Rising and Falling

Bl. Titus Brandsma, before a 'tricky time' for Catholic
journalists
Damian Thompson has posted on The Catholic Herald website an article about 'The Rise and Fall of Catholic Blogs'. Some of the points he raises are really about his personal Telegraph blog, 'Holy Smoke'.

I do also recall that due to some changes at The Telegraph a host of widely read blogs - some of which were written by Catholics - quickly and inexplicably were no more, including James Delingpole, who has since found work at Breibart, Damian Thompson, who went to The Spectator, and Christina Odone. Tim Stanley still works at The Telegraph, but it is notable that his Telegraph blog has been inactive since October 2014. Nobody was ever told why this decimation of widely read blogs occurred.

In the Catholic blogging world, a critical exception was the very popular Nick Donnelly whose personal blog, Protect the Pope was forced to close. Nick now posts in other forums. I and many others enjoyed Linen on the Hedgerow's Richard Collins. May he rest in peace.

It goes without saying that while some have stopped blogging or cut down dramatically on blogging, new blogs have emerged, such as One Peter Five and others. The passion of many Catholics to write about the Faith is matched today by the readiness with which bloggers will speak out to defend those fundamental Catholic teachings which are, like all Catholic teachings contained in the Magisterium, utterly non-negotiable. Damian raises points about other Catholic blogs and the Catholic blogosphere which I felt warranted some kind of response. I suggest that you read Damian's thought-provoking article. I have written a response to his article since it touches on issues so close to the hearts of many bloggers, some of whom are members of The Guild of Blessed Titus Brandsma.

My response can be read here at 'The Courtyard', a joint blog named after 'The Court of the Gentiles' vision espoused by Pope Benedict XVI. This Guild still seeks faithful Catholics who wish to defend and proclaim the Catholic Faith as members. If you have not considered doing so, do consider joining the Guild. It is certainly a good time to ask what purpose Catholic blogs now serve, at a time when the initial wave of optimism for Pope Benedict XVI's exciting vision of Catholicism in the 21st century was brought to an abrupt and sad end, a vision that was not to be continued by his Successor. I expect we shall receive the answer as to the 'post-Benedict XVI' purpose of Catholic blogs in the not too distant future. Undoubtedly forces outside of the Church in the West seek an end to the freedom of speech Catholics have long enjoyed on the internet. I wouldn't be terribly surprised if some inside the Church thought that kind of 'control' of the voices of the dissenters is desirable. We leave everything in God's hands. Let us allow Him to use us, and let it be for all for Him.

Comments

simple-sword said…
The Devil must rejoice at the proliferation of these blogs. People like us, Catholics, should not be wasting our time on this faith-sapping tittle-tattle. It ultimately achieves nothing and is really all about the personal vanity of bloggers and commenters. Contributors to these blogs are the religious equivalent of Daily Mail readers – “Ooh, how awful! You couldn’t make it up!” Blogs can easily become a substitute for the practice of the Faith. If you look to find God on a PC then I fear you are going to be disappointed. And do these blogs ever convert anyone? Do they bring anyone to Christ? I suspect not. But they certainly engender hatred and disputes.

(PS Nice to see the lunatic Mundabor get a kicking from Damian Thompson).
The Bones said…
It sounds like you are not a daily reader of blogs, and consider them the Devil's work, so I wonder how it is you ended here and managed to leave a comment too.
simple-sword said…
Dear Bones, I didn’t expect you to like my comment and your response is understandable! But, to answer your implied question: I read these blogs - despite feeling they are part of the problem - because I am a sinner. (I had assumed that was a given, amongst us Catholics).

