And it came to pass a horrible, horrible rag that epitomises everything that is wrong with 50 years of post- V II madness had to close its comment box. The situation is still ongoing as I speak, though I do not think it will last for long. Perhaps, as you read these lines things will have already reverted to normal; or, rather, pervert.
You see, a blog is very different from an Internet magazine. A blog is like a living room, the intimate space the blogger shares with a few selected friends who share his own vision of the world. The “private” blogger isn’t interested in traffic, or popularity. He wants to make some points with those who can understand them and hopefully share them with others in turn. He runs, if you want, an Internet salon.
Not so for a magazine. A magazine is a commercial outfit operating in the publishing industry. It must make profits, and it needs traffic to survive. The more popular it is, the better.
Now: as those of you know who can observe things, in a big site traffic is driven mainly by the comments. If an Internet presence has a vast audience, the article of the day is merely the starter. What really counts are the duels developing from it, and attracting a crowd of people eager to watch the fight and support, perhaps even commenting themselves every now and then, their own heroes. Most viewers are “lurkers”: they don’t write, but follow what other people write. This is whence the pageviews, and the advertising revenues, mainly come.
Every magazine has this faithful clientele, because many commenters tend to frequent and, so to speak, set up tent in one or two of these magazines, and those who like – or hate – them soon notice it and come back regularly. Many a viewer will visit the same site several times in a day, to watch the good men fight against the bad ones and take encouragement from them. This, not the articles in themselves – though they must be somewhat good to attract quality commenters – is what drives the traffic.
You can understand from this what a tragedy it is when a magazine closes the comment box. It will have to rely exclusively on the content professional writers create for them, but it will renounce to all that content that amateur commenters write for them gratis et amore Dei – basically at the only cost of the moderation for the site – and the attending excitement, and manly joy for a manly fight, they create. Take this away, and see your viewers’ statistics go south faster than Obama’s approval rates.
This sounds like a death knell to me, as I can’t imagine this is a viable business model. A successful Internet presence lives of the content generated for it by the readers, which drives up the stats, which drives up the ads revenues, which covers – and hopefully more than covers – the costs. Take that away, and you have taken the blood out of this publishing organism.
What has, then, happened by the scandalous rag in question? I seriously doubt they think they can have a permanent, successful Internet presence without the comment box. More probably, they have seen their combox permanently overrun by commenters hostile to their own editorial line, and therefore representing a threat for their own credibility. They are now, if you ask me, reorganising their moderation criteria in order to get a different set of commenters without discouraging too much the controversy they absolutely need to let the entire exercise work.
Not an easy task. Not if you are a bunch of deluded nutcases considered deranged by all but the likes of Michelle Obama.
We will see how this pans out. I am curious to see how they will tackle this problem.
Bad luck to them.
The Los Angeles Times must be one of the stupidest publications on the planet. Still, at times even from the mouth of the liberal morons one can hear something worthy of reflection.
“Pope Francis may clash on doctrine with young Brazilian Catholics”, states the rag's headline. This clearly indicates both that young Brazilians have an authoritative voice concerning doctrine, and that the Pope must pay attention if he notices he is out of synch with them.
The article itself is funnier still, as it mentions the usual “study” stating young Brazilian Catholics love everything the US morons push for, from abortion to perverts' “marriage”. The message here is clear: look, Francis, you are losing readership, erm, clients, and your product doesn't work and needs to be updated. The usual interview to Leonardo Boff (it is typical of the moron to ask a former priest to tell him something about the priesthood) is also there, clearly indicating how detached the Church is from her most brilliant minds. In short, the usual rubbish.
Still, this rubbish has a core of very sad truth in it. Whilst the survey is certainly slanted – not a difficult thing to do – there is no denying the majority of the Brazilian laity – and certainly of the very people who take part to the WYD – are not really aware of what proper Catholicism is. They are not aware because they aren't told; or when they are told they are told in such timid whispers they get the message they shouldn't really take it seriously, provided they have their hearts in the right place, are socially “aware”, & Co.
The LA Times, who think the Church either is a democracy or should be it, sends the message the Bishop of Rome is behind the times. I'd rather say the Bishop of Rome is fast asleep, or he is deluding himself, or both.
The people who attend the WYD are largely uninstructed. They visit a modern icon, they do not support the values he is supposed to represent. Their Caholicism is based on platitudes and hearsay, and crumbles at the least challenge from the world. Their allegiance to the Church is an automatic reflex or a matter of laziness, not the result of a conscious choice. They emote together with the Bishop of Rome, but do not know what Catholicism is about.
