I grew up in a Catholic Country. I can vividly remember the time when:
1. No one spoke of his “personal relationship” with Jesus.
2. No layman had a “ministry”, and
3. No one was “moved (or “called”) by the Holy Ghost” to do something.
To this day I can’t avoid being shocked atvthe way some Catholic commenters on the forums (or fora) I read around express themselves. It sounds to me as Protestant as that other habit, of quoting bible verses; as if the Devil could not quote the Bible himself, for his own purposes, at pleasure.
Let us see this a bit more in detail.
1. The traditional Catholic way of looking at the relationship with Jesus does certainly not exclude that this relationship be personal in an obvious way. But the Catholic always sees himself as part of the Church, and he puts this simple fact at the centre of his “relationship”. It’s a collective bond as much as it is an individual one.
The traditional Christian (= pre-Protestant) way of praying very often (not always: think of the Angele Dei) in the plural expresses this cooperative endeavour in a very natural way. Even in the “you and I”, the Catholic mixes the community of the faithful. For a Catholic, it’s always “we”.
The “personal relationship”, on the other hand, smells too much of “two-people rule”, which opens a huge door to any kind of, well, Made-to-measure “personal” rules (interestingly enough, you will notice that seriously orthodox people tend to avoid, even in Anglo-Saxon Countries, the “personal relationship” thing). They are, in my experience, also those for whom Jesus is The Awesomely Awesome Buddy. Not surprising, then with a friend it’s very easy to adjust to each other’s shortcoming, and tailor the relationship to preferred, individualised, and highly convenient patterns of behaviour.
2. The one with the “ministry” was also not heard as I was growing. I would, actually, not even know how to properly say it in my language. Again, it’s not that it cannot be said that every faithful has a role to play; but where I come from, “ministry” was a matter for the priest. Of whom there were, by the by, an awful lot, which probably further discouraged such usages even when the verbiage of V II was introduced in Church life. A layman who would spoken to us about his “ministry” would have been looked at as a funny kind of alien, in the best of cases.
3. Lastly, there is this habit – which grates me most in a Catholic – of saying that the Holy Ghost prompted one to do or not do something, etc. I find the phrase, and the mentality that is behind that, appalling to the point of quasi-blasphemy, and arrogant beyond words. If I (I mean: not St Francis or Padre Pio, but yours truly personally) were so presumptuous as to say to you that “the Holy Ghost inspired me to write a blog”, the inevitable consequence would be to claim for myself not only a special status as “favoured weapon of the Lord” but even, unavoidably, a status of quasi-infallibility for everything I write; it being not really thinkable that the Holy Ghost prompts me to write a blog and is then baffled and surprised at the bad quality of what I write, and all the errors with which I confuse the faithful.
The simple truth is that neither I nor anyone else can make such claims. We know that Providence is at work, but it is not for us to claim to be the help for it sent by the Lord Himself. We do our best as our lights allow us, and we hope that when the day of the redde rationem comes there will be some approval in heaven for what we have done on this earth; procuring us, if we are lucky, some brownie points against the multitude of horrible sins we – I, at least – have committed in our life, and for which I am deeply, deeply ashamed.
I must say that I keep reading these statements in blogs and comments. I suspect that many of them come from former Protestants, who have brought with them a forma mentis that is not the traditional Catholic one. Still, in many cases the influence of the V II newspeak, or of the many Prods in one’s circle of friends and acquaintances, must play a role. It is clear by assisting to certain Catholic Masses that everyone is invited to feel like a MiniMe Messiah, and rejoice at his own’s goodness. I wonder…
I am no Messiah. I have no claim of Official Endorsement. I am a wretched sinner, ashamed of his sinfulness. Just so you know…
Therefore, I will not write a blog, and cry Deus le volt.
As far as this little effort is concerned, I hereby declare the Holy Ghost entirely innocent of whatever piece of senseless drivel and unspeakable bollocks I might have been writing in these commenting and blogging years; senseless drivel and unspeakable bollocks which I dare to declare fully non-existent in my activity of both blogger and commenter; but for which blogging and commenting activity I for myself would even even think of claiming some sort of divine placet.
This little blog aims at defending and promoting Catholic orthodoxy. It does so in a highly personal way, the fruit of the traits – good or bad – of its author’s character. As Catholic truth can be learnt by everyone of sound disposition, there is no need – even if there was the desire – to claim special patents of inspiration. If you think this blog does its job well say a prayer, in your charity, for this wretched sinner. If you think it doesn’t I kindly ask you to avoid it, without being obnoxious and time-waster. In both cases, do not think that my pen is led by anything else than my good will and sincere love for Christ and His Church.
