Friday, May 27, 2011

What's my Assessment of the Catholic All-Stars?

There were a lot of good suggestions about people I should have added to the list. And I learned a lot about Google in the mean time, that it is not a simple computer generated type of search. It is regional-specific, a great deal depends upon what exactly you include and exclude in the search, etc. Nevertheless, we can still conclude a few things. What I was after was an answer to the question: how do we Catholics 'idolize'?

I don't want to sound mean here, but, for instance, for as gifted as he is, there are greater Catholic biblical exegetes at work in the field today, so why is Scott Hahn so well known? There are certainly more ingenious interpreters of the Theology of the Body than Christopher West around today, so why is he synonymous with the field in the popular imagination? (Incidentally, Christopher West Theology of the Body generates 199,000 results.) Off the top of my head, it's not about genius, it's about presentation.

But I knew all of this before I did this little experiment. So what did I learn?

1. The top-ranked are those well known in the secular world.

2. The internet is not clericalist. Clerics rank high, but not disproportionately so. There is a strong showing from the laity.

3. There is a strong showing of intellectuals, especially when we stretch out to the fifty year mark.

4. To the question, what does this revel about the values of Catholics?, I say it's a pretty good indication that vanity and superficiality are not as strong as one might suspect in the 'every day' Catholic. When you examine the people that run the most popular Catholic blogs and web pages, for instance, you see a great deal to be admired - people like Stephen Graydanus, Mark Shea, and Jennifer Fulwiler, etc. Generally the problem with 'Catholic blogs' is that they are venues for armchair critics. The worst part of this is not that evils are called evils, it's just that they are often done with complete disregard for the pastoral complexities involved in running the Church, the parish, the university, the school, etc. These people jump to conclusions, take things out of context, impose motives on people without sufficient knowledge. But according to my lists here I'd say that that's not what we want in our 'Catholic celebrities' - good for us! Let's keep it up.
Kevin Knight

Finally, a special thanks to Mr. Kevin Knight for putting my previous post on NewAdvent. It massively increased traffic to my blog and allowed me to meet all of you! Stop by again! I'll try to keep things interesting for you.

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