Father James Martin, SJ, is concerned about a lack of civility in discourse among Catholics, judging from a post in America, the Jesuit rag not the country:
I’m disgusted with malicious slandering that passes itself off as thoughtful theology. I’m disgusted with mean-spirited personal attacks that pass themselves off as Christian discourse. I’m disgusted with the facile use of words like “heresy” and “schism” and “apostate,” passing itself off as defenses of the faith. Basically, I’m disgusted with hate being passed off as charity. Needless to say, this is not entirely Mr. Douthat’s doing, or Mr. Reno’s doing, or Mr. Dreher’s doing. And I know that they are good and loyal Catholics (and in Mr. Dreher’s case, formerly-Catholic, now Orthodox). Obviously. But they and others–who are far more culpable–have engaged in enough of that kind of uncharitable behavior to have fostered an atmosphere of hatred and mistrust in our church. Instead of Thomas Merton’s famous “Mercy within mercy within mercy” we get “Hate piled on hate piled on hate.”
That is not theology, and it does not flow from the love of Jesus Christ. It is a malicious desire to wound people and to score points. To “win.” And if you think it’s amusing, then you’re missing Jesus’s point about not calling people names and praying for our “enemies.” And by the way, if you take Jesus as your model, and feel the need to judge people, and call them names as he did, like “hypocrite,” feel free to do so when you are the sinless Son of God. We risk being so Catholic that we forget to be Christian.
So I wholeheartedly support fully anyone’s right to write whatever he or she wants, including Ross Douthat, whom I respect. And, as an educated and faithful Catholic layperson, much of what he writes is thoughtful, insightful and deserving of our full attention. But be sure that whenever you’re reading ad hominem comments, thinly veiled attacks on people’s fidelity to the faith, snide insinuations and malicious twisting of words, you are not reading theology.
Bravo! He needs though to have a good talk with Father James Martin, SJ, at least judging from this post last year by Father Z:
Just in case you were wondering what sort of people were on the other side of the issue, this is a Twitter exchange between the Jesuit James Martin and Massimo Faggioli, a liberal academic in St. Paul:
As Dale Price has recently opined at Dyspeptic Mutterings:
As I’ve said before, “dialogue” is a shibboleth of Catholic [sic] progressives, a bit of virtue-signalling, a verbal secret handshake with no deeper significance.
“I am a proponent of dialogue” means “I am a good person whose views are impeccably correct, fellow card-carrying leftist. I’m definitely not one of those bitter/clingy/fundamentalist yahoos. Keep the invites a’ comin.”
The actual practice of Dialogue™ is a form of bullshit, in the Frankfurtian sense of the term, meant to obscure truth and not actually explore it.
Aside from the fact that Mr. Douthat has no professional qualifications for writing on the subject…
The subject, of course, is Catholicism. No doubt this degreed array of door stops are happy to praise the competence of modern American laity (BEST EDUCATED EVAR!!!) when it suits their purposes…but Gaia help you when you disagree with them.
It’s the pissy reaction of guild members to those who infringe on their imagined prerogatives, marking their territory in the same way an outraged feline does his.
So, does this oily band of twee gnostics think only they can speak to Catholic issues, and those without certifications can’t? That’s the kind of intellectual corruption that leads to reformations. But, it does get you in some media contact lists, so it’s all good.
For future reference: if the omnipresent Rev. Jim Martin from A—–a Magazine praises you for something you say about the Faith and you don’t have a collar or letters after your name, it’s worthless. The bottom line is that he regards you in exactly the same way he does an orangutan who knows some sign language: you’re adorable, but he’s never handing you the car keys.