Catholics in the Comboxes

Msgr. Charles Pope has noted it:

Recently however, I am getting more comments that are just plain rude, mean or unnecessarily personal. I have had to press the delete button more than I’d like. It is not just the use of profanity that is alarming (and that too is becoming more common), but it is the excoriation of one’s opponents with dismissive labels and terms which either question their orthodoxy, or their love of the poor, label them as rigid or as communists, etc.

There is also the unnecessary ridicule of positions. And most of these comments come in the context of a discussion outside dogmatically defined issues, where reasonable people, reasonable Catholics, can differ and terminology may have more than one meaning, where the presumption of good faith and the celebration of the Catholic faith ought to be presumed. Gentle corrections are appreciated, but making a person look foolish is usually unnecessary.

Deacon Greg has noted it, and from time-to-time felt the need to close comments until everyone could get a grip, or at least calm their first furies, and so have I.

And now Te-deum blog notes it: the comboxes at Catholic blogs are becoming toxic little pools of spite, malice, passive-aggression, bullying and something new called “judgmental orthodoxy,” which supposedly “builds up” the Body of Christ, although I don’t see it. Diane writes:

I want to spark discussion, but not just any kind of discussion. I think one of the things that really gets us going is that we have lost the art of debating points and principles and are debating people. We are getting quite personal in the process, expecting everyone to understand why we feel the way we do. For that reason, this new post series I am doing will not point to people – not even veiled. The post series is strictly about behaviors. Every one of us probably engages in these at various times without even realizing it, so there is no need to attach something to someone else. Look inward as good Christians are suppose to do.

This promises to be a thoughtful and soul-searching series. Probably good for all of us to check out.

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About Elizabeth Scalia