Sunday, August 28, 2011

perceived persecution, negativity, and pseudo theologians, oh my...

... some time ago I enabled comment moderation. Today I disabled anonymous commenting. By removing the immediate satisfaction of having a nasty comment published the nasty comments decreased in number. And really, I'm under no obligation to publish a comment, even if you email me demanding I do so. I really don't like how the internet has created an environment conducive to combativeness. It makes it too easy for people to say things to others they would never dream of saying to someone's face, either out of prudence or lack of courage.

Look, I love my blog. I liken it to my home where I invite you over. I show you the art on my walls, make you feel at ease and welcome... and then hit you with a one sided diatribe of opinions, political rantings, and pontificate pompously. I'm kidding. No I'm not. Not kidding. No really, I jest. Sort of.

The point is, I do my best to remain well behaved ...within my limited realm of capabilities. I really don't think it too much to expect the same of others. Not just here on my blog, but every where. There is so much nastiness and too many self appointed pontiffs.

I maintain my stance on blogging, that it's an act of ego. I wonder at those who claim to blog with purely altruistic motives. I marvel at those who actually accomplish it, usually the blogs maintained by religious communities. But really, I'm under no delusion that this blog is saving souls and nothing I write will aid in my cause for canonization. If anything, it will be the condemning nail.

I also can't claim righteous indignation, in fact I doubt many of us can. We have religious freedom and the ability to chose any parish we see fit. Here in the United States we are not persecuted or prevented from attending mass. We are not shot at as we enter our churches and suffer under pain of death for doing so. No one is out to get us. There is no huge conspiracy against The Church and the USCCB is not an emissary of Satan and the Novus Ordo mass is not a weapon to do the Dark One's bidding.

Every perceived injustice in the mass is not some small cog in a vast machine designed to destroy Catholicism. And the fact that I actually prefer the Ordinary Form to the Extraordinary does not make me an agent of the Devil. It also doesn't make me any more pious or less pretentious if my preferences were reversed.

In fact I don't care what the topic of the post is that you are commenting on; if it's not something you would say upon entering someone's home as a guest then it needn't be said at all.

I know we all watch the news and know which stories get the most attention and coverage; the nasty ones. Even if a blog author invites negativity to their blog by repeatedly posting controversial and divisive topics in an accusatory manner there is no need to challenge them. What is to be gained?

Admittedly there was a time when a truly believed that with my mighty pen I could thwart heresy and enemies of the Church. It's laughable to type now. I felt I had a duty to defend The Church from bad theology and tambourines. But The Church needs my prayer more than it needs my defense. She has survived long before the advent of blogging and She will continue to survive long after I am dust.

Lastly, I cannot post anything that will do more good for The Holy Church than for me to attend mass and see to my life and my son's. My sole duty is to raise a good and faithful Catholic young man and myself be an example of piety... again, within the realm of my limited capabilities.

I'm tired. So very tired of it all. If those who blog feel they are called to expose abuses they witness and lies on the internet then by all means, take up your arms and give yourself wholly to The Church. Personally, I feel the laity need to learn their place within the hierarchy of the Church. We can't have it all by playing priest and theologian on the internet.

Usually whenever I am tempted to rail away at some silly thing or another like those sloppy Americanized youth embarrassing our country at WYD [yes, sadly that is all some people saw with their fixed and critically watchful eye], I have to remind myself it is in reaction to some unhappy place I am spiritually. Some times I feel the sting that I missed my vocation, and that is when the need is strongest to offer "loving correction" in matters of faith. Really though, that is when I should stay as far away as possible from blog.

Please be patient with me while I slowly learn to shut up.


Christine said...

I know of whom you speak, and I recommend that you watch his talks in Madrid:

What you see is a man genuinely in love with his faith and on fire to save souls. I really think Voris gets short shrift because of the provocative content of his Vortex videos--but I find his true personality to shine through in his unscripted talks about the faith. He's really not the angry, bitter, contemptuous man some people make him out to be--quite the opposite.