Father Blake has the usual interesting reflections about bloggers becoming less active of late, and concludes that, faced with the present Pontificate, many may prefer to scale down the activity.
I have not noticed any dramatic decrease in the blogging activity of the bloggers I follow; but the bloggers I follow tend to be a rather tough bunch, certainly not inspired to be silent by the barrage of heresy they are now confronted with every day. On the contrary: the heretical bullying of our Bishop of Rome and of the other prelates is met, in case, with clearer words.
Oh, if I had had a blog like theirs when I was lapsing from the Church. Oh for people around me ready to make clear to me that the bunch of idiots now running things are but a momentary flatulence in the digestive process of a Church that will expel all these heretics out of Her bowels, and will let them fall in the deep of the canalisation and, from there, in the mouth of Satan, where they belong. Oh for people ready to call a heretic a heretic, and an idiot an idiot, and a clown a clown, irrespective of their wearing the habit. But most of all: oh for brave people making very clear to confused Catholics that Truth can never change, and those who tamper with it will, bar an always welcome but not very probable repentance, pay the most horrible price for their insolence. Truth is an immense block of granite. The likes of Bergoglio and Baldisseri are merely stupid teens in Beavis and Buttheads style; they scratch at it with forks and dirty it with spray paint: thinking, in their arrogance and stupidity, that they will make any permanent change to it. Beavis and Butthead against Christ The King, that’s what it is. The outcome is all too predictable.
I read the reaction of Cardinal Baldisseri to the poor Italian priest expressing himself in an extremely soft way about public adulterers, and wonder when the likes of Baldisseri will own allegiance to Satan overtly, as they do it covertly, but with such rage, now.
These people have now become so shameless in their bullying, that of all times this is the one that should see blogging activity increase, not decrease.
Picture the usual halfway formed Catholic – or Christian – unable to understand what is happening, not well formed enough to mount his own reaction, and with the nagging suspicion that there is, in the end, no difference between the Church and a political party, ready to shift “priorities” as the mood around them changes. And therefore, no Truth. And therefore, very probably, no God. One blog, one blog only can make a huge difference in such lives. Then, they will say to themselves, I am not alone. Then, there are many like me. Then, there is a lot to learn and read, many other blogs like this perhaps! Perhaps books, and fora, and conferences! Then, Truth has not died!
Oh, how I yearned for information like the one I hope to spread with my blog; how would I have delighted in a call to battle with my fellow soldiers, rather than calls to be a nice neighbour who never kicks the cat, loves peace, sounds at all times like a man of questionable virility, and never forgets to water the plants.
True, we all had the Gospels. True, self-evident Truths were as self-evident then as they are now. But for most people, including myself, it takes the clarion call to discover the one and the other; it takes the place where one can go and be told: “we are not in the business of appeasing here; we are in the business of fighting for Christ. You will lose friends and acquaintances, you will be considered a very strange man and a hypocrite; you will be belittled, provoked, perhaps worse. But the Truth we fight for, it has already won; and may we, with God’s grace, avoid going down the canalisation, and in the mouth of Satan, like those stupid grown teens”
Now, more than ever, it is the right time to blog. Now, more than ever, it is the time to find harsh words against the Jezebels who prostitute themselves, and dare to prostitute the Church, to all kind of evil; against the army of prelates now competing with each other in becoming the willing accomplices of prideful adulterers, and shameless sodomites. They do it so that their own popularity may be increased, so that they may have a life of privilege and power, uncaring of a God in Whom they do not believe. But He looks at them, and will deal with them at the time He has appointed.
Some of them will repent, but the rapidly soaring tone and scale of the attack should leave no doubt in the mind of sensible people about the scale of Satan’s offensive. The 13 March 2013 marked the start of this offensive, and now we see the military operations in full preparation for an almost unprecedented, all-scale attack, that might well start in October and, let us make no mistake here, is coming to us in any way,without fail, unless the Lord calls an end to this madness first.
Love for the Church requires, it demands from us a righteous anger in direct proportion to the attack moved against her; the minions of Satan daring not only to confuse with weasel words, but – as in Baldisseri’s case – to openly attack with great virulence obvious expressions of Christian orthodoxy, and good priests trying to do their job, must be openly confronted, and presented to the confused, but hopefully thinking Caholic readership as the traitors, the bullies, the friends of the Enemy they are.
Whenever you read about one of them, reinventing Christianity for the sake of their own popularity, think of it: they are but temporary flatulences in the digestive process of the Church. The Church, accustomed from the start to deal with toxic waste, will expel them from Her bowels all right, like so many before and after them; to end up down in the canalisation, and in Satan’s mouth, where they belong.
