Wednesday, 29 June 2016

On the Latest Papal Scandals and Social Media

Yes, I'm shocked, too. Yes, I too fear for faithful teachers and parents. Yes, like many of you, I am appalled. Much good that will do me or anyone. As a layperson, I have never felt so helpless.

Can you imagine what Mother Teresa would say, were she alive? Or Sister Lucia of Fatima?

Meanwhile, I was so disturbed by writings on Facebook after the Brexit vote--the seething hatred and simpleminded scorn for Brexit voters--that I may give up Facebook entirely. Like Twitter, Facebook seems to encourage anger, scorn, strife and snowballing mass stupidity. There are Facebookers who seem to get all their information and opinions from social media, which they then repeat on social media as unshakable fact.

A Continental priest I know lowered himself enough to publish the slur "Britiots."  If he had written that in the heat of anger about English football louts, I would have understood. But for Britons who merely wish to free their country from rule by bureaucrats in Brussels?

Worse, however, were Americans and Canadians joining in the two-day hate against British Brexit voters. Someone actually called Boris Johnson "the British Trump". Guess why? His hair. They were quite obviously  extrapolating the rest of what they thought they knew about London's former mayor from his hair.

This is the media world to which Pope Francis makes his "off-the-cuff" remarks. Whenever he says anything that suits the World's agenda--and I think we understand from St. John the Evangelist what the World is--it gets turned into a soundbite for the eager consumers of social media. I shudder thinking of the courtrooms in which judges will tell Catholics that their "ideas" are not protected under freedom of religion because even Pope Francis says, "[Social media soundbite]."

What an appalling situation. And it should not be a surprise to anyone, for the World did that with Pope Benedict, too: first with the Regensburg Address, which led to the deaths of a priest and a woman religious, and then with his supposed lift "of the ban on condoms," which was so laughable, I wonder now if it weren't a kind of media trial balloon. ("Can we get away with that much?")

As for social media, there was one bright light on Brexit Day. After a day of growing horror at the seething hatred and stupidity of, especially, Millennials who apparently have never heard the word "No" in their coddled lives, the phone rang.

It was Der Guter, whom you will remember as my silly, funny German friend if you read Seraphic Singles (the book).  Der Guter had been watching the German news with his parents, and German reporters had gone to Edinburgh to talk to cheesed-off Remain voters.  Looking at the beautiful shots of Edinburgh, Der Guter thought of B.A. and me and wondered how we were feeling about Brexit. So he picked up the phone and phoned us up.

Der Guter is no longer a child by any stretch of the imagination. He is 32 and finishing his last degree, looking forward to joining the work world. Of course, he is still of a generation that likes to say "I think [this] and I think [that]" on social media, regardless of who among his friends might be disturbed. However, he doesn't do that. He wasn't interested in telling the British what he thought. He wanted to know what the British he knew thought. And so he phoned up--phoned, used a phone--to ask.

Der Guter means the Good, and now I really appreciate how apt that nickname.  Yes, okay, I once threw myself out of a boat to escape his witterings. However, at least they were good-natured witterings, not the appalling soundbites of Facebook and Twitter.  Meanwhile, we had a good old old-fashioned conversation, the once normal one between friends who haven't seen each other in a while, laughing over the day we first met and catching up on each other's lives. No photographs were exchanged. There were no emoticons.  It was truly human. It was great.


  1. Which Francis comment? Please be more specific. :-( PS a lot of Americans actually admire the Leave voters, but you wouldn't know it from the media.

  2. The latest ones--apologies and Luther. I'm not getting more specific than that, as I want to comfort people who feel scandalized, but not spread the scandal! If you don't know about them, that's great!

  3. There is a federal election coming up this weekend in Australia, and I think the (conservative-ish) incumbents will win. If they do, I look forward to posts on Facebook from my lefty friends that will go like this:

    "I'm ashamed to be Australian!"
    "I can't believe Australia has just chosen to stay behind the rest of the world!"
    "Shame on you, Australia - racists and h0m0ph0bes!"

    And so on. If the current government is re-elected, there will be a plebiscite on g@y m@rri@ge (if the other party wins, another pro-g@y m@rri@ge Bill will be presented to the parliament and it's very likely both houses would push it through.) So if we get a g@y m@rri@ge plebiscite and Australians vote to keep the current Marriage Act in place, my newsfeed will explode with lefties screaming about intolerance.

    It will be glorious.

    1. Ugh. It's frighteningly familiar. It's like there are only two political parties in the entire English-speaking world, one of them being the Party of the Screaming Right-On Marxist Polemicists. Although I may be wronging Marxists, for unless I am very mistaken, the Eastern Bloc commies were very solemn and serious about sexual morality, the purity of the young, etc. Well, at least on paper. At any rate Marxism + Really Truly Western Decadence = Shudder.