Some Thoughts on Blogging 'Ethics'

Perhaps it isn’t in total compliance with the aims of this blog to state the following—opinion/editorial isn’t what I’m about—but as a Catholic seminarian who desires to give his life to the Church he loves, I need to say it.

Alas, I find the Catholic corner of the ‘blogosphere’ to be decidedly and regrettably inundated with lots and lots of filth. All too often we, as Catholics, are all too quick to jump at some mundane and inconsequential event or statement and—for lack of a better term—make a mountain out of a molehill. For those who don’t realize what I’m talking about, you are perhaps better off because of it. However, if you happen to be a proponent of such ‘orthodox’ movements, please allow me to offer my two cents.

First off, there is nothing wrong with voicing opinion where it can be rightly treated, namely in an atmosphere permeated by mutual charity and good will; when we urge one another on to betterment, we serve the Lord and his greater glory by more definitively enunciating the mission of the Church. Thus, I am all for discussing important (and even sometimes trivial and esoteric) topics in the public forum.

That being said, my second point is that this must always be done in a spirit of genuine Christian charity. Unfortunately, it seems that many of the Catholic bloggers on the internet today seem to quickly forget this basic principle. My intention is not to point fingers at anyone in particular (since this is obviously a pretty general post), but instead to simply state that, in any discipline of study or discussion, the benefit of the doubt must always be given to the object of one’s criticism; hiding behind anonymity online is no substitute for good ole’ fashioned decency. We ought not say anything on a blog—which is in print, nonetheless—that we would not be able to rightly defend in the face of our opponent.

I’m not sure who constitutes the readership of In Umbris Sancti Petri, but if some of you other bloggers(?) care to weigh in on the issue, I’d welcome your comments. The internet is a great medium of discussion and catechesis, but can also serve to shoot the Catholic faith in the foot if used inappropriately. I hope that I am furthering the positive end of blogging instead of the negative.

  1. gravatar

    # by Anonymous - October 29, 2007 at 10:17 AM

    I've cut down Catholic blogging time (the only blogs I ever visit) specifically for the reason you cited. I just applied the same test of discernment that Ignatius applied after he'd read novels & lives of the saints: How did I feel after reading alot of Catholic blogs? Worse. So I essentially stopped & now just use Catholic Exchange or New Advent etc for my news.

  2. gravatar

    # by Andrew Haines - November 2, 2007 at 5:26 AM

    I'm glad you still find some time to read this site though :)