Catholic Blogs & Charity – UPDATED

My Tuesday Column is up; today I pick up on the discussions begun yesterday, at Deacon’s Bench, America Magazine, Inside Catholic and elsewhere over Rachel Zoll’s AP piece on the “purge” mentality exhibited on some (in my view extreme) Catholic blogs.

Having blogged about religion and politics for nearly 6 years, I acknowledge that one can occasionally “write mad” and deliver a bit more zing than one has meant to, although I personally have never gone after other bloggers pronouncing who should “stay” and who should “go,” which is what the gist of my piece is about. Determining the state of someone else’s soul is none of my business, and I’m not interested in going there.

Yes, there are extreme Catholic bloggers, “progressive” and “conservative,” who tread recklessly upon their fellow Catholics, and whose motto should read ego usus a blog quod ego sum fortis utor is. Yes, there are a handful of extreme Catholic bloggers to whom Jesus might say, “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy. . .’.”

And, because they are extreme types, they will each assume that that line is meant for the “others”—the ones against whom they burnish the swords of righteousness; the ones they lampoon, often, unto snotty incoherence.

In fact, the line is meant for every one of us writing in the Catholic blogosphere, for no one manages perfect charity all the time. I am too cognizant of my own failings to believe I have any business drumming anyone else out of the church and I would venture that most Catholic bloggers, either “progressive” or “conservative,” feel similarly.

We add to the broken body of Christ when we try to judge who is the “better sort” of Catholic, or who is doing damage to that body. We all do impressive jobs of bringing “scandal” to the church by our very passionate need to see things “made right” (as we see it) and by the ways in which we indict each other’s imperfections.

I’ve never called anyone a “heretic” and I don’t like seeing others do it. I don’t like seeing people referred to as “Taliban Catholics” either. It seems to me there is a basic measure of human respect we Catholic bloggers should be able to manage between ourselves, for the sake of heaven. And yes, I accuse myself, first.

My clumsy thoughts are here.

UPDATE I:
Now THIS is anti-Catholicism at its best! Or, given the update, just a really dumb ad. Then again, it was dumb before, too.

Lisa Graas notes that people still believe what they read in the newspapers, and she has a good roundup of Catholic sites.

Insight Scoop has more thoughts on the AP piece

UPDATE II:
On a somewhat related note: Danielle Bean, writing over that the WaPo (I do believe she is the hardest-working mom-blogger on the ‘net) looks at “sanity” and faith. I frankly don’t understand how someone can look at the Catholic church’s commitment to knowledge in her universities, her commitment to science (Vatican observatory began in the early 20th century) and suggest that faith and reason are mutually exclusive.

The other side of that: Kathryn Jean Lopez
with a fine piece on the faith of Stephen Colbert, which you’ll really want to read.

Chilean Miners: The “Catholic faith was everywhere…”

More: On Being the Adult in the Room

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About Elizabeth Scalia