Bishop Zavala

Mark Pattison writes in CNS about the  bloggers' role in relationship with the church.  The bishops often are the publishers of diocesan newspapers, and other media outlets, and as such are concerned over the tone/behavior of some bloggers.

  The Webinar (Faithful Catholic Media: Continuing the Conversation) was held July 28 and sponsored by the Catholic Press Association.  Naturally, the bishops are concerned about the influence some bloggers (not I) have on the faithful.  The chairman of the Communications Committe, Bishop Gabino Zavala, LA, focused on 3 aspects that make blogging unique:

*   Catholic perspective to events
*   Respectful and civil (Not like the secular media)
*   Input for Church leaders

The one that was most disturbing was the second concern: "Christian respect".  Some bloggers attack church leadership, in a less than "civil and respectful" manner.  

You know what I think the problem is?  The problem is two-fold: the impersonal nature of the written word (blog/email/letter/newspaper...), and TONE.   Since I enjoy writing and sending out letters and emails as soon as a thought enters my head, I know very well the problems that can arise, from the written word.  I have people that hate me, distrust me, have not allowed me to join their whatever, and think I'm a kook, (and they never read my blog ;-/ ).  All because I wrote something that came from the fingers--certainly not my head, and more certainly, not my heart.  Some people won't give you a break.  And those "some" call themselves Christians.  Geeesh!  If only, these (too easily) offended people were there in front of me when I wrote, we could have discussed the issue.  If they could have seen my body language.  If we could have had a verbal "give and take." 

 And then some people don't get satire.

The second issue, TONE, can be a problem.  I remember when I was teaching, some parents complained to me about the TONE I used in reprimanding their child.  It was the way I said, "Stop it!", that bothered them.  Seriously.  They objected to my tone.  

I guess they wanted me to say in a kind and sweet voice, "I really wish you wouldn't exhibit that behavior."

You think I'm kidding?        Well, think again.    

Anyway, back to blogging.  Some bloggers (not I) have that TONE.  The bishops want them to be civil and respectful.  The media, and especially bloggers, should tell errant priests and bishops that "they really wish they wouldn't exhibit that behavior."

OK.  I'll dislodge my tongue from my cheek.

It is the TONE, that the bishops are concerned about.  The words some of us use are perceived as disrespectful and judgmental.  I know what they're saying.  It's the TONE that hurts them.  

We Catholic bloggers should be different from the secular bloggers.  Readers should know us by our love.  

John 13:35  By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love for another.  

And I know the bloggers that have that TONE, will say that they do love, that's why they are calling attention to sins that should be corrected; but can readers perceive the love?  There is a need (Lord knows!) to point out sin, but the TONE has to show that you're Christian.  

Think before you write.  Pray before you think.

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