Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Why the lack of Canadian Catholic Content?

Colin Kerr laments the lack of Canadian Content in the Canucki Cathosphere:

I can't believe I just wrote that, having grown up loathing things like CBC and the CRTC's Canadian content regulations which made it possible. I should have said, "Canadian Catholic Content." Is that any better? Yes. Frankly, we look south too much. The negative in this is that we pay less attention to our own problems and blessings. Thus, we leave too much space to trivialities. Again, look to The Catholic Register (seemingly my bete noire, for some reason). Excluding Fr. de Souza and Michael Coren, why is it that we get our best Catholic analysis from people like Rex Murphy? Do we know the great American bishops and other personalities better than we know our own? Our bishops and our 'personalities' are the ones who should be 'informing' us (in the Aristotelian sense) - otherwise we will be too 'represented' by people like Justin Trudeau.

I have a hunch about why there is so little Canadian content.

1. Most Canadian Catholics live in Quebec. 'Nuff said. There isn't even much of a Quebec cathosphere in French.

2. This is my gut instinct but: the local church is highly irrelevant to the lives of orthodox Canadian Catholics, especially to those of the generation who might blog.

If you care about the Catholic faith and are orthodox, chances are, your local parish is a big turn off. Even if it's not a big turn off and your parish priest is half-ways decent, you have so little connection to it that it's basically a sacramental service centre. The priest is stretched thin and he is more concerned by his pet spiritual populations, of which you probably don't belong if you are middle-aged and middle class.So you never really talk to the priest.  The parish is, all in all,  the place you go for the Eucharist on Sundays. The liturgy and the homily are annoyances you sit through to get to The Prize.

  For 99.9% of the Catholic population, orthodox or not,  the actions and teachings of the bishops are irrelevant to their day-to-day spiritual journey.  Much as I love my Archbishop, the things he says on a daily basis do not inform me at all. Once in a blue moon, he'll do something really pro-life, or he'll say something interesting on his blog, but that's about it.

The problem is that by the time bishops get involved in a public file, it's usually too late. Abortion and Gay Marriage are the prime examples of that. By the time the bishops realize they need to wake up to the issue, they're already voting on it in Parliament. The bishops also don't get involved in major cultural or intellectual issues of interest like relativism, evangelization (you know, SAVING SOULS), orthodoxy, fighting modernism and that sort of thing.

The interests of the professional Catholic class and those of the average orthodox Catholic have nothing to do with one another, and if they do, it's coincidence. There are very few notable Catholics who speak the minds of the orthodox hoi polloi in Canada. Perhaps that's why so many Canadians look to the US for opinion and commentary.

Canadian orthodox Catholics look to the Pope for leadership, not the bishops.  The Pope speaks to the concerns of faithful, and he says what the faithful are dying for him to say. Some of the American bishops, like Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia, also articulate orthodox concerns. Professional Canadian Catholics generally don't.

My sense is that there is also a lack of Catholic writing in general in Canada, not just Catholic blogging. Blogging lives off of more formal articles and opinion pieces. I can't think of a Canadian version of First Things or other lofty reviews.

With a Canadian Catholic blogroll, maybe this lack of Canadian consciousness may change.