Friday, July 27, 2007

For Those Who Despair at the Frequent Negativity of the Catholic Blogosphere . . .

My introduction to the Catholic blogosphere came nearly 3 years ago when a now fellow blogger took some exception at something I wrote in America magazine. I wasn't blogging then. The systematic attack on my article and, to a certain degree, my person was entitled "When Jesuits Attack," which I must admit I still get a kick out of. I challenged the author of that post for assuming a number of things about me, when he didn't even know me. I suggested to him that perhaps we had more in common than he imagined. Turns out, when we explored things a little, that this indeed was the case. The result was that, though he has never backed away from his criticisms of my article, we actually began a correspondence which has lasted since that time.

It was also the encounter that got me interested in blogging myself. I have had similar encounters with several fellow bloggers in the ensuing years and can tell you that often bloggers are much more charitable and gracious than their blogging persona betrays. Still, that does not excuse how positively unChristian some people can be at times. And anybody who knows this blog knows that I frequently criticize the meanness often encountered in the blogosphere and try my best to avoid it here (and, thankfully, I have friends who don't hesitate to admonish me if I step a little over that line). That's why I was so happy, and humbled, to read the recent post by Dale Price where he revisits our first acquaintance. He graciously says of me:

"Mark was then and has remained unfailingly gracious, both in that and other matters, offering support in a particularly rough patch in 2006.

The Society of Jesus is getting a good man and one that I hope to call a friend some day."

If you read the entire post (July 13), you will see why I already consider Dale a friend, as well as sort of my "blogfather." Thanks, Dale for your words about me, but also demonstrating that civility and charity are alive and well in the blogosphere, despite seeming evidence to the contrary.


Blogger Kiwi Nomad 2006 said...

I have in the past been somewhat stunned at the apparent hatred in the Catholic blogosphere. I was a baptised-as-a-baby Catholic, but have rarely been to Mass in my adult years. For a while I had a kind of "fringe Catholic" blog but in the end I discontinued it, as I was getting some very negative comments that I didn't find in the least bit helpful.
I turn 50 next month and I have pretty much given up any efforts to make sense of whether I am Catholic or not. If I haven't figured it out by now, I figure I am not going to. And I just going to go full tilt with the things in my life that I am passionate about. (At least, that was this morning's decision while out walking in the forest!)

12:25 AM  
Blogger Mark Mossa, SJ said...


I turn 40 next month and don't imagine that I'll ever stop trying to figure things out! I'd encourage you to keep at it.

I dare say my blog isn't that interesting that you wouldn't be reading it regularly (as you do), unless you were searching for something!

I recognize the negativity and the imperfections that can exist in the Catholic and Christian community, yet there has never been enough of this to drive me out. I have determined that neither others' shortcomings nor my own will get in the way of my following Christ.

9:34 AM  
Blogger Kiwi Nomad 2006 said...

Thanks Mark for your comment. It isn't negativity in the Church that is driving me out. When I was younger I was angry at all sorts of things about the Church that seemed important at the time - but I can't really remember what those things are now!
But your bit about 'following Christ' is a mystery to me. I was orphaned at 15. I screamed out to God/Christ etc for help and it didn't seem to be forthcoming. (Though in my 'old age' I can now see how many people, Christ's followers, did help me in very generous ways.)
There are bits in the rich tradition of the Church that really attract me. I love the memory of the light that spreads at Easter. I loved coming across statues/ paintings/ sculptures about St Martin sharing his cloak,that I kept discovering in the Loire when I was cycling.
But I am tired of trying to go back to Mass, sitting in the back, feeling unable to say the words, and not able to go to Communion. I feel at least a little more in tune with the universe if I go walking in the forest.

4:11 PM  
Blogger Dale said...


Again overdue from me, but:

You are more than welcome.

4:20 PM  

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