You are still a young man and your zeal to maintain the purity of the Faith does you credit but you are not the Magisterium. You need to remember why you joined the Church, and surely it wasn’t in order to lay down the law to our superiors. I too am a convert, of some years now, and I am still totally 100% faithful to weekly Mass, regular Confession, the rhythms of the Church’s year, and so forth, trying to live the Catholic life, in the face of the laxity I see all around me that I had no conception of, when I joined up! But life has a habit of knocking you back, Bones, and when it comes to these matters you have to sometimes read between the lines – the Gospels are a good place to start. When it comes to Pope Francis, the world as we know it hasn’t quite ended yet, has it? He’s been pretty orthodox on SSM etc, he favours Confession, he’s about to kick Medjugorje into touch….. The synod thing is worrying but let’s wait and see what occurs. The Germans are revolting but the Germans are not the Church. Hey, here’s a quiz for you. Two statements, tell me who made them: (i) “who am I to judge” and (ii) “let him who is without sin cast the first stone”. Don’t jump to conclusions based on mistranslations and out of context, by a hostile press. Otherwise you’ll end up like poor old Mundabor. Now there’s a guy who knows he’s right. He scares me.
Nicolas Bellord said…
simple-sword: I think you overlook the fact that the internet is changing the world in a revolution akin to the invention of writing or the arrival of printed books. It gives enormous power to those previously without power. Of course that power can be used for good or evil. However the fact of the matter is that members of the laity are able to discuss their concerns in a way not previously available to them. There are times when it is up to the laity to preserve the Faith and this is one of them. An earlier example of the laity coming to the defence of the Faith occurred in Portugal at the time of the first Vatican Council. Four Bishops, appointed and chosen by the then Government, set off for Rome to vote against the doctrine of Papal infallibility. The laity, fed up with the lack of moral guidance and an ultra-liberal hierarchy in the pocket of a liberal Government, protested at great length in the Press with the result that three of the Bishops eventually voted in favour of infallibility. The fourth Bishop had to be sent home for drunkenness.

"Blogs can easily become a substitute for the practice of the Faith" - I suppose that could happen but have you any evidence that it does? On the contrary I find a great deal that inspires my faith - take for instance Father Tim Finigan's sermon at the recent Day with Mary in Margate made available on his blog this week. It gave me a much better understanding of the Sacrifice of the Mass than I had had previously. Further these blogs keep one informed about religious services around the country which are well worth attending and strengthen one's faith.

"Do these blogs ever convert anyone?" I really do not know but they help to bolster the faith of people like me so I am not lost to the Faith. The problem of evangelisation as I see it is that the priority is to get ourselves back on track: first ourselves and then the hierarchy and so on before thinking about those outside the Church. We have got to agree on what the Good News is before presenting it to others.

A particular concern at the moment is Marriage and the Family. Should the laity who are more intimately concerned with both than the clergy not be voicing their views and opposing the KasperKampf which is out to destroy both?

By the way are you a member of the clergy or the laity?
In replay to simple-sword I can't answer for anybody else but in my own case I can definitely say that certain blogs helped me on my journey back into the Church. And I can also say that there are many Catholic blogs which help enormously to deepen my faith.
Jacobi said…
Blogs like other things good and bad, are here, and won't go away.

Good blogs are essential to state and reinforce the Faith, and must continue as constructive comment.

The Church, the Truth, is under assault from without and more dangerously, from within. Much of the Hierarchy and priesthood are uncertain or even implicitly heretical at present. Therefore, the lay voice must join in clearly and loudly in defence of Truth, as it has done before in the history of the Church.

And,simple-sword, don't worry about the devil. Michael the Archangel will take care of him.

Just defend the Truth.
simple-sword said…
Thank you for your comments, everyone. When it comes to the use of anything that is morally neutral, like the Internet, we must keep things in the correct proportion or there is a danger that it takes over. When you are checking blogs several times a day I think that is a warning sign. And there are multiple dangers lurking, such as becoming a groupie of a particular blogger and hence his viewpoint. Overall, I think that religious sensibilities are best channelled in more productive ways. Not that I speak from the moral high ground in this matter! Best wishes.(Nicolas, I am but a poor layman).
J said…
Maybe some people just don´t realize how important English speaking Catholic blogs have become lately. First, because Tradition is much stronger there, second because things have got extremely claustrophobic here.
The only critic that i would like to express is that sometimes I find a somewhat contemptuos (like a disdain) tone, a deliberate ignorance or, at least a voluntary isolation. That is a mistake since we have a common enemy and we are all suffering it. Sorry my awful english.
Sandpiper said…
I love Mundabor of "Frankie the Evil Clown" fame. He's on fire for the Faith and not for the faint-hearted, that's for sure. I find him very inspirational. Truth oozes from his blog and he's nurtured my devotion to The Holy Virgin. Others I admire are St Coribian's Bear, Vox Cantoris, the Eponymous Flower, and Harvesting the Fruit of the Vatican II. The Remnant online is superb too. They help me keep my eye on the prize--Eternal Life.
Sandpiper said…
How uncharitable for simple-sword to salivate over the perceived "kicking" of Mundabor. I hope to be in Mundabor's camp for life as we battle the enormous evils around us. No Church of Nice for me!
Scott W. said…
"Do these blogs ever convert anyone?"

