A reason to follow the major catholic bloggers on Twitter

From time to time as ask for more followers on Twitter.Twitter

I’ll ask again… follow me on Twitter: @father

Today I was glad I had followed a couple of major Catholic Tweeters, in this case the young Papist and on the other the new agency paid for by the US Catholic Bishops, the Catholic News Service.

Here is an exchange, with my tweet interposed.

Sharp words from NCReporter: RT @NCRonline: NCR editorial: A hierarchy deeply damaged from within http://tinyurl.com/29llydp #CNSclient

@CatholicNewsSvc again, why are you RT’ing this nonsense from @ncronline? They are taking all the wrong lessons from the abuse scandal!

Remember, when we retweet we’re not saying we endorse or agree, just that this might be something you may want to know from a #CNSclient

@CatholicNewsSvc i know (and continue to disagree with) the policy. please tell me what good can be gleaned from this @NCRonline article??

@americanpapist You seem to want to shoot the messenger. How can people engage an issue if they don’t know what the "opposition" is saying?

@CatholicNewsSvc It’s not part of your mission to disseminate ecclesiological falsehoods. Catholics get plenty of that w/o your help. Savvy?

@CatholicNewsSvc also, to my knowledge, @NCRonline does not RT ur material when it is critical/antithetical to their positions. so why do u?

@CatholicNewsSvc unless it’s the position of CNS that the hierarchy ought to be dismantled and that the sex abuse scandal was caused by it.

@americanpapist Oh pleeease — how patently silly! Hope you’re just being overly sarcastic. Yeah, right, we want the hierarchy dismantled?

@CatholicNewsSvc Dismantle the hierarchy? CNS is "a financially self-sustaining division of the USCCB". Bite not the hand, and all that.

@CatholicNewsSvc are you telling me that the majority of @NCRonline’s readers *dont* want to see the hierarchy dismantled? how naive of you!


@americanpapist Oh pleeease (again!) Naive? We’ll let the rest of the Twitterverse decide that. Like I said, enuf 4 today. I’m moving on …


Draw your own conclusions.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. DT says:

    Oh my!! I wonder who is the journalist for CNS’s Twitter news feeds? Perhaps I should err on the side of charity and presume said journalist has not read the “Fishwrap”?

  2. pcstokell says:

    Why anyone would RT – or even follow – @NCReporter or @USCatholic is beyond me. CNS calls them “clients,” so there is more money than principles involved here.

  3. Paula says:

    Actually, that sort of exchange is exactly why I *don’t* follow anyone on Twitter.

  4. JPG says:

    Agree with DT. However would not refer to NCreporter as fishwrap so much as cage liner.
    On second thought I am sceptical of any affiliation with the MSM in any in any reporting even if they are on the bishops payroll. I would expect ther usual shallow analysis.

  5. Mamma B says:

    Twitter — just like being back in middle school

  6. TrueLiturgy says:

    Oh wow! Immature much?!

    Completely agree with Mamma B!

  7. Jordanes says:

    I don’t do Twitter, for a lot of reasons. This exchange doesn’t make we want to sign up.

    Sorry, Father.

  8. Jerry says:

    “please tell me what good can be gleaned from this @NCRonline article”

    It doesn’t have to be about what good can be gleaned from the article. The good in this case is the faithful being alerted so they can respond to the NCR article.

    My conclusion? @americanpapist was out of line from start to finish. If he wanted to alert people to the falsehoods in the article, he could have done so without the arrogant exchange.

  9. Athelstan says:

    I also don’t do twitter – and here’s a reason why.

    I have mixed feelings about what Tom is trying to say. NCR Is clearly a heretical rag, root and branch opposed to the Church’s teaching and tradition. I would never in a million years allow it to be distributed in my parish. Yet it is also possessed of a few worthwhile aspects – that is, John Allen and much of its reporting (not commentary) on the abuse scandals, where it has actually managed some scoops. Which is more than you can say for the Register.

    The best move may be to move out Allen and one or two of its best reporters and incinerate everything else that’s left. And retire the staff.

  10. shane says:

    I don’t ‘get’ Twitter either, and have a huge distate for CNS (and the NCR), but I tend to agree with Jerry. I think AmericanPapist should have just refuted the NCR editorial. I regularly read anti-Catholic articles on the abuse scandals (etc) if only to be able to appreciate what the critics are saying. CNS were not endorsing the content of the article; I’d likewise be unsurprised if they linked to popular secular newspaper articles on the Catholic Church.

  11. ray from mn says:

    American Papist is incredibly full of his own importance. And I have never been able to figure out why so many think he is important. He started out wanting not information, but to pick a fight.

    I would be bored silly if I only read things I agreed with.

    It is important to know what the opposition is saying, and NCReporter is usually the opposition, except when John Allen and a few others write. They have done some good stuff on the women religious orders issue and some other contemporary Catholic issues too.

