Catholics, Libs & Trads; Climate Skeptics & Warmists; Political Left, Right & Trumpists
Let’s do Rational, Gracious Dialogue

“Faith and Reason are like two wings of the human spirit by which it soars to the truth.”–Pope St. John Paul II, Fides et Ratio


Harsh words, heat but not much light in internet discourse recently.    Catholic Liberals versus Catholic Traditionalists (Jesuits vs Benedictines?), climate skeptics versus climate warmists, leftists–near and far–versus conservatives versus trumpists (trumpkins?).   I know which of these sides I’m on (and if you’ve been reading my blog posts you should too, dear reader).    But even though I know in principle how I should write and should not, I don’t always follow through.   Rather than telling how other people have transgressed the rules of gracious discourse, I’m going to focus on my own experience, my own missteps, since I know what’s in my heart (most of the time), but don’t for others.


After Pope Francis delivered his second encyclical,  I wrote two posts: “Laudato Si, ‘The Curate’s Egg’: I.  The Excellent Parts”  and “Laudato Si, The Curate’s Egg’: II. The Political/Economic Parts I Find Difficult to Swallow.”   The first praised the arguments of Pope Francis that everyone should be less materialistic and be more devoted to being stewards of God’s creation.   In the second I argued against Pope Francis’s call for supranational organizations to supervise environment and economics and his endorsement of a hypothesis, anthropic global warming (AGW), that was unproven, indeed disproven by data and analysis  (see here and here, for example).

My two posts (which I had been working on for the previous month) were partially a response  to an article that had appeared several weeks earlier on Catholic Stand. “Pope Francis Has Single-handedly Destroyed Catholicism AGAIN (sic).   I initially commented  on this post that the Pope’s Encyclical was divisive and that his remarks on AGW were like an inkstain from a leaking pen on a shirt pocket, they destroyed the whole intent of the Encyclical.   An exchange of comments ensued between me and the author of the article, an exchange which ended up with the author accusing me of insulting and disrespecting Pope Francis.  I’ll leave it to you, dear reader, if you want to follow through and see if that accusation was warranted.   (Order the comments by “oldest”;  my moniker is “duhem”;  the author’s is “JoAnna”.)

I was not without fault in the exchange, but my problem–which I try to correct–is that I don’t suffer fools gladly.  I should try to see the passion and belief of the other in the dialog and speak to that.   I did leave Catholic Stand as a columnist, but rejoined a month or so ago, absent an apology from JoAnna.  After reviewing the dialog between me and JoAnna–if it deserves to be called a dialog–I continue to wonder it was right to return.  It’s still pains me to reread them.


And of course, there are the gracious comments of intellectual substance on political and news posts.   I’ll not list such in detail, but go to Lucianne.com or National Review Online and read comments by Leftists, Liberals and Trump supporters and all those others who don’t think like me.   I should add that in 2015 I was allowed to comment on Lucianne.com, but then was barred because of my comments on posts by Trump supporters.   And that doesn’t bother me.

Any suggestions, dear reader, for making comments more gracious, more seeking to find the truth?    And do they apply to this post or this blog?

CODA (added later)

 What bothers me more than spiteful talk, is the reluctance of people to try to get at the truth of something.   Everyone seems to want to rest contented in their preconceptions without stretching their horizons.   As for me, before 1991 I was a firm believer in anthropic global warming and its dire consequences.   Then I read articles by Richard Lindzen, chaired professor of meteorology at MIT, Fred Singer, physicist and environmental scientist, and Frederick Seitz, past President of the National Academy of Sciences, and I changed my mind.   Before 1994 I was an agnostic secular Jew, but then I read “Who Moved the Stone”, by Frank Morison, and I was convinced that the Resurrection of Christ was real, and if that was true, so was the rest of the New Testament, including the giving of the keys of the Kingdom to Peter by Jesus.  And so, Top Down to Jesus, I became a Catechumen and was baptized into the Church.