Some priests talk about anonymous letters they receive. Of course, being anonymous, they are never, “I just wanted to write you and tell you how wonderful you and the parish are.” They are usually burning with anger and dripping with maliciousness. I don’t why, but I don’t get those. (And wouldn’t pay them any mind if I did.) The worst part about them is that there is nothing to be done with them. One can’t respond because there is no one to respond to. So there can be no clearing up of misunderstandings (on either’s part) or an explanation. (And whoever got the idea that anybody could be won over to something by being rude to them is beyond me.)
Now, that is not to say that I don’t get messages of one sort of another from people who disagree or disapprove of something I said or did. I do. But fortunately they are signed and therefore we can do something about it. Talk –come to some sort of understanding even if it is an understanding of disagreeing. (The blog is different because we can still send messages back and forth.)
A difference between the two notes (anonymous and signed) also tends to be the tone. The anonymous ones tend to be very disrespectful and the other type, while they may still be strong, is usually a more logically thought out argument than some emotional diatribe. This anonymity may be why there are so many people confessing road rage. The anonymity associated with road rage allows our worse self to come out. Since (chances are) no one will know who it is that is cutting them off, tailgating, slamming on the breaks, honking the horn, flipping them off, or yelling at them, our worst self, the stuff deep down that we would never share if it were associated with us, can come out. (Great karma when it turns out that you and the person you attacked pull into the same parking lot.)
This is also the danger of the internet. The ability to leave anonymous messages (and as we have discovered lately, news articles that turn out to be false after doing much damage) allows the worse part of our culture to surface. No longer do you have to stand behind your word with your signature and address or stand out on the street and have your face associated with a protest sign. Nasty and numerous missives can be left with and about anybody.
It is the duty of all who are interested in the elevation of our culture but particularly the Christian/Catholic to fight against this temptation and tendency. It is another form of calumny, detraction, and gossip of the worst sort and we can’t be a part of that.
Some have said that they fear reprisals for something they want to say if they put their name to it. If that is the case, if the risk is not worth the price of the argument, then it shouldn’t be brought up at all. We are to be a people of our words.