Thursday, November 26, 2009

Trad spokesmen need to do better


Years ago, I read and enjoyed two of Scott Hahn's earlier books but after his comments on traditionally minded Catholics and the Tridentine Mass I don't care for him anymore. I feel uneasy about lay people making their living from talking or writing about the Church. I don't like the cult of personality that has sprung up around a number of these people. I cringe when I hear someone say, "Well Christopher West says, or Scott Hahn says..... so it must be right."


I am uncomfortable when recent converts stand up and make a career out of preaching to Catholics. St. Paul spent three years in the dessert praying and learning after he was knocked off his horse. And he didn't make any coin off of evangelizing.


Having said all that I really was shocked at this post on another blog. Attack Scott Hahn, if you want, on the grounds that his theology isn't right, or that his books are too pop Catholic lite, or make any other reasoned argument you want but this blogger came off as well.. bitter, unreasonbly angry, envious, frankly, a little nuts. As I read his piece I kept asking myself 'Dude, if you hate Scott Hahn so much then why did you go hear him talk?'


If you repulse people, even sympathetic people because you sound unhinged then you've failed to make your point. I see this kind of thing on Angelqueen all the time, vast amounts of anger and something close to hatred. That doesnt' work. What the traditionalist camp needs is visible happy warriors. As Teddy Roosevelt once said, I like a man who grins when he fights. Show people how much your life has changed for the better since you found the Tridentine Mass or since you finnally found a reverent NO Mass. Talk about your love for the Church, our Mother. She may act like a menopausal woman who's decided to go to a rave party but she is our Mother and we need to love her and stand by her even at the point of dying. Point out what's wrong, like St. Catherine of Sienna or St. Athanatius, but don't give in to despair and incoherent rage.

I read an Angelqueen posting by one guy who spewed venom on the Holy Father, (and he lost me right there), and anyone who attends a NO Mass. This guy forgot that most Catholics have never had access to a Tridentine Mass and unless their bishops are obedient they never will. He cheerfully, gleefully consigned all those folks to hell. I ask you, why would anyone want to hang out with a person like that?




10 comments:

Old Bob said...

Hi, Dymphna! Really good post, I couldn't have said it better myself. And I'm a great writer, too (and so modest about it). :-)

Baron Korf said...

I don't have a problem with lay people writing about the faith. In fact, I can't think of a better thing to write about. Look at St Thomas More, he was a simple lawyer (who later was promoted) and his works are considered spiritual classics. I also enjoy reading Dietrich von Hildebrand's work, and he was just a professor.

I like what Fr. Groeschel says "nobody wants to join a bunch of sour cranks."

Arturo Vasquez said...

I think Saint Paul lived three years in the desert, not in eating a fudge sundae. (Dessert) Just thought I would point that out.

But seriously, I think you need to read my last two paragraphs again. Perhaps it is my fault that you read past the actual point of the essay because I sort of went way over the top in the first part. However, that is not my usual style. And any implications that I am jealous... all I can say is read over this and everything else I have written on Catholic Exchange, Inside Catholic, and other on-line fora and I think that accusation is quite unwarranted.

Catholic Mom of 10 said...

Interesting!

msc said...

As long as Catholic authors remember it isn't about them and what they think, it's about the Church and what we believe then I say let them babble on!

I agree that rage attacks serve no purpose at all.

As one blogger says, "Bless them all and let the Lord sort them out"

Thank you for your writings.

Terry Nelson said...

Great post - I have to agree with most of your points. Nevertheless, I like Scott Hahn very much - although I agree with the personality cult thing - esp. with West. I have to watch my own writing - I'm guilty of being too critical as well - esp. w/churchmen - I get frustrated with mixed messages and sometimes respond inappropriately.

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

"I am uncomfortable when recent converts stand up and make a career out of preaching to Catholics."

If it's preaching it's one thing. But Scott Hahn is - like Armstrong, Sungenis and myself, also Mark Shea and Peter Kreeft - perhaps more about apologetics?

" St. Paul spent three years in the dessert praying and learning after he was knocked off his horse."

St Paul was also coming from a long way off. He had been a persecutor.

"And he didn't make any coin off of evangelizing."

Not during the three years, when he left it to others.

After that, well, it did at least pay his living expenses.

For own part, I converted at age 20 after deciding to become Catholic at age 16 (first year after that dreaming of converting with other High Church Lutherans, as mentioned), I became a trad not very late after that, at 23-25, and I started writing (including apologetics) only after my position in a non-Catholic village had landed me in prison for a non-bad act. Shooting at a policeman, if you want the details. So, I was thirty-three-ish before getting into apologetics.

My having gone "east of 1054" for some years after being disgusted with one thing of Ratzinger (whom I had previously admired) and after a bad attitude against me in an SSPX parish however left me doubly open to the attack. First from Orthodox, who basically wanted me to, but never in so many words told me to change my carreer plan from writing to non-writing, since they counted my conversion to them from 2006. Then, after 2009, from Catholics, as I reverted, and aggravatedly while accepting Ratzinger as Pope while being SSPX and considering the SSPX position makes more sense in Orthodox ecclesiology, than in strictly RC one.

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

"What the traditionalist camp needs is visible happy warriors."

Not likely to get me as one while keeping me poor because unread, and therefore also unwed.

I several times considered giving some blog a title like "Catholic and Not Enjoying It", and Mark's policy about commenters was not giving me occasion to get a market and thus a better deal!

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

" Look at St Thomas More, he was a simple lawyer (who later was promoted) and his works are considered spiritual classics."

Not all of them?

I thought Utopia was on the Index and his epigrams are, some of them, "a bit saucy."

"I also enjoy reading Dietrich von Hildebrand's work, and he was just a professor."

I haven't found it. Is it available on internet?

But I do think I will find it SO if I actually find it.

He was promoted by Dollfuss to write against National Socialist régime North of the Border, and Dollfuss is about as good as a fascist dictator can dream of getting (I have some tenderness for Franco too).

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

"all I can say is read over this and everything else I have written on Catholic Exchange, Inside Catholic, and other on-line fora and I think that accusation is quite unwarranted."

Arturo, I was going to read the blog post, but the blog is not open except to invited readers.

You are one of the many Catholic bloggers who seem to have either left off or hidden.

Why?