My brothers and sisters: America welcomes your comments. When making comments, I implore you to heed the principle message of our recent editorial and converse with one another in a spirit of fraternal charity and humility. I ask this not simply in the spirit of the editorial, but in the spirit of the Gospel that inspired it. We can disagree, of course, but a discourse based on Gospel values will avoid:

1. Casting aspersions on the motives of our brothers and sisters.

2. Scapegoating.

3. Engaging in hyperbole or exaggeration.

4. Anonymity.

5. Hopelessness. 

Christians must never be afraid to speak the truth. But we must always remember that, ultimately, truth is a person and his name is Jesus Christ; He is “the way and the truth and the life.” No statement, therefore, however factually accurate it may be, can ultimately be called truthful if it is not spoken in charity.  

Matt Malone, S.J.

Comments

Anne Chapman | 12/3/2012 - 10:32am
Fr. Malone, you are fighting the good fight, but doubt you will have much effect. I finally gave up the ''fight'' within the Catholic church and now enjoy some Christian peace on Sunday mornings in the pews of an Episcopal Church. The civil war in the church finally was too much and I left about 4 years ago.  I delight in our priests - one male and one female and both wonderful ministers and gifted homilists.  The sermons dwell on what Jesus taught and not on what a pope or bishops ''teach''.  

However, I still keep up with the church that was so much a part of me for most of my life and I was struck by the last item in your list - hopelessness.  I am very curious about what you mean by that, and hope that you will expand and clarify. I could hazard a guess, but might be well off the mark and don't wish to comment on that without understanding exactly what you mean by it.

I know you are busy as you assume your responsibilities at America - but if you would be so kind as to say a bit more about that item, and what you mean by it, and if you mean different things in different contexts, I would be very appreciative.

Peace! 
Vincent Gaitley | 12/2/2012 - 10:39pm
Is it therefore uncharitable to say that Bishop Finn of Kansas City is a convicted criminal and should be removed from his see?  
Vince Killoran | 12/6/2012 - 2:31pm
A simple request by the editor for a more civil tone and the response from many of the most frequent bloggers (these are the folks who will post alot and insist on the last word) is to blame IAT itself for being mean-spirited. You know, reading a website with which you have a fundamental disagreement about their perspective doesn't mean the website creators have been rude or intolerant.

I'm grateful for this website since it does very, very light policing of the comments section. We-and her I included myself-don't always honor that trust. 
Anne Chapman | 12/6/2012 - 1:44pm
It is disappointing that Fr. Malone has not chosen to answer my question in #11.

I am sorry, as I would like to know what he meant by banning ''hopelessness'' from discussions.

I suppose when I think about it, a sense of hopelessness is what finally drove me out of the church in late middle age, after raising my children in the church and sending them mostly to Catholic schools, after being an active member, parish volunteer, and, when my schedule permitted, a daily communicant throughout my life. Instead of banning discussions that may raise ''hopelessness'' as a factor in the church's loss of at least some of the tens of millions who have walked away, perhaps those who actually care about why so many are leaving should explore what underlies the sense of hopelessness in so many current and former Catholics.

Probably he doesn't go back to read threads anyway.
Gerelyn Hollingsworth | 12/4/2012 - 9:37am
Have to agree with Cosgrove.  The recent threads about the Book of Mormon are an example.

(If the new editor wants to admonish posters, he should take a look at the thread on The Testament of Mary.)

(And what about differentiating between zeros and letters o's in the security verification?  I just tried to do it, but, as usual, got it wrong and now have to try a new one and enter my name again.)
J Cosgrove | 12/3/2012 - 2:13pm
I think it absurd that this site can not be run on a cordial and considerate basis.  I have seen polite and serious dialogues on other sites, so why cannot it not be done here.  But it has to start with the authors and editors.  Most of the time I personally have pushed back because of the lack of consideration in the OP's either against certain individuals or certain positions.  Flame throwing has frequently started in the articles themselves. 


So that is where I would police first.
Kang Dole | 12/3/2012 - 10:00am
You know, I said what I said on the basis of much reading of Christian authors-of heroes of the Church, men who are responsible for what the Church believes. And that's why I said what I said-go and read a Cyril of Alexandria, an Ambrose of Milan, and then come and tell me about Christianity's virtue of the positive exchange of ideas. Go to any decent library, and when you get to the shelving in the BR 60s range, tell me you can't practically smell the scent of contempt mingling with that of old book bindings.
Stanley Kopacz | 12/3/2012 - 9:23am
One should do what one can do.  We are a violent enough society and physical violence is often presaged by violent words and imagery.  I'm thinking of what Chris Hedges has said on the subject.
J Cosgrove | 11/30/2012 - 1:37pm
I suggest that this apply to all those who write articles here as well.  Often clever rhetoric is used in the OP's an attempt to disguise what are really the casting of aspersions.
6466379 | 11/30/2012 - 2:12pm
BULLS EYE,   Fr. Malone!  There’s too much “finger in your eye,” vitriol in some postings,  too much nastiness between sisters and brothers who eat  and drink the same food from the same dish and cup at the same table in our Father’s house, or used to. I make a serious effort to avoid uncharitable language in postings, but if over the years I’ve ever used too much “shove” and not enough “love” in postings, I am truly sorry and ask forgiveness if offense was given.
Kevin Murphy | 11/30/2012 - 1:44pm
Stay out of this, Father.



(Smile.)
Thomas Farrell | 11/30/2012 - 1:11pm
Fr. Malone: The four canonical gospels contain invective. For example, the character named Jesus is portrayed as directing rather sharp invective toward the Pharisees.

I know, I know, critical biblical scholars point out that the historical Jesus probably did not direct invective toward the Pharisees of his day, because the Pharisees in his day was probably not his opponents. So critical biblical scholars claim that the gospel writers put the invective against the Pharisees on the lips of the character named Jesus because in the time of the gospel writers the Pharisees were significant opponents of theirs (the gospel writers).

However that may be, invective can be found in the gospels. 
Knud Rasmussen | 12/1/2012 - 12:23pm
''I implore you to heed the principle message . . .''

Father, I presume that you meant ''principal message''?
David Smith | 12/1/2012 - 6:54am
Thanks, Father Malone.  Good guidance - and welcome.

Comment tails on articles and blogs often, it seems, contain ad hominem attacks on both public figures and other commenters. I imagine it's usually got something to do with insecurity, repressed anger, frustration, and a desire to cloak opinion as fact. It's common and, apparently, natural, but it's not nice, and especially in the context of a religious publication, we'd all - editors, authors, bloggers, and commenters - do well both to make a clear separation between fact and opinion and to avoid behaving disrespectfully to one another.