Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Pope and His Trolls

Pope Benedict XVI is on Twitter! (So am I, by the way – shameless plug.) He doesn’t tweet much, preferring to instruct his flock without fanfare. His tweets (as you would expect from a holy man) are full of insight into the human condition, and a source of wisdom in a forum all too often lacking in that particular virtue. 
But the negative responses the Pope's tweets provoke are nothing short of astonishing. Every single tweet of his is met with volleys of obscene responses. Trolls vent their hatred of the Pope at every turn, sprinkling their "dialogue" with four-letter words and profanity.

The curious thing is that his trolls have nothing new to say. They rant about the Church’s stance on homosexuality, about how the Pope was supposedly a Hitler Youth, about how priests molested victims twenty years ago - all charges which have been leveled at the Church for years from more respectable corners. The only creativity his Twitter foes display is in their manifold misspellings.
The Pope must be doing something right if his foes display such uncreative and unthinking loathing. It as if his opponents actively seek to surrender their humanity by wasting their existence gibbering at a holy man.  
But although the Pope's trolls actively dehumanize themselves by taking refuge in profanity, such an obscene, foolish, and foul-mouthed set of opponents reflects well on the Catholic Church. For men and women who spend their days wallowing in the filth of their own obscenity and shrieking at the light are the most revealing of opponents; their unhinged railing at a Church they despise is a mark of the Church's goodness. Chesterton eloquently described this unwitting witness, calling it the “halo of hatred around the Church of God.” 

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