Friday, April 27, 2012

A Big Question

Can you please help me understand why a few of the Catholic blogs with the largest presence on the Internet use their sites to battle endlessly about what they deem important "issues" in the Church instead of using them to draw people closer to Christ? They have the means at their disposal to bring the beauty of Catholicism to millions and instead spend half their time in petty arguments. The other half is spent on defending their position (with a definite lack of charity) in the combox.

Don't they understand what damage they do?

My guess is that they do not. The fact that they spend so much energy in defense of themselves and what they've written rather than reaching out to others makes me wonder if they are truly writing for God.

I read a few posts today by some of our leading Catholic writers. After reading them I asked myself this question:

If I were a Catholic thinking of coming home to the Church or a person interested in Catholicism what would these posts say to me? Or, what if my feet were not yet firm in the faith? Would these writers draw me closer to God?

The truth is that they would repulse me. I leave these sites with my heart heavy because, though they may think otherwise, they are doing Catholicism a grave disservice.

Don't get me wrong. I follow some wonderful sites that have a large number of followers and I have them listed in my sidebar. My problem is that there are a handful of Catholic sites with a huge amount of readers who are teaching people (by their example) that Catholics are petty and uncharitable.

I write this because I want people to understand that this is not the true face of Catholicism.  Here are some sites which better portray Catholicism in all its unique beauty:

Word on Fire  - Fr. Robert Barron's site (a favorite of mine)
Catholics Come Home
Coming Home Network
Catholic Spiritual Direction
Catholic Prayer life
Come, Holy Spirit
Peter Kreeft

There are many more than the ones I mention above...but this is a good start. Enjoy!


  1. Mary,
    It is the people on the fence that I really fear for when they come upon these blogs you speak of. I tend to believe that many have been pushed to the wrong side of that fence by what they read on those sites. I am a great fan of the good solid Catholic sites you listed.

  2. Mary you make some very good points here. It breaks my heart every Sunday when I go to Mass and I see so many empty pews when our church used to be packed each week only a few years ago. We need to take the Pope's call to this New Evangelization more seriously and always remember to charitable both online and off.

    God bless you, dear one, for the wonderful service you provide here. And, thanks for the anniversary wishes!

  3. Sadly, a number of Christian Blogs (all denominations) serve to portray how clever, well-educated and knowledgeable their authors are; rather than be a witness to Our Lord and His Word.

    I normally ignore such posts/Blogs altogether and move on.

    As you say Mary, they don't encourage either practicing Catholics, or itenerant readers who are yet to find Our Lord in their lives.

    God bless.

  4. I wonder the same thing. We need apologetics, for sure, but we need it done with love. And not the petty stuff. I always try to think, what would Jesus say?
    Thanks for the link to my site!

  5. Mary, I am stumbling my way back to the Catholic Church after 30 years in protestantism, and I agree with what you've said.
    I love being re-united to my childhood faith but in my return, I've not yet found a congregation with the deep spiritual life that I saw in other churches.
    I need all the encouragement I can get to keep returning.
    My heart's sole desire is to know and love God in the deepest way I can.
    And I am so blessed to have found you, and my other catholic blog friends, who help me to keep going.
    In all honesty..sometimes the pull back to a non-denominational church is strong.
    Especially as I have many godly friends who live holy lives in consecration to Christ, who are non-catholics.
    Sadly, I've had to stop reading many catholic blogs, because their bitter wranglings do not impress me, but only make me tempted to leave again.
    In-fighting over church politics, I can find anywhere. have Jesus - just give me Jesus!

    God bless you..Trish

  6. Mary,

    I have recently received a few circulating emails, from some local contacts, that have been discussing this very topic. We are all Catholics so why are we so intent on dividing ourselves by arguing and criticising each other over various 'issues'? A spirit of charity seems to have disappeared. We have forgotten what is truly important.

    Thank you, Mary for the links. I will check them out!

    God bless.

  7. I have often found this when visiting certain blogs. For someone who feels that maybe God doesn't love them, the words in certain posts would just seem to 'confirm' this.

    And that is a tragedy, not Good News for the poor. The kingdom of God is Good News, not good advice, although it is that as well!!

    Great post, thank you, it reaffirmed my spirit, reminded me of God's love.

  8. Karin,
    I agree. Why would those who are on the fence consider returning to Christ if they read such unloving posts by those claiming to be Christians? If they don't reflect Christ's love those who read their words will be pushed further away.

    Yes, the sites I listed are excellent! I get shivers listening to Fr. Barron - the truth he speaks reaches right into my bones! If it wasn't for you I probably would never have heard of him. Thank you for mentioning him on your blog so much - this is what led me to listen to him in the first place. Which just goes to prove that what I wrote in my post is true - blogs can lead people closer to God or lead them away!

  9. Anne,
    Isn't it sad? The pews should be packed every single week! The message of God's love isn't getting through to people. That's why I hate when people use the internet as a tool of spiritual destruction rather than one of instruction.

    When I read your blog I walk away blessed - not so on these other blogs I mention in my post.

    I hope you enjoyed your special day!

  10. Victor,
    Bingo! You bring up something that I've noticed too. Instead of using their wonderful brains in the Lord's service they are using them in a self-serving manner. We already know they are very bright, now how about using this gift for God?

    I come upon these sites quite by accident. Yesterday, I followed a link on a blog that I DO enjoy reading and it led me somewhere else and it was all downhill from there.

  11. Colleen,
    That's usually the first thing that goes through my mind:
    "What would Jesus think or say about this?"