Yep. While the key instrument for my conversion was Dr. Birzer, blogs like Dave Armstrong's, Mark Shea (he was better in days of yore), and the Curt Jester were an important part as many of my objections and barriers to conversion were overcome by their writings. While online has a dark side. Babies, bathwater, you know the drill.

Were does Nick Donnelly comment regularly if may ask? If I were bishop, one of my first acts would be to command him to start blogging again:)
Sandpiper said…
Oops, that should read St Corbinians Bear, in my post above. The "Bear" is delightful.
Unknown said…
This blog, Mundabor's and other conservative blogs have helped me greatly. In the wake of "pope" Francis, I wondered if I had made some horrific mistake in converting to Catholicism in 2003. But, in fact, all Vat 2 popes have promoted heresy.
Buddhas on top of the tabernacle? Kissing the Koran?

I have gone from FSSP, to SSPX and now to a sedevacantist Catholic chapel. Sedevacantism is the most rational and logical explanation for this crisis. I can finally breathe.

Seattle Kim

Unknown said…
I love the bear!!

Seattle kim
Andrew said…
Lawrence's post on the subtext to the Dirty Dancing movie (of all things!) has had a huge, huuuge, influence on my thinking since I first read it three+ years ago.

Up until then I'd never even imagined that the culture-at-large could be so inimical to Christian sensibilities. I now know that it isn't just inimical, it's downright satanic. This blog played a big role in that realization. And I'll be ever thankful for that.
The Bones said…
I too am a convert and I've never considered sedevacantism an option. It certainly is not a pleasant option.

Dirty Dancing was bad, but not as bad as Brief Encounter (1945) in which married persons are encouraged to talk to one another on the train, thus opening up the possibility of 'falling in love' with someone else's spouse.
Unknown said…
I thought sedevacantism was for nutters until recently. It all made sense and was so logical when I began to examine the arguments for and against it. There was actually a 3 year period of sedevacantism in Church history. I am so fortunate to have an independent chapel nearby with a wonderful priest ordained in the old rite.

Once you go sede in the neo-con and standard traditionalist blogosphere, you are treated like a leper. It's a little humiliating, but that's part of the Christian path, n'est ce pas?

On many of the sites I visit, bloggers and commenters criticize and lampoon Francis, and in some cases even wish for his death. But dare to suggest he is an antipope and you have left the barque of Peter and gotten on the fast train to hell.

Christus Vinci; Christus Regnat; Christus Imperat!! I am free from the Church of Vatican II!


Seattle Kim
simple-sword said…
Seattle K's comments sum up perfectly why the Catholic blogosphere is a bad idea. It's all there, the traddy reference points, the worship of bloggers, the drama of her multiple conversions.

I've only had one conversion and that will do me just fine. The aged monk who was my catechist gave me some good advice at my reception: "now the hard work begins!". Being a loyal Catholic isn't sexy - it never has been. And it is not best conducted over the Internet. Stay away from these blogs. Religion is not entertainment.
Unknown said…
Bonester, if you get some time, watch this conference Bishop Sanborn gave in London on the three different positions in the crisis in the Church in which he goes over the Indult/ FSSP position, the SSPX position and the Sedevacantist position.www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsRKKMVbN0M

I understand that you may not wish to publish any of my previous sede comments as yours is not a sede site,but I did want to send you this link. Lots more where it came from if you're interested.

Seattle Kim
Unknown said…


This is one of my recent favorites entitled "The Golden Principle."mhtseminary.libsyn.com/sermon-the-golden-principle-by-bp-sanborn

The Bones said…
Sedevacantism might make people 'feel better' about the crisis in the Church, but our faith is not about feeling better. It is about holding to the truth and communion with Christ and His Church.
Unknown said…
Of course, the seeming defection of the Church and the impostors in the Vatican are troubling and these things require constant prayer, but it is clearly the outcome of Vat 2. Bergoglio is Vat 2 on steroids, but all other concilliar "popes" have promulgated the heresies of Vat 2 as well.