The Bishop of Rome seems very fine with the situation. He wants saints wearing jeans, but doesn't get Pinocchio Masses and easy platitudes do not produce saints, but apostates. He talks a lot about joy, but never mentions the danger of hell, therefore making of this joy just another example of today's relentless quest for self-satisfaction and cheap excitement (note also his links to Pentecostalism). If joy is one's aim in life and there are no obligations and eternal sanctions about one's behaviour, it is not really clear why this joy should not be sought in consumerism, promiscuity, or even cocaine. Hey, the Bishop has already stated Jesus' arms embrace all anyway, so let one try his own way first…
A shallow Bishop of Rome marketing a Catholicism so superficial and content-free as to be almost unrecognisable meets crowds uninterested in vast part of what they have vaguely heard they should care about. The LA times clearly thinks the latter are right, and the former is wrong.
They are both wrong.
One reads around (not on this blog, happily) the comments about the impending canonisations, and can’t avoid being shocked.
I am sure there are out there people who criticise the mad nuns for being against male priesthood, but think they have the right to question who is in heaven.
Last time I looked, canonisation was a matter of infallibility. Besides being what the Church teaches, it makes sense. If the Church authorised us to think that a canonised saint is not in heaven, canonisations wouldn’t make any sense anymore. It stands to reason that if canonisations are to have the value the Church attaches to them (you may pray such and such for help, say, with the certainty he or she is in heaven), then they must be infallible. If they aren’t infallible, then they don’t make sense. But this is also, in the end, idle talk. Canonisations are infallible because the Church says they are.
I struggle, therefore, to understand those who keep mentioning the Koran kissed by the late Pope John Paul II, or the atrocious liturgical abuses, or the inaction in front of the priest scandals, or the selective blindness – in good faith, of course – towards people he trusted like Maciel, as if these were in any way evidence this canonisation is “wrong”. A Sedevacantist might think so and still call himself coherent, but everyone else cannot think so and not call himself a Sedevacantist.
Canonisations are infallible, as is the teaching about male priesthood. Those who think they know better in matters of canonisations (without clearly saying they believe the sea is vacant) aren’t more Catholic than the mad nuns who think they know better in the matter of male priesthood.
Therefore, the question is not that Pope JP II could not have gone to heaven after kissing the Koran, & Co., but that he most certainly managed to get to Heaven after doing it. Obviously, and if Catholicism is to have sense at all, he will have repented. But to rebel to infallible teaching just because we don’t like the consequences is just what a mad nun would do.
We know JP II did manage to get to heaven, because the Church says so.
It doesn’t make sense to harp with the “ifs” and the “buts”. It doesn’t make sense to say that if one doesn’t “understand”, then it might not be so. Every “if” and every “but” simply dies in front of the infallibility of canonisations.
What we say we are, we must also be. We say we are Catholics. This means we believe everything that the Church believes, and profess everything that the Church professes. The infallibility of canonisations is not an innovation of V II that some evil prelate suddenly wants to smuggle as infallible doctrine. on the contrary, it is part and parcel of the way the Church understands Herself.
Don’t be a reverse cafeteria Catholic.
I am not among those who say that money is filthy. If you ask me, poverty can corrupt much more easily than wealth. Also, I do not think money makes one stupid. If one says stupid things after making (or marrying) money, it means one wasn’t much of a genius before making (or marrying) it.
The poster girl of this rather obvious conclusion is Melinda Gates, the wife of the rather better known Bill. Melinda Gates married money, big times, and like many of the wives of her cohorts is now in desperate needs to do something with her life, feel important and “good”, and go around telling everyone how she wants to change the world.
The lady is so confused, you would think she is a progressive nun. She brings the concept “cafeteria Catholic” to a new height, because she says herself she picks and chooses, without any of the shame or excuses you would otherwise find elsewhere (like: we have been misinterpreted; we are shocked at being told we are heretics; the holy ghost send us a text message, and the like). Nay, she says it as if it was something good.
Decidedly, money can’t buy you a brain.
Mrs Melinda Gate, who has now decided to spend an awful lot of the money she has married on contraception, is on record with the following pearl of stupidity:
“I had to wrestle with which pieces of religion do I use and believe in my life, what would I counsel my daughters to do”
She wrestles-with-which-pieces-of-religion-to-use. What is this, an April joke? And she says she is a Catholic! Has this woman’s brain ever been switched on?
