Monday, May 7, 2018

The Catholic Outrage Blog Industry

the Bear has learned a few things since retiring from the Catholic Outrage Blog Industry. (Beyond a certain number of lines, Blogger does not display text for editing on iPad. That is the Bear’s excuse for today.)

  • It is a lot harder to blog. It is pretty easy riffing off the latest outrage.
  • Outrage (especially with some humor) drives traffic. (Rush Limbaugh made a fortune off that realization decades ago.)
  • Bear is more peaceful and is beginning to refocus on the Church as the institution of his salvation, not a daily target.
  • Bear believes the Church is WHAT IT IS, not WHAT BEAR THINKS IT SHOULD TEACH. In other words, the constant outrage is eroding the bona fides, which Bear believes is a disaster. The Bear kind of already went down this road with Orthodoxy. Arguably, Orthodoxy is a better Catholic Church (or so believe converts). In reality, it is something great, but different. It deserves to be respected for what it is, not as a “better Catholic Church before it got all screwed up.”
  • Bear anticipates the objections that you cannot blame honest bloggers for the Church going evil. The answer is the medium is the message. The other answer is Bear does not see improvement, despite all the outrage of all the bloggers.
  • When you focus on the outrage of the day, you lose historical perspective. It is easy to blame Pope Francis and those around him. But we are seeing a natural autolytic historical process in the West of which the Church’s problems are only a part. Why is the Church failing in the same way at the same time as all other Western institutions? That is the real question.
  • The Bear was always right about his three favorite themes: demographics, Amusing Ourself to Death, and The Treason of the Intellectuals. Look at his own diocese. The cathedral is tucked in a corner, in the decaying metro east Illinois side of St. Louis. Belleville was once “Rome of the West.” The large German Catholic farm towns are gone and churches are closing. It is sitting on a bubble of Mexican agricultural labor and temp priests from Africa and Cental America. 139 churches still open across southern Illinois. 39 priests, over half over 50. Number of vocations from Bear’s parish in history? Zero. Vocations for entire diocese for year? Two. Long-term prospects? Heck, short term? Reorganization with a very different experience for Catholics used to mass every Sunday. Circuit-riding priests for the rare mass; laymen introducing novelties into the usual weekly fare. Recommend learn to say your Divine Office. Invite friends.
  • The Bear was also right about how modern worldwide communication and social media are driving changes that go far beyond the individual issues they carry. We are being forced into polarization and fragmentation that will eventually render every institution unworkable. Again, the Pope may faulted for saying x, but it is magnified beyond reason by the present state of communication. To put it bluntly, Catholics were never meant to deal with a Pope like Francis in a communications environment like exists today. No wonder we see that giant “TILT” light over St. Peter’s.
  • The West is in demographic/cultural meltdown. It remains to be seen how the Church will manage without the West. (It did once, but the idea of “the West” had not been discredited.)
  • Vatican II was a result, not a cause. 
  • The safest place for Catholics is in the Catholic Center, in the Church, realizing times are tough and we will face every kind of challenge we can imagine. And then some. The best response is not outrage and rejection, but humility and perseverance. The Church is still the Church. God knows our confusion. We can rely on Him to help ordinary Catholics if we keep focused on fundamental Christianity.
  • The rise of the Catholic Media Personality with his or her own followers as a kind of counter-Church has proved a disaster. If only we had to choose between Paul and Apollos.
  • Private revelation and prophecy applied to current events is an old Catholic tradition. It should be retired, along with conspiracy theories. While there are supernatural elements and conspiracies, Bear believes, there are plenty of natural, historical answers.
  • The Bear was right all along about staying in the intitutional (real) Church. You either trust God and let your light shine or not.
  • Twenty minutes with the Divine Office or Rosary is better than blog-crawling for three hours. Decent, peaceful Catholics is the best answer to the problems in the Church. But it also the one over which you actually have direct control - scary.


  1. I don’t understand what you mean when you say the Church once managed without relying on the West. When was this?


    1. After the Fall of the Roman Empire, during which the Benedictines are usually credited with keep the idea of the West alive. The difference is, the barbarians admired Rome and aspired to become Romans themselves. It is difficult to see the West today as anything but a completely discredited engine of self-parodic self-destruction. Nobody wants what we are becoming. Certainly not Bears.

