Blog Archives

Reblog: The Blessed Virgin’s Warrior Ants

Mundabor, Self-Portrait, 2016

 

 

Not without surprise, I sometimes read the one or other Rad Trad blog (not excluding mine, I must very immodestly say; then my critics seem to read me more than I read them, and I notice their criticism only by way of a limited number of blog referrals, which in turn do not indicate a huge readership) called “insignificant”. As if, in the great battle between Right and Wrong, this had any importance.

Let us say you bravely defend Catholic Truth among friends and relatives, and no one heeds you. Is your effort insignificant? Certainly not! It is very significant, in fact, to the Angels looking on you from heaven. It is very significant for your own salvation. And, last but not least, it is significant because it is right.

But let us say, now, that you have a blog, and this blog reaches thirty people, who read you three times a week and draw some benefit from it. Thirty people who actually think that you make a difference in their spiritual life, or in their view of Catholicism, or in helping them not to drown in a sea of confusion; and, therefore, come back to your blog again and again. Is this insignificant? Certainly not! You are, in fact, already exercising a bigger influence than most teachers, bar the very best, have on their pupils! And all this, in most cases, gratis et amore Dei. No, it is certainly not insignificant. It is, in fact, a notable achievement.

However, it must be clear to all of us that, in the great scheme of things, we are all insignificant, in that none of us will ever, alone, change the course of history or be a leader of nations. This is true both for our insignificant blogs, and for those still insignificant Catholic publications who call us insignificant, and I doubt if they ever properly strengthen the faith of anyone, rather than leading them towards indifference or perdition.

But then again I wonder: how insignificant is insignificant, if it is mentioned among countless blog to one’s own readership as an example of lack of significance? Does not this deny, in itself, the premise? Still, they are right in the essence: in the great scheme of things, insignificant we all are, together with our detractors.

How should, therefore, each faithful Catholic (mother and father, friend and colleague) see ourselves? We should see ourselves, I think, as warrior ants.

Each one of us, taken individually, is certainly insignificant in the great scheme of things (albeit what he does is most significant for his own salvation, which in itself is infinitely important). However, warrior ants are a frightful force when they march together. Does the individual warrior ant care about how much “significant” she is? I have never asked one, but most probably not. The warrior ant cares, in her own way, about what she can do exactly as insignificant, expendable warrior ant, and that is the beginning and the end of it.

When we die we will not be asked whether we have “changed the world”. We will not be asked how “significant” we were. We will not be asked how many readers our blog used to have. We will be asked whether we have kept defending Truth when no one listened to us; when we were mocked and insulted; when we were, in fact, being – exactly – insignificant to the world. And by the way: be afraid of when the world calls you “relevant”: you might just have become like it.

I have started this blog hoping to reach sixty or seventy people every day: two to three school classes. My thinking was that this kind of readership would allow me to help my fellow Catholics in a comparable way as, say, a deeply Catholic high school history or philosophy teacher who has the ability to, as they say, “touch the life” of a comparable number of people every day with his own solid faith. Every blogger who is inclined to write and perseveres in his aim can, I think, reach this goal (and compensate for a non-existent Catholic philosophy or history teacher) obviously for no pay. Call it insignificant as much as you want, but I think it already counts a lot, both in this world and in the next.

This little effort – insignificant, of course, in the great scheme of things – reaches around 1500 unique users every day, and it is sailing towards five millions page views. You can call it, if you wish, a very fat and very angry warrior ant, but a warrior ant it still is. Few good history or philosophy teachers reach as many lives as this warrior ant does. You can also call it fifty philosophy classes, or three healthy parishes (apart from the fact, of course, that your fat warrior ant is not a priest). But you see, I do not start writing a blog post thinking of the fifteen hundred people my blog post might reach. I start writing for this blog because I want to be one of the Blessed Virgin’s Warrior Ants. Small. Expendable. Utterly insignificant. But still there, marching together with many other warrior ants, and not caring about this world’s or his battle’s outcome. A single warrior ant can be easily squashed, but an army of them is a devastating force.

