Saturday, August 08, 2009

Enfant Terribles of Catholic blogville


There are three male Catholic bloggers; two are big time, one is arriving to that point, who bother me. I don't read them anymore but I've wondered why they annoy me. Then it came to me. All three remind me of Truman Capote, who was a little monster.
Before anyone get's the wrong idea, I'm not talking their sex lives. I mean that Capote was smart, maybe a genius, and talented but he was horribly spoiled. He was the little prince, the complete center of attention in his circle and when he wasn't, he got spiteful.
He wrote a vicious roman a clef about his friends in his latter years as a payback for some slight, real or imagined and apparently hinted that he wrote To Kill a Mockingbird for his childhood friend, Harper Lee. You either worshipped Capote and agreed with everything he said or you were an idiot, low class, nasty and deserving of scorn.


Like Capote, these three male bloggers talk a good tough game but seem thin skinned when readers don't stick to their script. Commenters better stick to "Gee, you're so smart. Those traditionalists are so dumb. You're so brave. (Brave? Really?) Your book changed my life. All the good Catholics are with you...." or they get banned or mocked.
There is something so small and precious and enfant terrible about all three of these fellows. I get the impression that all of them spent a lot of time on their mama's laps while being told how aborable and brilliant they were and very little time hanging around other guys. It's interesting in a virus under the microscope sort of way but for the life of me, I can't understand how these guys got to be so important in the world of professional Catholics and why so many people take them seriously.
And there's one more thing. When I see a lay person (this may or may not apply to one or more of the bloggers I'm talking about) who makes their living off of the Church I get nervous. My gut reaction is "Hey bud, who the heck are you? By what authority do you teach? What seminary did you go to and what bishop laid his hands on you? Who gave your book a public imprimatur? What reputable clergyman back up your teaching?
Tis a puzzlement as the King of Siam once said.

32 comments:

Charlotte said...

OK, I'll take the bait and be the dumbass who wants to know exactly who you're talking about. I assume Shea is one of them. I'd like to add Crunchy Con in, but he's not Catholic anymore.

I know you're being charitable, but I wanna know!!!! :)

Dymphna said...

I'm trying to soft pedal it but Charlotte you are on the right trail.

a thorn in the pew said...

I'm more nervous of converts making money off the church. IS this too far off base? Some of them don't have all the authentic teachings and get a bit evengelical(still) when dealing with issues and worse(even), liturgy. I'm speaking of the non-ordained, of course. Do you get where I am going? Anywho, I tend to agree. I am mindful of the source usually and I never want to be be or pretend to be a theologian.

R J said...

"My gut reaction is 'Hey bud, who the heck are you? By what authority do you teach? What seminary did you go to and what bishop laid his hands on you? Who gave your book a public imprimatur?'"

Well, yes, exactly. We were much better off when the existence of the Index deliberately limited the number of spokespersons in the Church. Nowadays, with Internet mania, it seems to be "every man his own theologian" - which of course is the classic definition of Protestantism.

Jenny Nowicki said...

G.K. Chesteron published a lot of books (thus he could be said to have "made money off the Church"). Given that he was a convert, and non-ordained, was THIS a bad thing?
--Andy Nowicki (not my wife Jennifer)

R J said...

Chesterton was indeed a convert, and a layman, but he lived at a time when any convert and layman - or any cradle-Catholic layman for that matter - who misrepresented Church teaching (even if only by accident) would be given the mother of all spankings by the hierarchy. Such is manifestly not the case now, in the democratized and anarchic Church of 2009.

James H said...

I have to agree with you on the main person I think you are talking about.

THough I do wonder if he uses his blog on some of the more controversal issues (health care, enhanced interrogation) as a sounding board. It does seem his article for instance at Inside Catholic are much more temerate and are not assigning the worse motives to people.

standing maryanna said...

It's interesting that you should point the finger only at liberals. I see the same problem among some of the trad bloggers...

I know I have been scorched by some who didn't care for a response I made... In fact one went back and softened a comment made after seeing others had similar responses to mine.

Just trying to keep things equal.. :)

Dymphna said...

Well, I suppose there are some Trad bloggers are just as bad but these 3 are the ones who made it big and who concern me.

James H said...

standing maryanna

I think at leat to tow of these folks we know who she is talking about. I would not view these people "liberals" at all. They just have an annoying habit of using a blowtorch on anyone that had disagrees with them with on little bit

Sanctus Belle said...

Well I don't know a thing of course, but I don't tend to read ANY blog that has a large readership, whether written by clergy or nonclergy I find them all annoying and quite franky - boring. I prefer the smaller, lesser known "jewel blogs" like Dymphna's Road!

Lola said...

I think there are more than three.


I agree with Sanctus Belle!

Athos said...

