Thursday, January 15, 2009

Slumdog bloggers.

Bottom of the barrel Catholics and right-wingers.
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Doug Kmiec has accused Catholic bloggers of of being hate mongers. (I believe Dr. Kmiec voiced some theories during the presidential campaign on why it was okay for Catholics to vote for Obama.) Anyway, I never followed what was being said by either party. But now that Kmiec is complaining, I'm listening. Included in his self-defense he said:
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“A hate-filled blogosphere,” argued Kmiec, “feeds a politics of odium, misleading people of faith and good will, diminishing and at times obliterating our ability to know one another.” - Source
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Naturally, the leading Catholic bloggers have jumped to the podium in defense of their participation in the debate that ensued. Again, I never followed it. It seems to me that more than a few of the top Catholic bloggers have established themselves as a sort of magisterium for the blogosphere, and may consider themselves rather unassailable. I may be completely wrong of course, although delicate egos ride high, a fact often evidenced as blogger awards season draws nigh and the "vote for me" widgets go up. Not that it is a bad thing.
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And the award goes to...
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The most imperious comment I read in defense of the Catholic blogosphere, from the top bloggers who challenged or disagreed with Dr. Kmiec, came from Mark Shea. Now I often neglect to read him, although when I do, I very much like what he writes. (I corrected that today by linking to him.) I know some people dislike him, and I'm not sure why. Perhaps it may have something to do with attitude, I don't know. Whatever, this is part of what he had to say concerning the latest Kmiec-driven tempest:
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“I'm not interested in hearing Kmiec moan about how mean people from the bottom of the barrel were to him,” Shea told CNA. “I’m interested in hearing his responses to the very intelligent critiques of his position that were offered by a number of very respectable and honorable Catholics.” - Source
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I'm sure Mr. Shea did not mean that the way it reads. However, and this may be totally off topic, I always wonder about those who identify themselves as respectable and honorable Catholics. I believe Nancy Pelosi meant the same thing when she described herself as an "ardent Catholic." If memory serves me, some of the top bloggers in the country ripped her a new as-----... Well they ridiculed the poor woman for that assertion.

12 comments:

  1. Terry, are you saying you're going to vote for Pedro instead of me?

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  2. Nicely said.

    Oh yeah, you can come get your accent-skewing, blood- freezing Minnesota whether out of Ohio anytime the notion strikes you. Our high today was 18 at seven this morning. It will be 0 by the time I get off work (wind chill about -10)! (I know it came from you guys- I can read a weather map.)

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  3. VOTE FOR PEDRO! Nancy Pelosi can call herself anything she wants--but she's not PEDRO!

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  4. I'm a middle of the barrel kind of guy.

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  5. Oh my fur and whiskers! You've really been on a roll lately. Keep it up.

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  6. As someone that actually has followed Kmiecs writings and especially over the past year his act gets old.

    He was very much asked to respond to some serious questions A(oh like by people like Prof Garnett of Notre Dame and he never does.

    It has become a tiresome affair and this piece is his weakest yet

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  7. Terry, a well-done piece as usual. I will offer some perspective on Mr. Shea, however - actually, I did earlier this morning, right here. Speaking personally, the problem I have with him is that his manner can be so oft-putting that he dilutes the powers of his own argument. I don't happen to agree with him on the war, for example - but there are people who can respectfully and reasonably disagree on that. You just have to grant someone the good faith of their intentions.

    And I believe that this is something Mr. Shea does too seldom. In fact, as far as that argument is concerned, I think he's his own worst enemy. By antagonizing people (often intentionally), he builds intransigance against the very point he's arguing. There are times when I feel prone to disagree with him no matter what he says, simply because he's the one saying it. Not good on my part, to be sure, but it isn't so good for him, either - if he means to convert people to his side of the argument rather than simply bloviating for his own benefit. I think that sometimes he believes he's being either clever or funny (or both), but if that is the case he should perhaps refine his senses of each.

    That said, I agree with him (for the most part - sharing your reservations) on Doug Kmiec. But again my fear is that, for those who (like you) haven't paid a great deal of attention to the issue, they're going to be inclined to take Mr. Kmiec's side simply because Mr. Shea is the one doing the arguing.

    I'm not an expert on this, but I'm pretty sure that Mark Shea didn't take any of those "How to Win Friends and Influence People" classes. I want to like him - I like many of the prayers he offers, and his scholarship can be quite good - but until he starts treating people with more respect (even those who fail to return the favor), I just can't make the step. I don't hate him - I don't even know him - but...

    It's nice to be commenting again. I've been most negligent in commenting on your pieces recently, but that doesn't mean I don't still enjoy them.

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  8. Mitchell! So happy to know you still drop by. Thanks for sharing your insight into Shea. Like I said, I don't know his blog.

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  9. LOL @ LarryD's comment! :-D

    Mitchel's pretty much on target re: Shea's blog, although I agree with Shea's stand on the war--the very reason why I made myself look past the tone of his arguments to see what he is saying. He is a very smart fellow, to be sure. And prolific!! THIS is probably the reason he comes off a bit caustic at times, he uses his precious little time to proofread his writings that are going out for publication, leaving his blog completely un-edited.

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  10. Terry, you can't get rid of me that easily!

    Georgette makes a good point. He is obviously very smart. But I think if he's going to be that free with his comments on his blog, he might as well shut it down and concentrate on doing one thing well, rather than several things poorly.

    As for me, I only read him when I want to make myself mad, and it usually works. For me, he is definitely a proximate cause of sin. And that's my point - no Catholic should put himself in that position. Him or me. :)

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