Someone just emailed me a link to an audio recording of a sermon for the First Sunday of Lent in the Extraordinary Form from the website Audio Sancto. The sermon is entitled “Quo Vadis Petre–Where Are You Going, Peter?”
I will have some things to say about it an a subsequent post. In regard to the content, for now I want simply to mention that I find it completely reprehensible.
But my reason for this post is a beef I have in general with Audio Sancto, a website with which I have been vaguely familiar with for some time. I never liked the idea that they withheld the names of the priests whose sermons they post. Their explanation is that if they were to publish the names, the priests would be inundated with requests for explanations and questions, etc. Since the priests whose sermons are posted are so busy with pastoral responsibility, we are told, this would make their lives very difficult.
I do not find Audio Sancto’s explanation for withholding the names of the priests adequate for the following reasons: 1) The laymen who run the sight are themselves anonymous. There is not a soul in the world who is willing to take responsibility for Audio Sancto, at least not on the website, nor anywhere else as far as I have been able to ascertain. 2) I know a number of priests, including myself up until recently, who regularly post sermons under their name. Unless you have the notoriety of Fr. Barron or someone like that, the precautions taken by Audio Sancto are not that necessary. 3) I find it hard to believe that anyone would organize a website in this completely anonymous fashion with many priests and technical people involved unless they felt that accountability was to be avoided.
In my opinion, especially when media content pertains to the faith, if you are not prepared to put your name on what you are producing, then you have no business posting it on the Internet. You produced it, recorded it, uploaded it and posted it. You (singular or plural) are responsible for it. Period. You want to use a pseudonym, fine, but don’t play the sock puppet and make sure that you can be contacted at least by email at a known address.
On the Audio Sancto “contact” page, there are no names and you are only presented with a message form, so you don’t even have access to an email address. Furthermore, the ghosts of Audio Sancto inform the potential interlocutor that, since the website is run by laymen (“from the beyond”), they cannot answer theological questions.
(Since I began writing this post, the ghosts have included large red type on their contact page that reads: “NB: Messages sent via this page ARE NOT read by priests!” (See comment below.)
Another reason I am posting this is because the ghosts of Audio Sancto fail to indicate on the website their own perspective on Catholic life, or even whether or not they are regularized Catholics, that is, not members of the Society of St. Pius X or another “irregular” group. The individual who sent me the sermon was under the impression that the priest who delivered it was a member of a regularized Traditional Mass community, but I find that a little hard to believe. I have no idea what the truth is in this matter, so I want to make clear that I am not insinuating anything. I just find it hard to believe that a priest in a ecclesiastically approved community would give such a disrespectful and arrogant homily directed against the person of Benedict XVI.
People in good faith are listening to the sermons on Audio Sancto, many of which I am sure are excellent, not realizing that some of those sermons may be laced with poison and are not properly labeled.
To Audio Sancto and all involved: Have the courage to take personal responsibility for your actions or stop publishing your opinions on the Catholic Faith.
Update, February 24, 2013: The audio file of “Quo Vadis Petre” has been removed from Audio Sancto. I commend them on this action.
I discovered this from a comment by Timothy Ephesus. See below.