Saturday, April 16, 2011

Fr. James Martin, S.J. On Catholic Blogging

Fr. James Martin, S.J.
The best blogs point Catholics to news items that might be otherwise overlooked, to resources that might be under-appreciated and to personal stories from Catholic individuals that can inspire, challenge and provoke. 
At its worst, though, the Catholic blogosphere is an arena for a self-appointed magisterium to engage in snarky commentary, judge without evidence and condemn with nary a thought for a person’s reputation.  
One wonders when reading these condemnations: I seem to have missed the conclave that elected you as pope.  Or: When were you appointed to the CDF?  Some Catholic blogs are also so vituperative that they barely seem Christian, and hardly present a good public face for the church.  
Who would want to join such a group?  What’s more, a few bloggers seem solely interested in “inside-baseball” Catholicism (I'm guilty of this myself sometimes), which the Pontifical Council has noted. 
“One of the things we are a little bit aware of is that sometimes the Catholic blogosphere can become a bit of a ghetto…rather than engaging in the world outside,”
Link (here) to read the full blog post by Fr. James Martin, S.J. 

Below the break line are some blog posts from the past year of Fr. James Martin, S.J.

Diarmuid Martin's Admission: No Remorse on the Part of most Abusers
A few years ago I participated in a panel discussion at a New York City teaching hospital, with several psychologists and psychiatrists, on the abuse crisis.  (I was more or less the token Catholic priest, asked to speak to the crisis not from a psychological but an ecclesial point of view.)  One psychologist offered a riveting presentation in which he stated that the two most common attributes of an abuser are narcissism and grandiosity.
Link (here) to read the full post 

Will Catholics rejoice over the repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell"
Most Catholics—in fact, most educated people around the world—know well the other teachings from the Catechism on the topic of h@mosexuality, which are very clearly stated.  Most, for example, would know the teaching clearly set forth in #2357, which states that h@mosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered.”  But the full teaching of the Catholic church on h@mosexuality and h@mosexuals often surprises many people--including some Catholics. 
Link (here) to read the full post

Holy Martyrs Maura, Ita, Dorothy and Jean, pray for us
May all Christians who work for social justice find inspiration in their work.  May all who dismiss social justice as not a part of the Christian life see their sacrifice.
Link (here) to read the full post 

Is Graphic Helpful or Not?
A perennial question for Catholics (anyone really) committed to ending abortion. How graphic should you get?  Or, more accurately put: Do graphic images advance the pro-life cause?  Rare is the adult Catholic who has not seen a photo of an aborted fetus as part of a pro-life mailing, or on a placard during a pro-life rally.  But is it an effective strategy for winning over converts? 
Link (here) to read the full post

Video: A Prayer When I Feel Hated
A prayer I wrote for g@y and l@sbian adolescents, but really for any person of any race, sex, creed or inclination, who feels bullied, marginalized, rejected or ashamed of who they are.  Perhaps you know someone who might find it helpful as they struggle with any of these issues.
Link (here) to watch Fr. Jim read his prayer

Catholic Bloggers Aim to Purge
Many in the "Catholic Taliban," as John Allen so bluntly puts it, seem devoid of any sense of Christian charity.  Calling someone a "cancer"?  Does that sound like Christian charity?  Of course the common defense is that real charity is pointing out a "heresy," which will damage the faithful.  (As in, "It's a good thing we burned Joan of Arc at the stake!")   Or they say that calls for charity just mask dissent.  But fidelity and charity are not competing values.  Or they argue that they're just doing what Jesus did when he called Herod a "fox."  What they seem to forget is that they are not Jesus.  Overall, while many of these bloggers certainly seem Catholic, they don't seem particularly Christian.
Link (here) to read the full post.

Glenn Beck and Liberation Theology
As Ronald Reagan used to say, “There you go again.”  A few months ago, Beck decided that he would demolish the idea of “social justice,” by telling Christians if their priests, pastors or ministers use that buzz word on Sundays they should leave their churches.  As he may or may not have known, the tenets of “social justice” encourage one not only to help the poor but address the conditions that keep them poor.  He called that “communist.”
Link (here) to read the full post.

