Thursday, March 11, 2004

St. Blog's "Decidedly Conservative Tilt"

Rachel Linner has written an article about "St. Blog's Church - America’s most vibrant parish?" in February's issue of Commonweal magazine, giving mention to a host of familiar favorites such as Sursum Corda, Gen-X Revert, Shrine of the Holy Whapping, among many others. I note with much appreciation that Commonweal is one of the first Catholic publications to mention this blog and Ratzinger Fan Club -- thank you, I was curious where all those hits were coming from. =)

Ms. Linner spends much of the article pondering why many Catholic bloggers "[tilt] decidedly to the conservative side of the Catholic culture wars," -- as evidenced by the organizations they link to, and the fact that "Commonweal is less visible than Crisis and First Things" (more on this later). She seems to me very liberal in her application of the "conservative" label to fellow bloggers.

But what exactly makes a Catholic blog "conservative"?

Is opposition to abortion and other moral evils "conservative"? -- Or faithfulness to Catholic teaching? Is criticism of theologians who dodge the mandatum "conservative"? -- Or an expresson of one's loyalty to the magisterium of the Catholic Church?

Is Mark Shea's blog "conservative"? -- What about his criticism of the policies of the Bush administration in Iraq?

And where does the bulk of St. Blog's stand in comparison to the "radtrads" who blast Ratzinger and the Pope as liberals, or worse, propogators of a masonic-Zionist conspiracy to infiltrate the Church?

It seems to me that where one is placed on the ideological spectrum between "liberal" and "conservative" depends largely on the subjective judgement and political affiliations of the one applying the label -- and less so on the actual content of the blog (or its links to various Catholic publications). Likewise, I've often found that faithfulness to the teachings of the Church often transcends the bounds of politics.

P.S. One of the reasons I link to Crisis and First Things is my appreciation for their willingness to make the content of their past issues available online and to non-subscribers. Of course I think those readers who can should support these publications with their wallets -- but honestly, not everybody can afford to shell out $20-30 for subscriptions to multiple magazines. Thus, by making past articles available online, these authors are in part contributing to the extended discussion between bloggers in our "online parish." First Things has done so since 1998; Crisis launched its new website in 2002. And in recent months Commonweal has revamped their own website, making available a significant portion of their work from years past, and for which I'm very grateful.

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