I have no objection to censorship, if it is done within a settled legal framework; that is, by a qualified Censor librorum who, if he withholds a Nihil obstat, gives and is required to give precise reasons for doing so. I would have no criticism if the system were not only restored, but extended to the blogosphere, and, of course, to clerics and laics who write columns and editorials in 'catholic' journals! But it has fallen into disuse. My apprehension is that a public and canonical process might have been replaced by something furtive; that a bishop (or whatever) might act resentfully but covertly because of views which are doctrinally orthodox but which don't suit his personal agenda. Or that censorship might function as an informal, unminuted, understanding within an Inner Circle that X is 'off-message'; with subsequent disadvantages for X. In other words, I fear that what, at first sight, looks like a libertarian advance (the disappearance of formal Censorship), might in reality be simply a Bullies' Charter. As I have written before, I regard Dogma and Law as the safeguard of ordinary Catholics, both lay and clerical, against Arbitrary Power.
Firstly, I understand Father's concerns: when official control is substituted for unofficial suggestions to shut up, a huge door is open to, well, episcopal bullying. It grates me no end, for example, that in the matter of “Protect the Pope” the bishop asked Deacon Nick to stop blogging, without any public explanation of why a bishop asks a very public blogger to stop his very public blogging activity. Basically, it simply cannot be excluded Deacon Nick was requested to, ahem, “pull a Werling” and just be silent, losing his face as the bishop saved his. Fortunately, when Deacon Nick informed his readers of the fact he did not just state that he had decided to, but that he had been requested by the Bishop to, well, shut up; which in turn caused the many mails to the bishop; which in turn caused the press release with the notorious words I have already mentioned on this blog, and which put bishop Campbell, erm, rather in the soup.
Father Hunwicke's fear that “a Bullies' Charter” might be advancing is, therefore, entirely justified. Imagine that: you are a blogger priest, or a blogger deacon, and the Bishop summons you and tells you to stop blogging and not to tell your readers who has asked you to do so, in order not to foment “division” and “disharmony”. What now, skipper? When you add to this that that particular blogger has been asked by the bishop to stop blogging (call it as you want: that's what it is) because he was being a brave Catholic blogger, you get the picture.
Having said that, Father Hunwicke's censorship proposal is in my eyes entirely unfeasible. The huge number of blogging priests out there would cause an unmanageable administrative work and cost only to control what is going on; it would obviously be completely unrealistic to think that every blog post receives a previous nihil obstat, but it is not realistic to think that every blogger with holy orders receives one before starting to blog, and is monitored afterwards. This as we write the year 2014; but what might happen in the year 2024 or 2034 makes the idea of either previous control or institutionalised monitoring even less viable. Besides, if a nihil obstat is necessary for a new priestly blog, it would be very easy to put sand in the mechanism by just “delaying” approvals for new priestly blogs; there's no urgency to give approval to your blog, Father X; there are enough already of those.
Moreover, many priestly blogs exist exactly to provide a voice outside of the mainstream Vatican PC information. Would an excellent priestly blog like Traditional Catholic Priest obtain the coveted nihil obstat? I doubt it. What about Father Rodriguez? Or Gloria TV? Would we ever know that such and such an initiative was proposed and rejected, and why? You wish. It would be covert bullying instead of overt one; but in the end, much of a muchness. I do not doubt the likes of Nicholson and the other chap with the sword would obtain the Nihil obstat, but as Nicholson and his ilk are part of the problem we would be on square one.
This, only considering the blogs run by priests or deacons. If we extend the policy to the immense world of blogging laymen, the idea becomes utterly outlandish; besides the fact that most lay bloggers would react to the request of the bishop to stop blogging with a smile; if they are in a good day, that is. Hey, the bishops – and now the Bishop of Rome – are the main reason why they are blogging in the first place, so it would be like asking a physician to stop curing bubonic plague because there's an epidemy going on.
What to do, then?
My idea would be – and this is also what is going to happen, volens nolens – that everything continues as it is; that blogger priests blog because they are priests who feel they should blog and this is perfectly in line with the new evangelisation mantra, and that bishops stop them if they feel the blogger priest should be stopped; which unavoidably will – unless the priest does not even want to say that he was requested to stop blogging – be subject to public scrutiny, possibly involving not only bishop Campbell, but bishop Heinz and bishop Baxter as well.
