Thursday, December 17, 2015

Still busy...

...but don't miss this: an account written by an ex-intern at Church Militant:
Through this influence, for four and a half of five years, I had an uncontrolled fiery passion for all things Catholic. I told people "the way it is," and if they didn't like it, take it up with God. For me, everything was black and white, Good Catholic vs. Bad Catholic. I believed the Body of Christ was 90% cancerous with modernist heretics and estrogen-filled men who wanted to dialogue with sin and falsehood, and it needed a good amputating so we could purify the Church.
In my mind, the Pope needed to excommunicate the vast majority of cardinals and bishops to save the Church from their evil teachings. Catholics both clerical and lay needed to be penalized and reformed. We needed to go back to mandatory kneeling and Eucharistic reception on the tongue, more Latin in Mass than the average Roman citizen could speak, and so much incense you couldn't see the person in front of you (I still wouldn't mind this one, mostly for the smell.)
I was an ardent defender of the Truth, and I viciously attacked anyone who dared question someone like my main hero, Michael Voris.
Four years of living my Catholic faith like that was dispelled in four months. And how did that happen? It's quite simple, really.
I worked at Church Militant. [...]
My head continued to swim with all these questions, and the more I questioned what we did, the less visibly loyal I became in the office. I began openly questioning why we were going to publish this or that information, and what good it would do, in the end. Needless to say, this was not appreciated.
After a little over two months of working there, my attitude and perspective had changed almost completely. I had come to believe that the public bashing (not to be confused with occasional respectful disagreement) of a cleric is immoral. I had become a regular viewer of Bishop Robert Barron (seen as nothing less than an enemy of the truth at Church Militant,) and I had decided that perhaps bishops and cardinals who weren't completely orthodox weren't terrible people after all. Despite theological issues, I believed they ultimately had good intentions. This was a breakthrough in my mindset which had been taught by Church Militant to believe these men were literally evil and intentionally trying to destroy the Church.

I realize that we laypeople struggle with this sort of thing all the time. How much is too much, when we're criticizing a local prelate or talking about a parish issue? How do we know when it's okay to go public with the details of any particular situation? What is the difference between mere venting, constructive criticism, or possibly sinful detraction?

Those aren't always easy things to discern. But I think the young writer of the blog post linked to above has zeroed in on something important: when you are in the business (that is, the actual making of money) of stirring up controversy in the Church, you'd better be clear on a daily basis about your motives.

It doesn't matter if you make a pittance. It doesn't matter if the sum total of your earnings is just a few dollars from blog sidebar ads. If you make money by commenting, as a lay person, on the Church herself as well as on matters of faith and morals, you owe it to yourself and your audience to make sure on a daily basis that you are not stirring up controversies for the sake of clicks or page views or the watching of videos.

I myself have at times been guilty of intemperate speech in my writings. It is a small comfort that I have done so as a completely unpaid nobody in the Catholic blogging world. With blogging in decline, it might be vastly tempting, were one paid to write, to play the faux outrage game with just about everything, because outrage sells pretty well among the Catholics of my generation. We can, however, be better than that--and as Catholics, we have the moral duty to try to be.

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