The old bloggin’ fever has bitten me again!
Here at Sentire Cum Ecclesia we (I use the royal “we”) have some pretty strong views. And we like to argue them forcefully. But if I ever take up an arguement it is because I believe the opposing view has reasons for their opinions that are worthy of engagement. In other words, if you ever find one of your dearly cherished opinions attacked on this page, please take it as a compliment. And return the compliment, by leaving a comment pointing out my error. (If you want to read more in this vein, go to the First Things blog where Robert T. Miller says:
Whenever two people disagree, each is committed to saying that the other’s view is false and that his arguments are unsound; that’s just what disagreement means, and no one should be upset at this.
)At the same time, I do believe there are certain rules of engagement and respect that mean that if I really want to make my point, I have to make it in a balanced and sane manner without getting too hysterical. This point is made in the recent case reported by John L. Allen of Archbishop Angelo Amato’s rather intemperate
address to hospital chaplains in Italy in which he denounced abortion and euthanasia as forms of “terrorism with a human face” [and]…cited a series of contemporary evils, including abortion clinics, which he called “slaughterhouses of human beings,” euthanasia, and “parliaments of so-called civilized nations where laws contrary to the nature of the human being are being promulgated, such as the approval of marriage between people of the same sex.
Now I happen to agree with him, but when you are addressing people who don’t agree with you, you have to moderate your language a little to achieve the desired effect. This point is made perfectly by the Opus Dei numerary and member of the Italian Parliament Paola Binetti, who said in response to the adverse publicity generated by Amato’s outburst:
Today, we are all the children of a culture that makes language an element that’s often more important than the content of what one says… Paraphrasing [Marshall] McLuhan, we can say that ‘language is the message.’ In these cases, we have to pay careful attention to express our values in a way that people will receive them, so that we’re not just proposing them, so to speak, for the sake of proposing them. This is the great challenge that all of us Catholics face in this moment.
It is a challenge which we here at
Sentire Cum Ecclesia desire to take up on a daily basis.