Catholic Nerds


EDIT: Sorry for the late post. Technical difficulties.

I’m responding to this post, and to the comments therein. 

After I read this post, I realized that not only am I a nerdy Catholic, but I’m a nerdy Catholic nerd.  Wee!  There’s a meme buried in there somewhere…

Okay. As you can tell even in the com box, she missed a few.

Someone noted that there needed to be a Jesuit nerd flavor. I argue that there needs to be a whole Jesuit nerd category with several flavors. WE  JESUIT NERDS DO NOT ALL HAIL FROM GEORGETOWN.  I’d bet something valuable that not all physical Jesuit residents of Georgetown actually fall into that crowd, and do penance for the scandal of their loud and deeply misguided compatriots. Sadly that ship is being steered by those in need of correction.  But they alone do NOT represent. Do not judge 400 years of orthodoxy by 50 years of shame.  Ahem.

There is hope in the burnt-out heart of Detroit. This is where the jewel of Sacred Heart Seminary resides, and  Dr. Peters teaches orthodox sanity in the realm of Church Law. He is by definition a Jesuit-o-phile, and I dare anyone to come up with an argument that he is not orthodox. This is only ONE flavor of orthodox Jesuit nerd I can think of off the top of my head– and I’m  a relatively recent convert. I’m tempted to call them Rebels from Sacred Heart, but that’s just me. 😉

1011355_220657531417330_374945488_nThe Old Mesilla Catholic. This is the Spanish Jesuit nerd, named for where I met hordes of them in the 1980’s.  They are stone orthodox, are pro-TLM, and what that implies, save more “ultramontanism” than you can shake a stick at. They live in awe of the movie The Mission and related hits. They are bilingual, but to them, Spanish means a Castilian/Native creole.  When they ask for a different language in the mass, they ask for Latin.  They send impassioned letters to Ignatius Press (STILL ORTHODOX BABY!) asking in charity the price of “one of everything– er, maybe two, to give half away.” They are into those big awesome beautiful masses, plenty of incense, mondo mantillas, and big fancy moustaches.   Their walls will be plastered– sometimes literally– with the Spanish masters, with Velasquez and Zurbarián totally going for Baroque. Keep eyes peeled for devotionals to the Sacred Heart– a fine balance for these cerebral devotees.

They also are hardcore believers in educating women. Some might also be interested in rebooting the Spanish monarchy… but don’t get it in your head that they all do. You can start fistfights this way. You can find them among the Opus Dei, though they tend to be quiet in mixed company.  This can come in a Anglophile flavor in memory of our great Anglo-Jesuit martyrs. Though not a perfect fit, I put John Zmirak in this category, though obviously there are others he wedges as well. 😉

JesuitsThere are Pope Francis Catholic nerds who are orthodox, desire simplicity, and also still hate communism, thank you very much. They still remember what happened to the Spanish Civil War, let alone everything happening in The lower two thirds (and lately the upper third) of the Duplex  American Continent.

Also folks, remember that the Jesuit order is among the largest in the world because when problems strike they don’t solve it by forming splinter groups.   I emphatically agree they need to institute reform, say 40 years ago, against the cultish devotion to Rogerian therapy, which eviscerated their order. That is what opened the door to this squeaky fondness for the world. This  type can look a little relaxed in the clothing category, but those hipster goatees and ladies long broom stick dresses do not mean they waves crystals while mumbling the centering prayer. Instead they pray the Our Lady of Sorrows 46 day novena and bring back names like Frances Xavier and Rosaria.

St. Ignatius of Loyola designed his order to be a scalpel against heresy. Unfortunately, when a tool of war is mis-wielded, horrors inevitably result. The devil has made much hay in the 20th century.  We are getting our own back, but progress is slow and generational.


