Bishops in the UK seem to have the internet in their sights these days. The bishop who muzzled a deacon is still getting bad press on some Catholics sites. (Like here.) The Bishop of Portsmouth, Philip Egan, directed this letter be read at Sunday Masses this past weekend. An excerpt:
Yet when we think of our news media and TV, in which fallen celebrities are pilloried, reputations shredded and people’s sins exposed, it sometimes seems our popular culture thrives on breaking this commandment.
It may be “new” media, but it attracts the same kinds of temptations as any old setting. Catholic bloggers have often adopted the qualities of the culture around them–sometimes the very same culture and the same qualities we criticize.
One problem I think is that some people find few “colleagues” they trust to help them keep things in check. Some big-time bloggers collect fans. And the examples are numerous of fans pushing back against bloggers and then getting muzzled themselves. Collaborative blogs seem to do somewhat well. Though they have detractors who complain about being marginalized by a like-minded braintrust.
Many angry internet personalities decry how Bad the world is. Conspiracy theories abound–and they can be attractive and seductive things. For me, the answer is to check things with my wife. I also will leave a post alone for an hour or two if I’m not sure. If I come back later and there’s no energy in it, I have no qualms about deep-sixing it.
Lots of things can help us become better bloggers: friends we trust, spouse, confessor, time off, prayer. The problem is when we turn into a one-trick pony.