UR READERS ARE fantastic people; I learn so much from them and they inspire me every day. However, like any other group, a few “rotten apples” are mixed in. Recently, a few bad apples have been causing trouble on our Facebook page.
To these folks—less than 0.002% of our readership—I address the following points:
FIRST POINT • A lady on Facebook recently accused me of supporting abortion, based on an erroneous conclusion she reached by ignoring my article. I have always opposed abortion on moral grounds (cf. the Fifth Commandment) and also legal grounds, since an innocent boy or girl is killed without “due process of law” (cf. the Fifth Amendment). I treat this woman’s accusation in No. 8 (BELOW).
SECOND POINT • On the CCW Facebook page, people occasionally post comments without reading the article. They’ll read the title, look at the preview image, and guess what the article might mean. Occasionally, they guess correctly; other times, they’re way off base.
THIRD POINT • In the past, folks have written to us, claiming that by reading an article’s title and “tease” sentence, they should be able to comment intelligently. Such an assertion is wrong. You should read the article before commenting.
FOURTH POINT • Sometimes an article’s title and “tease” sentence—along with the preview image—will convey what the article is basically about, and that’s absolutely fine. On the other hand, sometimes it is necessary to read the article to understand the title, the “tease” sentence, or why a particular image was selected as the preview image—and that’s also absolutely fine.
FIFTH POINT • The notion that we have an obligation to convey everything there is to know about an article by its title—a claim once made by an angry reader—is false. For example, consider book titles. I have no idea what THE SCARLET LETTER is about, because I’ve never read it. It could be about communism, hot air balloons, or farm animals—I can’t tell by the title alone. Moreover, sometimes our articles treat more than one subject, and no title could adequately convey these. Sometimes, a title might even intentionally use irony—which is 100% acceptable.
SIXTH POINT • We have a volunteer who generously assists with the CCW Facebook page. I have instructed this person to start banning people who consistently misrepresent articles and make irresponsible comments without reading the article.
SEVENTH POINT • We are all volunteers; none of us receives a salary. We try our best to choose appropriate titles and “tease” sentences, but nobody’s perfect. Common decency requires that folks who comment on our articles should first read the article in question. Our articles are usually quite short.
EIGHTH POINT • Let me say something regarding the lady who accused me of supporting abortion. She reached this conclusion because the preview image featured a certain political candidate. I was making an important point about the liturgy, and anyone who clicked on the article—after reading the very first paragraph—would instantly realize why this image was chosen. I said absolutely nothing about that candidate, or how I might feel about him. 1
NINTH POINT • Was this lady aware I’ve been Pro-Life my entire life? Was this lady aware that I’ve prayed on my knees (along with my fellow Catholics) in front of abortuaries? Was this lady aware I’ve been involved in sidewalk counseling? Was this lady aware I’ve taken part in peaceful protests and attended Pro-Life banquets? Was this lady aware that I love children? Obviously not; yet she still felt comfortable accusing me of supporting abortion.
TENTH POINT • This lady does not know my politics, because I don’t mention them on the blog; and I’ve asked all our contributors to refrain from doing so. I will tell you this, however: my politics are based upon the moral teachings of the Catholic Church.
ELEVENTH POINT • I wish I could say this lady was anomaly, but the fact is, some people do make comments which misrepresent our articles. By the way, just because someone mentions a reality, that doesn’t “prove” they support or endorse that reality. Making reference to World War II does not mean I admire Hitler—yet some people on Facebook have been making connections like that. Dear readers, I implore you; if you see irresponsible comments on the CCW Facebook page, please help “police” in a charitable-yet-firm way. Thank you!
TWELFTH POINT • We don’t talk about politics on this blog for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s a real struggle, because the absurdities of American politics are frequently similar to the absurdities put forward by some liturgical “experts.” I hope I can always resist the temptation, because it truly is better to leave politics out of the equation.
NOTES FROM THIS ARTICLE:
1 Ironically, the image itself came from the blog of America’s most staunchly Pro-Life bishop, who excommunicated the abortionists in his diocese. It is true this image revealed a certain relationship with another politician—a relationship many would be shocked to learn about. Was there a subtle message hidden in that image, poking fun at inauthentic politicians? Was this particularly appropriate in an article where I was asking for liturgical authenticity? Perhaps; but I didn’t mention any of that because doing so would have distracted from my article.