The Creature Named Catholic Internet

Food for thought.

Mary Victrix

I have expressed my concerns about Catholic Internet culture many times before. Mostly it appears to be a problem with some bloggers, who seem to transform into a fiend returned from the dead as soon as they sit down in front of a computer. But I am of the opinion that the problem runs much deeper than just some mutant bloggers.

Now, I don’t want to generalize. I am probably just from the wrong side of the blogosphere, and aware of my own shortcomings, but where I come from this is a widespread problem. So if this does not gel with your experience just forget everything I am about to say and don’t bother to finish reading. But if, on the other hand, any of this makes any sense to you, then read to the end and assess.

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About Brother Burrito

A sinner who hopes in God's Mercy, and who cannot stop smiling since realizing that Christ IS the Way , the Truth and the Life. Alleluia!
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24 Responses to The Creature Named Catholic Internet

  1. Pics says:

    From the persecutor of his brothers… No sign of shame and repentance from him.

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  2. johnhenrycn says:

    I don’t understand your comment, Pics.

    But Fr Geiger’s article does have a lot in it worthy of sober reflection.

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  3. toadspittle says:

    I think it’s not necessary to divorce “Catholic” internet from any other variety.
    Father Geiger is, I suspect, right in at least one respect: Better to pause and reflect – even for a few minutes or so, before firing off that scintillating riposte.
    We have all bashed out comments we later would rather have not. (That is to say, I certainly have.)

    However, as usual, I haven’t heeded that caveat in this case.

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  4. Brother Burrito says:

    I don’t understand why this excellent article from Fr Geiger of the FFI got such little attention. It is a master’s piece!

    Catholic presence online can be highly uncharitable, and we must ALL pay attention to this.

    I must confess to being one of the worst offenders, using anonymous ids etc. I beg forgiveness of those I have unjustly hurt.

    My online activities are herewith severely curtailed.

    Auf wiedersehen.

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  5. johnhenrycn says:

    Absolutely spot on, Brother Burrito. I did a little googling about Fr Geiger after seeing Pics’s negative comment about him, which seems to be related to a dispute which has developed in Fr G’s order concerning the TLM. He has upset the more traditionally minded amongst us, but that’s hardly a reason for shooting the messenger when it comes to reminding us of our online faults. I mean, even if Fr G has done *something* that other Catholics disagree with, is that any reason to place him beyond the pale? My goodness, just yesterday, His Holiness said things that I found confusing to say the least; but never would I stoop so low as my friend Mundabor has to call him “Pope Pothead”.

    …Sorry to hear you say that you’re on your way and won’t be back for many a day, but thanks for the memories. You are a good and gentle man:

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  6. johnhenrycn says:

    I don’t understand why we have all this discord. The TLM will eventually return as THE ONLY rite if that is God’s plan.
    http://taylormarshall.com/2013/07/the-latin-mass-and-the-franciscans-of-the-immaculate.html

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  7. johnhenrycn says:

    …by “discord” I do not mean that TLMists should stop fighting for what they believe in. Please do not do that! I hope you win. But like Fr G says, there is a right way and a wrong way. The wrong way is to foment divisions between Catholics – insinuating that some people are more Catholic than the Pope.

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  8. toadspittle says:

    1: I hope Burrissimon will continue to flagellate the ungodly (e.g. Toad) in his own name (i.e. Brother Burrito) on CP&S, at least. No fun, otherwise.

    2: “The wrong way is to foment divisions between Catholics – insinuating that some people are more Catholic than the Pope.” Yes, indeed. That’s best left to Toad and Co, as well.
    Who, whenever he reads pieces enumerating ‘…Why I prefer my sort of Catholicism to other peoples’ sorts…’ – invariably finds that the hoary cliché regarding the placement of deckchairs on the Titanic springs unbidden to mind.

    (…How Catholic is the Pope, by the way? Either of them, I mean. And is it even a fair question? No, Toad.)

