As is often the case, Catholicism is in the headlines: the HHS mandate and the First Amendment; the Vatican's investigation of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious; the collection of signatures in opposition to gay marriage in the Archdiocese of Seattle; the Vatican's silencing of Fr. Tony Flannery in Ireland; and Bishop Daniel Jenky's strong words about President Obama in a homily given in Peoria.
Some readers have asked why I haven't commented on these topics -- and if I plan to.
Like many of you, I follow the news and blog posts on these issues every day. My reading leads me to observe that:
- the initial reporting on such topics in the media is often hasty, ill-informed and inaccurate
- the initial response from those involved in such stories is often ideologically postured and biased
- it takes a long time for the truth about such matters to begin to emerge: clarity and understanding are the children of information and reflection - and their gestation may be lengthy
- even as the truth gradually emerges, many writers and commenters continue to respond only to the initial hasty, inaccurate and biased reporting (see the cartoon above)
- apart from disseminating information readily available in many other places, even the most earnest bloggers are seldom positioned to make a serious contribution to the discussion
- a combox on a blog is often like a sand box in the backyard: a place where children play and kick up lots of dust while shouting and calling each other names
Those who have serious interest in the current events like those listed above will make it their business to read and study as much material as is available - and there's lots of it out there. (Check the sidebar for some helpful links.) Such study often reveals that each of the "sides" in a particular debate is much less objective and accurate than it claims to be: a certain, necessary transparent honesty is often found lacking. And, not surprisingly, if one or more sides in the debate fails to respect the views each brings to the table or is altogether closed to the paths of reconciliation or consensus - an unfortunate outcome is fairly easy to predict.
My own experience as a blogger has taught me that posting on debated issues and inviting conversation about them leads some readers to unintended conclusions and others to start a ruckus in the sandbox. My growing focus in writing this page is on scripture, spirituality and prayer. In general, then, I'll be leaving to others the task of reporting and updating the news and soliciting opinions thereon. And I gladly cede to other bloggers the task of moderating the sandbox.
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