Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Calling The Fool Killer...

Mitchell here.

I just cringe when I see posts like this over at Amy Welborn's site, on the Pope's Easter Sunday comments abour Iraq. I'm not blaming Amy for it - it's a legitimate, and important, story after all.

I cringe because you know how this is going to unfold. You know the nutburgers on all sides are going to come pouring into the combox. If you play any drinking games with these kinds of discussions, you're going to get drunk on this one. And probably less than 10% of the commentors are interested in calm, rational, good-faith dialog on this issue.

The rest of them are looking for ego gratification, one-uppsmanship, political grandstanding, theological grandstanding, or any one of a hundred other kinds of uncharitable commentary. Some will be caught up in telling the Pope how to run the Vatican, while others will be bursting at the seams to accuse some of being covert tools of the Republican party. Accusations will be made, integrities will be challenged, faiths will be questioned, name-calling will run rampant. We'll hear from all the usual suspects, some of them multiple times. The only thing most will agree on is that it's a black-and-white issue - no room for divergent opinions.

I don't mean to sound uncharitable about this myself, and that's not my intent. But what, precisely, is served by this kind of discussion? Surely it's not the image of the Church, which will undoubtedly be tarnished in the eyes of those who already think we don't practice what we preach. We're probably not going to have a meaningful conversation. We're probably not going to change any minds or convert any hearts. We're only going to see yet another nasty argument amongst opinionated people, no different than thousands which have gone before.

The internet is a wonderful tool, and the blogosphere provides a valuable service. And I am sick and tired of seeing people wreck havoc on it like a 70s rock group trashing a hotel room. When it's being done in the Catholic blogosphere, the tragedy is compounded.

Yes, The Fool Killer is overwhelmed by his opportunity...

Cross Posted to Our Word and Welcome to It


Unknown said...

Thanks for posting that, Mitchell. I agree with you.

And for that reason, I rarely read posts like that. It is rare that something new is to be learned by doing so.

Opinions, points and counter-points, all from people who have opinions but rarely have facts to back them up.

But sometimes I do skim such an article and then view the comments to see if someone I know or know about has something to say.

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Mitchell: I agree.

I would add that the current Holy Father is really under attack from both sides. That's probably true of any Holy Father but I never paid any attention to the Pope until 2 years ago! ;-)

The trads are upset because the current Holy Father did not cast out all the "unworthy" (by their definition) as his first order of business.

The CINO's are upset because a Pope will still not give them what they want (womenpriests, contraception, liturgy as they like it etc)

Personally, I think he's doing a fine job. He's a brilliant man. I'm mesmerized by his writing and his weekly catachesis sessions.

The vitriol on some blogs has caused me to quit reading them. I still have a couple in my blogroll that I'm on the cusp of dumping.

Mitchell, Our Word is becoming the standard bearer in defense of reasoned discussion. Keep it up. Your efforts are appreciated.

God Bless

Our Word said...

Ray: Great comment.

Cathy: Thanks for the kind words. We'll try to keep it up.

You know, I think this is a very important issue, on that is vital to all blogs, the Catholic blogosphere in particular. I really wish more blogs would pick this up - I'm not proprietary about it, I don't care if people mention Our Word at all, I just want this discussion to be raised. I think all os us, including Catholic bloggers, have a responsibility - a moral duty, if you will - to conduct themselves in public accordingly. I don't know if we need a summit, a general agreement, an email chain, or what - but this needs to be addressed before it gets out of hand any more than it already is.

So any bloggers out there - please pick up the cause and run with it! Don't worry about giving credit - just do it! Who is with us?


Unknown said...

Hey Ray,
Blogger's not letting me open comments to leave a comment there. Here's what I wanted to say:

Mitchell makes very good points and I have come to the same frustration and utter tiredness with much of St Blog's. People forget themselves in this anonymous medium, and that often leads to all sorts of uncharitable behavior, as Mitchell points out. If folks would remember that they are a witness to the Faith at all times--and the fact that even in their "anonymity" they are still projecting their Catholicism by virtue of participating in the Catholic blogosphere--these types of comments and bashings would automatically stop.

Maybe it would help if many of the more controversy-raising posts had periodic reminders to this effect?

God bless!