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Vatican’s proposed Soviet-style tactic to quash dissent invites questions, derision

Doug Mainwaring Doug Mainwaring Follow Doug

October 29, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Vatican has indicated that it will adopt the tactics of leftist activists and seek to silence the voices of those who don’t fully agree with the agenda of the current pontificate.

The final Youth Synod Document proposes a system to “certify” Catholic sites in order to counteract what it deems to be “fake news about the Church.”

“Final document from #Synod2018 suggests that in the digital age there is a need to certify Catholic websites in order to verify if the groups are actually Catholic,” tweeted Crux’s Christopher White.

Keen Vatican watchers were quick to zero in on the troubling proposal embedded in paragraph 146 of the final Youth Synod Document, recognizing it as part of a continuing effort by progressive forces within the Church to rid itself of criticism by shutting down conservative Catholic websites. 

Many saw it as outlandish. 

“In other words,” tweeted Thomas Peters, “Austen Ivereigh and all the other Francis enablers want to move beyond blocking the tweets of everyone they disagree with to blocking their websites too.”

“Yeah, that’ll happen,” wrote Fr. John Zuhlsdorf in his Fr. Z’s Blog. “And guess who would be in charge of something like that.”

Zuhlsdorf predicted that such a measure would trigger the exact opposite effect, awakening a conservative sleeping giant, unleashing many more critical voices.

“If they want to know the meaning of total, unrestricted and asymmetrical warfare just try that,” he continued. “They won’t know what hit them.”

The Vatican Post Office, a twitter account that often offers humorous takes on Vatican missteps, immediately recognized the inherent danger in such a scheme and delivered a pithy, albeit stinging, response: 

The Vatican wants complete control of Catholic messaging

The Vatican is still reeling two months after former papal nuncio Carlo Maria Vigano published his first testimony revealing scandalous details about the hierarchy’s handling of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s decades of homosexual abuses against seminarians and adolescents. 

Vigano’s truth-telling was viewed as a betrayal by progressive prelates who want to fully detoxify homosexuality and normalize it within the Church.

The Vatican’s certification proposal raises numerous questions

“Vatican leaders are now calling for Catholics on the Internet who do not meet their approval to be censored. The censorship would come in the denial of official certification from the Holy See,” explained Michael Voris at churchmilitant.com.

While details about how the process would work have not been disclosed, “What is clear is that leaders in the Vatican are feeling the heat and are concerned about continuing to lose control of their carefully constructed narrative,” said Voris.

Voris then offered a litany of important questions raised by the synod proposal:

●       What would be the criteria for applying and being granted certification?

●       How many sites would be eligible?

●       Is the Vatican communications office sufficiently staffed with people fluent in multiple languages to review each website during the application?

●       How frequently would the renewal process be triggered?

●       Would a renewal process even exist?

●       What would be the mechanism for revoking a "certification" already granted? (The presumption is that the certification would not be in perpetuity, but even that is a presumption.)

●       Would "certification" apply to just postings designated as news, or would it extend to commentary?

●       And if commentary would be included, would certifiers sitting in the Vatican communications basement be sufficiently trained in cultural nuances and social circumstances to render a verdict on the commentary?

●       If a given commentary on a newsworthy issue were determined to be out of bounds by the Vatican toleration and certification police, would that one instance trigger an automatic revocation of the certification?

●       If not, how many "chances" would be granted before the certification would be withdrawn?

Pointing out that thousands of articles in many languages would have to be reviewed daily, Voris notes that a “behemoth” bureaucratic agency would have to be created to handle the workload.

Voris sees inclusion of the impractical proposal in the final synod document as a thinly veiled ploy. “The real reason any talk like this is being presented in official Church documents is because it creates the appearance that some Catholic sites are simply untrustworthy and should not be followed.”

Multifaceted attack?

The proposal comes just as other forces within the Church have launched campaigns to shut down conservative websites.

Jesuit Fr. James Martin recently “urged his nearly one million social media followers to get Facebook and Twitter to shut down LifeSite and Church Militant,” reported Austin Ruse, president of C-fam, in Crisis Magazine. “He also called on his followers to complain to their bishops. He, too, believes these groups must be silenced.”

“Fr. Martin charges that outfits like Church Militant and LifeSite are nothing more than social media mobs sent to harass the innocent,” continued Ruse. “However, counting Facebook and Twitter, Fr. Martin’s social media presence is twice the size of Church Militant, LifeSite, and Lepanto combined. And Martin has never hesitated to unleash this sometimes-threatening social media mob.”

“Making false charges is straight out of Fr. Martin’s playbook,” he added. 

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