    Jesus spoke with love. Catholic infighting tears down the Church and sets a poor example for others. They are way off the mark. One of my prayers is that those with a large presence on the internet would use their gifts to help others rather than hinder them. They have inadvertantly become stumbling blocks instead of stepping stones to Christ.

  12. Trish,

    Thank you for being honest and up front about your thoughts on this problem. I have walked in your shoes when I first returned to my faith. I guess I was blessed that I didn't use the computer back then or I might have walked away again!

    Your words, "Please... you have Jesus - just give me Jesus" say it all. We DO have Jesus and we have Him in abundance.

    I apologize for my Catholic brothers and sisters who have made you feel unwelcome. Please feel free to e-mail me at any time (my e-mail is in my profile). I'm a good listener and I would love to talk with you about some of your concerns.

    I know you must stumble across a lot of sites which may repulse you because you can sense they are not Spirit inspired. Bitter wrangling does not come from God. I am glad you have looked beyond the infighting and see that there are many of us deeply committed to the Lord.

    He is my life.

    May God bless you. You are in my prayers!

  13. Sue,
    Sad, isn't it? I can only think that they don't realize what a great disservice they are doing to the Church. I rarely comment on these sites because it goes nowhere. I do pray for unity though! Most of the "issues" discussed are unimportant in the bigger picture. The bigger picture is God Himself and not these non-issues! Even if there are real topics that need discussion this can be done with charity. Thanks for commenting.

  14. Ros,
    It's a bit like walking into a field seeded with land mines, isn't it? We never know when a bomb may go off!

    I know you have tried to help them see it's about love and have been attacked as a result. I saw what you have tried to do and I understood the message you were trying to get through to them. But they shoot the messenger by attacking them personally instead of trying to understand the point being made.

    It's not that I don't understand that we all have human weaknesses, I do understand this because I have them too. It's when I see a consistent pattern of uncharitable behavior aimed at anyone who disagrees with the author's position that I get troubled. It does nothing to draw people to Christ and likely pushes them away.

    God bless!

  15. Hi Mary,

    Human nature prevails in these situations. Sometimes we just love the fight! Big minds sometimes love to debate the minutia while they forget about "the big picture." You couldn't be more correct! We must spend our time spreadng the truths of Catholicism to try & save souls...that's what this game is all about...saving souls...not who is right & who is wrong. Keep up the beautiful writing...

  16. Mary
    Great point and your passion is contagious!
    God Bless you.

  17. Hi Liz,
    Well said! It's about bringing souls to Christ and bickering over little things accomplishes nothing (or even harms others). Compared to the worth of a soul it is a waste of time and brain power. The funny thing is that some of these writers truly have formidable minds and could do tremendous good if they used this gift properly.

  18. Thanks, Michael :) God bless you, too!

  19. I know there is so much bickering in the world and in the churches. Hugs to you Mary.

  20. Sigh. It's sad, isn't it? I know this doesn't just happen in Catholic churches - it's pretty widespread these days. I pray for unity for all Christians...we are all one in Christ.

    Hugs to you too, JBR :)

  21. Very well put, Mary. I totally agree. We Catholics have to be a good example and constantly search our hearts to keep our motives pure.

  22. Hi Barb,
    I wish I knew what the point of all the petty bickering is. One of the articles I read recently had almost 150 comments in the combox and many of the comments were so uncharitable - I can't believe the author (and others) would respond in such a manner. And this is a major Catholic site. What are they thinking? It often seems to be the same writers too. Makes no sense. These are very intelligent people, Barb ... surely they must have some inkling of the damage they are causing.

  23. Time for a "sweet-hug" to my friend!

  24. Thanks, JBR :) Sending one to you too!

  25. Mary, I think ego is blinding. Commenting becomes a competitive thing. Somebody has to be right and everyone else has to be wrong. Somebody has to win and somebody has to lose. It's a juvenile trap any of us can fall into if we don't pray about what we write, write with pure intention, and refuse to play the "Let's you and him fight" game.

    I leave these sites because my nerves can't take the lack of charity. Seriously. Don't we have enough evil to contend with already without creating a poisonous atmosphere among ourselves?

  26. No, I guess my nerves can't take it either. Life isn't a competition. The saddest thing is that we are supposed to be helping one another spiritually not hindering each other.

  27. Mary, you have posted on a question that I have often wondered about. But then again, I wonder about Catholic bloggers swearing on their blogs ;-)

  28. Esther,
    Uhm, you're not the only one who wonders about people swearing on their blogs. I try to ignore it but the four letter words bother me. Especially when it's often. I just took a blog off my sidebar because of that. I'm pretty laid back about people kidding around and I love a good sense of humor but some words I just don't want to read on Catholic blogs.

    I hope you and your family are well, Esther :)

  29. I'm glad I read this. I just posted something pseudo-political and felt guilty about using strong words on politicians. (I deleted that part, so don't delete me from your side bar ok? :) I think however that the politically-inclined blogs have swayed some people who are on the fence and the readers/lurkers, who can be won over by "worldly logic." Where I once never gave a thought to the sanctity of marriage, pro-life causes (I knew it was wrong but never thought to do anything about it), it was the constant political commentaries of people around me and one of those blogs that made me search for Theology on my own. God's grace did the rest. I do agree that there should be more posts on the spiritual aspects of Catholicism though (especially on Our Lady and the Eucharist) because God wants to win hearts not arguments. But if there is a point of disagreement (clear case of right versus wrong), it should be done charitably. (Good thing I'm going to confession later) And I too have deleted a sidebar link because it was poking fun on everyone and everything. An angry and mocking tone is truly un-Christian.