    Like

  9. kathleen says:

    I agree with BB that it is surprising so few comments were forthcoming for this bombshell of a post from Fr. Geiger! I would have thought such a polemical article would have triggered off a whole lot of views, considering how many of us use the internet, so I would have liked to hear what more people think about it. I shall just give my own two cents worth, but won’t address every point brought up – there were so many.

    Fr. Geiger repeatedly states he is not against this “new information democracy”, the internet (personally I don’t use Twitter) and then goes on to list all the wicked ways it is used, seemingly by the majority of people, even likening it to a “Frankenstein”! I’ve come away from reading this article with the hunch that he believes, if it is not an instrument that is totally evil, it is at best ‘an occasion of sin’ for all of us! Or am I missing something?

    What then do we use this amazing new form of communication for in the author’s opinion? To receive twisted information we then put to bad use, seeing as how we are a pretty ignorant crowd? To argue and fight and then call the other invisible bloggers all the nasty and slanderous names under the sun we can think up, knowing we can deceitfully get away with it because we are also ‘invisible’? Does he really think most Catholic bloggers are that bad? Or are the ‘baddies’ only those loyal traditional Catholics who stand up and defend the Faith from heresies and abuses, even when they see these being committed by our leaders?

    The truth is that Catholics, among other things, want to learn more about what is going on in the Catholic Church in the world because they make up its members, and because they love Mother Church! Surely via the internet we can weed through the dubious news sources and discover the reliable information coming from sources untainted by those with a more secular and anti-Catholic leaning. Knowledge is a good thing if it is put towards furthering the spread of the Kingdom of God in the world (even without the possibility of knowing every detail of every complex situation or issue). Certainly Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI saw it as such.

    Talking about Catholic matters with like-minded internet ‘friends’, arguing (hopefully with charity) with others whose ideas may differ, or discussing current topics that need solutions, can be constructive, inspiring and enriching, as can be seen by many interesting lively debates we have had here, or where we can join in (or just read) on other Catholic blogs. One can learn and discover so many wonderful things about our Glorious Faith through other people, and IMO this is what makes up a very large part of the Catholic blogosphere.

    Arguments and disagreements can turn nasty, and some do unfortunately. Spite and ad hominem attacks are never justifiable, even when we are being vilified ourselves; however this happens far more frequently when those of other faiths or of no faith join in these debates. Militant atheists, members of the gay lobby, feminists and plenty of others with a grudge, often seem hell bent on doing nothing else other than surfing the web to see where thy can come in to attack Catholics.

    Fr. Geiger also seems to be quite unaware many also use the Catholic area of the blogosphere to grow in their Faith! At a touch of the fingertips, Church documents, papal encyclicals, the richness of the writings of the saints and Fathers of the Church, homilies, prayers, novenas, musica sacra et al, can all be downloaded and absorbed. This is a truly enriching instantaneous novelty, helping many in their journey towards living our Catholic Faith more fully. This is not a surreal world; it is simply an alternative, new and more efficient method to learn, grow, communicate, console, enjoy…. etc.

    We all have our lives in the world outside besides using the internet – and I cannot see why the two should be thought of as incompatible. Despite the fact that we are a team of six bloggers on CP&S (at present) we all lead such busy personal lives between our full time jobs and families, that sometimes we may fall short of keeping things running smoothly here. Yet we believe “the creature named Catholic internet” is a wonderful tool to spread and make better loved Our Blessed Lord and the One True Faith we are all privileged to share.

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  10. Tom Fisher says:

    I agree with BB that it is surprising so few comments were forthcoming for this bombshell of a post from Fr. Geiger!

    I think most of us didn’t see any need to comment. Despite some possibly over the top rhetoric, Fr. Geiger has written an eloquent plea for kindness and charity. We mustn’t let the freedom of anonymity lower our standards of Christian behaviour. The ‘Catholic internet’ of course is just like the Catholic periodicals, pamphlets, parchments, and vellum that preceded it — whatever we choose it to be. I think Fr. Geiger is a bit too negative, but maybe that’s just me.

    Like

  11. kathleen says:

    “We mustn’t let the freedom of anonymity lower our standards of Christian behaviour.’