Obviously, a priest or deacon can blog anonymously, de facto if possibly not de iure. The old and lamented Kreuz.net blog – forced to close by the German Gaystapo – was certainly the work of priests, and of excellent ones at that. But again, those must have been priests who needed that their bishop does not know they are blogging, lest the V II thought police intervenes.
The fact is, though, that by the grace of God we live in a time of atomised information sources, and this seems destined to increase in the foreseeable future. No bishop, no censor librorum, no Pope, not even the US secret services will be able to shut down this flow of information. The control of this tsunami of ASCII characters will be left to the reader, who will pick among the bonanza of sources those he find most worthy of his time. The reader will decide if he finds, say, Campbell's soup or the Deacon's pie or Mundabor's fettuccine to his taste, and there is no way anyone else can change this.
In short, this means that the best way for the bishops to prevent the spreading of bad blogging is by encouraging the spreading of sound Catholic instruction. This will in turn automatically filter away the bad sources, and reward the good ones.
Unfortunately, the spreading of sound Catholic teaching is exactly what bishop Campbell wants to prevent; which in turn means what we already know from the start: to wit, that bishops who try to stop bloggers are embarrassed by the bloggers making the job they are supposed but refuse to do: feed the sheep with sound instruction, fight heresy and heterodoxy, and care for the salvation of souls.
I prefer Mundabor's (or Deacon Nick's, or Father Z's) healthy homemade fare, and thank you very much.
There appear to be a number of bloggers and commenters around wondering “what’s going on” as a prestigious blogger stops blogging with rather difficult to understand arguments, and apparently another one – I will not link to it – has now started to insult the entire Trad culture of Internet blogdom.
Some say it’s blogger fatigue, but I am not persuaded this arguments works.
It is true that Catholic blogging – if properly made – exposes the blog author to both a mountain of daily bad news and the criticism of the V II – or worse – crowd accusing him of being oh so uncharitable. It is true that not every blogger will find in him the energy or, if you allow me the expression, the grit to go on undeterred. Unavoidably, the one or other will simply stop blogging, or blog much less, and recover that serenity that was probably going away. What he will not do, is to suddenly start attacking those values he defended, and those people who still defend them. When this happens, it cannot be fatigue; it will, I think, only be one of three:
1. The blogger in question has discovered he lives in a state of continuous conflictuality, and sees himself becoming bitter in the process. Of course, to stop blogging is at this point clearly an option.
2. The blogger in question was never sincere, and blogged with a desire – more or less admitted – of self-recognition as his first motive. Slowly, he will get to hate those ideas garnering him exactly the contrary of what he wanted, and will start thinking about taking a much softer and “inclusive” stance, imagining this is where applause and blogging glory await. He is probably not evil, rather stupid. He will be disappointed, as criticism in blogdom is only avoidable if no one notices your blog, or your blog avoids taking a clear position, ever.
3. He has simply been wounded by Satan, and starts to think like the enemy. When the implosion comes, it will be spectacular. I think of the “black sheep dog”, and still shudder. Whilst I think Father Corapi has laudably recovered from Satan’s wound, this must not necessarily be the case for everyone else. When a blogger start to write about Catholics being “homophobic”, I start questioning the opportunity of wasting my time reading the devil’s propaganda.
In the end, I would say that whilst Catholic blogging, properly made, is a taxing and stressful activity – mainly because you see amounts of rubbish going on the average joe reader does not even imagine; and for the more sensitive among us, because they are told they are “uncharitable” and “hurtful” – it does not follow this unavoidable stress must lead one to attack the very values in order to defend which he started to blog in the first place.
Blogging is for people who know what they are writing about, and know why they write it; who are under no illusion as to the criticism, insult or mockery this will attract; who are willing to have their day sullied by the squalid miseries of the worst of the world, from sodomy to euthanasia; and who are willing to soldier on nevertheless, knowing that if they are not criticised they are either still at the insignificance stage, or else poor Catholic bloggers.
Before starting to blog, ask yourself why you are doing it, and ask Mary to give you a very robust shield against the miseries of the world, and the attacks of base men.
You will have need for it.
There are bloggers – even excellent ones – who are of the opinion that contrary opinions to sound Catholicism should be allowed on their blog. The idea is, as I understand it, that out of the dialogue Truth will in some way result strengthened in the end. I must say I disagree.
Firstly, I would like to reiterate the point that if one wants dialogue or debate, he will find it everywhere in discussion fora; this is because those virtual place are there exactly for the purpose of discussion, and are therefore best suited for it. A blog – particularly the blog of an individual – is, by its nature, a place of exposition, not discussion. With his blog, the blogger generally says “this is the way I see, or do things”, and it does not really matter whether he blogs about Catholicism, cooking or the proper house training of dog puppets. Certainly, a blogger may want to make of his space a place of debate; but in this the fora are so superior that, unsurprisingly, there is where the discussions happen.
