This weekend in class, our professor shone a light on some of the things I've written about here, but he stated it in a way that helped me both to see more clearly and convict me more directly.
Look around the blogosphere. Look at the most "popular" blogs. Look at who is being followed and regard the comments.Consider the CONTENT of the blogs with the greatest number of followers.
What do they write about most often? What position are they taking?
Most importantly...at whose expense are they taking it? To whose glory?
As our professor pointed out; we humans, in our fallen nature, have this terrible inclination, almost a reflex, to put others down in support of our own opinions. He further pointed out that in so doing, if our "opinions" are actually official Church teaching, putting others down to edify it doesn't work. In fact, it does the polar opposite.
I don't repeat this here apart from my own bloody-guilty hands. Believe me; my own keyboard is caked with the blood of people I've verbally scourged and at my own particular Judgment I'll have to answer for their souls and the souls I've damaged through such scandal.
As my professor was speaking, I considered many of the blogs I follow, as well as those I have actually stopped following in the last few months. Last night I took a few minutes and browsed my blog feed, and was shocked at how many "faithful" bloggers spend the majority of their time tearing down what they see as "the enemy" even though that person might well be sitting in the pew next to them.
Being a faithful Catholic isn't about right or left or liberal or conservative. Most people don't even know what those terms really mean! I know people who claim to be "conservative" Catholics but can't be bothered to go to Mass on Sunday. I know people who claim to be "liberal" Catholics and toe the line but dislike Gregorian chant!
And yet, it seems to be a knee-jerk reaction for us to immediately pigeonhole someone into this or that camp, and then smear them for a position or belief they don't even hold!
We need to remember the theological virtue of Charity and live by it...not just spout the word.
True Charity wills the good of another, and in willing that good, sees that other as, first and foremost, someone for whom Jesus DIED a horrible death.
We CANNOT, as bloggers, base our blogs on tearing down others in order to make ourselves look good in the eyes of other sinners like us who will be fueled to add their own gripes, their own judgments, and their own form of superiority at the expense of sinners who apparently aren't like us.
There are those who are in error because they've never been taught differently, and are advancing those errors not out of intent to destroy the Church, but out of simple, inculpable ignorance. And there are those who know the true doctrine, and so are called to proclaim it...but not at the expense of the souls they destroy in operating as smug self-important jerks as they "Anathema sit!" all over the place in the diarrhea they fancy as their theological "expertise."
Unfortunately, this category isn't limited to lay bloggers, but includes members of the clergy as well, and the scandal they (snarky Clergy bloggers) cause by such practices does even greater damage. Heck, if Fr. X and Y can say such things, then so can I, and gosh, if I write like they do, then I gain esteem not just in their eyes but in the eyes of THEIR following....etc.
Yeah. That's what happens, folks.
Where, in all that, is there room for God's Glory? Where, in all this Catholic infighting, in all these condemnations and anathemas, is there room for the virtue of Charity?
Yes, we know that this or that parish on the corner or in this or that city has some major problems, and that it has become malformed Fr. XY's own personal litterbox. Whatever. Yes, we know souls are being led astray.
Since when does yelling and screeching and shaming about these things actually effect conversions?
It doesn't. It chases people away. Not just those against whom such tirades and derision are directed, but those who witness it as well.
As bloggers, as knowledgeable Catholics, we have a greater duty to respond to the Faith we have been given. We have a greater duty to exercise justice subordinate to mercy, subordinate to charity...and to know what that actually MEANS.
If we don't know what that means...it is an act of charity to be silent, not just for the souls of others...but for our own.
I'm sorry, truly sorry, for the scandal that I have caused and I am working hard not to do so ever again. I know that my apology means nothing to those whom I have scandalized, for they are not here to read it.
I beg those who are my readers to forgive me for causing scandal, and that you pray for those souls I've chased away out of my own pride in seeking my own glory at both their and YOUR expense.
I can't speak for other bloggers, nor do I judge their souls, but I do judge their actions and this, in particular. Do we need to shine a light on what is wrong at times? Certainly! The Church Fathers were not adverse to such things! The modern question is this, though: Is it really necessary to focus our lives on ripping on thy neighbor in order to proclaim the Truth?
The Truth doesn't need a defense. It simply requires an intelligent statement of fact backed up by actually living it through the theological virtues, especially that of the divine charity of Jesus who died for the very worst of sinners.