Monday, 20 April 2009

Why Do I Love Thee, Blogs? Let Me Count The Ways...

(Serious apologies to aficionados of Elizabeth Barrett Browning!)

Fr. Tim suggested that Catholic bloggers demonstrate the good that Catholic blogs have done, and the reason why most orthodox Catholic bloggers object to The Tablet being allowed to continue to call itself a Catholic publication. So, for what it's worth, here is my contribution...

I love blogs. I especially love Catholic blogs. And I think that they are important - essential, even - in helping to spread the Faith.

The main reason I love blogs is the ability they give the ordinary Catholic to find out more about the history and practice of the Faith. 

For example, yesterday, in a light-hearted post, I quoted the Introit from the day's Mass, along with the translation given in my Missal. I happened to mention that I didn't really understand what was meant by the phrase "rational milk"; within an hour of posting, I received a comment from another blogger informing me that it was referring to knowledge of the Faith.

I have also recently started to pray the Office using the Monastic Diurnal: the book itself is not particularly clear (the Hours are all over the place, for example) and there is no separate section containing the rubrics, but I found a blog which is devoted to explaining the Ordo for the week and giving page numbers.

It is true that there is some information "out there" which is either misleading or inaccurate, but this is not much of a problem: one gradually learns that some blogs are more authoritative than others (and here the blogs by priests really are invaluable) but, because blogs are interactive (well, most of them are) any mistakes are quickly picked up and comments come flying in. There is a genuine concern among Catholic bloggers that the true Faith should be passed on.

The speed with which information gets out onto the blogs is amazing. Every pronouncement or document seems to find its way onto a blog somewhere in the world almost as soon as it is made public. Look at the number of different articles published just one day after Summorum Pontificum was released!

Catholic blogs are vital in countermanding the sneering attitude towards Catholicism perpetuated by the mainstream media, particularly in the West. It's easy to feel as if you are a freak, or in a freakish minority, because you believe what the Church teaches. You may not be as faithful as you'd like in following those teachings, but you know the teaching is there and it is true. Occasionally, when on a pilgrimage to a place like Lourdes, you get to see thousands of other Catholics who are facing the same struggles... but this is only an occasional thing. However, blogs allow you to connect with Catholics who are striving to be faithful all over the world. This really brings home the idea that the Church is Catholic, universal.

The biggest example of how blogs have helped to break the monopoly of the mainstream media is in the case of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. His words have been shamefully misrepresented in the press. The Catholic blogs have been instrumental in alerting many of the faithful to this manipulation. Bloggers have sent round several petitions of support (eg. HERE and HERE), and have protested about offensive material, such as the BBC cartoon PopeTown. 

Finally, here are a couple of examples of why The Tablet is so objectionable. 

In article 10689 (that's from November 2007), a former advisor to Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor criticised the Holy Father and the Vatican, suggesting that its stance on denying Holy Communion to a politician who publicly supports abortion, or criticising same-sex couples who wish to adopt is uncharitable and authoritarian. Twitch of the mantilla to Ches for that one.

An editorial (article 9257) misrepresents Catholic teaching on homosexuality and homosexual acts, conflating the two:

"The Catholic Catechism says that Scripture describes homosexual acts as "grave depravity". This is far removed from the temper of the times, and probably no longer even reflects what a majority of practising Catholics believe about homosexuals. Many of them have gay friends and gay relatives; Catholic mothers have gay sons. Some of the most devout are gay themselves."

Condemning the sin is not the same as condemning the sinner: I believe that Crippen was considered to be a really charming fellow, but we're hardly going to consider murdering one's spouse as any more acceptable because of it!

I haven't got the patience to go through any more such articles: there's plenty of evidence on other blogs. Suffice it to say that, on returning to the Church, I picked up the occasional copy and glanced through it. I was disgusted then by the constant criticism of Church teaching as being out-of-step with modern society, and the calls for it to change. The publication hasn't improved over the years.

3 comments:

Victoria said...

Catholic blogs are vital in countermanding the sneering attitude towards Catholicism perpetuated by the mainstream media, particularly in the West. It's easy to feel as if you are a freak, or in a freakish minority, because you believe what the Church teaches. You may not be as faithful as you'd like in following those teachings, but you know the teaching is there and it is true. Occasionally, when on a pilgrimage to a place like Lourdes, you get to see thousands of other Catholics who are facing the same struggles... but this is only an occasional thing. However, blogs allow you to connect with Catholics who are striving to be faithful all over the world. This really brings home the idea that the Church is Catholic, universal.This is so true. Not a day goes by here in Australia when Catholicism is not criticised; my children become very disheartened because they are attacked on every side by people 'did you watch...last night and its expose on the Catholic Church? Did you read the nonsense ....said in defence of the pope?" I send my children information supporting the Church which I have gleaned from the blogs and they are then able to defend the Church and hierarchy to their 'friends'.

Belinda said...

I am so thankful to God for Catholic blogs. I have learned so much about God, our Holy Catholic church, and ironically - about myself ,and my family. I have encountered a "spiritual growth spurt" . I read several Catholic blogs ,and have learned that I have a long way to go .
As a convert there is much that I don't understand about Catholicisim, but I love the warmth, sharing , and compassion of my fellow bloggers in Christ, and even though I am way behind the others in my faith. I am catching up - at my own pace.
It's been a pleasure.

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Me too! Catholic blogs were a part of my reversion process

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