Hoping for a Middle-ground Church
Dear Blog Visitors:
First of all, I want to wish all of you a very blessed holiday season.
Secondly, I want to articulate my hope for a middle-ground church - a church where conservatives and liberals can have dialogue in a respectful way.
Unfortunately, I allowed myself to get trapped into a name-calling contest at a website facilitated by Rich Leonardi of Cincinnati (former Rochester resident). To be fair, I respect Rich as a conservative thinker, theologian and writer. It is therefore extremely sad that some of the dialogues at his blog have resulted in personal attacks on me, Bishop Matthew Clark and the Rochester Diocese. In an uncustomary manner for me, I responded to a name-caller in a similar fashion, which only added fuel to the fire.
Jesus gave us much wisdom concerning debates that have often become heated at Catholic blogs. We all know that turning the other cheek can be challenging when we are attacked. However, I am finding it is sometimes easier to sit back and let conservatives attack me, without my saying a word in response. The result is letting the attackers look foolish, as opposed to my being drawn into the same type of diatribes or insults. Jesus also warned his followers that they may be mocked/ridiculed for their beliefs. So, while I may not be following all the dictates of the 'institutional' church, I do believe I am following the example of Jesus in my ministries. So, I feel I must apologize to those at Rich Leonardi's site who I allowed to draw me into the type of discourse I hate. In the future, I will simply ignore them.
We need some good theological, ecclesial and historical discourse in the Catholic Church. As stated, I respect Rich Leonardi as a person who possesses a brilliant mind. If people at his blog continue to attack me, I will ignore them in the future and I hope that Rich, in turn, will steer his posters away from name-calling, and instead encourage them toward dialogue that can perhaps help us to move constructively toward a middle-ground.
Peace to all,