The main fuzzy place (that I doubt anybody has really given sufficient thought to) is the matter of the “Catholic Cookies and Milk” blogs and websites set up by well-meaning folk who just wan’t to swap recipes, gab about what interests them, and so forth from the perspective of a Catholic layperson. The new media have given abundant scope for honest, well-meaning people to stick the name “Catholic” on to a plethora of things, because they happy to be Catholic. That is basically how this blog get started (as well as a million others) and it has never pretended to be a, alternate magisterial authority, just an expression of hearty personal conviction. When I became aware of canon 216, I checked with the Archdiocese of Seattle to see if the blog was according to Hoyle. The person I talked to at the chancery had a reaction that basically went, “What? Are you kidding? We don’t have time to micromanage stuff like this. Your blog is fine. Forget about it.” I suspect that will be the norm anywhere in the world–unless some self-appointed prophet decides that God has anointed him to pronounce judgement against the vast majority of Catholics and their shepherds and “expose their lies and falsehoods” and gather a following to himself of fellow Real Catholics bent on perpetually elevating their personal preferences about things to the level of dogma. As Ed Peters puts it:
I don’t know how many small initiatives by Catholics use the word “Catholic” in their title nor, of those that do, how many have no authorization for it. Let’s assume, lots. If the Voris/RCTV matter is a wake-up call against slapping the label “Catholic” on every activity carried on by Catholics, fine by me. But, as a practical matter, I doubt that ecclesiastical authority is going to see grandma’s blog, “Catholic Cookies and Milk”, wherein she recounts what’s being read by the parish book club and how much her cats hate the snow, as topping their to-do list. If, later, though, CC&M morphs into a multi-million dollar broadcast operation self-appointed to expose lies and falsehoods among Catholics and throughout the world, I might reconsider.
Anyway, I’m glad this little contratemps has educated me about Canon 216 and prompted me to contact the Archdiocese to cross that little t and dot that little i. If my bishop later decides “Catholic and Enjoying it” is a problem, I will happily change the name. I hope Real Catholic TV complies with the orders of the Archbishop of Detroit–or does an expose of its own lies and falsehoods as readily as it accuses others.