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Join the Bear, and Do Your Part to Save the World

Damian Thompson
There's an article by Damian Thompson on the Catholic Herald site about the sorry state of affairs in Catholic blogging. If a Bear's opinion counts, it's rambling and unhelpful. After talking about Fr. Robert Barron, then the success of his own blog "Holy Smoke," he then says the following (in so many words): The heyday of Catholic blogging was in the pontificate of Benedict XVI. Since Pope Francis wandered onto the balcony with a tentative wave of the hand, Catholic bloggers have collapsed in exhaustion and discouragement. Except a few malcontents typified by someone who writes about "Frankie the Evil Clown."

Really?

While this blog tries to live up to its billing as being written by the Only Catholic Real Bear, if it is nothing but bitter snark, then the Bear is truly lost in the woods. Other conservative (as a broad term) Catholic blogs (such as those to whom the Bear links), seem to display a lot of variety, enthusiasm and sound Catholicism.

If it seems as though Pope Francis dominates some blogs, it is because we are the ragtag flotilla of pinging destroyers trying to expose the submarines that threaten the unarmed convoys of our fellow Catholics. You can't expect a peacetime cruise when we're at battle stations. Of course not many of us are going to make a big difference. But all of us? Well, the Bear thinks we do.

Even so, the Bear just published three stories that gently used Gospel accounts of the poor and the costly oil, when Jesus left the poor hungry, and God and mammon, to wonder why the Church has lost its taste for the supernatural. The Bear has recently written on the Liturgy of the Hours, meeting an elderly priest whose ministry is blessing items purchased at a Catholic gift shop, and just today, a piece about St. Alphonsus Liguori. Despite frequently writing about Pope Francis, including his psychological effect on faithful Catholics, the author of this blog is by no means a one-trick Bear. Furthermore, the Bear has yet to lose his sense of humor, as his readers (hopefully) know.

Any discouragement is very temporary. The Bear loves what he does, and St. Corbinian's Bear blog is growing steadily. This article marks it's 600th piece. The Bear has been seriously blogging only since February of last year. We are closing in on a quarter million views. The graph to the left shows this blog's actual growth between February of last year and now. (The first article, The Bear Who Woke Up, looks in even sharper focus today than when it was written.)

That's not to brag. The Bear is aware he is still a pipsqueak compared to more established blogs. And that's okay, because, big or small, the mission is the same. The point is to dispel any notion that conservative Catholic blogs are on the retreat.

Damian Thompson has probably never heard of St. Corbinian's Bear. He's evidently never heard of a a lot of blogs if he thinks the Catholic blogosphere is deflated.

Yeah, saving the world's a big job. But haven't you heard? The Catholic Bloggers aren't going anywhere.

Comments

  1. Good for you Bear and the help you provide the few of us to know that we are not the only ones who have lots of "say, what?" moments whenever Pope Francis speaks. And the humorous way you do it makes living with "cognitive dissonance" tolerable. And now with your most thoughtful "P.F. Spiritual Abuse Survivor's Network" have truly outdone yourself. Blessing to the Bear.

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  2. One good kick in the backside deserves another:

    I have read Damien less than a handful of times. He seems all over the map. Is he faithful to Church teaching or a disinterested journalist reporting Catholic topics?

    He's dreaming. Catholic blogosphere is the go-to resource for faithful Catholics. I don't even know any that read a secular newspaper - do you?

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  3. Nope. I vaguely remember Thompson as one of the more reliable English-speaking reporters on Vatican affairs. But, if anything, at least the conservative side of Catholic blogging has gained credibility (see, we were right) and energy since Jorge Bergoglio was elected pope.

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    1. So true Bear. Congrats on this nice piece recognizing your talents!

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    2. If you're talking about this article, well, it should recognize my talents, since I wrote it ;-) But if I had access to other people's blog information like I do my own, I'm sure I could have made my point better. Sorry if it came off as gratuitously self-laudatory.

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    3. Oh - haha. I swore I clicked to Damian's article. I suppose reading it now is going to be a big disappointment. Sigh!

