Thursday, 23 February 2012

Sticks and stones

Thanks to Annie at the Arundel &
Brighton Latin Mass blogsite
"Hate" is a word I try to avoid using, but in certain contexts it's the only one that fits.  I hate the storms of invective and vitriol that rage every time certain topics are debated, those topics being anything to do with Christianity, the pro-life movement or gay rights.  It's not that I deny anyone the right to have a different opinion than myself on any of these subjects.  I can understand that they are sensitive areas in which there is a lot of potential for personal hurt and upset.  But why must people be gunned down for expressing their opinion?  Sometimes it doesn't matter how courteously the opinion has been expressed or whether the speaker's motivation is to defend what they see as a truth relating to the common good, rather than a personal predilection.  The very fact that it has been expressed, and that it disagrees with the current social ethos or even just the hearer's own opinion, is apparently justification for the release of a horrible whirlwind of anger, acidic words and even personal insult.  What happened to civil debate?

It was a lily-livered disinclination to put myself in the path of any of this vitriol that led me to step back from pro-life work for many years.  It took a good nudge from God and the illness of my daughter to make me realise I couldn't keep silent just because I didn't want to be called any nasty names.  Even so I believe, I hope, that my motivation is to positively promote the sanctity, the beauty, the preciousness of human life and its innate dignity, not first and foremost to engage in criticism.  That involves answering those who see certain things differently; but it shouldn't require shouting anyone down.  In case that makes me sound holier-than-thou, I admit that the futility of abrasive rhetoric and hot-headed indignation is a lesson I've had to learn the hard way over the years!

Bump Babies Beyond posts well on this topic today and mentions a Conservative MP, David Burrowes, who received a death threat and hate mail after speaking out in support of traditional marriage.   The Archbishop of York also received "racist and threatening messages" when he did the same, sparking a police hate crime investigation.  It's not good enough.  We've got to stop dealing with each other this way, not least because we're never going to see the arguments clearly through a fog of hatred and vitriol.

I was beginning to get utterly discouraged when I came across this inspiring message from the late and great, Blessed Pope John Paul II on the Sisters of the Gospel of Life blogsite.  And suddenly I remembered why I am doing my bit for pro-life!

“To be actively pro-life is to contribute to the renewal of society through the promotion of the common good. It is impossible to further the common good without acknowledging and defending the right to life, upon which all the other inalienable rights of individuals are founded and from which they develop.” (Pope John Paul II, "The Gospel of Life", n.101)


  1. I really appreciate you cross posting this. What happened to Caroline was disgusting. I havent been able to comment for 24 hours or so because I wound up in A&E as a direct result of this incident. What was said to her in the public sphere was a trigger for me, because of an incident 15 tears ago. I have no idea why but I wound up vomiting after reading it and with a non stop headache. Baby is only two weeks from delivery and I admit I was terrified at how it affected me. She should report what was said as a threat but that is up to her. I am glad she has had some support on her blog and hope it gives her some peace over it all. I have deleted my Twitter accounts in disgust at the general reactions and lack of condemnation and emotional damage it causes (is still causing) and am seriously considering calling it a day on the blog. Thanks for linking me here I have really appreciated the support. God bless.

  2. Hi Bump Beyond, I'm really sorry to hear all this. I hope you are feeling better now. Lots of prayers for a happy and safe delivery for Baby and yourself... I've never opened a twitter account and am even less inclined to do so now. We'll miss you if you stop blogging though! There are some unsavoury types out there but a lot of good-heartedness too and maybe you're more likely to come across the good 'uns whilst blogging? I don't know really. People seem to think they can say what they like online, as though the person they are insulting is not a flesh and blood human being with feelings like themselves (probably with far better feelings, judging from some of those remarks made to Caroline). The spite out there is terrifying but thankfully God is bigger than all that. Many blessings and please, whatever you decide, let us know when you have your little one!