Changes at Off the Record

Changes at Off the Record

It seems everybody has advice for Catholic World News’ Off the Record blog. Some of it is a matter of style: they don’t like the tone of criticism of bishops, for example. Some of it is valid and that’s why we’ve instituted an important change. At times we had up to three pseudonymous authors: Diogenes, Cheshire, and Antigone. The reasons for that was that the authors requested it because of their high-profile and the chance that someone with power over them would silence them for their unpopular views (cf. Fr. Rob Johansen and Fr. Bryce Sibley for examples.)

But I had already begun to realize that too much anonymity watered down the content and gave no reason for any to trust what these people had to say. Phil Lawler and I knew that these were extremely trustworthy and well spoken people, but the readers didn’t. So we instituted a new policy that only Diogenes would remain anonymous and that other authors would have to use their real names. If what they had to say couldn’t be said with their real names, then it wouldn’t be said.

Diogenes remains because he has a long history with us that predates Catholic World News and in fact goes back to the beginnings of Catholic World Report magazine. Pseudonymous editorialists have a long literary tradition and we see no reason to end that just because Diogenes now contributes to a blog. Besides, his position is such that he cannot reveal his identity, yet the commentary he provides is both entertaining and insightful. He will remain.

Don’t let anyone say we don’t listen to constructive criticism