A note today in the news states that the msm is in decline because of the online media, including bloggers.
But, Catholic bloggers are now under the spotlight. We have to turn a corner. This is the "turning time."
From now on, the blogging community must be wise and prudent in the ways of the world. We not only must be professional, we must argue in rational discourse and not on the level of the personal.
I taught logic and argumentation for years and have written on this blog last year on the importance of rational discourse.
Two rules: stay with the objective facts and never use personal names or get involved in personal arguments.
Debate is absolutely necessary. Apologetics in the Catholic Church demands an objectivity and the virtues of prudence, temperance, justice, as well as courage.
If we are to be taken seriously, we must be serious in our approach.
Here is a review of rules for rational discourse in the form of questions:
1) Is the argument coherent, clear, based on facts?
2) Is the diction used objective?
3) Is there a clear common basis for discussion?
4) Are the arguments concise and open to modification if necessary for coherence? This does not mean changing the inherent truth of the argument, but modifying approaches.
5) Are all, and I repeat, all emotional arguments and feelings set aside?
6) Are subjective arguments rightly seen as irrelevant?
7) Are those involved courteous and patient?
8) Do the parties involve invoke fact and details supporting the objective argument?
9) Are inflammatory words, ad hominems and ad populums avoided?
10) Are both parties involved in the discussion or is the argument merely one-sided, and therefore, only a harangue or rant?
11) Are the bloggers aware of civil rights, legal actions, and the entire media world of libel cases to be avoided at all costs?
12) And most importantly, do Catholic bloggers understand that they do not merely represent themselves, but the entire Catholic Church? There is a cult of individuality which makes many people forget they are part of the Church and represent the Church when writing.
If we merely want to write personal views and opinions, unless our minds are like the mind of the Church, we should not call our blogs "Catholic".
Thinking like a Catholic is being in the long rational tradition of debate and manners.
Pray, reflect, think, then act. We do not have to give our opponents fire with which to burn us.
We do not have to ask for persecution, and in fact, we are to avoid it if at all possible.
To do otherwise is to both cause scandal to the Body of Christ, and to damage any chances of evangelization. Our first job is to save souls, not "be right". Evangelization is not the same as church politics.
New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) 16 “See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.