Cardinal Newman’s Rules for Blogging

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Cardinal Newman Icon Tall Pic

Blogging can be rough amusement.  I will attempt to keep the Definition of a Gentleman written by Cardinal Newman in 1852 in mind as much as I can and still keep the readers of TAC informed and amused.  It is almost as if Newman could perceive blogging over a century and a third before it began, as  his Definition of a Gentleman is, in part, almost a code of behavior for bloggers.  Here are some rules for blogging I have distilled from it:

Bloggers would do well to keep the following in mind:

1.    His great concern being to make every one at their ease and at home. He has his eyes on all his company; he is tender towards the bashful, gentle towards the distant, and merciful towards the absurd.

2.    He never defends himself by a mere retort.

3.    He has no ears for slander or gossip.

4.    He is scrupulous in imputing motives to those who interfere with him, and interprets every thing for the best.

5.    He is never mean or little in his disputes, never takes unfair advantage, never mistakes personalities or sharp sayings for arguments, or insinuates evil which he dare not say out.

6.    From a long-sighted prudence, he observes the maxim of the ancient sage, that we should ever conduct ourselves towards our enemy as if he were one day to be our friend.

7.    He has too much good sense to be affronted at insults.

8.    He is too well employed to remember injuries, and too indolent to bear malice.

9.    He is patient, forbearing, and resigned, on philosophical principles.

10.   If he engages in controversy of any kind, his disciplined intellect preserves him from the blundering discourtesy of better, perhaps, but less educated minds; who, like blunt weapons, tear and hack instead of cutting clean, who mistake the point in argument, waste their strength on trifles, misconceive their adversary, and leave the question more involved than they find it.

11.   He may be right or wrong in his opinion, but he is too clear-headed to be unjust.

12.  He is as simple as he is forcible, and as brief as he is decisive.

13.  He throws himself into the minds of his opponents, he accounts for their mistakes.

14.  He knows the weakness of human reason as well as its strength, its province and its limits.

15.  He will be too profound and large-minded to ridicule religion or to act against it.

16.  He respects piety and devotion; he even supports institutions as venerable, beautiful, or useful, to which he does not assent.

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16 Comments

  1. As I was impishly going through the list I found myself in the majority of the infractions. I will admit this truth. The patience and understanding given to me from the frequent commentators on TAC proves that they know and follow these gracious 16 suggestions.

    Thanks for your kindnesses.

  2. #10 is an uncanny description of comments sections on the average internet site. Misconstruing an adversary (and earlier, imputing motives) is, what, 90% of the threads I’ve seen over the years (on other sites).

    As for #11, if I could live my life that someone would eulogize me with that, I’d be content.

  3. I’ve got the indolent part down (or has the meaning of the word changed?). Some of the best advice I’ve gotten lately is “never read the comments”. Obviously, I haven’t fully implemented this yet.

  4. yep I’m guilty. and I don’t feel one iota of regret. The wicked and perverse are raging. They are at war against the truth and humanity. War is the wrong place for polite discourse. I’m old enough to remember a time when civil society practiced wise and well spoken discourse. Those days are gone. Load your cannon with all the truth and shrapnel you can muster them blast right in to the mob. Take no prisoners.

  5. I left Facebook for these very reasons. I found myself angry at some of the posts and couldn’t help making comments which further angered other posters. I realized that for me this amounted to the old fashioned occasion of sin, so I promptly got off of it. Amazing how the sin of pride can affect us., and admire bloggers who are able to ignore nasty comments . You have to be a special person to do this I think.

  6. Those beautiful rules sound to me like they could be living daily rules. They are friendly, charitable, compassionate and Christ Like,. why only use them blogging…

    So I’ll meditate on each point and take them to heart…

    Thanks for publishing

  7. Thank you. Blogging can be a useful tool to spread the Faith, though, I’m sure I don’t always blog like I sit in a pew at Mass.

    Some good points to reflect upon and to incorporate. (I’m assuming this is for the not-so-gentlewoman to strive as well as for the gentleman.)

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