Saturday, November 26, 2011


I am against blogs.  I do not like them.  I am highly suspicious of them.  Nevertheless, we (my wife and I) have thought about starting a blog for some time.  We knew we did not want to do anything that resembled many of the blogs we had read in the past.  Oftentimes blogs, Facebook, Twitter etc., have a pornographic quality.  

I have just been reminded that this is our very first entry and already I am saying something scandalous and offensive.  After all, this is a nice Catholic blog.  “No,” I reply, “this is not a nice Catholic blog.  This is a good Catholic blog.”  By this I mean that I will be honest.  Why do I say that much of the social media of today's "relevant" world is pornographic?   I mean that it is almost always used to show or reveal that which ought not to be revealed, and what is thoughtlessly revealed often becomes idly objectified. 

With increasing regularity, technology is used to expose.  People ramble on about their thoughts, idle moments, their grocery list and their dog's bad habits.  It is as though someone took all of the photos from a party and, without erasing any of the in-between shots, posted all of them online.  Exposure for the sake of exposure is treated as a virtue.  After all, what could possibly be wrong with revealing the truth?  The problem with this attitude is that authentic hiddenness is an intrinsic part of the human structure, not to mention the structure of creation.

Social networking and media, as the new currency of human relations, make exposure fast and cheap.  It is so fast and so cheap that there is very little room left for any other sort of dialogue or relationship.  Just as pornography claims to "expose everything," it simultaneously disallows the viewer from  seeing anything but the plastic facade of the presentation.  What is the difference between art celebrating the human nude form, found throughout the Vatican, and pornography?  The key distinction is that whereas one celebrates the mystery and splendor of humanity, the other denigrates and reduces it to something it isn't.  When we consider social networking and technology in this light, it becomes even more clear that modes of human dialogue have radically changed.  What has been lost?

I am convinced that one thing is for certain amidst the explosion of technology in the last several decades: we really have not thought through any of it.  As Catholics, it is our responsibility to do so.  Okay, strong words from the new blogger.  Question from the audience: Why the hell are you writing a blog?  Good question.  The simple answer is that we are not Neo-luddites.  We are convinced that there is a responsible way to utilize some of the tools available to us.  This blog is an attempt to do so.

Okay, so then what is the Forgotten Altars project all about?  Catholic culture is the most beautiful thing I know.  It is so rich, so full of texture.  Of course, it is radiant because it is salvific.  However, I think that there many ways in which Catholics are beginning to experience a cultural decline in the realm of the Domestic Church.  We want to focus on the Domestic Church as a sacred landscape, absolutely essential to the heartbeat of the Church.  How often do we celebrate the altars of the Domestic Church, the Dinner Table and the Marriage Bed?  Obviously I am not asking how often we eat food at the table or make love in our beds.  But how often are these activities celebrated as religious acts, in participation with the Godhead, the primary points of gravity in the topography of our vocations?  And to what extent is the reason we are anemic in this regard because we have forgotten the modes by which the domestic church has traditionally worshipped?

The first premise of this blog is quite simple: that there are many authentically Catholic familial traditions which have been forgotten.  The goal of this blog is to share our odyssey, first in performing an archeology of these traditions and, second, in trying to integrate these traditions in our modern lives.  This second part is important: it is no good trying to simply reenact the past.  Fact: we are moderns.  As moderns, we want to enter into dialogue and integrate our heritage as a young Catholic family.

None of this is to say that the current Catholic familial culture is bad, ugly or needs to be thrown out.  But it could be enriched, supplemented and I think a lot of young Catholic families are thirsty for it.  At any rate, we are.

Our second premise belongs to the domain of hope: it is that we as Catholics are not in a lost position but that we can respond to the world intelligently without resorting either to some sort of knee-jerk conservative or relativistic liberal self-identity.

So the purpose of this blog really is a practical one: to celebrate our heritage as a young Catholic family, recognizing our responsibility to reflect the Kingdom of God and to chart what we have learned for anyone who is also seeking for a more beautiful way to live.


  1. Reading this post I have had a realization of sorts:

    "This is what I want my blog to be like!"

    My blog started as a conversion diary and morphed into a sort of apologetics thing, but I want to leave that behind and focus on my calling as a father. I want to try to go the route you are going with this blog. I want to do more to build up authentic culture. and what beter place to start than at home.

    Thanks for the encouragement.

    1. Thanks David, that is really a compliment. I must say, we have enjoyed the New Christendom blog very much. A blessed Lent to you and your family.