... in the Western Catholic blogosphere with the state of Catholicism in Central Africa.
For those not in the know, a major kerfluffle broke out amongst a number of Catholic bloggers that I link to frequently and those that I do not. I leave it to The Anchoress to give a bit of a summary:
Right now, I am forced to use this puny amount of energy I possess in order to address a breathtaking fog of stupidity that is poisoning the air of faith we all need to breathe.
In Israel my wifi was spotty, so I missed its inception, but an ongoing brouhaha has brought all sorts of requests into my email box from people requesting that I either “discipline” Mark Shea and Simcha Fisher, or “correct” them, or “get them to remove these Facebook posts” or “fire them.”
Well, I’m not going to do any of that. But I will explain why, as respectfully as I know how.
The issue is this: On May 23, Life Site News (LSN) published a piece by Hilary White that — when taken in its entirety — amounted to, “Oh-my-gawd-the-pope-concelebrated-mass-and-kissed-the-hand-of-a-93-year-old-dissenting-priest-who-defends-homosexual-love-and-homosexual-and-isn’t-this-horrible-about-the-dissenting-homosexual-and-awful-Francis-and-homosexualists-and-homosexual!”
Five days later, LSN editors — in the face of criticism on blogs and in social media, including long, not-pretty, critical discussion threads begun by Mark Shea and Simcha Fisher — posted a follow-up:
LSN’s intention in publishing the story was to present the known facts about a public meeting between the pope and one of Italy’s leading Catholic dissidents – a newsworthy event in itself. However, in retrospect we recognize that in the absence of certain necessary clarifications and contexts the facts alone, as presented, unnecessarily lent themselves to misinterpretation.
The statement probably should have ended there, but the writers felt the need to outline three possible reasons (among potentially scores of them) for the pope’s meeting, all of them problematic, all of them sheer conjecture.
You can read the rest at the link.
Bottom line, and I'll admit that I've not followed it all to the full as it's more than a little discouraging, is that lots of ugliness, name-calling, character assassination and more broke out as a result and all I can think is how this is impacting those outside looking in on the Catholic Church.
It can't be good.
While all this, from the comfort of people's keyboards no less, is happening on this side of the Atlantic, this is happening in the Central African Republic:
Muslim rebels stormed a Catholic church compound in the capital of Central African Republic on Wednesday, killing at least 30 people in a hail of gunfire and grenades, witnesses said.
The attack on the compound at the Church of Fatima, where hundreds of civilians had sought refuge from the violence ravaging Bangui’s streets, is the largest blamed on Muslim fighters since their Seleka coalition was ousted from power nearly five months ago.
Wednesday’s attack marked a rare attack on a house of worship, as Catholic churches have served as sanctuaries for both Christian and Muslim civilians since the country erupted into sectarian bloodshed in December.
Fears escalated late Wednesday that the new bloodshed would spark reprisal attacks on the city’s few remaining Muslims, most of whom fled the city in a mass exodus earlier this year that the U.N. has described as ethnic cleansing.
“We were in the church when were heard the shooting outside,” the Rev. Freddy Mboula told The Associated Press. “There were screams and after 30 minutes of gunfire there were bodies everywhere.”
About 30 people were killed in the attack, according to another priest at the scene, the Rev. Paul Emile Nzale.
If you'll follow the Muslim fighters link, you'll note that lots of tit for tat killing is taking place and in the midst of it all are numerous Catholic churches.
I can't help but think that a truce of sorts in the Catholic blogosphere ought to take place and energies expended in smearing and belittling each other might instead be spent in prayer for those in the midst of the carnage taking place in central Africa.
It's a thought.
I suspect many in Africa would appreciate those prayers.
I think God would approve.