Using the word "Catholic" in blog title

I have a blog which uses the word "Catholic" in its title and url. I'm wondering what the rules within the Church are regarding the use of the word for things such as blogs and websites. I have heard that organizations or apostolates need the permission of the bishop of their diocese to use the word but does this also apply to internet sites as well?

Thanks in advance!

[quote="JMKC, post:1, topic:267575"]
I have a blog which uses the word "Catholic" in its title and url. I'm wondering what the rules within the Church are regarding the use of the word for things such as blogs and websites. I have heard that organizations or apostolates need the permission of the bishop of their diocese to use the word but does this also apply to internet sites as well?

Thanks in advance!

[/quote]

Hi.

Strictly speaking, the Code of Canon Law #215 and 216 note:

Can. 215 The Christian faithful are at liberty freely to found and direct associations for purposes of charity or piety or for the promotion of the Christian vocation in the world and to hold meetings for the common pursuit of these purposes.

Can. 216 Since they participate in the mission of the Church, all the Christian faithful have the right to promote or sustain apostolic action even by their own undertakings, according to their own state and condition. Nevertheless, no undertaking is to claim the name Catholic without the consent of competent ecclesiastical authority.

From observation, this appears to be only enforced in rare instances as "RealCatholicTV", whose reach in the media and the tone of it's founder has actually led the diocese where the show is headquartered to make a statement that the group is not authorized to use the term "Catholic."

Catholic Answers, in contrast, is an approved lay apostolate by its San Diego bishop.

It's probably OK to use "Catholic" as part of the name in a typical blog--just be sure to differentiate clearly in your posts between your opinion and Church teachings you speak about.

I would refer you to Canon 216:

Since they participate in the mission of the Church, all the Christian faithful have the right to promote or sustain apostolic action even by their own undertakings, according to their own state and condition. Nevertheless, no undertaking is to claim the name Catholic without the consent of competent ecclesiastical authority.

Thanks for the information, it's greatly appreciated!

Have a merry and blessed Christmas!

There are quite a large number of blogs that use Catholic in the title, and since this is well-known to internet users that blogs consist of "opinion" generated articles, it is not an strictly an apostolate, IMO. I think it might be necessary to differentiate one's blog in this way in order to appeal to readers who are Catholic, looking for Catholics to share the faith with.

In other words, you would not call yourself United Methodist, for example, but truly as you are, a Catholic using the web for blogging.

I believe that the restrictions of Can. 216 applies to those who desire to exercise a public apostolate, evangelizing with Catholic teachings on a regular basis. In that case, the recognito would definitely be necessary so that the targeted audience would know the organization is in compliance with the Church.

[quote="Sirach2, post:5, topic:267575"]
I believe that the restrictions of Can. 216 applies to those who desire to exercise a public apostolate, evangelizing with Catholic teachings on a regular basis. In that case, the recognito would definitely be necessary so that the targeted audience would know the organization is in compliance with the Church.

[/quote]

I think you're being a little to loose with your interpretation. It clearly says that no "undertaking" is to use the word Catholic with ecclesiastical approval. A blog is an undertaking.

[quote="stanczyk, post:3, topic:267575"]
I would refer you to Canon 216:

Since they participate in the mission of the Church, all the Christian faithful have the right to promote or sustain apostolic action even by their own undertakings, according to their own state and condition. Nevertheless, no undertaking is to claim the name Catholic without the consent of competent ecclesiastical authority.

[/quote]

That's nice.
It means nothing in the real world of civil law. No one owns the trademark on Catholic, I don't think anyone should hesitate to use Catholic in a blog title unless they are purporting to teach doctrine. E.g., I follow; Roman Catholic Cop, The American Catholic, Darwin Catholic, &c. Do they all have to change they titles?

I think you're being a little to loose with your interpretation. It clearly says that no "undertaking" is to use the word Catholic with ecclesiastical approval. A blog is an undertaking.

I disagree. When we register at CAF, for instance, we put our religious affiliation in our profiles specifically to identify us to others who read our articles/comments/blogs here. Blogging is not an official public apostolate for the purpose of teaching catholicism, when it is simply used to write opinions or comments, although it can serve a good purpose toward helping any who read these opinions to better understand our faith.

I have seen some horrendous errors wherein websites use the title of Catholic in their name, and if you like, I can post a whole list of RED-flagged site reviews from CatholicCulture. It would please me very much if this Canon applied to them and bishops could regulate them, but I seriously doubt it.

Of course, you are free to hold your own opinion or consult a canon lawyer.

[quote="didymus, post:7, topic:267575"]
That's nice.
It means nothing in the real world of civil law. No one owns the trademark on Catholic, I don't think anyone should hesitate to use Catholic in a blog title unless they are purporting to teach doctrine. E.g., I follow; Roman Catholic Cop, The American Catholic, Darwin Catholic, &c. Do they all have to change they titles?

[/quote]

Nobody is talking about civil law, and OP's clearly was with regard to the "rules within the Church." If a Catholic undertaking wishes to proceed within the rules of the Church, it must receive authorization from the ecclesia before using the name "Catholic." It's pretty simple, really.

[quote="Sirach2, post:8, topic:267575"]
I disagree. When we register at CAF, for instance, we put our religious affiliation in our profiles specifically to identify us to others who read our articles/comments/blogs here.

[/quote]

Identifying oneself as "Catholic" is not the same as using the name "Catholic" in the title of a specific undertaking.

Of course, you are free to ...] consult a canon lawyer.

Good idea. Here's a quote from the Canon Law Society of America commentary on that canon:

"The use of the name "Catholic" could (at least) suggest tht a specific effort represents the Church itself or is officially accepted by the Church."

Well, you could be right, IDK. The OP will have to use prudent judgment and play it on the safe side. Perhaps a new name, with an identity of Catholic in its mission statement would be appropriate.

[quote="Sirach2, post:10, topic:267575"]
Well, you could be right, IDK. The OP will have to use prudent judgment and play it on the safe side. Perhaps a new name, with an identity of Catholic in its mission statement would be appropriate.

[/quote]

I agree, prudence in this undertaking is probably best. I don't see anything violative of the canon in identifying oneself as Catholic in a mission statement.

Something I learned when reading the commentary on this canon is that there it is unclear as to how to determine the competent ecclesiastical authority for a particular undertaking:

The authority competent to give such consent is not spelled out in this canon. It may be inferred, however, from parallel places in the Code in keeping with canon 19. When dealing with associations, two specifications are made. Canon 305, §2 entrusts the vigilance of all associations to the Holy See, and to the diocesan bishop for diocesan associations insofar as they are active in his diocese. As regards the erection of public associations, universal and international ones require action by the Holy See; national associations are erected by conferences of bishops; and the diocesan ones are set up by the diocesan bishop (c. 312, §1). While granting the use of the name “Catholic” for apostolic initiatives is not the same as erecting a public association, the apostolic work is often joined to an association or results in one. The authorities specified in canon 312 would at least be competent, although the approval of an individual diocesan bishop may be sufficient (c. 305, §2).

So perhaps OP should consult with a parish priest or a representative from the local diocese to decide how best to proceed.

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