Fr Hunwicke on censorship

UPDATE:

Fr. Ray Blake responds to Fr. Hunwicke’s post on censorship:

Rightly the good Fr H says, ‘I regard Dogma and Law as the safeguard of ordinary Catholics': the alternative is that we up ruled by shadows and fears, the Church becomes a place of factions, ruled by secret committees and lobbies, it becomes the abode of whispers, innuendo and rumour. In it nepotism runs riot and injustice becomes a way of life. In short we become a robber barony, the type of system the Holy Father grew up in, that has been so much part of South American government in recent history, and seems to be still the case in his native Argentina.

For the Church it becomes lethal because it destroys the transparency of Truth, replacing it with the opaquism of opinion and that is not what Jesus Christ is!

 

 

 

I have an almost knee-jerk reaction to the whole idea of censorship, but when Fr. Hunwicke puts it this way, I agree with him.  He writes:

I have no objection to censorship, if it is done within a settled legal framework; that is, by a qualified Censor librorum who, if he withholds a Nihil obstat, gives and is required to give precise reasons for doing so. I would have no criticism if the system were not only restored, but extended to the blogosphere, and, of course, to clerics and laics who write columns and editorials in ‘catholic’ journals! But it has fallen into disuse. My apprehension is that a public and canonical process might have been replaced by something furtive; that a bishop (or whatever) might act resentfully but covertly because of views which are doctrinally orthodox but which don’t suit his personal agenda. Or that censorship might function as an informal, unminuted, understanding within an Inner Circle that X is ‘off-message'; with subsequent disadvantages for X. In other words, I fear that what, at first sight, looks like a libertarian advance (the disappearance of formal Censorship), might in reality be simply a Bullies’ Charter. As I have written before, I regard Dogma and Law as the safeguard of ordinary Catholics, both lay and clerical, against Arbitrary Power.

Okay.  He’s right.  Some day I hope to meet Fr. Hunwicke.

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2 Responses to Fr Hunwicke on censorship

  1. Rev22:17 says:

    Deborah,

    From your quotation: I would have no criticism if the system were not only restored, but extended to the blogosphere, and, of course, to clerics and laics who write columns and editorials in ‘catholic’ journals! But it has fallen into disuse.

    No, this is not accurate. The process of obtaining a nihil obstat followed by the imprimatur of a diocesan bishop or another individual who is canonically equivalent is still required, but applies only to doctrinal publications intended for catechetical instruction of the Christian faithful. Catholic newspapers and other journals need not go through this process because they fundamentally are not doctrinal publications, even though they may contain some discussion of doctrinal beliefs. Likewise, this process is not necessary for theological journals — that is, the journals and proceedings of conferences in which theologians publish papers debating doctrinal questions that are not yet settled — because such journals fundamentally are not intended for doctrinal instruction.

    Norm.

  2. Rev22:17 says:

    Deborah,

    From the comment your quotation attributed to Fr. Ray Blake in response to the comments by Fr. Hunwicke: … the alternative is that we up ruled by shadows and fears, the Church becomes a place of factions, ruled by secret committees and lobbies, it becomes the abode of whispers, innuendo and rumour.

    Unfortunately, there are many within the Catholic Church who regard this supposed “alternative” as an accurate description of the Roman curia.

    Norm.

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