Saturday, November 21, 2015

Word On Fire to Bloggers: Drop Dead

Update: After the recent Bishop Robert Barron parody, I happened to run across this piece from a year ago.. People who have the power hate bloggers, or at least what we do. They have the same elitist, monopolistic mind-set as those who take it upon themselves to dictate what qualifications bloggers must have. Power, money and ego drive the establishment, no matter what form the establishment may take.

Fr. Michael Cummins: Bloggers would go to Hell if there were a Hell.

Catholic means “universal.”  I do not believe that there is space for narrow-casting in the Church.  In fact, I wonder if it might even be a sin against the unity of the Church.  Seife lays out the fruits of narrow-casting: lack of true information, radicalization and isolation.

So writes Fr. Michael Cummins in Fr. Robert Barron's Word on Fire blog.

You see, back when three networks held a monopoly on the news, they had to be fair and balanced (no, really fair and balanced) or they would lose credibility and audience.

Say again?

How quickly we forget the bias and inanity of those Big Three days. Seriously, in this day and age, Fr. Cummins holds up Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw and Katie Couric as the model for news?

Nowadays, every Tom Dick and Bear with a computer and an internet connection can set themselves up as a purveyor of things Catholic. No doubt it is irksome for Catholic establishment outlets like there's-a-reasonable-hope-that-Hell-is-empty Word on Fire has to compete with faithful amateurs who refuse to dumb down the faith.

Fr. Cummins' piece is a perfect example of why we have alternative sources of news and commentary.

Call me crazy but I have a hunch that Pope Francis knows what he is doing and that the Holy Spirit is in the midst of the Church.  Maybe our United States “American” (I say this because this is the only cultural context I can speak to) tendency to interpret an event (i.e. the Synod on the Family) only by catering to a particular viewpoint is more of a reflection of a deficiency in our culture than a reflection of what actually transpired in Rome?  Maybe we have become more conditioned by narrow-casting than we realize?

Call the Bear crazy, but maybe the truth isn't somewhere in the middle, or found in the official story, or in vague pious hopes, or beyond us as Americans.

How about the truth is just the truth, wherever it resides? And, also importantly, maybe error is error no matter where it issues from?

No doubt the Catholic independent media does tend to target two different audiences.

There are liberals and moderates who, either boldly or slyly, serve up a sort of Catholicism Lite. If there were only an establishment Church media, it would not achieve truth and balance any more than did the Big Three networks of yore. It would be bland and culturally accommodating. It would be full of reports on global warming, gun banning, and big, wonderful ecumenical meetings. Perhaps there could be Kasper's Korner, where each week a new permutation of couplings could be justified as holy matrimony. There could be Bravo! a show where Cardinal Dolan demonstrates how to value homosexuality.

Americans believe competition is a good thing. We have thought the best remedy for bad speech -- if that is what Fr. Cummins thinks this blog is -- is more speech, not censorship. Frankly, the Bear thinks the Holy Spirit knows exactly what He's doing in giving every Catholic a printing press at a time when the Church itself is manufacturing a crisis.

We already have plenty of Fr. Cummins' brand of "broadcasting." That is why there are conservatives who maddeningly just will not shut up about the ancient faith, even when the fumbling Catholic clergy lash out at them as sinners, SINNERS! (At least it's refreshing to know a priest's mouth can still form that word.)

If the legacy media were doing a good job, there would not have been such a demand for the Pajama Media. Similarly, faithful Catholics have to search outside the establishment Catholic media to find the faith in its fulness. Did the establishment Catholic media criticize a backroom synod that wanted Catholics to "value" the homosexual orientation and welcome adulterers to the communion line?

Fr. Cummins, if you want a unified Church without the occasional Bear tracking in mud and smelling up the place, then there is a simple solution. Promote real Catholicism. If you wonder why bloggers are "narrowcasting," with all due respect, look in the mirror.

If the clergy got its act together, the Bear promises that the vast majority of current conservative Catholic blogs would be retooled overnight into vehicles for trading cookie recipes.

Well, the good news is, if Word on Fire is right, bloggers won't have to worry about going to Hell.


