Monday, March 28, 2011

The Catholic two-step

Dave Armstrong begins by quoting me.

Is he [Paul Hoffer] accountable? I notice the conspicuous absence of contact information, either at the end of his post, or over at his own blog, which would enable readers to report him to his parish priest or diocesan bishop in case of misconduct. By the same token, I notice that Armstrong hasn’t made that information publicly available either.

Before we proceed, notice how I worded my statement. The contact info for their parish priest or diocesan bishop. Now watch Dave perform his bait-n-switch:

When one looks at the top of my blog, there are seven major categories with which one begins a "card catalogue-type" search on my site. Steve (now pay close attention!) will want to select the second from the right, entitled "About Me." I think the average reader would be able to ascertain that this might lead to the desired personal information. Maybe not, and maybe Steve would find this difficult to comprehend. We all have our weaknesses and limitations, after all, and he stated outright that I haven't "made that information publicly available" and that my blog was notable for such information's "conspicuous absence."
But back to our task at hand. Now, here's where it could conceivably become quite frustrating for Steve, but we'll try our best to "dumb it down" and walk him through the process. Once there, readers are confronted with an incredibly complex, Byzantine set of three tables, each having eight sections. This might be over Steve's head, but if he puts his mind to it, I think it is entirely possible. He will (presumably, if he gets this far in his quest) look over these, and hopefully, by God's grace and a bit of luck, would be able to locate a category on the bottom-left corner of the second table down (the one in the middle).
Got that, Steve? Good! It is entitled (drum roll): "Home Parish: St. Joseph's in Detroit." This takes the reader to our parish website, complete with contact info! Now, that wasn't so hard, was it? Two clicks of a mouse: "About Me" (which is always on the top of my blog), and the parish link. This is even easier than a sidebar, because my sidebar has lots and lots of stuff, but the top of the blog is one small portion that is always visible.

But when we follow the links, I don’t see where it gives us the contact info for his priest. It gives contact info for a deacon. And it gives a church email address. Who does that go to? The church secretary?

Rather that showing us direct contact info, Dave is referring us to filtered lines of communication.

The archdiocese is another story. It's true that I don't have that contact information listed on my site, as far as I know. But of course it could be obtained from my parish if necessary. Failing that, let's see if we can actually find such a thing. How about searching in Google:"Archdiocese of Detroit." The fact that I live in the Detroit area is all over my blog and Facebook page: if you click on the bottom of my profile on the sidebar ("View my complete profile"), it goes to my Blogger Profile, wherein it states at the top that I reside in "Metro Detroit, Michigan." Or one can click "Resume": permanently on the top right of my blog. At the bottom of that is my lengthy blurb, "About the Author." At the very end of that and end of the Literary Resume one learns that I "reside in Melvindale, Michigan (metro Detroit)." I don't think this is rocket science. Does anyone else except Steve Hays, who has a whale of a time figuring it out?
But back to the elaborate, excruciatingly tough Google search for my bishop. Using the words above, we have success! The very first hit is called "The Official Web Site for the Archdiocese of Detroit." YES! Even as you view it there, sitting on the Google search page, attentive readers may spot a subsection entitled "Contact." This actually takes one to phone numbers, email addresses, and street addresses. So it is another two-mouse-click affair: "Archdiocese of Detroit" in Google and "Contact" under the first hit. I think even Hays could manage to navigate this ineffably complicated labyrinth. Two clicks to my home parish; two clicks to my archdiocese.

But once again, when I navigate that website, I don’t find contact info for his bishop. There’s contact info for sundary staff, but where’s the contact info for the bishop?

So Dave indulges in an elaborate exercise in misdirection, pretending that he’s always complied with the terms of my challenge when, to judge by the information he’s actually supplied, the trails runs out before it reaches his priest or bishop. Yet that’s precisely how I stated the problem at the outset.

In addition, notice that Dave devotes, by my count, about 16 paragraphs in his post to walking through the process by which one can allegedly obtain the contact info for his priest or bishop without ever actually giving the contact info for his priest or bishop. Why does he write 16 paragraphs that never get around to answering the actual question instead of writing one succinct sentence that supplies the direct contact info?

So this is just a decoy.