  2. Yours is a needed voice in the orthodox discussion of what to do. Some comments and questions:

    1) I assume, based on some observation, that many church car crash watchers begin to doubt the Faith, become angry people, and neglect some of their duties in life.

    2) What do you think of this Voris thesis of the process of Western decline: (1) the bishops neglected to teach orthodoxy, (2)the Church consequently declined, and (3)the West, which was dependent on the Church, declined.

    3) What do you think of Bishop Garcida's belief that the answer today is the same as it was when Arianism had almost overrun the Church: the lay people stand up in Church and say, "NO!", when a cleric preaches heresy? See video interview:

    4) What do you think of Bishops Garcida's belief that Francis was illegally elected because some Cardinals conspired, and therefore another conclave needs to be held? See

    5) What do you think of Cd. Burke's idea that maybe people need to stand up to heresy, even at the risk of excommunication? See

    6) Are you advocating not keeping abreast of Church news and being silent about the heresies with family, friends, and those you meet personally?

    7) Are the faithful suppose to give up when people try to destroy the Church, or are they truly be the Church Militant, even becoming martyrs if cornered? Shouldn't we aspire to be brave, bold, industrious soldiers like our past heroes?

    8) Aren't people being denied God's truth and the opportunity of salvation by the inaction of those who could do something?

    9) Didn't Jesus send us out into the world to preach the truth?

    10) Isn't the massive heresy going on from the top to the bottom mostly black and white?

    11) People should know, as I think the Bear has proclaimed, that the Bear is open to some change in Church doctrine such as the doctrine of salvation only in the Church. I don't say this to be nasty, and admit that the Bear makes a powerful case for salvation outside the Church (as well as for the legitimacy of Francis' election).

    Bear thank you for your thoughtful writing over the years.

    1. I think historical processes preceded the Catholic failure and by then the Church was not sound enough to resist. (I do believe Modernism was and is a problem, but should be seen as part of the historical process that included the cultural suicide of two world wars in the 20th century and reduction of people to independent economic units. Don’t Afollow Voris.

      Answered Arianism question elsewhere. Way different situation not applicable to our world.

      Francis is Pope. That is is the practical reality sensible Catholics must deal with. No one is going to depose him. Non-starter.

      Bears are iffy even on the soul thing - we’re not into defining heresy or combating heretics, which is probably a good thing. Bear’s final position is the Nicene Creed, where he rally the Bears to protect and let the streets run with human blood.

      You keep assuming facts not in eveidence: “heresies.” If I get remarried to a Mormon I’ll worry about communion. Now, it is not an issue. But I can try to personally be a good Catholic, which for Bears means avoiding outrage all the time. Have you ever seen a truly outraged Bear? Is that what you really want in your kitchen at night if you are suspected of being a heretic?

      Bear figures God is not saying, “Oh, dear, everyone is going to Hell because there aren’t enough bloggers. If there were only something I could do in my omnipotence.”

      Yes, Jesus sent out disciples. None have been seen since Lumen Gentium. Is being outraged going to fix that? Bear tried. Didn’t work. Damn near made him throw up his paws and reboot the original Bear-worshipping cult, which put up wit ZERO crap.

      10) to outraged Catholics, yes.

      Yes, Bear is not certain all non-Catholics have to go to Hell. Yes, he is pretty sure EENS is about as dogmatic as it got until it wasn’t. “Disuetude” comes to mind. Or maybe it’s that whole “subsistit in” thing. If Bears can go to Heaven, maybe a lot of people can. Sheeps and goats were not Catholics and Lutherans.

      Not being disrespectful, just Bear’s usual Bearish treating matters as Bears tend to do,

  3. We're all tired. Personally we just got de-Massed this week, we lost (again) the Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form. We've chased the Latin Rite Mass all over our state, and the diocese has done it once again. They just...took away our priest.
    These are tough times. I have no answers. I don't know how to pray the Divine Office, and if I purchase a book, someone will say it's the wrong volume, or not complete, or modernist, etc.
    Ok, I'm just crabbing now.
    The wife of a Protestant minister we once knew, tired and worn out after giving and giving and giving to the church and never finding it enough, once observed (in a moment of frustration) "the church can go to hell for all I care". It was one of the funniest most out of place comments I ever heard, refreshingly candid.
    Right now I feel that way, but it won't last.

