Catholic Culture Resources
Catholic Culture Resources

Cyber Shock Horror: St. Blogs Exposed!

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Mar 10, 2004

Commonweal author Rachelle Linner checks out Catholic blogs and is deeply distressed to find the wrong kind of diversity.

Intrigued by the genre, I set out to explore the most visible precincts of what is known as St. Blog's Parish -- the moniker applied to the loose collection of Catholic blogs. I began reading with the expectation that all sites would exhibit the thoughtfulness and charity of Peter Nixon's. This naiveté was quickly dispelled when I realized the diversity -- and varying quality -- of Catholic blogs.

If you've ever spent half an hour with Commonweal, you can supply the next line yourself:

This diversity is not, unfortunately, a mirror of the wider church.

Told you.

St. Blog's, with some exceptions, tilts decidedly to the conservative side of the Catholic culture wars. The tenor of a site can frequently be ascertained from its title or tag line -- The Fifth Column ("Orthodox Catholic commentary on current events"), Magisterial Fidelity, Against the Grain (authored by the man who maintains the Cardinal Ratzinger Fan Club).

"What further need have we of witnesses?"

One gets a quick sense of a blog's politics from the organizations its author provides links to. This is not unlike checking out the publication rack in the back of a church; regrettably, in this electronic parish rack, Commonweal is less visible than Crisis and First Things.

Thank you for sharing.

A number of priests and seminarians also write blogs. ... Curiously, women religious are absent from St. Blog's. An absence explained by the conservative bent of many blogs, or just a function of statistics?

The real reasons are far more sinister: first, html software is specifically designed to block caring, other-oriented language that is respectful of the marginalized. Second, blogging manuals are kept in a locked archive in the Vatican. Third, the wimples worn by women religious were designed by male hierarchs to impede their peripheral vision so they couldn't find the "enter" key on their laptops. The consequences are inevitable.

The traditionalist blogs are one response to the weakening of Christian certainty -- in this case, a negative response -- one that often displays a judgmental attitude and a corrosive cynicism about the "secular" world.

Judgmental? Cynical? When the author of Economic Justice for All (and erstwhile Commonweal contributor, by the bye) paid $450G in church funds to hush up his rent boy, didn't we wait until after the district attorney's press conference before corroding our official support for the Brake the Cycle of Poverty Bike-a-thon? Rachelle, we are an Easter People.

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