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Feel My Love… In Holding Back Ranting Comments | Catholic Life

Feel My Love… In Holding Back Ranting Comments

Rebecca has a great series running on politics and religion. The comments have gotten heated, and seemingly so lopsided on the recent post that I felt the need to chime in and defend the guest poster. But even after deleting and retyping my comment three times I still needed to include a note to Rebecca that I would understand if she deleted it. So I decided to post my thoughts here rather than risking adding fuel to a fire on the blog of one of the kindest people I know online!

Since I tend to be something of an over-zealous commenter myself, it is easy for me to recognize when others suffer from the same problems.
  1. It is not helpful to tell someone what she or he is saying. It can be useful to clarify that they mean what you think they mean, but simply telling them that they are setting forth a specific argument may only cause you to continue to miss the point.
  2. Admonishing sinners is a work of mercy, but implying that others are sinning due to different interpretations of the best way to achieve good is both uncharitable and ineffective.
  3. Even the pope backs up his statements with many nods to tradition and quotes from doctors of the church. It does not make sense to expect someone else to change her view of Church teaching by simply asserting an alternate view without a very careful examination of the sources (one quote does not count!). And this should obviously include her sources when she is citing the US Bishops!
Deleted versions included a nod to JPII’s favorite politician and Ratzinger’s thoughts on┬áconscience.
What “rules” have you learned for getting across your point well in heated Catholic discussions?

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11 Responses to “Feel My Love… In Holding Back Ranting Comments”

  1. Michelle 04. Aug, 2010 at 12:17 pm #

    oh no…I hope I wasn’t an offender. I did go back and read a couple more comments…but did it explode again? I surely hope I wasn’t uncharitable! I better go back and re-examine…

    Thanks for the heads-up!

    • Rae 04. Aug, 2010 at 1:19 pm #

      You were fine! And since your comment was the first one it also wasn’t like you were contributing to a big 15 against 1. :-)

  2. Sarah 04. Aug, 2010 at 2:04 pm #

    Oh Rae. I hate these comment threads. I really hated having my throat jumped down for insinuating (how dare I!) that people not support candidates who support torture.

    I know I usually don’t cite my sources when I talk about Church teaching — I guess I’d be happy to if anyone asks, but too often I feel as though it doesn’t matter how many speeches the pope has made talking about how bad torture, war, etc. are. If the Catholic reading the comment *wants* to support war (just or not) or find an excuse to support a candidate who supports torture, they’ll ignore me anyway. It’s the same thing they all scream about when a Catholic *wants* to support abortion rights, so they ignore what the Church says. It’s all about thinking we know better than the Church when it comes to how society ought to be run. It makes me want to tear my hair out.

    Sorry to vent my frustration at *that* thread over here. :/

    • Rae 04. Aug, 2010 at 5:44 pm #

      Venting here is fine! I guess I should have been more specific about what I meant by it being helpful to cite sources. I recognize that most of blogging/commenting is about sharing opinions and most often I don’t cite sources. BUT when you’re implying that someone else is at the least on the verge of serious sin, and they have cited their source, then I think that it is worth the time to back ones thoughts with more than strong urging.

      I am looking forward to reading your post!

    • Rebecca 04. Aug, 2010 at 8:17 pm #

      Sarah – I totally agree with you. Whatever side people are on, it seems that the other side is accused of going against the church. Obviously both sides can’t be all right, but maybe neither is and the truth is actually in the middle.

  3. Sarah 04. Aug, 2010 at 2:05 pm #

    PS. I really liked today’s post. I don’t entirely agree with her, but I felt that her post was a lot less adversarial in its tone than the previous.

    • Michelle 04. Aug, 2010 at 7:14 pm #

      me, too! I really hated disagreeing with her! But I did/do on so many levels!! But you’re right…she had a very nice style about it. I just felt a little disappointed that she provided nothing really new that I hadn’t heard before from her side.

  4. Rebecca 04. Aug, 2010 at 8:02 pm #

    Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry you all felt so jumped on :(. I will say Kate did comment that she thought everyone was being respectful today, so I tended to let it go because she felt okay with it all.

    I had an unexpectedly very busy day at work today and reading through quickly on my phone, I thought everything sounded ok.

    I’m going back through in more detail now.

    Again, I’m so sorry. I knew this topic could get heated, I just hope we all end up better for it all on the other side.

    • Rae 06. Aug, 2010 at 4:11 pm #

      As far as I am concerned you have no need to feel sorry. I couldn’t tell whether Kate was really totally fine, or just using the “thank you” as a reminder, but as long as she is really fine then I am fine. I just felt like she needed to be defended. :-)

  5. Sarah 06. Aug, 2010 at 6:28 pm #


    There’s no need for you to be sorry. It certainly wasn’t your fault at all. I just found being told that I “had no valid point” when I *suggested* adding “doesn’t support torture” to the list of non-negotibles.
    Really, other than that, I think all of the conversations were very civil. :)

  6. Rebecca 06. Aug, 2010 at 6:33 pm #

    Thanks for the support ladies! I really have enjoyed this week’s posts. They’ve given me a lot to think about and while I’ve altered my thinking in some areas, I found myself digging my heals in even more in others :).

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