Uneasy Truce: Vatican Spokesman Will Not Sue Canadian Blogger for Public Criticism

TORONTO — A Canadian blogger who has been sharply critical of Pope Francis and his English-language spokesman for their perceived politically and socially liberal views will not face a lawsuit, as he had feared.

On March 4, David Domet, author of the traditionalist Vox Cantoris blog, received a threatening letter from the law firm representing Basilian Father Thomas Rosica, CEO of Canada’s Salt+Light TV and English-language spokesman for the Vatican. The letter demanded that Domet immediately and publicly retract all statements on the blog regarding Father Rosica — nine posts in all — and that he post a public apology by Feb. 22.

The Toronto law firm of Fogler Rubinoff, which offered its services at no charge, alleged that Father Rosica “is incurring and has incurred damages” as a result of “false and defamatory statements, including damages to his reputation, work and service to the Church.”

But after the letter raised concerns among Catholics about free speech, Father Rosica issued a statement explaining that he had never intended to sue and that the letter was merely a request to “cease and desist” what he called “frivolous calumny.” No lawsuit was ever launched against the blogger, Father Rosica insisted, and he indicated the matter is now closed.

The contretemps exposed the tenuous relationship between the hierarchy and some elements of the Catholic media. At issue is, first, whether a Catholic blogger (like Domet) should write in a way that is deemed by some to be inflammatory and uncharitable; and, second, whether a public official (such as Father Rosica) has the right to expect that he will not be criticized in the public square…