Monday 2 May 2011

Catholic blogging

In view of the blognics in Rome this week and London next Sat, none of which I will be at, I thought I'd whitter on a bit.

I read blogs and the news on EWTN for a long while before commenting and then starting a blog.

I now out myself slightly. This was me in October 2006 on Fr Ray Blake's blog. At that point I had never attended an EF Mass, so you will have to forgive the fact that I do not mention the Propers.

Which is to say, that blogs have given the opportunity for lots of people to articulate things that have been grating away, know that they are not alone and if have the opportunity, to do something about it. That has certainly been the case for me and I count myself very lucky indeed.

Blogs have given people who do not buy the line that the Church is in terminal decline in the West and let's just manage the shutdown neatly, the opportunity to see some of the green shoots and for people like me to give some little support to people who are really in the firing line. Who can get enthusiastic about a Church without priests and with very low Mass attendance. Why bother?

It was through blogging that I met Clare and other people involved in the fledgling renaissance in Catholic music. That has been truly fantastic and we are now a little schola, our first 'gig' being Fr Koch's Requiem Mass. She persuaded me to go to Solesmes in '09.

Having lived with the cognitive dissonance of having to play music that I know to be very poor quality, as well as I possibly could in the context of the Mass and then have people endlessly come up to me afterwards to tell me how rubbish they thought the music was, because people know at some level that it's all wrong, it's just they blame the wrong people, it has been revelatory to have everything actually come together. On Saturday, I got to try and sing some music well and on Sunday an elderly gentleman who I don't know, came up to me after Mass to thank me profusely for doing Mass I and Credo I. Of course it's not down to me what gets done, it's just that in the past the possibility did not exist. But I digress.

My blog is deliberately uncontroversial and you may not like that. I decided at the outset to present what is good and to try, as I have said to support people who are doing positive, good things, often at great cost to themselves. Other people do battle directly with the people who undermine the Church from within; yes, I have noticed what's going on. I'm here with my metaphorical watering-can tending a few shoots.

My blog is anonymous, though lots of people know who I am. I have done very little to publicise it and when I meet people and say that I go to Mass in Blackfen, everyone has of course read that blog. The conversation then moves onto other things and I forget to mention this. I don't want to be defined by my blog. It's all true what I write, but it is very partial. I have lots of things that are funny or interesting about my teaching for example, but I would identify things which on the internet just are not suitable to write about.

One of the reasons this blog is so partial is because I ruthlessly self censure and sometimes do not publish posts. I give a picture of everything in the garden being rosy. That's not always so and I am not not always quite as pleasant in real life as I appear here. It's just easier to edit your written words than it is to curb your spoken words or actions. Some people choose to write about their personal difficulties, often very movingly and I do not.

I like the fact that blogs are very different.
I like the fact that when JPII is beatified we put up pictures.
I like it when something big happens and people give their personal stories about the Papal Visit say.
Memes were quite fun at the time.
I LOVE funny satirical witty blogs like Paulinus and Seraphic in Scotland.
I love priestly blogs like Fr Tim, Fr Z and Fr Ray and yes I've met all of them. FrT is my PP after all.
I don't want to be bossed around or have a Code of Conduct. I'm a teacher and I get to behave in a very regulated way at work, thanks. Bells go off and I become legally responsible for piles of boys, that sort of thing. I ignore people who have no authority over me and take no responsibility for me. I am a single practising Catholic. I have years of experience of going my own way, really. I am much more stroppy that you can imagine, actually.
I'm happy to meet up in a pub or a restaurant and chat to other bloggers. That's fun.
I HATE meetings.
I really HATE meetings.
I'm very happy to sing at a bloggers' Mass.

I like the Catholic blogging adventure and am happy to be a bit part player in it.
I don't know what's going happen next and that's exciting, but thus far it's been a GOOD THING and for that I am happy.


Richard Collins said...

I'm just grateful you don't do 'cat posts' :) :)

Jackie Parkes MJ said...

Interesting points..

leutgeb said...

Richard, my niche market lies elsewhere I feel. The competition is just too great.

Jackie, thank you.

FatherTF said...

Many thanks. Your self-imposed blog policy is prudent and sound. And after all, there are plenty of others doing the virtual molotov cocktails.

Anonymous said...

Kind words. I too am so very pleased to have met you - without the internet and the aid of blogs l still wouldn't have a clue what we should be singing on a Sunday. Colours of Day perhaps?

I also think there is no way you can maintain any semblance of sanity running a parish choir without having social contact with people in other parishes all doing the same thing. There is so little support in the diocese that the internet is the only way of getting in touch with other people.


Faith said...

All good reasons to blog. Your take and your life are important. People are interested in bloggers who live good Catholic lives. God bless.

leutgeb said...