  1. It seems like Father is not only telling me to shut up but that I've had too much to think as well.

  2. keep writing the good word Bear....if this type wasn't jonesing to put your hide up on his wall, you'd be doing something very wrong indeed.

  3. You do great stuff! I wish I were as thoughtful! Well, I try to be at times.

    I have spent too many years in the trenches of public policy-making, I guess!

    1. I can devote a whole day to it if I want to. That's probably one big difference!

    2. Bear said:

      "Catholics have to search outside the establishment Catholic media to find the faith in continuity with 2000 years of Church teachings and practice. The establishment Church media were cheerleaders for a backroom synod that wanted Catholics to "value" the homosexual orientation and welcome adulterers t the communion line....Bloggers would go to Hell if there were a Hell."

      Spot on! Pinch my toes & call me a jelly donut it just doesn't get any truer than that!


      Take our churches
      Take our pews
      Orthodox prelates
      Shun, refuse.

      Take our schools
      Take our kneelers
      Fill your space with
      P. C. feelers.

      Shove Tabernacles
      In a room
      So bride can play
      Without her Groom.

      Some will run
      Some will hide
      Some defend,
      “Flow with the tide.”

      But like the Saints,
      Many laity, before -
      Joan, Athanasius,
      Thomas More,

      You can burn our computers
      Cast off to waste lands
      Cut off His Crowned Head
      Plop Him into our hands,

      Confuse the weak,
      “They’re men of smells, bells,
      Not in full-communion”
      Their lie impels

      These, real men -
      In the state of grace -
      You’ve tried to shred
      But they are steel lace -

      “I am the Good Shepherd”
      Laced-lambs to Him kneel –
      And they breed the True Faith…
      They’re celibate-steel!

    3. dang...that!

      "steel lace" it!

      And no need to even ask of whom you speak :)

    4. Pete, my answer was incomplete. I certainly don't want to appear to endorse your statement regarding your thoughtfulness! I think you do fine. You note that I don't have hardly anybody on my blog roll, because I want only blogs I can stand behind with 100% confidence.

      The fact is, I'm a former journalist, and a trial lawyer, and a novelist (albeit unpublished -- so far). My kids are grown and I'm almost completely retired, so I have all day to write and revise. Plus, Bears are natural wordsmiths.

      You tackle subjects I don't even understand.

    5. Oh, you are too gracious.

      Your thoughts are well-developed, and you write with great humour. I have worked with attorneys all throughout my career as an expert analyst who provides the evidence for the policy proposals.

      Bonne chance!

  4. I have zero nostalgia for the ideologically homogeneous mass media of my youth. Some of my earliest memories are of the hard-left current affairs shows my parents watched and listened to on the Australian state broadcaster (the ABC) in the early 1970s. The private networks were slightly more center-right on the news shows, but the sitcoms and dramas were largely vehicles for the cultural revolution, and we know who won that battle.

    In the US, Big Media destroyed Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon and Barry Goldwater, canonized MLK, RFK, and JFK (whose assassination, they claimed, was somehow related to "right-wing" sentiment), helped to end the war in Vietnam (in part by falsely portraying Tet as a defeat rather than a resounding victory), and gave the world Watergate.

    And on the pop-culture side, Ben Shapiro's book Primetime Propaganda uses interviews with creators to show how network sitcoms and dramas were used to indoctrinate the viewing public into accepting the basic leftist worldview.

    Yes, so much better when we have just a few megaphones providing us with the Approved Narrative!

    Fr. Cummins's complaint is very similar to that of Patrick Coffin on Catholic Answers a couple of weeks ago: why, all this instant information and diversity of viewpoints just confuses and upsets people. If only we would wait patiently for the appropriate officials to tell us what to think, things would be a lot more orderly.

    (Kind of like at Vatican II, I guess.)

    1. Catholicism is confusing in the same way a test to which you have been given the answers in advance is confusing. No one on the conservative side is trying to make anything up. (I know "conservative" is a bad word to some traditionalists, but I view it as a perfectly good word, and traditionalist as a subset of conservatives)

      There shouldn't be a need for this blog, at least in its more controversial elements. We should all, from the Pope to the lowliest woodland creature, be on the same old page. If the Church needs to adapt a practice or discipline, it should do so organically, within the tradition. If it needs to define an implicit dogma, we know how to do that. It looks like we really blew it with Vatican II, but the Bear cannot guarantee against a post hoc ergo propter hoc error. But what else could account for the devastation?

