Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Why Are There No Liberal Catholic Blogs?

My brother Tony is friends with a named Ryan who works in the Church and who traveled to Denver, CO this past Fall for a conference on evangelization. While Ryan was at the conference, at some point they talked about the top 10 Catholic blogs and they also listed 10 Catholic blogs that are on the rise. My brother Tony relayed to me that I had made that list! Pretty crazy because I really honestly didn't know hardly anyone was reading my blog and at the time I was actually wondering if it was worth the time.

I decided to see how someone put together this list of blogs, so I Googled "top Catholic blogs" and a website came up that tracks the Catholic blogs and ranks them in terms of the number of people who subscribe. I certainly was nowhere to be found on that list, but that isn't why I write this piece - what I noticed when I went to that website was that there was no LIBERAL Catholic presence in the blogosphere. Essentially every blog that was pulling in some semblance of readership was what could be described as pro-Vatican "conservativish" blogs.

I came back to that trend today, and I decided to Google "liberal Catholic blog" One of the first that came up has the following at the top of the blog -

"I am a progressive Roman Catholic noticing that conservatives and traditionalists Catholics take most of the Catholic space on the web. I decided to start blogging to advance "progressive" Catholic views."

It was good to know that others had noticed what I was thinking. Another blog that popped up noted that it had been voted the number 2 Catholic blog by "Online Christian Colleges" a non-Catholic Christian group that also has on their website "The Top 50 Astrology Websites" which should tell you all you need to know about "Online Christian Colleges." I would hope to be ranked last by that particular organization.

So I'm seeking input from all of you. Drop it in the comment box or send me an email or whatever - why are there no liberal Catholic blogs? I'll think about it some more and also sort through the insights you all have and try and put some possibilities on here in a few days. Help me out with some insights - I'm really curious on this issue.

27 comments:

  1. Maybe everyone who takes their Catholic faith seriously to write a blog and talk about it has studied it and believes it to be true. There is not really conservative or liberal when referring to The Faith, but orthodox and heterodox. What does it mean to be a "liberal" Catholic anyway?

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  2. I agree about the word liberal, but I use it because most people know what it means. You are right, JP II said the words "liberal Catholic" do not make any sense, but the words get to the point easily, so that's why I use them usually

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  3. ask Denis Leary...

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  4. Because they are too busy hurling anonymous brickbats into faithful Catholic blog's comboxes. :D

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  5. My guess is that they like to stay under the radar. They spend their time teaching our kids RE and running the parish office.

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  6. Tony's friend here. Here's the scoop. I teach in a Denver Catholic school. This year I was on the committee to revamp the Religion curriculum standards for the Archdiocese. At our first meeting last fall, one of the members distributed copies of the Aug 15, 2010 "In Focus" Internet Guide from "Our Sunday Visitor". Here is the online version: http://www.osv.com/tabid/7621/itemid/6762/OSVs-Catholic-Guide-to-the-Internet--Readers-ch.aspx
    She proposed including copies of this within our appendix as a list of resources for teachers. As I looked through it, I was excited to see "On This Rock" listed in the Best Catholic Web "Opinion" section... especially b/c you had just linked to my blog (See Notre Shame post), which still directs a lot of hits.

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  7. On a different note, I know it's often easier to use the terms "liberal" or "conservative" Catholic, but I propose we stop using them. By using those terms, don't we play right into the hands of those pushing agendas against authentic Church teaching? It gives them credibility and makes it seem as if different flavors of authentic Catholicism exist. Instead, how about we replace "liberal Catholics" with the more accurate "dissenting Catholics", and use "faithful" instead of "conservative". (Careful Note: While "faithful" means "accepts all Church teachings", it cannot mean that one is always perfect in living them out, of course! But failure is much better than hypocrisy.)

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  8. Ryan,

    thanks for the info - I was curious where it came from. Also, on the liberal/conservative thing you are exactly right, and your point is the same point JP II made as well. I'm just lazy.

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  9. Father Hollowell,

    Fr. Marshall wanted me to tell you not to worry, he will be starting a blog soon enough!

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  10. Dave,

    As Fr. Marshall would no doubt tell you - you are full of rage! :) Have you started your summer assignment yet?

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  11. Father,

    I just had dinner with him last night, so I told him I was going to put that out there! I move into Saint Barnabas tomorrow. Hopefully we can meet up at some point this summer, especially once Doug gets back.

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  12. Maybe it is is that the majority of dissenters are dinosaurs who have trouble navigating the web besides clicking their bookmarked link to the NC Reporter

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  13. Fr. John, I consider myself a "progressive" Catholic (liberal Catholic, if you will). Just as often, though, I call myself a Vatican III Catholic--that is, I'm waiting for the moment in Church history when we embrace the priestly vocations of women and married individuals (among other things).

    My blog, for what it's worth, is The Mighty Ambivalent Catholic. Yes, I am ambivalent, truly. And yes, I am also Catholic. Truly.

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  14. Out of curiosity, about the Council that will one day allow women's ordiantions, why would the Council be called Vatican III?

    Also, do you experience the progressive catholic blogoshphere to be thriving?

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  15. I can say that the liberal/progressive/heterodox Catholic blogosphere is NOT thriving. I also went searching for liberal Catholic blogs and found very few. I recently started my own, first with the goal of maintaining my own faith (which can be so hard to hold onto in the secular world I live in) and second, with the goal of reaching others who are struggling with issues of faith/religion/belief. But there don't seem to be too many others out there.

