Sunday, March 07, 2010

The inimitable Miss Dawn Eden

I'm a bit fussy about blogs and online commentary, generally. I don't read Mark Shea at all, for example. It's not that I think he's a bad person, or a bad writer; it's just that his propensity for flying off the handle, telling people who disagree with him that they are wicked rather than mistaken gets a bit tiresome. So I avoid his blog and all his online commentary, and won't read his books. Life's too short to waste time reading stuff that's as wrong-headed as a significant chunk of Shea's writing is.

However irritating Mark Shea is, he does do some good. Doug Giles is entirely another case. Giles is a commentator, inter alia, for, a conservative American website; his columns are nasty, mean spirited and spiteful and that's on a good day. It's possible that he's a thoughtful, humble Christian in person but his writing style is that of a bullying braggart.

His latest target is the one and only Dawn Eden. I have been an admirer of Dawn's writing for many years, have read her book and since she decided to close the blogging chapter of her life, there's still the occasional column on Headline Bistro, Deo gratias. It seems that Dawn, as a student of moral theology and a journalist herself, questioned the tactics of a pair of undercover freelance investigators who were going after a corrupt left-wing organisation with links to Barack Obama, no less. Just as people of good will can disagree respectfully about serious issues, as Dawn herself showed in the controversy over Christopher West's comparison of Pope John Paul II with Hugh Hefner, so good people can disagree about where to draw the ethical line in investigative reporting. This is especially true when it comes to undercover work. "Undercover" is in this case a euphemism for deceiving people about who and what you are, for the purpose of uncovering wrongdoing. The question whether this kind of work comports with the standard expected of Christians in light of Matthew 5:37 is pretty serious. Not for Mr Giles, however, who is, in addition to being a bully, not much of a scriptural scholar. He seems to think that the story of Our Lord openly driving the money changers out of the Temple is analogous to his 20 year old daughter masquerading as a prostitute. I'm not sure how he made that leap nor how any rational human being could, but that's a problem for Mr Giles rather than anyone else. In any case, for the benefit of the Google-challenged Mr Giles, Dawn Eden returns a little over 47,000 hits; try a little research next time, Doug or better yet, try really taking Scripture to heart rather than mining it for insults or soundbites.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Fr Z's interesting but somewhat scary post on exorcisms etc.

Fr John Zuhlsdorf is always interesting, sometimes quirky but has a deeply serious spiritual side to his blogging. It seems to me that he is a priest-blogger for whom the first part of that description is deteminative over the latter. In his latest post, he tackles some of the stranger allegations about demon-worship in high places in the Church. Fr Gabriele Amorth seems to have published another volume of memoirs, or more probably another book of interviews, which gave rise to the latest speculation. As you'll see from the link above, as sensible and scholarly a critic as Dr Ed Peters is very wary of taking Amorth seriously.

Fr Z fisks the CNA article which covers the whole business; also mentioned is Fr Jose Fortea whose book on the subject I mentioned here. Also in that post is a run down of the readily available literature in English on exorcism. Having covered it then, I have no inclination to revisit it now. So for what its worth, I'll refer those interested to last year's post.