    I agree Tom. The thing is, most (not all) of those outspoken few defending Catholic Truth via the internet who Fr. Geiger seems to be referring to, are precisely the ones who usually do blog under their own names, and not anonymously.

    Thanks for your opinion… and of course thanks to our great JH too. 🙂

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  12. “Anonymity and pseudonymity” Some of us do hide behind our anonymity, but having said that I also agree with Kathleen’ comment about those that don’t, are the very ones that use the tactics complained about.
    I am one that has used disparaging comments.There are several to whom I have been unkind and would like to apologise. Brother B is one that readily springs to mind.
    We are however members of the Church Militant ( although most seem to be AWOL) and as such should defend Her against all that seek to distort and destroy Her.
    Perhaps it is sometimes necessary to use the language of the streets to reach the people on the streets.
    Also John Henry: “Only yesterday the Pope said something I found very confusing”
    Only Yesterday????

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  13. toadspittle says:

    “I’ve come away from reading this article with the hunch that (Fr. Geiger) believes, if it is not an instrument that is totally evil, it is at best ‘an occasion of sin’ for all of us! Or am I missing something?”
    Somebody seems to be missing something – if you are correct, Kathleen.
    The Internet – like the motor car, or the Ebola virus, or a tiger, or a painting by Lucian Freud – is neither good nor evil, though we might think some of the “consequences” of each of those to often be so.
    And surely the Blogosphere is a potential “occasion of sin,” just as the Mass, or the tube ride into town, or a visit to the supermarket – can be?
    “Militant atheists, members of the gay lobby, feminists and plenty of others with a grudge, often seem hell bent on doing nothing else other than surfing the web to see where thy can come in to attack Catholics.”
    Surely these unfortunates should be welcomed, and instructed in the error of their ways, in kindly and patient fashion?
    And Kathleen is right that there is a real problem if we confine our circle to “like minded internet friends,” which I need not elaborate.

    (….Assuming this particular comment is allowed past the censor. Ojala.)

    Like

  14. JabbaPapa says:

    OK — some comments then :

    the Internet is a virtual world in which ordinary rules do not seem to apply — nope, it’s a communications medium where real people type real words to other real people

    It just does not seem to be as real as doing it like a man to someone’s face — an apt description of a frequent cognitive flaw, except that the other persons’ computer monitors are exactly in their faces …

    We have convinced ourselves that all this information is good for us — this is an apt paraphrase of the underlying nature of the Modernist heresy

    We are all new masters of the information age — this is naïve, we are contrariwise subjected to FAR greater amounts of propaganda than at any previous period in our History

    Like

  15. kathleen says:

    Toad @ 14:49 yesterday

    Continuing to misquote and purposely misunderstand people’s comments (especially mine) are we Toad? Oh well: “there’s nothing new under the sun”.

    @ Jabba

    We are all new masters of the information age — this is naïve, we are contrariwise subjected to FAR greater amounts of propaganda than at any previous period in our History”

    Good point. It would be clearly impossible for anyone to be “masters” of the daily massive volumes of “information” and “propaganda” inundated our world. Discernment to filter through it all to discover only what is helpful and truthful is the challenge we face in our day.

    Like

  16. toadspittle says:

    I don’t purposely try to misunderstand people’s comments, Kathleen. I don’t need to. What would be the point?
    I may occasionally do so by accident, as despite my pseudonym, I am only human.
    But where – above – have I misquoted and/or misunderstood you?
    In fact, I suspect you are correct with regard to your comments on Father Geiger and the “evil” internet.

    “We have convinced ourselves that all this information is good for us — “
    All this information is neither good nor bad. Same with scientific information.
    It must be processed and questioned, as must all information.
    …Even that which is claimed to derive directly from God.
    I’m sure Jabba and Kathleen, all of us, on CP&S, actually – believe this.

    “We are all new masters of the information age.”
    Kathlen and Jabba are right here, as well. We are masters of nothing. Some of us can barely eat, without getting dinner all down our fronts.

