The Pope, The Mug And The Finger
And it came to pass a famous blogging priest presented a new “line” of Catholic merchandise, and most notably of a mug, poking innocent fun at some of the not-so-impenetrable (but actually very clear) words of the Bishop of Rome against Traditionalists.
Promptly, other bloggers accused him of showing the finger to Francis, and one came to the point of suggesting he becomes a full time parish priest again. The “tolerance” of progressive bloggers is the source of ever new amusement.
I'd like to expand here on two subjects: the mug and the ministry.
As to the first, it is clear that whilst no malice is intended, a very mild criticism is implied in the creation – and purchase – of the product. It is very clear to everyone with a brain that Francis is, to put it very mildly, no friends of Traditionalists; an attitude expressing itself with cryptical, at time stupid, barely comprehensible meaning, but whose ultimate target is clear enough. The blogger in question returns, so to speak, the favour by expressing “criticism of the criticism” in the same veiled but, in the end, clear manner. Still, this is clearly no crusade. If this is called showing the finger, Stalin is truly among us.
As to the ministry: a blog like the one in question, with around 750,000 pageviews a day – own sources, and they from last summer – probably reaches between 5,000 and 10,000 people a day according to their surfing habits. This is the equivalent of a good number of healthy parishes. The readers of the blog are fed every week with an enormous amount of extremely instructive liturgical explanations, and Catholic content of extremely high quality. Whilst I think the attitude of this particular blogger towards the present disgraceful pontificate way too mild – and rather too mild even considering he is a priest – I cannot see how anyone can deny the great service made to Catholicism by a work like this; particularly when compared to the fluffy stuff of the “Patheos” blogger crowd, whence the criticism came.
I personally find this line of merchandising not a particularly lucky one. With its irony poked at barely comprehensible words containing an “inside joke”, the message is not accessible to the casual observer, which I think is what a bumper sticker or coffee mug for the workplace should be first and foremost. Yes, someone will ask, but many will ignore. Write on the mug “Proud Catholic Traditionalist” or the like, and see people reacting.
I thought I would report about this incident, in part to amuse and in part to point out to the usual intolerance of the tolerance crowd.
My suggestion to them is to relax. We are on the firing line, not them.