Catholics, Avarice and Internet Trolls: Or, Why I’m Blogging Less

Catholics, Avarice and Internet Trolls: Or, Why I’m Blogging Less March 18, 2019

Hello, Interwebs! It’s been a hot second since I’ve written, although I’ve been consuming a lot of culture.


  • Umbrella Academy (Netflix) – Great score, strong visual aesthetic, strong storytelling.  I very much appreciated the use of superhero metaphors as a way of parsing out childhood traumas among adult siblings.
  • Shrill (Hulu) – While I don’t love every choice the protagonist (Aidy Bryant) makes in this new series based on the book by Lindy West, I greatly applaud a TV show about a plus-sized woman coming into her own.  The swimming pool episode is a stand-out.
  • Captain Marvel (Cinemas) – A perfectly fine origin story with a stand out young Nick Fury.  There are structural problems (this is three movies smashed into one), and I would have preferred better dialogue, but I love that we have a female superhero without a love interest…just blaster arms and the joy of being.
  • Isn’t It Romantic (Cinemas) – Like Shrill, I’m glad that this romcom about a plus sized woman exists.  That this movie lampoons rom-com tropes is utterly delightful, and I want Rebel Wilson’s closet.  Also great that her body figure informs her view of romance, but doesn’t dominate anyone else’s perception of our protagonist but herself.

But that’s not why I’m writing today.  Today, I want to write about why I have not been writing.

More accurately, why I’ve been so hesitant to blog.  And the answer, alas dear readers, is the existence of internet trolls.  Particularly those on Patheos.

Check out the latest uproars across this channel, go to the comboxes or see what’s being written on social media shares, and you’ll see some pretty ugly views of humanity.  Worse, you see some pretty awful views of Catholicism.  You see a lot of people with stones, ready to throw them.  You see a lot of people who have already thrown one and picked up another.

This is not mercy.  This is not the love of Christ.  This is certainly not the behavior of those who purport to “Love the Lord Your God with your whole heart, mind, and strength; and to love your neighbor as yourself.

This is not even apologetics.  This is avarice.

Let me explain.

We tend to think of avarice as the sin of having too much.  But, more accurately, overindulgence is the sin of gluttony.

So what is avarice?

Avarice, wisely numbered by Dorothy Sayers in Creed or Chaos as one of the “cold” or calculated sins, is the sin of not wanting someone else to have something.

I submit that quite a few of the trolls on the Patheos Catholic channel, and far too many Catholics in our church today, do not want anyone else to have Christ

To have Catholicism.  To have a place in the pew.

“Your sins do not match up with the list of approved sins for our version of God’s love.  Please leave.  You can’t have God’s mercy.  We have decided He only wants us, not you.”

They go on, limiting Christ’s theodrama: “God only wants women to be this way.  Your sin is too big for God to handle, please leave.  God can only handle your sexual sins in the way I can handle them.  (But God can handle whatever I’m doing, because I’m one of the chosen ones, and you’re not allowed in my treehouse.)”


Worse than rubbish: evil.

Why haven’t I been writing here?  Because too many of those who give feedback only want to destroy.  Only want themselves to be correct, their opinion to be known, their “truth” to be Truth.

“If I speak with the tongues of Angels, and comprehend all mysteries, but do not have Love, I am a clanging gong.”

I doubt I can change the hearts of some of the avaricious trolls who have bred so well in the wild west of the interwebs.   It’s usually the quiet ones who listen and at least question whether they should have picked up the stone – and wonder what Christ wrote in the sand – and stay to hear what He said to the woman they’d condemn.

“Neither do I condemn you.  Go forth, and do this thing no more.”

So, that’s it.  I’m going to be really selective about what I post, and try to remove myself from all the sound and fury signifying nothing for a bit.

Oh, and check out the shows above.  They’re pretty good, or at least alright.  And you might even enjoy yourself.  And put that damn rock down.


Photo courtesy of The Passion of the Christ

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Well I, for one, am sad that you’re blogging less. I always enjoy your takes on art and culture!

  • Janet Batchler

    Your thoughts bring this to mind: “Do not be too quick to condemn the man who no longer believes in God; for perhaps it is your own coldness and avarice and mediocrity and materialism and selfishness that have chilled his faith.” –Thomas Merton

  • Thank you for the encouragement!

  • Tom G

    Could you maybe just close the comments a bit more? Or don’t read the comments! You write excellent blog posts, IMO. Either way, thanks for all you’ve written thus far 🙂