One of the reasons I write this blog is to encourage every one of my readers to be, in his little sphere of influence, Blessed Virgin’s Warrior Ants. I encourage you to be warrior ants – with the due prudence; we aren’t like those Proddie in Oxford Street crying around: “repent!” – when no one seems open to you, when everyone considers you that very strange guy. One day, with God’s grace, the one or other may well remember your words, start to connect the dots and, in time, start to finally understand.

In order to do this, the warrior ant must bite. Fluff is easily forgotten after two days, strong words will be remembered in fifty years. By God’s grace, the words your atheist relative resents today might be the words God uses to save his soul on his deathbed in, say, 2055; with Pope Francis V very unhappily reigning , and Catholic ruins everywhere.

Yes, we are – taken individually – utterly insignificant. Expendable warrior ants. Not even a small nuisance to the world.

May we die that way, all of us, and what a blessing!

M

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reblog: The Blessed Virgin’s Warrior Ants

Mundabor, Self-Portrait, 2016

 

 

Not without surprise, I sometimes read the one or other Rad Trad blog (not excluding mine, I must very immodestly say; then my critics seem to read me more than I read them, and I notice their criticism only by way of a limited number of blog referrals, which in turn do not indicate a huge readership) called “insignificant”. As if, in the great battle between Right and Wrong, this had any importance.

Let us say you bravely defend Catholic Truth among friends and relatives, and no one heeds you. Is your effort insignificant? Certainly not! It is very significant, in fact, to the Angels looking on you from heaven. It is very significant for your own salvation. And, last but not least, it is significant because it is right.

But let us say, now, that you have a blog, and this blog reaches thirty people, who read you three times a week and draw some benefit from it. Thirty people who actually think that you make a difference in their spiritual life, or in their view of Catholicism, or in helping them not to drown in a sea of confusion; and, therefore, come back to your blog again and again. Is this insignificant? Certainly not! You are, in fact, already exercising a bigger influence than most teachers, bar the very best, have on their pupils! And all this, in most cases, gratis et amore Dei. No, it is certainly not insignificant. It is, in fact, a notable achievement.

However, it must be clear to all of us that, in the great scheme of things, we are all insignificant, in that none of us will ever, alone, change the course of history or be a leader of nations. This is true both for our insignificant blogs, and for those still insignificant Catholic publications who call us insignificant, and I doubt if they ever properly strengthen the faith of anyone, rather than leading them towards indifference or perdition.

But then again I wonder: how insignificant is insignificant, if it is mentioned among countless blog to one’s own readership as an example of lack of significance? Does not this deny, in itself, the premise? Still, they are right in the essence: in the great scheme of things, insignificant we all are, together with our detractors.

How should, therefore, each faithful Catholic (mother and father, friend and colleague) see ourselves? We should see ourselves, I think, as warrior ants.

Each one of us, taken individually, is certainly insignificant in the great scheme of things (albeit what he does is most significant for his own salvation, which in itself is infinitely important). However, warrior ants are a frightful force when they march together. Does the individual warrior ant care about how much “significant” she is? I have never asked one, but most probably not. The warrior ant cares, in her own way, about what she can do exactly as insignificant, expendable warrior ant, and that is the beginning and the end of it.

When we die we will not be asked whether we have “changed the world”. We will not be asked how “significant” we were. We will not be asked how many readers our blog used to have. We will be asked whether we have kept defending Truth when no one listened to us; when we were mocked and insulted; when we were, in fact, being – exactly – insignificant to the world. And by the way: be afraid of when the world calls you “relevant”: you might just have become like it.

I have started this blog hoping to reach sixty or seventy people every day: two to three school classes. My thinking was that this kind of readership would allow me to help my fellow Catholics in a comparable way as, say, a deeply Catholic high school history or philosophy teacher who has the ability to, as they say, “touch the life” of a comparable number of people every day with his own solid faith. Every blogger who is inclined to write and perseveres in his aim can, I think, reach this goal (and compensate for a non-existent Catholic philosophy or history teacher) obviously for no pay. Call it insignificant as much as you want, but I think it already counts a lot, both in this world and in the next.

