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Just a word on this blog, for any newcomers:

For the first couple of years of this blog, it was an all-news all the time kind of place, but then that naturally got the best of me, although I still remain an inveterate news and information hound. But blogging so much (remember at the beginning Instapundit was the gold standard – not for me, but for blogging in general. Everyone sat in awe of his 40 posts a day or whatever. Heh.) is just too time consuming and has various other intellectual and mental consequences. So, most of the time, unless something is going that really interests me and on which I feel competent to comment, I am more selective. If you want lots and lots of news links, you should be checking these places:


American Papist

Cafeteria is Closed

Catholic Report

Christianity Today Weblog

The middle three have comments, those bracketing it do not.

In addition there are more that keep their eye on the Catholic news from various angles, of course – you all have your favorites. Kathy Shaidle, for example, keeps her eye trained on matters dhimmitudinous, etc.

So what is this blog? It’s whatever I feel like today – which is why I don’t have a PayPal donation button and don’t do fund drives. I want to feel freedom to do whatever with this blog – or nothing, frankly.  (Long-time readers do remember my one fundraiser for a new computer a year and a half ago, the results of which were fantastic and always appreciated, since there’s no way the blog could have continued at all without a laptop to carry around the house and blog where ever the children are.)

My blogging interests are in Catholic matters, of course, primarily the intersection of Church and culture, evangelization, liturgy and church politics. Hey, my Dad is a Professor Emeritus of Political Science. It’s in the blood.  I blog on literature, interesting sites that I see, sometimes my children, pop culture and politics. Life Issues of all sorts and the pursuit of holiness, particulary as it involves serving the poor.

There is absolutely no plan in my blogging. I think sometimes people don’t understand that. I lead a very scattered inner life, and what gets blogged on any given day is a factor of 1) how much time I have 2)what other work I have to do 3)what links I happen across or get generously sent 4)what I feel I can comment on, even just a little.  There are no plots, no great plans. In a recent comment thread someone accused me of ignoring the issue of capital punishment in favor of my harping on abortion. I tried to explain that this is pretty much a news-driven blog, and while abortion and the Catholic response to it is in the news a lot – capital punishment, not so much. I don’t plan a blog day on abortion and go searching out links.

I do have a couple of other things to say on the editing, as it were, of this blog. I blogged quite a bit on Iraq back in ’03, but haven’t done very much in the past couple of years. One of the reasons is that I am genuinely confused about what is going on over there, and don’t feel right in posting just anything without something from an opposing perspective. The second reason is that one of the most time-consuming aspects of a blog is monitoring comments, and threads on the Iraq war tend to get, not surprisingly, terribly heated. For a month now, I have been hoping to get something going in that regard again, even the hopes that some of you could help us by pointing to sources of information that can balance everything out, for I think a lot of people are as confused as I am.

Here is one long post from back then, from my previous blog, in which I hashed out my opinions on the war, mostly negative, for those of you with long memories.

So, I hope I’ll get to that late next week.

Another thing that sometimes nearly paralyzes me in blogging is the contrast between the weight of stories. While the Middle East is exploding, should I post a story on liturgical language? But I don’t feel the energy to compose a post on the complexities of the Middle East – I know about the liturgy wars. I can do that.  But then doesn’t that indicate that I’m in a bubble of Catholic Nerdom, obsessed with the institution? So what should I post? Superficial links on everything so everyone knows that I really do care? 


Secondly, on repeat conversations.

As Catholic blogs have expanded and multiplied, you find a lot of good conversations on various matters liturgical and political. I don’t feel the need to repeat every one of those conversations, here, many of which we have had many times before. So if there’s something raging elsewhere on St. Blog’s, and I’m not mentioning it, it’s not because I don’t think it’s important, but simply because we’ve talked about it here before, and the conversation is going just fine someplace else.

Finally – I am not wedded to the role of blogger, nor do I find any kind of ego satisfaction in regarded as Queen of the Catholic Bloggers or whatever. I don’t like it, as a matter of fact, because there are tons and tons of other Catholic bloggers who work very hard on their blogs and put a lot more thought into theirs than I do mine. There is some excellent writing out there, that you should check out, and one of the things I want to start doing is to do more traveling around St. Blog’s outside my own blogroll and share the discoveries with you. I don’t even like being identified as a "blogger." This is a branch of what I do, and I do it for various reasons, but the impact of it on my work and inner life is definitely a mixed bag, which I, along with countless other bloggers, am constantly trying to sort out and balance.

The best thing about blogging, I’ll have you know, is you all. The very kind readers who send me links and notes, the folks I meet when I’m on the road, and the brilliant, inciteful folks who enrich the comments boxes and really make the blog what it is. I think just as many people come to Open Book during the day to see what Old Zhou has to say as do me. Probably more!

Thank you all for that. This is a wonderful community here, and you folks are 90% of that. Some days and weeks I’m excellent on email, and answer all of it, and sometimes, I fail. I can’t respond to every note from someone who’s kindly sending me a link, but do know I appreciate it.

So, the final word: Don’t have incredibly high expectations of this blog. I don’t cover all the news, I’m idiocyncratic in what I do blog, sometimes I comment extensively, more often you can tell what I think simply by the headline I give a story. Use it as a starting point to learn more, and discover other great blogs.

Ad multos annos!

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