For the last year and a half I've enjoyed networking with my fellow Okie Trads who read my blog, while I write about anything that comes to mind. They've offered counter-points of view, offered correction of factoids, shared stories, and said thanks for the essays and stories I record here that are aimed at encouraging and supporting my fellow traditional Catholics, in particular. I often get emails from supporters, including several who live out at Clear Creek. It has been edifying.
At the same time, once in a while, I get an email from a complete Nutter. For example, this one time a guy, out of state, sent a short email asking if I believed Pope Francis was a valid pope. "Should I respond to this kind of seemingly bating email?" I do want to befriend readers, to promote my hobby. But sure enough when I politely but shortly responded "Yes I do," I got, I kid you not, 5 pages of heated arguments for sedevacantism (the belief the pope's since Vatican II are anti-popes), highly individualized towards me and my blog.
In hindsight, I shouldn't have responded at all (I'm still on a learning curve with blogging), but when I sent a short email response expressing my concern at the length and personalizing tone of the "essay," guess what? I got another 5 page essay basically condemning me to hell. Sorry, H-E-Double Hockey Sticks for the scruped out trads out there.
But until recently, I really have never received a judgmental, personal critique of my blog by a reader here in the Sooner State, within my own Local Church. From a fellow Latin Mass-attendee no less. Gee, thanks.
In their first email, they actually demanded in their own odd way that whatever they put in an email I do not print on the blog. Alrightee then. I'll just summarize below in my own words, and won't give any information as to their identity.
I love Clear Creek and the people, but let's face it, most Clear Creekers readily know there are some nutters living in its woods. I've visited there over 30 times since 2000, with lots of adventures among the monks and laity alike, and can verify that observation. My purpose here then is to discuss the critical rant made by this reader, or rather that pathological spirit of criticism that is so sadly pervasive today even in our own practicing Catholic ranks. I will try and be philosophical and humorous. In the end, God bless this person, but this post is about Catholic Nuttiness.
Email Comments from our Clear Creek Reader:
Their initial email. Long introduction about their ideological views and demand I not publish their words. Mentioned several past blog posts I wrote.
Me. Short polite response. Asked what they thought about one of the posts they mentioned.
Their response. About 4.5 pages long, if put in a Word document, single-spaced, critiquing the last several posts on the blog, objecting to the language I used (gave several examples), to my cultural references (objected several times to referring to "modern culture references"), and then gave a long list of apparent spelling and formatting errors. Concluded that basically, paraphrasing here, "you're doing good things, but you need to go further. You need to wait days or weeks before you post an article (as if they know how long I wait to post it)." Among other incoherent tangents about the modern world.
For the love of God, and all that is holy. Why oh Lord, why? lol I'm sighing and looking upward shaking my head. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. (rhyme intended)
When I think about the person who wrote this editorial review of the blog's style and methods, I am mystified how such a mind could have become so distorted, how they have fallen into these attitudes? Is there a gene for fanaticism? I hope there is, it would mitigate their culpability. But this frame of mind is just too prevalent in conservative and traditional Catholic circles, online and in the flesh, to be silent about it. I think most of us are aware of this Elephant in the Room.
First point, if you want a stranger blogger to take your Catholic critique of their blog seriously as something sincere and well-meant, and rational, ask first if you can offer criticism, especially if you are going to write them a long essay. Who raised you? I only skimmed it, and you know why? Because I am not retired or disabled or interested in reading the unsolicited Diatribe of a stranger.
The disproportionate length and judicial tone of this edit of my language and methods is indicative of a disproportionate mind. God knows the degree or cause of disequilibrium, but common sense tells me this individual is being angry and mean-spirited, and for no apparent reason. If this isn't an example of traditionalist anti-sociality, I don't know what is.
Second point, who gives a Rat's Ass if I use phrases like "Rat's Ass?" That isnt objectionable from a Catholic point of view, unless I suppose you subscribe to Jansenism or some other such religious form of fundamentalism. This person identifies as a lover of Chesterton, so you'd think they would understand the occasional, calculated rhetorical use of vulgar terms, that it is not intrinsically evil. Chesterton cussed all the time. I bet Our Lord once in a while cussed a bit when he would stub his toe, or wake up with a rock under his back. Like us in all things but sin, and cussing isn't essentially a sin.
I have no problem with our president calling traitorous, lying members of the media "losers," or Duterte calling out politicians guilty of crimes against humanity as "Sons of Bitches."
If a politician profits from sex trafficking of children, then yeah, he is a Son of a Bitch, to say the least. Saying so is neither tasteless nor inappropriate.
Its the same for making cultural references using photos and videos, from things like movies and TV shows.
And this touches on Catholics retreating from the world, like those who join Catholic communities, such as the Clear Creek community, based on the Benedict Option. I'm all for that on paper, but not for turning your back on living in the modern world, and living a primitive and anti-social life. Its a fine line, but you know it when you see it. Or read it.
Third point, my work load is much more than 40 hours a week, so it takes a special kind of fascism to expect a casual blogger to cross all his T's and dot all his I's those late nights he is able to put down some thoughts as a post. Blogs are blogs are blogs. Hello. This isn't a professional journal or newspaper. Its a blog. Look up that word. You know, a personal website, an informal, personalized recording of thoughts and experiences, like a journal, to share reflections on the subjects of life.
Folks, I welcome criticism of my blog! Always have, when it is civil. I draw the line there. Other Catholic bloggers may be fine with the incivility. But when it is pharisaical, I can't help scratch my head and breath a deep sigh. I need to guard against religious hypocrisy "to the right" just as much as against sins of the flesh "to the left."
I mean something like half of the Gospel sermons from Our Lord are condemning sins of the spirit, his repeated example being the sins of the Pharisees. Hello.
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