In Defense of Sarcasm
Myself and many, many of my friends are often called to task for using sarcasm as a means of argument and response in the blogosphere, typically by someone calling it uncharitable and quit ungodly to use a sarcastic tone in response to some of the modern madness that exists on the internet. I suppose that while charity is required of Catholics, I never once found an instance in the Bible or the writings of the Apostolic Fathers where one was chastised for using sarcasm. In face, one reading of God’s conversation with Job, the writings of St. Irenaeus, or the Letter to Diognetus to realize that what we call sarcasm is often used as a powerful rhetorical tool to tear down an opponents argument in order to start the conversation on solid ground.
I myself have been told that my sarcasm demonstrates that I don’t take my opponent seriously. I suppose in the case of sedevacantists and Lefebvrites it may be true that I put little stock in their arguments, but on the whole sarcasm is only a rhetorical tool used to point out the strangeness of some arguments. When my friends used to tell me that Catholics believe that the Pope is above sin when he sits in a special chair (a more common statement than I like to admit) I may either refute the statement with careful argument and polite chatter or respond, “Yes, we in the Catholic Church possess a magical chair that does far more than give the power of perfection.” The latter response is shocking and quite sarcastic, but my interlocutor is able to reflect on how strange a statement he truly made and we may start on solid ground to have a real dialog.