Father James Martin
Father James Martin, SJ, is concerned about a lack of civility in discourse among Catholics, judging from a post in America, the Jesuit rag not the country:
I’m disgusted with malicious slandering that passes itself off as thoughtful theology. I’m disgusted with mean-spirited personal attacks that pass themselves off as Christian discourse. I’m disgusted with the facile use of words like “heresy” and “schism” and “apostate,” passing itself off as defenses of the faith. Basically, I’m disgusted with hate being passed off as charity. Needless to say, this is not entirely Mr. Douthat’s doing, or Mr. Reno’s doing, or Mr. Dreher’s doing. And I know that they are good and loyal Catholics (and in Mr. Dreher’s case, formerly-Catholic, now Orthodox). Obviously. But they and others–who are far more culpable–have engaged in enough of that kind of uncharitable behavior to have fostered an atmosphere of hatred and mistrust in our church. Instead of Thomas Merton’s famous “Mercy within mercy within mercy” we get “Hate piled on hate piled on hate.”
That is not theology, and it does not flow from the love of Jesus Christ. It is a malicious desire to wound people and to score points. To “win.” And if you think it’s amusing, then you’re missing Jesus’s point about not calling people names and praying for our “enemies.” And by the way, if you take Jesus as your model, and feel the need to judge people, and call them names as he did, like “hypocrite,” feel free to do so when you are the sinless Son of God. We risk being so Catholic that we forget to be Christian.
So I wholeheartedly support fully anyone’s right to write whatever he or she wants, including Ross Douthat, whom I respect. And, as an educated and faithful Catholic layperson, much of what he writes is thoughtful, insightful and deserving of our full attention. But be sure that whenever you’re reading ad hominem comments, thinly veiled attacks on people’s fidelity to the faith, snide insinuations and malicious twisting of words, you are not reading theology.
Bravo! He needs though to have a good talk with Father James Martin, SJ, at least judging from this post last year by Father Z:
Just in case you were wondering what sort of people were on the other side of the issue, this is a Twitter exchange between the Jesuit James Martin and Massimo Faggioli, a liberal academic in St. Paul:
Although the subject of President Obama being honored by Notre Dame has quickly cooled in the fast-paced blogging universe- I wanted to weigh in with some comments because I think it is important to hold the President to account on some of the promises he made in his speech, and to offer some ideas for how Catholic universities should approach such political intersections in the future.