Rebegin

If you have found this web-log then there is a good chance that you are familiar with its predecessor that occupied the now-defunct address modestinus.wordpress.com. When I launched Opus Publicum in January 2012 I did so to continue, in part, a critical engagement with the Eastern Orthodox Church from a Catholic perspective. As most of my early readers knew, I had been a member of the Orthodox communion for seven years and had only returned to Catholicism—the confession of my youth—during Lent 2011. Despite certain suggestions to the contrary, I did not part ways with Orthodoxy on bad terms even though some Orthodox Christians, including certain individuals I called friends, were less than thrilled with my decision. I should have realized, however, that every critical remark I made about the Orthodox Church and, more specifically, Orthodox polemics against Catholicism was bound to be read by the Orthodox (and some non-Orthodox) as manifestations of a deep, even pathological, animus toward Orthodoxy. As my blog continued to draw more and more traffic from Orthodox and Catholics alike, it became host to numerous inter-ecclesiological knife fights which were unedifying to say the least. Although I know a good deal of the chaos that ensued was, barring heavy comment moderation, beyond my control, I certainly see how the tone of certain posts and comments which I authored did nothing to relax the situation. At some point I had to ask, “Is this really the message I want to send? Are these words, even if true, the sort of words I would use in other public forums? Are posts riddled with sarcasm and inside jabs the sort I want associated with me years from now?” Finally, after discovering that I could only answer “No” to all three questions, I knew that it was time to sweep the contents of the first Opus Publicum into the digital dustbin.

The Orthodox Church was not the only topic that elicited ire over the past two years. As I transitioned away from my former libertarian commitments in order to submit my thought and talents to the social magisterium of the Catholic Church, I frequently found myself going nose-to-nose with certain—in my estimation—wrongheaded attempts to marry Catholic Social Teaching (CST) with the tenets of economic liberalism. Some of those engagements also resulted in me asking those three aforementioned questions in return for the same answer: “No.” In fact, there were few topics covered on Opus Publicum—law, politics, economics, liturgy, professional wrestling, etc.—that didn’t create a fair share of acrimony while leaving me wondering whether I would confront those issues with the same style over at Ethika Politika or in the pages of The Remnant. At that point I knew it was time to make a change, to “raise the game” so-to-speak with respect to how I approach blogging or simply exit the medium altogether. While I cannot lie and say I wasn’t tempted by the latter option, some much-needed encouragement has brought me to choose the former.

I know that there are certain risks attending Opus Publicum’s re-launch, not the least of which being the immediate loss in readership this blog is likely to experience. However, affixed with a clearer conscience about what I am doing here coupled with a renewed dedication to offer entries that consistently meet the standards set by the best posts I could muster during Opus Publicum’s first incarnation, I am confident that this blog can regain and even supersede its predecessor’s traffic. To that end, dear readers, I am humbly asking you to use whatever means are at your disposal—Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, the town square, and so forth—to advertise this version of the blog. In exchange I promise to keep plugging away on the multitude of subjects I normally address from a traditional Catholic perspective that is informed by the Church’s Eastern and Western patrimonies.

For those curious, I have retained an entire archive of Opus Publicum’s old content. If there is a particular post or comment(s) that you would like a copy of, feel free to contact me. Also, don’t be surprised if you see (potentially reworked) posts from the previous blog make their way back onto this one. For the sake of clarity and continuity, I will “flag” when earlier content is being recycled. Moreover, please be patient with me over the next several weeks as I add more content, including links and other things of interest.

Finally, for those of you who participated in some way, shape, or form on old Opus Publicum, thank you for two years of encouraging, insightful, and sometimes sharply critical comments. Thank you for the links and other information shared and, most of all, thank you for your prayers. Please keep me in them.

7 comments

  1. If I may be so bold as to suggest a trajectory of posts and commentary, I would greatly appreciate hearing, in fuller terms than offered hitherto, of Catholic social teaching and its incompatibility with libertarianism.

  2. For what it’s worth mod, I found your former style valuable and instructive in its forthrightness. While it has the dangers and downsides you point out, this is also an age that could use some more of it, with prudence of course.

    1. I don’t plan on backing down from the positions I advanced and defended previously. The same forthrightness will still be here, only this time out with a little more direction and focus.

  3. Glad to see you’re back (I was worried there for a day or two). My chief interest is in your writings on De Lubac and the “pure nature” debate within Thomism, of which I am sympathetic to your concerns (and how I initially discovered your blog).

    I’m also interested in the discussion of Catholic social teaching vs. “libertarianism”, although on that note I believe it is possible to harbor political and economic concerns mutually held by libertarians without having adopted Ayn Rand’s philosophy wholesale. To disagree about how to best implement the principles of subsidiarity or a preferential option for the poor is one thing — to completely abandon them in practice is another. . . . hope that doesn’t make me persona non grata. =)

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