Self censorship in the Church


After those with the official muffler, a Roman collar, do not take seriously the comments of anyone working in a Catholic university who speaks about the pope.

Forget that they may have tenure. Few will venture any real, serious critical commentary.

Why? They work for the Pope!

Well, not really but like  the centurion in the synoptic story they “are under orders”, this time quite subtle yet determining orders. They are employed by a pontifical institution. Yes, this is how far the tentacles of Rome reach. The  ordinary (what a superlative name for this crop of bishops) has final say on who gets employed in these places. And for a moment do not think that this “power” will not be used. Creative theologians have been let go, not rehired etc. University administrators, perceived to be at all critical have been denied jobs.

Well do I remember when Pope  JP ll’s successor was named.I was on the end of a CBC  reaction line and when   I heard in the background the name“Josephus” (Ratzinger)  I groaned and went on to say publicly as a layman editing an independent Catholic paper, “What a failure of nerve.” A feisty nun from the  west concurred.Then the Catholic official came on and of course demurred. This is a real problem. And this is why Catholic scholarship at these places has stopped dead in its tracks, The most creative theologians have been proscribed if not by JP ll/Ratzinger (the same pontificate) but by their local carefully vetted representatives who know exactly what headquarters wants.

So who is left?

Well  there are the laity—the first and freest people in the Church, the best educated  people in Church history.They answer to their consciences and to Christ.They  have been called forth by their baptism as “priests, prophets and kings”.

Chancery offices try to pressure TV outlets to quell the criticism but a few  get to speak with some candour. And why not ? They represent 99.8 of the Church.


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