SPUC: Nothing Doing
Unlike the loftier kind of Kartholick I think the blogosphere and social media is great for Catholicism. The speedy exchange of information, the cleansing disinfectant of sunlight being shone on murky corners, the crackle of commentary zipping through cyberspace, unfiltered and unspun rebalances the scales of power in favour of the ordinary orthodox worshipper at the expense of the superannuated bureaucrat.
That's the positive side of the blogosphere balancesheet accounted for. There is a debit column too to which one is constrained to enter the inevitable wasting time. Vanity publishing at the click of a mousepad is one hell of an easy way to while away the hours one should be spending on more productive activities, hence the twitter and facebook blocks many employers slam on their computer systems. All this brings me neatly to the subject of SPUC, or more specifically John Smeaton since tanto monta, monta tanto, they arguably amount to the same thing.
In January 2008 the John Smeaton SPUC Director blog-of-sorts (it doesn't allow comments so can't be called a real blog) was launched and boy did he take to sort-of-blogging like a duck to water. In fact it's difficult to tell what else he does other than broadcast his views on such diverse issues as homosexuality, homosexuality and er, homosexuality day after remorseless day.
Contrary to the impression given by the description of SPUC as "a leader in the educational and political battle against abortion", there's precious little evidence that Smeaton's SPUC engages in anything so vulgar as parliamentary lobbying and that's without going into the difficult relationship it has with Pro Life parliamentarians. Indeed if one is so bold as to enquire what precisely SPUC Smeaton is doing politically to achieve its aims one is typically met with a variety of dog-ate-my-homework excuses for its doing nothing. As to education, well nothing was done about this particular story. Note this, dear reader, when I say nothing was done, I mean Nothing and that that Do Nothing policy was determined right at the very top of the organisation.
I suppose there's a twisted logic to Smeaton SPUC's Do Nothing policy. Doing something at work would distract from the crucial business of sort-of-blogging and there's no denying how seriously that's taken. Why, it's a veritable team effort as Smeaton makes clear, graciously acknowledging the help of SPUC's staff, supporters and advisers for their help in researching, writing and producing his sort-of blog.
For more on this sorry state of affairs see Caroline Farrow's superb blogpost, Society for the Purgation of Unorthodox Catholicism and her follow up post, Building for Life.