Austen Ivereigh has an interesting article in America in which he calls for a "covenant of civility" amongst bloggers and also, I presume, he would include journalists and other commentators on the state of the Church.
I agee with him, at least in part, I often do. He also apologises for using the term "Taliban Catholics". I find that term distasteful but I think some bloggers and journalist, and commentators do tend towards the "Taliban", others are just "robust". So robust that I can't be bothered to read them, and I suspect few do.
I am less happy with Mr Ivereigh's suggestion that people should stop identifying dissent for what it is, after all the Pope himself said to our Bishops on their Ad Limina visit, "
It was the failure to hold to account that lead to the crisis caused by cover-up following the abuse scandals, which . There are in the Church necessary tensions, Paul rebukes Peter publicly, and is happy to tell the story afterwards, yet he also seeks to be obedient and in communion with Peter in all things. If the Church in the last forty years lacks anything it is a loyal opposition. The fudging of the Masgisterium has lead to a catechetical and moral wasteland. Thank God for prophetic voices like Daphne McLeod who has demanded clear and authentic catechesis and John Smeaton who continuously points out the dangers of our anti-Life culture, and tendencies towards it in the life of the Church.
In many ways these and others are prophets, as are the various disgruntleds who follow in their wake, they are necessarily critics of bishops and clergy. They are a necessary source of scrutiny. Like John the Baptist they have a duty to make us uncomfortable. The bishops and clergy are called to hold in communion, to gather the broken and the weak, to work for conversion and consensus, to walk at a pace the flock as a whole can follow as the gently lead it onward. The role of the prophet is to be the lone voice in the desert, crying out aloud, rebuking, urging, condemning, even threatening, to point out dangers. It is often their role to be downright and uncivil, to actually get angry, even to be abusive; often of course this might well be sign of lunacy but one man's prophet is another man's nutter.