Our Sunday Visitor, not exactly a kissing cousin to the NCRep, tackles a side point in the environment debate in Catholicism:
A line is crossed, however, when such rational exchange turns into venom-spewing, ideologically based commentary. And this is what has taken place. Well before the encyclical’s release, a veritable campaign against its content has not only been initiated, but has been growing in intensity. That these efforts presuppose the document’s content is bad enough, but they have gone much further. Some Catholic observers and commentators have recommended that their fellow members in faith completely ignore the work, calling it baseless and not a priority. Others have even mocked the Holy Father and questioned his mental state. It’s shameful behavior, and hardly befitting a Church that calls itself “one, holy and apostolic.”
Fortify with an antacid, then check the commentariat there. Clearly, some “self-styled conservatives” are hand-wringing over this.
That the majority of this vitriol should come at the hands of self-styled conservatives is as disappointing as it is ironic.
But perhaps not surprising given the number of times vitriol has come the way of people who disagree with others on the internet. Archbishop Chaput had interesting comments on the fringes who communicate with him. A few nibs from OSV:
climate change totalitarians
is this the same OSV editorial board that just partnered with the fake pro-homosexual, pro-contraception National Catholic Reporter magazine?
OSV’s problematic publishing
AFRAID of further blunders and divisiveness from the mouth and pen of this pope
This is why no more money is wasted on OSV
Maybe conservative Catholicism has joined another group as an exhausted project. When I think of the term “project,” almost always an image of something constructive coms to mind. It could be a building. But good projects produce things that last. Cancelling subscriptions, insulting popes, getting people fired or punished–these are not projects. In the words of the Philadelphia archbishop, these are just mean.
In the sense of Cardinal George, maybe self-styled faithful Catholicism is now an exhausted project. And lacking a culture of silence and intimidation to support it, some of its supporters are now seen just like the rest of the Church’s believers: sinful failures who must rely on God for grace. Not personal practice and what they write on internet comment threads.
Maybe the German bishops have something. Maybe the Church is growing up and leaving behind the immature impulse to yell and scream. Maybe the vocabulary is moving past the two-year-old’s “NO!”
Think back a decade to internet Catholicism of 2005. If only they could see us now.