My introduction to the Catholic blogosphere came nearly 3 years ago when a now fellow blogger took some exception at something I wrote in America magazine. I wasn't blogging then. The systematic attack on my article and, to a certain degree, my person was entitled "When Jesuits Attack," which I must admit I still get a kick out of. I challenged the author of that post for assuming a number of things about me, when he didn't even know me. I suggested to him that perhaps we had more in common than he imagined. Turns out, when we explored things a little, that this indeed was the case. The result was that, though he has never backed away from his criticisms of my article, we actually began a correspondence which has lasted since that time.
It was also the encounter that got me interested in blogging myself. I have had similar encounters with several fellow bloggers in the ensuing years and can tell you that often bloggers are much more charitable and gracious than their blogging persona betrays. Still, that does not excuse how positively unChristian some people can be at times. And anybody who knows this blog knows that I frequently criticize the meanness often encountered in the blogosphere and try my best to avoid it here (and, thankfully, I have friends who don't hesitate to admonish me if I step a little over that line). That's why I was so happy, and humbled, to read the recent post by Dale Price where he revisits our first acquaintance. He graciously says of me:"Mark was then and has remained unfailingly gracious, both in that and other matters, offering support in a particularly rough patch in 2006. The Society of Jesus is getting a good man and one that I hope to call a friend some day."
If you read the entire post
(July 13), you will see why I already consider Dale a friend, as well as sort of my "blogfather." Thanks, Dale for your words about me, but also demonstrating that civility and charity are alive and well in the blogosphere, despite seeming evidence to the contrary.