Contemplating one’s sins. The problem with developing a conscience is that is is really uncomfortable and one can rarely do much about those times in the past when one swallowed one’s leg up to the hip, except to be ashamed and sorry.
In our outrage at a perceived evil do we indulge ourselves in an “injurious manner of speaking”? When we write about apparent errors and evils perceived in the secular world around us do we do so with charity and compassion or with the very malice and contempt the use of which we are castigating in others’ propaganda efforts, the secular sales pitch which tempts and converts so many?
In essence, what I ask here is “Do I (and others whose work I read) retaliate in kind for perceived injustice, do we match “atrocity with atrocity” in a small verbal war of attrition fought in our own minds and transmitted through our writing?
Am I using a “Donald Trump” style of communication or a “Jesus Christ” style of communication?
Whatever my “good intentions”, am I on the side of the Angels or the side of the Orcs? Sins of pride piled upon sins of malice piled upon sins of hate, sins, sins, and more sins to the last syllable of time, Screwtape, and the father of lies must be laughing all the way home.
I am reviewing all my posts, doing fact checking (again), and looking for inappropriate content and style. Looking back, checking the back trail, in retrospect it’s kind of like looking at a large mirror of one’s thoughts, undeniably one’s own sins and biases and food for reconsideration of one’s approach now removed from the heat of the moment. In a post a couple of years ago I quoted a small book called “Liberalism is sin”.
In the uproar after it came out in Spain in the 1800’s, the work was denounced even within the church because it offended some bishops. Eventually, the conflict made it to Rome where the ruling came down in favour of the original work and the detractors were required to withdraw their efforts to suppress the little book.
In part the Sacred Congregation wrote: “The same judgment, however, cannot be passed on the other work, that by D. de Pazos, for in matter it needs corrections. Moreover, his injurious manner of speaking cannot be approved, for he inveighs rather against the person of D. Sarda than against the latter’s supposed errors.
Therefore, the Sacred Congregation has commanded D. de Pazos, admonished by his own Bishop, to withdraw his book, as far as he can, from circulation, and in the future, if any discussion of the subject should arise, to abstain from all expressions personally injurious, according to the precept of true Christian charity; and this all the more since Our Holy Father, Leo XIII, whereas he urgently recommends castigation of error, neither desires nor approves expressions personally injurious, especially when directed against those who are eminent for their doctrine and their piety.”
So I guess the take away is simply that “the ends never justify the means”. That using the same styles and tools as one’s opponents to berate and castigate ones opponents instead of dealing only with the facts in question is simply never acceptable. My grandfather used to say, “if you can’t say something good about someone then say nothing at all.”
Looked at in this way the problem of how to write about these atrocities, dressed up as they are in a secular cloak of desirability, is rather magnified. The bar of quality and justice is significantly raised when considering writing a charitable blog about evil things in the mainstream culture.
Always remember, “be charitable in your judgements, never take yourself too seriously” and of course “Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.”
Sometimes when I post, I look at my sig and wish that I’d follow my own damned advice. And who says he is an idiot? Maybe he’s right and I am the idiot, maybe not, but can I leap to judgement using the same clubs the “idiot” uses?