I return after only 1 week from my self-imposed exile, "no doubt more quickly that [I] should", but hopefully duly chastened. I pray that I have learned from my mistakes, and that I will be a better person and therefore a better blogger. It is my hope that this blog will benefit from a dose of humility.
"But don't despair" - I do not plan to change the focus or the personality of this blog. Much to the chagrin, I'm sure, of some who think my blogging too heavy on "machismo" and "testosterone", I have no intention of watering down that aspect of this blog. I have no interest in a version of Catholicism that is limp-wristed, namby-pamby, and devoid of masculinity, and I will continue to blog in a vein that sees Catholic "manliness" as a virtue.
And, similarly, I see absolutely no use in a blog that is devoid of personality, and this one is going to reflect my own personality, for good or ill.
But there is a definite line between "blogging with personality" - in my case, in a somewhat lighthearted or satirical fashion that pokes fun at the world and the people in it - and engaging in uncharitable commentary ... wallowing in negativity ... questioning people's motives ... calling into question whether those with whom one disagrees are authentically "Catholic" or "Christian" ... engaging in mindless name-calling, etc. After spending some time reflecting on those areas where this blog has fallen short, I hope to do a better job of avoiding caustic, overbearing, arrogant, and uncharitable dialogue here at Pro Ecclesia.
Rick Lugari's admonition that it is "wise to test our commentary by determining if it would be something we would say to the person directly or at least presume the person would read it" is exactly right. Or, as my momma would say, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."
Again, that's a fine line when you're commenting on current events affecting the Church, the state, the family, and the culture. Sometimes one feels compelled to call a spade a spade in the interest of yelling "STOP!" to a world and a culture that seems to have gone mad. But charity should, nevertheless, ALWAYS govern those sorts of comments.
At other times, the inflated egos of the strong and powerful are just begging to be lampooned. Take, for example, my lighthearted appellation of Venezuelan strongman, Hugo Chavez, as a "Castro-Loving Commie Bastard™". Now, I suppose that could be considered "mindless name calling". But, on a gut level, CLCB™ doesn't seem to me to really cross that line of inappropriate commentary when used in reference to a communist thug dictator who takes Castro as his role model, replaces statues of the Blessed Virgin with monuments to a murderer like Che Guevara, and who seems determined to drag the hemisphere back to the bad old days of Marxist revolution in an effort to resuscitate a discredited socio-political system of governance/control. I could be completely wrong, but to me that seems to be fair game.
In contrast, however, when a 40-year-old man publicly comments on a young woman's virtue (or lack thereof), and heaps scornful epithets like "skank" and "ho" upon her,that clearly and most definitely crosses the line of what is appropriate for polite and decent commentary. Especially on a blog that labels itself as "Catholic". Such behavior is singularly lacking in Catholic chivalry, and is not the mark of a gentleman. And I am heartily ashamed for having crossed that line in my blogging.
NB: A special thanks to all of you who commented, and/or emailed, and/or logged blog posts (and, in one instance, telephoned) to give me your words of support for this blog and my efforts here. Your kind words are appreciated more than you know.