Searching For The Fringe

I found some Australian commentary of the extremist Catholic internet phenomenon linked from PrayTell. I’m not familiar with any of the Catholic blogs discussed there. David Timbs sure utilizes a fair familiarity with the blogosphere and a razor-sharp analytical edge.

I don’t know if this sort of commentary is helpful or not. Several years ago, an internet friend (I forget who) upon hearing I was going to be vacationing on Lake Superior, suggested I take a side trip to the Sabine Farm of Father Z and check things out. I felt a vague unease at that prospect. I was sure my wife would not approve of such a stop. She was nervous enough when I invited my old friend (from 1985, pre-blog era) Fr Jeff Keyes to a home barbecue when he was passing through town a number of years ago. She’s totally unschooled in Catholic internet stuff, and she wants to keep it that way. I think she was weighing the possibility of snatching the young miss to safety and going out for a movie and ice cream when Fr Jeff decided to drive straight through Kansas City without a pause.

Getting back to Mr Timbs, he promises an analysis of the Father Z phenomenon next week.

Next week we take a close look at (Fr) John Zuhlsdorf  who offers yet another view from the Far Side. He is one of the better known of the American Conservative clerical bloggers. He is also a merchandiser, peddler of trinkets, incantations, entrepreneur, gun owner and collector. He is also part-time Latinist and he too has nothing to say about Jesus Christ.

Is saying things about Jesus enough to be in the swirl of the faith? I think it’s more a matter of how one uses his name.

More interesting to me was the comment on the unfortunate redesign of the once-excellent CathNews site:

Those who know the Australian Catholic blogosphere will perhaps have noted the demise of the old format of Cathnews. Every item published had its own comment box. However, in recent years, opposition to Cathnews’ culture of open free speech began to be aired at the Catholic bishops’ Conference. Two very highly educated bishops had been pressing the editors of Cathnews to get rid of commissioned blogs together with the inconvenient comment boxes.

Under the pretence of upgrading publication formats to more developed, popular technological platforms, namely employment of the increasingly suspect Facebook and the mindless Twitter, the transformation was accomplished. The wider Catholic voice was not only dumbed down, it was effectively silenced. The Facebook likes and the Twitter equivalents are now mostly the work of Sydney based Neocatechumenate members. It’s a stage managed side show pretending to be serious Catholic media. It’s a collection of articles in search of a message.

I don’t go to Facebook or Twitter for serious news, and certainly not interaction.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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One Response to Searching For The Fringe

  1. David D. says:

    “She’s totally unschooled in Catholic internet stuff, and she wants to keep it that way.”

    My wife is the same. A few years back, I attended one of Father Z’s informal “blognics”. Rather than trying to explain all that, I just told my wife I’d be home late because I was going to meet a priest at a bar. Turns out he’s a pretty nice guy. Perhaps it is the same with this Timbs fellow notwithstanding the linked article.

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