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Monday, July 07, 2008

What's the point?

Meaning the sophomoric finger-in-the-eye posted by self-described "Catholic anarchist" Michael Iafrate at Vox Nova.

I've racked my brain trying to find a non-ego-driven reason for what is the equivalent of a frat boy mooning episode. I haven't found it.

Vox Nova aims very high, indeed: "United in our Catholic, pro-person worldview, yet diverging in our socio-political opinions, we seek to provide informed commentary and rigorous debate on culture, society, politics and law, all while unwaveringly adhering to, and aptly applying the principles of Catholic doctrine." It is to VN's great credit that it hits this target as often as it does. Even professional gadfly Morning's Minion has cranked the occasional shot over the fences.

Which makes Iafrate's (or should that be iafrate's?) "look at me" nose-pulling all the more striking. If he wants to be Ted Rall with a rosary, so be it. Substance? There is none. Let's see: St. Elizabeth was Queen of Portugal, a land born of two bloody struggles for freedom, the Reconquista against the Muslims and secession from Spain. She was Queen two generations after Portugal finished taking the southernmost part of the nation from the followers of Muhammad.

Yet she's the counter-"american" Saint? De gustibus.

There's no attempt to persuade, no suggestion that those on the other side are anything other than quasi-blasphemous dupes. Nope--just time to break one off in their punchbowl. All the while asserting with a straight face that, no, of course not, he doesn't hate America. Indeed, how could one come to such a conclusion?

In the final analysis, the 4th of July post lacks a truly Catholic spirit, as Benedict XVI would admonish him. Without hesitation, the Pope referred to America as "this great country" and praised the founding documents. The most Iafrate can do is the ipse dixit "I don't hate it."

Moreover, he's capable of much better, as his series on Appalachia shows. Yes, it's sometimes freighted with theological jargon, but genuine concern and care for the "least" among us shines through.

Such is not for the killbots/killbot enablers who go to parades and display the Stars and Stripes, however. No, for them it's the tall finger of fellowship, served up with the sneer of a pharisee.

Vox Nova's bloggers can publish what they want, and I am neither suggesting nor implying in any way that the post should be taken down. I simply recommend that they consider the effect of such posts in light of their stated aims. These sorts of things have the effect of making people wash their hands of the entire endeavor, which would be a genuine shame.

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