    1. Oh, please don’t ever be afraid of the Divine Office. You don’t have to dive into four volumes and go nuts. Even Shorter Christian Prayer is a slim Four-Week Psalter that will get you praying at the main times of the day without worrying about feasts and seasons or chanting.

      Personally, I like St. Meinrad’s Liturgy of the Hours for Oblates. It’s just a four-week psalter, but it has decent music and does offer eight tones (simple melodies) to chant the psalms to. It’s not really hard to learn, if you want to, and a lot of fun. But it’s up to you.

      No one in their right mind is going to condemn you for not using the four-volume set, or even the one-volume Christian Prayer (quite a bit thicker than the SHORTER Christian Prayer) which is still a challenge to learn with a lot of ribbons and flipping around (although there are books to help, and Bears are always happy to assist - Bears love the LOTH).

      But, sure, part of the illness in the Church is there are always people to screech at you if you’re not chanting it in Latin or whatever. You may refer them to the nearest Bear Re-education Camp and forget about it.

      As an Oblate, the LOTR is what sanctifies our day. And here’s a little secret: the St. Meindrad version uses the Grail Psalms and includes all the Bearish bits about crushing heads and what not.

  4. I see Catholic outrage in the blogosphere as a necessary rearguard action against the outrages foisted on the Body of Christ from within and without. First we need to stem the enemy's offensive. It is breathtaking in its breadth and scope. They are sweeping through the Catholic trenches and are aided by fifth columnists disrupting the rear Prelates like Cardinal Marx who strikes me as akin to Russian Spetznaz who undermine the capacity to resist by infiltrating our lines. At least the blogosphere makes people aware of what is happening.

    Only once we stem the enemy's advance can we counter attack as soldiers of the Church militant and regain the lost spiritual ground. Prayers and the rosary are our heavy artillery, but blogging is street fighting, door to door. Bloody, nasty and necessary for now, I'm afraid.

    I agree with a lot of what you say, but not this. God bless.

    1. If I thought the benefits outweighed the dangers (which I’m afraid few outraged sufficiently consider) I would agree with you. I don’t see bloggers as the mechanism for saving the Church or the West. I do see them fostering confusion, doubt, fragmentation, and, well, outrage. The Bishops aren’t listening. We are not facing Arianism today. We are facing the fall of the cultural substrate (chicken or egg) not a single heresy. We are facing a million issues that even the outraged cannot agree upon. The solution is to be good Catholics despite whatever else. Think small. Have big families.p

    2. Tim:
      "The solution is to be good Catholics despite whatever else." Of course, but your presumption (if I understand you) is that outrage at the current horrors within the Church precludes being good a good Catholic. Outrage today is a consequence of possessing a functioning moral compass, a rudimentary understanding of Catholicism, and a love of the Holy.

    3. Perhaps I was not clear enough. I am questioning what the daily diet of “outrage stories” purveyed by a segment of blogs is really accomplishing. If it is good and people are healthier for it and it is curing what ails the Church? Great. If it is a closed loop, an echo chamber, then I think there is room for criticism, especially self-criticism. I think the assumption is there is no possible downside to the spectrum of often strident (I use “spectrum” deliberately) blogging.

      I suppose I would be less critical if I saw more reflection on the process.

      I think there is room for some outrage, both individually and collectively. A little bit goes a long way. If you are waking up every day to outrage and be outraged - and I’m pretty sure this is going on, but everyone can read and form their own opinions - your perspective may be in danger.

      My perspective changed when I avoided that sort of of writing during Lent and noticed the change in how I thought of my life as a Catholic. “Disagreement with the Pope” is not going to define me as a Christian or what I do here. Sure, it might not be as satisfying to write or read. Outrage has an appeal on both ends. If this becomes the definitive Ginger Rogers blog over time, oh well, at least I am not contributing to what I believe is the kind of problem humans typically create when they never re-examine their assumptions or examine the role their own history/psychology whatever plays in what they are doing, and forget that everything is occurring in a present that is already very different from not very long ago and changing faster than people imagine.

      I don’t foresee more Ginger. Maybe an occasional Eleanor Powell. Wow, could she dance!