Priests in your land were horribly tortured and killed when Henry VIII changed the faith. The Vat 2/ Novus Ordo religion is a substantially different religion from Catholicism just as Henry VIII's "catholic" church was as well. Fortunately sede priests aren't being tortured and killed these days.

At least listen to the videos and read for yourself (Novus Ordo Watch is a good start.).

We live in troubling times, but enduring them is easier when we understand the root of ALL the troubles.

I can never again in good conscience attend a Mass that is una cum Francis. I am no longer invincibly ignorant.


Seattle Kim
Unknown said…
And here's buttload of sermons from CMRI. A few years ago a newly ordained Novus Ordo priest (Michael Oswalt) accepted the sede position and was retrained and re-ordained by their order.

I just loves you, Bonester, and I want you to know all this stuff! ;-)


http://traditionalcatholicsermons.org/index_files/CMRI_Archives.htm
Nicolas Bellord said…
simple sword: Of course there are comments which reveal divergence from Church teaching, even heresy and schism but you do not necessarily have to read them and you could put them right. However the way I see things is this. I was brought up a cradle Catholic in a very different world Mgr Ronald Knox, Hilaire Belloc and many other prominent and orthodox laymen and clergy abounded. Chesterton was still not long dead. I followed my father and grandfather into a firm of lawyers acting for Bishops, clergy and religious in the 1960s. I accepted the changes that came after Vatican II as I assumed that 'Father knew best'. I dealt with droves of sisters leaving their orders. I watched religious orders collapsing numerically. Catholic schools and hospitals ceasing to follow the teaching of the Faith. Vocations collapsing. Worst of all we had to deal with the homosexual paedophiles who had entered the religious life and brought terrible disgrace on the Catholic Church.

I cannot see how anyone can argue that something has not gone seriously wrong. You just have to look at Church attendance. Mostly women and a few men all over sixty - the only younger ones are from the immigrant communities.

"And he saith to them: Whosoever shall put away his wife and marry another, committeth adultery against her. And if the wife shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery."

Those are the very simple and plain words of Jesus and yet there are now Cardinals who speak against those very words. If the unthinkable were to happen and such heresy were to be accepted shall we not be entitled to ignore everything that Jesus taught? Where will the Church be then?

So what can we do as individual members of the laity? Of course we can start by praying but what then? Try and live a pious life but not many will be evangelised by that if you are retired and not meeting many people? The clergy and religious are restrained in the manner they can speak out unlike us laity. I can write letters to the hierarchy but I am afraid few of them respond even if they get to read my letters. So what do we do? Sit at home, pray and do nothing? That is the heresy of Quietism or Molinism. Yes a heresy! The internet enables us to make our voices heard in a uniquely new manner. You can correct those who have gone off track. To-day is the feast of St John Mary Vianney and the first reading from Ezechiel warns us that those who fail to correct the wrongdoers by speaking up will be called to account.

Also by following these blogs one learns a lot. It is only since my retirement some 15 years ago that I have really begun to understand what has gone wrong and the extent of it - I have only recently come to know about the heresy of Modernism which infects our Church and many other things.

"Thine to warn the upright man against the marring of his innocence; and he, sin avoiding, shall owe his life to thy remonstrance; thy duty is done."



Jacobi said…
I'm not a convert, just a simple ordinary middle of the road cradle Catholic. I looked up sedevacantism once but have forgotten the answer, I think!

One comment said "now the hard work begins". How true, and it is hard work. We have had some odd Popes, and the post-Vat II period has been no different. why should it be? But Popes they have been.

If you accept the Triune God, the Resurrection, and the Successors of Peter, (to cut it all a bit short) then you are a Catholic.
Anonymous said…
Being a loyal Catholic isn't sexy, yes, it's being More.....Thomas, naturally.Christ wasn't popular among Jews at his time, and it's this way more and more even now, it's not funny entertainment.
Thank you Nicolas Bellord for your answer to simple sword.

I grew up in the post Vatican era- I am a Cradle Catholic. Went to University where Jesuits and ex-Jesuits were the chaplains and teachers on campus. And I was confused. Liberation Theology, the 'historical Jesus'.. etc.

