1. Catholics are not obliged to agree with every activity of a Pope or Bishop - they have a freedom to believe that this or that particular action on the part of the Holy Father or of their Diocesan Bishop is unwise or wrong.
2. Catholics are obliged to maintain a unity, or communion, with their local Bishop and the Holy See. One can view this maintenance of communion as being a juridical matter (it is); but one should also see it as something to be lived in spirit as well as just in the letter. This is a constant call to conversion, to the living of communion more and more fully.
3. One way of synthesising points 1 and 2 might be to say that a Catholic might articulate their concern about a particular action or initiative - about the issue concerned - but they should try to take care that they do not attack the person of their Bishop or the Holy Father.
4. Another issue arising from points 1 and 2 is that those who regularly offer criticism of their Bishop and/or the Holy See can easily take on the mantle of being a kind of alternative magisterium. This particularly happens when the criticism is offered, repeatedly, in the media, both new and old; it can be just as true of those of a traditionalist mind set as it can be of those of a liberal mind set. Once this happens, the question of keeping communion in spirit as well as in letter is very much in play.
5. My experience of Catholic life is almost completely an experience of the pontificates of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. Just at the human level, to have two Successors of Peter, one after the other, with the intellectual calibre of these two is quite remarkable. I have some sense of Pope Paul VI, and the more I "discover" him the more I think he can be underestimated in the light of his successors in the See of Rome. The point to this is that, point 1 above notwithstanding, I think we can have a solid underlying trust in the way in which they have done and do carry out their mission. There is no justifiable reason for a Catholic to have an underlying suspicion of either of these two Popes.
6. It is point 4, with a glance to points 3 and 5, that William Oddie is getting at when he writes, with tongue to certain extent in cheek, that
... once you start thinking you are a better and more faithful Catholic than he [ie the Holy Father] is, you are well on your way to the funny farm.6. What I feel that I am seeing from those who blog from the perspective of a traditionalist mind set is the appearance in the media of this kind of alternative magisterium, and of a criticism of Pope John Paul II that moves from specific issues to being ad hominem. And, just as a Catholic is not obliged to feel that everything a Pope does is wise, neither is a Catholic obliged to think that everything that appears on Catholic blogs is right.