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  16. Ana - liberal does not equal dissenting nor does conservative faithful. If by faithful one means being true to traditions, well then it seems I me that an history of early Christianity course will help one realize that "dissenting" and "faithful" are just as polarizing and inaccurate as liberal and conservative

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  17. With regards to "liberal" and "conservative" as political views, I would say that I'm neither (more moderate than anything). But as a Catholic, I would sum up my views by saying that I pay less attention to detailed dogmas and more attention to universal acceptance, understanding, and love.

    I would consider myself a faithful Catholic, but as a teenager I'm still in that stage of my life where I'm trying to figure out things for myself and find my place in the world.

    Unfortunately, some very closed-minded people have turned me away from Catholicism for a short amount of time. Now, I want to find my way back, but that doesn't mean blindly accepting the teachings of the Church. I want to find a path that can truly lead me to Enlightenment in Jesus' love, and that includes learning the true meanings of my spiritual views.

    Any advice? I realize I may be over-analyzing things, but it's very hard for me to just accept religion blindly and without question. Maybe that's why it's all been so hard for me.

    Sorry if this all seems a bit off-topic. I came here because I, too, was searching for liberal Catholic blogs to read about that sort of perspective. If anyone has any suggestions for me, it would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!
    - R

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  18. R,

    As far as the close-minded folks who turned you away from Catholicism, I think that is obviously unfortunate but I would say everyone is going to have disingenuous practicers of the faith, and Catholicism is no different. I think that orthodox Catholicism has been under attack in many ways from many different angles, (including unorthodox Catholics) and so sometimes you find a sort of "bunker mentality" among those who practice orthodox Catholicism, and to outsiders it can seem uninviting. I think of the early Church persecuted - they were VERY skeptical of outsiders and there was a definitive process by which the community discerned newcomers, and I think we sometimes see that going on beneath the surface in orthodox Catholic communities.

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  19. Thank you for the information and this is the trend today in sharing something in our hearts and mind "The blog". Catholic faith

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  20. I am searching the web for something for me, a "liberal Catholic." I'm aghast that the term "liberal" is "dissenting" and the opposite of "faithful". My 16 year old daughter has left her confirmation youth group because a strident group leader told her and her friends that if she doesn't oppose Obama she can't be a true Catholic,and that real Catholics must oppose the Affordable Care Act. If our church leaders are insistent on politicking, then maybe it is time to use terms like "liberal". She doesn't want to be part of a faith community that takes such a narrow view of social justice, and I don't blame her. Perhaps we will have to join the many many Catholics who don't fit into today's view of Catholicism. Doesn't anyone else think Jesus, with His love of the poor (no Olympic show horses!) would have been called a liberal too?

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    1. Pinecone, it sounds like you are also politicking in the same way that this off-track youth minister, you are saying "wouldn't Jesus vote against Mitt Romney and be a liberal instead." I agree that the youth minister is off base, but I think you are committing the same sin.

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  21. I am now, I suppose, but if the Church can bring politics into youth group (and Mass too!) why am I not "faithful" if I have political leanings of my own? I was happy to have my daughter learn more about all the things I love about my faith, but there seems to be no escape from the persistent conservative political message, most of which is counter to all the things my own priest used to preach about what is Christ-like.

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    1. Is what your priest taught you what the Church teaches though?

      I find it ironic that liberals will cling to the words of one priest while at the same time saying "what good is the teaching of priests?"

      Also, you have to be kidding about there not being an escape from the persistent political message right? Even the liberal mainstream media admits that the overwhelming majority of people in the media industry lean strongly to the left. Where, exactly, do you hear this inescapable conservative message? Rush Limbaugh and FoxNews? Don't watch or listen to them. Whereas on the other hand the liberal message is in television shows, music, movies, etc.

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  22. In reality the majority of 'luke warm' Catholics are not liberal, they are really the victims of liberal dissent. Another phrase that is coming in to use for them is 'the lost generation'. The liberals of the 50's, 60's & 70's changed the language of Catholicism so much that those in the pews today do not know what real Catholicism is.

    This is why there is a need for faithful Catholics to start challenging liberal in the churches so they stop strangling faithful Catholicism.

    I am pro-active in my church, it is not easy, but it is starting to work and brick by brick real Catholicism is returning to Louth in England (the home of the Catholic Lincolnshire Uprising'.

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  23. It depends on what you mean by liberal. In the uk it is a word that has strong philosophical roots. However in the us it seems to be a term of derision.
    Peter

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  24. This is an interesting question because, underlying it is a basic mis-understanding of what it means to be "Catholic" (Universal). In Catholicism, there can be no liberal/conservative, right/left, or even opinions. Truth is one. We either believe what the Church teaches, or we are not "Catholic". We have cut ourselves off from universal Truth.

    Believing that it is okay to use artificial contraception is not a "liberal view", or "conservative view", it is an anti-Catholic view. The same with all the "cafeteria choices" about Catholic teaching/dogma.

    Either you are in Peter's Barque, or you are not.

    Liberal Catholic/Conservative Catholic are oxymoronic terms.

    I hope what the question really poses relates to are Catholics who may be liberal or conservative politically, but for me, even that is a stretch since we cannot have separate boxes for faith and action.

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  25. 'Liberal', to me, means updating what should be considered important. In the olden days, sins were considered important and the Church defined itself in terms of right and wrong.

    These days, what is important is our fellow man. We need to treat other people like ourselves - to want for other people what we want for ourselves.

    Why can't the modern Church update itself in these terms? Gay marriage and other 'abominations' are utterly insignificant compared with the suffering we inflict on our fellow man by failing to address poverty

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