Thursday, February 21, 2013

Toxic Blogging

subtitled: [Mark Shea and other professional Catholics, toxic bloggers without excuse.]

There have always been some rather nasty bloggers out there who have a kneejerk caustic reaction to all things traditionalist. Where if the subject is traditionalists, the portrayal will be some absurd caricature (see at bottom of this page), never found at an actual traditionalist parish Mass.

I've been a parishioner of the FSSP since the 2nd month it came to Colorado, and before that was connected with the local orthodox community, as well as more generally connected via my alma mater TAC, and so over the years I've meet my fair share of traditionalist minded Catholics and been in my fair share of conversations, and not once have I heard the type of discussion that Mark Shea considers so common that he considers himself justified to write a post vilifying traditionalists, with the typical weak caveat.

Someone with 'trad' in his nom de plume makes a comment on the first post ever of some obscure blog saying that if the next Pope is a witch doctor he's leaving the Church, and that obscure comment is enough for Mark Shea to write some wild accusation about how most Traditionalists hate Jews. What African witch doctors have to do with Jews is beyond me, but let that be as it may.

To help give perspective to how extreme Mark Shea's reaction is, it's helpful to consider it in comparison to his reaction to the apostate Rod Dreher's public renunciation of his Faith after first publicly demanding that the Pope either bow to Rod Dreher's dictate or else.

Rod Dreher committed public scandal after public scandal and Mark Shea treated Rod Dreher with a softball plea to rethink his scandalous apostasy, where as in contrast some unknown blogger with 'trad' as a nom de plume suggests doing the same as Rod Dreher did and Mark Shea's response is to throw traditionalists down the steps of the Church to be stoned with scorn on his blog.

And unfortunately Mark Shea is not alone in his kneejerk wild accusations, I once had a popular Catholic blogger make the same wild accusation against me, which is strange to say the least considering that I've always really liked the Jewish community that I was part of growing up, and have remained part of, if now mostly at a professional level, and that according to the Jews I know, I am Jewish. Of course, I'm not actually Jewish because my mother isn't, but my father was Jewish because his mother was.

Mark Shea is a professional Catholic who makes his living by being on the right side of those who hire him to write articles for publication and hire him to come to their parishes to give talks. He's likewise in a business where the wrong phrasing of a single sentence could have a long lasting detrimental affect to his career of itinerate professional Catholic. He's proven himself to be adept at walking a path fraught with pitfalls where he knows how to choose his words carefully without error and where he's made himself skilled at winning friends who matter.

In other words, Mark Shea does not make public blunders, and so while it may look like Mark Shea has a blind spot where he goes off the deep end when it comes to all things traditionalist, he is actually in complete control of himself and his image. Mark Shea is completely confident that he can skewer traditionalists with the most loathsome accusations imaginable and not suffer from his vile accusations.

Mark Shea's accusations tell us something about Mark Shea, but more important is what they tell us about those who butter Mark Shea's bread. What his wild and loathsome accusations tell us is that not only do those who butter his bread detest traditionalists, but that his vile accusations actually win him favor.

Because at the end of the day for the professional Catholics it's business, and Mark Shea knows which side his bread is buttered on. And going after minorities who are easily labeled as extremists is an easy mark because the common readers have spent a lifetime being softened up by the popular secular mass media to vilify those who take a moral stand. Of coarse, the professional Catholics are likewise taking a moral stand, but their position takes on the character of the popular mass media in relation to 'extremists' and so their method works because of the prior efforts by secular mass media.

Attacking traditionalists is a method that has the desired effect of the common readers agreeing and feeling like they're part of the incrowd while effectively isolating out traditionalists for scorn, while most importantly building up the prestige of Mark Shea, the professional Catholic.

Not that Mark Shea is alone, far from it, but as a well known public figure he does serve as a good example of the present and unfortunate state of affair of toxic Catholic blogging where the most egregious offenders are the professional Catholics fanning the flames of hatred of Catholics towards their fellow Catholics.

Further, the new orthodoxy popular Catholic bloggers have always been a rather blood-thirsty lot with daggers ready when a victim is on his knees (Fr. Corapi anyone?). There was a scandal, but the scandal mongering and incessant bludgeoning and smearing of Fr. Corapi by the new orthodoxy popular Catholic bloggers was repugnant with the shameful result of driving an unstable man to renounce his priesthood.

And the new orthodoxy Catholic bloggers have always been a rather opportunistic lot with sharp knives out ready to be horrified when it's discovered that some other Catholic, (like themselves), has feet of clay; where the new orthodoxy is more than ready to sell down the river those who have fallen from the grace of blogdom.

And for a while now there's been a slow but steady increase in vitriol towards traditionalists from a fairly broad base of bloggers who think of themselves as orthodox Catholics.

