Blogging

Rosica Retreats

 

 

 

Well, well, well, Father Thomas Rosica has decided not to sue blogger Vox Cantoris after all.  Go here to read all about the original suit threat.  Here is Rosica’s graceless announcement that he is not going to sue:

 

Jeremiah 18:18-20

 The people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem said,“Come, let us contrive a plot against Jeremiah.It will not mean the loss of instruction from the priests,nor of counsel from the wise, nor of messages from the prophets.And so, let us destroy him by his own tongue;let us carefully note his every word.”
Heed me, O LORD, and listen to what my adversaries say.Must good be repaid with evil
that they should dig a pit to take my life? Remember that I stood before you to speak in their behalf, to turn away your wrath from them.
As the CEO of the Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation and Television Network, I am not a high-ranking Vatican official nor a member of the hierarchy of the Church as erroneously claimed in several recent blogs.  In addition to my work at Salt and Light, I have had the privilege of serving since 2013 in a volunteer capacity as English language assistant to the Holy See Press Office.  I relate on a daily basis to hundreds of English language journalists around the world.  I know that this daily service has been encouraged and appreciated by the Vatican and by hundreds of journalists all over the world.
I fully support the teaching of the Church and welcome Pope Francis’ invitation to the whole Church to reflect seriously on the foundations of our faith. The recent Extraordinary Synod of Bishops has invited us to mature, honest dialogue and conversation and to find new ways and a new language to communicate the ancient story of the Church and our beautiful, unchanging doctrine to future generations.
Mature expressions of differences are welcome.  It is one thing to have differing opinions on church matters. However, there is fine line between difference of opinion and blatant destruction of person’s lives and reputations. Having been strongly advised to respond, as an individual and in no institutional capacity to the Vatican or to my place of work, to the continuous false, slanderous statements of a blogger over a long period of time that resulted in gross distortion, misinformation, many phone calls, letters and clear threats from callers based on the repeated false information contained in the blog, it was never my intention to sue, but rather to issue a letter to “cease and desist” the frivolous calumny. A legal firm, offering its service pro bono to us, issued a letter to cease and desist. No lawsuit was ever launched against the blogger! The matter is now closed.
Popes Benedict XVI and Francis have taught clearly that the Internet and blogs can be of tremendous service to the up-building of the Church and of humanity. They have never taught that blogs and social media should be used, in the name of fidelity, to engender slander, hatred, reviling and destroying.
In a world torn apart by hatred, terror and violence, often through the gross distortion of religion, we must be much more attentive to our use of social media and how it is used to unite rather than destroy humanity. Many in the Catholic blogosphere have contributed enormously to the spread of the faith, the defense of all that is good and beautiful about our faith and our Church, and the opening of dialogue among strangers. They are to be congratulated and encouraged. Others have chosen to turn the blogosphere into a black hole of vitriol, anger and profound sadness. As Catholics, the great privilege and freedom of expression and access to social media also have certain obligations of decency, integrity, honesty and charity that reveal who we really are as a faith community.
Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB
CEO, Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation
Some comments about this statement:
1.  Note how Rosica is at pains to indicate that he is not a Vatican official.  Why he is just an unpaid volunteer, sort of like your local priest suddenly being asked to run an operation out of the Vatican! Uh huh, sure.  My guess is that Rosica was instructed to put as much distance between himself and the Vatican as possible over this hornet’s nest he stirred up.
2.  However, there is fine line between difference of opinion and blatant destruction of person’s lives and reputations.
He then proceeds to give no evidence that anything posted about him by Vox Cantoris fit into that category.
3.  Having been strongly advised
By whom?  An attorney?  A superior at the Vatican?
4.  A legal firm, offering its service pro bono to us,
Yep, I can tell you after a third of a century practicing law that high powered law firms are just begging to represent people for free in defamation law suits.  If such a firm has not offered such pro bono services to you, you might want to call up such a firm and inquire about the legal services they are eager to provide gratis!
5.   They have never taught that blogs and social media should be used, in the name of fidelity, to engender slander, hatred, reviling and destroying.
Once again, such statements would be so much more effective if any proof were proffered that Vox Cantoris had engaged in such conduct.
6.  Others have chosen to turn the blogosphere into a black hole of vitriol, anger and profound sadness.
Once again, no examples.  I rather suspect that Rosica views any criticism directed his way to fit into that category.
Vox Cantoris’ statement in response to the news that he will not face bankruptcy as a result of threatened litigation:
Dear Friends,

Continue reading

Cardinal Newman’s Rules for Blogging

Cardinal Newman Icon Tall Pic

Blogging can be rough amusement.  I will attempt to keep the Definition of a Gentleman written by Cardinal Newman in 1852 in mind as much as I can and still keep the readers of TAC informed and amused.  It is almost as if Newman could perceive blogging over a century and a third before it began, as  his Definition of a Gentleman is, in part, almost a code of behavior for bloggers.  Here are some rules for blogging I have distilled from it:

Bloggers would do well to keep the following in mind:

1.    His great concern being to make every one at their ease and at home. He has his eyes on all his company; he is tender towards the bashful, gentle towards the distant, and merciful towards the absurd.