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  17. JabbaPapa says:

    All this information is neither good nor bad. Same with scientific information.
    It must be processed and questioned, as must all information.
    …Even that which is claimed to derive directly from God.
    I’m sure Jabba and Kathleen, all of us, on CP&S, actually – believe this.

    Well no, I don’t — the Revelation, which is not only from God but also resides in Heaven, is intrinsically True and intrinsically Good. It is also information as It (that is to say : He) has been communicated to us — Verbum Caro Factum Est et habitauit in nobis

    But I’d also say that ALL Truth is derived of similarly intrinsic quality.

    I’d actually put things completely the other way ’round — WE must, due to our own intrinsically and Originally sinful nature must process and/or question all of the information that we receive, including, for our Sin, questioning the Revelation of the Truth of God ; but this is not a virtue of our nature, but our central Vice.

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  18. toadspittle says:

    “Well no, I don’t — the Revelation, which is not only from God but also resides in Heaven, is intrinsically True and intrinsically Good.”
    Well, you might think that, Jabba – and you might well be right – but how do you know that?

    And, as we are taking Original Sin here – and another comment of mine has been in purgatory 16 hours now – what do you make of the idea that – if we hadn’t sinned, we would have no Christ? Which begs the question why did God make us, when He knew we would only let Him down? Would you build a boat you knew was doomed to sink?

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  19. kathleen says:

    Toad @ 10:44 yesterday asks:
    “But where – above – have I misquoted and/or misunderstood you?”

    For starters:

    “Surely these unfortunates should be welcomed, and instructed in the error of their ways, in kindly and patient fashion?”
    That is exactly what Catholic bloggers try to do. Why insinuate we do otherwise?

    And Kathleen is right that there is a real problem if we confine our circle to “like minded internet friends,”
    I never said that.

    Jabba @ 20:21 yesterday

    I see what you are saying, but before we arrive at a recognition in ourselves of that evident Vice (Original Sin) we are born with, we have only the information coming our way to work out where Truth lies. This goes for those who are raised in a Catholic household (cradle Catholics) just as much as converts to the Faith. We all have to pronounce our own personal “Fiat” to God, Our Lord and Saviour.

    P.S. (6 hours later!) I meant to say, we have to do this (^) through our FREE WILL – God’s great gift to Man – that was damaged at The Fall.

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  20. toadspittle says:

    My apologies, Kathleen, on both points.
    Re: point one – I know how kindly and patient you are with the likes of me, and didn’t mean to imply otherwise, though it might well sound that way, I agree.
    I should probably have rather said, re: point two- “there would be a real problem if we were to confine, etc.”

    Do any of us have any conception of what life on Earth would be like without Original Sin?
    Might as well ask what it would be like without oxygen, I suppose.

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  21. kathleen says:

    Dear Toad, when you start saying nice things to me I begin to get worried! 😉 As you well know, I’m not always “patient” with you (hopefully never unkind though). Anyway, I’m struggling on with the battle against my impatience and all my other many faults – Advent being a great time to try a little harder.

    What would “life on Earth be like without Original Sin”? I suppose it would just like it was before the Fall, a Garden of Paradise, with no knowledge of the abyss between Good and Evil, for Sin would not exist.

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  22. JabbaPapa says:

    but how do you know that?

    Sorry, you first — how do you know that “all this information is neither good nor bad” ?

    what do you make of the idea that – if we hadn’t sinned, we would have no Christ?

    It’s not really an idea, it’s more of a scholarly mediaeval debating challenge topic, similar to the angels dancing on pins one …

    The Second Person of the Trinity — the Logos, the Word, the Revelation, the Son, the Christ — is not sensibly posited as being subjected to whichever conditions within His Creation, unless by His own Will.

    (Mods, please ignore the same comment in the moderation queue cheers)

    Like

  23. JabbaPapa says:

    our FREE WILL … that was damaged at The Fall

    Well, yes, that’s rather my point, kathleen … 🙂

    Like

  24. kathleen says:

    A little while after writing my comment I realised it was, Jabba. Sorry. 🙂

    Like

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