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Catholic Culture Dedication
Catholic Culture Dedication

A noisy minority with an outsize influence

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Oct 28, 2019

There’s a downright funny sentence from an article in The Atlantic by Rachel Donadio, entitled, “Pope Francis, the Revolutionary, Takes on the Traditionalists”:

In the culture war between traditionalists and progressives over the future of the Church, the pope may be on the progressive, inclusive side, but his traditionalist critics have access to social media, which has an outsize influence in shaping perceptions.

Let’s see: On that “progressive, inclusive side” stands Pope Francis, who runs the Roman Curia, steers the Synod, and appoints bishops. Directly or indirectly he controls the pontifical universities, the Vatican communications machinery, the corps of apostolic nuncios serving in every country of the world. His Jesuit allies run colleges and universities with billions of dollars in endowment, employing thousands of professors who lean toward the “progressive, inclusive side.” And they have the undoubted support of a lopsided majority in the mass-media outlets.

Ah, but traditionalists have access to the social media! (And—am I missing something—liberals don’t??)

If I could call on dozens of tenured professors from Notre Dame, Georgetown, Fordham, and Villanova to defend me at a moment’s notice—with all the PR machinery of their schools behind them—I wouldn’t worry too very much about the “outsize influence” of some lone critic with a blog. Unless I had something to hide.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: nix898049 - Oct. 30, 2019 1:13 PM ET USA

    My suspicion is that Rachel Donadio is somehow related to Yogi Berra.

  • Posted by: Eric - Oct. 29, 2019 10:19 AM ET USA

    As always Phil, you hit the nail on the head.