Self opinion and pride and vain rejoicing in spiritual and intellectual gifts.
The blogosphere and any online publication with comments has been a nasty place from the beginning. Go back 8 years and move forward through the archives and all the best voices have had their share of spittle flecked nutties. Some blogs specialized in the practice - even though the Cafeteria reopened and closed. Report them to the bishop? Go ahead. I think bishops have bigger problems to deal with these days. Pious - but bickering, meddlesome church ladies have always been a thorn in the side of parish and diocesan life - this is nothing new.
So. What is the source of all the conflict?
I'll share some ideas from a Russian saint...
Worldly people and many living the religious life, through ignorance and inexperience, often praise as spiritual zeal something that stems from conceit and pride. They extol this zeal as zeal for the faith, for piety, for the Church, for God. It consists in a more or less harsh criticism and condemnation of one's neighbors in their moral faults, and in faults against decorum in church and the liturgical rites. Deceived by a wrong conception of zeal, the imprudent think that by yielding themselves to it they are imitating the holy fathers and martyrs, forgetting that they, the zealots, are not saints but sinners themselves.
Whoever decides of his own self-will to convict his brother or make some reprimand, clearly reveals and proves that he considers himself more prudent and virtuous than the person he blames, and that he is acting at the instigation of passion and deception and diabolic thoughts.
Saint Poemen the Great relates that a certain monk, carried away by zeal, was subjected to the following temptation. He saw another monk lying on a woman. For a long time he wrestled with the thought that urged him to stop them from sinning. At last he gave into the temptation and he gave them a kick with his foot. Suddenly he realized that it was two sheaves of wheat lying one upon the other. - Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov
Where does this wicked zeal come from? Self opinion, pride, presumption, vain-glory which is the same as conceit. But how to discern it?
Bad zeal is always accompanied by anger - 'heating of the passions' and 'by the invasion of swarms of thoughts and fancies' - a rush to judgment. Imaginings of all sorts of evil done or consequences to follow - of things that haven't even happened yet. If our neighbor criticizes or is displeased with our zeal in correcting the errant, we harbor resentment or exert some sort of vengeful defense of ourselves in retribution to those who disagree or oppose us. (Yes poodle - I've done it too.) On the other hand, if our 'victim' accepts our rebuke, "if he submits, our heart is puffed up with vainglorious satisfaction, excitement, and an increase of pride and presumption." We even can believe we have a mission from God - as a sort of gatekeeper, watchman, even a holy crusader in the spiritual combat.
We're all crackpots, Hon!