2.    He never defends himself by a mere retort.

3.    He has no ears for slander or gossip.

4.    He is scrupulous in imputing motives to those who interfere with him, and interprets every thing for the best.

5.    He is never mean or little in his disputes, never takes unfair advantage, never mistakes personalities or sharp sayings for arguments, or insinuates evil which he dare not say out.

6.    From a long-sighted prudence, he observes the maxim of the ancient sage, that we should ever conduct ourselves towards our enemy as if he were one day to be our friend.

7.    He has too much good sense to be affronted at insults.

8.    He is too well employed to remember injuries, and too indolent to bear malice.

9.    He is patient, forbearing, and resigned, on philosophical principles.

10.   If he engages in controversy of any kind, his disciplined intellect preserves him from the blundering discourtesy of better, perhaps, but less educated minds; who, like blunt weapons, tear and hack instead of cutting clean, who mistake the point in argument, waste their strength on trifles, misconceive their adversary, and leave the question more involved than they find it. Continue reading

Nutcase Comment of the Month

Tin Foil Hats

 

One of the services your humble servant performs for readers of this blog is to send to the trash the insane comments which we receive before you have to be exposed to them.  However, for your amusement I will now reveal a comment we received under the Only Dead Christians post:

Of course, Israel and the U.S. are behind ISIS (which is not an Islamic group, but a satanist one hiding behind Islam to try to destroy it), and so they, the Anglo/American/Zionist Empire, and not Muslims, are behind the killing of Christians.

Once you realize that not one Muslim had anything to do with 911, rather, it was a CIA/Mossad operation, it all starts to make sense. The purpose is to demonize Islam, so Christians will go to war with Islam instead of its real enemy, Zionism. Continue reading

Rebecca Frech Schools Mark Shea on Guns

Mark Shea has a habit of saying that unless people do x, x always being a policy he endorses, they really are not pro-life.  This of course is simply an attempt, at least among pro-lifers, to stop debate on x and says nothing about the merits of x as a policy.  His latest attempt to do so is on the issue of smart guns, technology that purports to prevent a firearm from being fired, unless the owner is the one pulling the trigger.  Go here to read one of his posts on the subject.  Blogger Rebecca Frech, at her blog Shoved to Them, relates an incident to describe why Shea is wrong as a practical matter:

The argument seems to center around smart gun technology. Shea reasons that if gun owners were truly pro-life then we would support all efforts to create guns which would only fire for their owners, and then the world would be a better place. People who don’t support such legislation and research, even if they support the protection of life from conception to natural death, are not truly pro-life because they participate in a culture which accepts the possibility of death by gun shot (Mark and his readers haven’t mentioned how they aim to prevent people from being bludgeoned with a rifle butt or pistol whipped with a handgun).

*********************

Continue reading

Blogging and Calumny

blogging fists

 

Lifesite News has responded to the assault on Hilary White of Lifesite News orchestrated by some Catholic bloggers.  Go here to read Paul Zummo’s post on the controversy, and go here to read mine.  Here is the post of Steve Jalsevac, one of the two co-founders of Lifesite News:

 

 

Now and then various Church officials complain about deeply uncharitable and harmful discussions on some Catholic blogs. Facebook, blogs, Twitter and even email can each far too easily allow angry thoughts that cross people’s minds to be published for all the world to see without the sober second thought that would naturally accompany face-to-face or spoken communication.

There was a recent attack against LifeSiteNews from a very well known Catholic writer and another such writer and her husband. Using these means of unfiltered near-instant communications, they poured calumny and invective on LifeSiteNews and our talented and committed staff.

Critics who obviously know very little about us, how we function, and our editorial decision-making penned very harsh judgments about our motives and other aspects of our work.

Here are just a few samples of what was what posted on the Facebook pages of various well-known and prolific Catholic writers:

Criticism naturally comes with the territory of journalism and should always be expected. However, when this kind of crude assault is hurled so recklessly from fellow Catholics or other Christians, it does leave us unsettled. Moreover, when such vile language and character assassination comes from Catholics who are published at influential Catholic publications, it is also a concern for the writers’ own Catholic reputation and that of their employers.

LifeSiteNews does not claim to be a Catholic organization. We have many good and faithful Catholics on staff, but we do not claim to be a Catholic organization and our reporting is intended for people of all faiths and even no faith. 

