Four prominent members of the Catholic blogosphere – Fr John Zuhsldorf of Fr Z’s Blog (formerly called “What Does the Prayer Really Say?”), canonist Dr Edward Peters, author of the blog In the Light of the Law, Amy Welborn of Charlotte Was Both, and Matthew Archbold of Creative Minority Report – have presented a formal request to S.C. Naoum, the author of the blog Eye of the Tiber, asking him to clarify whether the items which he posts are in fact satirical.
Although EOTT is thought by many to be a purely humorous website, it has long suffered from what is sometimes known as an “Onion problem.” This term derives from the website The Onion, (which bills itself as America’s Finest News Source,) many of whose articles have been mistaken for true news stories over the years; this has happened so often, in fact, that the Wikipedia article about The Onion has a whole subsection dedicated to the occasions on which its articles have been mistaken for actual news.
Even on its own website, EOTT says “We are proud to have recently been nominated for Best Catholic News Satire, narrowly losing out to the National Catholic Reporter, proving thus that, more trusted Catholic news sources aside, Eye of the Tiber is your most trusted Catholic news source.” “The confusion runs deep here,” noted Fr Z. “NCRep. (a.k.a. ‘The Fishwrap’) is the most self-serious publication outside all of Christendom. How are we supposed to take this?”
Screen shot of Eye of the Tiber taken today.
DECEMBER 28, 2016 BY EOTT ADMIN
Just days after Pope Francis offered a message of hope in his annual “Urbi et Orbi” Christmas day message, the Pontiff has now backtracked, saying that if peace could not prevail, he would be forced to join the United States and Russia in an arms race.
Pope Francis told EOTT in an exclusive interview this morning that “We will outmatch Russia and the U.S. at every pass and outlast them all, both spiritually as well as with our growing stockpile of nuclear warheads.”
The Catholic leader has sparked fears about a global nuclear arms race days leading up to Christmas when he called on the members of the Curia to expand its nuclear arsenal in a Twitter post, which read in part that the Vatican must “greatly strengthen and expand its stock of atomic weapons until the world comes to its senses regarding Jesus Christ.”
He gave no further details about his plans, but his comments triggered fears that he will reverse decades of policy in which the Church, together with the Russian Orthodox Church, sought to reduce its arsenal.
Vatican spokesman Antonio Totti said that Pope Francis is “going to ensure that other countries and religions get the message that he’s not going to sit back and allow them to destroy the world. And what’s going to happen is they will come to their senses, and everyone will be just fine, or else he himself will unleash nuclear bomb showers to get everyone in line and to come together.”
In a forward to their dubium, the four bloggers write, “The sending of this letter to Eye of the Tiber derives from a deep pastoral concern. We have noted a grave disorientation and great confusion of many faithful regarding extremely important matters for the life of the Church.”
Several specific articles are cited as examples of those in which it is difficult or impossible for the ordinary Catholic to discern the difference between truth and fiction. Here we give only a small selection of the items of greatest concern:
– Second Year Of Mercy To Allow An Individual’s Conscience To Absolve One’s Own Sins
– Dissident Theologian Hans Kung Petitions Pope To Reconsider Dogma Of Christ’s Resurrection
– Man Whose Every Word Is Misrepresented Thinks 12,000 Word Interview A Good Idea
– “Most Of The Words That Come Out Of My Mouth Are Invalid,” Pope Francis Suggests
As may be imagined, reactions to the publication of the dubium have varied though the world of Catholic internet journalism. One writer thought to be very close to Naoum has stated that EOTT’s satirical intent is perfectly unmistakable, needs no clarification, and has also been thoroughly clarified. He even went so far as to point out that “Naoum” is a variant of the name of the Biblical prophet Nahum, which means “consoled”, and “since the Holy Spirit is called ‘the Paraclete’, a Greek word which means ‘the consoler’, Naoum’s satirical work is obviously inspired by the Holy Spirit. To deny this is practically blasphemy, and those who don’t accept this will simply be left behind as the Church moves on to the next act of satire.”
Others have come out in support of the four bloggers, citing EOTT’s own comments’ section on many of its articles, and innumerable postings on Facebook which demonstrate how significant its “Onion problem” has become. One blogger who writes under the pseudonym Vapulabitis told the National Catholic Register, “Just before Christmas, an excruciatingly serious Catholic internet publication posted an article which claimed (among other things) that the Enneagram was invented by the Desert Fathers. The line between news and satire has gotten blurred… dangerously blurred.”
NLM will certainly be the first to bring you updates on this breaking story.