What I think is at play here is the pervasive, omnipresent Western idea that opposing views are something good in themselves and debate always necessary or, at least, useful. A society persuaded that “everything must be questioned” ends up forgetting that there are an awful lot of things that, actually, cannot be questioned, and by which “doubt” is only allowed as legitimate request for clarification, rather than suspension about the truth presented to one.
Unfortunately, it seems that the triumphal march of democracy as a political system, coupled with the progressive weakening of religious feelings, has led to the well-spread conviction that dialogue and discussion are necessary components of every part of our lives and, so to speak, the building material of our system of values. In the same way as democracy has become for many a religion to the point of even struggling to conceive a Catholic dictatorship, dialogue has become the obligatory component of religious instruction.
Were then, when you were at catechism or undergoing instruction for confirmation, dissenting voices invited? Was, perhaps, an atheist there, “offering” his “point of view” on, say, Transubstantiation, Immaculate Conception, or Incarnation? No it wasn't. Truth is accepted, not discussed. It is God's work, not the product of dialogue. My task is not to decide about its righteousness, but to know it as well as I can.
This simple concept must sound strange in times where even the Pope says or implies it is good to have doubts; but it is the way Truth was always understood by Catholics. Truth is not questioned, full stop.
Now, if we lived in times of sound Catholic instruction and proper Catholic clergy one could argue that Catholic blogs could be more lenient with dissenting voices; but I am persuaded that if we lived in times of sound Catholic instruction and proper Catholic clergy there would be no Catholic blogs as an Internet phenomenon in the first place, and the properly instructed Catholics would, if they feel so inclined, rather take the sword and go to battle in the Internet fora than click around to read again what they have just heard at Mass.
Alas, we live in times of extremely bad Catholic instruction, and utter dereliction of duty of most of the clergy; hence the army of bloggers.
The blog must therefore, if you ask me, fulfil part of the role the clergy refuses to fulfil: instruct the Catholics in the faith and keep them firmly rooted in it; no ifs, no buts, and no discussions. The person clicking a sound Catholic blog should know that he will not find, say, atheist propaganda there more than he would expect to find it at catechism. The small, but numerous, citadels of orthodoxy should not allow the lie to enter their walls more than a besieged city would allow a delegation of the besieging army to get inside the walls and explain to the population their point of view.
Again, this has become so natural nowadays that many a blogger – or a reader – would consider it either bad form or questionable mentality to keep them out. Everything must be discussed, weighted, pass the exam of our critical intellect before claiming the right to our approval.
It is everywhere. Some days ago a commenter posted in this blog what she “would think” about the salvation of unbaptised babies. She had looked at the problem, and had put herself in search of a solution that would satisfy her. How this squares with Christian teaching was just not relevant. One examines the question, thinks, concocts his own solution, that's it. Methinks there was no deliberate intent to rebel to received teaching there; simply a mentality of validity of one's critical assessment so ingrained that it would not even question its own premise: that one's own critical assessment must always be confirmed to Truth, or it has no value at all. If you ask me, this is the result of a society and a mentality that does not teach obedience to Truth anymore, and considers every question legitimate, and every doubt positive. Hey, the Bishop of Rome himself thinks in that way, and it is obvious granitic, unquestioning obedience to Truth gives him the creeps.
I invite every Catholic blogger out there to be intolerant – another word we should use more often, and better – because in the citadel of Truth it stands to reason the lie should not be tolerated. The culture of debate and tolerance at all costs and in all matters, even in matters of Faith, brought us the loss of the sense, often of the very concept of Truth.
These besiegers are out to pillage, rape and kill you. Don't let them in.
I read around of an otherwise unknown to me, but apparently respected priest launching a torpedo or two against “Traditionalist” Catholic bloggers, for the reasons you can easily imagine.
I allow myself here to express a couple of thoughts, which may or may not meet your approval.
Firstly, let me say my blogging activity – provided you want to call me a “Traditionalist” blogger; which is fine, though I am certainly not one of those who refuse to attend Novus Ordo masses – is first and foremost the result of the astonishing cowardice I have in the meantime elected as the main feature of the V II clergy. Whilst countless people like yours truly do not miss an occasion to risk losing even a dear friend rather than compromise on our allegiance to Jesus, it is rare to see a priest able and willing to even risk the one or other harridan in his own parish declaring that she is “hurt” by his being Catholic.