Nothing written by LifeSiteNews ever remotely approaches the level of calumny in the condemnations and criticisms seen in the Facebook posts mentioned. We explicitly forbid our writers from making such comments and are constantly removing similar comments from readers commenting under our reports. That is not free speech. We consider it to be an abuse of freedom. We also have a policy of never responding in kind to such comments. Continue reading

Satan and Blogging

Obama and Lunch

 

 

I have always been fairly indifferent to the hits my blog posts receive, possibly since blogging makes up 0.00000 % of my  income.  However, over the years I have noticed that certain topics usually do draw massive amounts of hits.  Here are the top ten:

1.   Anything with Satan in the title.

2.   Sarah Palin-A sure fire blog crowd draw since 2008, and I suspect she will remain so for the rest of her life.

3.   Ted Kennedy-The “lion of the senate” has been dead for four years, but he still ignites intense emotion.  (Overwhelmingly negative on this blog.  You leave one, just one, young woman to die in a car and some people hold it against you!)

4.   Obama and canine cuisine.

5.   Jimmy Carter and his senile anti-Catholic rants. Continue reading

My Humble Thanks

LarryMcClarey2009

 

 

I can’t thank enough all of you who extended your kind wishes and prayers for the repose of the soul of my son Larry after his passing.  Last week was the hardest week of my life and in the lives of my wife and remaining two children.  We would have found it impossible to endure but for the assistance of friends and neighbors, and just plain good people who came forward to rally around my family in our hour of need.  There is much evil in the world, but I think there is more good, something I will attempt in future to keep in mind.

My thoughts of my boy will always remain with me as a treasured possession, and prayers for him and  requests for his intercession are now a permanent part of the prayer life of my wife and me.  Going through this terrible tragedy has only deepened my faith that we are children of a loving God and that in this vale of tears our ultimate  purpose is to love Him and our neighbor to the best of our ability.  My Larry is now with Him, the source of all love, and I am content. Continue reading

Seven More Deadly Sins of Catholic Blogging

Blogging

 

Pat Archbold has a great post here at National Catholic Register about the seven deadly sins of Catholic blogging.  Saint Blogs is a wild and woolly place and there are blogs on a vast range of subjects and for all temperaments.  Here are seven sins that drive me away from a Catholic blog:

 

1.  Thou shalt not bore!-The cardinal sin of any blog, Catholic or not.

2.  Don’t you Dare Smile!-Too many Catholic bloggers give the impression  that their day job is bringing tablets down from Mount Sinai.

3.  Send in the Trolls!- Nothing ruins a blog quicker than allowing trolls to dominate the com boxes.

4.  Ignorance Isn’t Bliss-If you are bone ignorant on a topic, please do not attempt to blog about it. Continue reading

Dyspeptic Mutterings

 

I am happy to see that Dale Price has resumed blogging regularly at his Dyspeptic Mutterings.  I stop by every day to read some of the wittiest blog writing on the internet.  Here is a recent sample:

I am building a giant cybernetic war badger in my basement.
I love the music of Marty Haugen.
I am receiving locutions from Krishna.
I think Obama is the only permissible electoral choice for Catholics in 2012.
I don’t think women should ever wear pants or breastfeed in public.
OK–they can do the latter if they’re wearing only pants.
Janeway is way better than Kirk and Picard combined.
The Dallas Cowboys are going to win the next three Super Bowls.
Or the Washington Redskins–whichever you hate more.
Yes, that outfit makes your ass look fat.
The best Stooge was Shemp.
Only Anglican orders are valid.
–I mean, seriously–is this thing on? Traffic is allegedly going up, but I’m feeling like a performance artist here. Continue reading

Why I Am Friends With “Moderation” and “Ban”

Walter Russell Meade at Via Meadia, a blog I frequently read, is ending comments and here is his explanation why:

 

We apologize to the readers who participated in or valued the comments section on the blog, and especially to the well mannered and thoughtful contributors who never tried to hog the microphone, launch flame wars, smuggle hate speech into the comment page, rant about personal pet peeves repeatedly and predictably, let partisan or ideological animus run wild or otherwise abuse what at its best was a forum for reflection and thoughtful debate. To such belongs the Kingdom of Heaven, and your insights were appreciated, your praise cherished and your thoughtful censure was a cause for reflection. You know who you are, and this would be a much poorer world without you.

For the rest, we wish you well, and are confident that you will find many opportunities both in cyberspace and in the meat world for the kind of exchanges and conversations you seek. Thankfully this remains a free country where all of us can pursue happiness along whatever paths look promising; enjoy the pursuit and may we all find our heart’s deepest desire at the end of the road.