      I already see it was much easier to get up and do the outrage of the day story, to be a niche blogger, than figure out what I can do every day to help myself and those who visit get to Heaven. I am essentially a critic, and have addressed all sorts of cultural strains. I am now including in my criticism the issue of Catholic blogging. This seems a pretty legitimate development here.

  5. "Why is the Church failing in the same way at the same time as all other Western institutions? That is the real question."

    Here's a real answer: Aggiornamento!

    1. Not a bad guess, Mark, but Bear thinks it was undermined by the termites before Aggiornamento.

  6. If there is a fundamental difference between beloved old Outrage Bear and not-so-loved Pretty-Much-Doing-the-Best-He-Can-Without-Driving-People-Out-of-the-Church-Bear it is that he does not crave/claim the certitude many do. It may sound weird, but he has a pretty good Catholic notion of how to please God, he believes, and it is not 90% living in his head and hanging on the latest comment from the magisterium of the photo-op.

    “Heresy” gets thrown around a lot. Bear sees a lot of trial balloons floated on everything under the sun, but not much in the way of, “It’s now official: Jesus is 100% God but only 20% man” and such. Bear has written about the Five Daily Duties of an Oblate. Is anyone REALLY going to argue replacing those (or even pick one) with outraged blogging would be an improvement for Catholics of our day? (Or maybe replace Lectio Divina with 30 minutes of blog reading - wonder why you get a plenary indulgence for one and not the other?

    Bear does not believe God played a big joke on us and said, “All ordinary Catholics go to Hell. Only SSPX or Thuc Line Catholics, or, now maybe Orthodox can get to Heaven. He is convinced there is a well-established common ground of Christianity that is neither a secret nor requires the secret code to find the Real Church or whatever. We are all collaborating into making a crisis that is eating up the Church when we could be living our lives. (Bear was always right on Amusing Ourselves to Death and Also When Prophecy Fails. Both excellent books, one on the danger of the wrong information-action ratio (check) and the other about cognitive dissonance (check). Add a touch of Julian Benda and Oswald Spengler and you will have some new intellectual material to chew over.)

    This does not mean Bear has morphed into Mark Shea. Is the USCCB the Democrat Party at Prayer? You betcha. Does the Bear like that? No. Short of when Bears take over in 2028, is anything going to change that?

    Well, yes! Unfortunately, we DO live in history, and are all subject to its movements. You will NEVER be equipped to understand what is going from a 16th century mindset. Demographics, the revolution in communications, and the loss of the West. These are our realities, folks. We are not in the Reformation or Counter-reformation. You black-and-white people are not even fighting the last war, which is one reason you are losing. History does not end. That was a crock. Something new will emerge from the craziness of our tiny slice of history. In the end - and it will take a long time (okay, 2028 wink) - people will rediscover that the West had value because it was based on reality. Our current culture is in headlong flight from reality on all fronts. It’s like confused woodland creatures running into the forest fire instead of away.

    You can only deny reality so long, as beasts know. There is zero gender confusion among Bears, and no Fish Rights movement. Who do you think is going to survive? Reality will correct our problems. Because those who persist in denying it will all die.

    Probably a lot of them from Bear-related incidents once all guns are banned.

  7. I agree with bear. The last point is the best.

    1. I assume you mean the Bear-related deaths, Aaron.

  8. Mr. Bear, are we not members of the Church Militant who must fight evil in the Church and elsewhere? You can fight evil by prayer and penance or by trying to confront it directly as the blogger try to do. Sounds like you have taken the former approach. Hope all is well with you and your family.
    A salmon is on the way.

    1. Mike, if I thought there was no danger in what I am seeing, and if I thought it was moving the needle back to orthodoxy, I would continue blogging even more ferociously. I do not think those things. It feels good to "fight" etc. But that is another personal concern.

      Speaking only for myself, there is more than a little ego mixed in with the outrage. "Look how clever I can skewer Cardinal Marx!" Well, maybe he deserves skewering, but you cannot do what Bear has been doing and say it is good for your soul. There is always the danger of ego. Pride. I hope my fellow bloggers have less of it that I do. I have people write me emails in despair. I don't want to contribute tot that. So, once more, you know if I thought the risk was worth the danger, I would not back down.