  12. ejcmartin says:

    Funny I usually find out about NCR articles from Father Z. I don’t see a problem with CNS letting people know either.

  13. Luke says:

    I logged in to comment with the intention of agreeing with American Papist, but now that I’m typing…. I think I really only agree with the anti-twitter crowd. Also, NCR should be raised to the ground. I wish the Church hadn’t of gone all soft on us and allowed trash like NCR to continue it’s existence. We need “Bishops with Backbones!”

    Sorry for the rant.

    PS- I could go my whole life without hearing the words “pastoral approach” used to justify the watering down of our principles and our faith in it’s application.

  14. Leonius says:

    “The good in this case is the faithful being alerted so they can respond to the NCR article.”

    That attitude I feel is incredibly naive.

    NCR are more than happy for you to respond to their articles in fact the want you to respond, the more of a response an article gets the better it is judged to be by them, and it does not matter whether that response is positive or negative, what matters to them is that they are getting publicity and thus more people reading their paper/website. In the media business readership is everything, not because of the price people pay for the media but because of the advertising space they can then sell based on how many people will look at see advert, whether you are looking to oppose them or agree really does not matter, all that matters is that you look. And the articles that get the most looks are the best so by looking you are only encouraging them to make more articles like the very ones you want to stop.

    In the media world there is no such thing as bad publicity, or what the French more succinctly term Succès de scandale, success from scandal.

  15. Athelstan says:

    NCR are more than happy for you to respond to their articles in fact the want you to respond, the more of a response an article gets the better it is judged to be by them, and it does not matter whether that response is positive or negative, what matters to them is that they are getting publicity and thus more people reading their paper/website.

    Certainly a publication whose average reader is 69 years old (as of 2005 – it may be older now) can’t afford otherwise.

    Nonetheless, I have had more than one reasonable post left unpublished in their comboxes.

  16. bookworm says:

    I worked for a diocesan newspaper for quite a few years. Catholic News Service is the main, and for some the ONLY, source of national and world Catholic Church news that they have. It is to the Catholic press (liberal, traddie, diocesan, or whatever) what AP, Reuters, and other news agencies are to the secular press. As such they have to be “all things to all people,” If it’s of Catholic interest, good or bad, they report it; what their subscribers or clients do with the information is up to them. Their mission is not quite the same as that of special-interest blogs like American Papist or WDTPRS. Thomas Peters should know that, and I think his criticism were out of line.

    In the old days when reporters wore fedoras, scribbled in notebooks, and used manual typewriters and carbons, when AP or UPI moved an important story the wire service teletype machine would ring three times to alert newspaper editors. Today, AP and other news organizations use Tweets to do the same thing. More and more stories are actually being covered by live Tweeting or live blogging.

    When CNS retweeted the NCR story, they were merely alerting their clients to information that might be of interest to them. It doesn’t mean that the reporters themselves, or the editors, or CNS as an organization agreed with the article’s conclusions.

  17. Peggy R says:

    I’ll comment on Twitter. I am so-so about Twitter. It does seem like teen texting. I see a lot of “inside baseball” or gossip among journalists’ back and forths, which I guess is supposed to impress us plebians. Sometimes breaking news is posted that way, however. Sometimes you sense another side of a journalist you don’t normally sense in straight up edited work they produce.

    I have to say the one journalist whose Twitters have interested me is Mark Knoller. I have heard him for decades as the most dour, depressed sounding and looking WH reporter. The man is, however, a vast database of presidential knowledge and insights. He tweets little factoids that often are interesting. I also sensed in his posts that he does not quite believe all the mainline liberal media stuff that his radio reports convey. He’s nailed O on a few things, such as his frequent golfing and lack of church attendance.

  18. Leonius says:

    “It doesn’t mean that the reporters themselves, or the editors, or CNS as an organization agreed with the article’s conclusions.”

    Unfortunately for them simply helping to disseminate dissent is problematic, they don’t have to agree with it to assist it and therefore become guilty of it.

    Let me ask you, If they were spreading abortion advice while saying they don’t actually agree with abortion would that be ok with you?

  19. doanli says:

    This was a joke.

    Right, Father?

  20. Jerry says:

    re: Leonius – “Let me ask you, If they were spreading abortion advice while saying they don’t actually agree with abortion would that be ok with you?”

    Invalid analogy: the NCR article isn’t giving advice on how to commit a mortal sin.

    If it’s inappropriate for CNS to bring the NCR article to the attention of its readers, then is it not also inappropriate for Fr. Z to do so?

    Hummm… Does AmericanPapist link to objectionable articles in his blog? If so, isn’t he being hypocritical?

  21. Brady says:

    Hey, you people back off my boy Tom lol. I kind of agree that he may have been a little out of line. But, on the flip side I can certainly see why he reacted like he did. Whenever I see something like this from NCR my blood pressure skyrockets. I know its not true, and is riddled with errors, but I also know people are reading it, and believing it. This hurts Holy Mother Church, and makes me mad. So I can see why Tom would respond like that. On another note, I dont think Tom is arrogant either, he is smart, and plays the game with the media, he has to buy into some of their rhetoric to get his points across.

