There's a lot of great commentary out there about the changes taking place at the Register and blogosphere, so I won't repeat them.
I will say that while I'm sorry the changes will result in a loss of income for two Catholic families, I am very happy about the positive ways it will change our ability to evangelize the people we love. Ultimately, these are changes to the efficacy of the truth and salvation of our people. These changes will help us shepherd our people to the fiat of living each day in a state of Sanctifying Grace and I am so happy about this outcome, I could do a cartwheel.
And I am really happy for the folks at EWTN. The rift with faithful Catholics has widened over the years and it had a negative impact upon Mother Angelica's mission to preserve our families from the hostility within. I truly believe these changes happened with her intercession.
Lots of people contributed to this outcome. People who tried to reach out privately to EWTN, Catholics who were forced to point out the errors on blogs, Austin's, Steven, John Henry and Jason's articles over the last few months.
I couldn't agree more with this comment from Fr. Heilman.
I see an amazing group of devout Catholics who have been beat up by a powerful progressive movement for 50 years, finally seeing some cause for rejoicing. The ship is turning ... slowly ... but it is turning.
My general advice going forward would be to pay as little attention to Mark and Simcha as possible. Chances are, their behavior is going to get a lot worse before it gets better. They've got to keep up the feud, keep blaming others for the outcome they caused and bearing false witness to make themselves relevant and I think the less relevant they become, the more outrageous that conduct will become.
Case in point, Mark's latest post.
In it, he caritcatures Simcha's 'a bawdry d*ick joke' (gross, but it must be said) as similar to the Scriptural writings of St. Paul. He continues with the flaw of painting Catholic prolife activists as salacious and bloodthirsty and efforts to topple the infiltration of Mother Angelica's apostolate as politically-motivated while painting Simcha as a person who wouldn't harm a fly.
She does none harm. She says none harm. She thinks none harm.
But there was a plethora of evidence to the contrary.
EWTN is is refuge from the hostility Church teaching faces in our parish, communities and in the public square. The enemy had set up camp within it and were launching grenades at faithful Catholics for years. She and husband conducted themselves with viscous conduct. True, not quite as vicious as Mark, but it was vicious. Vulgar and vicious. They were teaching that conduct to others and we were encountering it in our parishes, community and the public square.
This was contrary to Mother Angelica's reasons for building. the refuge from it. As a result, the Register began to lose their base of readers. That, combined with their refusal to stop it for years did significant damage to the Register. The broken trust and hostility was going to go one way or the other. Many of us had given up hope it was gonzo. Like thousands of other aposolates we have had the misfortune to lose.
I believe one of the main reasons for this 180 degree turn-around was Shimek's article. If they need a scapegoat for their own accountability, they can blame Shimek.
Fr. Longnecker explains the same reasons I have been articulating in a different way.
I think we ought to put things in perspective. First of all, I think Mark and Simcha’s main problem is that they forgot some of the basic rules of writing. I’ve always understood that a good writer writes primarily for his audience–not for himself. This doesn’t mean one has to pander to the audience and simply feed the monkeys. It does mean that you keep your audience in mind so that when you challenge them you challenge them in a way they will be able to hear and understand. In other words, you build up trust with your audience. People should come back to your blog or your column because you are going to inspire, entertain and challenge them, but if all you do is inspire or entertain or challenge they will soon look elsewhere.
If I’m right about this, the release of Mark and Simcha doesn’t have as much to do with their behavior as people, but with their behavior as writers. They’re both good writers, but maybe they forgot that to be a writer you are in a position of respect with your audience. If you know your audience is conservative religious people, then it’s not too smart to use profanity, go on ceaselessly about how dumb and hypocritical they are and how stupid their pet projects are. Criticize by all means, but criticize in a smart and specific way. It is possible to criticize with wit and charity–although in the present political climate I admit that this is increasingly difficult.
In my opinion Mark and Simcha were released not because they are bad people or bad writers or bad Catholics but simply because they were no longer successfully connecting with their audience.
I hope in a few days, they'll start thinking and acting rational and go on to make changes and recover. The only other choice they have is to continue to pass out the koolaid WITHOUT the sponsorship of EWTN. That will be like talking to a refrigerator.
They have our prayers but it is time to put our energy into building a new Catholic blogosphere.
A reader pointed us to a great summary on angelqueen:
Still ranting in irrational outbursts, smearing and anathematizing Catholics. Tough case.
Part of the problem may have been a failure to understand how the teaching on abortion applies to politics as well as a failure to grasp Catholic sensibilities in Catholic culture. Fortunately, there is a cure for that problem. It’s called a Catholic education. There is still time to look into that.
The abortion issue in this year’s presidential election in the United States requires an exercise of reason and rational prudential judgment, not the knee-jerk emotionalism of the NeverTrumpers’ virtue signaling. There are still Catholic colleges and high schools which teach enough about natural law and Thomistic philosophy to find one’s footing in the exercise of reason and prudential judgments in the world of reality. That would provide a good remedy for these anti-Catholic outbursts. Conversion should include embracing the Catholic teachings on natural law and prudential judgments on the abortion issue in politics. That is essential for becoming an informed, sound, and educated adult Catholic. It might also provide some help in avoiding accusations about a lack of charity in future exchanges on this controversy.
And that's the way it is.