The Pop Culturista Catholic— Uses memes and all sorts of popular culture as a Evangelization wedge.  The most common culture is naturally fannish, but there are others. They see God in everything, so they share all the latest greatest thing as a vehicle for sharing the faith. They might even start watching Game of Thrones to dissect as an exegesis on the World without Christ.  Ahem. That may have actually happened. Also they start podcasts and other media forms and are often technophiles, shading into Apologetitechies.  Frankly this is a supra category that can include all the other flavors of nerddom.  Come to think of it, there are few Catholics who don’t fit in this category, save by emphatic choice. Maybe.. this indicates that this is a Catholic trend, not a subgroup?

Plain Catholics  Nope, not talking about your average Catholic. I’m talking about the sort who make their own clothes because they can’t find stuff that’s suitably plain.  These tend to take the concept of subsidiarity further than average, by raising chickens and other micro farming pursuits.  They are also on the forefront of women’s head covering at mass, but object to the fanciness of lace in general.  Generally speaking they don’t have televisions or iPods, and tend to frown on the Pop Culturista Catholics. They occasionally report being confused for Amish.

While I sympathise for finding the right neck and hemlines for shirts and dresses, by judicious shopping think I’ve come across a layered solution that solves the knotty problem of modesty.  The trouble is, taking anything to an extreme tends towards the fringe, and falling off the fringe is a no-no.

Architechromaniacal  Catholic (potential subgroup and fellow traveler of a Liturgeek)

Um. Totally guilty. Sometimes pictures just explain better. See below.


Let me explain the mindset. They aren’t simply focusing on Catholic churches being in a particular style or other. No, it’s about churches looking like places of worship. Seriously, if you were preparing a place for God to come down from heaven and be among us, would it really look like a wedgie slab of concrete or an office building? Wouldn’t you try to bring at least a little of heaven down to earth?  Not that it’s possible us to create iHeaven on Earth, mind, but as humans we are called to give our best to God. That ain’t it.

It’s the same argument against folksy hymns and songs written by the Beatles being played during the Agnus Dei.  Now, I would argue that “Amazing Grace” does have a place, even if it was written by a protestant. I *know* I’m going to get flack from that, but I argue his life was miraculous enough to qualify as inspired by God. I’m not advocating putting it into high masses, but, you get my idea. There are so many limp and simple looking songs that are actually hard to sing that are yet pushed by liturgical councils for being easy when they aren’t.26648812

I know, we are straying well past categories and well into flavors. But the point is to be humorously self-deprecating and to actually finish this post before it becomes tomorrow. 🙂

I admit, I fit most of these categories at least a little bit.  I do have a few concerns about Pope Francis’s strategy for reform. No one I have seen has made a single comment about them. I’ll rant about it after I’ve had a nice long cuppa with my spiritual director.

Why yes. He is a Jesuit. Why do you ask?  🙂


3 thoughts on “Catholic Nerds

  1. I love this!! I think I may actually be an Old Mesilla Catholic in training, despite not being even a little Spanish. I love the old-school Jesuits, the Counter-Reformation, TLM, Baroque art, and definitely the Sacred Heart! 😀 I also love all the memes, particularly the Modernism one — disturbing true!

    1. Amusingly, you don’t actually have to be Spanish to fall into this category. Indeed, the area I’m talking about had an
      %80 Catholic rate, and while the hispanic population was high, it was not as high as that, and even those did not all remotely speak Castilian. A wide swath of Mexican, Central, and South American expats gravitated toward the
      local Catholic culture as if born to it. SO did quite a number of the whites, and non-catholics were a scant minority.
      The next largest religious group was, amusingly enough, Jews, many of whom were brought from Rome. The rest were Germans who were very very quiet about what their parents or grandparents had done, but were very happy now. LOTS of them
      were enthusiastic converts. We even had some English converts, back before that was trending. It was an interesting place. That place probably doesn’t exist any more, but now there are more folks who fall into this category, so it’s still cool. 🙂

      Laura, I’m so glad you commented on my blog! I love your site! I tried to send you a letter, but something bad happened with the form, and the session crashed. But you are here! Welcome! Squee!

  2. Awesome post. The Jesuit who frequently celebrates the TLM I attend is most definitely an “Old Mesila Catholic,” and he’s one of my favorite people on Earth…

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