Saturday, May 5, 2012

Another example of a strange habit

A reader pointed out this post on Mark Shea's blog to me. I read through it, looked at the comments and sort of rolled my eyes. Then this comment by a commenter named Esther caught one of my eyes mid-roll:

Do you know that when you now google “Perry Lorenzo,” two of the top four results are blog posts speculating about his sex life and eternal destiny in relationship to that sex life?

I’m sure his family is thrilled.

Good job, Mark.

Mark, I really think you should do an examination of conscience about this whole series of posts. They weren’t about Mr. Lorenzo. They were about you, and some bizarre desire to present your views on another person’s private and spiritual life matter as if the world should care what you think. In matters like these, I try to put myself in another person’s place. If my Mom died tonight, what would I think of a popular blogger taking her life and death, making them the center of several posts without my permission, and inviting the world to contemplate her flaws and sins for days on end?

Finally: it is not a Catholic thing to do to speculate on a person’s eternal destiny. It strikes me, actually, as a very Protestant thing – “Are you saved?” “If you died tonight….” To focus in on the congregation in front of you, picking out the saints and the sinners. If you reflect on the witness of the saints and great spiritual teachers, you don’t see that happening. That is not the language, nor the discourse. After a person dies, in particular, it’s not the Catholic Way to speculate in anyway on a person’s eternal destiny – it is the Catholic Way to pray for them, in hope. Period.

I know you are being hailed for this post far and wide, but I think it was a terrible, puzzling and even scandalous mistake, and an invasion of a deceased man’s privacy – not to speak of the privacy of the living, including his partner.

This more or less nailed my biggest problem with all these recent posts. It seems like a strange habit which some writer's possess, this opportunistic culling of information about a recently deceased person, especially material of a primarily speculative nature. Maybe a writer has a desire to be a biographer, but not enough ambition to write about someone famous. So they opt to be a hagiographer of someone personally known by them. The facetious line "I’m sure his family is thrilled" sums up a good enough reason to stay out of this business.