Saturday, November 18, 2023


A negative spirit has infected the world and everyone on it, from the Church to politics and communities to families.

We dwell on the negative, the half empty glass, those who have left us and we fail to see that, yes, the church is 3/4th empty but it is also 1/3rd full!

Shouldn’t Catholics focus on the positive? The positive with the pope, with our bishops, with the Church Universal and our local parishes. Must we always emphasize the negative, thinking doing so will make things positive?

Of course, social media plays into this like blogs, X and the like. Of course, this doesn’t apply to my wildly famous, positive and timely blog, but others, well, yes.

Part of the problem is with comments. Whether it is here or elsewhere, comments don’t pertain to the post but are highjacked by the ones commenting. The name calling, put-downs and just plain pagan mortal sins against charity and the sanctity of persons commenting here is breathtaking and certainly not anything that would attract anyone to Catholicism and would push away those hanging by the thread. I would say uncharitableness in the Catholic blogosphere does more to harm the Church than bad liturgies!  

Apart from eliminating comments, could you imagine how positive that section would be if Catholics did not break the two greatest Commandments by their on-line nonsense and negativity. Could you imagine how positive it would be if a stranger reading the comment section here could at the end of his reading sing, “Yes, they’ll known they are Catholics by their love, by their love, O yes, they’ll know they are Catholics by their love.”

Many blogs and on-line commentaries have eliminated comments. The liberal NCR use to have on-line comments and these were some of the worse, most negative and vile in the industry. To their credit, the NCR eliminated comments. What they do now is to post a limited number of “letters to the editor.” That is a nice compromise.

Even Praytell no longer publishes comments or much of anything else. I think they must be phasing out. 

Are liturgical blogs useless today? Back in the day, as I look backwards to Pope Benedict, he created so much excitement in the Church, liturgically and otherwise and blogs prospered and were positive about his papacy. 

Liturgy has become boring again, pedestrian is the order of the day, and with the TLM crushed for the most part, there is no excitement for improving the Modern Vernacular Mass. That is sad.

So, let’s be happy, not sad. 


rcg said...

Good post. The problem with the internet from the beginning is that it elevated all input to the same level of importance. The occasional screed or meltdown could be ignored largely due to character limits. When the size of a post became nearly unlimited the conversation became subject to the heckler’s veto.

As far as the HolyFather is concerned he seems as much victim as a cause of problems, maybe manipulated by his overly trusting nature of his allies and supporters.

All leaders, Church and political, generate straw men to attack largely because they are at a loss for something to do that they can actually accomplish. It is disturbing that they like to find enemies among the people they are supposed to lead and protect and probably a significant reason that support for politics, politicians, the Church, and the clergy is evaporating.

Mark Thomas said...

Father McDonald, a tremendous amount of the negativity in comment boxes here and elsewhere flows from folks who spew hatred, insults, at anybody who does not march in lockstep with their views.

There are folks here who are so off-the-rails extreme that they have threatened in preposterous fashion to leave your blog unless you silence/ban this or that person.

Said folks thrive upon name-calling/insults. They are incapable of charitable discussion.

One must agree with their opinions. Otherwise, said folks will resort to name-calling/hatred in regard to those with whom they disagree.

Anyway, their ways in question are not my ways. I refuse to engage them tit-for-tat. I will not permit said folks to rob me of my joy which begins with my love of God (although I sin far too often), His Holy Church, the Holy Mass of Pope Saint Paul VI, Pope Francis, etc.

Father McDonald, in that regard, I am on board with the following (and I have been mocked repeatedly here for my "everything is fine" approach...but I don't care):

Father, you promoted recently The Pillar's uplifting interview with Cardinal Eijk. He declared:

"Even when the Church declines in the whole world – and we see that the number of Catholics will dwindle around the globe, not only in Holland – that does not make a difference to me.

"My faith in Christ will remain the same. I have a deep joy at the bottom of my soul because Christ called me to be a priest. Nobody can take that joy from me. Nothing. That joy remains.

"Even when the number of churchgoers is dwindling, the joy of the priesthood remains in me."

I am not a priest. Otherwise, I am on board with Cardinal Eijk's approach in question. Deo gratias for the peace and joy that I have received from God.

Father McDonald, thank you as always for having permitted me to post comments to your blog.


Mark Thomas

ByzRus said...

Good post, Fr. AJM, and true.

We are empowered to focus on that which we can control leaving to others that which we cannot.

At the same time, is tone not set at the top? When a leader, any leader, is negative, that negativity cascades downhill and oftentimes, at a frightening pace.

For the moment, liturgical blogs have lost their way. Benedict XVI delighted those of us who care about such matters with seemingly endless material over which to be in awe.

Now, as you suggested, there isn't much to see. There isn't liturgical abuse, but, its presentation is so sterile, it's challenging to get overly emotional over it either. Seems counterintuitive, but, here we are.

I hope the next pontificate considers its whole flock, not the pick-and-choose that seems to be the current modus operandi. The Catholic Communion currently has 24 churches. As it hasn't been the same people doing the same thing the same way for centuries in some instances, decades within the Roman Church, a more wholistic view that's inclusive of the total flock should be the goal. Beauty and hope is what attracts people.

Mark Thomas said...

Are blogs/twitter (X) equivalent to Mass versus populum?

I will explain that in a minute.