He also doesn't think the Novus Ordo is the embodiment of evil, as he is known for attending that mass occasionally himself.

The Crescat said...

Obviously I am going to have to edit this post lest everyone think Voris is my sole point, which he isn't. I fear my meaning will be lost in a battle of Voris v/ Evil.

Rob said...

Please, whatever you do, DON'T SHUT UP!

The Digital Hairshirt said...

Brava, Kat! I never expected my blog to be anything but an alter ego to myself, and if people do not like it, so be it. Keep writing - and think, seriously, about putting your posts in a book.

jdonliturgy said...

Sadly, it does go further than Mr. V. Thanks for putting it so well - and for joining the growing number of bloggers who have taken a stand about the uncharitable comments. All of us need to keep saying this until some people listen.

K said...

Good on ya, Cat. It's your blog, not a discussion forum. It's YOUR blog, not a discussion forum. It's YOUR blog. Full stop. Bravo for boundaries and yours sound great to me.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...


You hit quite a few nails on the head. Many of us have been feeling it and I don't know if it has just gotten worse, or if it has always been there and we are just getting more sensitive to it.

I too have had to shut down the anonymous option on my blog several times because the most mean-spirited, hate-filled, immature comments came from people using that option. For every one person who uses it respectably, there are several others who abuse it without regard for the fact that while they can hide their idenity from us, they cannot hide it from God who sees their vile actions.

Some are so focused on the "scandal of the day" they don't stop to think that as bad as it is now, it's nothing compared to what some of our Catholic brethren in prior centuries had to deal with.

How many persecuted and martyred Catholics ran out on the street corner to point out the scandals of their time?

St. Pio firmly rebuked the men who had dug up dirt on bishops - information they were going to use to blackmail the hierarchy into lifting the canonical sanctions.

I believe that many are unaware of certain teachings concerning how we treat others - at least when it comes to the web. I've started a new series called, Catholics in the Combox and it will examine specific topics in detail.

I'm merely introducing the topic, then asking for contributions in the combox which will be tightly controlled according to guidelines I've set forth. Consider participating.

My introduction to the series

Guidelines I just posted ahead of the first topic, likely to be published mid week.

Katie said...

You know, Kat, you're right. When you have a blog, it's like inviting people to your house for coffee. That's an excellent analogy.
There are things that are written in the comments here (and on other blogs) that people would *never* dream of saying to your face.
Sometimes, before you hit that "send" button, it's good to think, "If I was having coffee with this person at their kitchen table, would I say that?" And if you think you might, why are you reading this blog? I ask because you probably wouldn't be having coffee with the blogger in real life.

Anonymous said...

I have the same guest-in-the-house approach to blogs as well. Namely, if one has come in and decided to rhetorically piddle on the rug, then out they go. My only quibble is with the laity learning their place. Too often the rhetoric is WE ARE CHURCH when some loopy lay-practice is introduced; yet if a parish stages Guys and Dolls in the sanctuary (yes, this happened recently) and the laity appropriately call for respect for sacred space, the rhetoric changes to rebuke uppity laity with "Who do you think you are!?" I happen to believe that while Catholic teachings are difficult to live by and many real-life situations are complicated, the principles themselves are relatively straight-forward and accessible to all the faithful. They aren't gnostic or esoteric. So when some heavily-degreed theologian comes out with a highly "nuanced" proposition that abortion is acceptable or doing with your privates whatever floats your boat, then the laity can and ought to call them on it.

WYD was a mixed bad I'd say. Ugly Americans to be sure (but quite frankly, I think all of Europe is Americanized, but I'll save that for another day :)), but there were also ones praying in the face of some of the nastiess bigotry out there.

Adoro said...

Well said! I've been feeling the same way (well, about those things that apply to my life as I don't have a son...)

Got into an internet "debate" on Catholic teaching the other day, only to me, it wasn't a debate. I saw a question, I answered it, and then the vultures tried to pit the questioner and I against each other when really, the question had come to resolution.

What the hell? Catholic teaching is what it is; it's not a debate and we don't by malformed "opinion" turn it into what we think it should be!

