Catholic Writing: Some Modest Suggestions
So you want to write about Catholicism, because you love Christ and His Church and want to give your little contribution in these disturbing times. Congratulations. More power to you. High five, and all that.
I would like, here, to give some little, very personal suggestions about how to make it work. There are people still reading this blog after eleven years, so perhaps I know one thing or two. So there we are:
- Get a day job
Unless you are a priest, or a bishop, I am not sure that living out of your faith is really a good idea. It can work for some, it will not work for most. The fact is: conflicts of interests will be everywhere. Say, Traditionalism goes out of fashion and you have a family to feed. What do you do, start chanting Kumbaya? I would suggest that a day job giving you the authentic independence to write what you want is the best thing to do. Mind, you might make it work the other way, too. But I think you are making your life difficult.
2. Write anonymously
Be smart, young boy (or girl). History goes in cycles, and we might be on a trajectory that leads to persecution. I love history, and have been around the block a couple of times. I think I can spot historical cycles better than many. The danger of being in a persecution cycle was clearly there when I started blogging, and it has certainly increased in the last years. It is already manifesting in several, more or less subtle ways. I am not sure that real, all-out, brick-hard persecution is coming at some point, but the danger is a clear and present one. A good Catholic tries to exercise the virtue of prudence and does not invite persecution. You have decided to follow points 1 and 3 (below), so this one is not an issue anyway.
3. Get your ego out of your blog
Your friends don’t need to know that you are blogging. You don’t need to advertise yourself as a Catholic blogger or writer. In heaven, everybody knows who you are anyway. You don’t need to see your name in print. Your job is to help others, not aggrandize yourself. Point 3 is very important. I lost count of the times I saw this part blatantly ignored. If you follow point 2, point 3 will be so much easier. On your death bed, I think you will be happy of having followed both point 2 and point 3.
4. Get your issues out of your blog
Believe me, young boy (or girl). People really, really don’t care about your back ache, or the flu you had, or the moods of your cat. They don’t relate to your “daily journey”, and don’t want to read tedious accounts about how the quarrel with your dog, Hannibal, made of you a better dog-owner and, by reflection, a better Catholic, teaching you how we can learn from the wisdom God has given to dogs. The same goes, cela va sans dire, for your finances. People click your blog for inspiration, not to hear you whine. Ask for prayers, and let your readers pay you with them. These are the only finances your blog should be worried about.
5. Have a strong and well-formed faith, or avoid wasting your time.
Catholic blogging is for people who, bluntly stated, know what they write and have no doubts. If you have doubts, have the decency of not writing. No doctors prescribed you to write a blog, and everybody has his own calling. If you have doubts, Catholic writing is not your calling. Sorry to burst your bubble, pal, but you are making tiramisu’ with mascarpone gone bad here, so don’t ask other people to eat your dessert. Writing about your doubts is even much, much worse than having them, as it violates points number 3 and number 4, besides helping the devil. This is, to keep the metaphor, making tiramisu’ with dung instead of cocoa, eating it in public, and ask people to give a thought about eating it, too. How some people lack the basic decency of understanding that what counts is the Church, not their damned, ego-driven doubts, is beyond me. Again, every time I read this stuff I think this is the devil at work, leveraging on the writer’s ego. Believe me, points 2 and 3 are very, very smart.
6. Stop caring about your clicks
You follow 2 and 3, so you don’t care about fame or clicks. You have the freedom to write what you want, when you want it, and only when you think there is something that you should say. You don’t need to write a gazillion times about Francis having said something stupid, or worse, for the gazillionth time. Your readers know it. Write for the Blessed Virgin. She is the only reader you need to care about.
7. Keep your blog clean
You are not a newspaper. You are not a discussion forum. You don’t need to answer to everyone. You don’t need to give a voice to anyone. You don’t run a democracy. Cull mercilessly all the pests, the trolls, the doubters, the witches, the professionally offended, and the PC crowd. Your space is not for them. They have no right to be in it. Kick them out and live a relaxed life. Again, you follow points 1,2,3 and 6 already, so this one is quite natural.
There, I think it’s enough. I can’t imagine how a blogger who follows these points can write a blog that is not useful to his readers or well received in heaven. As we are all sinners (God knows I am!), we can all need some deposits in our eternity checking account (or, shall we say, “checking out account”).
So, there it is. If you liked this, it costs you a Hail Mary. If you start a blog because of this, I want the entire Rosary.