  22. Augustine Terra Mariae says:

    It’s like listening in on an conversation in the junior high school bathroom–both sides of the conversation. Two distinct kinds of immaturity in full flower.

  23. The Cobbler says:

    Wow. Ordinarily good bloggers talk past each other when limited to sound-bites. Who knew?

    American Papist rightly criticizes the spreading of heretical views without comment on their heresy, but fails to make the crucial point that it’s the spreading of error without spreading or otherwise aiding its refutation that is problematic. Without that point, his comments apply just as well to himself and Fr. Z alerting readers to heresy, as some above have pointed out.

    Unless I’m simply missing some backstory to this exchange, regarding CNS’s already (but elsewhere) given position on these matters?

    And then, I can’t really tell what Fr. Z himself was trying to say. Addressed to CNS, it sounds like he’s trying to tell them to be careful not to hurt their backing, but in that case I think he ought to have been clarifying American Papist’s point about it being harmful to the hierarchy rather than speaking as if that were given. On the other hand, it would make sense for him to be arguing that CNS probably isn’t intending to harm the hierarchy, but then I would expect it addressed to AmP.

    Of course, Fr. Z, you could probably clarify your meaning here in the blog where you don’t have the 140 limit, but you’d do so at the risk of proving there was a problem with Twitter (or at least a great risk of problems). 8^)

    All that said, I really doubt this exchange reflects worthily on its participants. Based on my experience reading Fr. Z I’m confident he’s sensible, wise, and everything else good that doesn’t come out well over these tweets.

  24. smad0142 says:

    Between seeing this post and a commenter on “a minor friar” blog telling Fr. Charles to ride “dirtay” the 2 weeks running up to my 18 birthday have been fantastic.

  25. Oneros says:

    What disturbs me is that all involved seem to agree this article is by “the opposition” and that it needs to be refuted.

    There is just disagreement as to whether it should be brought to everyone’s attention (so they can see what “the opposition” is saying) or not (because why “disseminate ecclesiological falsehoods”).

    In reality, they’re all wrong, because the article in question is SPOT ON about the problems in the hierarchy and the culture of clericalist corruption right now. It should be brought to everyone’s attention, but not in order to refute it…but, rather, because it is a great article.

  26. avecrux says:

    Still trying to figure out why so many people commenting here think argumentation is immature. Surely if it was “Toy Story 3 is the best movie EVER..” “No it isn’t…” Yes it is…” “No it isn’t…” – then, I think you all pushing the immaturity angle might have a point. But certainly it is proper to defend the truth – or in this case, the Truth, with a capital “T”? If this was a scene out of “A Man for All Seasons”, how many would speak about St. Thomas More’s heroism? Didn’t he engage in similar exchanges with those who would either pervert the truth or become a party to such perversion?
    Fr. Z’s point is well taken. CNS is “a financially self-sustaining division of the USCCB”. Period. As such, it IS fundamentally “special interest” and cannot be “all things to all men” (whatever that means – hasn’t our good Holy Father spoken about a “dictatorship of relativism”?).

  27. irishgirl says:

    Yikes-the tone of this exchange is straight out of high school!

    One reason why I don’t understand-much less subscribe to-Twitter.

  28. lacrossecath says:

    Thomas has on other occasions Tweeted his thoughts to the CNS. But its infestation is what brought about the Catholic News Agency in the first place.

  29. The extra venom comes from the clash of conventions. Usually, retweeting is taken to mean “This is good”. In commercial contexts, a retweet means “I wish to drive hits your way, so that you will make money.” This is why so many ad groups have people tweeting and retweeting messages as part of their duties. If they can work up an interesting feed, all their ad-related tweets will also be passed along to those who follow them. Many clients pay per click to their Twitter or ad-supported webpage.

    So one person is thinking it’s about pointing out news, and the other person is thinking it’s giving them influence and ad money for free. Both are right.

  30. Oneros says:

    I still don’t understand the problem. Why is there anything wrong with what this article says??

  31. Suburban: Sometimes I retweet things I think are suboptimal, but I indicate that I think they are suboptimal.

  32. DT says:

    @ Oneros-

    Re-examine the NCR author’s conclusions. . .

    “What seems clear at this moment is that the hierarchy as it has evolved in the past half millennium is deeply damaged from within. And there is little evidence of the imagination, the creativity, the spirit, necessary to repair or rethink the structure.”

    Our Holy Father has mentioned time and time again that the root of the evil that we are currently facing is found in sin. No amount of human tinkering can “fix” the issue completely.

  33. Jackie L says:

    NCReporter has only one sensible contributor, and that is John Allen. The one or two others that a few people here mentioned simply don’t exist.

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