Vatican spin-doctor criticises Catholic keyboard warriors…

Interesting story over at the Catholic news site Crux

“Many of my non-Christian and non-believing friends have remarked to me that we ‘Catholics’ have turned the Internet into a cesspool of hatred, venom and vitriol, all in the name of defending the faith!” he said.

“The character assassination on the Internet by those claiming to be Catholic and Christian has turned it into a graveyard of corpses strewn all around,” said Rosica, who assists the Vatican Press Office with English-speaking media, on May 11 as he delivered the keynote address at the Brooklyn Diocese’s observance of World Communications Day.

“Often times the obsessed, scrupulous, self-appointed, nostalgia-hankering virtual guardians of faith or of liturgical practices are very disturbed, broken and angry individuals, who never found a platform or pulpit in real life and so resort to the Internet and become trolling pontiffs and holy executioners!” Rosica said.

“In reality they are deeply troubled, sad and angry people,” he said. “We must pray for them, for their healing and conversion!”

And no, they’re not talking about Slugger’s comment zone! But this problem does exists in most online discussions. Even the most mundane debate can descent into full on flamewars.

What amuses me is that the most intense debates are often between people who are on the same side. One of the ironies of Northern Ireland is the enemy for some protestant churches is not the Catholic Church but their splinter church down the road.

Who can forget the feud at the Ballynahinch church that resulted in the police needing to keep the peace.

So perhaps its a good time to trot out the best religious joke as voted on by the Christian site Ship of Fools.

I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump. I ran over and said: “Stop. Don’t do it.”

“Why shouldn’t I?” he asked.

“Well, there’s so much to live for!”

“Like what?”

“Are you religious?”

He said, “Yes.”

I said, “Me too. Are you Christian or Buddhist?”


“Me too. Are you Catholic or Protestant?”


“Me too. Are you Episcopalian or Baptist?”


“Wow. Me too. Are you Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord?”

“Baptist Church of God.”

“Me too. Are you original Baptist Church of God, or are you Reformed Baptist Church of God?”

“Reformed Baptist Church of God.”

“Me too. Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915?”

He said: “Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915.”

I said: “Die, heretic scum,” and pushed him off.

Perhaps now would also be an appropriate time to remind people of the golden rules that generally help raise Slugger’s conversation above the usual noise over signal din found elsewhere on t’Internet.

I help keep the good ship Slugger afloat by managing the business and techy stuff. My day job is creating websites and software. My personal site is:

  • chrisjones2

    I dont think Catholics should beat themselves up on this. There are lots of utterly irreligious, Protestant and Muslim nut jobs out there too.

    Still, its keeps them happy and allows the Internet to give some respite to their various carers.


    When you talk to God its called praying
    When God talks to you its called Schizophrenia

  • Korhomme

    The religious joke is a bit truncated from the original:

  • Msiegnaro

    Protestants not in jobs!! Where??

  • Msiegnaro

    The joke about Protestantism does actually have interesting undertones worthy of a more serious analysis. Splinters within the church are all too apparent, one thing prevalent is the uneasy relationship between churches and the Loyal Orders. There is a rather peculiar analysis currently being conducted based primarily on hearsay sanctioned by one Church of Ireland denomination about the Royal Black institution. What the church has forgotten is that many members of the congregation are made up of members of the loyal orders and indeed the report actually comes across as unchristian and highly inaccurate.

    As a member of a Church of Ireland congregation I know that I along with many in the parish have expressed concern about how inactive our minister is in the running of the church with lay preachers doing the prayers, members of the congregation reading out the lessons and the curate taking the sermon. In fact the role of the minister is so diminished that he simply reads out the announcements at the beginning of the service and for the last number of years he has at least every third Sunday off during which times he is frequently holidaying or “out of town”. It’s also sad that visits to parishioners and hospital visits are a thing of the past unless someone requests them. Alarmingly my own church has ran up annual debts due to the collections not meeting the repairs/renovations of the rectory and the amount sent to offshore charities. As always the Church of Ireland really does need a more honest self analysis of how it is run and is it true to its biblical roots?

  • leoinlisbon

    When he calls the people he is criticizing, for their online abuse, ‘very disturbed, broken and angry’, you do start thinking about pots and kettles.

  • terence patrick hewett

    The Mass Observation project circa 1937-1950 which was conceived by Charles Madge, Humphrey Jennings and Tom Harrisson is widely recognised as an immensely valuable resource available to historians.

    ”Mass Observation sought to bridge the gap between how the media represented public opinion and what ordinary people actually felt and thought.”

    And the Internet is this writ large: it is an anarchic, libertarian, un-controlled feral beast but for the first time future historians will have a massive archive to mine: with engines and analytical devices the nature of which we can only guess. And everything is of value: the abuse, the insults and the trivia as well as the more informed and the expert. That the Vatican sometimes displays all the sensibilities of a Victorian maiden aunt is of course all part of the archive

    Leonard Shapiro wrote:

    “the true object of propaganda is neither to convince nor even to persuade, but to produce a uniform pattern of public utterance in which the first trace of unorthodox thought reveals itself as a jarring dissonance.”

    The internet has destroyed that object forever: what is a real worry is digital decay.

