Thursday, March 27, 2014

Six Degrees of Fr. Feeney: the Secret Mark Shea and Michael Voris Share

What surprises me is not that so few people read St. Corbinian's Bear, but that anyone at all does. Abraham, whose offspring would become as numerous as the stars of the sky, has nothing on Catholic blogdom. In fact, there are many more than the billion-something Catholics that currently walk the face the of the earth, so we've even got some wannabes. (Some guy named Ahmed in one of the 'stans is pounding out a Catholic mommy blog even as you read this. And it's way more popular than SCB.)

SCB is less a blog than a family. A very small family. You would think this would trouble the Bear. After all, publishing a blog is not a trivial enterprise, and there are ego considerations. I'd be lying if I said it didn't, but it doesn't much. Beside's, it's a wonderful exercise in mortification.

Secrets of Successful Blogs

People like controversy, especially if you can attach it to a personality. The one time the Bear hit it big was when Michael Voris plugged a story the Bear did on -- you guessed it -- Michael Voris. There are bloggers who, I believe, use this parasitic tactic to stay relevant. Remember Father Corapi? Haven't heard from him in ages. Let's write about that. And link him to Michael Voris. And then riff on the kind of Catholics you and I don't like.

Another big piece was on the Church's position on gun control. (Elimination of private ownership, in case you're wondering.) If I could find a hook, I could generate me some hits, by golly!

After perusing many blogs at Patheos today, I can't say what makes a blog successful. Probably, like most things, being in the right place at the right time. An above-it-all attitude doesn't seem to hurt. The Bear can't do that. This is a jawbone-ripping fight for souls.

Charting a Course to Happy Failure

This blog is about navigating the uncertainties and difficulties of being a good Catholic today, a particularly bad time to be Catholic. This is primarily on-going Catholic formation for my kids. So I have a stake in what goes into SCB.

There is something else about microblogs. They don't have to pull any punches. Since I don't believe it is to court damnation to point out a pope's departure from previous teachings, I can judiciously criticize the advice to seek wisdom from non-Christian religions. It's bad, dangerous, and scandalous counsel that is a clear departure from past Church teaching, no matter who tells you to do it. The motives behind it are highly suspect.

Read St. Teresa of Avila, and some other great saintly writers. Once you understand everything and have practiced it for a number of years, then, and only then, if your spiritual life is still lacking, study Buddhism. But only if you're sure you won't become less Catholic.

That's why I dip into the past so much. The encyclicals of the late 19th and early 20th centuries laid everything out for us, prophetically. Our saints are guiding lights. We have no excuse for being surprised about anything.

Still Catholicism's Only Real Bear Blogger

No, no entry about Mirari Vos is going to go viral unless Mark Shea says it is a load of crap and Michael Voris calls him a heretic and the Bear is somehow the only one to find out about it. But that is what sets SCB apart from the 3.2 billion other Catholic blogs out there, and you from their readership.

Bear-blogging is the niche of niches. As people are immortal, if one piece helps one person, I can't bemoan my lack of success. And being a Bear with a tiny readership is still being a Bear. Sure, everyone wants to be a success, but success isn't always what we think it is. And if something ever does go viral, you can play the Catholic hipster and casually mention to your friends, "Yeah, I was following the Bear before anyone had ever heard of him."

Now I have to finish another article. Six Degrees of Fr. Feeney: the Secret Mark Shea and Michael Voris Share. It's going to be big.


  1. Great blog. Don't ever stop. Don't forget all those blogs started somewhere. Granted those guys have radio shows and lots of $upport.
    You are just a jaw bone wielding bear with the good sense to know what is right. Mighty oaks from little acorns grow. :) Never give up!

  2. Good sense, 1200 lbs of muscle, three-inch claws and 1300 years of cunning. Ursus Arctos does not give up. Viva Bruno! (What? You don't remember Bruno? The Bear Martyr? How quickly...)

  3. The Bear's scholarly blog is of great comfort and support to this conservative cradle Catholic. Please consider if nothing else, the parable of the lost sheep in Matthew 18. At times I feel not unlike the lost solitary sheep and hope the shepard rejoices at finding the one lost soul.

  4. I'm not sure the sheep wants to be found by Bruno, but I'll take it as a compliment.


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