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    4. LOL, that's okay. The Bear will just sweep up the tear-soaked Kleenexes from where he thought you were making fun of him. Bears are very sensitive :-D

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    5. Not to worry, Bear. If TTC were to ever be after your furry hide, you would know it. She is not one to mince words.

      Hope this isn't a double tap. I am not familiar with how to sign in and this is my very first post. If it is a dupe, please delete.

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  4. Poor Damien. I'm sorry his blog spun out of control. I hope he isn't bitter.

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  5. Thompson is not a bad guy in my experience of reading him. Here's my take, at least for the USA. I think the real question is where is the broad public influence of the conservative/orthodox Catholic bloggers? I have commented here before about the HWM (high water mark) of orthodox Catholicism in its influence and respect as being about 2004-2006. I think it started to go downhill w/W's admin. W had a strong conservative Catholic outreach apparatus, and one blogger, now bitter and sounding lefty (I think in the view of many), was working closely with them. The torture thing was unacceptable to many conservative Catholics, understandably. Amy Welborn was a well-known blogger. (These known bloggers were also book authors/columnists.) Her husband's unexpected death was likely the primary factor in her no longer being prominent. She has young boys to raise. May God bless them. Rod Dreher, a convert to Rome, moved on to eastern Orthodoxy in disgust of the priest abuse and bishop complicity. Those were some of prominent people who got into the press and obtained national attention. At the same time, I was amazed at the rise of the lefty Catholicism, engineered by Obama agents and the community organizing apparatus. Conservative/orthodox Catholicism has died as a factor in American society and politics. The bishops' 2008 election document practically equating the nebulous sin of racism with abortion, the murder of innocent helpless babies, was a disaster, gave cover to many to vote for Obama, arguing it would be a sin not to, since he is black, you know. The the faithful have not really been in line with bishops on amnesty. That has caused a rift in the "conservative" Catholic movement as well. And anytime the Church want to make moral pronouncements on things that really do matter, such as human life, the Left will discredit with reminders of priest abuse. The bishops have still not recovered from that. They have decided to accommodate the culture as some sort of penance or way to peace.

    But still us little guys, unsung and unnoticed, continue on. The major conservative Catholic journalists, activists who were around before the author/bloggers, continue on too. Deal Hudson, Austin Ruse, and many others who had more solid journalism careers and apostolates than the bloggers, remain. But the secular media doesn't pay them much mind.

    We shall keep on.

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    1. We are narrowcasting. Look at your DeSmet series. Where else can we find someone with the patience and dedication to do things like that? It is the people who are doing it out of love and not having to please a constituency. We're amateurs in the literal sense. We don't have editorial oversight, and I know I occasionally, in my exuberance, strike the wrong note. But we're all operating in good will. Ultimately, people will either read us or not, and I don't think that would make much of a difference.

