(Update 1/13/2017. This post was written five years ago. Times have changed but the issue has not; today this post would apply to Aleteia.org above all.)
I am somewhat disturbed to see so many blogs I highly respect now coming under the dominion of “Patheos.”
It appears this has happened as an attempt by bloggers to monetize the traffic they receive (which I am not condemning as evil!).
Patheos makes its money through advertisement, and I assume that is the ultimate source of the enticement for Catholic bloggers to join their platform. But the advertising mentality is among the worst plagues on modern society, and I was previously overjoyed to see so many Catholic bloggers free of its chains. It is one of the most powerful influences that have turned our culture ugly, reductionistic, quantitative, utilitarian, distracting, noisy, money-obsessed, lust-driven, vanity-driven, and self-absorbed… just to name a few of its effects. Many of the ads that appear on your blog once you become under the Patheos banner are inappropriate; and this is entirely out of your control. Now people wanting to see a good Catholic blog may be forced to look at inappropriate images just to see your posts!
I understand that many of these bloggers may have been facing financial difficulties, but selling out to Patheos was not a good way to deal with them. I recognize this is not always possible, but why not find some work to do with your hands? St. Paul was a tent-maker; the greatest figure in the New Testament after Jesus did not deem his writing and evangelizing abilities so great as to excuse him from all manual labor.
Further, Patheos is flat-level presentation of all religions; started by a non-practicing Catholic and a Lutheran. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with such a presentation (Catholics can legitimately enter into dialogue on platforms other than their own), but that should not be what Catholics favor. We should not be submitting all of our own writings to platforms that merely represent Catholicism as one choice among many religious options! Do not Marc Barnes (“Bad Catholic,”) Fr. Longenecker (“Standing on my Head,”) Dc. Greg Kandra (“The Deacon’s Bench,”) Mark Shea (“Catholic and Enjoying It!,”) (just to name a few Catholic blogs I have stumbled upon that are now under Patheos) realize that by converting to Patheos, they are submitting their blogs to a web portal that might just as easily lead their readers into error? Just now, Patheos’ front page, to which all those Catholic blogs now are explicitly and closely tied (a mere click away), presents an article that argues Eve did not sin by taking the fruit, but rather made the right choice!
Even worse than this trend of needlessly handing over power to a central authority and contributing to the departure from that glorious principle of subsidiarity, I fear what may come down the road. What happens when Patheos itself starts making demands, or placing limits, on the contents of the blogs? We are doing those who are plotting our persecution a great favor, making their job a lot easier, by placing our content under one consolidated non-Catholic banner. I recognize that anything done online necessitates some degree of handing over power to a central authority, whether a web-server, blog host, etc.; but should we really be going out of our way to do that when it is not needed? I think not.
I hope I have not been too harsh here, please forgive me if I have. I especially do not want to judge any of those Catholic bloggers- they are far holier and more learned than myself, and perhaps they had good reason to join Patheos. I just want to address some concerns that have been really tugging at my heart for weeks now, for I do think the Catholic blogosphere would be far better off without subjecting itself to Patheos.