Friday, December 2, 2016

Blocked by a Cardinal: The Napier Interview


Cardinal Wilfrid Napier of Durban South Africa has blocked me on Twitter. This is in one sense strange, as to my knowledge I have never publicly mentioned Cardinal Napier on this blog nor have I interacted with his Twitter account in any way. To be honest, until yesterday I couldn't have even told you that Cardinal Napier was based in Durban.

But it isn't strange in another sense in that many Catholic Twitter users have reported that they have also been blocked by Napier without any understanding of why he may have done so. I can only assume that he, or more likely someone in his office, gets a list from someone else in the blocking business - Antonio Spadaro or Thomas Rosica or whomever - of "problematic" Catholics, and simply inputs them. Why anyone, let alone a cardinal would bother doing this is beyond me.

And the blocking thing may not be merely ideological. This tweet is poignant:
I've been blocked, but because the show must go on, I decided that this wouldn't stop me from doing an interview with the Cardinal, conducted, appropriately enough on Twitter.

The interview was conducted yesterday via tweets. Everything was "on the record" and the discussion was frank but cordial.
Mahound's Paradise: Good morning, Your Eminence. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer some questions about the contemporary Church. 
Cardinal Napier: 
MP: Before discussing current issues, I thought I'd ask if you could give readers a sense of who you are, how and when you entered the priesthood and so on and so forth. 
CN: 
MP: Thank you, Your Eminence. You were appointed Cardinal by Saint John Paul II in 2001. Did you know the late Pope well? 
CN: 
MP: Do you have any stories or funny anecdotes or anything? 
CN: 
MP: Thank you. If I may switch gears for the moment. The current Church is obviously confronting many challenges around the world. Are there any challenges or problems that you think are particularly pressing for the African Church? 
CN: 
MP: Or to flip the question. Are there any lessons for the rest of the Catholic world that might be learned from the African experience? 
CN: 
MP: The release of the Apostolic Letter Amoris Laetitia has clearly been one of the most important events of the current pontificate. What is your opinion on its significance? 
CN: 
MP: If it's not too presumptuous to ask, I think it fair to say that you were previously considered somewhat of a "conservative" within the cardinalate. Recently, however, you seem to have lined up with the "liberal" faction by defending the Pope's refusal to answer the "dubia" submitted by a group of other cardinals. Should others read anything into this or is all of it just silly gossip? 
CN: 
MP: Thank you. Moving on to politics. Brexit, thumbs up or thumbs down? 
CN: 
MP: Interesting. And the recent American elections. Same old same old or fascism triumphant? 
CN: 
MP: Thank you, Your Eminence. Now, if you'll pardon me, I have to ask about this blocking thing. It's not because I'm white, is it? 
CN: 
MP: I understand. No worries. Hey, what about that movie Zulu with Michael Caine. Did you find it as inspiring as I did? 100 men against 50,000 and all that? 
CN: 
MP: My mother's just fine, thank you. But I do need to follow up: How many other accounts have you blocked? 
CN: 
MP: That's incredible. I didn't know that was even possible. So, once the algorithm is written, you just press "run" and let it go? Sweet. 
CN: 
MP: Did Salt and Light give you the program or did you have to purchase it from them? 
CN: 
MP: Ha! That's what many of my friends also think of him. By the way, who are you voting for at the next conclave?
CN: 
MP: Come on, even though it's early, you must have some ideas. 
CN: 
MP: Wow, I didn't even know he was in the running. Do you mind if I make that a "scoop" on my blog? 
CN: 
MP: Thanks! And I'll make sure to link back to you. 
CN: 
MP: You're welcome. But back to Amoris Laetitia. Do you think it's an authentic part of the Magisteria? 
CN: 
MP: You know what I mean. The Magisterium. So, what do you think? 
CN: 
MP: Got it. Okay. Well, thank you, Your Eminence. This interview has been very productive, and I think it will be fascinating for my readers. So, now that we've hit it off so well, do you think you could unblock me? 
CN: 
MP:  I'll take that as a "maybe."

14 comments:

  1. Hahahaha! Everything is such a screwed up mess under Pope Francis. All we can do to not cry is to laugh.

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  2. Great interview! The Cardinal is very direct which is refreshing.
    Allow me to also answer the one about the recent US election though, the answer is no, fascism was defeated by electing Donald Trump president. If Hillary Clinton had won, fascism would have triumphed.
    I think all this tweeting and twittering is weird, the super weird when Cardinals and popes do it, even weirder to think of them as petty blockers.

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    1. Yeah. I mean if someone is trolling you, if every time you tweet something they reply with "Not" or "You jerky-jerk face" or whatever, then blocking is understandable, if still somewhat odd if you're a cardinal with 20.3K followers. But I never interacted with Cardinal Napier on Twitter, ever - unless I did it in my sleep or I'm currently having a pre-senior moment, etc.

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    2. Wouldn't it be crazy if they have a list of accounts to block? And they shared it amongst themselves? Although we may be approaching the point where nothing is weird. What can be called weird now! If someone had told us ten years ago what would be seeing we would never have believed it, and now here we are, with a pope that won't answer Cardinals and the faithful and Bishops that post snotty remarks to fellow Cardinals in a public forum.
      We're in the world of the bizarre now.

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  3. Enlightening silent interview...perhaps as Our Lord would have done?

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  4. "Hey, what about that movie Zulu with Michael Caine. Did you find it as inspiring as I did? 100 men against 50,000 and all that?"

    Pretty bad taste. And yes, I've seen the movie. Heck, I've been to the site of the Battle!

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  5. For those wishing the mortification of rejection I suggest you comment on columnists in the New York Times especially Ross Douthat. If you say something negative about the Pope Francis or positive about Trump you are often spiked. But it is important to keep trying.

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  6. Hey, what's happened to the Cardinal's responses? Perhaps a technical glitch have caused them to disappear. Currently, I can only view the MP questions.

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  7. MunickMan. As Senator Claghorn would say, "That's the joke son".

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  8. Wilfrid Bergoglio, Jorge Napier, Blaise + insert name of any loony .... interchangeable ad nauseam.

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  9. Thank you so much for the humor...so needed today in a very humorless world. Quite refreshing...in spite of the darkness that has descended upon our Church. Keep up the good work of keeping us informed of the shenanagins taking place - yet still able to make us smile. :)

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