Whilst everyone of us must do his best, it is first and foremost the job of the priest to make himself unpopular so that he may save souls. The priest is also the one to whom a degree of unpleasantness – or worse – in the pursuit of his profession can and must be asked in much greater measure than to a layman. Why? Because he is a priest, period.
Blogs like mine – and countless others – are the result of the genuine suffering and righteous anger of many sincere Catholics who feel that the post V II clergy are culpable of dereliction of duty in the gravest of ways, and possibly in an unprecedented manner in the history of Christianity. Our elementary religious feeling simply rebels at seeing so much – I must say the word, because I find it appropriate – brown-nosing to the world, going on at all ecclesiastical levels since the beginning of the Sixties. This, and nothing else, is what leads us to blog. I for myself would not even dream of being here at 11pm writing this angry blog post, rather than sitting with a good book, a glass of Porto and Schubert in the background, if I knew the clergy are doing their job. If they did, blogs like ours would be of no interest for the reader even provided we were – which would not be my case – willing to write them. People would, very simply, follow the events in the Catholic world through the interviews, the homilies, the books, the blogs, the calls to battle of the good clergy themselves. If we had a halfway decent clergy, every church would resound of their rage against the abominations and godlessness of our times, and the parish magazines would contain long lists of locally, nationally and internationally excommunicated politicians. Instead, the pulpits – if they are still used – are generally used for convenient waffling about peace, luv, social justice, & Co.
We talk and write, because our priest and bishops and popes don't. Our blogs are read, because good Catholics have pretty much nowhere else to go.
Secondly, most of us are not priests. We do not pretend to be what we aren't, and we do not demand – nor would we have any right to – that our words are listened to with particular attention or deference because of some role that we have. Mostly, we are angry laymen fed up with the ravaging of Christianity whilst the main concern of the clergy seem to be to encourage illegal immigration, or to pursue a populist agenda of the stupidest sort. As a result, each and every reader who happens to land on our blogs is forced to evaluate it according to the quality of the arguments therein contained, rather than the position of the one making the argument. The explosion of traditionalist Catholic blogging seems to indicate the arguments of the bloggers aren't bad. Alas, they can't be silenced with Clericalist arguments, because these aren't unknowing peasants. Too bad, uh, Father Grima?
Thirdly, many bloggers and commenters – like myself – are totally anonymous. Not even my mother knows that I write a blog. Absolutely no one this side of heaven, though I am sure the Blessed Virgin is aware. If I were to get knocked down by a bus, or a flower vase were to fall on my head, this blog would stop suddenly, and no one would ever know why. No friend can ever compliment me saying “I have read your latest blog post, great!” I will get no kudos from anyone in flesh and blood, someone who knows who I actually am. Many others do, in their own way, the same. Thousands, as I write, blog and comment and quarrel and stay up late at night for no other reason than their love of God and their suffering at seeing Christianity wiped out from the West; all this whilst our utterly, utterly disgraceful Pope tells us it's good that Catholics are now a minority in Italy, because they can be the leaven and blabla and blabla. Heaven, the bread was already leavened! One can't destroy a Catholic culture with fifty years of cowardly nonsense and then say it's all fine, because the destruction allows us to build one! Such is the stupidity of our clergy, and such is the reason why so many blog, or comment, or read, or symphatise. A priest who can't understand – and be glad of it – that countless people stay in front of a monitor at night because they love the Church and thirst for sound words they don't hear from the pulpit is a priest unworthy of his habit. Many of those, I am afraid. The majority in the West, I can safely say. But no, for the bad priest it is not he who has completely failed. Those who are bad are the critical bloggers, and their readers.
Which is why many others besides yours truly sit here blogging or reading or commenting until too late. Gratis et amore Dei. Often without even our friends or relatives knowing. And all this should come from… what exactly? Vanity? Greed? Boredom? Or perhaps, simply, Catholicism?
It would be high time a couple of priests and bishops and the occasional
Pop bishop of Rome understood the utter failure of the clergy to halfway decently transmit and defend Catholic values is what caused the explosion of conservative Catholic blogs. Thanks to the technical developments of the last decade, the bloggers are simply doing – as well as they can – the job the clergy has systematically refused to do since the beginning of the Sixties. Not to understand this means not to understand much, at all.
Let the clergy start being Catholics again, instead of a bunch of effeminate idiots waffling about the “joy of giving witness” whilst Sodomarriage becomes law, abortion is considered normal, fornication a bodily function, and contraception a human right. Let them start being unpopular, and hated by the world, rather than the usual slightly high-pitched chaps who are “always so nice” with their relentless message of universal salvation and quiet complicity with every sin or outright abomination under the sun. Let them be savagely attacked by the same atheists newspapers and journalists they now go at such extreaordinary lengths of nonsense and even heresy to please.
