Saturday, 21 December 2013
In a court, clear evidence is required, on the Internet rumour, suspicion, innuendo or even ignorance will do.
I have just become aware that a priest who was performing a duty given to him by a bishop and accepted by religious superior was accused of being a "career priest" and otherwise vilified on at least one blog. But this is not just about priests. Circumstantial evidence is never enough to convict anyone in a court, but on the internet it will do very nicely. Attempts to defend people are met with dismissive remarks which, if they do not hit the mark, sometimes lead into personal attacks or suggestions that the defender himself/herself has some "problems" or is not a fit person to comment. This has been, and still is, the quality of much of the debate on some Catholic blogs. I note that some bloggers, to their credit, state that personal attacks will not be tolerated. I believe this needs to be expanded to carefully written innuendos that are easy to understand as veiled accusations. I have reached a point where, after being vilified, accused and categorised myself (usually on the basis of ignorance) I no longer respond. I have done so in the past, offering clarifications, explanations etc but none of this works. With some people...some Catholics on the blogosphere...no defence is acceptable.