I believe that comments add a lot to the blog.  They turn a monologue into hopefully an entertaining give and take;  thoughtful criticism can improve most posts;  the blogger gets immediate feedback on what he or she has written, etc.  I have found for the past few years however, that in order for comments to be useful, it is necessary for a blogger to be quite familiar with the terms “moderation” and “ban”. Continue reading

Dyspeptic Mutterings

My friend Dale Price is posting again regularly at his blog Dyspeptic Mutterings after something of a hiatus.  Go here to have a gander at his blog.  Dale has long written some of the sharpest commentary on Saint Blog’s.   I stop in every day looking for blogging topics to steal borrow, and I rejoice that he is writing frequently again.

How to Lose Blog Readership

There are plenty of tips on the internet on how to build a blog audience.  Here are some tips on how to lose a blog audience:

10.  Be nitpicky-If someone deigns to leave a comment on your blog, make certain to correct their grammar, pick apart their argument ruthlessly over minor points and never, absolutely never, address the main point they are making.

9.    Never explain-If you want to post on the Albigensian Crusade, jump right into the subject and give no explanatory background.  If your readers are ignorant on the subject, tough.

8.     Ignorance Doesn’t Matter-Just because you are bone ignorant on a subject doesn’t mean you can’t have an opinion!   Write what you want to, no matter how factually deprived it is, and let your readers sort things out.  Life is too short for research and fact checking.

7.      Use your blog as a substitute for therapy-Scream at your readers if you are feeling miserable, and lose your temper over small matters with your commenters.  You will feel better and that is all that counts.  If no one reads your blog, that is a small price to pay.

6.      Spellcheck?-Spellcheck and concerns about grammar are for dweebs.  If your readers worry about such things, who needs them!

5.     Humor is verboten!-Blogging is a deadly serious business and if what you write causes one of your readers to crack even the teeniest of smiles you have failed.

Continue reading

Licensing Bloggers

The inaptly named City of Brotherly Love is attempting to license bloggers.  If bloggers make any money from their blogs, they will have to pay a $300.00 “business privilege tax” to obtain a business privilege license.  (I rather like the Orwellian term “business privilege”, as if the right to buy and to sell was some sort of gift of the State.)   Go here to read the details at the Philadelphia Citypaper.

Just how many things are wrong about this?  Let us count the ways: Continue reading

Why Satirical Catholic Blogs Fail

I finally returned to internet connectivity this week, which has meant catching up on news & blogs I have neglected. Part of this “reconnecting” included denying a facebook friend request from someone I never heard of-only to find out that this someone was a fake online persona created in the Catholic Fascist’s attempt at satire. Having looked over all of the posts there, I was struck by how eerily similar the site was to another parody group blog-The Spirit of Vatican II.

Both blogs employed a host of satirical characters with enough resemblance to real life to make laugh (I think whoever thought of danmclockinload deserves a guest post on TAC) at first, both got roaring laughter from their own partisans-and neither blog was funny after a few days.

Continue reading

Pope to Bloggers: Set Sail on the Digital Sea

As hard as it may be for the mainstream media to recognize, our octogenarian Pope is pretty on top of new developments in social media. Pope Benedict recognizes the need for the Church to be a living presence on the internet, while also providing a sense of balance, reminding us of the moral and human consequences of internet use.

Money quote:

“Without fear we must set sail on the digital sea facing into the deep with the same passion that has governed the ship of the Church for two thousand years. Rather than for, albeit necessary, technical resources, we want to qualify ourselves by living in the digital world with a believer’s heart, helping to give a soul to the Internet’s incessant flow of communication”.

Sadly the full text of the Pope’s address is not online yet. In the meantime, you will have to make do with some quotes from this Vatican Radio report. I will try to update this post when the Vatican posts the full text.

Blog Comment Policy and Conflict

Blogger Michael Iafrate of Vox Nova has written a post objecting to a comment moderation incident which occurred last night/this morning here on The American Catholic. Michael had written a comment in which he described a fellow commenter as:

typical of the death-worshiping Christofacists that this blog… attracts

Such comments are typically deleted in keeping with our comment policy. However, in this instance the comment was, for humorous effect, replaced with new content so clearly out of keeping with Michael’s online persona that Michael himself admits the effect was amusing. However, Michael objects to having content posted under his name which is not in fact his creation, and we agree that this represented a momentary lapse in judgment, however humorous. Clearly, the right thing to do in this sort of situation is simply to delete the offending comment or verbiage, and in cases of repeated offense to ban the commenter entirely. We, the editors of The American Catholic apologize for this lapse in our judgment, and commit to our readers that we will not, in future, modify comments. If comments contain objectionable statements which detract from civility and discourse, they will be wholly or partially deleted, but never replaced, even for humorous effect.

–The Editors


Given that Michael made several more specific complaints about TAC blog administration, which are doubtless of interest to few, I will address those briefly below the fold. Continue reading

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