Let them start doing it. You will see, when this happens many bloggers will do like myself.
They will switch to a good book.
First, let us see some numbers. March 2013 (conclave month, with all the hype) was my all-time record at 65,000 page views during the month. The next record came in July at 75,000, followed by August at 77,000 as Francis' strangeness grew disquietingly stranger with every passing week. September saw little activity in the first week, but Bergoglio's exploits with the 14,000 words interview and the letter to Scalfari still pushed the pageviews at 85,000, solidly a new record. At the beginning of October the mother of all scandals to date, the interview with Scalfari, hit the newsstands and caused a surge in my – and, I am sure, everyone else's – pageviews. The month ended yesterday at 128,000 pageviews, eclipsing all previous records.
The pattern is always the same: every bout of Bergoglism causes a big wave of pageviews. After some days the wave goes by, and the pageviews stabilise at “normal”; a normal, though, that is now higher than the “normal” level of before the wave.
What happens is, in my eyes, very clear: Francis causes scandal, and this moves people to google, or google more, or get information beyond their usual channels. They discover new sites. Some of them stumble here. After some days the wave of new visitors has ebbed, but some of them stay and keep reading the site more or less regularly according to their interest in Catholic matters, their Catholic orientation and, obviously, whether they like the, ahem, refreshingly blunt style of this blog.
At first sight, therefore, one might think that the “Bergoglio effect” is good, as it causes many people to confront themselves with Catholicism and to be put in contact – on my blog or on countless others – with sound Catholic thinking. Alas, the reality is, I am afraid, very much different.
Firstly, consider that it is very difficult to land on my blog during one's Internet navigation unless one is following, so to speak, a conservative route in his navigation. My blog posts are tagged “Catholicism”, “conservative Catholicism” and “traditional Catholicism”, and most of those who chance to moor on my little blogging island already know what they are after and what they can expect. Much, much bigger must be the number of those who search the news about the Pope in a neutral or progressive way (say: “Pope Francis + Gay”), and are served with links to all the major faggot newspapers, invariably followed by the Patheos-style blogs who must be even more dangerous and confusing to them. Most of these people will, it is licit to suppose, only be on the Internet looking for reassurance about their own home-made Catholicism, and three or four clicks will rapidly persuade them the Pope “doesn't judge” the “gays”, or “it is fine if you follow your conscience”, or “good atheists will be saved”.
The damage will be big and durable here, because after being so assuaged these people will simply put the information in their drawer of convenient slogans, to be cherished forever and be used whenever necessary. The same reasoning obviously applies to the atheist and anticlerical troops of all colours and shades.
Then there is what must be the vast majority of the recipients of Francis' ramblings: those who are satisfied with the article they read on their favourite newspaper, or with the headlines, or with the ten-seconds radio report, or even with what they hear everyone is talking about: the global narrative of the “Pope who doesn't judge gays”, & Co.
In the end, it is reasonable to assume for one who finds his Catholicism strengthened by Francis' heresies and assorted stupidities there are very many, probably dozens, perhaps more still, who are confused or led astray. You can easily infer from this what damage many years of Bergoglism will inflict to Holy Mother Church. This, even before considering his appointments to Cardinal, Bishop, etc.; a field on which, if the Golpe against the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate is anything to go by, we will see Francis' subversive activity at its worst.
Summa summarum, it can be safely said the Catholic blogger's perspective seems encouraging at first, but is in the end merely the tale of beautiful but rare lotus flowers growing in the lake of mud Francis is creating. Very many are those who will be helped by Bergoglism to drawn in the mud, and the beautiful lotus flowers we can clearly see cannot distract from the desolated landscape in front of us.
This papacy is an unmitigated disgrace. A papacy made for the Obamas, the Scalfaris and the Elton Johns of this world.
We can't avoid the lake of mud. Let us try, then, to grow in Catholic faith so that we may become, and die as, lotus flowers offered to God in the midst of the “who am I to judge” lake of stupidity.
I read in the blogosphere invitations to the laity to avoid “judging” bad bishops in matters of faith, and feel the need to say one word or two about this.
1. If by “judging” we intend “subject to a trial in front of a tribunal” (as in an article I have read around, citing a father of the Church), I will agree that this is perfectly fine even today. I would, personally, love to see Archbishop Mueller tried for heresy, but I do think that those who judge him should be religious. Preferably sound ones, like for example those of the SSPX.
