Blogging and Calumny

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blogging fists


Lifesite News has responded to the assault on Hilary White of Lifesite News orchestrated by some Catholic bloggers.  Go here to read Paul Zummo’s post on the controversy, and go here to read mine.  Here is the post of Steve Jalsevac, one of the two co-founders of Lifesite News:



Now and then various Church officials complain about deeply uncharitable and harmful discussions on some Catholic blogs. Facebook, blogs, Twitter and even email can each far too easily allow angry thoughts that cross people’s minds to be published for all the world to see without the sober second thought that would naturally accompany face-to-face or spoken communication.

There was a recent attack against LifeSiteNews from a very well known Catholic writer and another such writer and her husband. Using these means of unfiltered near-instant communications, they poured calumny and invective on LifeSiteNews and our talented and committed staff.

Critics who obviously know very little about us, how we function, and our editorial decision-making penned very harsh judgments about our motives and other aspects of our work.

Here are just a few samples of what was what posted on the Facebook pages of various well-known and prolific Catholic writers:

Criticism naturally comes with the territory of journalism and should always be expected. However, when this kind of crude assault is hurled so recklessly from fellow Catholics or other Christians, it does leave us unsettled. Moreover, when such vile language and character assassination comes from Catholics who are published at influential Catholic publications, it is also a concern for the writers’ own Catholic reputation and that of their employers.

LifeSiteNews does not claim to be a Catholic organization. We have many good and faithful Catholics on staff, but we do not claim to be a Catholic organization and our reporting is intended for people of all faiths and even no faith. 

Nothing written by LifeSiteNews ever remotely approaches the level of calumny in the condemnations and criticisms seen in the Facebook posts mentioned. We explicitly forbid our writers from making such comments and are constantly removing similar comments from readers commenting under our reports. That is not free speech. We consider it to be an abuse of freedom. We also have a policy of never responding in kind to such comments.

Go here to read the rest.  Blogging is not a sedate activity most of the time, at least when it deals with controversial topics.  The expression of strong opinions and the reaction such expression brings about comes with the territory.  However, all Catholics need to remember in the hurly burly give and take on blogs the old fashioned virtue of fairness.  Even when bloggers think they are defending the Pope from criticism, fairness and accuracy should never go out the window, jobs should not be threatened and personal attacks should not take the place of reasoned debate.  Here endeth the lesson.

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  1. My vile invective reserved for King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. We know who they are. Interestingly those who pile the invective on Life Site News are invariable those who find an excuse for a godless King and his mooching wife.

  2. Hmm, Is it any wonder that we are at the crossroads of complete decay within our beloved Church. Why we have abortion on demand and pastoral immorality, and the many other abuses perpetrated against and within Her? No one will silence me in defense of the True Faith. Get thee behind me satan!

  3. Funny, I see name-calling in both directions. Do that if it suits you, but don’t pretend to be any holier because “they deserved it!”

  4. An obnoxious questions that occurs to me: sometimes can a personal attack be part of a reasoned debate? I’m not wondering that about Life Site News, which I read and appreciate usually 3 or 4 times a week.. but just wondering about debate, which I think is an important and wonderful part of life!

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