Tuesday, January 29, 2019

A Follow-Up to my Post Yesterday

Yesterday I wrote a post explaining why there is so little explicitly Catholic material on this blog, and why I concentrate on more general subjects, from a Catholic perspective. I explained that I was trying to avoid several tendencies I've noticed in other Catholic media-- not only blogs, but magazines, TV shows, YouTube vidoes, and so on. These included repetitiveness (repeating the same points over and over), getting caught up in Catholic in-fighting and faction-fighting, making vague assertions regarding "the spirit of Catholicism", and adding to the stress of modern life by constantly suggesting new ways readers can "deepen their faith lives", or avoid this or that pitfall.

I've been wondering how people took this post, and (since I always doubt myself) I've also been wondering whether I'm really on the right track here. But I've thought about it a lot, over many months and possibly years.

Today, I thought I would take a cruise through the Catholic Blog Directory and look at the latest post of various blogs there. I won't identify the blogs themselves.

The first was a blog about church music, so is really too specialist for my purpose.

The second was a blog post about fasting and the importance of fasting, along with a recommendation to fast during Lent. I imagine all of my readers agree on this already and wouldn't need to have it recommended to them.

The next was a video post, so I'll skip it.

The next was a post in which a homeschooling mother described two different doctor's opinions on how to treat her child, who suffers from cystic fibrosis (God bless her, and them). I've noticed a lot of homeschooling and child-rearing Catholic blogs. I don't have kids, so I couldn't write on that subject. And, although I'm often autobiographical, I avoid writing about family. (I reveal just as much about my life as I want to on this blog, and sometimes I've considered reining in my autobiographical bent as I'm actually very private, in some ways. But I find it hard not to be autobiographical.)

The next was a blog showing pictures of a Catholic family celebrating Christmas 2016, with snippets of text. As above.

The next blog post (from a priest's blog) was another video, showing Vespers and the blessing of icons. Personally, although I attend Mass as often as I reasonably can, and love ceremony and tradition and ritual, I don't much enjoy watching videos of it. I rather admire (and even envy) those who take an educated interest in liturgy, as long as it doesn't make them sour.

The next blog was written by someone who describes himself thus: "Traditional Catholic, Constitutional Conservative, American Patriot, in that Order." Its most recent blog post was a podcast regarding the mid-term elections in 2018. I try to avoid outright politics on this blog.

The next blog post addressed the question of children at Mass, and the controversy that surrounded a suggestion from a "pastor" in a Catholic Church in Maryland that small children might be better off attending a children's program while the parents go to Mass. This, predictably, sparked a huge controversy on social media. The blogger tries to take a nuanced approached, though she very firmly supports the view that children should be brought to Mass (as do I).

She admits a certain fatigue with this controversy, and I sympathise with her. Obviously some people out there disapprove of children at Mass, including this pastor. But I have never actually heard this view expressed directly, either in person or in anything I've read or watched. I've once heard someone at Mass complain about noisy children-- an elderly women, under her breath. Much more often, I've heard priests reassure parents with small children (when said small children are running around or making noise) that they are glad to see them there.

Is he also tired of this controversy?
But I hear an awful lot of responses to criticism of small children of Mass, especially on social media. I usually hit "hide post" pretty quickly. I can't help feeling that the response is out of proportion to the offence-- although I suppose that is how people react when they are rattled.

The next blog post (rather to my surprise) was from someone who very often interacts with me on social media, and who has been extraordinarily kind to me over many years (though we've never met in person). So I will pass over it, as it is rather personal in nature.

The next blog post is in French. My French is minimal, so I will pass over that, too.

The next blog is another "family blog", chronicling the experiences of a Catholic family. Interestingly, the blogger has some reflections on Catholic blogging herself: "I really do enjoy blogging but also have found that the style of blogs has changed over the years since I first started. The unique interesting family orientated blogs seem to be declining and the mega blog is more prevalent." I'm not sure what she means by the "mega blog".

The next blog is about G.K. Chesterton, and the latest blog post shows a meme in which a slug is wondering why there are so few poems about slugs. The blog post makes reference to Chesterton's oft-quoted line: "Poets have been mysteriously silent about cheese". This is more in my line.

The next blog is in Italian. I have no Italian whatsoever, so I will pass over it.

The next blog is also in Italian-- I think.

The next blog is about teaching children to pray, written by a parish worker who has years of experience at this-- a very worthy goal for a blog.

The next blog is about a children's rosary initiative-- it seems mostly a photo blog. Another fine initiative.

The next blog has a funny blog post as its latest-- a response to a challenge to write a "Doomsday Story" in four words. The blogger has responded to this by alluding to a series of song titles: "Let the dogs out" and "Didn't like Pina Coladas" are two examples. Nice.

The next blog has a short post, little more than a photo and a few lines, about the "Homeless Jesus" statute in Farm Street Jesuit Church, London, being blessed.

The next blog is a Carmelite blog and shows photographs of a visit to a church by temporarily vowed sisters and postulants.

The next blog is one written by Byzantine nuns in Ohio, and the latest post is a request for two elliptical machines, which is a kind of stair-climbing machine. (I didn't know that until now.)

Well, that is probably enough, and more than enough. To be honest, I've been rather surprised by what I found in my short trawl through the Catholic Blog Directory. I think I've been rather unfair in my perception that most Catholic blogs run through the same tired talking points, over and over. In fact, many are doing just what I'm trying to do-- to write from a Catholic perspective, rather than about Catholicism directly.

It seems, however, that few blogs go in for the kind of extended, reflective blog posts that I do. So perhaps my blog has a place, after all.


  1. Are you going to discuss your visit to Belfast and thoughts on our city?