Thursday, May 05, 2011

Blogging Like Howard Beale

What up with that?
I think it all started with the Corapi affair.  The blog-o-sterium taking issue with anyone who may have questioned the veracity of the stories, not to mention the character of the person involved, circulating after the announcement Corapi was under investigation for dyeing his beard.  (JK)  Then came the Michael Voris orthodoxy litmus test.  Afterwards, the sometimes heated - nay, mean-spirited attacks upon the pontificate of Blessed John Paul II - the trad holy office of inquisition ruling he should not be beatified, while others declaring he should be - as if we bloggers are popes.  Yet perhaps the last straw has been the folderol that followed the Osama bin Laden execution.  Although before that, I was already annoyed with how the holier than thou found it necessary to make pronouncements on the Royal Wedding and how scandalous it was for a couple of non-Catholics, who had been living together, deciding to validate their union in Holy Matrimony.
How sanctimonious can you get?  Considering that most people passing judgement screwed around themselves in their youth - and not a few of us most likely still do.  We walk that plank in our own eye to take out the speck in one anothers eye.  We all do it.  No wonder people do not want to get involved with organized religion.  The Vatican can call all the blog conventions they want, nevertheless the medium is frequently about as meaningful as a supermarket tabloid or the graffiti on a warehouse wall.  'The blog' is about as effective as a letter to the editor of the NYT or some other newspaper, while the combox discussions rarely rise above the level of pre-brawl conversation in a corner bar.
One of the most admired Catholic bloggers on line is a priest without an assignment, an exile from his diocese.  No parish, no teaching position, no accountability, and yet he is esteemed by not a few as the authority on Church teaching.  He and his followers, not unlike other trad and liberal bloggers decree who is Catholic and who is not.  What politician a good Catholic should vote for and which one we should not.  For them it is a very black and white world wherein you can't do this, you can't do that; you can't think like that and if you do you are a bad Catholic, a Marxist, a Communist, a war-monger - whatever your side of the fence judges right or wrong.  If these people are so holy and teach with such authority, why aren't they saints yet?  Why aren't they bishops?  Why aren't they teaching at the best universities and seminaries?  In some cases, why don't they even have a job?
The online Catholic world can be a very negative culture, and hypocrisy is a temptation just a few stats away from each of us.  We spend an astonishing amount of time focused upon the blog; composing, researching, copying news stories already published, fomenting contentious discussions and arguments.  We cater to our readers, seeking to win one another's approval, often in an effort to prove to ourselves and others how good and righteous we are, just how smart we are.  The reward?  Well if you don't panhandle and advertise, just vain praise, respect and validation.  Many spout platitudes about the truth and liturgical/theological correctness but they can't handle the truth when it jumps up and bites them in the ass.
I trust most people who live their lives online aspire to what is good and are well intentioned, but most of us aren't there yet - not even close.  That's not a bad thing until we start dictating to people how to live their lives - despite the fact we ourselves do not meet the same high standards we set for others.  Some of the blogging/commenting faithful can't make it through the week without getting drunk, satisfying some guilty pleasure, overeating, skipping Mass, in other words - not practicing what they preach.  Nevertheless so many of us set ourselves up as arbiters of justice, acting as judge and jury as to who is Catholic and who is not, who is good and who is bad.  And when our authority is challenged, we are experts at spinning our  defense and right to do so with more pious platitudes, dogmatic pronouncements and quotes from whatever authority suits our agenda.


  1. +JMJ+

    It would really drive people crazy if you closed the combox under this post. ;-)

  2. michael r.2:22 PM

    "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!"

    Seriously, I've yelled this out in the past week -- for reasons of my own. I've been having daily mini-seizures and am worried about what lies ahead. Prayers please, that I can regain control of my left hand and foot. My doctors & i would be happy to go forward & credit JPII or the Martyrs of Atlas for a miraculous disappearance of brain tumor.

  3. Terry:

    I think the holierthanthou all forget that the church isn't a 'haven for saints but a hospital for sinners'.

    If the Church excommunicated all of its sinners there wouldn't be single person left to attend Mass!

  4. Thanks for this, Terry, and prayers for you, Michael.

  5. I see you've been reading Cathy's blog again. LOL!!

    Terry - in case no one ever told you, you're a rotten sinner.

    And so am I.

  6. Larry D: Yeah me, as well.

    Great post, Mr. Terry!

    The ironies you mention are just too damned funny!!

    If you don't laugh, you get depressed and get suicidal.

  7. Terry:

    This post sucked. I can't believe you would spew this to all of us!!!


    We come online to hide away from reality, it is much easier to 'live' the Gospel online then to go out into the world and do it. You have destroyed the one safe haven of dillusion we had... now what are we supposed to do?

    Just because you see the wizard behind the curtain doesn't mean we don't want to stand enamored with the floating green head.

    I really wish you would stick to the script, be a 'traddy blogger' and post something against some form of LIBERAL lunacy in Minnesota. I don't have time to examine myself, or any of the blogs I read - I want easily digestable blog-nuggest of inquisition and sword swiping.

    Lastly, if you really meant this post, it would be in Latin.

    word life.

  8. Michael Voris is NOT some kind of lunatic.
    I'm listening to his talk at a pub after the "Roman meeting"...
    this man is very sincere, very articulate and surpasses any "professional Catholic" (Priest or whatever).
    Just my opinion.

  9. We are sufficiently chastened, Terry. LOL.

  10. Novena to Saint Peregrine

    Oh great Saint Peregrine, you who have been called "The Mighty" and "The Wonder-Worker" because of the numerous miracles which you have obtained from God for those who have had recourse to you. For so many years you bore in your own flesh this cancerous disease that destroys the very fiber of our being, and who had recourse to the source of all grace when the power of man could do no more. You were favored with the vision of Jesus coming down from His Cross to heal your affliction. Ask of God and Our Lady, the cure of Michael R. whom we entrust to you.

    Aided in this way by your powerful intercession, we shall sing to God, now and for all eternity, a song of gratitude for His great goodness and mercy. Amen

    Michael: I have, and will in will in the future remember you in prayer, and especially to Mary, in this the month of Our Lady. I am sure it is hard not to feel forsaken. He is w/ you...

  11. Michael: Fr. Hardon suffered from bone cancer. Ask for his intercession. Both you and Fr. Hardon need a miracle!

  12. As a newcomer to Catholic blogging, I want to thank you for this post. So I will: Thank you.

  13. Oh yes Terry--

    I'm a VEDDY bad Catholic!!

    In addition to all that you mention, I'm an engineer--woman to boot--not barefoot and pregnant--I'm a bit past my prime for the pregnant part--have a considerable scientific and mathematical background, spend my day designing tests for the military, whose prime purpose is to kill people and destroy things, wouldn't catch me dead in a chapel veil, occasionally ride my motorcycle to Mass, occasionally lector for Daily Mass, read my Daily Carmelite Ofice from an iPod,and actually enjoy playing the guitar AT MASS (atually did that for a few years)..

    Who needs to sign my excommunication document??


  14. Dear Michael R - I will pray very much. I'm so sorry about the seizures. Man what you go through. God bless you - and hang in there. May 8 is the feast of the apparition of St. Michael - we will implore him.

  15. I watched the video of Voris' speech at the "other" blogonic. It was the sanest and least offensive that I have ever heard him. Probably because he wasn't all doom and gloom or ranting about someone or something. He should try that approach more often. He might win more people to Christ who don't know Him. Even and still, 2 and 2 don't equal 4. Ace

  16. Thanks Mark - I go through this periodically.

  17. Excellent post and dead on.


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