Finding what we all can agree on Print
Written by Kevin Wondrash   
Thursday, Jul. 30, 2020 -- 12:00 AM

I have a problem. Every time I see a potentially controversial Facebook post, tweet, message board posting, online news story, or any other message of the sort, I am immediately drawn to and sucked into the comments section.

For those unfamiliar with the more social media-esque methods of sharing news and information, the comments section allows people who've read the article -- or just glanced at the headline -- to type out and share their thoughts on it for all to see. These comments are often opinionated, emotional, or a reflection of one's thoughts while reading said article or post.

These comments, even in the online Catholic media, can lead to a lot of back and forth debating -- or let's be honest, arguing -- sometimes getting very personal.

Much like the obligatory commenter who inevitably posts an image of Michael Jackson eating popcorn from the music video for "Thriller," I'm usually just there to read the comments.

Considering my time spent reading the comments has never resulted in me saying, "Well shucks, that was a good use of my time," why do I keep reading them? I have no idea.

Perhaps I'm looking for arguments and opinions that are contrary to my own in order to see the so-called other side.

Perhaps I'm looking for those who think and feel as I do in certain areas in order to feel validated or less alone in my thoughts.

Perhaps I just like to see people fight online.

A reflection of society

As unscientific as the commenting community is, it's hard to gauge how numerically reflective these comments are in regards to how people feel and how many people feel this way.

I do think it's safe to say these opinions are real and many real people are dealing with the emotions expressed in the comments.

As far as Catholic issues go, in the last week, I've seen disagreements on: wearing masks, Communion in the hand, the need for permanent married deacons, who to vote for in the upcoming elections, and other issues that usually spurn the word usage of "fascism," "socialism," and so on.

Looking at the comments would give anyone the idea that, as a society and a Church, we are divided and tearing apart. I have no doubt many people on any side of the arguments do feel that way.

Some may feel isolated, disillusioned, and defensive.

In the comments section, everything is all talk, but negative emotions can lead to negative actions.

Common ground

After a while, the same buzzwords, talking points, and raw emotions don't get anyone anywhere.

Instead of seeing the same old never-ending arguments, I'd love to see some actual progress being made. That would require some real dialogue and understanding.

The first step to that is to determine what all sides have in common as far as an end goal.

I'm going to be bold and say all Catholics want to be happy, live out their calls, help others, love and be loved, and get to Heaven. Can we start there and work backward?

If we begin to see that the sides people take on an issue are all rooted in these ideas, maybe we can lessen the arguing and knee-jerk reactions.

I'm not saying every opinion and position is morally correct. Some things are just wrong, but there needs to be some understanding and patience for a child of God that has arrived at the wrong answer.

If the intent is a good one, but the end result is bad, a conversation can still be had.

We need to look within ourselves too and know we may have some flawed thinking somewhere down the line in our own opinions.

Who has the guts to say "I'm not right about everything"?

Who has the guts to say "The person who disagrees with me is not wrong about everything"?

There is good in everyone's opinions. Let's all find the greater good together.