One thing is to disagree with another's views – something inevitable on this earth – another is to intend to "offend". The gamut of possibility is very large: one can ridicule another person's physical appearance, one can ridicule his background and parentage, one can ridicule his so-called talents or lack of talents. Whatever has a poisonous note is radically incompatible with love of neighbor and should be condemned.
As briefly mentioned above, there are, however, radically different kinds of disagreements: many of them refer to prudential judgments such as those related to financial, military, economic or purely political decisions. It is conceivable that each position has some merit, and it is wise to choose the most prudent one. Some people are wiser, more far sighted, or are better informed than others. One should beware however to be motivated by one's "unbaptized" emotions and irrational reactions.
These cases should be sharply distinguished from those clearly related to moral issues and in such cases, the views we should defend are those dictated by the moral law – of universal validity – or for Catholics, by the Magisterium of the Holy Church. How many Catholics, alas, forget that they and they alone are blessed by a Magisterium – that is being guided by God's authority they are guaranteed that they possess the truth. This certainty is an unfathomable gift. Anyone who defends a position which tramples upon the natural law, must be opposed with every possible means. Any candidate to the Presidency who officially endorses abortion – the murder of the innocents – or sees homosexuality as simply another "lifestyle", and for this "reason" defends the rights of homosexuals to get married, is to be thrown out of court, without further discussion for he is in fact sapping the very foundation of any sound society.
But whatever problem we face, there is always a danger that, in the course of a discussion one of the opponents – often time the one defending the illegitimate position – turns to insults, hoping thereby to throw his opponent off his horse.
What is of crucial interest for us is to examine the responses given by saints to offenses and learn from them. They joyfully follow their Master, a man of sorrow, who was rejected, offended, insulted, slapped in the face, and crucified. Only those quietly hiding in unknown monasteries, are usually protected from such treatments, even though it is naïve to assume that the Evil one who hates these places consecrated to God, does not try to find a back entrance. To have a religious vocation does not mean that one is a saint; it only means that he sincerely intends to strive for holiness.
The first question that we should raise is the following: Should one "let" oneself be offended? That is, allow the wounding words to truly affect us, and make us lose our peace? Or should we wear a "holy protective armor" which immediately deflects the arrows, and turns one's attention away from oneself to the moral stain that the offender brings on his own soul?