The Anglo-Catholic blog is officially on hiatus now, first with Fr. Christopher Phillips announcement that he was taking a break, then with moderator Christian Campbell’s announcement.
First of all, I want to thank Christian Campbell for creating and hosting the blog, which in its heyday was the go-to source for information, speculation and encouragement for everyone interested in Anglicanorum coetibus. He did a great job in finding excellent voices from around the world from the Church of England, from the Traditional Anglican Communion, and from Anglican Use Catholics and former Anglicans who had already become Catholic.
It was wonderful to be part of it. I had a lot of fun writing for it and I am grateful I was asked to be on the masthead.
I departed from the Anglo-Catholic twice for reasons of wanting to distance myself from editorial stands that seemed to be forming, first against Archbishop John Hepworth, and secondly against Monsignor Jeffrey Steenson.
When I was told that only the moderator would be posting on the contentious liturgy matter concerning Steenson and the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, I decided that my silence might look like editorial agreement.
It’s kind of interesting to see some of the speculation showing up in the comments sections of various blogs, or over at Fr. Anthony Chadwick’s blog, hinting that all of us have been darkly told “from above,” perhaps even a phone call from Msgr. Steenson himself to shut up about internal Ordinariate matters.
Alas, I’m on my mother’s Mac and I haven’t figured out how to cut and paste so I cannot supply the links or chunks of text I would like.
Well, I’m sure that Msgr. Steenson is media savvy enough to know that a phone call to a journalist or a blogger telling them to be quiet would potentially have the opposite effect. While he is soon to be my ordinary and I owe him loyalty and obedience in faith and morals by virtue of his position, I am not under his jurisdiction in terms of what I write about the Ordinariates. In other words, I reserve my journalistic independence, both as a reporter and a blogger. What I will guarantee him and anyone else I write about, is fairness and my best efforts at objectivity. When I saw a tightening editorial stand at the Anglo-Catholic that did not reflect my views, I had to distance myself.
In fact, no archbishop or cardinal in the Catholic Church would tell me what to write though I have had some gentle suggestions from time to time that have been helpful but not bullying. They could complain to my superiors, (which has happened but only once to my knowledge, but my editors in that instance defended me.) I write primarily for papers that are owned by dioceses so bishops are the owners and publishers. But while papers are expected to participate in the mission of the Church in terms of seeing through the lens of the Magisterium and highlighting news about Catholics in the public square or in their contributions to the common good, bishops do not generally interfere with the day to day operation of the papers. And Catholic journalists have worked hard to carve out that independence because we know our credibility is shot when we are perceived as mere public relations shills.
As for Fr. Phillips reasons for pulling away, well, I think we should take his statement on the Anglo-Catholic at face value. He wishes the Ordinariates well but he is not involved in them right now and has other matters occupying his attention, such as ensuring the continuing flourishing of his own parish and school. I would find it extremely hard to believe that he got a phone call from his own archbishop or Msgr. Steenson ordering him to stop blogging on the Anglo-Catholic!
The Anglo-Catholic served its purpose and it did a great job and it would be nice to see more people remembering what was so great about it than to only think of the negative or to hint at some kind of dark dictatorial authority shutting it down.
I’m kind of sorry that it has entered its hiatus before the upcoming reception of Christian Campbell’s former parish in Orlando into the Catholic Church on Sept. 9. I am sorry we will not be able to see pictures of the joyous event on that blog.
Maybe Christian will post them on his new blog, Eccentricbliss.com. If so, I will link to them.
I am still open for business on Ordinariate news.