I tired of that attitude, of "defending" when I do it every day at work, all day long. Through living my life, through teaching it actively only to be knifed in the back not on doctrinal grounds but on morally relative grounds by people who don't accept objective truth. And it's even worse when the attack comes from someone who otherwise seems to be on the same "side".

I blog less and less these days..I don't even comment anymore. It just isn't worth it. Not spiritually, for me, for others. Forums? A joke! I'd rather cut my fingers off than try that again with any sincerity.

I've been thinking of turning off comments altogether on my blog as I prepare to shut it down. It's the comments that feed pride, one way or another, whether we want to admit it or not.

I hope you keep blogging as I enjoy your blog and your sense of humor. But yes...that weariness...I know it, too, and it takes a toll.


egosumbarb said...

Yeah, as much as I wanted to keep the comments section of my post open to all comments...I have had to moderate. You almost have to these days...*sigh*

shadowlands said...

Some of the really educated (not necessarily intellectual, just good at quoting learned lines) commenters can be very pompous, even face de face, themselves and you can't swing for people online, so it is unfair, contest wise. One tends to end up cussin' occasionally.

Maybe you could keep custard pie face emoticoms in the side bar for throwing, say once a week, so everyone can get stuff out of their systems???

Or maybe issue penances to individuals, such as making named commenters pray for other named commenters until they have truly developed spiritual and Godly feelings for the latter? Mother Superiors would recommend this approach, surely?

Babs said...

I like the direction your blog has been going in lately. Keep it up!

wv- Kat comlized it was her blog to administer as she chose.

MJP Liccione said...

I have to remind myself it is in reaction to some unhappy place I am spiritually. Some times I feel the sting that I missed my vocation, and that is when the need is strongest to offer "loving correction" in matters of faith. Really though, that is when I should stay as far away as possible from blog.

Yup, that's exactly why I stopped blogging for a year. Then I got tired of beating up on myself. ;-)


Adrienne said...

It's the reason I don't post very much on matters that pertain to the Church. I also only read a very few Catholic blogs anymore (obviously you're one I read.)

I found the vitriol spewed forth by many of the "high-end" bloggers on Corapi, and now Voris, to be so disturbing that it made me physically ill.

And I have never understood people leaving nasty comments. Don't like someone's opinion? Just move on.

Goodness - politics is downright tame compared to many "Catholic" bloggers. heh

Terry Nelson said...

Good post and excellent points - you've helped me see where I have made mistakes and need to improve. In many ways - some of the negative comments I get are really blessings in disquise.

God bless you - keep blogging.

Michelle Therese said...

Much to my disgust I found that 95% of my commentors were furious weirdos with no desire to be Catholic in any sense of the word. And yet for some reason they visited a Catholic blog and always had something to say.

That is when I realized that they were activly seeking out persecution. They couldn't find it in their daily real lives so they had to actually **hunt it down** by trawling through blogs that had nothing to do with their chosen lifestyles, ideologies, or even their own interests.

So after I discovered this unnerving fact I pretty much gave up blogging. Why bother?? All that I was doing was feeding the victim-addiction of the majority of my blog readers. Which was sick and also quite scary.

Cruise the Groove. said...

"I feel the laity need to learn their place within the hierarchy of the Church"

and that place, as Archbishop Fulton Sheen so aptly put it over and over again is [for the laity] "to make sure our priests act like priests and our bishops act like bishops".

Mary Christine said...

I have another blog, not a Catholic blog, where I am regularly attacked. I stopped blogging on that blog for a while, but started back up. There must be something in it for me, and I fear you are correct - it is ego.

There are very few Catholic blogs that I can read and yours is one. Thank you for that.

Holly Rutchik said...

I have to pray often about my blog and ego - and I've just got a little ole blog with reflections and some updates on the kids and our faith life.
Anyone who does this and doesn't think that MUST be part of it is crazy.
Thanks for the great reflection, as always.

Mark Scott Abeln said...

You are all wrong.

Sincerely, Anonymous

P.S. Word Verification 'digru'

Anthony S. Layne said...

