Let's talk about comments
One of the great things about Catholicism is our diversity. I have Catholic friends who are diehard Democrats, vocal Republicans, and everywhere in between. We may not agree about everything, but we respect each other, learn from each other, and make the commitment to continuing to have conversations, despite our different beliefs. And more importantly, all the political stuff falls to the wayside in the face of our common faith; through the Eucharist, we are all joined together into one family.
If this holds true on an individual level, it is especially true here at uscatholic.org, where we have thousands of visitors every day. These visitors come from around the world and from all different walks of life and hold a huge range of political and theological beliefs. They visit our site to have conversations about how to live out our Catholic identities in the modern world. Our site is not a place to have violent debate or seek to wound each other because of our different beliefs, but a place to think and learn about how to live out our “faith in real life.”
Our comment policy states: “Personal attacks on writers, public figures, the subject of a story, groups of people, and fellow commenters will not be tolerated. This includes doubting another person's faith or suggesting that are not truly Catholic in the eyes of the commenter.”
And this gets me to the point of this post. Pope Francis’ new encyclical, Laudato Si, has caused a lot of discussion. And rightfully so—that was what he wanted! We acknowledge that we are all going to have different opinions on the encyclical. Some of us are thrilled, some more skeptical. In the articles we have already posted, and in the articles that will be posted in the coming days and weeks, the editorial staff here at U.S. Catholic hopes to foster discussion about the different aspects of the encyclical. That’s what the comment section is for—we want you to respond to what we write. We want to be a place where people come to examine their faith and ask each other the hard questions about what it means to be Catholic.
What is not acceptable, however, is vitriolic hatred aimed at the writers of our articles or Pope Francis. Comments that say the pope is a “fraud,” that he or anyone who agrees with him is not a true Catholic, or that anyone at all is going to go to hell are definitely not tolerated. Your comment will be deleted.
If your comment is deleted, it is not because we disagree with you. It is because we seek to create an online community where everyone feels safe and able to contribute. As Pope Francis says in Laudato Si, we are all “called into being by one Father, all of us are linked by unseen bonds and together form a kind of universal family.” So ask questions, raise concerns, respond to other comments. But before you sit down to write that angry comment ask yourself, “Would I say this to my wife? My father? My children?”
Help us foster a community that can look beyond the superficial differences and celebrate our shared belief in a loving God who we celebrate through the Sacraments. Everything else pales in comparison to that Truth.