I concur, character “bashing” is never productive in any dialogue or debate.
Character “bashing” makes it evident that the one doing the character bashing is losing the debate. However, because “bible Christians” and non-Catholic Christians who are out of full communion with the Catholic Church are at liberty to question, debate, inquire about the divine revelations and apostolic teachings of the Catholic faith.
A dialogue or debate is not necessarily an avenue to healing or reconciliation of separated brethren, although such mediums do not hurt, when they inform and correct misunderstanding.
The negative “bashing” from any side, serves no purpose, except to feed one’s ego en-flamed from evil powers and principalities. Should the opposing side react with bashing, will find their represented position to be a lost cause.
Respective of Luther’s and Pope Leo’s past times, it was not uncommon for debaters to air personal insults and attacks of one’s position especially in legal court battles, not to exclude some of the early Church Father’s, St. Jerome and St. Augustine for example.
Today the debate forum should not take on such Character and substance “bashing”, to add, nor play the blame game. Maturity is required here, when TRUTH should be sought after and the subject of discussion.
In summary, a Catholic is called to defend and give a reason for his/her faith, and then, use words when necessary. Character “bashing” serves no purpose from a positive light. Admittedly, speaking for myself, during a debate, I have been the subject of character and substance “bashing”, many times I consider the attack a blessing (per biblical practice, “blessed are those who are persecuted for my name (Jesus) sake”) and refrain from attacking, although I have failed at times, by returning a negative rebuttal to my opponents position. I work out my salvation with fear and trembling, by refraining from character “bashing”.
Peace be with you