I sometimes – nay, rather often – wonder what is the use of a layman’s Catholic blog. I mean this not in the figurative sense, but in the literal one: what contribution can the blog of a layman give?
Take, for example, my little effort.
At the beginning, I though a blog could win new Catholics. I didn’t think this was the main aim, but I though it would be a somewhat interesting weapon. I saw it as an outlet where people more or less vaguely seeking would stumble, be intrigued at what they read, and bring home with them one or two seeds of, perhaps, one day, a future conversion.They would, I though, be shocked or even angry at first, but if they are moved by a sincere search they would gather the nerve to continue reading and bring home more and more contributions to a better perception of the hard, but beautiful Catholic Truth.
Twenty months later, I wonder.
This blog has grown very slowly but very steadily over the twenty or so months of its existence. When I started, the pageviews were counted in dozens. Nowadays, one thousand pageviews a day aren’t news anymore, and are rather an almost daily occurrence when I have time to care for the blog. At first sight, it would look like the contribution given by this blog would grow; that it would, as the saying goes, “make a difference”. But does it? Let us look at things with a bit of realism.
1) The blogosphere grows. Soon every child will be able to go on the internet from everywhere using his iPhone. Growing pageviews do not necessarily mean a growing interest, rather a growing pool of people clicking your blog by mistake. Every blog grows its pageviews. It must be so. If it didn’t grow, it would mean it is going backwards. Very simply, the tide of clicks lifts all blogs, and the tide of the blogosphere is growing fast.
2) Many – I do not know how many, but many – of my clicks probably come from people searching for images. Not very flattering I know, but I think the reality of most blogs who use photos. I like a photo in my blog post, I just do not flatter myself there won’t be people visiting not my blog, but the photo.
3) Some other clicks come, I suppose, from people who are curious in a very superficial way.They care for religion as much as I care for feng shui. Still, it goes in the statistics.
4) Lastly, a majority of the clicks – I dare to think this, at least – come from sincere Catholics, who already think as I do.
So: many readers don’t care at all; others aren’t really interested; the majority do not need to be persuaded. As to the sincere seekers who are slowly approaching Catholicism, I am more and more persuaded they would rather go to blogs written by religious, of which there are many excellent ones. I think it is a reasonable assumption and it is what I would personally do, instead of clicking Mundabor. With all due respect for Mundabor, of course. Capital fellow.
Why, then, a layman’s blog? I’d say for the following reasons:
1) My “about the author” page states as follows:
This blog’s aim is to allow true, traditional, unadulterated, strictly orthodox Catholic doctrine to be made available in a world suffocating more and more in political correctness and “feel-good”, “everything goes”, “let us not upset anyone” so-called Catholicism.
I allow myself to think this is important, or at least useful, even if I were to exclusively “blog to the converted”. It gives ammunition, some adrenaline here and there, a sense of urgency in the battle, that might otherwise not be so keenly felt. The trumpeter in the midst of the battlefield might not be decisive, but he is certainly not superfluous, and he might not manage to give courage to the pavid, but he will give some encouragement and spirit to the brave. This blog is particularly aimed at the brave, and tepid Catholics will soon feel encouraged to click somewhere else. I see myself as an anonymous smuggler of politically incorrect Catholic weaponry for the Catholic warriors out there.
2) A blog like mine gives one the confirmation that one is not alone. A blog written by Joe Bloggs gives the reader clear evidence that normal, fully common people, like your baker or butcher or the person sitting near you on the bus have had enough of this, big time. I’d find it reassuring, even if I were already “converted”. There’s strenght in number, and security in counting one’s own side’s numbers before the battle.
3) As the ways of the Lords are infinite, you never know whether a layman’s blog might still be one of them. An idea, a sentence which remains impressed, one or two arguments the readers ruminates about after he has left the blog, are always within the realm of the possible. With growing visitor numbers, they become rather inevitable.A small effect I know, but with the time it adds up…
4) The echo effect. Reader A might be already perfectly persuaded, but reader B who reads his retweet perhaps not, and reader C who talks about it with B at the pub might become curious. He will look for blogs of religious of course, but a seed is valuable even if very tiny.
5) Peace of mind. Perhaps is the advancing age but no, I think it is that I now write a blog. When something makes my blood boil, in the past my blood would happily boil away with all the consequences, sleepless nights not excluded. Nowadays, I simply think “I will write a blog post about this” and (almost always) feel already better. When you know you’ve done all you can, the sense of raging impotence is much lessened.
6) (shameless plug). I blog, my dear reader, also for your prayers, of which I am in need. Do not think for a second that just because I write a blog I am less of a sinner than most others are, or less in need of prayers than everyone else is. My being a sinner is, in fact, a main motivation for me to write. If I were to be surprised by death tomorrow, knocked down by the new (and very beautiful) London bus, the around 1060 blog post already written would, I hope, be of some help, and so would the prayers you have hopefully said for me.
Please, dear reader, if you like this blog do not deny me a short Hail Mary every now and then.