Sunday, April 17, 2005

Germany Discovers "St. Blog's Parish" . . .

Katholische Weblogger im Internet. April 17, 2005. Germany discovers "St. Blog's Parish". Even with the translation by Google in butchered English, it's rather hilarious.

Mentioned blogs: Amy Welborn; Shrine of the Holy Whapping; A Saintly Salmagundi, and German bloggers Credo ut intelligam and Catholicism Wow!.

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Update - Petra, the author of the article, was gracious enough to provide an English translation. Here it is in full:

Catholicism Wow! commemorates the late Pope. The blog has committed itself to the cultivation of comics and music with a Catholic background.

The Catholic Church does not have a very good image in Europe. Backward, boring, and hostile to women and to the body are terms many people associate with her. In the media, people presented as committed Catholics are foremost those that are the loudest in raving against the Church leadership. So who wants to identify himself with an organization that is so 'uncool'?

The community of Catholic webloggers is of a different opinion, however. The most important thing one notices among the authors of these internet diaries (also called blogs) is their faithfulness to the Pope and to the Magisterium of the Church. The media reporting on the death of John Paul II. and the conclave is thus picked to pieces as critically and with pleasure as are statements given by well-know Church dissidents, such as Hans Küng or Eugen Drewermann.

'St. Blog's Parish'

Catholic bloggers from the US are calling themselves jokingly 'St. Blog's Parish'. Their topics range from reflections about the heritage of the late Pope and discussions on the upcoming election to suggestions for the Patron Saint of bloggers. There is even a small debate on the issue if Therese of Lisieux or Bernadette Soubirous has indeed been the prettier saint. The members of the 'parish' are as diverse as their themes: computer engineers and priests, students (feminine) and full-time apologists, converts and cradle Catholics (feminine) can all be found among them.

In the link collections of these sites, one sometimes encounters quite curious things: there is for example a list with the 'ten best orthodox Catholic pickup lines', such as 'May I offer you a light for that votive candle?', 'Confess here often?' or 'You don't like the culture of death either? Wow! We have so much in common!'. From other links, one can learn about those religious orders in the US where the main problem amidst all the much-discussed vocation crisis only seems to be their lack of space due to all the new entries. A common feature of all these communities is the consciously worn traditional habit of their order and their faithfulness to the Magisterium.

A Wide Range of Catholic Music Groups

In German-speaking countries, there are far less weblogs that are committedly Catholic than in the US, but even here one can find sites such as 'Catholicism Wow!', a blog committed to the cultivation of comics and music with a Catholic background. The weblog presents a wide range of Catholic groups of all kinds, ranging from rock and heavy metal to hip hop. One of them even comes from Austria: the punk band Outer Fringe.

Some Merchandise

In order to give their readers the opportunity to profess themselves publicly as orthodox Catholics as they themselves do, some websites also offer merchandise. 'Mary, Exterminatrix of Heresies, Pray for Us!' says a t-shirt from 'A Saintly Salmagundi' showing Our Lady with a whipping rod (?) in her hand. A baseball cap from the Cardinal Ratzinger Fan Club, that has also been discovered by the mainstream media in the last few days, makes its bearer come out as a 'Papist'. A Club t-shirt quotes Joseph Ratzinger himself: 'Truth is not determined by majority vote.'

The writing on the t-shirts offered by 'Catholicism Wow!' resembles at first sight the logo of a well-known manufacturer of beverages. But instead of 'Coca Cola', it reads: 'Roman Catholic Church. Since 33 A. D.' The message is, after all: Catholic is cool.

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