Sunday, May 4, 2014
THIS SHOULD BE FOOD FOR ALL CATHOLIC BLOGGERS AND COMMENTERS, NOT JUST ORDAINED DEACONS!
This article is directed towards deacons, but it could well be applied to all who are Christians, Catholics, clergy and laity, especially those of us who blog and make comments on blogs. The post is a result of a deacon in England who has been prohibited for the time being from blogging because his blog had become somewhat shrill and divisive as the bishop had determined.
Public discourse has gone down the drain thanks to the talking heads on TV news and shows like Jerry Springer. Whatever happened to formality and respect in discourse, especially with those who are strangers?
Read the full article at "Deacons Today: Servants in a Servant Church blog" by pressing HERE.
But here are some money-bites from the blog:
The deacon in the current situation (the one whose bishop has banned his blog for the time being) is member of the diocesan clergy, bound by his promise of obedience to his bishop. Someone asked about Deacon Greg Kandra and his famous “Deacon’s Bench” blog: yes, if Greg’s bishop were to decide that Greg should no longer host his blog, he would be expected to give it up. As clergy, we surrender a certain amount of freedom which lay people would have in a similar situation. According to Vatican II’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen gentium), #18, all clergy exist for one reason: to build up the Body of Christ. It is one of the responsibilities of the diocesan bishop to assess this “on the ground” and to make determinations about the building up of the Body of Christ in his own diocese. As clergy, we are public persons. As such, we cannot really say that “in this activity I am operating as a private person” with regard to the church. We give that ability up upon ordination. We now represent Christ and we also represent the Church. St. Thomas Aquinas famously taught that a cleric acts “in persona Christi et in nomine ecclesiae” (“in the person of Christ and in the name of the Church”).
Cardinal Dolan, in a recent talk at Rome’s University of Santa Croce during a conference on communications, pointed out that we must “adhere to the best and highest standards. . . . How we say something is just as important as what we say.” In this observation he is echoing St. John XXIII, who frequently spoke of the permanence of religious truth on the one hand, and the ways in which those truths are expressed on the other. How we communicate is just as important as the content of what we have to say. As a screenwriter once put it, “Is coarseness a substitute for wit, I ask myself?” Truth is one thing; a Christian should be communicating that truth in a Christian manner; there is no room for “snarkiness”, demeaning characterizations, ad hominem arguments or anything of the like. This is so much more than just “being nice” to others. For clergy in particular, it is about doing what “builds up” the Body, not acting in a manner which derides and tears down the Body. That’s really the gold standard: When I write, when I speak, am I building up the Body of Christ, or serving to tear it down?