Later, in reading books such as "The Spirit of Catholicism", by Karl Adam, "The Lord" by Romano Guardini, and others- mostly pre-Vatican, but also Benedict XVI,I realized that these books satisfied a hunger that I can only describe as a hunger in my very DNA. Which is why I call myself geneticallyCatholic.

While I am very worried by Pope Francis, and his "attacks" on traditional Catholicism, I know that I absolutely cannot leave the Barque of Peter. ... and the Church. This is my response to simplesword. Our Lord and His Church are one. Our Lord gave the keys of His Kingdom to Peter, and through apostolic succession, we have got Pope Francis. He is legitimately Pope. Though I will leave it to Our Lord to deal with Pope Francis, we, as faithful laity have a crucial role, to keep to the teachings of the Church and even to help our priests and bishops.

I gave our young auxillary bishop here a gift of the book "Remaining in the Truth of Christ" written by the 5 Cardinals. Our auxillary bishop had read Cardinal Kasper's book on Mercy, but not the response to it by the 5 Cardinals et al. He thanked me for the gift of the book, and later, when I spoke briefly to him after he had read it, he told me the book was great! And he met Cardinal Burke!...He told me that Cardinal Burke had written a chapter in the book...as if I did not know that :) ... I could actually sense the relief in his voice that he had read the 5 cardinals book...

Finally, I find reading blogs like yours, and yes, that of Mundabor, help me know that I am not alone. There are others like me who are "astounded" by what is happening in the Church. Given what is happening, we can no longer be "closet Catholics". As such, blogs like these are important. Thank you.
simple-sword said…
This has been an interesting thread. I'm glad no-one has taken serious umbrage at my comments. Nicolas' latest comment is rather moving - yes, we feel we are in choppy waters and don't know what we must do for the best.

I cannot speak for other people's religiosity but for me it's time to "step away from the PC" and get back to some spiritual reading instead, from which going online has distracted my attention somewhat - I feel this has been a sin, or at least an imperfection, in my spiritual life. There are some great classics out there and they're not all dry and boring either! At the moment I'm reading "The Belief of Catholics" by Mgr Knox. Recommend. I've just read a bit where he contrasts the unchanging teachings of Catholicism (this is in 1927)with the shifting sands of other Christian denominations, and posits that this is why Catholicism is flourishing and they aren't. No change there, then!
Anonymous said…
Here's a good example of a good blog saying goodbye:

http://nacionalismo-catolico-juan-bautista.blogspot.pt/

Basto
Jacobi said…
The time has come, in my personal opinion, for remaining good, thinking, Catholics and True, and there are still some, to get of their posteriors, out into the open, on to the rooftops if necessary, and proclaim Catholic Truth.

My generation's fault,( youth in the 50s), is that we were so naieve, trusting, accepting,and busy getting on with life. In retrospect, that was an error, not a sin, lets not drift into scruples!

We can all get back to piety and so on in maybe a hundred years time when we have sorted out the current utter shambolic mess assaulting the Church in this second Relativist Reformation.

For anyone over their three score and ten, their is not much time left. Leave the piety to the next generations. And Bones don't you dare give up blogging!!

ps Quite like Mundabor. A bit over the top at times, but heart definiately in the right place.
lucidmimi said…
May you never ever be treated like a leper, my sister, Kim. :(

May you consider how our Holy brothers fought against the Arian Heresy. May you also consider how our Holy brothers never left Holy Mother Church or declared Pope Liberius was not Pope, despite how Pope Liberius and the Apostate Bishops treated them. ♡ Domini Iesus!
Nicolas Bellord said…
Happy feast day Bones although I would suggest celebrating with a barbecue might be unwise.
Father Arthur said…
I followed the link to the article by Damian Thompson.Alas comments are closed. Only a lukewarm Catholic, with no principles, and half-baked theological ideas, could describe false references designed to mock, and deride, a senior Catholic Clergyman, entrusted by Rome with weighty tasks, as a "backstory

May God continue to bless Bishop Roche, and those, who like him, serve Christ and His Church, and spare us from closet anti-Catholics like Damian.
Nicolas Bellord said…
Dear me Father Arthur is making a bit of gentle fun of a Bishop which DT admits may have been a bit childish so terrible that you have to describe him as anti-Catholic?