Worse, calling people names is disgraceful.  Especially in the name of religion.  These ad hominem attacks—an attack not on the argument but on the person–has no place in theology. It doesn’t matter if you’re attacking Pope Francis, Antonio Spadaro, Massimo Faggioli, John O’Malley, me, or anyone else.  It’s completely unchristian.  Feel free to disagree with us, but questioning our fidelity is out of bounds.  Speaking of doctrine, one of Jesus’s lesser known teachings, and completely ignored because it’s so hard to adhere to, is his admonition against calling people names.  “If you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire.” (Mt. 5:22)

Theology and Hate | James Martin, SJ. Fr. Martin then goes on to explain that the people who disagree with him are guilty of “mean-spirited invective,” “malicious slandering that passes itself off as thoughtful theology,” “mean-spirited personal attacks that pass themselves off as Christian discourse,” “hate being passed off as charity,” “ad hominem comments, thinly veiled attacks on people’s fidelity to the faith, snide insinuations and malicious twisting of words.” Did I mention “hate”? “Hate piled on hate piled on hate… And hate. An endless river of hate…. You are reading hate.“

I am gateful for this post by Fr. Martin, because it shows me so clearly what respectful disagreement unsullied by mean-spirited invective and ad hominem comments looks like. Verily, a model for us all.