Some might remember when man with black hat went on hiatus about four years ago. It was for exactly forty days, the right amount of time for what was then a type of "desert experience." There are over a thousand weblogs identified as "Catholic" in their orientation according to the "Catholic Blog Directory." There may be many more of them. Dozens of writers-by-avocation may face circumstances in their lives -- family emergencies, personal crises, job changes, and so on -- which force them to shut down for an interim, if not permanently.
Fellow Virginian Mattias Caro has not disclosed the reasons for taking a rest from authoring Icarus Fallen, but he's back now, filling a space "where nothing is so practical as a good philosophy." Also undisclosed, is the motivation behind his nom de plume, "Alberto Hurtado." Huh?
Meanwhile, up the coast, author and commentator Stephen Hand, formerly of the long-running Traditional Catholic Reflections and Reports, returns to the blogosphere with The Bride and the Dragon. This was originally intended as a low-budget print journal, in a principled attempt to eschew the nefarious influence of certain excesses of the internet. In the end, it fell victim to the realities of the rising costs of print journalism. Between paper, printing, and especially rising mailing costs, smaller print journals are falling by the wayside, or going to the web.
He's hardly alone. Both New Oxford Review and The Wanderer are offering "web only" subscription options. Earlier this summer, this writer learned that the magazine Crisis was disclosing plans for "web only" as its only option. Currently, they offer a webzine known as InsideCatholic.com, in addition to the online version of Crisis.
I realize some people think of the internet -- to say nothing of television -- as a potential "occasion of sin." I could say that about the average bookstore or newsstand. Such influences have always been with us, they're just more "in your face" now than before. Personally, I don't bother to look in that direction, and I'm just as well off. We are called to be "in the world, but not of it."
When it comes down to it, the challenge of attaining virtue despite everything, is nothing new.