This little effort – insignificant, of course, in the great scheme of things – reaches around 1500 unique users every day, and it is sailing towards five millions page views. You can call it, if you wish, a very fat and very angry warrior ant, but a warrior ant it still is. Few good history or philosophy teachers reach as many lives as this warrior ant does. You can also call it fifty philosophy classes, or three healthy parishes (apart from the fact, of course, that your fat warrior ant is not a priest). But you see, I do not start writing a blog post thinking of the fifteen hundred people my blog post might reach. I start writing for this blog because I want to be one of the Blessed Virgin’s Warrior Ants. Small. Expendable. Utterly insignificant. But still there, marching together with many other warrior ants, and not caring about this world’s or his battle’s outcome. A single warrior ant can be easily squashed, but an army of them is a devastating force.

One of the reasons I write this blog is to encourage every one of my readers to be, in his little sphere of influence, Blessed Virgin’s Warrior Ants. I encourage you to be warrior ants – with the due prudence; we aren’t like those Proddie in Oxford Street crying around: “repent!” – when no one seems open to you, when everyone considers you that very strange guy. One day, with God’s grace, the one or other may well remember your words, start to connect the dots and, in time, start to finally understand.

In order to do this, the warrior ant must bite. Fluff is easily forgotten after two days, strong words will be remembered in fifty years. By God’s grace, the words your atheist relative resents today might be the words God uses to save his soul on his deathbed in, say, 2055; with Pope Francis V very unhappily reigning , and Catholic ruins everywhere.

Yes, we are – taken individually – utterly insignificant. Expendable warrior ants. Not even a small nuisance to the world.

May we die that way, all of us, and what a blessing!

M

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Blessed Virgin’s Warrior Ants

Mundabor, Self-Portrait, 2016


Not without surprise, I sometimes read the one or other Rad Trad blog (not excluding mine, I must very immodestly say; then my critics seem to read me more than I read them, and I notice their criticism only by way of a limited number of blog referrals, which in turn do not indicate a huge readership) called “insignificant”. As if, in the great battle between Right and Wrong, this had any importance.

Let us say you bravely defend Catholic Truth among friends and relatives, and no one heeds you. Is your effort insignificant? Certainly not! It is very significant, in fact, to the Angels looking on you from heaven. It is very significant for your own salvation. And, last but not least, it is significant because it is right.

But let us say, now, that you have a blog, and this blog reaches thirty people, who read you three times a week and draw some benefit from it. Thirty people who actually think that you make a difference in their spiritual life, or in their view of Catholicism, or in helping them not to drown in a sea of confusion; and, therefore, come back to your blog again and again. Is this insignificant? Certainly not! You are, in fact, already exercising a bigger influence than most teachers, bar the very best, have on their pupils! And all this, in most cases, gratis et amore Dei. No, it is certainly not insignificant. It is, in fact, a notable achievement.

However, it must be clear to all of us that, in the great scheme of things, we are all insignificant, in that none of us will ever, alone, change the course of history or be a leader of nations. This is true both for our insignificant blogs, and for those still insignificant Catholic publications who call us insignificant, and I doubt if they ever properly strengthen the faith of anyone, rather than leading them towards indifference or perdition.

But then again I wonder: how insignificant is insignificant, if it is mentioned among countless blog to one's own readership as an example of lack of significance? Does not this deny, in itself, the premise? Still, they are right in the essence: in the great scheme of things, insignificant we all are, together with our detractors.

How should, therefore, each faithful Catholic (mother and father, friend and colleague) see ourselves? We should see ourselves, I think, as warrior ants.

Each one of us, taken individually, is certainly insignificant in the great scheme of things (albeit what he does is most significant for his own salvation, which in itself is infinitely important). However, warrior ants are a frightful force when they march together. Does the individual warrior ant care about how much “significant” she is? I have never asked one, but most probably not. The warrior ant cares, in her own way, about what she can do exactly as insignificant, expendable warrior ant, and that is the beginning and the end of it.

