If you or anyone you know would be interested in this kind of writing, please contact me via email or via Catholic Lane. Here is the text of the letter below the jump.
Friends and Fellow Writers in the Lord,
Recently I was offered the position of Editor of the Learn and Live the Faith Department at Catholic Lane, where many of you have written before, and I hope you will continue to do so. To those who haven't yet written, I'm hoping you will consider doing so. Moving forward, I'd like to talk a bit about what this section of Catholic Lane is, and what I hope it can become.
In the Learn and Live the Faith section, we cover a wide area of commentary on Catholicism, including:
-Live in Christ (think spirituality)
-Those in Need (think the importance of charity, various outreach ministries, etc)
-Vocations (all Vocations, whether the married life or the religious life)
Provided one writes about these topics, they will be published, so long as:
- They do not contradict the official teaching of the Church
- You are a Catholic in good standing
- You do so in a non-polemical way, and maintain (more or less) a non-polemical nature in your apostolates. The Internet is full of far too much rancor. A lot of people are tired of the nasty arguments and constant ad hominems.
While I will generally accept anything within these parameters, I'd like to offer some general insights on a few of them; on where I think Catholic Lane can offer a unique insight within the Catholic Internet.
In Apologetics, I think we need to provide a lot more balance. I want to continue seeing articles about why Protestantism is wrong, but I think at times we focus too much on that. I don't want to see less of what we've already seen at Catholic Lane (so keep submitting them!) I just want to see more alongside it to balance it out. For example, there was an excellent article about why Peter is the Rock of Matthew 16:18 from Mr. Heschmeyer. Now that we have proven he is the rock, what does that mean for the Ordinary Catholic? Apologetics is about providing "hope for the faith that lies within" (1 Pet 3:15), and there's a lot of hope that comes from the unity the papacy provides. You could do this with a lot of topics.
For Catechesis, far too often catechesis is treated as a set of intellectual propositions to be believed. For St. Pius X, it was something quite different. In Acerbo Nimis, he said the following:
This is what I'd love to see more of. How does the precepts of Christianity help us to be a better person in God's eyes? For example, we can all give the technical definition of an indulgence. How do indulgences help us to live a life more acceptable to God?"The task of the catechist is to take up one or other of the truths of faith or of Christian morality and then explain it in all its parts; and since amendment of life is the chief aim of his instruction, the catechist must needs make a comparison between what God commands us to do and what is our actual conduct. After this, he will use examples appropriately taken from the Holy Scriptures, Church history, and the lives of the saints -- thus moving his hearers and clearly pointing out to them how they are to regulate their own conduct. He should, in conclusion, earnestly exhort all present to dread and avoid vice and to practice virtue."
For History, we don't just need to write about the Church Fathers, though it would be nice to cover what these voices tell us. What I would like to also focus on is any instance from history which teaches us about God and how he wants us to live.
When it comes to Spirituality, I think far too many are focused on various private revelations as I wrote in my latest column. I'd personally love to see a lot of devotional writing, but also writing on how various devotions can help increase our faith. Commentaries on the Rosary, on De Montfort's Total Consecration, the Angelus, devotion to various saints, the angels, etc. Most importantly, devotion to Christ, what that means, and how to go about it. I"d also love to see stuff on the spiritual masters of the Church. Thomas a Kempis, John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, St. Therese, Lorenzo Scupoli, Francis De Sales, etc.
In both of these last few categories, I think the liturgy is essential to forming us properly. We should focus how the lex orandi of the liturgy forms us in the lex credendi of our daily lives. As everyone knows, I'm a traditionalist who loves the Extraordinary Form, and has written lately on what I feel the best of traditionalism should be. I think we should do more of that, because a lot of times traditionalism on the Internet gets a bad rap as a bunch of bitter angry individuals who feed on scandal porn all day.
Yet I don't want to limit things to that. A healthy traditionalism is at the service of the Church, and all of the things we desire are things that all faithful Catholics can desire. So anyone who favors a solid orderly liturgy, whether traditionalist, lover of the ordinary form, eastern rite Catholics, various lawful uses approved by the Pope, all should be welcome. I want people to convey how their liturgical outlook lives at the service of the Church, instead of the Church catering to their desires and needs.
I also think we should do some writing about evangelization. How is it best done? What are tips and tricks to it? What is the New Evangelization, and how do we move it from the mere buzzword it is in so much of Catholicism into actual practice?
Finally, once a month I want to conduct interviews with worthy Catholic apostolates. The interviews should be between 700-1000 words typed out. For example, I'm doing the St. Paul Street Evangelization, and after that a ministry which emphasizes prayer and fasting so that victims of clerical abuse can find healing. I will also do after that a young adult group in Michigan that promotes devout liturgy of both forms, and even managed to help have a Latin Mass celebrated in Detroit's Cathedral. If you have any ideas, let me know
These are the kind of things I think that the Learn and Live the Faith section of Catholic Lane could cover, and we could be a pretty unique voice. If you have any ideas along these lines, please let me know. If you know anyone who could do this kind of writing and deserves exposure, please send them my way. It isn't a paying job, but it is a great way to get your name out there. As always, my virtual office is open if any of you would like to speak to me about how to best promote the Catholic faith. Be assured of all my prayers, and please pray for all of us on the staff of Catholic Lane, that we can provide a service worthy of the name Catholic.
Learn and Live the Faith Editor