      If I had to sum it up, I would say to all clergy: you have lost our trust. We will not follow you. We will stay where we are with a vengeance. When necessary we will resist you. You are the ones who must change. Time is on our side. Truth is on our side. We pray that God is on our side.

  5. I appreciate your prophetic witness Bear against powers of evil in all their manifestations. Our Big Catholic Church, Big Catholic Media and Big Federal Government all in cahoots. Money, power and prestige is what they are all about.

    You, Bear, and other Conservative bloggers, are the Howard Beale's of our time. You are upsetting the powers of darkness and the inter relatedness of the ecumenical participants in the new World Wide Order and Religion.

    Now, all of you, go to your computer on open up your com-box window and type: I'm mad as hell and...............

  6. That's right! We need more genuine righteous anger!

  7. If I had to sum it up, I would say to all clergy: you have lost our trust. We will not follow you. We will stay where we are with a vengeance. When necessary we will resist you. You are the ones who must change. Time is on our side. Truth is on our side. We pray that God is on our side.

    Yes, that's it. That's it exactly.
    I don't know what other Catholics in our church are doing, but in our house, we can't support the nonsense and heresy, flat out heresy, we see being promoted by the pope. We didn't need to be told it is heresy. We know it when we hear it.
    It is very typical behavior now for leftists to complain that they don't have a complete monopoly on the output. What liberals can't control directly, they seek to censor. They don't apparently have much faith in their own convictions, because they are so utterly threatened by people hearing another viewpoint. Further, it is common for American leftists to believe with all their heart that American culture is sub-par. Children are being taught this in public schools to our detriment, especially as we find ourselves in existential battles with Islamic crazies. But anyway, you can see where Fr. Cummins is coming from.
    But...sigh....the important point is the one you made Bear. We aren't going to follow these men to Hell.
    My concern is, what were the Cardinals thinking when they elected Pope Francis, and wouldn't they be likely to do just as badly the next time around.

  8. Should the movement be renamed "Pants on Fire"?

    Oh, that is harsh, I think.

  9. They think they can get us bloggers to shut up? Not likely. Not while excellent blogs like this one and the Radtrad's (and lesser ones like mine) still exist.

    I think what annoys them is that they are seeing lay Catholics rightfully rise up against the pope for the first time in a while. The myth of absolute papal infallibility lies on the ground shattered into a million pieces. If people are willing to accept that the pope can be wrong, then those who echo Bugnini's infamous "The Pope Wills it!" have no chance. It is not the Bishop of Rome who is our compass. It is One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic, and Orthodox faith.

    May the stranglers of Pope Stephen VI/VII and the husband who killed the adulterous John XII be our reminder of this fact.

  10. Bear: "They have the same elitist, monopolistic mind-set as those who take it upon themselves to dictate what qualifications bloggers must have."

    I find it really ironic that you chose not to publish my comments on this topic. Whatever. It's your blog.

    However, I put a lot of thought and time into my comments, (for whatever reason, I don't know). What a waste of time, if you are going to censor my comments because they transgress your personal standards or belief. Why that might be, I have not a clue. You evidently see me as some sedevecantist which is a complete utter joke, if you would bother to spend a moment to understand your fellow Catholic and brother in the Faith. I revere the Seat of Peter, the Roman Catholic Faith is my path to heaven and I am as devoted to my Lord and the Bride of Christ as anyone you would ever meet.

    Isn't censorship of people like me (not just bloggers I presume) what you are arguing against in this post? Ironic.

    I went back and re-read my post to see what might have offended you. Don't have a clue. Again, it's your blog but I'm done wasting my time on it. However, one thing I've noticed about our "day" is the offensive, tiresome tendency these days to CENSOR. Everyone is censoring opinions they don't agree with or that make them mad or uncomfortable. Everyone is touchy and oh, so sensitive. Just ironic that you censored my comments in the context of this particular topic. You might want to re-think your approach, since the standard you are applying to me is precisely the one you are writing against in Fr. Cummins.