2. If by “judging” we intend to reserve Bishops to the jurisdiction of canonical tribunals even in matters not of faith, I must disagree. Particularly in these disgraceful times, if a Bishop is, say, tried for child abuse I would be the last one to demand that he be judged by other bishops, rather than by the usual judges and/or juries like everyone of us.
3. If by “judging” we intend (which is to my knowledge not at all what that Father of the Church means) that a layman must shut up whenever a bishop disgraces himself, then I must disagree vehemently. Let us see why:
Even if we lived in normal times, I would see it as being accessory in another person’s sin if I saw blatant heresy or open error and would just decide that my duty is to shut up. My duty would be, on the contrary, to NOT shut up. Particularly if as a blogger I have, say, 20 or 30 readers (or, say, twenty or thirty times that number) who might be interested in reading what I write in order to draw from it some ammunition to use for their own benefit and for the benefit of their friends and relatives.
Adding to this, we do not live in normal times, and the reason why thousands of people like me are here at midnight writing on their keyboard instead of reading a good book or enjoy a good sleep is that the situation is so bad, that they can’t reconcile it with their conscience to simply sit on the couch and think of their novels. I have often said, and will repeat today, that the explosion of lay blogs would not exist in the first place, if the clergy had been able to do their job in a remotely decent way. I for myself would be reading my novel, for sure.
If I were, therefore, to follow this principle of non ingerence in such matters, I would not follow Michael Voris; I would not approve of the blog of the excellent John Smeaton (extremely critical, and publicly so, of Archbishop Vincent “Quisling” Nichols in matters of homosexuality); I would not touch the excellent Messa in Latino, and I would not read the vast majority of the lay blogs worth reading. More to the point, I would never have come to the idea of writing a blog myself.
Of course, and as in all things, caveat emptor. The reader looking for sensible blogs will have to make a decision as to which blogs he considers sound, and which ones are better left aside. In general, he will probably tend – as I do – to constantly visit blogs written by religious, and more power to him. But this does not mean that the layman should simply shut up. He who doesn’t like the blog of the layman, or who thinks the layman should not criticise the clergy, should in my eyes simply avoid clicking it. He who thinks said layman is moved by personal resentments ofrdesire of making himself important instead of by love for the Church should avoid it even more carefully.
In addition, the concept that the layman must be vigilant in presence of bad teaching – or outright heresy – was in fact extolled by… the Second Vatican Council, and whilst obviously not being an infallible teaching of any sort, it makes a lot of sense even if it comes from such a bad place: the increase in literacy and the extremely cheap availability of literature opened to laymen a wealth of knowledge which only 200 or 300 years before would have been within the reach of only the clergy or the wealthy; today, every good intentioned layman can blow the whistle on his bishop or priests. Particularly so, when many bishops or priests don’t know the basics anymore. I have heard with these ears a priest admit he did not know the ten commandments by heart and did not care to learn them, and I have known much worse priests than this one. These are the times we live in, that basic knowledge considered obligatory for a child of seven when I was a child of seven is now not considered obligatory by the parish priest, who has a degree in theology but can’t tell you the commandments. Will we, then, be surprised if many of them don’t believe in the Real Presence? And will we stay silent about it? Who will correct them: the Bishop?!
Five or six hundred years ago a priest could have been openly heretical and most of his lay parishioners wouldn’t even have noticed unless, so to speak, there happened to be some Dominican travelling around. Nowadays, the same priest can’t con his people so easily anymore.
Even more crucially, the principle of the layman criticising the bishop is at the basis of the very renaissance of conservative feelings among young Catholics: feelings spread on the internet by posting, say, videos of cardinal Schoenborn’ laser-masses, and the like. The conservative revolution within the Church was born from laymen more attached to the Church than to wrong concept of blind subservience to their bishops. They reacted, because they had to. They voiced their concerns on the internet, because the clergy wouldn’t listen to them. Without them and without this mentality, we would have clown masses at every corner, certainly no vibrant conservative Catholic world, and most certainly not even “indult” Traditional Masses.
Oportet ut scandala eveniant, and I thank God for the Internet and the many laymen who help to create the conditions in order that this mess, created almost exclusively by the clergy, may be cleansed as soon as we can or, more probably, may allow us to go to our grave with the conscience that we have done what we could.
Having said that, I personally do not ask anyone to read my blog, or to link to it. If you pick a good blog written by a good priest, you can’t go wrong anyway. He will never be angry, I will, and he would never say that the Pope disgraced himself, I would. If you click here, you know you get a layman trying to do what he can, as best he can, with the poor lights given to him.
But I most certainly won’t shut up.