick Donnelly to step back.
To be clear, a bishop can ask a deacon to do this. It’s part of being in a hierarchical church. Is a request like this advisable? I don’t have a clear sense of this. Deacon Donnelly has said he would shutter the blog rather than change his approach. Fair enough.
A person’s internet presence is a reflection on the individual. I have certainly given offense to people throughout the Church over the past ten years. I have been occasionally asked about my web site, and I have received the rare “official” or “unofficial” communication from my pastor or from a diocesan office about various small things. I have never been asked to step back. I would take such a request seriously if it were communicated by my wife, my pastor, or my spiritual director.
The Ignatian principle involved would be indifference. I have to cultivate that virtue more intently–it’s something of a resolution for me. If this site were hacked and disappeared, I probably would not attempt to recreate it. If I got a strong nudge to step back, most likely I would hand it over permanently to other bloggers. And not look back.
About the issue of the clerics, what do you think about this dust-up? How were Bishop Campbell and Deacon Donnelly right and wrong? For you bloggers out there, to whose authority would you submit if you were asked?