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Monday, October 25, 2010

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Todd Newbold

Im chuckling also Carl. Just imagine if everyone could afford a computer and high speed internet, or even better - a 4G I-phone at 4G speed.

matteo

If we are to believe what the Taliban has done to girls and women in Afgahnistan then John Allen should think twice about the 'cute' term that he has coined.

Ed Peters

matteo read my mind, and indeed i came here to post the exact same point. Allen's adjective is very, very poorly chosen, it trivializes what the Taliban is really all about.

Marcel LeJeune

The AP certainly wishes this story were true.

Tony S.

I don't see what's wrong with the actual "news" here. Is the AP wrong about the intent and tone of these blogs? I've been reading (and appreciating) them for a while and I don't think so. Is the AP wrong to bring up the issue of tone in the first place? Well, tone is clearly a concern for both sides. The intentionally "stark" tone of the "theological conservatives" is set against the well-known unwillingness of the hierarchy (and mainstream Catholic journalists) to move beyond concerns over tone and toward actual confrontation. Who looks worse here? The conservative Catholics who strive for effective clarity or the media/public relations people who describe the effort as "Taliban Catholicism" or who avoid the issues and instead focus on an apparent "lack of civility" and publish guidelines (these latter, and not the report itself, seem to be the real focus of your comments).

Your objection to the description of the bloggers as "a new breed of theological conservatives" is a pretty trivial point when you consider the scope of the article. These blogs have indeed "suddenly emerged" and have become a presence on their own irrespective (in a "news" sense) of prior "speaking up" on the part of Catholic writers or parishioners. And that is due not just to the medium, but to the tone that provokes a response. As the reporter says, previous efforts seemed to have been "without much effect."

I think the article did a pretty good job distinguishing the apparent orthodox revival within the American hierarchy from the still-existent problems of diocesan bureaucracy.

Marie

The problem, in my opinion, is not the characterization of the conservative bloggers - they are combative. The problem is the implication that the other "side" for lack of a better term, is all sweetness and light and not guilty of divisiveness - as Carl points out in the irony (not seen by the AP writer, evidently) of the liberal journalist being the name-caller she quotes.

Liberal Catholics on the internet can be a vicious lot. Much of it is passive-aggressive sneering on lower-traffic websites, so who can blame Zoll for missing it. Read Vox Nova. Read the comments boxes at Commonweal. Read NCR - Michael Sean Winters' "Yahoo Watch" in which he labels fellow Catholics like Patrid Madrid and the Curt Jester as "Yahoos."

They'll know we are Christians, right?

And that's not even mentioning the damage these people do in real life and who they exclude in the name of inclusion, who they refuse to tolerate in the name of tolerance.

Tony S.

Marie, you're absolutely right. I just think that pointing out a media bias backfires in this situation. The article - once understood as concerned with a particular subset of Catholic conservative bloggers who are, at this moment, particularly newsworthy (because they're rising in prominence) - is really pretty good.

There certainly is a difference in that the reporter adds a couple adjectives (and, again, I don't think they misrepresent the subject) to the conservative bloggers without adding anything comparable to represent their opposition, but it's almost enough to let Allen and the public relations people speak for themselves. I don't think it's a reporters job to point out the irony. And, if it is, I think this sentence from the article does a pretty good job: "Some left-leaning Catholics are outraged by any exercise of church authority."

I just read Elizabeth Scalia's comments at First Things and I think she makes the same mistake that Olson has made, that is, she assumes the article is about conservative Catholic bloggers in general - or about "civility in the blogosphere" - when it is really about this particular group that has risen in prominence and that has a particular aim. These blogs are more like Damian Thompson and Splintered Sunrise. And why not publicize their efforts? We tend to rely too much on someone like John Allen for our insider information.

Tony S.

For what it's worth, the Boston Catholic Insider, one of the blogs mentioned by the report, calls it an "excellent article."

Carl E. Olson

There certainly is a difference in that the reporter adds a couple adjectives (and, again, I don't think they misrepresent the subject) to the conservative bloggers without adding anything comparable to represent their opposition, but it's almost enough to let Allen and the public relations people speak for themselves.

A good point, Tony, and I don't disagree. My initial reaction and post may have been a bit touchy, but I also don't think you will ever see an MSM piece that actually focuses fully on how dissenting Catholics, such as those at National "Catholic" Reporter, continually abuse the name "Catholic" to promote ideas, actions, and beliefs directly opposed to Church teaching. How often are there news pieces about the nasty, harsh, and arrogant language used by dissenters against Church teaching? Mocking loyal Catholics? Attacking the Holy Father? And so forth.

That said, it could be that you are more "glass half full" and I am more "glass half empty" (as I sometimes am when it comes to the media) in our reading of the piece. And so I do appreciate your reading of it, as it is often tempting to lay into nearly any and every MSM piece about orthodox Catholics.

Your objection to the description of the bloggers as "a new breed of theological conservatives" is a pretty trivial point when you consider the scope of the article. These blogs have indeed "suddenly emerged" and have become a presence on their own irrespective (in a "news" sense) of prior "speaking up" on the part of Catholic writers or parishioners.

I'm not sure about that at all. But, then, perhaps my experience as a blogger is different from those interviewed, as I am in my forties and was learning about these various clashes before the internet became a major factor. Despite being a somewhat prolific blogger (eight years, around 8,000 posts or so), I still have a certain (nostalgic?) love for books over the internet, as wonderful as the latter can be (and as good as it's been to me). What I do think is beyond reasonable dispute is that apologists and defenders of the Faith, no matter their preferred medium, would do well to study and learn from folks such as Dr. Hitchcock and Mgr. Kelly, who combined polemical excellence with scholarly chops and exemplary writing, setting a high bar for the rest of us to match.

Tony S.

"What I do think is beyond reasonable dispute is that apologists and defenders of the Faith, no matter their preferred medium, would do well to study and learn from folks such as Dr. Hitchcock and Mgr. Kelly, who combined polemical excellence with scholarly chops and exemplary writing, setting a high bar for the rest of us to match."

Yeah, I can't argue with that - or with a love for books over the internet. Sadly, if you want something done these days, the internet seems to be the place to go.

Pamela

The only thing I would like to add to the discussion is this; I often wonder if the bishops, or anyone else complaining about the 'tone' of conservative Catholics, has ever read the Bible. Would they tell Saint Paul to watch his tone when he says people who "do such things are worthy of DEATH?" Or even Jesus, when He calls people a "generation of vipers"? When did speaking the truth become hateful? I don't recall Jesus ever candy coating the truth, yet today, Catholic writers must tiptoe around the truth so as not to offend heretics. Got it. Clearly, from the writings of the Church Fathers, and Scripture itself, hard hitting, Truth telling Catholics are not 'a new breed'. Keep it up folks!

Jeff L.

I am in full agreement with your analysis of the A.P. article. If you are not familiar with RealCatholicTV.com then I really must recommend Michael Voris' lay apostolate to you. I am a subscriber to Real Catholic TV and I have found the instructional materials on Apologetics, Church History, Catechesis, and... well... all of it thoroughly loyal to the Magisterium and excellent for the education and growth of the Catholic faithful.

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