When we die we will not be asked whether we have “changed the world”. We will not be asked how “significant” we were. We will not be asked how many readers our blog used to have. We will be asked whether we have kept defending Truth when no one listened to us; when we were mocked and insulted; when we were, in fact, being – exactly – insignificant to the world. And by the way: be afraid of when the world calls you “relevant”: you might just have become like it.

I have started this blog hoping to reach sixty or seventy people every day: two to three school classes. My thinking was that this kind of readership would allow me to help my fellow Catholics in a comparable way as, say, a deeply Catholic high school history or philosophy teacher who has the ability to, as they say, “touch the life” of a comparable number of people every day with his own solid faith. Every blogger who is inclined to write and perseveres in his aim can, I think, reach this goal (and compensate for a non-existent Catholic philosophy or history teacher) obviously for no pay. Call it insignificant as much as you want, but I think it already counts a lot, both in this world and in the next.

This little effort – insignificant, of course, in the great scheme of things – reaches around 1500 unique users every day, and it is sailing towards five millions page views. You can call it, if you wish, a very fat and very angry warrior ant, but a warrior ant it still is. Few good history or philosophy teachers reach as many lives as this warrior ant does. You can also call it fifty philosophy classes, or three healthy parishes (apart from the fact, of course, that your fat warrior ant is not a priest). But you see, I do not start writing a blog post thinking of the fifteen hundred people my blog post might reach. I start writing for this blog because I want to be one of the Blessed Virgin's Warrior Ants. Small. Expendable. Utterly insignificant. But still there, marching together with many other warrior ants, and not caring about this world's or his battle's outcome. A single warrior ant can be easily squashed, but an army of them is a devastating force.

One of the reasons I write this blog is to encourage every one of my readers to be, in his little sphere of influence, Blessed Virgin's Warrior Ants. I encourage you to be warrior ants – with the due prudence; we aren't like those Proddie in Oxford Street crying around: “repent!” – when no one seems open to you, when everyone considers you that very strange guy. One day, with God's grace, the one or other may well remember your words, start to connect the dots and, in time, start to finally understand.

In order to do this, the warrior ant must bite. Fluff is easily forgotten after two days, strong words will be remembered in fifty years. By God's grace, the words your atheist relative resents today might be the words God uses to save his soul on his deathbed in, say, 2055; with Pope Francis V very unhappily reigning , and Catholic ruins everywhere.

Yes, we are – taken individually – utterly insignificant. Expendable warrior ants. Not even a small nuisance to the world.

May we die that way, all of us, and what a blessing!

M







 

 

The Smart Way To Run A Blog

As a special Thanksgiving gift, Yours Truly has decided to share his not inconsiderable experience in blogging matters. So there we are.

When I started writing this blog I decided that the smart way of doing it was to limit interactive battles to the mere minimum, and devote the time to my little space on the Internet instead; at least as much as my fiery nature can manage.

Since then, I have been insulted many times, by many people, very publicly: from homosexual journalists to frustrated bloggers, and from failed seminarians to outright nutcases. Add to that a lot of atheists and perverts, but those I do not even count as worthy of notice.

Whenever I detected something of the sort, what I did is to look for the commenters who supported the attacker and ban them from my blog (yes: there are people out there who will praise you on your blog and insult you elsewhere; that's how much they love to see their nickname on the Internet). Then I make a knot on my handkerchief, and remember the episode at the appropriate juncture. Then… well, that's it, really. But trust me, I have a long memory, and the knots on my handkerchief are rather strong ones.

This way of running the blog has several advantages: it avoids the never-to-bed-and-you-know-you-have-to-work-tomorrow internet evenings; it avoids giving more ammo to atheists who then mock us for attacking each other; it saves vast amounts of adrenalines; it avoids making of the blog something self-referential, and it allows to dedicate the time to the blog topics instead, ad maiorem Dei gloriam.

Let me stress this particular point again: the savings in adrenalines are vast.

From blogger to blogger, I must say this to you: it's the smart way to go. I know it out of quinquennial blogging experience. Mind, it does not mean that I will leave an attack unpunished. I tend to leave very little unpunished. It means that, as smart people used to say, est modus in rebus.