Yes, it definitely goes beyond Voris. Stacy Trasancos over at Accepting Abundance has gotten a lot of hate from the gay-rights lunatic fringe.

You do what you need to, Kat, and know you have my support.

Michelle Therese: You bring up an excellent, if somewhat queasy to contemplate, point, one that I'll have to reflect on.

Dorian Speed said...

I cannot post anything that will do more good for The Holy Church than for me to attend mass and see to my life and my son's. My sole duty is to raise a good and faithful Catholic young man and myself be an example of piety... again, within the realm of my limited capabilities.

Really powerful and I needed to hear that. There are things I have thrown myself into for the good of the Church that haven't panned out, to say the least, and without that reminder of what my true vocation is, it's so easy to get mad - "I did this for you and you let it fall to pieces!"

Anonymous said...

This is your blog, you're entitled to run it as you like. I haven't posted in mine (over at Wordpress ) in a while due to various reasons. And I refuse to discuss politics, etc. on my blog. But enough about me. I hope, though you'll still post those "bad Jesus" pictures. I really "like" them, if you know what I mean. :D

Calah said...

I don't really have anything intelligent to say other than that I love your blog and I agree with everything you said here. Also, every time I come to your blog I laugh at the pictures and quotes on the sidebar and sometimes it puts me in a good enough mood to not yell at my kids for whatever they're destroying at the moment. So just know that your blog does make a difference in the lives of three small blond children.

Gail F said...

I do think negative and downright vicious comments seem to be increasing at many blogs I read. It's not just Catholic blogs. And my goodness, the comments from people who write into newspapers!!!! Unbelievable.

Blogging is still pretty new in the scheme of things. I think it's a phase that, I hope, will end when the people who have discovered how much fun it is to go on blogs just to be nasty and cruel get tired of it and go on to something else.

Blogging has gone from having an online diary to, in many cases, being an unpaid columnist. Columnists are in the business of expounding their opinions. I write for a radio station, I don't have a personal blog, and I pretend that my blogs are newspaper columns. It keeps me more professional and more grounded. I'm providing commentary on events and ideas for interested readers, I am not gracing the world with my vaunted wisdom. IMHO, it serves the Church as long as I think with the Church. It might help someone understand something, or think about something in a new way. But it is God's job to save souls, not mine. I just do my little part to help.

Daria Sockey said...

"I felt I had a duty to defend The Church from bad theology and tambourines."

I love, love, love this.

Been away last few days and did not see whatever combox war prompted your post, but want you to know I agree on every level.

Kay said...

I find the vitriol and the arrogance of some commenters, as well as some bloggers sometimes, tiresome and offensive. I really like what you said.

Blogland is a rather surreal world, where we project a rather limited view of our real selves, and consequently don't have a very true understanding of what people are like in real life, where the footsteps meet the pavement.

Furthermore, it seems that anything said, becomes written in "search engine" concrete, like that might be our last and final word, when indeed many of us blog in order to FIND the truth, rather than to proclaim it.

I really admire people who have the courage and candor to articulate the reality of their search in a way that resonates with many of the rest of us. That's what draws and keeps me at the few blogs I visit regularly.

My blog is quite obscure and I hardly ever get comments. Maybe this is more of a blessing than I realized:-)

Sister Mary Martha said...

Hopefully, we'll all be in Heaven together, so we'd better practice getting along now, or Heaven will be Hellish.

Kathy Tedrowe said...

I hardly ever comment on these things but I just wanted to drop a note to say I, too, prefer the ordinary form of the Mass. While the traditional Latin rite is incredibly beautiful and gives one a sense of agelessness, it is the ordinary form that challenges me personally to grow in virtue, examine myself and expose myself before the Lord.
I do enjoy your blog. I enjoy learning and the internet is a wonderful resource when used properly. The downside is that we come in contact with a great many more minds than we ever would going about our daily business without it.
Kathy Tedrowe

Michael Demers said...

Ah, a shot of reality and common sense plus a healthy dose of humility! Brava!