Snapshot of Brilliance: Bad Catholic, Age 18

Merciful heavens!

Sacre bleu!

Marc Barnes, aka the Bad Catholic has moved his blog here to Patheos, and with his very first post he has my head spinning, my synapses leaping for joy. He’d have my wordsmith mother whirling like a dervish, had she been inclined to whirling.

The child’s writing chops and original thinking have me gasping: “if he is writing like this at 18, what sort of fabulous monster will he be at 35?”:

Back when we had a faith, curses were fabulously blasphemous. ‘Sblood’ (Christ’s blood), or ‘swounds’ (Christ’s wounds) come immediately to mind when considering the old vulgarities of the English language. Unfortunately for us, when the religious fervour of our culture faded, these marvelous words faded with it. So feel free to sling ‘em around your boss – unless he’s a closet English-Lit Major, you’re in the clear.

But regardless, a brilliant modern case of this obedience of language to its culture is seen in the French curse “Tabernac!”, derived from ‘tabernacle’. (As in: “Tabernac! Les zombies est dans l’ecole!”.) Widely and colorfully in use not 50 years ago, there are places in French Canada where the word is going extinct. The reason is simple. In an ever-secularizing France, no one knows what they are blaspheming any more. We Americans are a little better off, but let’s be honest; outside of our retention of ‘goddammit’ we’re hardly a blasphemous people. Now we – along with the rest of the modern world – say ‘f*ck’.

And I, personally, don’t think it’s any radical improvement, and I certainly don’t think it’s in any way bold, for all its diverse application. When a man blasphemes he is at least – at some basic, pagan level – being bold. Spitting in the eye of the Almighty takes some gall. And in doing so, he never denies the existence of God; he is always open to conversion, if only in the vague acknowledgment of someone greater than he to curse.


Some of you may gasp.
I suggest you gasp, mutter up a prayer and then keep reading — O, keep reading; that little muscle flex isn’t anywhere near the point he’s bringing you to.

It’s an adventure! Give in to it. You’ll be glad!

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny

    ROTFLMAO. Hahahahaha!

  • Jason

    I like really like this post, you know?

  • Kurt

    Wow, only 18? Very impressive and actually rather inspiring, too. I checked out some of the other posts on the blog and liked what I found.

  • Dougman

    And in doing so, he never denies the existence of God; he is always open to conversion, if only in the vague acknowledgment of someone greater than he to curse.

    It was Jesus that said to bless those that curse you.
    I wonder.
    Wouldn’t the Father bless the child that has cursed Him?

  • Chris K

    Congrats on attracting such talent to your portal! I have been enjoying both blogs- yours for a while now, and the Bad Catholic somewhat recently.

    Please pray for my son- the opposite of Bad Catholic-at 19, he is rejecting all of his homeschooled, rosary-saying, altar-serving upbringing, and using his writing talents to skewer the Christian beliefs of those who frequent his favorite forums.

    You also posted about the dark night of the soul. He is providing mine.

    [If it is reassuring at all, lots of us go through this. I did. Best thing my mother ever did (and I have written this on my blog and also thanked her in person) was to leave me alone when I was 17 or so and leaving the church. Had she bugged me about it, I'm sure I would have rebelled, dug in my heels and it all would have been made much worse. Instead, the foundational stuff brought me back to my senses in God's time. As I've have said elsewhere -- we teach our kids what they'll need to swim, but they'll insist on going off into the darker water -- in which case all we can do is entrust them to the Divine Lifeguard. =admin]

  • Sr Chris S

    wow!… I’m totally impressed by the “Bad Catholic”.I’m old enough to be his mother [spiritually] so, I’d actually like a kid like that who’d keep me on my toes. God bless him and all who understand and appreciate this ‘bad boy’ cos’ I’m sure God loves him to bits! Pax!


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