We Catholic bloggers should learn from the Church. The smart one, I mean. The one before John. Those churchmen did not leave much unpunished, either. But they knew how to do it in the proper way. This was, of course, before the advent of the Age of Stupidity, but you get my drift.

The temptation to get into that Twitter brawl or that Facebook row can be big in the moment. But if you pray and write a blog post instead, whilst on the Internet others are attacking you from several places you will be the winner, big time.

In addition, with advancing age I have become less confident in my ability to teach idiots to think, or to induce reprobates to save their souls. Idiots will not think, because they're idiots. Reprobates will not save their souls, because they're reprobates. All others (those who are neither idiots nor reprobates) do not profit from inter-Catholic Internet quarrels. They profit from a blog passionately written about issues different from the blog author having been offended.

If you are a blogger, my suggestion to you would be to never link to the wrong sites – you bring traffic to them – but to deal with the matter at hand – or with the person at hand – in a general way: this and this is wrong, or: if Grima or Pollyanna tell you this and that you do not believe them, and the like. No traffic to them, and education of the reader. When the reader then meets the condemned attitude, he will know why it is wrong. If the reader never meets it, so much the better. You never bring traffic to the wrong sites in order to show that they are wrong.

I have followed these rules fairly strictly these five years. It has helped me a lot. It has also avoided to make of this blog – written ad maiorem Dei gloriam – a platform for my personal grievances. If anyone insults you on the net, let it stay on the net, for the permanent shaming of those who so insult you; and answer in due course, and without any haste, in the matter itself.

Of course, it is very human to want to react and respond to those who insult us. It is human and it can be even right, as we know how nasty liberals and fake Catholics can be. But it might bring little advantage in the end. The reader will remember the blogger who has not reacted long after he has forgotten the thirty who did, no matter how right they were to react.

I am not suggesting to take the high road. I am suggesting to take the smart one.

You will look, and live, so much better.

M

 

Quality, Not Quantity

Weapon of Collaboration with Grace

The recent episode of the walkout petition who made it to the Washington Post and to the very rooms of the Synod was a particularly striking demonstration that few can achieve a lot. It works, methinks, in many other ways.

Both on my blog and elsewhere I read comments that are absolutely brilliant (I do not mean long. I mean brilliant. I always scroll past the long ones). And then of course I read blogs that I found brilliant, but of which I have no idea of how many readers they have.

Blogger or commenter: what counts is what you say. How many read it is secondary. You can write soppy comments on a Patheos blog, and thousands will read you, but you will not influence anyone. You can write a pithy comment on a blog read by fifty people, and make a profound impression on the one person Providence directed to it.

Or imagine you are a Catholic journalist (in good faith. I know: rara avis), researching for a piece about the one or other issue relating to Francis. The man will click around, as everyone else does, and will stumble upon places with the most various audience. Small and big bloggers, and bloggers of whom he has no idea whether they are small or not so small, and their commenters. He will not be looking for platitudes. He will be looking for depth. The many blog posts and comments with a strong, coherent defence of Truth will give him a very useful narrative if he is honest, and will let him think twice about the rubbish he writes if he isn’t. The point strikingly made will stay with him, and form part of his own contribution. This is something everyone who follows blogs can observe: the discussion in the many small places gets picked in and amplified by the small number of big ones. Until, one day, the Washington Post publishes an article stating that Francis bats with the heretics, both the author and his editor refuse to backpedal upon the scandalised reaction of the same heretics, and actually answer them with another salvo.

Or you can put it in another way. Everyone of us would get inflamed with passion when talking about the Church in front of friends, relatives or acquaintances. In these cases, the audience is extremely limited. Still, we get all excited because we know that even to make a lasting impression on one soul would be a huge result, and that person could, say, discover the faith many years later, and remember us as one of the factors of his conversion.

Even a small blog, patiently written by a man who cares, will soon have such potential for conversion on a much bigger scale. Plus, it will reinforce the will to fight of many others, and let them know that they are not alone. When I started this little effort I hoped to create, in time, a small group of 60 or 70 “regulars” (the ones to be encouraged and reinforced in what they already know), plus the occasional heretic or atheist or rose water “catholic” stumbling on our virtual pub during the discussion, and hopefully led – with God’s grace – to think differently by what he reads. Those 60 or 70 would have been more than two school classes already. Not bad, for one who cares.

