We're doing it again!

I am noticing that we are at it again. We had toned down the rhetoric. However, we are starting to increase the arguing, insulting, minimizing and judging. That is unacceptable.

This is a forum. It’s purpose is to learn, to share and to have fun. Even in a theology classroom, students are expected to focus on the subject, not on each other. They are not allowed to downgrade or disrespect the opinions of their colleagues.

You can be as scholarly or as light as you wish. However, you must follow the rules of CAF and this particular forum. Please avoid the following:

  1. Judging each other

  2. Speaking about each other

  3. Making negative comments about the clergy, hierarchy, religious, dioceses, parishes, or religious communities

Please remember

  1. The other poster is a human being, even when you cannot see or hear him or her.

  2. Even if you were sitting in a university classroom studying theology, there are rules of engagement that may not be broken. The same rules apply here.

  3. When someone says something that is incorrect or that you find disagreeable, you can respond with a question rather than a condemnation or making a comment that reduces the other person.

  4. You are not more faithful or a better Catholic, because you are harsher on others.

  5. Often, prelates and theologians make comments that are their opinions, not official statements. Do not throw them at other people’s faces as if they were law. That is a dishonest use of another person’s thoughts.

  6. Everyone has a point of view. However, for some people, it is more difficult to express their point of view in a way that makes sense to you.

  7. This is not an academic forum. It’s a place for exchanging ideas. There are going to be mistakes. Be patient with others.

Thank You

Thomas Casey

Thomas, could you please expand on what exactly you mean by your third statement:

  1. Making negative comments about the clergy, hierarchy, religious, dioceses, parishes, or religious communities

This is somewhat ambiguous; if I were to critique the hierarchy, religious or clergy, how would I go about doing so without knowing were you have drawn the line? Does your “negative comments” apply to the person or the idea that they have espoused? Rather, could I critique the ideology of the hierarchy/clergy without fear of a penalty or being banned?

Grace be with you.

Words that label people are judgmental. We do not allow judging individuals, their spiritual life or their faith. We certainly do not attack people who are not present to defend themselves, nor do we condemn an entire group of people for the perceived weaknesses of a few. Notice, I said “perceived”. Our perceptions can be mistaken.

Then there are the exchanges with members of the clergy or religious online. It has always been part of tradition, Catholic and other, to speak to religious leaders respectfully, even when one disagrees.

If someone, a clergyman, religious or layman says something that offends you, by all means use the triangle and report it. Let the moderators deal with it. We ask posters not to become judge, jury and prosecutor of other posters.

We want clergy and religious to join our forums. Their contribution is valuable. Attacking them when they come online does not encourage them to take time to share with us.

It also sends a confusing message to observers who are non-Catholics when we claim that priests and religious are indispensable to the life of the Church and they see Catholics treat them unkindly or disrespectfully.

My advice is simple. If you really have a problem with a bishop, priest, deacon, religious sister or brother, contact him or her. Resist the temptation to post it online. You may find that he or she is a deightful person whom you may have misread.

Remember, millions of people can read everything that you post on CAF. All I have to do is Google and I will find what you say on CAF. Catholic Answers does not block posts. Long after you are gone or if you change your mind, what you post will remain on the Internet for others to read.

I hope this helps.

Thomas Casey

It has Thomas, and I agree. Thank you.

Grace be with you.

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