There are intellectually slipshod people around who do not in fact read blogs but simply love getting enormously over-excited about what a blogger hasn't actually said. I thought there was a real risk that such good folk might claim I was commenting on Mueller's statement. And we live in a world in which we are even apparently in some way held responsible if we utter something which others, even deliberately, 'misunderstand' and distort ... as our beloved Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI discovered on more than one occasion.
I was not writing about Mueller, because when I wrote it, his remarks had either not been made or had not reached my ears. [IS THAT CLEAR ENOUGH?]
Furthermore, you will see that I was not commenting about people (like the Cardinal) who speak publicly, clearly, and on the record; but about a species of anonymous censorship. For the same reason, nobody (except people who make trouble by deliberate falsification) could suggest that I was writing about the Bishop of Lancaster, who has been open and on-the-record about his conduct with regard to one of his own canonical subjects.
My reason for writing this piece in the first place? I wrote it because I felt the need to give a frank explanation of something I was about to do, which, I thought, might cause raised eyebrows. This was, to do a Review of a book written by the bogeyman at the bottom of the garden, the negotium perambulans in tenebris with which Mummies who believe in 'the Spirit of the Council' terrify their Naughty Children: Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. (Benedict XVI referred to him as 'this great man of the Universal Church' ... today is his Obit. CAPD.) (That Review, in five parts, was fully published between March 9 and March 17.)
I share it with you now because of a considerable apprehension I feel, that there is abroad a spirit of suppression, of which I disapprove, of the expression of certain viewpoints. I hope I am wrong.
So here it is.
I doubt whether there is any truth in the rumour, which I've heard from more than one source, that the Franciscans of the Immaculate are being done over because they published, in Italian and English, a book by Mgr Brunero Gherardini called Concilio Ecumenico Vaticano II: Un discorso da fare; Anglice autem The Ecumenical Vatican Council II: A much needed discussion. I doubt it, because it would seem like using a sledge-hammer to crack a nut. If it were true, that would surely be most unfortunate. After all, we live in an age in which dissident minorities repeatedly ask for dialogue ... beg that "their story be heard" ... and there seem to be prelates who turn to them an ear which is less than deaf. But few Management ears seem to compete to hear voices which, after fifty years, seek to set that Council within a new theologico-historical context. This appears to be one sin, one dissidence, too far. And, to this toxic mixture, the name 'Lefebvre' can only add a yet deeper degree of toxicity.
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.