Blogging and the dangers of ‘scandal porn’

A friend of mine used to have a Catholic blog that did a lot of investigative work revealing how some Catholic institutions were not following Catholic teaching.

He told me he took down his blog because he realized a couple of things:  first, he realized his efforts were like cursing the fig tree—and that they would not bring something that was dead or fruitless back to life; secondly he wanted to refocus his efforts on building up the Church rather than tearing down.

He also said it becomes easy to traffic in “scandal porn” and that’s not a good thing.

I’ve often thought of that conversation and the lure of “scandal porn,” when this or that negative thing is uncovered and reacted to in the Church and the blogs light up.

Steve Skojec over at One Peter Five has an interesting post up in this vein entitled:  “The Dangers of Focusing Only on the Negative in the Church.

If we focus only and always on what’s wrong, we habituate ourselves to seeing the bad in everything, and it becomes an impediment to our spiritual growth.

This is so true!

Skojec links to an excellent talk by Fr. Chad Ripperger that is something all of us should listen to.   It outlines the dangers of adopting a negative mindset.  Please go on over and listen to the video.

It is so much more in our carnal nature to curse rather than to bless; to tear down rather than to build up; to discourage rather than exhibit the spiritual gift of encouragement and exhortation.

Whenever I am tempted to surf for scandal porn, I am reminded of this from Philippians 4:8

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.  (KJV)

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2 Responses to Blogging and the dangers of ‘scandal porn’

  1. EPMS says:

    Unfortunately, most of the real scandals which have damaged the Church so badly in the last two decades occured because avoiding negative publicity was the first order of business—not exposing wrongdoers or helping victims. The latter were urged to keep quiet, parents and police persuaded not to exercise their duty of care, and journalists taken quietly aside and reminded of their higher obligation. Of course there’s a difference between child abuse and, say, bureaucratic missteps or failed projects. But the principle is the same: try not to make the Church look bad. Of course the reverse motive—searching for the downside of every story—is pathological and spiritually destructive. But people generally see through to the motives of the chronic bad-mouther. Pretending that everything’s going great when it isn’t just postpones the necessary discussions and often allows problems to become more serious and more destructive. Not to mention the inevitable disillusionment when it turns out that all was not as rosy as we were led to believe. This idea just never seems to sink in, in the Catholic church—it’s somewhat like the Communits Party in that respect.

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    • Rev22:17 says:

      I’m reminded of a ruse about the difference between Heaven and Hell, explained in terms of the major countries of Europe. Heaven, it said, has British politicians, German engineers, French lovers, and Italian cooks. (Yea!) To Hell, it attributed precisely the reverse — Italian politicians, French engineers, German lovers, and British cooks. (Ew!)

      The stereotypes in this ruse underscore the truth that we all have certain charisms and certain weaknesses, that we have tasks that we do well and tasks that we do poorly. Humility is rooted in the truthful acknowledgement of both. The ordinariates, and their communities, must do this religiously (forgive the pun…) if they are to endure. Neither rose-colored glasses nor abject negativism are appropriate.

      Norm.

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