When comments close: the reaction

Thought I’d share a few more postcards from the e-mail bag, with some wide-ranging reaction to yesterday’s post about closing comments for a few days.

I received a couple comments like this one, from a reader who understands why I did it: :

Overall— I enjoy the many different comments on your blog—-even the caustic ones— the ones you know darn well are just trying to tick off many of us, and they usually push enough buttons to do the trick!

Kindness to one another would help— yes— but—-your blog does it’s best work, when it reminds all of us, what it REALLY means to be a living, believing, practicing Catholic. The truth is a light— but—- many times— it hits like a sledgehammer. If your blog becomes just another politically correct, let’s-all-get-along, regardless of how we live and whether we live the faith—- it will no longer serve the truth of Jesus Christ, authentically. Too many Catholics want it THEIR WAY— not the way of Jesus Christ. The theme song of Jesus Christ is NOT “Anything Goes!”

Deacon Greg— continue to lead others to the way of Jesus Christ. In the midst of heated, somewhat hateful comments, I love it best when you step in, and remind us of the truth of our Catholic faith. (I also like it when you remove some comments. YOU DA BOSS!) But, please— let the comments continue.

A Catholic newspaper editor noted:

On the rare occasions when I do look at them on matters of discussion in the church, the comments are totally disheartening. I hesitate to say this out loud, but the vitriol that we see sometimes makes me feel like I’m putting my faith at risk. How well has the church guided any of us when so many of our members don’t have the God-given charity to treat each other with decency and respect? We expect this from some of our politicians or from snarky TV debates first popularized by James J. Kilpatrick and Shana Alexander on “60 Minutes” (and so wonderfully lampooned when Dan Aykroyd always replied to Jane Curtin with the words “Jane, you ignorant slut” on SNL). But when did it become acceptable for Christ’s followers to treat each other the same way?

Then there was this idea, about lack of charity, which a couple people expressed:

I have also noticed the harshness with which many have commented on various posts and frankly, I’ve been embarrassed sometimes – what if someone who’d considering joining us in the Church sees this level of uncharity?  It’s like the pastor catching you screaming at your kid.  I find myself skimming through comments sometimes because the commenters can be so hard on one another, and on you and the folks you amy be quoting.

I once heard someone say that we’re all “Cafeteria Catholics” – could anyone say that they are absolutely scrupulous about following every bit of Catholic teaching? I don’t think so. Was it Saint Paul who said that we must be kind to one another because we’re all in the midst of a great struggle?

I also appreciated this thought, from someone on Facebook, who clearly understands what this blog is about:

I’m grateful for “The Deacon’s Bench” – because it so often shares perspectives that are not my own, but does so with charity and good will. How am I to learn, or even to examine and grow in my own beliefs, if I never see them at all except through my own lenses, my own brokenness, my own experience in this messy world, this messy Church?”

And finally, there was this e-mail, which shows why I shut down comments to begin with:

You post this garbage anyway as if you are some immature grade school boy who is excited about a new found talent. Your own lack of response to this nonsense is a testament to your endorsement of the statement. When you don’t respond, it shows your endorsement of things like abortion and sodomy. When obvious non-Catholics or former Catholics, sometimes calling themselves recovering Catholics, post heresies and criticize the Catholic faith, you offer no rebuttal most of the time as if you are cowering in the corner, afraid to make a statement to defend your faith. Maybe you are afraid to defend your faith. Along those same lines, “I won’t tolerate Catholic-bashing…..”, Your statement. Actually, you do so on almost everything you post…

…In essence, you post a lot of junk. I am pleased that you are shutting down responses for awhile. I am also pleased that you are troubled by some of the responses. Maybe you will even lose some sleep over this whole thing, which would also please me, because it tells me that God is working on you; that you do indeed have a conscience.  It is time you grew up and started playing the role of a Catholic deacon.

So there you have it: some of the vox populi.  Further evidence, if anyone needed it, that it’s a big church.

I probably won’t post again until tonight.  We’re visiting family this afternoon, and flying back to New York.  But I’ll have more on the weekend wedding — a non-religous one presided over by guy who’s both an ex-Franciscan and former Christian Brother — very soon.


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