  • chrisjones2

  • Alan N/Ards

    I’m a member of a Presbyterian congregation and I struggle with the minister doing everything during the service. He preaches, prays, does the scripture reading and possibly picks some of the music. He is not using the talent in the congregation and obviously thinks it’s his right to do everything.

    I’m a great believer in the “priesthood of all believers” and that a minister/priest is no better, or more worthy (in Gods eyes) than me.

  • Alan N/Ards

    That last sentence should have read. “I’m a great believer in the “priesthood of all believers” and that a minister/priest is no better, or more worthy (in Gods eyes) than me and the rest of the congregation. I didn’t mean to leave out the wonderful people of the church I worship in.

  • Msiegnaro

    That is clearly too much for one person to be doing. However within the Church of Ireland (certainly not all as some ministers are overstretched) there is a more lax approach and surely it can’t be right for a minister to have so much time off?

    With reference to your church is there a willingness to help the minister with his duties? Is the congregation holding firm number wise or is there a stream of decline? The latter questions are relevant to ascertain if his ministry is effecting numbers.

  • John Collins

    I was at an RC funeral in rural Ireland about twelve months ago and the deceased was over 100 years. The Priest gave a very personal, and sometimes witty homily about the departed, whom he had got to know as a curate, when he was newly ordained about fifty years earlier. At the time, just after Vatican 11, it was decided that the mass should be said in the vernacular and that one of the laity should do the readings. This priest said that it was his task to broach this subject with some parishioners with a view to getting them to do these readings. He first approached an aged man, a solid member of the community, and asked would he do this task for him. He got a sharp rebuff. ‘That is your job Father and you are well paid for it’ was the instant response that assailed his ears. Just goes to show that old traditions die hard
    On second thoughts are you sure your minister was not a Roman catholic priest in a previous life.

  • Alan N/Ards

    There are a number of people who would be happy to participate in praying, reading and preaching if asked. I’m not saying that everyone who wants to preach is capable of preaching to a high standard, but those capable should be encouraged and used.

    The numbers have not dropped during his ministry, but I doubt that they would drop if he was to encourage “the priesthood of all believers” in the congregation. His preaching is of a high standard but he needs to allow (in my eyes) more participation of people with certain gifts. BTW, I’m not one of the talented, gifted members.

  • Alan N/Ards

    I know of a large Presbyterian church in North Down which has a minister, an assistant minister, an associate minister and a youth minister. The minister ( who is older than the others) delegates a lot of the work to his junior ministers on a regular basis. While I would have no issue with that, I know that some of the older members believe that the senior minister should be doing most of the preaching on a Sunday.

  • Msiegnaro

    It says a lot for the quality of your minister when the congregation is holding firm, unless people volunteer or in fact numbers drop – it will be unlikely that anything will change.

  • Msiegnaro

    Yes this is my church too. We have a minister, curate (generally takes the sermon) and three lay minister who take the service and prayers as well as a youth minister who takes the sermon once a month.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I fully concur Msiegnaro. It’s the task of any Episcopalian Priest to attempt to understand his congregation as well as to simply minister to them. I experienced a minister in my adolescence, a Chaplin to the LOI and a committed member of the “Black”, a man I disagreed with on almost every count, but a listening priest of fine character, a tireless worker, who could understand all my disagreements intellectually and discuss such matters with wit and without rancour. If only there were more like him today.

  • Msiegnaro

    Interesting Seaan, are you a church goer still?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I used to be very regular when I was in London working in film and like a few others in the film business who have moved elsewhere I still regard All Saints in Margaret Street, London, as my congregation of choice. When I visit England or Dublin, usually, I may go several times in the week to certain local churches but most of what exists here up north is simply too low church for my own rather High Church leanings, unless I’m in Derry for a few days when I find the services at St Columbs a very satisfactory experience. Regarding the minister I’d mentioned above, one of our many real points of total agreement was over the efficacy of the symbolism of ritual! But this in no way makes me feel that my own approaches are any more “correct” than those others may find honestly work devotionally for them. The important thing for me is what these things bring out in a persons character, which is where the efficacy of any religious practice shows to my mind.

    But I find it terribly sad to see just how many now find their ministry simply a job and not a true vocation.

  • Robert ian Wiliams

    The source behind this story is Rosica, one of the most unpleasant self seeking persons to emerge out of the Vatican media dept. I’m afraid this is kettle and pot.

  • robertianwilliams
  • Croiteir

    wouldn’t worry too much about it, for the benefit of those who may be ignorant about it the big debate in the Church has not been about homosexuality or gay rights or the stuff that intrigues the secular world, it is about Tradition versus Modernism and has been since the turn of the 20th century or earlier. The Modernists are under pressue as the Traditionalists are starting to gain. The experiment of V2 has proven to not have delivered the fruit that it promised and the younger priests are tending to be more Traditionalist than the priest post Vatican to the turn of the century.

    The main organisation to carry the flag of Traditionalism is the SSPX. There has been a lot of movement recently to favour them, the Vatican can now longer ignore their swelling seminaries and so they are moving to a rapprochement.

    So much so that the Pope is making conciliatory moves which have led to speculation that the points they have argued are to be conceded, including their refusal to accept certain issues in V2.

    The Modernists noses are out of joint so they lash out. But it is all futile.