On The Blog

I resisted hosting a blog for some time. I began internet exchange in liturgy discussion groups, primarily at Resource Publications. A good bit of what I wrote is cringeworthy. I don’t make any excuses for it. On occasion, I would insult someone to the point of chasing them away from the forum. I did not realize at first that the conversations I play out in my head don’t translate well into written form. The other factor is that there are some people I can roughhouse with … my brothers, a few close friends … and some people are to be treated more gently. Like almost all the world.

A few times a year, I ponder cutting way back on my involvement here, usually to a percentage somewhere between zero and twenty. But writing is fun and I would have to get to work on my long-delayed novel if I quit. Plus, with the formatting possibilities of images, audio, and video, blogging has become more than just one-trick journalism. We get to be editors, publishers, and everything all rolled into one. And the site meter tells us we have readers. So we can imagine our somewhat sharp and semi-polished efforts racked up next to the big fish in the blogging ocean. Some people get higher hit counts, but anybody can choose at least one aspect to do better than the pros: writing quality, layout, content, and so on. We all know it’s true that the most popular blogs are not necessarily the best sites.

I don’t know how I got hooked into posting the complete Vatican II and the follow-up liturgy documents. I take some pride in knowing I’ve carved a unique niche, an internet version of what I’d dream of doing in a parish setting for adult formation. Lots of Catholic bloggers can quote their favorite documents. A few have looked at a favorite promulgation or two. I’m happy to facilitate the discussion on any or all of them, though I have no doubt other people could do a far better job of commentary.

After finally getting the new home hooked up to the grid, the past few days I’ve been browsing some sites I’ve missed the past month. Has the blogosphere has caught a fever or something? I don’t want to fan the flames or call any individual out. (Though I was tempted to do so.) The insult-trading across blogs and in the commentariats seems to have been kicked up a notch. It’s not looking good.

As an offender, I’m grateful for Liam and others who keep on me when they think I’m out of line. Thank heaven for that, or I’d have one-tenth the traffic and ten times the head size.

On the plus side, whenever there is great danger for going off the deep side, there is often the potential to do really well. Catholic bloggers could get together to set a high bar for behavior. It’s easy to play the victim and blame the trolls. I disagree. The blogger always sets the tone. And the top bloggers in terms of popularity don’t give good example enough of the time. Many hide behind the banner of truth as an excuse to say whatever pops into their mind. Then complain when the commentariat comes up with its own version of the truth.

Despite the lowest hit ratings for my series on church documents (especially when we’re off liturgy) I think I need to continue them for the sake of my own good humor. One or two posts a day of those. Neil whenever he joins us. A good, small, knowledgeable and fairly diverse commentariat. That’s the way it should be.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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5 Responses to On The Blog

  1. Liam says:


    You do well here. And you are capable of being remonstrated with – which is a compliment. I consider an honor to occasionally point how how you get in your own way – because we (including me) all do that, and it’s the principle reason things go wrong. I personally believe the like-minded should take custody of one another for that, as it were, rather than relying on opponents to do that.

    People who cannot be remonstrated with are a lesser breed, no matter how *right* they are.

    The weird dustup between Mark Shea and Vox Nova last week was, well, weird. Mark has done signal work engaging a conservative American Catholic audience on the issue of torture and abuse of power Bush et al., and he gets in a habit of being pugilistic (which you do, too, just for different reasons) that serves him ill. Intellectual pugilism (or nit-pickery, in my case) knows no ideological boundary. It’s often a form of pride, sad to say. It’s hard to admonish in the fullness of charity without a hint of pride, especially if you are a person whose not seen it modelled well (and in the Catholic Church, that’s a lot of us.)

    But we try. I think progressives owe the Church a stab at trying – with however many stumbles – to model this.

  2. I still don’t understand why Mark suddenly decided he had to make some sort of “hit” on Vox Nova. He admits he doesn’t read what we write because he is not interested in our “ideology,” but then how does he know he would not be interested if he doesn’t read it? Through reputation? Shouldn’t he, of all people, know better than to follow gossip?

    Sadly, it angered me, and others; his unwillingness to engage the issues really showed me more about him than he would have liked me (or others) to see. Was I perfect in handling the situation? Is anyone perfect? But I don’t think asking him to make himself clear, not to do what he says is wrong, and to actually dialogue instead of just hit away — required those he did a hit job on — to apologize to him.

  3. Todd,
    Where did you post in the RPI forums? I don’t recall “knowing” you from the “Liturgical Music” forum.

  4. Todd says:

    I posted on RPI until their new format. I believe the old archives are still up, though.

  5. Liam says:

    The forums changed in 2004, IIRC. Todd was posting for many years before then. I know, cuz I was too, though I think he was there before me….

    Maybe since the mid-90s?

    And Todd did you also participate in the old ListServs on the Usenet? Actually, those were kinda my favorite. Blogs are handier, but the Usenet seemed to work well despite its cumbersomeness.

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