HALIFAX (NOVA SCOTIA, CANADA)
The Chronicle Herald
May 28, 2018
By Maryanne McNeil
Since the April 7 publication of my opinion piece about why I was walking away from the Roman Catholic Church, I have read with great interest the many responses it generated.
The great majority of these were unwaveringly supportive; however, there were some critical voices. For the most part, the ensuing debate has been healthy, prompting interested individuals to examine their own beliefs and, sometimes, to state them publicly.
Only a tiny portion of the responses went beyond the bounds of civil discussion into the realm of rather personal attacks. One small example is that, for decrying the lack of opportunity for women to serve in leadership roles in the Roman Catholic Church, I was called “an obvious radical feminist.” That one made me smile; I’m still trying to decide if I should take it as an insult.
I do understand that when criticism is levelled at a cherished institution, emotions will flare and reaction will sometimes be intense. It takes restraint to refrain from hurling personal barbs and it seems that our present social climate has taken enthusiastically to modelling the opposite tactics: maligning, denying and dismissing. It’s far easier to do that than to examine issues through as honest and objective a lens as possible.
I had decided that it was better for me to allow this debate that I’d initiated to play itself out without wading into it again. After all, other opinions, both supportive and in opposition, are as valid as my own.
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