8 February 2012

Does blogging and commenting do us any good?

It was something I thought about when I was reading some posts on blogs I read irregularly that dealt with the American HHS policy, and the bishops statements.

First, I read a few prominent conservative blogs which said, more or less: "Oh, now the bishops want to act. If they had only listened to us or done their job back then, we would not be in this mess now..." Some of these blogs are very popular with large readerships and followers. They could have thrown their support along with their followers behind the bishops, but instead chose to use this as an opportunity to say "See? I was right."

I read this post of Fr.Z's the other day, wherein Fr Z shreds Doug Kmiec's letter to Obama, not because he disagreed with the letter and what it said as such, but because Kmiec had supported Obama and had helped cause the current mess. Apparently, the whole "there is more joy in heaven over one repentant sinner..." thing doesn't carry much weight. As usual, Father's combox went nuclear in a short time, with comments ranging from full agreement, to saying that Father did not go far enough in condemning Kmiec.

Then I read this post over at Mark Shea's, wherein he said something similar to what I thought- namely, if American conservatives and faithful Catholics hope to defeat this issue, they need to increase their voting power, which means they need to draw off some people who supported the president. If they reject people simply because they once supported Obama, they will certainly lose again.

And then the debate started in the comboxes. It quickly grew contentious, with Shea himself getting rather dismissive. As others have noted, Shea, when responding to comments, will resort to ad hominems and non sequitors to dismiss and belittle negative commenters.

My question, which I asked in Shea's combox, is this: How does any of this get any of us closer to heaven? How does being angry with the wrathful,  or passing judgement on the judgemental, or envious of those who covet power, or proud that in our humility we are not like the arrogant, do us any good? 

I see this quite often in blogs.  With no filters, no editors, it is too easy to just spout off anything at all, off the top of our heads, or when we are angry, or frustrated.  Are we not going to be called to account for all our idle words?  To put it simply: how does being a jerk with a keyboard make us better than other jerks with keyboards, or even jerks without keyboards?

While I admit that this battle needs to be fought and won, will it be any of any benefit to bloggers and commenters to win what will be a most bitter battle if it costs them their souls?


LarryD said...

You've expressed succinctly why I don't go to Shea's blog anymore, nor read the comments at Fr Z's.

I confess that I may be guilty of some of what you write about - the urge to get that zinger in can be strong and hard to resist - which is why it's important to always remember that we will be held accountable for every word that comes forth out of our mouths. Or our keyboards.

Adrienne said...

And therein lies the reason I quit writing mainly "Catholic" posts and took "Catholic" off my blog name. Politics is much tamer.

Mark Shea makes his name by starting flame wars with other bloggers. His treatment of his commenters is atrocious, and he himself, is rude and arrogant (and IMO not very smart.)

On the other hand, if we stick our heads in the sand and refuse to recognize that there may be a few problems in the Church, things will never change.

Adrienne said...

@Larry "You've expressed succinctly why I don't go to Shea's blog anymore, nor read the comments at Fr Z's.


And I've never found you to be rude or unkind. You simply tell the truth.

LarryD said...

Thanks, Duchess!

Adrienne said...

You're welcome.

When can I expect the $10.00 to arrive?

ignorant redneck said...

There's a lot thatcould be said--that needs to be said--but I'm not sure the time is now. Our bishops are speaking out. Whether or not I think it's late or strong enough, or too string, well, that's for later.

Right now we need to hang together with our Bishops, or they will hang without us, and that will be the effective end of Catholicism in the US.

Blessed Clemens Von Galen, OPN.

Patience said...

Once upon a time; you wrote a carefully crafted letter to the editor and hoped it was good enough to be published. (I've been published once) and you generally signed your name. Now that people can post anonymous comments; the gloves are off and the comments that aren't removed due to violating even the most generous of laws are still pretty petty and nasty. Anonymity seems to bring out the worst in people. This is why I try to get to know people on the blogs I post on which I hope I've been able to accomplish with you a bit.

LarryD said...

Adrienne - I don't have the $10 to give you, but I did pray for you and the Grand Duke (your hubby) before the Blessed Sacrament last night. That's way better than cash...

Adrienne said...

@Larry - Awwwwwwwww - that brought tears to my eyes. Thank you.

Barb Schoeneberger said...

You make a lot of good points. I don't read Shea either for the reasons commenters mentioned.

I do think, however, that many Catholics are uninformed about our Faith and the spirit of disobedience in the world today as well as in the Church has caused the suppression of the truth.

This contretemps with the Obama administration is an excellent jolt for our bishops to wake up and start seeing where the failure to teach the whats, whys, and wherefores of Catholic doctrine has led us and what they now need to do instead. All Catholics need a "connect the dots" lesson.

So, to answer your question about saving our souls, it's a good idea for Catholics to see and understand how we got to where we are today, even if it means distributing a few lashes to the bishops. At the same time, we got here because we didn't pray sufficiently for our bishops and we allowed ourselves to be infected by the world. We are equally at fault. We should be motivated to not make the same mistake again and take up the battle with deep prayer and studying our Faith.

Bro. AJK said...

I think this is one reason I stopped blogging. I really don't have much to add to the discussion.