It’s not about how many people read your blog, or your comment. It’s about what impression you make on those who read it.

A big war is upon us. We need all the help we can get.

M

Scandalous Bishops And Angry Bloggers

Should he shut up, then? Michael Voris.

 

 

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.

Mundabor

Patheos and Catholicism

Nothing bad with that, but it should be done properly.

After reading an interesting article about The Problem With Patheos, I decided to give the site a couple of minutes more.

I discovered some of the well-known Catholic blogs are, in fact, there. I must admit my ignorance here, and openly confess when I read Mark Shea’s (seldom) of Fr Longenecker’s (somewhat more often) blog I did not even care to see whether their site is embedded in a bigger organisation; or  perhaps they weren’t in the past, and I didn’t notice when they were embedded. I google them, and follow the link.

Now I did go to visit Patheos, and I must say I wasn’t pleased.

I see three main issues here:

1) lucre,

2) independence, and

3) moral relativism

As to 1), let me say beforehand I have nothing against people who make money with their blogs.  If they attract enough readership to complement their earnings, or are even able to make of blogging their profession, more power to them. I do not consider money “filthy”, or money earning “bad”, nor do I think Catholicism should never be “contaminated” by monetary considerations; Real Catholic TV, a private organisation, is a good example. Still, there should be no suspicion financial considerations influence the way they blog. 

Which leads us nicely to 2). I wonder if a blogger would be allowed to stay on Patheos who would be seen to contravene to the “safe” environment Patheos wants to create. What if a Catholic blogger should insistently and vocally ask for the reintroduction of, say, sodomy laws, and the one or other pervert would start to bitch around saying how traumatised he is? This is just an example, but at some point “big Patheos brother” would intervene, because at some point Catholicism must be at war (otherwise, it wouldn’t be Catholicism) with the world, and give scandal to non-Christians. You might say the same thing happens with the editorial policy of a newspaper or magazine, but the beauty of blogging is exactly that there is no such control, and this is the reason why blogs are rapidly becoming a better alternative to professional journalism – always constrained within the “policy” and “directives” of the newspaper or magazine owner – whenever this kind of  “sensitive” information is to be exchanged. 

Then there is point 3). I seem to remember (vaguely; perhaps it was two years ago; perhaps I wasn’t paying attention) the site to be aimed at Christians of various denominations; apparently, it is aimed at (or it has been extended to) not only Muslims and Jews, but even atheists, pagans and the oxy-moronic “progressive Christians”. I can’t see how this very format cannot be seen as encouraging moral relativism, and I cannot see how if one is in such a company he can deny to give a contribution to it.

I (and many others, I am sure) see Catholicism as a world apart. Catholicism does not put itself in the shop window, asking “customers” to consider it. Catholicism does not participate in a system by which it is perceived as one of many possible flavours. May it be that in life a potential convert would see Catholicism as one “alternative”, but this is exactly what a Catholic must not do. There is no alternative to Catholicism, therefore Catholicism never puts itself in the position of being considered one of many possible “flavours”. Catholicism builds churches, sends priests and missionaries around, grows on the granitic conviction of its followers. Catholicism doesn’t participate to beauty contests, because there is no contest.

 This, besides the grave reservations described in the article concerning the way Catholic doctrine is “explained” to those, so to speak, coming from outside, and by which the suspicion arises the one or other Catholic bloggers has read them, and decided to do nothing. Granted, this latter problem can be rather rapidly solved  (though perhaps having to pay some attention to the “sensitivities” of the structure). The problem of moral relativism, instead, cannot be solved, because it pertains to the very nature and structure of Patheos. 

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Now let us ask ourselves: are there really no alternatives? Hugely followed blogs like Father Z’ feel no need to be embedded into a big multi-faith (or no faith) blog structure; their autonomous structure  is guarantee of their independence.  They have become big because those who visit their blog know they need not fear interference or (more probably) unspoken self-censorship.