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  6. Dear Bear--pay no attention to Damian Thompson as he is arrogantly ignorant (don't they always go together?). Your blog is the first of several I turn to every day and I count on your authentic Catholicism more than I can say. I have been reading you since I discovered you last January through Pewsitter. Fr. Zuhlsdorf frequently sends his readers to your site. Rorate Caeli and the NewLiturgicalMusic sites are other good ones. Great articles on First Things which is keeping us up to date on the trashing of Fr. George Rutler's former church in Manhattan, Our Savior. Do read his "The Pity of Christ." I do not blog myself but forward to a wide circle of family and friends good articles, like yours, and I make extensive comments to share with fellow readers. I make a digest of good conservative observations everyday, like yours, to send to priest friends as an encouragement to be brave and speak out. Francis tells us not to judge, but my experience of his blatherings and hyperbolic eco concerns leave me feeling that the Church is in very poor hands. Our current crop of bishops and cardinals are a weak-kneed bunch, kneeling to the current culture and bowing their heads in obeisance. Cupich just called those parishioners who are concerned that he spends too much time on LED lighting and not enough on spiritual concerns, "chirping crickets." !!! He has definitely lost any slight confidence I ever had that he would lead the Church against the noxious culture of our days. I recently had the impression that Bishop-elect Robert Barron was beginning to attach himself to the coattails of poor, benighted Francis, but I am hoping that what he writes about Francis's concerns are a way of teaching Francis how to be more theological and stay closer to the actual doctrine of the Church. Barron is a teacher and I think he is indirectly trying to help Francis form better ideas. Like you, my foot is nailed to the floor of the Church, and I will not leave it to the marauders who seek to despoil it. I am currently reading the novel "Sons of Cain" by Val Bianco. The Preface is an imaginative account of Pope Leo XIII's encounter with Satan, who said I CAN DESTROY YOUR CHURCH, and the intervening of St. Michael the Archangel. Afterwards, the pope composed the famous prayer to St. Michael which many of us say to this day (and especially these days). The rest of the story I haven't read yet, but it is about modern attacks on the Church. We are called upon to wrestle with the Devil and to pray that the Church will be delivered from his claws. We need all the courage and perseverance we can muster. We must pray like St. Augustine did when the Vandals surrounded Hippo and lay waste to the city. How miraculous and providential it was that Augustine's library was not burned along with everything else. We have to count on the same Divine Providence to preserve the sacred life of the Church these days when terrible forces that tear babies apart and sell their flesh in pieces, that glorify the Sodomites, and that indulge the adulterers, storm our sanctuaries demanding that we give full acceptance to these evils and pretend that they are good. We ALL know better. So, get thee behind me, Satan! It would be good to dust off the old Salvation Army hymn, "Onward Christian Soldiers," and sing it at the end of every Catholic Mass. St. Michael, the archangel, defend us in battle! God bless you, dear Bear.

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  7. Bear, you are a keeper. You exude a holy intellect. BTW, it was the beloved (for me, anyway) Frankie the Evil Clown gentleman who sent me here.

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    1. Ah, okay, now I make the connection. One-of-a-kind!

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  8. Thanks for the kind words, but Catholic blogging is a big machine with lots of tiny parts, of which the Bear is but one. The point is that it is a lively, useful place. We may or may not make a mark in the big wide world, but we are providing oxygen to the real Catholic intellectual and spiritual life, not to mention the services of the Pope Francis Spiritual Abuse Survivors' Network.

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  9. Keep at it, Bear. One paw at a time!

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  10. ummmm....what if he really IS an evil clown?....just sayin'

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  11. This is the first time i hear about a Damian Thompson chap. Thanks to the Bear!

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  12. Dear Bear,

    This humble Catholic blogger at "Dorothy Day Another Way" just learned of your ursine blog from The Tenth Crusade (which welcomes rabbits).

    Thanks for a great post on the influence of authentic Catholic blogs. I will now go to the Catholic Herald to find out WHO Damian Thompson is.

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    1. The Bear welcomes rabbits, badgers, nightingales and all woodland creatures of Good will. You ought to leave a link to your blog. It sounds interesting. The Bear's instincts have been uneasy about Miss Day, but he has nothing more than that.

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    2. Dear Bear,

      The link to Dorothy Day Another Way is http://dorothydayworker.blogspot.com/

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  13. Forgot to mention: Dorothy Day Another Way is dedicated to the propostion that Day, aka "Mother of the Catholic Left in the US," should not be canonized.

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  14. I have a list of blogs that I give a hit to every day. This is one of them.
    Bp. Athanatius Scheider said the internet will save the Church. The blogs make that possible.

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  15. The Catholic blogs have proved to be life-savers to me during an extremely difficult time in my personal life. I didn't follow them before 2014 but if this what Mr. Thompson sees as irrelevant and meaningless, I can only pity him.

    For me, I was living through multiples crises, listening to bizarre things coming out of the Vatican, hearing the usual crickets from our bishops and I found myself suddenly worried the bedrock of Our Mother Church. Then I stumbled upon these Catholic blogs who seemed to be seeking the truth. They gave me hope and connected me with Catholics who love the Lord and his Church above all - what more could I ask for?

    Plus I love bears!

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  16. Funny, I don't believe I have read Damian's blog more than five times. It wasn't too my taste and I couldn't figure out where he stands.

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