      I admit to being a bit discombobulated. I am trying to re-edit two books for self-publishing so I can have them out for the sequel and try to interest a larger publisher. I don't want to say my posts will be "more positive." I don't want to lose my "Bearness." I haven't quite decided what this blog will look like going forward. Luckily (or not) it has always been eclectic, anyway.

      The way my publisher was hounded out of business has not been an economic blow (hint: I will not be buying that Bentley with my royalties). It has been personally distressing.

      I have no knowledge to comment on the legal merits of the complaints by certain authors, and that is not my place. Don't know much about contract law, just how to follow it and get my royalties paid. I know there are probably people reading this that think they knew the whole story. I promise they do not. I don't want to get into this, but I make it my habit to choose carefully the people to whom I lend the support of the Bear's name. Marcelle Abela is opinionated and you can choose to disagree or agree to disagree. I don't care much for her politics.

      As a publisher, however, she gave me an opportunity, treated me with kindness, and together we came out with a couple of good Catholic books. A contract is a legal document where two parties agree to abide by obligations. The one writing the contract naturally has the advantage, unless you negotiate something better in advance. (Probably won't hurt now to mention I got more % of royalties than standard for my second book.) But once you sign, that's it.

      All that's gone now, that vision of a Catholic publishing company giving oddball books a chance. I'm not saying she is a saint, but that she is a friend and no one deserves the kind of Hell she's been put through.

      I am going to the AV vet today. I am tired. I can't do more than two or three hours of work without going back to bed. This is tired beyond tired, beyond sleep, like I never knew there was tired. Hopefully, it is something simple. You don't live to be 1300 years old without a bit of wear.

      Thanks for the salmon. The salmon streams are probably going to dry up now. I'll keep trying to providing something interesting to read and sometimes edifying. It's not secret outrage = traffic = salmon. Not a good thing or a bad, just a thing, something bloggers know. Blogging is worth some salmon. When I see it becoming a business, it makes me wonder, though. Bears prefer simplem winsome begging.

      Did you know that George Stevens, who did the ultimate Ginger movie Swing Time was one of 5 Hollywood directors who went to WWII? George Stevens, who brought us that beautiful romantic dancing fantasy on those big white RKO Art Deco sets filmed the evidence at Dachau that was used in the Nuremburg trials. Needless to say, he never made anything like Swing Time again. Amazing story.

  9. Thanks Bear. I will pray for you and send a salmon from time to time. One suggestion. Maybe once a month you return to your Bearishness about Church meltdown and hopefully the few green shoots that may arise.

    1. Well, I'm only a Bear. Good resolutions don't last forever.

    2. Well, Bears got to be real Bears or they ain't bears. Let us hear your roar from time to time.

  10. Balderdash.

    No more wasting time, reading trash from here.

    Ta, ta....


  11. “The Jews did it” and circular logic “Pope Francis is not Pope because Catholics must follow the Pope and they cannot follow Pope Francis because he is not the Pope” posts accidentally got caught in a Woodlands Controlled Burn. Sorry.

    1. I think I see now why the bear does not get along with others. Have fun Catholic mommy blogging.

  12. Note: rule has always been no anonymous posts.

  13. Ursa Magnus, the ultimate question is, where does one place one's faith? If one places it in any institutionalized church, one will invariably become disappointed, if not disgusted. However, if one places one's faith in the Triune God and His Son -- Who are far beyond any institution claiming to represent them -- one is in a better position because They cannot deceive nor flow with the secular winds. They are Truth.

    As far as institutionalized religion is concerned, the Son once warned His disciples to beware of false shepherds who are ravenous wolves. Centuries earlier, prophets such as Jeremiah and Ezekiel said the same thing, more ferociously. The Son even let loose on the Pharisees of His day (Matthew 25). I doubt He would do anything differently when faced with the current Pope and his hierarchy.

    1. The Bible is pretty much the story of people who are sure they know what God is doing until the damned Babylonians or Romans show up. Every generation imagines it is immune from history.

      And Bears.

      Well, guess what? Someday you’ll wish it was just Bears.

      I agree with your statement. As a policy matter of getting on with his life, a Bear has to be some damn thing, so he’s going to be Catholic-without-qualifier.

