Saint Dominic dispute with Albigensian heretics
subjecting their books to a trial by fire.
Actually CV has only been suspended.
For 12 hours. Is that a big deal? Not really - unless 12 hours off Twitter means loss of income? Loss of what else? I don't know. Don't care. I'm not on Twitter and I don't read Catholic Vote.
Did Fr. Martin feel threatened by a tweet suggesting a Dominican beat him up? Maybe. But maybe he just got tired of the attacks against him and chose this 'threat of violence' as one threat he could take to the censors? The Dominican versus Jesuit thing was obviously an academic/scholastic type of jib-jab, nothing to really feel threatened by. Yet in our PC climate - even kids in kindergarten can be suspended for terroristic threats if they say something mean or 'homophobic'.
The thing about this story is it demonstrates the mean spirited climate online and in our discourse in daily life, and how everyone seems to be waiting to be offended and all too ready to lash back. Everyone seems to be ready for a fight. Everyone is ready to retaliate. Everyone is blaming others. Everyone is on the defensive. I've done that. It has no reward. In my case, I just ended up looking like a nut, or a disgruntled employee.
In the James Martin battle, everyone involved is looking pretty desperate. Fr. Martin's defense seems reasonable to me when he is constantly under attack and labelled - pro-gay, homosexualist, heretic, perfidious, out-of-the-closet, and so on. His critics who rage are actually helping him to sell his book. In fact, they are probably the best ads he and his publishers could hope for. In some cases they actually demonstrate the need for a book like Fr. Martin's.
On the other hand, Fr. Martin's complaints and reports to the censors, strikes me as protesting too much. He's too close to the fire and it's only to be expected he's going to get burned. He writes one thing, but seems to say another - and good people worry that he's contradicting Catholic teaching or suggesting a change in Catholic teaching. Although Catholic doctrine can't change, if that is what he is trying to do, his efforts compromises the faith. Faithful Catholics need the truth. Like it or not, Fr. Martin needs to respond to his critics, and not try to silence them.
Having said that, the entire affair tells me that behind the scenes, people are working to take down others; making calls, writing letters, calling people out, trying to get people fired, or taken offline. You can be sure Fr. Martin's superiors and the Vatican is getting letters on him. I'm sure Fr. Z has enemies writing letters about him. People are watching and reporting. The problem for the 'watchmen' is this, their lives are disrupted and preoccupied, and even obsessed with this stuff. Egos are involved. Status and prestige and reputation is involved. It goes beyond righteousness, it goes beyond who is right, who is wrong. There is a danger of corruption, of dishonesty involved in these battles. Not that it is any of my business, but they all seem to be worried about 'saving souls' with their tactics, or worried about leading others to perdition. I wonder about that.
Finally, there is the danger of scandal. Scandalizing the faithful.
Lately I've been more scandalized by Fr. Martin's opponents than by him.
Song for this post here.