Needless to say, she hides herself under the usual “good examples”, which in this case are the usual oh so social heretical nuns. You will be surprised, in this case they are the otherwise rather well-reputed Ursulines, which, as it turns out, also belong to the LCWR.
In the words of the lady:
“They said, ‘We’re all for you. We know this is a difficult issue to speak on, but we absolutely believe that you’re living under Catholic values.’ And it was just so heartening.”
The soi-disant nuns aren’t brighter than the lady, but being nuns they are, if at all possible, even more culpable than she is.
Notice how the so called crackdown of the Vatican on this bunch of witches hasn’t improved anything. They will pay some lip service to Rome, and will continue to bark just as loud, certain of impunity.
Melinda gates married money, but this wasn’t enough to buy her some decency, or common sense. The nuns are probably too old to remember what either is.
Will we have to wait another 40 years before something some energetic against these females is finally undertaken? Will we have to wait another 20 before the likes of Melinda Gates are excommunicated? How long will the Church hierarchy continue to look at this scandal and shame without doing anything worthy of being called “action”?
Mala tempora currunt.
This is the last day of the Papal visit; the great day of the Beatification Mass – the main reason for the visit – and of the farewell; obviously, this is also the day for some reflections.
We have, in the last days, seen a lot of people (many more than expected, actually) on the roadside, cheering and waving flags or just showing sympathy for a man of whom they perceive, more or less dimly, the intellectual and spiritual stature. We have listened to people saying what a beautiful experience it was to see the Pope, share this moment & Co.
I wonder, though, how many people have experienced not only an exciting moment, but a change; how many people have thought, during these days, at least once that if the man is spiritual and a good chap and firmly opposed to abortion, perhaps one should need to give some thought as to whether legal abortion is really fine; if the Church is an important spiritual instance operating for the good of men, whether Her opposition to contraception and divorce is really so wrong; if the Church is still the moral guide of our civilisation, if homosexuality is compatible with it.
I wouldn’t expect a radical change, but at least a moment of reflection; a pause in which uncomfortable questions are posed to one’s own internal tribunal; to be hastily cast aside perhaps but – once the seed has been planted – ready to germinate when more opportune times come (which sadly often means: bereavement, disease or some other minor or major life’s earthquake).
Allow me to say that I am not very confident that this, or any other papal visit, will have a lasting effect. The vast majority of the people on the roadside, and watching TV, will deal with the Pope as they deal with any other media entertainment: something used for the excitement or interest of the moment and to be rapidly cast aside to follow the next excitement. Hence the oceanic masses greeting John Paul II whilst the pews kept emptying; hence the vast number of people who have “seen the Pope”, but haven’t accepted one word more of what he says than they already did; hence the usual “but” mentality (as in “I am a Catholic, but…” ) we will so often hear from, I am sorry to say, the vast majority of those on the roadside.
The age of the media induces people to confuse media events with reality; journalists are – interestedly, and for obvious ego reasons – particularly prone to this mistake. The truth is that media don’t change people, Papal visits don’t change people, “historic speeches” don’t change people and all those talk of a visit which would “energise” a community is merely empty talk of cowardly bishops who do not want to do their job.
People change with constant effort, repeated daily; with the good and sincere (and truthful, and uncomfortable) homily delivered every sunday; with the trust slowly building in an institution perceived to fight for what is right instead of pandering to common prejudices and conveniences; with the relentless hammering of the unpopular truths no one wants to hear. People change if there is a serious, daily effort on the ground with our friends, our families, our colleagues whenever possible. Media events come and go and in two months’ time no one will talk of this visit anymore. A good priest, a good friend, a courageous bishop are there all the time.
It would be extremely dangerous, I think, to take refuge in the numbers of people cheering the Pope, or assisting at the Papal Masses, to conclude that Catholicism in England is on the right way; it isn’t. It is plagued by amateur (or cowardly, or outright atheists) Bishops, by feeble priests preaching the Gospel of the Easy Platitudes, by distracted sheep for whom dissent is a way of showing intelligence and a critical mind.
These are real issues, and they will not change with a Papal visit.
Let us, therefore, remember this visit for what it is: the joyous occasion of an important Beatification, with some entertainment thrown in (a bit of Popemobile here; a bit of Susan Boyle there). Bet let us not be under the delusion that this visit will change absolutely anything as long as the work on the ground is – as it certainly is today – so evidently deficient.