Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Catholic Blogosphere's "Political Jungle"

Eric Scheske's monthly column on blogging and bloggers in the March 23-29 issue of National Catholic Register covers some of St. Blog's political commentators:
... What about Catholic political bloggers? Unfortunately, none of them rank among the cybersphere’s heavy hitters, but they’re numerous. The annual Catholic Blog Awards (catholicblogawards.com) dedicate an entire category to Catholic political and social commentary.

The Anchoress (theanchoressonline.com) won the category in 2006 and 2007. I suspect she’ll win again in 2008, and deservingly so. This anonymous blogger touches on many topics, but hard-hitting political commentary is the blog’s core.

There are lots of good Catholic political bloggers, but if I had to pick my favorites, I’d choose:

• Catholics in the Public Square (thepublicsquare.blogspot.com). All politics all the time, from a Catholic perspective.

• The Dawn Patrol (dawneden.com/blogger). Convert Dawn Eden’s blog. Not dedicated to politics, but it emphasizes pro-life politics and frequently exposes the dishonest political tactics and harmful policies of Planned Parenthood.

• Vox Nova: Catholic Perspectives on Culture, Society, and Politics (vox-nova.com). The subtitle says it all. Numerous contributors make for an active blog.

• Taki’s Top Drawer (takimag.com). Taki Theodoracopulos’ blog. Not explicitly Catholic, but heavily slanted with a Catholic perspective.

• Catholic Analysis (catholicanalysis.blogspot.com). A smart one-man show dedicated almost entirely to politics.

• The Distributist Review (distributism.blogspot.com). A list of Catholic political blogs that didn’t mention ChesterBelloc-inspired thinking would hardly be Catholic. The blog isn’t updated as often as I’d like, but it keeps alive the economic and political thought of a heady bygone Catholic era.

• RomanCatholicBlog (romancatholicblog.typepad.com). Far more political than its name implies.


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At 3/18/2008 1:14 PM, Blogger Tito said...

I'm surprised to see Vox Nova. Is Eric Sheske blind to the rampant heterodoxy in that blog?

At 3/18/2008 1:28 PM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...

Eric seems to be fairly conservative. I'm guessing that he's like me in appreciating the exchange of ideas that take place at Vox Nova. (And remember that there are some fairly solid conservative voices, such as Feddie's, there, too.)

Do I agree with everything posted there? Heck no - maybe not even most of what's posted. But if I were listing my favorite political blogs, I'd have to list Vox Nova among them.

At 3/18/2008 1:50 PM, Blogger Tito said...

Fair enough. Feddie and a couple of others make a nice cover for the other heterodoxists (I made that word up) to peddle their idea of Catholicism.

At 3/18/2008 3:06 PM, Blogger Michael J. Iafrate said...

Tito - I think even Jay, who disagrees with some of the VN contributors, would not go so far as to accuse us of heterodoxy. That's quite a charge, and not one I think you adequately understand.

Unless, of course, you mean we question american orthodoxy, in which case I, and I can only speak for myself here, am guilty as charged.

At 3/19/2008 6:50 AM, Blogger Kyle R. Cupp said...


Could you please gives some examples of Vox Nova's rampant heterodoxy?

At 3/19/2008 9:34 AM, Anonymous paul zummo said...

I'm no defender of many of Vox Nova's political stands, but I have to side with Jay here. When it comes to matters of the faith, they are certainly not heterodox. In paricular, Morning's Minion and I agree on very little when it comes to politics, but we're on the same page when it comes to matter theological and liturgical.

At 3/19/2008 10:10 AM, Blogger Tito said...

Paul, Michael, Kyle, Jay

As Christians, specifically Catholics, we adhere to Christ's teaching to love one another as we would be done unto us.

I find it highly heterodoxical when the vast majority of bloggers and commentators on Vox Nova begin insulting and putting down Catholics such as myself and many others on that blog.

Morning Minions falls into that category.

If you are able to tap dance and split hairs and defend such action then I believe the discussion ends here because I have never been on any other Catholic blog in which such hatred and meanness is so prevalent.

A fine example is the March 16 posting by Policraticus attacing Dave Hartline of Catholic Report.

I categorically and respectfully disagree with you all who continue to defend such un-Christian attitudes.

If that doesn't fall under being a Christian, specifically a Catholic, then we all live on different worlds.

At 3/19/2008 10:29 AM, Anonymous paul zummo said...


If unkind comments on a blog signify heterdoxy, then I would qualify as a heterodox Catholic myself, for I have been guilty. Now, I happen to agree that those fellas go a little bit too far in their put downs of people who disagree with them, but sadly boorish blog behavior is a common sin.

At 3/19/2008 10:34 AM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...


I agree that the post about Dave was over the line. Not so much the post itself as many of the comments.

Even today, Henry referred to Dave as "an amateur" in response to Dave's post at The Catholic Report. But that sort of personal nonsense is prevalent on a LOT of blogs, not just Vox Nova. I wish all the blogs would tone it down, but I don't think it will happen in this political season.

At 3/19/2008 12:05 PM, Blogger Kyle R. Cupp said...


I've read a lot of your critical assertions about Vox Nova on a number of different blogs. Faultfinding criticism of Vox Nova is a common theme for you. Why?

At 3/19/2008 12:21 PM, Blogger Tito said...

Paul, Michael, Kyle, Jay,

It's a pleasure engaging in a lively discussion with you all.

Yes, many of us (including myself) can fall under that category of being heterodox. I make no excuses and accept that about myself and try to be a better Christian, though I do stumble.


Excellent point. I am making a point of how uncharitable the discussion have become. For some insider information I have extended a hand of friendship to both Poli and Kat and it was viciously bitten off (rhetorically speaking).

I'm sure the vast majority of those that contribute to the negative tone at Vox Nova are actually quite descent and good people beyond a shadow of a doubt. Unfortunately the anonymity of blogging brings out the not-so-good nature of many of us, and I do include myself in that motley bunch.

I like what Vox Nova is striving for a forum of debating critical and important issues to Catholics and they certainly have argueably the best debating forum in blog format around (Catholic Answers is by far and away number one).

But the tone and nastiness have driven many (smart albeit) Catholics away from this forum because of the negativity. We don't need that to sour the image of Catholics. And that is the crux of the problem, Vox Nova is a poor ambassador of what a Catholic should be because when someone from the outside witnesses what goes on there all they come away with is how poorly we even treat each other! And how is that like living the message of Jesus?

Thank you all for contributing to such a constructive and engaging discussion.


At 3/19/2008 1:43 PM, Blogger Henry Karlson said...


The problem is - Dave is an amateur. His own discussion of himself as someone whose specialty is in politics demonstrates this. He constantly gets theological questions wrong. Why is it that people who engage in amateur theological discussion should be given freedom to do so, but people who actually engage the field can't point it out? And yet do you want an amateur doctor to take care of your health problems?

It's a problem and it is the same kind of problem inherent within Protestantism in general. It thinks that everyone's opinion on theological matters are equal. Not true.

More importantly, Dave has been making all kinds of claims (and misrepresentations) of Vox Nova, like suggesting who are "theologians" are. Please, note that Dave was the first to make claims and then he was called to task for them. They were false. His response is to name call. Pointing out someone is not an expert in a field which they judge others on is not name calling.

At 3/19/2008 1:45 PM, Blogger Henry Karlson said...


None of that addresses your claims of heterodoxy for Vox Nova. Whether or not we are uncharitable in addressing people who attack us is a different question.


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