Friday, 27 May 2011

Confessions of a Catholic blogger

This week has seen the announcement, by his friends, that Fr Tim of THOC has just topped 3 million hits on his blog. 3 million! I had to go and lie down in a dark room after reading that.
It goes without saying that all kudos and congratulations are due to Fr T. It is a massive achievement and all done, apparently, so effortlessly.

Now I am fully aware that a Catholic blogger should not let 'hits' rule his or her life but, dammit, I am an ex marketing man and for 40 plus years have lived and breathed on statistics and figures and I cannot do without a daily fix of sitemeter! Fr Tim, I know, is not influenced by such mundane things but to us lesser mortals it is one way of determining whether what you write has any resonance, whether it is relevant or just a private rant.

Also, this week, following close on the heels of THOC's success, comes a treatise by that great but shadowy blogger figure, Mundabor

 The post is called 'Catholic Blogging in 17.5 Easy Steps'. It is a sound piece of advice and well worth reading if not actually following.
It makes clear the trap of self approval and personal gratification; so easy to fall into. The post also calls for anonymity as part of the process of "seeking wisdom, not martyrdom". I am not so sure about that element but it's too late for me anyway.

What did strike a chord with me was Mundabor's exhortation to be true to oneself, to write what you believe without fluffing around worrying what folk might think. I think that I have been guilty of that (although some might not agree).

So from now on you will get posts straight from the shoulder or should I say, heart? No more pussyfooting around, all will be black and white.
So many Catholic bloggers feature cats
is this the secret to a high strike rate?

But why do we blog anyway? I have tried to analyse what and why I do what I do and come always to the same conclusion; I do it because it is a wonderful means of expressing all one's pent up emotions and views regarding the Catholic Faith and its rights and wrongs. I also want the Catholic world to understand my standpoint - not necessarily agree with me, just to understand where I am coming from is fine. I also want people to comprehend what the faith was like fifty years ago, the good and the bad parts; we are in grave danger of losing our sense of 20th Century Catholic knowledge and culture and that would be sad.

The other part of my concern regarding blogging does involve a need for my blog to be read, not by milions but, equally, not by one or two Traddies locked in a garret somewhere. I see nothing wrong in that desire. If I thought that only one or two individuals read my blog I think I would chuck it in. I have only been at this lark for six months so I am still in my salad bowl as they say but hits do matter to me (although I have accepted M's advice and removed the counter, this exercise should not be about public triumphalism).

So how to achieve more hits? According to Mundabor it is back to being true to oneself, fine but I have to do more than that, surely?

I did  consider featuring a cat or two (sorry MF) but that would not be being true to my inner self. I have very little to do with cats although I have eaten a few in my time (not by selecting one off the menu I hasten to add, but by being served cat by my Chinese hosts at various banquets....sort of sweet and sourpussy) - aaaagh! - more profuse apologies, I think I will be losing readers by the score at this rate.
What other images are likely to strike a sympathetic note? Flowers? Hmmm.....more a female blogger thing I think.......birds?.......not really relevant......Blessed Titus Brandsma?......Yes, precisely.
I must say that I am enjoying being part of this growing Guild of bloggers....I appreciate the daily prayer, it binds you more closely to to your blog and it embraces others who, hitherto, have been just names. It gives one a sense of belonging and, believe me, if you have lived in a spirtual wilderness for 25 years, you do appreciate the company of fellow souls! 

           Blessed Titus Brandsma - Pray for all Catholic Bloggers!


  1. Interesting post. One certainly must blog with a purpose, rather than letting it be an ego trip. I do certainly agree on anonymity. I do provide some information on myself in blog, since it's needed for the subject matter, but to this day I haven't made it clear as to which Boston seminarian I am. If someone really wants to find out, they can check in some places to find out, but they won't hear it from me.

    It is interesting to see what attracts people the most. Even though my blog is about seminary life, the most popular post on my blog is a very polemic article that I wrote against supporters of the ordination of women. It makes it rather tempting to change the subject of the blog, but as you and mundabor point out, we must be true to ourselves. So, I write about the seminary, rather than playing at polemics.

  2. Richard, you eat cats!

    How can any Catholic blogger anywhere, top that admission?

    Anyway, I like your blog because you say things how you see them but although you appear to be curiously cumudgeonly, you are also quite humble. I can tell.

    Plus, I can get good info on Saints and the more traditional side of things Catholic wise, what with you being a Latin expert n'all. Mindyou, I am a slow learner these days. It's my age.....

  3. Shadowlands, I would much rather have not eaten cats! I have managed to avoid the Shanghai delicacy of a "nest" of young, blind, live mice which they eat in by picking up in the chopsticks and immersing in boiling oil.
    And, BTW, all trads are, by nature, curmudgeonly and humble :)

  4. Biedrik - you are in a wonderful position and are very privileged. You are quite right to take the stance you do (so I believe, in all humility blah, blah)

  5. I am amazed at how popular my two sites have become. Talking about pictures, it seems that the second most popular post on my homily website is my homily on the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Apparently,it is not what I have said about our Blessed Mother but only the beautiful picture that garners so many hits. I like pictures. Maybe it is a guy thing. But I like choosing a picture to go along with my post. You know the old expression, "One picture is worth a thousand words." I also think it attracts more hits.

  6. Whatever your reason for blogging, I'm glad I stumbled upon your site.

  7. I like the way you frame your pictures. How do you do that? Is it a blogger thing?

  8. Richard - I do agree that it is quite right to make a stance against the ordination of women. I just find that it is not what my blog is for. Although I do think I'll be writing against liturgical dance soon. It does tie into vocation!

  9. 'I have managed to avoid the Shanghai delicacy of a "nest" of young, blind, live mice which they eat in by picking up in the chopsticks and immersing in boiling oil.'

    nooooooooooooo....that is too yuckily gross to visualize.

  10. All - thank you for your generous comments.

    Fr John....I am a technophobe, sorry, Father, I do not know how the framing happens. It's all down to Blogger.

  11. I thought the mouse thing was cruel (which it is); however, I then thought about my love of lobster and how we simply drop it, live, into boiling water. Not so nice either. . but really tasty!!??? A guy we worked with from the Philippines brought in boiled, fertilized eggs and ate them, chick and all. It's considered a delicacy. Well, that's different cultures for you.