    Remember .... Bears are supposed to have thick hides and sharp claws. They do not get scared or take offense. They own the forest for goodness' sake!

    Cheers, and adios!

  11. I assure you I have no idea what you are talking about. Perhaps you might have inquired first.

    1. I intended this to be private via e-mail. Since you didn't respond, I will submit it to you this way. Publish it or not, either way is fine with me. It's intended for you as an explanation and apology.

      A couple months ago you had words with me in response to opinions of mine you viewed not so much as sedevecantist, but against the "Vatican II Council" and its intent for today's Church. You stated that you would not support or publish views that detracted from the Church's Vatican II path and you would not publish them in your blog. Anyone who crossed that line would not be published.

      As I recall, opinion submissions at that time were published immediately without restriction. You then shut down your entire blog for a time to let things "cool off". When it came back, (as I recall), it had a new system in which opinions were no longer published immediately. They would now be submitted in private to you PRIOR to being published. You stated you wanted more editorial control over "anti-Vatican II Church" opinions.

      Again, that is obviously your right. It's your blog and I admire you for creating it and sustaining it. I have always appreciated your opinions and unique views and style; especially since (not in spite of) I don't always agree. I like to hear other views honestly and intelligently stated in good will. Your blog has always been one of my favorites. It's unique.

      So ...... When I wrote one of my three paragraph missives on the topic in question, THAT is the context of my previous comment. I assumed since it didn't get off the publisher's desk it met the publisher's "anti Vatican II church" criteria. Since I am very much aware of this criteria, out of respect for your blog I try very hard in my comments to restrict anything from such an appearance. That is why I seemed frustrated in my reply. I put a lot of time into what I write and proofread everything to make sure it's appropriate.

      Obviously just a big misunderstanding. Thank you for clarifying, and to the extent I over-reacted without the facts, I AM sorry.

    2. First of all, I accept your apology, and it speaks well of you. Blogger is not infallible, and neither is Bear, for that matter. The "publish" button is next to the "delete" button, and, although I have never to my knowledge made that mistake, it's an example of something that could go wrong.

      Outside of the guy claiming to be clergy who kept publishing his interpretations on Revelation or whatever that Francis was the False Prophet and the Great Chastisement was going to happen like right now, I have never deleted a comment besides obvious trolls, spam, or duplicate posts. I have never even considered not publishing any of your posts, Brian, nor have I ever seen a reason to. I'm not going to defend retaining the option to disallow posts, but I just haven't felt the need. Posting is still extremely liberal. And anyone is free to disagree with me, too. Just not promote directly or indirectly leaving the Church.

      I did not even see your post that requested I contact you by email until I woke up this morning and checked things :-) By then you had posted, and that's fine.

      I would be more than happy to publish your comment in question, if you wish to resubmit it. I always enjoy reading your posts.

      The Bear

  12. As far as I have seen, independent Catholic bloggers are some of the most relaxed when it comes to comments. TheRadTrad has never turned on moderation, but has seriously considered it (and had to shut down a few comment threads that got nasty). I have yet to disallow a comment on my blog even when I am attacked. Meanwhile, Rorate has no comments while Patheos and The Remnant have a rabid armies in the comments who crucify you for not toeing their respective lines.

    "When you cut out a man's tongue you are not calling him a liar. You are only proving you are afraid of what he might say."

    I find that comments allow a blog to be a free and open forum rather than an echo chamber.

    1. Which is why it is frustrating to be accused of something untrue. It sounds like it excited him more than me, anyway. I only ever used moderation to disinvite one commenter who was just out there in directions I didn't want to give a platform to. Unlike many blogs this is not a general purpose blog, and I would not support counterprogramming. The moderation went up when there was some really ignorant trolling, and stayed for the reasons stated. And was never used in connection with the complaining gentleman's post. I haven't moderated a comment in ages.

      I guess the moral is get your facts straight before you write a manifesto. I'm sure an apology is forthcoming, because, after all, this internet.


Moderation is On.

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