People of the Book
A Blog about Book Publishing from a Catholic Perspective

Orthodoxy’s “Dry Drunks”

June 5th, 2007

A “dry drunk” is an alcoholic who doesn’t drink but who nevertheless behaves with bitterness, resentment, and anger. Greg Erlandson, publisher of Our Sunday Visitor, thinks that “dry drunk” accurately describes a number of “doctrinaire Catholics who hold all the ‘right’ positions and say all the ‘right’ things, yet exhibit an angry, sour attitude that seems the opposite of Christian joy or an evangelizing spirit.”

    They do not so much engage culture as demand its unconditional surrender, and they take greater satisfaction in elaborating on sin and its punishments than on the beauty of the Savior. They tend to be all Inferno and little Paradiso. . . .

    The blogosphere has become a veritable catch basin of these folks. Unedited, unrestrained and unhappy with the state of the Church and the world, they obsessively chronicle every twisted phenomenon, every perversion, every disillusioning anecdote. They fancy themselves proclaiming truth to power — the emperor is wearing no clothes. The trouble is, they can’t take their eyes off the emperor.

We need prophets, says Erlandson, “but I find the most effective ones are those who manifest God’s love most eloquently.”

Read the whole thing.

11 Comments »

  1. South Side Tom wrote,

    I think Greg’s article is one of the freshest, most honest, most inspired pieces of writing I’ve seen in the Catholic press in quite some time. I am grateful for these challenging words because sometimes the truth will, indeed, set us free.

    By the way, the White Sox beat the Yankees last night, which may not pertain to the topic but it seems like worthwhile news to share nonetheless.

    SST

    Comment on June 5, 2007 @ 7:33 am

  2. Southside Pride wrote,

    I couldn’t agree more with Tom. Seriously, if we are just spending time getting crazy over “conservative issues” we are neglecting our call to evangelize. There are those who never heard the Gospel & people are busy fighting over who is Catholic enough…

    Thank God for the Sox win - it was long in coming!

    Comment on June 5, 2007 @ 7:41 am

  3. Barbara KB wrote,

    I agree in principle with Greg. I call these folks “cranky, crabby Catholics” and, if truth be told, they can be found in all areas of passion within Mother Church. One can get rather “cranky and crabby” about some sort of mission.

    But…

    I can tell that Greg is only visiting *certain* areas within St. Blogs. I would argue that, esp. in the last year, I have experienced a tremendous rise in the number of wonderful and hopeful and non-cranky/crabby Catholic blogs. They are out there. You just need to discipline yourself to stay away from the cranky/crabby ones…

    Also, blogging is here to stay. And the sooner certain Catholic MSM folks like OSV join the community (and there are ways for OSV to do it) the better it will be!

    Comment on June 5, 2007 @ 7:51 am

  4. Jim Manney wrote,

    Southsiders: I did note the White Sox beating the Yankees. I don’t think either the Sox or the Yankees are as bad as they look right now.

    Barbara KB: I don’t think Greg was being critical of blogging. Dry drunk orthodoxy existed long before blogging.

    Comment on June 5, 2007 @ 7:18 pm

  5. Barbara KB wrote,

    “The blogosphere has become a veritable catch basin of these folks. Unedited, unrestrained and unhappy with the state of the Church and the world, they obsessively chronicle every twisted phenomenon, every perversion, every disillusioning anecdote. They fancy themselves proclaiming truth to power — the emperor is wearing no clothes. The trouble is, they can’t take their eyes off the emperor.”

    Above paragraph is quite a swipe, IMHO. As I wrote earlier, I agree in principle with what he’s saying but he is taking on St. Blog’s in this editorial. And while these folks doing exist and exist *strongly* within St. Blog’s, the tide is changing this past year. And one way for it to continue to change would be fine editorial folks like OSV to join the banter!

    Comment on June 6, 2007 @ 8:08 am

  6. Greg Erlandson wrote,

    I appreciated Barbara’s comments on my column. She raises a valid point re blogs, and I do not think that all blogs are so extreme. Unfortunately, crabby blogs are a significant subset of the Catholic blogosphere, but I intended the reference more as an anecdotal example. I could certainly have referred to some print publications as well.
    And her point on OSV’s engagement is very much appreciated. We are working on that!

    Comment on June 6, 2007 @ 12:46 pm

  7. Barbara KB wrote,

    Thanks for stopping by, Greg!

    Please become a part of the, let me get all these cliches straight: sober, non-crabby, non-cranky blogosphere. I can send you a list, if you like.

    Also, I am *not* going to ask you to name any print publications… That’s beating a dead horse (cliche again). Or, we’ll just let laying dogs lie…

    Peace today!

    Comment on June 6, 2007 @ 1:36 pm

  8. Barbara KB wrote,

    Fun discussion and commentary regarding Greg’s opine at dotCommonweal:

    http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/blog/post/index/1024/The-Churchs-dry-drunks#cmt

    I’ve invited them to come on over here!

    ;-}

    Comment on June 7, 2007 @ 8:49 am

  9. Joe wrote,

    Wonderful piece thanks Greg!

    Comment on June 7, 2007 @ 9:52 am

  10. Lickona wrote,

    A reply of sorts from a grumpy Catholic. Cheers!

    Comment on June 7, 2007 @ 11:38 am

  11. People of the Book » Dry Drunks, Continued wrote,

    […] Erlandson himself has something to say in the comments on our earlier post on the subject. Keep […]

    Pingback on June 7, 2007 @ 2:48 pm

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