More importantly, the idea itself of a blog reacts to the concept of endeavouring to reach an audience. The beauty of blogging is someone sitting at the computer and writing what he thinks should be said, without constrictions and without even caring whether he will have many readers, or none. This is what makes the freshness of blogs, and determined their success; and this is particularly important in Catholic blogs, which are provocative and counter-cultural by definition. 

A big platform with its own editorial policy (which it must have, at some point) will at some point become nothing else than an online magazine. This can’t be good for blogging in general, let alone Catholic blogging.

Mundabor

Universae Ecclesiae And Catholic Bloggers

Hopefully, people like him will make us superfluous: Cardinal Burke.

Browsing around the Internet in search of reactions to Universae Ecclesiae, I was once again struck by a very clear phenomenon: the absolute, stunning, annihilating prevalence of Conservative Catholics in the blogosphere. Their dominance is now so marked, that one is not even surprised at finding one conservative blog after the other anymore; it is more so, that this is now so natural and so expected, that the chance encounter with a liberal blog would have been – if I had had such encounter – a rather shocking experience.

This reflection should make us proud (I mean with “us” not only the cohorts of bloggers, but the legions of readers who, with their contributions and encouragements, make the entire world of Catholic blogging so interesting and instructive), if it weren’t the case that our existence is, in fact, very bad news.

It is a common fact that people don’t talk much of shared ideas or common values. There are no debates about the influence of pedophilia on society, because there is nothing much to debate. Similarly, there are – after the communist madness shot itself in the genitals – no discussion anymore about whether private property be a theft, and the like. Shared values are, by and large, shared silently.

Similarly, if in the Italy of sixty years ago you would have started a debate about whether it be good to abort or to practice euthanasia, the reaction would have been a non-discussion for the evident unworthiness of the proposer, it being generally understood and universally accepted that legalised abortion and euthanasia were a distinctive trait of the Nazi regime, and such things unthinkable in a Christian and halfway decent society.

And this is the entire point. Western societies have become so indecent, so accepting of typical Nazi values, that what two generations ago would have caused open mockery or ironic commiseration, nowadays causes savage discussions. The same goes for Catholic issues, with your typical aunt of, say, 1942 smilingly dismissing as in great need of rest whoever would have told her that two generations later, millions of words would have been written about the necessity of …….. kneeling before Communion.

Our very existence is, therefore, bad news, because our existence is the clear result of the most elementary common sense having been thrown to the dogs by the senseless pot-generation of the Sixties; a generation still spreading its poison in the form of senior clergymen and senior politicians, roaming throughout the world and seeking the ruin of souls to this very day.

As it is now, hundreds of millions of Catholics can’t remember the last time their bishop has said anything meaningful against abortion or divorce; they can’t, actually, not remember when their bishop has said anything meaningful at all, vague blathering about social justice and environ-mental issues obviously not qualifying. It’s not surprising that such faithful spend part of their evening reading Catholic blogs.

If, on the other hand, the bishops were firing daily from all cannons against modern abominations and the desertion of Christian values, Catholics wouldn’t be here in the evening reading what other Catholics think; you yourself, dear reader, would just be doing something else, needing this blog no more than you need to be informed about pedophilia, or incest, or “proletarian expropriations”. Shared values are taken for granted, and one feels comfortable in the very fact that they are no object for discussion (think about a world where vast masses think that pedophilia is all right: appalling, right?).

The day the Catholic clergy starts doing its job properly and assertively, Catholic blogging will stop being a phenomenon so vast as to even attract the attention of the Vatican. That day, million of fathers and husbands will start dedicating more time to their wives or domestic occupation and less to following endless discussion on the Internet. That day, Catholic blogging will become a far more subdued activity, because the nourishment and instruction the reader seek on the net is just there, available and propagated from the friendly priest near them, as it should have been all the time.

I firmly believe that the Liturgy is the Church. You can’t corrupt the Liturgy without corrupting the Church, and you can’t improve the Liturgy without improving the Church.

Let us hope that Universae Ecclesiae will grow to become an important step toward the end of the massive phenomenon called “Catholic blogging”.

Mundabor

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