Okay, Steve! The challenge has been met to find this difficult information. Let's head over to Paul's site and begin our quest. Less than a page view's scroll down we see "About Me" on the sidebar, and we learn that Paul lives in Norton, Ohio. Good! That wasn't too bad. Next section: "Important Links." We look through those, and . . . ah! Tenth one down is "My Diocese - the Diocese of Cleveland." A click on that brings all the contact information. Very next link is "My Parish - Saint Augustine Church - Barberton."

Unfortunately, Dave’s chronology is backwards. He’s referring the reader to updated contact info which Hoffer only updated after I pointed out the lack of specific contact info on his post and blog. As Hoffer himself admitted to me:

Mr. Hays so there is no doubt, I will edit my links to make it abundantly clear that St. Augustine Church in Barberton, Ohio is my home parish. I apologize for any vagueness there.

So Dave is now appealing to something after the fact, as a result of my original statement. Dave is backdating updated info as if that’s what was there all along before I made my statement, when, in fact, that was updated in response to what I originally said.

Now let's go over to Cryablogue: Steve Hays' infamously imbecilic anti-Catholic site. How easy is it to find his contact information, so we can hold him accountable?...One can only shake one's head at such rank hypocrisy and foolishness . . .

It would only be hypocritical if we were discussing my standards of accountability. Once again, Dave is changing the subject. Dave hosted a post by Hoffer in which Hoffer was discussing standards of accountability. So I was holding them to their standards.  


  1. Hey - I would like to report the activities of the annoymous blogger 'Turretin Fan' to his pastor. Can you help me locate that information on his blog? I mean, it should be public so that he can be held accountable right?

  2. Are you dense? To repeat what I already explained in my post, I'm responding to Hoffer and Armstrong on their own terms. A tu quoque argument.

    That doesn't commit me to their standards of accountability. I might have different standards of accountability. If you're going to raise objections, learn how to raise intelligent objections.

  3. One can only hope Raymond cleared that comment with his priest and bishop before pressing that shiny and tempting Publish button.

  4. That's right Raymond! Don't you know that a Protestor's accountability is only to themselves and their ever changing interpretations of Scripture?

  5. Be careful Steve. Raymond will scour your last five or six posts and pull out the mean things you say and compile them in a comment, then complain that he can't believe anyone takes you seriously.

  6. Steve said:
    If you're going to raise objections, learn how to raise intelligent objections.

    Ah, but that would force him to give up his slavish idolatry to the guy in the big pointy hat.

  7. Well Raymond isn't going to derail me!

    This article is a quality exercise in understanding those difficult words from Proverbs 26:4-5.

    I will paraphrase them:

    "Don't answer a fool according to his folly. Do you want to be considered a fool?"

    "Answer him according to his folly, unless, well, no since in nonsense with fools seeing their wisdom will shout yours down daily!".

    At the end of the day, our sincere hope is we will be helpful to the fool!

    Apparently their foolishness is afoot!

    But, lest we overlook it, let me commend you Steve for your kindness and thoughtfulness at least to go through such, knowing firsthand the abuse when they be responding to the Grace you are gifted with in answering them. You have done so with His grace and courage!

    It is a good example to me.

    As I have said before, I always learn something when I come to this blog!

    Thanks again, be honored and may Our Good Lord continue to silence you more so that He might be heard and overheard still by your pen!

  8. Steve - So on your planet it is reasonable to chide somebody for something that you are unwilling to do? That figures.

    John - Hypocrisy. Look it up.

    Peter - Cool story bro.

    Nata - I have no idea what you are tying so say.

  9. Raymond,

    sorry for the confusion. My post, though mentioning your name, wasn't directed towards you specifically.

    I was commenting on how relevant Steve's article is when dealing with fools.

    Thanks for noting it though!


    "Steve - So on your planet it is reasonable to chide somebody for something that you are unwilling to do? That figures."

    Yes, on my planet it's reasonable to chide someone for failing to abide by his own strictures.

    If, say, priest takes a vow of celibacy, but has a mistress of the side, I can certainly chide him for hypocrisy without my having a mistress or my taking a vow of celibacy.

    Likewise, if someone cheats at horse-racing, I can chide him for dishonesty regardless of whether I'm willing to be a jockey or bet on horses. The comparison is a complete non sequitur.

    The fact that you Catholics are unable to draw even the simplest moral distinctions shows how Catholicism atrophies moral and rational discernment.

  11. The fact that you Catholics are unable to draw even the simplest moral distinctions shows how Catholicism atrophies moral and rational discernment.

    Raymond, what do you think? Is Steve being mean?