Spirit Daily’s Credulity

So, as a gag, the Deacon’s Bench links this goofy bit of humor about some fictional Jesuit college inviting Satan to deliver the commencement address. (Favorite line: “Also known as the Prince of Darkness, Lucifer, &, more popularly, the Devil, Satan is a divisive figure among Catholics & other Christians.”)

Result: the amazingly credulous people at Spirit Daily run a very earnest headline reading “Bizarre Catholic college ‘invite’ to Satan”

Honestly. I recognize that there is a place for childlike faith and I even have a rather high opinion of what the world often calls “credulity” and I call “openness to wonder”. But Spirit Daily tests even my patience some days with its frequently immature and undiscerning willingness to constantly truckle to an unhealthy hunger for sensationalism.

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  • I have come to realize that writing satire is really problematic; I have posted things on my own blog that I thought were obviously over the top, and every time someone thinks it is a straight news story. But this one takes the proverbial cake.

    • Agreed. I label such stories on my site “satire” and “fake news” and some people still don’t get it.
      This piece is pretty good, BTW.

  • Not the best example to set for Christians. The Atheists already think we believe in fictional things. :/

  • Marion (Mael Muire)

    “Favorite line: ‘Also known as the Prince of Darkness, Lucifer, &, more popularly, the Devil, Satan is a divisive figure among Catholics & other Christians.’”

    To quote an oft-encountered comment on YouTube:”Jajajajajajajajaja!”

    Gee, what would be the problem with inviting the Prince of Lies to deliver an address at a Catholic college? (If we could get on his calendar, of course. I understand he is booked for millenia out.) And if the Prince himself is not available, then maybe one of his minions*. Anyway, should not Catholic institutions be open to new ideas? And if anyone finds the principles Hell wants to advance objectionable, instead of trying to censor them, they should give them a hearing and respond to them. That’s the ticket! The answer to objectionable discourse is not censorship; it is more discourse!

    * actually, I suspect appearances by minions of the Prince of Lies have already taken place, under very different titles, of course, and all rather under-the-radar, so to speak. Several of them. And several more would appear to be in the offing.

  • Good grief. Hell must be populated by the curmudgeonly supercilious.
    I say lighten up and go to heaven.

  • Florentius

    Unfortunately, many “Catholic” colleges have proven so expert at seeking scandalous commencement speakers that an invite to Satan is simply the next logical step.

  • They even had an article linking – I kid you not – Munch’s The Scream with the 1990 prophecy.

    There’s been many times when I took nuggets of wisdom away from the site, but the too-out-there stuff tends to get really annoying after a while. They link to sites which throw out all common sense too frequently – which is why ordinary people can’t take them seriously as a news site.

    • Mark Shea

      And yet their traffic is colossal. When I get a huge glurge of hits, it’s often because SD has linked me (typically to fret about some conspiracy or dubious “prophecy” or other National Enquirer level “theory” this think is illustrated by some post).

      • Those, though, are the people who prefer getting their spiritual direction from, say, a Michael Brown seminar or a Michael Voris video – those who prefer what folk heroes have to say over what the Church says (because she’s corrupt, Vatican II is the work of the devil, etc. into infinity).

        • Mark Shea

          And there are surprisingly huge numbers of them.

          • Eh, I wouldn’t say that Michael Brown is in any way opposed to what the Church says. You may argue that he is not prudent or wise in his interpretation of events, but I have never seen any evidence that he is anything but an orthodox Catholic.

            • Mark Shea

              I didn’t say he wasn’t an orthodox Catholic. I said there is and something unhealthy and immature about this approach to spiritual formation.

  • Linda C.

    The responses to this piece in various venues tells me it’s not just Spirit Daily—most commenters spectacularly missed the point. Are so many people satire-impaired?

  • I thought this was cute but no big deal the first time around. But I reread it more closely after seeing buzz like this.

    It’s pretty good.

    “SSU president Fr. Thad Despereaux ”

    “the Daily Sham, SSU’s student newspaper”

    Love it.

  • rachel

    I’m not surprised. I have never thought that Spirit Daily was a reliable news source. It is mostly like the Catholic answer to the Enquirer and Weekly World News.

  • Defender

    I have caught Spirit Daily out on two instances.

    First was the closure of church building that was a part of the parish that I was president of pastoral council of. They linked to an poorly written article in the secular press about statues being removed and walls being whitewashed in the now closed building. The headline used was something to the effect of ‘Pastor orders statues removed and walls whitewashed at church’. Problem was that the church building was being turned over for secular and profane use (in other words being made no longer a Church as it was closed and to be demolished due to structural issues), and as such was being handled exactly as required under Canon law!

    The second was an article that they linked to about protestations within the Evangelical community that a translation of the KJV bible distributed in the middle east used the word “Allah’ for God. They totally ignored the fact that ‘Allah’ IS the word for God in Arabic and many Middle Eastern languages, just as Gott is in German and Dios in Spanish, and in fact is used in the Mass in those vernaculars. Headline was something like Bibles sent middle east use Allah instead of God.

    • Mark Shea

      Pavel: Note the above. This is what I’m talking about concerning SD’s preference for the sensational and fear-mongering.

  • I actually enjoy it – it’s sort of a Catholic version of supermarket tabloid which sometimes has legit news stories. I used to be really critical myself – but now I just see it for what it is – Pewsitter can be the same way – sensationalism sells. It’s like Drudge.

  • Susanne

    I’ve read Spirit Daily for 3 years. For me it has been a springboard for finding more grounded websites and blogs (including yours and Fr. Longnecker’s). I can vouch for the fact that Michael Brown puts a caveat above many of the articles he posts about supernatural phenomena advising discernment. I cannot dispute that there are folks who think everything they read there is true. I have seen corrections and opposing views which contradicted earlier posts. I do think it feeds into the “signs and wonders” mentality of the charismatic movement.

  • What do you expect from a group of people who spoon feed themselves all that Medjugorje nonsense on a daily basis? Spirit Daily is mainstream charismatic psychotic.