And so while it shouldn't be surprising, nevertheless the latest recent development of a pretense of humor masking sharp knives as this parody does is a disappointing change for the worse.

It should be noted that Erin Manning who wrote the parody is not a professional Catholic, but was in the past involved with other Catholics of the same uncharitable disposition as Mark Shea currently is , and sees her parody as a means of recovering from her own past uncharitable disposition caused by her past associations. Unfortunately, her means of recovery is the means of causing others to be uncharitable, but so it goes in life.

(more to come as I think about it), This post is being written, read at your own risk


Mark Shea's absurd caricature :
And that, children, is one of the many reasons Trad Catholics are so often such repellent specimens. Racism, Jew-hatred, thin-skinned, self-pitying, bullying, smug, pharisaic pride: these are traits I have encountered *far* too often in Trad circles. Are all Trads like this? Of course not. I’ve known plenty of people who call themselves “Traditional Catholics” who were good and decent people. But I’ve also encountered an *awful* lot of people like this person, who mistake a particular aesthetic with sanctity and who forget that the fruits of the Spirit still matter. This particular “Trad” knows nothing of the tradition if he does not know that in Christ Jesus there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, European nor African. I’ve got news for you, pal: You’ve already left the Church in your heart if the color of our next Pope’s skin means anything to you.
It’s Lent. Try repenting of your racism, “TradCatholic”.

addendum : this is a nice post of professional Catholics

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Please note :
This post was moved from my other blog. The following are two comments I thought I should bring over.

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Comment From Redcardigan:
Hi, LTG! Personally I make no money at all from blogging. Zero, zilch, nada. I thus feel free to skewer both ultra-right and ultra-left Catholics, and I do so frequently.

I have personal experience with the rad-trad mindset, and though these days it's identified with the Latin Mass, I was a sort of pre-Latin Mass RadTrad (e.g., the Latin Mass wasn't yet widely available other than SSPX when I was devouring the Wanderer and looking with deep scorn at the typical suburban "Our Lady of Pizza Hut" Catholic who was probably contracepting and probably an environmentalist and probably borderline heretical and probably...etc.).

The story of my conversion away from that mindset can be found here:

http://redcardigan.blogspot.com/2011/08/truly-true-secret-catholic-preservation.html

So when I write parody posts lampooning the sort of Catholic I myself used to be, I do it for a simple reason: I was led away from it myself, and I'd like to see others led away from it as well. Pope Benedict seems to be saying that we need to lay aside these internecine fights and go back to spreading the Gospel; why can't we listen?

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My comment in reply:Red Cardigan,
I appreciate your reply.

Please note, your blog is one of the few I read, and do so because your articles are short and very insightful. A very unusual combination) This blog post is not about you, but your song does serve as a nice example because it is not typical of your blog and in turn a disappointing joining in on the "internecine fights"

And please note, my including you in my post has nothing to do with your banning me from your blog, I find that rather comical and enjoyable, although I can't figure out if it was because I said that neocaths are a whacked out cult, or because of my short version comment of this post of mine.

I suppose I never have moved away from the Wanderer mindset, albeit I haven't subscribed to, or read, the Wanderer for about 15 years now, but 25 years ago I did read it cover to cover and considered it the best source to know what was actually going on within the Church.

And when I had children of school age, I sent them to Wanderer editor Frank Morris's school, Colorado Catholic Academy, and to the SSPX school Marian Academy that was a break-off of his school.

And so when I say I was connected with the orthodox community in Denver, it is of Wanderer type Catholics that I think of.

With my younger children, I sent them to the local parish school, where out of three hundred children there were only three families of more than four children, of which I happened to know the other two as like minded to myself. So, when I looked at the coincidence of who had families over 4 versus everyone else, it was pretty obvious what was going on.

In fact, one of my biggest gripes with the tuition pricing of the parish schools is that they're priced for contracepting double income families, and not for single income Catholic sized families. And so when the economy crashed and with it my income, I was forced to send my children to the local government charter school. Homeschooling and my wife has never been a very good option.

This is Colorado, so we're all environmentalists, (Frank Morris's daughter who was principle of the school decorated Colorado Catholic Academy with environmentalist posters), so I don't think there was ever too much scorn for environmentalist around here, but I know that elsewhere Catholics of all types are pretty backwards.

Were all those families at the local parish school heretics, materially almost certainly, but then again, who isn't? What they really are is poorly formed through no fault of their own.

I don't remember anyone looking with "deep scorn" on the typical suburban Catholics, nor of course did anyone want them to be the leaven forming the culture of the local parish which they unavoidably did. Nor do I remember the Wanderer having scorn for the typical suburban Catholic.

As for the internecine fights, that is why I wrote the post, what is happening is a continuation of the status quo where it used to be the liberals crushing the orthodox, and now it's the new orthodox types carrying on the tradition of vilification and ostracism. With the worst offenders being the professional Catholics.

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