Simcha Fisher, author of The Sinner’s Guide to Natural Family Planning writes for several publications and blogs daily at Aleteia. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and ten children. Without supernatural aid, she would hardly be a human being.
Oh. My. Gosh. I just read the worst blog post ever. I'm going to sit right down and let the author know exactly what I think. That'll show 'em!
Yeah, maybe not. Something tells me the author has heard it all before, and the only reason you don't get a personal response is because the writer you think you're demolishing is either bored to death, or just went to confession because of being a jerk on the internet, and doesn't want to bore the priest to death.
But just in case you're wondering, here are ten of the most common criticisms Catholic authors hear -- and the responses that the author is almost certainly thinking.
1. You're just trying to get attention with this! Oh gosh-all-whillikers, not attention! You mean that I made an effort to write in such a way as to persuade people to click on the headline, think about what I said, and elicit a response of some kind? Is outrage! Next time I have a thought, I'll jot it down on an orange peel and bury it under the shed. You know, for the greater glory of God.
(If I'm writing flagrantly click-baity headlines, attaching photos of Mila Kunis' chestal area, or just plain lying about stuff, then that's no good. But just being interesting? That's my job.)
2. You're making money by writing about your faith! Oh, I love this one. I use letters "G-O-D" on my keyboard and also draw a paycheck every month. Might as well change my name to $imcha Fi$her, get a diamond-encrusted Bible, and get with the Joel Osteen Spiritual Self Tanning Regimen, all because my kids have this swinish attachment to eating three meals a day.
Now, it is both tacky and spiritually dangerous to turn one's faith into a business, but it does not follow that everyone who gets paid for their work is guilty of this crime. It just means that Catholics and who have a valuable service to offer also have to pay for things like electricity and food, just like you do. And it means that there are only so many hours in a day, and if I spend eight hours earning "honest" money by digging ditches, I'll have less time and energy and mental wherewithal to devote to things like writing about my faith. Think of it this way: do you really want all of your Catholic writing (and art, and music, and architecture, and web design, and so on) to be done by volunteers? Like the people who make posters for the parish rummage sale? Is that what you want?
3. This isn't exactly a new idea you've expressed here. Well, duh. No one is really sure how many billions of people have ever lived, but it is a lot of billions of people, that's for sure. Most of them have thought of ideas, most of them have said them out loud, and a whole lot of them have written them down for other people to read. What are the chances of me coming up with something brand new, that has never been said before? Zero. Absolutely zero. I am okay with this, and you should be, too.
4. You've only presented one aspect of this topic. Yes, well, I didn't think you would read this blog post if it were 900,000 words long, so I only presented one aspect of the topic. If I claimed that I said all there was to be said in 750 words, then shame on me, but if I just said, "Here's something that seems true to me," then that is what is called "writing."
5. You say "XYZ," but I have here a screen cap from eleven years ago when you said, "ABC!" Wait, you mean I've changed my mind about something at some point in my lifetime? Behold, a human being who hasn't sprung forth from the skull of Zeus with fully formed ideas about every possible topic! Avert your eyes from the grotesque specimen of a human mind that shows signs of maturing over the years! How foul. How unimaginably foul.
6. Ha, you're trying to write a factual, articulate essay about something you've researched, and yet here is a picture of you where you are a woman who is not attractive to me. I know, right? Also, feminism is bad.
7. Oh, like I should trust a convert/revert to tell me anything about the faith of my fathers. Yes, by all means, ignore the words of someone who went through a strenuous, deliberate, probably painful process of working their way into the Church. Surely someone like that hasn't learned anything, and is lazy and complacent, and isn't invested in pursuing the truth. If there's one thing we've learned from the Gospels, it's that Jesus can't stand it when people drop everything and follow Him. Pff, converts.
8. I was hoping this essay would be exactly what I needed to hear today, but instead it was about something that I didn't feel like reading. I'm sorry? I guess?
9. You're writing about spiritual matters, but you're fat, and gluttony is a sin, sooooo . . . So one of my sins shows on the outside. Where do you keep the evidence of your sins? In the attic? In your breast pocket? Or maybe just in my comment box, hmmm?
10. You're just trying to persuade other people that you're right about this issue! A thousand pardons. Henceforth, I shall confine myself to writing about things I'm pretty sure I'm wrong about.
11. Why so defensive? See #1-10, above.