Practically every conscious American, as opposed to the unconscious ones that my sister speaks of in her speech, are aware of the fact that internet chat rooms and blogospheres are feeding grounds for child predators, swindlers, thieves and every other form of lecherous sadist the human race can offer. Only the most completely and utterly brain dead Americans will argue that these venues are not among the leading threats to national security, consuming hundreds of thousands of dollars and man hours in screening, sifting and tracking down worldwide potential terrorists and traitors. And the popular World War II axiom, “Loose lips sink ships,” could easily be updated to “Frenzied finger tips sink ships.”
For the sake of my argument, however, let’s stick to the chat rooms and blogospheres of Patriotic Catholic Americans.
What danger could there be among such a virtuous test group, you ask. Why, to the Catholicism and Patriotism of said Americans, of course!
Keep this thought in mind: Catholicism as well as Patriotism is grounded in fraternal charity.
First of all, because of the addictive nature of the Internet, one could easily spend 10-12 hours a day chatting, while neglecting one’s familial and neighborly responsibilities as well as one’s own spiritual life.
Secondly, since internet chatters are afforded the advantage of writing under pseudonyms, the building up of trust is inhibited, and the temptation to allow our fallen human nature to shine through in a confrontation is encouraged and manifested in such phenomena as “flame wars” where chatters freely spew vitriol at one another with impunity, resorting to signing on under a new pseudonym after things get out of hand. Furthermore, charity towards each individual is also lost, since even the most conscientious chatter doesn’t know the secret crosses of every soul with whom he’s communicating.
Perhaps not as immediately important, but significant in the long run is the fact that language skills are endangered by the need to make one’s point in as few words as possible, using abbreviations, hyperlinks, and the EVER present wisecrack. These mechanisms include all kinds of epithets wielded against anyone from the newest posting member of a blogosphere, to the President of our country, to our own Holy Father.
And finally, on that note, at least the appearance of a hatred of the clergy and our government abounds where self-proclaimed theologians and political analysts play out the struggle for power in the Church and the Government on the worldwide stage before an audience of over a billion internet users. Even defenders of Church and Country only provoke further attacks from the disgruntled. So much for Patriotism and Catholicism!
In a nutshell, the usual safeguards of charity, social grace and correct speech are utterly lacking, opening the floodgates to every form of verbal attack on the individual, society and the Mystical Body of Christ as a whole.