Thanks to a link from Mark Brumley, tonight I discovered the website Godspy, which is one of the best Catholic sites I've seen on the web.
I arrive at that judgment in large part because of the Mission Statement, which I highly recommend viewing via the flash-based visual version linked above the text version, which reads as follows:
- Blowing the Dynamite
Catholic scholars have taken the dynamite of the Church,
have wrapped it up in nice phraseology,
placed it in an hermetic container
and sat on the lid.
It is about time to blow the lid off.
- Peter Maurin, co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement.
What We Believe
We've created Godspy because we believe that Catholic faith is beautiful and mysterious, often exhilarating, and sometimes infuriating.
We believe that the person of Jesus Christ is the answer to the deepest desires of the human heart, and that the Catholic Church is his mystical body. And that we Catholics, despite our best intentions, do a good job of obscuring that fact.
We believe that the Church is not a lifeboat off a shipwrecked world, but that it exists "for the life of the world" [John 6:51] - our world. And because this world matters so much to the Church, Catholics need to do more to engage modern culture, and the people who shape it.
When asked why he became a Catholic, the novelist Walker Percy answered, "What else is there?" We feel the same way. But we know this answer seems absurd to many people.
It seems absurd to those who have been hurt by representatives of the Church. It seems absurd to those who only know the Church from newspaper headlines when things go wrong, or from biased, outdated history books. And it seems absurd to those puzzled by the Church's teachings, or turned off by half-hearted worship and preaching. These people need to know and experience the invisible reality that is the real Church, the Church of Jesus Christ, who is "the answer to the question that is Man." But how will that happen, unless committed Catholics reach out directly to them?
Love it or hate it, everyone can agree: the Church can't be ignored. "Catholic" means universal, and the Church is that in every sense. It's one billion members large, and it's spread across the globe. But it's universal in a more important sense. Nothing human or cosmic is beyond its reach.
"The Catholic person is truly universal: he is interested in everything and afraid of nothing," says the Catholic philosopher Adrian Walker.
That's why we believe there needs to be a fearless, intelligent forum for Catholics that's as universal as their faith, where non-Catholics and those in-between are invited to join the conversation. Not to "change" the Church, but to give witness to their lives.
We believe that Catholics and other seekers are looking for an intelligent magazine about real Catholic faith - without apologies - that doesn't avert its eyes from real life. A magazine that speaks with a voice that's authentic, honest, and generous. A magazine that's written for the average person, rather than for theologians or religious insiders.
Who Inspires Us
Much of our inspiration comes from the great Catholic fiction writers of the last century: Georges Bernanos. Graham Greene. Walker Percy. Flannery O'Connor. They were believing, often times anguished, Catholics who used their faith to reveal the truth about human existence. And from their vantage points, they challenged the preconceptions of both believers and non-believers.
Flannery O'Connor, in answer to a critic who said devout Catholics were "brainwashed," and lacking in the freedom necessary to be first-rate creative writers, said "there is no reason why fixed dogma should fix anything that the writer sees in the world. On the contrary, dogma is an instrument for penetrating reality. Christian dogma is about the only thing left in the world that surely guards and respects mystery." She challenged non-believers to consider the unseen reality, the eternal truths, within and beyond the visible world.
O'Connor was equally direct when addressing fellow Catholics and other believers. She criticized those who try to "tidy up reality," letting spiritual pride blind them to the realities of our fallen, broken existence. "We lost our innocence in the Fall," she said, "and our turn to it is through the Redemption which was brought about by Christ's death and by our slow participation in it. Sentimentality is a skipping of this process in its concrete reality and an early arrival at a mock state of innocence, which strongly suggests its opposite."
In their art, all of these writers looked upon reality without illusions. Their honesty touched the hearts of non-believers. We believe this sort of "Christian Realism" can touch the hearts of non-believers today, and help mend the rift between the Church and the world. That's why we explicitly invite all "seekers" to read Godspy.
We fully expect the graces to flow the other way, too. "Unbelieving searchers," observed O'Connor, "have their effect even upon those of us who do believe. We begin to examine our own religious notions, to sound them for genuineness, to purify them in the heat of our unbelieving neighbor's anguish."
Godspy's mission is to be a place where such encounters can take place. A place where Catholics and others searching for the face of God can together ponder "the mystery of things, as if we were God's spies" [King Lear].
We entrust Godspy to Mary of Nazareth, the New Eve, the Virgin Mother of God.
We pray for the intercession of our patron saints: St. Catherine of Siena, St. Phillip Neri, St. Edith Stein, and St. Maximillian Kolbe, as well as three possible future saints: Dorothy Day, Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan, and Mother Teresa of Calcutta. They were all radical: in their faith, in their love, and in their lives.
Of course, our greatest living, human, inspiration is Pope John Paul II. Mere words can't convey our debt to him.
Thanks for your interest in our mission. Welcome to Godspy, and may the peace and mercy of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and God the Father be with you always.
Make sure and check this site out.