Woman Bishop Resigns Over abuse Case
Many observers (including me) have suggested that the presence of women (and lay men, and married men and women, and parents in particular) in positions of authority in the Catholic church might have served as a bulwark against the mishandling of s@xual abuse cases--specifically, the reassignment of abusive priests to new parishes.  The voices of married men and women, or simply lay men or lay women--in the Vatican, in chanceries and in parishes--might have been stronger in arguing for the swift removal of abusive priests. 
Link (here) to read the full post

A Fear-Based Church?
Sometimes when I'm writing or speaking, even to small groups, I find myself thinking not "What would God want me to say?" But “Will this get me in trouble?”  Again it’s not surprising.  Occasionally, during my talks I’ll spy a humorless man and woman furiously taking notes.  The other night it happened during a talk on a particularly controversial topic: joy.  Ironically, I am probably one of the most theologically conservative Catholics you'll ever meet.
Link (here) to read the full post

The Sacred Heart and S@xual Abuse
Devotion to the Sacred Heart has been part of the mission and spirituality of the Society of Jesus.  But lately the devotion has been viewed by many in as "outmoded" in the post-Vatican II Catholic world.  Too many kitschy paintings of the Sacred Heart (see above), too many statues where Jesus has a dopey look on his face, seemed to have doomed this devotion to spiritual obscurity and religious irrelevance.  But we neglect it at our peril:
Link (here) to read the post 

Weeding Out G@ys From the Seminaries
Psychologist in particular know how arduously that closeted g@y men work at “passing” as straight men, often out of a deep-seated shame.  Some spend their whole lives doing it.   The goal of a zero-homosexual policy in seminaries, and the weeding out of gay seminarians, is bound to lead not to a climate of transparency and honesty, but to a culture of secrecy, dishonesty and hiddenness--which is one of the main things that led to the coverup of s@xual abuse.
Link (here) to read the full post

Welcome to the Cafeteria, EWTN

"Liberal" Catholics are often said to twist the church's teaching (or disregard it completely) to suit their own needs--particularly on matters of s@xuality and church authority.  (We are sometimes accused of that here at America, and on this blog.)  "Cafeteria Catholic" is an epithet indicating those who pick and choose from among the church's teachings, as one chooses among entrees and desserts in a school cafeteria.  It is an epithet usually reserved for "liberals" or "progressives."  But "liberals" are not the only ones who frequent that cafeteria.  
Link (here) to read the full post

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

FR ATHANASIOS PAUL THOMPSON, The Director of the website spoke recently about the good that may accrue to religious institutions because of easy contact via the internet. Afterall, this technological marvel of instant and repeated communication can be used for good or ill. Blogging is one of the avenues of access. The article by Fr Martin, SJ on Catholic Blogging stimulated my best instincts and the words of Fr. APT as mentioned. He said, "Whatever our longheld and yes at times even critical theological differences, we need to promote kinder rhetoric between fudamentalist Adventists and conservative Catholics". He went on to suggest that an artificial ecumenism of polite words and meaningless agreements based on fuzzy religious terms and social pressure will not suffice. That is true. The often critical contrasts between Protestant denominational opinion and Catholic religious structures make friendship a difficult if not impossible reality. We should ask our Adventist friends (and of course other fundamentalist evangelical types)to be respectful in their use of criticisms and especially in their descriptions of the "sins of the catholic church" during the Reformation period and when giving statistical references about the Spanish inquisition and the Holy Crusades. But frankly, those of us who claim membership in a Catholic church - both Eastern Orthodox Catholic as well as Roman Catholic must take the same high road." He further suggested that though the SDA vision of their prophetic role includes interpretations of biblical passages in Daniel and Revelation (Pope is viewed as the anti Christ beast of the apocalyptic revelation of St John?!) , there is no need for their thrust to be hostile and condemnatory toward Catholics. Admittedly, this is not an easy hurdle to jump for either church. Perhaps new websites could be created whereby interested members of both churches could dialog. Expecting Adventists to compromise dearly cherished doctrinal beliefs will not build anything good. Catholic Bishops and priests should approach them. Mutuality of interest and a desire to engender a respectful tone and honest diaagreement over prophetic imagery in the Bible may soften the anger and improve Christian brotherhood at the very least. Well, I thought this would be a good item to urge upon the readers of Fr. Martin's article and wanted to leave it on the blog.