Everyone can sign the petition of support here.
I've been watching the reaction to the Filial Correction on the media - though I've certainly not read all of it - and the Catholic reaction in favour and against are both very interesting.
The reaction in favour has been overwhelming. At the time of writing the petition in support of the document has over 4,000 names, despite being very much an afterthought and not being integrated into the publicity.
But more important has been the tone of responses, and the range of people who have responded positively. Over the last forty years and more the 'conservative' end of the theological debate has been riven by disagreement about how bad things really are, and how strongly criticisms should be expressed. It sometimes seemed that every initiative by a conservative group would be denounced, simultaneously but by different people, as being excessively aggressive and as making too many concessions to liberalism: as being too strong and too weak. Differences of opinion on exactly how to protest about problems are inevitable, but these disagreements have at times become so violent as to cripple conservatives' ability to act at all.
This is not happening at all with the Correctio Filialis. Not everyone thinks that the wording and the general approach is perfect - of course not - but we are not being attacked by fellow-conservatives and traditionalists. I think this is extremely significant. A consensus has formed among those serious about the Faith that things have reached a point where such action is at least reasonable, and derives from sincere love of the Church and reasonably well-informed thinking about the theological issues. For a vast number of conservative Catholics, the response has been relief: someone at last has said it.
So who is opposing us? I think the long-established 'liberal' side of the argument on theological issues would be content to ignore us. There is no reference to the Catholic story of the day, on prominent display in the Daily Mail, the New York Times, The Times, and various other places, on the PrayTell blog at the time of writing. A journalist from The Tablet spoke to me today, but I fancy the result will simply be a short news item.
No, it is the strange new phenomenon of hyper-ultramontanist Francis-partizans who have taken up the fight. They are helpfully gathered together in a National Catholic Reporter article. They seem very worked up, and have developed a sort of all-purpose invective, which can be applied to any topic: the people they don't like are 'hypocrites', aren't very grand and well-connected, and are few in number. As we philosophers say, an argument that can prove too much, ends up proving nothing at all.
Search that article from end to end and you won't find a single objection to the content of the document. And here's something else. The writer of the article, Joshua J. McElwee, not only has no reaction to these spluttering accusations, in his article, from a supporter of the Correctio Filialis, but in preparing it he never took the first step in trying to get one. I know this because that step would be writing to me, at the email address included in the press release as the media contact. I have spent all of today and much of yesterday on the phone to or writing emails to journalists: the Associated Press, LifeSite, radio journalists from Poland, journalists in Rome, CNN, The Tablet, you name it. But from Joshua J. McElwee I have not heard a peep. He didn't want to hear the other side of the story. He just wanted to put together a few quotes from a tiny clique of chums. This isn't journalism, this is the Party Line.
On the one hand, they are desperate to make little of us: they don't want to quote us, they think we are insignificant, it's just a few people, move along there, there's nothing to see. On the other hand, they can't actually bear to look away. They can't stop tweeting and writing about it. We represent a totally insignificant threat that is absolutely terrifying and must be crushed at all costs.
To be fair to them, I think they may have an insight into the affair which the conventional liberals lack. I rather think we really are more significant than our numbers and our academic standing might suggest. So much so, in fact, that the Vatican itself has gone to the trouble of blocking access to the Correction Filialis website from Vatican computers, which appears rather symbolic, if not ludicrous.
|In that enormous silence, tiny and unafraid,|
|Comes up along a winding road the noise of the Crusade...|
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