In the last day or so someone commented on a recent post here at Life At 25, specifically the post which I happened to write on the situation in Oklahoma City, where a Satanic “Black Mass” is currently scheduled to be celebrated on September 21st. I wrote about the reaction of Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul Coakley, and the dangers of playing with the dark forces of the demonic in the way that these supposed Satanists have publicly said that they are going to do. Well, someone rather stridently disagrees with me, it would seem. Someone who claims to be a self-professed Satanist, and who clearly took the opposite view. Is their comment not to be found in the comment box because I don’t like what they’ve said, or because the Diocese of Knoxville doesn’t like it? Clearly I didn’t agree with it, and something tells me that the bishop wouldn’t agree with it, either, but that isn’t why it doesn’t appear here. Dialogue is one of the purposes of this blog, and I can see the traffic, I know that it is way up. In recent months we’ve set records for diocesan blog traffic here, so it goes without saying that people are reading. If you are reading this blog, your comments are welcome whether we agree with them or not. Since I am now the primary writer at Life At 25, I certainly don’t mind reading and responding to your comments as time allows.
There is one thing that will not be tolerated in any comments submitted for posting here at Life At 25, and that is gross profanity. It seems that our recent commenter took it upon themselves to submit a comment absolutely laced with vile and profane words. So long as the Bishop of Knoxville or those representing him allow me to continue the work of Life At 25 as an official diocesan organ (in other words, as a blog that has “official” Church backing), comments laced with that kind of language will never appear on this site (and I’d be hesitant to allow them on my personal blog, for that matter). Because this is an official ecclesiastical website, it is also a family site. You might see controversial issues discussed here, but I keep on my guard, praying for wisdom and discernment in writing things that are both faith-enriching and worth being family reading. Comments such as the one I read in the queue from our friend are not in keeping with that standard.
Some people familiar with me probably know that I have written and blogged on the internet for many years, and I have always had a very open policy when it comes to comments. I can take all kinds of heat and hate, and I’ve even been known to respond to the heat and hate from time to time. But this weblog is not about me. It is yet another way that the Church can reach out and touch the lives of people with the Good News of Jesus Christ, and specifically show the world ways that we are helping to spread the message of Christ in East Tennessee. I’m just the poor and insufficient instrument that the Holy Spirit is allowing to work for the message of the Gospel. If you don’t like what we are doing here (and clearly some people don’t, the commenter in question obviously isn’t too hot on the Gospel), you are free to comment and critique it, but you are not free to speak in ways that would be inappropriate around your family or mine. As long as your comment isn’t laced with dirt, it stands a good chance of being posted no matter what I might think of it. I don’t like to censor people, but this is a Catholic blog in the truest sense-it is sanctioned by the Church in East Tennessee, and so it is not a place for rude vulgarities. Young people might be reading.
As for our commenter, the incident reminds me of a sign in the old barbershop in Newark, Ohio whose proprietors frequently cut my hair as a child. It was posted on an old bulletin board along with some newspaper clippings and jokes and other miscellaneous things. It’s message was simple, it read:
“NO PROFANITY (THAT’S CUSSIN’)
VIOLATORS WILL BE PRAYED FOR.”
Our commenter needs prayer whether they want it or not, so I propose that they get plenty of it. I’ll be praying for them, and I suggest that faithful readers of Life At 25 should do the same.