Hi - Jeff Hendrix here. Well, hm. As far as that goes, I wonder how you, dear Dymphna, like it when your comments do not line up in agreement with your ladyship.

The Jerusalem Church surely had more than a few issues with that upstart Paul/Saul (who the blazes does he think he is, claiming 'apostleship' from some blame vision after all his persecution?).

I, for one as a convert after 20 years as a Methodist pastor, find Herr Shea's Mary series very good and very commendable. As as an author due to a close brush with the CA beastie, one might say I, too, am profiting from my relationship to Mother Church. I would plead guilty as charged (so far $44 in royalties - I won't quit my day job of teaching at St Charles School, Arlington).

The Japanese saying, "The nail that sticks up the highest gets hammered" may be in operation here. In the culture wars, it serves the Church Militant, Suffering, and Triumphant much greater good to light candles rather than curse the darkness; particularly with allies.

Otherwise, we tend to fall into Mel-Gibsonesque problems, don't you think? Best/blessings

chloesmom said...

FWIW, I like Mark Shea's blog -- the impression I get from him is not that he's a spoiled, coddled person. Far from it, he's not afraid to speak his mind and gives as good as he gets. Truman Capote he isn't -- he certainly doesn't come across as petulant, precious, or as self-absorbed as Capote was. I came across his blog when in the midst of a serious faith crisis a few years ago, and reading him, along with Amy Welborn and a few others helped spark my reversion. I think it would be news to him to find himself described as a liberal! I guess it's all in how one looks at it.

David said...

Might another of these enfant terribles offer slavishly accurate liturgical translations and frank commentary on Catholic issues, upon whose blog a potential commenter must register and be approved for posting?

Athos said...

It is a dream I have.

Victoria said...

Instead of hinting coyly, why not name the people with whom you disagree. I have no idea who you mean.

Meggan said...

"This blog does not allow anonymous comments."

Why not, when the blog is run by an anonymous person?

Just curious.

By the way... just go ahead and name the three enfant terribles. Which is more uncharitable, promoting gossip by not naming them or just stating your opinions openly and honestly?

James said...

Well, I haven't ever read this blog and probably won't return (have far too much reading material as it is), but since no one else has done so and since Dymphna has stated that (s)he doesn't read the blogs of the mysterious enfants terribles, I figured I'd let him/her know that Mark Shea (if he is indeed one of the enfants) has posted a response at his blog. For what it's worth. http://markshea.blogspot.com/2009/08/if-its-any-consolation-dymphna.html

Walter said...

With all repsect, this is grade school stiff. Say who you don't agree with and why but please avoid all of this silly gossip.

Dymphna said...

Well, James and Walter, see ya later and best wishes.

Meggan said...

One of your readers, Heresy Hunter, has an awful post on his blog today in which he makes fun of the looks of some women religous. I don't care if he/she agrees with them or not. I don't care if these women are liberals or heretics. It is extremely mean, uncharitable and childish to devote an entire blog post to making fun of peoples looks.

max said...

I'm a little late to the game, but I read the Shea response and the comments; and, well.....they all seem to prove Dymphna's point.

Shea actually tried banning my IP because I disagreed with something he wrote. He didn't ban the people who attacked me for disagreeing of course. Thankfully I have floating IP addresses so I am free to disagree without his lordship's permission.

Andy Nowicki said...

...And Max's experiences with Mark Shea are hardly unique.

Mark P. Shea said...

A question, if I may:

http://www.haloscan.com/comments/chezami/8562731826595032842/#974554

THE HERESY HUNTER said...

Meggan, You said: “One of your readers, Heresy Hunter, has an awful post on his blog today in which he makes fun of the looks of some women religous. I don't care if he/she agrees with them or not. I don't care if these women are liberals or heretics. It is extremely mean, uncharitable and childish to devote an entire blog post to making fun of peoples looks.”

Some points:
1. If you would have read the post properly you would have noticed that fun was made of the clothing/hair of the women, their adornments and accentuations (thus the “fabulous fashoinistas” phrase), not facial/bodily appearances per se.

2. You apparently failed to take notice of the “lesson” mentioned at the beginning of that post, which effectively said that heretical nuns who live for the spirit of the world are not living for God primarily. There is an objective separateness from the world that is part of parcel of being a religious. If you live by the spirit of the world, then expect to be treated in the same “mean” way by that same spirit.

3. “I don't care if these women are liberals or heretics” You will care when their philosophies and policies begin to affect you life in a personal way. Should I remain silent when I see blatant disobedience, and let error perpetuate? Bishop Sheen said that lay Catholics act as the check to make sure that religious remain faithful to the Roman Catholic Church. If nothing is said, however harsh it may seem, then problems will only get worse. St. Anathasius: “The floor of Hell is carpeted with priests”. These are harsh words. If I am classed under this category, then I take that as a compliment.