  14. Bear:
    I absolutely get your point and it is a good one. I am suffering FrancisChurch Outrage Fatigue myself. I have decided to stop reading the outrage blogs more than once a month. What finally made me realize you are right was my dear wife of 38 years (as of today!) suggesting I consider going to confession after my rant about the ridiculous “Met Gala” that took place in that awful city on the Hudson River a couple of days ago. I am also going to stop watching EWTN News Nightly because it spends so much time telling us all the stuff the pope says and mostly pretending he’s wonderful and nothing is wrong. That is confusing and no more beneficial than constant outrage. I am reading Catherine of Siena’s Dialogue and learning just how far from holiness I am, so it’s time to put my energy into my Roman Breviary, Rosary and attending Mass as often as possible (Novus Ordo is better than nothing). Like the Bear, I’m not getting any younger, and while I am nowhere near 1300 years old, sometimes it feels like I am. Penance is hard work and outrage burns too much energy. God bless the Bear and all the woodland creatures. We will win in the end, although for most of us it will probably be after our own earthly end. Something to think about.

    1. Yes. Contemplating own’s own mortality can change one’s perspective.

      And part of getting old(er?) is realizing a lot more is out of your control than you used to think. Sounds like we are on the exact same page, still capable of outrage but realizing it is bad for the spiritual digestion.

      Maybe there is room for a new blog niche, “Outraged Over Outrage.”

  15. Outrage is a tool, not an end. And expressing outrage is never an end in itself. But it is a good thing to be outraged at great evil that threatens others. Anger at evil should propel us to take action against it. Those who have children and grandchildren threatened by the loss of Faith taking place in the Church, and those who care for those scandalized and those whose faith is weak or being subverted, need to spread the truth of what is happening while they spread the truth of the Faith. One can't just preach the Faith, because the very terms of the faith are subverted by Modernism is a way that many people find impossible to discern.

  16. Way, way, way in the background is the assumption that All Was Well until the Year XXXX. It wasn't, and although we have mental pictures of great-great-great-great-Grammy trudging to Mass in an unheated candle-lit thatched-roof church, ....maybe not all of that is so.

    If you read Mgr. Hayburn's book "Papal Legislation on Sacred Music" you will find that the Popes said the same thing, over and over, and over again, from the year 300 AD through 1958 (that's the scope of the book.)

    Hmmmm. I think it's licit to conclude that Popes taught on OTHER topics, and probably also "again and again and again...", too.

    What we deem to be "worse" ain't necessarily so; what could be "worse" than Luther's revolt? What we have now is near-instant communication of every damn thing every prelate says.

    Stay with the Creed. Read good Catholic authors. Practice the Faith where your kids can see you doing so, and recommend the good books to them.

    Also pray.

  17. I agree with MaryP. We need to be able to point out to other how our Catholic faith is being undermined by the Protestant thinking which officially became part of the faith at Vatican II.***

    ***“We must strip from our Catholic prayers and from the Catholic liturgy everything which can be the shadow of a stumbling block for our separated brethren; that is for the Protestants.”
    - Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, L'Osservatore Romano, March 19, 1965

  18. Don’t transmogrify into an ostrich or push others in that direction. Why not promote living in virtue in these times of apostasy?

    1. Perhaps you missed my live lentblogging or the entire Lenten companion we wrote? But such is the life of a poor talking Bear. Maybe we should stick our heads in the sand every once in a while and count our buried talents instead of obsessing over the latest man-bites-dog story.

  19. I totally get where you are coming from, Bear. I am so glad I found this site. I have recently become very tired of the constant outrage, which does nothing to help my peace of soul. Peace of soul is so neccesary if we are to keep our faith. I used to listen to a lot of these internet popes and wondered what Jesus wo9uld have thought of their methods. We live in an 'in your face' culture so it is hard not to be like that. So I asked myself;"How did the early Christians survive in a culture that was not only disbelieving of their message but openly hostile to it, and to them. Roaring back at an enemy culture is good for making martyrs, but really the faith survived in all the times of persecutions by going underground, living their faith, teaching the next generation in secret, and surviving the threat. We should look to the church in China, which has been doing just that for the past half century, and they are one of the places where the faith is not declining. I am just so sick of good people getting caught in the poisonous blogosphere which defines our time. I have seen far too many victims to conclude that this is a good place for Catholics to be; and of course all these claxions of doom always have a donate button. Right now 'outrage' is profitable.


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