The Sheen Postponement: What was I thinking?

If this feels “long” to you, you can get the shorter version here

In general when on social media, I have tried to have a care, and to say what I mean with sincerity and clarity, and I’ve been told that I manage to do so with some success, most of the time.

But sometimes, it all goes splat.

Yesterday was one of those times. I made a terrible mistake on Twitter — a big mistake, all of my own doing, out of my own personal head, and mine alone — and I own all of it. While I could plead a “post-sickroom haze” for it I won’t bother because regardless of why, I was not giving my best on the platform. Sloppy is sloppy, thoughtless is thoughtless, insensitive is insensitive, and I was all of those things on twitter yesterday, and then some. At the shocking news of the unprecedented, all-but-11th-hour postponement of the canonization of Archbishop Fulton Sheen, my thought processes were firing all over the place and I, like a true bonehead, let my fingers fly with them in an uncharacteristic fashion that shocked many and — much too late — shocked and embarrassed me, too.

I apologize to everyone who follows me, and those who don’t but who were also taken aback by my posting underdeveloped ideas — so poorly expressed that people were ready to believe I was tagging Fulton Sheen as a man with same sex attraction and advancing an agenda. I wasn’t doing either of those things, but I expressed myself so inelegantly that it’s what some took from my posts, and they were rightly appalled. What I said was speculative, imprudent, and insensitive to an emotionally charged situation. In the glare of morning, I am myself appalled, and have decided to remove the tweet. I really can offer no excuse beyond thoughtlessness and perhaps a bit of pride. Which always cometh before a fall.

And I fell. In thinking about it this morning I see that I’d actually done, myself, what I’d accused the Diocese of Peoria of doing: writing too quickly and not carefully vetting my words in anticipation of how people would take them. So, I apologize to those good folks, too, in deep sympathy because when one is writing in a whirlwind, things are not always as tidy as they could be.

In my case, “untidy” doesn’t begin to describe it — I was reckless even to the point of using outdated language I had pulled from my memory, another stupid move.

All in all, yesterday I provided big fat sticks for people to beat me with (from all sides, because that’s just how bad the post was), and the thumping was (for the most part) well-deserved. Everyone has a “bad day on Twitter” once in a while — a day they wish they could erase or do-over. Yesterday was mine, and as I shuffle my feet in embarrassment and contrition for my tone-deafness, I hope for a small portion of what charity still remains on social media to come my way, because none of my stupidity was intentional. Stupidity almost never is.

I revere Fulton Sheen (whose words I have quoted while writing about lay involvement in the necessary reforms that will hopefully happen in the wake of our horrific sex abuse scandals); I want to see him canonized as soon as possible, which on any other day I wouldn’t have to state that explicitly, but today I do. I have also apologized to Fulton Sheen this morning for adding to an already muddy and unclear situation by my wrongheaded words and insensitivity.

As to pulling the offending tweet, I was intending to keep the tweet up because while it was stupid, it wasn’t built on anything malicious or intentionally meant to offend — such an intention WOULD be sinful — but on consideration this morning I have decided I will remove it, because I have no wish to cause further confusion for those who might see the post but not this afterthought, and because I don’t wish to tempt mischief.

Mea maxima culpa. To have made a mistake of this size suggests to me that I need to use this Advent season to shore up my spirit, and recalibrate my radar away from my own pride and more toward the sensibilities of others, so that is what I am going to do — starting with removing myself from social media until until the Bridegroom has come.

Happy Advent. In your spiritual generosity, please pray for me.

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2019-12-04T13:39:31-05:00

One Comment

  1. Avhustyn_lev December 5, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    Forgiven but not forgotten. I am praying that you are not pushing an agenda, because if you do God will hold you accountable for it.

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