4. You seem not to have a sense of humor, which I think is an endemic quality of a faithful orthodox Catholic.

5. Finally, in your comment, what you are really saying is that you are a better person than me, more charitable than this sinner (which is likely true), though I also think that, you are inwardly congratulating yourself by differentiating the “awful”, “mean” and “childish” post with your alleged goodness, a “I am more holier than thou” kind of thing. The word Pharisee now comes to mind.

=========================

Dymphna: You seemed to have set off a firestorm. Don’t know much about this Shea guy, though I saw him in a movie trailer for “Man Alive”, based on a book by GKC, and I thought he was quite good and funny). Nevertheless, know that I won’t let that keep me from regularly checking in on your excellent blog. I think now that people are beginning to vilify you, in a subtle kind of way, a little too much, making a mountain out of a mole hill. Just think of it as a little Cross Our Blessed Lord has given you. You will be included in my next Rosary.

Lola said...

I re-read this and can't find that Dymphna listed anyone.

So, I'm not sure who Dymphna ment. And I'm finding it strange that anyone would assume who is of the three.

I've visited lots and lots of blogs, and one thing is respect when visiting. I try to not to be obnoxious in my opinions. (Who can tell how it'll be taken by the reader?) It's almost equivalant to insulting someone in their own living room.


And I try to keep my own ego in check. Especially when I get a little swollen headed when I get more than 3 comments to a posting...

patrice said...

Lola, Dymphna did not originally name any of the three. The first poster, Charlotte, asked if it were Shea. Dymphna's response was that she "was on the right trail."
If it hadn't been Shea, I believe she may have said it wasn't.

I don't at all find it strange, given the above, that folks would think it was Shea. (I actually hadn't heard of him, so I went hunting for him and now I read him. This is probably the opposite of her intent, but it is her effect.)

I think that if Dymphna had an issue with any of the three, she should have first told them. She did not do that, at least not with Shea, [according to him]. If she had, a lot of this could have been avoided.

Vir Speluncae Catholicus said...

Well, I see that the link to my blog is still up, so I know I'm not one of the three. And yes, it would bother me terribly if I was one of those you were referring to.

You, dear Dymphna, are one on a very short list of bloggers whose opinion of me actually matters to me.

Kit said...

Sheesh - I take a slight summer blogging vacation and all heck breaks loose. Let me see if I've got this right.

You have a blog. You state your opinions about life, faith, politics, and whatever the heck else you care to say...because it's your damn blog and you can.

You have an opinion about certain primadonna-ish, in your opinion, bloggers. You seek to avoid scandal by not naming names.

You get com-box-blasted by groupies of someone (whose blog I've never read) who thinks he might be one of the three you're not real comfortable with. And snotted on in a post by this same person (who apparently suspects himself). But again, you didn't name names, you did not confirm or deny someone's guess at who one of the three might be.

Methinks someone (and his fans) dost protest too much.

Grow up, people - stop vilifying someone for having an opinion about three someones you may or may not know. Stop accusing Dymphna of spreading scandal when - oops - you're the one(s) crapping in her com-box and dragging her name through the mud elsewhere on the internet. What are you doing, if not engaging in scandal yourselves?

And yeah, for those of you clicking away on my name (which - gasp - is my nickname because I post stuff about my kids and want to protect their privacy)right now - if you wanna go with me, have at it. Give me your name and email address over at my blog - just leave it as a comment, I won't post it if you don't want me to, and we will chat off the blog and by email about manners, propriety, hypocrisy, and the First Amendment.Or anything else you want to discuss.

Cavey, I'm with you.

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

"Chesterton was indeed a convert, and a layman, but he lived at a time when any convert and layman - or any cradle-Catholic layman for that matter - who misrepresented Church teaching (even if only by accident) would be given the mother of all spankings by the hierarchy. Such is manifestly not the case now, in the democratized and anarchic Church of 2009."

RJ, I am a convert and a layman, and Church men are telling everyone to ignore me, even without saying I misrepresent Church teaching in the sense of clinging to heresy.

Some people here don't like YEC and Geocentrism presented as even viable options for Catholics today!

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

Update after weekend!

Since Mark P. Shea is online : kudos for starring in Manalive!

Just saw "Suddenly, last summer" (Tenessee Williams, the film version) and asked a few pertinent questions on why Chesterton's novel wasn't and TW's play was made into a film.

You righted an old wrong, as far as you could!

That said, you suck at allowing debate under your posts - or sucked back when you had a blog updated, but the one which is still online may not be more generous than when it was being updated.

As to "some people here don't like YEC and Geocentrism presented as even viable options for Catholics today!" I also gave a few papers to a Church. Hope they read!