Thursday, February 15, 2018

Revealing "Critique" of my Blog from Someone who Lives near Clear Creek. Good Times.


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. 

My Comments:

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.

Last Thoughts:

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. 

The Comment Box is Open! 


  1. Preach! The nutters come from both sides, no doubt. And you're so right about the "day job" taking up so much time, which for me is now 55-60 hours per week. There are comments I delete without getting to the bottom. There is only so much you can do.

    1. Hey Mark. Can you share for readers the name of your blog?

  2. Joseph,

    Good article, and the overall sentiment I agree with. I need to point out a couple of Christological errors though. While you are correct that limited use of vulgarity is not considered even a venial sin, it is considered a defect. While Our Blessed Lord was like us, that is fully human, He was the perfect man, without sin or defect. He would not have cussed at discomfort, which we can see from the example of the Passion, where He did not cuss about His torture or death on the cross, but used it to forgive and to teach. He didn't cuss about the 40 days of fasting in the desert, but used it to admonish Satan. He embraced suffering meekly.

    He also would not have stubbed His toe or spilled a drink, again without sin or defect, the perfect man as St. Paul relates. St. Thomas addresses this most clearly in the Summa. Our Blessed Lord nary said a word wastefully.

    As to the overall post though, I couldn't agree more. The Benedict option is doomed to fail, because unlike what St. Benedict did, it is not organic. If this is what Heaven wanted, I would have expected it to be brought up by Our Lady of Good Success, Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of Akita, or Our Lady of Revelation, but she did not. She called for prayer and fasting and reparation, not a drawing back from the world at large. What example are we to the world if we draw back from the world? We are told to go forth and baptize the world in the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost, teaching them whatsoever I commanded thee. You can't do that from a hobbit hole in your own personally Hobbiton, you have to go forth like Frodo, Bilbo, Sam, Merry, and Pippen. Go and defend the King. Sadly, many Trads don't do this. They huddle together away from the fight.

    Keep up the good work.

    Beneditcite Deum,


    1. Thanks Okie Papist. Point taken about vulgarity. It is classified a "defect." I did not know that.

      But do you think very occasional use of terms like "rat's ass" or "intellectual masturbation" as a satirical device in writing, or for example Trump calling out lying media as "losers," is always a defect to be avoided? Chesterton cleverly used vulgar terms on occasion, deliberately, I've read.
      The Irish traditionally like to say "shyte" as a mild vulgar term, even in the home.

      Re the Benedict Option. I'm somewhat skeptical of Catholic communities, but in theory for it IF done right. What about the idea of people moving near the Fraternity parish in Tulsa, to form a kind of community?

  3. Replies
    1. Cool blog, Mark. A fellow trad blogger. I read on your blog you go to the FSSP. Me too. In Phoenix? Great part of the country. Would love to live there. And I see Fr R is coming in May. As you may know, we had him in Tulsa for a spell.

  4. As to vulgarity, I've learned this from Fr. Ripperger and from traditional examinations of conscience as well as a few old moral manuals.

    The occasional use of them is something I do as well. I limit its use as much as I can, being from a background from around military folks who instilled into me a habit of constant vulgarity, I slip all to often. I am not opposed to using it sparingly to drive home a point though.

    While I'm not in favor of the "Benedict" option, ironically enough coined by a man who is an apostate to Eastern Orthodoxy, I am all in favor of living near your parish. That enables a man, and his family, to engage in the full parish life, the traditional life with the day and social aspect of one's life centered on the Church. That I am in favor of, but as I said before, not to distance oneself from the world, but to provide the bulwark and protection and rest from the battle of the world. Soldiers of Christ, the Church Militant, need places of respite and leisure away from the battle.

    1. From Fr. Ripperger? Well then, I stand corrected, OkiePapist. :) well if cuss words are a defect, then I'll raise my hand and admit to the circle I can fall into that defect. Like eating too many Doritos out of the bag.

      Re your comments about Clear Creek. The de facto community seems large enough now to be a verifiable public entity, of a religious, ecclesial nature (they live there because they're Catholics) so why couldn't they come together to form a parish community? Are some people trying to flee social institutions, including that of a parish, I wonder? I know a Catholic can join any parish they want, canonically speaking, so when +Slattery started to form a parish at CC, people technically didnt have to go. But I knew the priest sent there, and he was very orthodox and tradition-minded, saying the TLM.

      Will write more posts about CC. Overall good place, good people.

  5. Welcome to blogging, Joseph. As a long-time blogger, I've learned that people have different ideas of what it's about. Some, like you, see it as a part-time, casual, think-aloud-notepad, while others see it as a forum for serious debate. Readers, likewise. One guy told me, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the blogging kitchen." Well, okay. Criticize away, then, I told him. I don't have to like it, but it does sort of come with the territory.

    1. Thanks for your comments, Anonymous. Can you tell us the name of your blog?

      I agree critical comments from readers are part of blogging, if you have a comments section or list your email. But I disagree if you're suggesting a blogger should always tolerate every criticism of their blog, without objecting back. On the flip side of that coin is the expectation that the blogger may at select moments also respond to those critiques of their work, in particular if they think the critique is, you know, like that main character in the movie "Seven" filling volumes of notebooks about the evils of the modern world. :) And I ain't exaggerating friend.

      But I get your gist. Don't let the Nutters get under your skin. Blogging can be messy business. Gotta roll with it...happy Saturday

  6. Hello Joseph,

    I am a Clear Creeker who has done a little bit of reading your blog here and there, and you don't seem to me at all any sort of crazy leftist liberal, and frankly I don't think very many of our community would think that either. We all might be a little nutty but I think only a few are that nutty;) Pope Francis can be a bit of a tough burden but he's on the seat, and frankly I think the 1300s were equivalent or arguably worse. We survived it before, we'll survive it again, we can't give up Hope. Keep up the good work here in this blog.


    1. btw, I love that storm cell pic you have for your header. I think it really helps encapsulate a lot of the topics you cover;)

    2. Welcome to the blog, Clear Creeker. I love Clear Creek and the people, despite yes the nutters, but that even is relative. I have friends who think I'm a religious nut, others who think I'm a worldly libertine. Is what it is.

      The Abbot once related to me the problems in the community there, when I myself even considered settling there, and I hear those issues still continue. Mainly the issue of no parish. It was tried before, but in my opinion it could be tried again with the younger families leading the project. Latin Mass in Tulsa costs much time and gas $.

      BTW, I'll be at the workday Saturday, wearing a red Okie Traditionalist t shirt and red OU hat!