Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron hosted an invite-only meeting of Catholic media professionals last week to discuss “disturbing trends in the online Catholic world,” including the rise of “radical Traditionalist” movements that are often marked by personal attacks and vitriolic commentary.

The private meeting took place July 29 via Zoom and was confirmed to NCR by Brandon Vogt, content director for Word on Fire Catholic Ministries. 

Vogt said that the meeting was initiated at his suggestion and had a threefold purpose, to discuss:

  • A “culture of contempt” among Catholics online;
  • The rise of “tabloid style” news in the Catholic press, “often in service of accruing web traffic and video views”;
  • The influence of the so-called “radical Traditionalist” (or “rad-trad”) movements online. 

“Rad trads” are often young Catholics who prefer traditional liturgy, including the Latin Mass, and subscribe to more conservative political beliefs and religious practices.

Vogt said the meeting of Catholic media professionals discussed the online behavior of traditionalists who “ruthlessly criticize the pope and bishops, and question the authority of the Second Vatican Council, often to the point of repudiation.”

In an interview with National Catholic Register earlier this year, Barron suggested that bishops may want to consider introducing “something like a mandatum for those who claim to teach the Catholic faith online, whereby a bishop affirms that the person is teaching within the full communion of the Church.”

NCR has confirmed that representatives of America Media, Catholic News Agency, Catholic News Service, Crux and Our Sunday Visitor were present on the call.

Full story at National Catholic Reporter.