From Father Raymond de Souza's article yesterday in regard to Bishop Strickland:

-- "The bishop of Tyler would not judge it helpful to the holiness of his people to disparage the Holy Father and tear away at the bonds of communion with him. The bishop of Twitter finds it his preferred style of preaching."

I have found the above comment insightful.

At least in regard to certain folks: Something awful happens far too often when they communicate via blogs/twitter.

-- During face-to-face encounters with his flock, did Bishop Strickland refer to Pope Francis as a "diabolically disordered clown?"

-- Did Bishop Strickland visit parishes to inform his flock that Pope Francis had undermined the Deposit of Faith?

We know that as a "twitter bishop," Bishop Strickland was a shrill, caustic, in-your-face type. That differs greatly from the popular image that views him as mild-mannered.


To return to: Are blogs/twitter (X) equivalent to Mass versus populum?

That is, certain folks claim that Mass versus populum tempts, or, all but forces priests, to show off, to induce them to act differently than they do normally?

In turn, do blogs/twitter (X) offer the golden opportunity (via anonymity) for people to act in ways that differ from their normal conduct during face-to-face encounters with others?

Other than to eliminate comments, is it a given that blogs/twitter will always feature a certain amount of insults/nasty behavior? Does that go simply with the territory?


Mark Thomas

TJM said...

By and large, One person has ruined the comment section here and we just heard from him

Mark Thomas said...

Father McDonald-permitting:

On the positive side:

Here are two brief videos of Pope Francis having interacted in peaceful, gentle, compassionate fashion with the Faithful — in particular, with people suffering physically.

I have been uplifted for years via the videos below. The videos captured the great heart that Pope Francis possesses. The videos also inform me to embrace each person peacefully. Unfortunately, in that regard, I have fallen short often. (at the :53 mark)


Mark Thomas

ByzRus said...


Just ignore that which neither interests you nor involves you directly.

That's how I maintain my patience level.

People can have their say as is evident here. Additionally, they can embark on whatever self-appointed crusade they choose - they are free to do so. In turn, we are free not to participate in that crusade. It's like free commerce, if no one buys the product, the business will eventually fold. Ultimately, the Church may have no choice but to change its business model. Unfortunately, I don't think any of us have enough time left to see that happen.

Jerome Merwick said...

Oh, Father, I know just what you mean!

All those awful meanies who don't realize that everything that our pope says or does is a holy emanation of divine origin is just a hateful, hateful, naughty, hateful, demon lover!

I thank you oh Lord that I am not like those unwashed and damned pope-haters who are so vile and disgusting and poorly educated.

Yes, I think you oh Lord, that I can smugly and sanctimoniously bore everyone to tears by repeating my pabulum-laced papalotry over and over in this boxes to demonstrate your divine will and my superior and humble intellect to the world.

And thank you too, Father McDonald, for ignoring all those hateful, demonic, satanic and most surely damned pope-haters who refuse to call feces "gold".


Clark Mommus

ByzRus said...

I can't take it anymore.

Yes, of course, silly me, PF stinking up the bathroom like everyone else smells just like Lily of The Valley.

TJM said...

ByzRus and Jerome Merwick,

It has been a pleasure reading your comments. Best wishes!

ByzRus said...


If there's finality in your most recent comment, I too have enjoyed our interactions.

I'm left wondering if there's a context clue in Fr. AJM's post regarding what is coming. If the combox goes away, fine. Fr. is correct in that they are, at times, both toxic and not a good reflection upon the faith we should be drawing others into given how precious it is to us.

So, if this is ending, I'll say to all, S'Bohom, Go with God. If it isn't, I guess I'll see you all tomorrow at the earliest, next week at the latest.

Mark Thomas said...

Here is a positive story.

-- Archbishop Broglio says rift between him and Pope Francis is ‘a myth’

November 16, 2023

BALTIMORE (OSV News) — Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio is just beginning his second year of his three-year term as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

OSV News: "Also when we spoke last year, some were claiming in the media that you were anti-Pope Francis, which you balked at. Given your last year of working more closely with the Holy Father, could you comment a little bit about what that working relationship has been like?"

Archbishop Timothy Broglio: "Of course I saw him right after the election because there was a meeting of the synod on the continental phase of the synod preparations, and so I had an opportunity to be with him. And he was actually very encouraging."

"Now when we went in April — you know, the president always has an audience with the pope — he was very attentive to the questions that we raised...he spent almost an hour with us, which certainly was extremely generous on his part."

"And he was very receptive to anything that we wanted to talk to him about. He let us really lead the dialogue, and then he would respond to the different issues about the synod and the North American continental phase, which had been completed by that time, and it was a very positive exchange."

"So I think the myth of us being somehow on opposite sides of the spectrum is...a myth."

"I think Pope Francis is certainly one who’s always open to listening to others. That’s always amazing. The amount of time that he’ll give to audiences, I think, that’s certainly been a hallmark of his pontificate — and I have plenty of experience on which to base that statement."

"When the new students came to the North American College — the pontifical seminary in the United States — he gives them a private audience."

"Let me assure you, no pope in modern history, with the exception of Pius IX, who founded the college, has ever done something like that."


Mark Thomas

rcg said...


Unknown said...

Tip to all commenters: on a browser (at least, on my browser), if you click the "said" in a comment's "XX XXXX said..." top-line, it will collapse that whole comment.


Jerome Merwick said...

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