The ongoing and increasingly uncharitable public exchange between Fr. Thomas Rosica and LifeSiteNews.com may be on the verge of taking a disturbing new turn for the worse. Citing an article in “The Catholic Register”, LifeSiteNews informs us that
“The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has scheduled a closed-door session on independent blogs and web sites claiming to be Catholic at its October plenary.”
This follows, of course, the same Fr. Rosica’s public denunciation of LifeSiteNews, EWTN, and the Catholic blogosphere in general. Fr. Rosica also said that he “hopes the Pontifical Council on Social Communication takes up the issue”.
What does this all mean? I don’t care to engage in wild speculation here, but I hope will be forgiven for my apprehension at this latest development. Is an official condemnation of pro-life Catholic blogs now being discussed in Canada? What sort of precedent will this set for other countries if this is the case? What role will the embittered Fr. Rosica play in these talks?
Certainly some pro-life blogs and websites are not above and beyond criticism (though LifeSiteNews has never encouraged or endorsed uncharitable communication). And violent threats against a priest – such as those Fr. Rosica has claimed to received from angry pro-lifers – are never acceptable. But as I have recently argued, we must have our priorities straight. Moreover we are well within reason to question whether or not the words and behaviors of a public figure in the Catholic Church are promoting clarity, or sowing confusion, on this most important issue.
To elevate the problem of civility, important as it may be, to the point where it overshadows the problem of legal abortion is absurd and immoral, and I freely admit to having succumb to this in the past. We may as well ask – just why is abortion a sin anyway, and just why does the Church oppose it? Is it some petty venial sin that one would have to be an irrational fool to get angry over? Or is it a serious crime against human dignity, the murder of an innocent child, an issue over which some people may occasionally and understandably lose their composure?
I sincerely hope and pray that the Canadian bishops, and all other bishops should they take up this matter, demonstrate an appreciation for the life-saving work that many of these bloggers engage in, and do not issue a general condemnation of the pro-life blogosphere.