Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Go forth and blog?

The Catholic blogosphere has mushroomed over the past five years or so and even the Holy Father has paid tribute to the potential value it has as an evangelising force.
But, is it me or are Catholic bloggers just a little bit spiritually retentive?

We relish the snippets of outrage and enjoy the odd internet spat and the learned posts but, we are preaching to one another are we not?
We indulge ourselves and not the masses.

That is a shade overstated; there are, of course, quite a few readers of blogs out there but I do mean quite a few, I do not mean many.

Ask the average Catholic man on the Clapham bus when he last read a Catholic blog and you will be met with a stare of bafflement. Blog? Catholic? What?

Stand in a roomful of Catholics with a glass of something alcoholic in your hand and tell the group you are with that you are a Catholic blogger – and watch their eye movements as they mark the nearest emergency exit.

Blogging, to the uninitiated, still carries a faint twang of something not quite nice; something that Uncle Rupert did on his own in an upstairs room before he emigrated to South Africa in a hurry.

So, the first step must surely be to bring the Catholic range of blogs to the attention of the faithful – we are not (I assume) setting out purely to evangelise when we commence blogging; I am sure that there is a diverse and varied range of reasons for this self inflicted wounding. But, whether we like it or not, there is a strong evangelical element to all that we do and that is a good and fine thing.
Provided that we open ourselves up to all and not to the select few.

I hesitate to speculate as to how many thoroughly decent, everyday Catholics know nothing of Summorum Pontificum and all that accompanies it; most of them do not even know whether an Extraordinary Form Mass is said in their parish (most parishes appear to leave it off the notices) and, as far as the Diocese is concerned, the old Mass is precisely that. It no longer exists.

And then, of course, there is the stigma attached to the Latin Mass – “it’s banned” “it’s turning the clock back” – there is much work for the blogosphere (and for Guild members) here.

At the recent Guild meeting at Blackfen there did not seem to be much enthusiasm for spreading the word with regard to Catholic blogs – or did I read the mood wrongly?

But I believe that it is incumbent upon us to do so. Did not Our Lord tell us to go out and teach?

This concept, I confess, is not my own; it came from another blogger, A Catholic Gadfly. But, I support it totally.
Gadfly’s view was that the Guild should produce an online poster with one or two lines of copy explaining its purpose and the blog address.

This could then be posted up on parish notice boards with the agreement of the PP.

That seems very reasonable to me.

Posted by Richard Collins – Linen on the Hedgerow


  1. But is a blogger to bring out the truth of Jesus, faith, the Church, or is said blogger to bring us back to the questionable joys of the Latin Mass? The good old days when few knew what was going on but it really looked holy! When some sat or knelt saying their rosary while others went out occasionally for a smoke.

    I am so tired of hearing about the Latin Mass as if that was the center of salvation. You go, Bloggers! You have done a great deal to strengthen and direct my faith. And enjoy the Latin Mass if you want. But please, don't make it the condition for membership in the club!

  2. Dawn - adherence to the Latin Mass is not a condition for belonging to the Guild.
    My personal view is that it is through Mass in the Extraordinary Form that the truth of Christ is made known to us more clearly.
    I do not recognise the picture you describe of 'the good old days'.
    If you wish to make known the benefits of the Ordinary Form of Mass then the Guild might be a good place to start but I don't see any queues forming.

  3. My response is too long and I will post in two parts:

    I saw my name mentioned and I thought it would be rude not to comment. As usual my response is long but, please read on because I think my final point will definitely be worth reading.

    Before I start I will have to say that I have no right to comment at the minute because I am in a state of paralysis in terms of blogging. Much of this paralysis stems from your quote.

    "We relish the snippets of outrage and enjoy the odd internet spat and the learned posts but, we are preaching to one another are we not?
    We indulge ourselves and not the masses".

    I made a pact with myself a while ago that everyday I would try and do something to build up the Kingdom. Most days I fail but, there are also the odd good days when maybe something good happens. I felt that MY blogging (I'm not refering to others) was not doing any thing to build up the Kingdom.

    I also felt that I could not attack the Bishops any more (guilt concerning obedience kept creeping in). I also didn't want to keep complaining about the bad state of the church. It isn't all bad. The truth is there is some good stuff going on there. Not everyone in the church is a liberal despite appearances. The majority are just tired and jaded and are not being taught properly (in essence they are liberal because they have been taught incorrectly). However, I do agree that the real liberals are killing the church (I go in to battle at my parish council meeting with the Church liberals on November the 25th - I've had enough!).

    So, I decided maybe it was time to change tack. I thought I would set my blog up as a 'poor man's' Pro Ecclesia site and challenge authority in the areas I was interested in with a 'unique selling point' that I actually complained about aspects of the church that needed rectifying. I wasn't really happy about this either. It still seems negative. There was no grace in any of this. I am working on rectifying it but it is not going to happen overnight.

    If you want to know what the real problem was - there are too many fires to put out and certainly too much for one person to deal with. Having said that, I do have one claim to fame and that is that I do seem to have got World Youth Day UK higher up on the national agenda, due to a prolonged campaign (well, campaign maybe too stronger word - prolonged nagging may be nearer the truth). I can tell you now that there are some people out there not happy about it now that the cat is out the bag and people are beginning to talk about it. However, it is proof that one person behind a blog can have a positive effect.

  4. To cut a long story short I have been on a four year spiritual journey which is led me to one conclusion, and one conclusion alone, which I will put in the context of blogging and in general. It is true that there are many problems in the church and it is right that bloggers highlight these. However, the truth is despite the fact that blogs complain about Latin Mass, or I complain about loss of tradition, (or whatever the issue is that day) these are not the real issues that is crippling the Church. It comes down to two issues:

    1. Teaching in the Church is Dead. We may teach the rules of the Church but, we DO NOT teach the purpose of the rules - i.e. that we can actually loose our eternity and the eternity of others if we do not abide by them. If you put this point right then the Church would automatically re-balance itself in a more orthodox setting. This teaching problem as a consequence leads on to:

    2. Evangelisation in the Church is dead. This is not an exaggeration. There are small pockets out there and there are reasons for this paralysis (most of which boil down to individual cowardice, lack of leadership, lack of teaching, and a ghetto mentality of Catholics which needs to be unlearned). However, bearing in mind what we all know about the state of our secular society there comes a time when we have to ask ourselves - of the 1800 people who will die in this country today how many people will end up loosing their eternity? We talk about a holocaust in relation to abortion but, there is a spiritual holocaust going on in front of our eyes which our church is no longer addressing. Harsh but, true!

    Now if bloggers can get the message out there and do something about these two issues then we really will be getting somewhere, and building up the Kingdom.

  5. Thank you OPN....I agree with all you state.

  6. Perhaps we could use a little help from a friend:

  7. As a newcomer to Catholic blogging, my intention was simply to provide a coherent centre to the combox discussions I've regularly engaged in regarding euthanasia, same sex 'marriage' etc. I'm frankly not sure if blogging is the right way to go -there's the danger of talking only to friends- but we do need to bring the fight to the secular world: we're sitting on two thousand years + of human wisdom (quite apart from divine guidance) and yet this immense treasury is ignored by most of the chattering classes.


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