Catholic commentator George Weigel doesn’t want fellow Catholics reading aggressive conservative Catholic websites, like (presumably) Lifesite News, One Peter Five, and Church Militant:
“Resolve to limit your exposure to the Catholic blogosphere. In 2019, many Catholic websites went bonkers. There is no need to click on sites that specialize in all-hysteria or all-propaganda all-the-time. If you want reliable Catholic news, visit the websites of Catholic News Agency and the National Catholic Register. If you want sane commentary on the turbulent Catholic scene, go to the websites of Catholic World Report, First Things, and The Catholic Thing. That’s more than enough for anyone. Limiting your blogosphere browsing to these sites, while ignoring the hysteria-mongers and propagandists, will lower your blood pressure while keeping you well-informed.”
Well. I can’t fault his recommendations for those websites at all. They’re all quite good, and I check in with them regularly. But it’s more than a bit rich in 2020, after events of the last two decades, for Weigel to put down those other websites. He’s right that they at times lead with their passions, and go beyond what the knowable facts state. That’s something that readers should know going in. That said, it pays to remember what the Catholic journalist Ross Douthat has said about conspiracy theories:
“[W]hen I was starting my career as a journalist I sometimes brushed up against people peddling a story about a network of predators in the Catholic hierarchy — not just pedophile priests, but a self-protecting cabal above them — that seemed like a classic case of the paranoid style, a wild overstatement of the scandal’s scope. I dismissed them then as conspiracy theorists, and indeed they had many of conspiracism’s vices — above all, a desire to believe that the scandal they were describing could be laid entirely at the door of their theological enemies, liberal or traditional.
“But on many important points and important names, they were simply right….”
The above comes from a Jan. 6 story on the American Conservative by Rod Dreher.
Of course Catholic blogs matter . . . a great deal. The institutional Church is a closed society. By all historic and objective accounts, over the decades the institutional Church has become controlled by a “homosexual mafia,” as described by many writers and a few courageous bishops. Thievery, too, seems to go along with this, whether to pay for homosexual lovers, such as Abp. Weakland, or to live a life of luxury, such as seen recently in West Virginia. Catholic blogs ask difficult questions and are not backed off by the institutional brush-off that comes.
Sadly, Catholic blogs also highlight the many occurrences of bad judgment and loss of faith by many bishops, such as the bishop of Richmond (VA) agreeing to lend a Catholic Church for the invalid investiture of a woman as an Episcopalian “bishop.” We need these bloggers.
I think there is some wisdom in both Weigel’s cautions and recommendations. That said, those other sites do sometimes provide a valuable service and are sometimes first with knowledge and sometimes maybe even a willingness to cover certain stories. I urge readers to check out their stories though. I consider Lifesite News in a different category than Church Militant. On more than one occasion, I’ve been disappointed to find Michael Voris state things that were untrue (as well as uncharitable) about orthodox Catholics. I contacted him, but never received responses back. (Don’t orthodox Catholics find it frustrating when they contact their bishops and can’t get a response? I would expect a responsible Catholic in a position of influence to be fair to other Catholics and to reply to legitimate concerns about factual accuracy brought to his attention.) The National Catholic Register has some good reporters, who are willing to ask difficult questions and Msgr. Charles Pope is often very insightful. Let us continue to pray for all in the Church during these times.
Can you please clarify what alleged factual inaccuracies you saw?
Church Militant receives thousands of emails. While we try to answer all queries, we’re unable to answer every email that comes in.
Of course. I’ll contact you directly, privately and with my real name. I’ll have to search my old email first. I think the last time was about a professor at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, one who is not a dissenter and who has courageously stood for the teachings of the Church, even in the face of opposition. I hope you continue to provide important coverage of stories in an accurate and fair manner. Like readers of California Catholic Daily, we don’t have to agree on non-essentials or have the same preferences. But, it’s important that we recognize our allies and realize that orthodoxy doesn’t always look exactly the same. Thank you.
I agree with some of the finer points raised by George Weigel. I also read articles by Church Militant from time to time, and I can certainly sniff out purple prose when I read it there. CM can also be a conduit for the slightly unhinged, outre Catholic zeal-bots. I recognize that, too. I believe that “somewhere in the middle lies the truth”, and that goes for Church Militant and other sites like it … and that’s up to me to decide.
I LOVE ‘THE LOOP’ IT’S VERY CATHOLIC AND AN EASY READ……..THEY GET TO THE FACTS AND DON’T GO ON AND ON LIKE A TERM PAPER!!!
Weigel says “There is no need to click on sites that specialize in all-hysteria or all-propaganda all-the-time.” Sorry George, but it is you who with this statement are the propagandist. No I don’t agree with your nemesis, Michael Voris, whom I believe you are principally referencing, all the time. Certainly not. But would you then consider Pope Francis’ nemesis, Archbishop Vigano, hysterical and propagandistic? True, he has no blog, but he is represented through Church Militant, LIfe Site News, et al. as well as sources of which you approve. Please don’t insult my intelligence by patronizing me. I’m a big boy and can determine for myself what to read and when, and am able, without your help, to separate the wheat from the chaff, thank you. That said I am in general a great admirer of you.
I fell for the clickbait. I clicked. Then I clicked more and found out…
George Weigel did not name LifeSiteNews, ChurchMilitant, OnePeterFive or any other bloggers as ones to avoid in his writing.
Rod Dreher who according to his article, USED to be Catholic, put a huge picture of Michael Voris on his article and named those sites. So it must be Rod Dreher who is calling them hysteria-mongers and propagandists.
Please be more careful not to spread false witness. It is a grave sin..
And then there’s The Remnant. Does anyone other than me read and value it?
I do,, its spot on
NO. It is not faithful to the Church.
These sites are useless, unedifying and a danger to souls masking as journalism. They should be avoided.
I feel sorry for the people who believe them. I noticed about 20 years ago that there were some organizations who prey on people who are devoted to Mary and the Eucharistic Lord to get money. As in secular scams, avoid people who tell you that they are the only ones who will tell you the truth. One of the tactics of abusers in general is that they try to isolate you from people who could help you or expose them. Be wary of entities that say they will tell you the real scoop about people in power like the Pope or Bishops. They really don’t even know them.
Weigel is right of course. These so-called Catholic sites are nothing but the “Catholic” version of the National Enquirer. Spinning falsehoods about the Holy Father, Church teachings, the liturgy and other matters is a SIN (see the 8th Commandment) and contrary to the teachings of Christ.