A theme has been developing in my blog readings this week, and just touched home in my own life.
In “Speaking Well of the Dead,” his hilarious send-up of celebrity funerals and the Kennedy family in particular (Crisis Nov. 1997), Fr. George Rutler notes how Ted Kennedy once called St. Thomas More “intolerant.”’
There are a set of buzzwords that get used to attack those who speak the truth: “mean-spirited,” “intolerant,” “hate speech” and “divisive” are usually biggies. Some of us may have a problem with getting a little too angry in our righteous anger, but even when we objectively write down our ideas, with careful, logical support, we still get these epithets thrown at us.
In my previous post, I discuss Marie Bain’s self-pity over how much “hatred” she’s experienced from pro-lifers.
Planning to move to Columbia, SC, I’m trying to research the Anglican Use parish there (which now also has a monthly Tridentine Mass). The parish was formed when two priests and 2/3 of the parish left the Episcopal Communion. The “original” Good Shepherd Episcopal Church discusses the “schism” on their website. The main argument, as I understand it, is that while the “remnant” agreed with the “dissenters” (meaning the ones who rejoined the Truth Church) in principle, they disagreed with the “divisiveness” of their position.
Then there was the latest from Gene Robinson, the Episcopal “bishop” (who never should have been a bishop because he’s divorced, much less actively homosexual), and this article which deals with two priests who claim they have been unjustly persecuted by their diocese. One wrote a letter to the editor criticizing the Episcopalians (denomination of Satan, for sure, between their positions on divorce, contraception and homosexuality) for “ordaining” Robinson. Another criticized a permanent deacon for mishandling the Precious Blood. Both were accused of being “mean-spirited.”
It is very common to have people who speak out for justice and righteousness condemned by the Left and by the Bishops as being “mean-spirited” or “intolerant.”
Today, I was accused of that, but by pro-lifers (at least one of whom sides with the CNS and National Catholic Bioethics Center against the Vatican on vaccines) on a list I subsequently unsubbed.
Today, I published this letter to the editor, and some pro-lifers in my area have actually attacked me for being “mean-spirited.”
The backstory. . . .
My wife’s aunt is a big-league, big-donor Democrat. She was a huge supporter of Gov. Mark Warner, who vetoed a plethora of pro-life bills passed by the Republican-controlled State House. She supported John Kerry.
In summer 2004, just after Cardinal Ratzinger’s letter was published, she picked a fight with us at my mother-in-laws: “Can you believe that bishop at the Vatican who is trying to tell us how to vote?” A heated exchange ensued. She accused us of being brainwashed, and insisted that abortion is necessary for “stupid girls.”
On other occasions, she hasstated that divorce and remarriage is OK (“why should people have to be unhappy?”) and it’s “great that young people today have so many options to enjoy themselves without consequences” (meaning contraception). She glorifies in immodesty. She once told me about visiting an Episcopal church and receiving communion there.
The former pastor, Fr. Christopher Buckner, once told her off for supporting the Democrats, and she practically left the parish. The current pastor has her and her husband in his inner circle. Her husband was president of the parish council, and they serve as Extraordinary Ministers of oly Communion.
It disgusts me to attend a parish where the Eucharist is being desecrated by the hands of heretics. I can barely even bring myself to go to Mass anymore.
A year ago, I pointed out (after she had verbally assaulted my then-pregnant wife) that the “bishop” she’d complained about was now Pope, and she’s excommunicated herself by her political position. A heated email exchange ensued.
A few months ago, we happened to go to a Mass where they were EMCs, and the Holy Spirit blocked me from even going to Communion. I left the Church in horror, vowing (at the time) never to return to that parish again (though I am ashamed to say that convenience has forced me back there subsequently).
Recently, the parish came out with a book about the “old St. Mary’s,” the old building from the early twentieth century. Those who attended were asked to contribute, and my wife’s aunt submitted a bunch of liberal trash about how bad things were before Vatican II.
Her mom also included a passage, so her parents asked us to go to the picnic to pick up a copy. Well, we did, reluctantly, dreading encountering her aunt and uncle. Her dad was already there, so we decided to go. But not only were the aunt and uncle there, but they were acting like they owned the place. Her aunt was walking around glad-handing people, and her husband was videotaping everything. He even had the audacity to point his camera at us and smile.
So, it pushed me to the limit. After writing several drafts, I submitted what I thought was the most rational and least “inflammatory” version of a letter to the editor.
It is a problem that no one can deny. Active Democrat Catholics are all over the place, and they support the party in spite of its anti-life, anti-morality positions. They refuse to criticize “their party.” They support the candidates with the most radical positions over the minority of truly moral Democrat contenders.
They are middle-aged baby boomers who don’t have any kids, and they’ve sacrificed both their Catholic and their 60s radical ideals in favor of high-paying middle class jobs. They have all the bucks, so priests and bishops listen to them over anyone else.
They hold the most prominent lay “positions” in parishes. Heck, they’re more likely to be EMCs, since most conservative Catholics should be aware that Cardinal Arinze has condemned the overuse of EMCs as one of the major abuses in American churches. They’re on parish councils, because they’re into the “lay power” thing. And people like them because they’re wolves in sheep’s clothing. They’re nice and friendly.
Meanwhile, the pro-life, conservative and liturgically orthodox Catholics are “mean-spirited” because we ask that people do things the way Rome says to do them.
That all makes sense. What *doesn’t* make sense is when the people who are supposedly conservative and pro-life suddenly start spouting the “mean-spirited” mantra.
ALL publishes full-page newspaper ads condemning prominent pro-abortion “Catholic” politicians and “calling out” Cardinals and bishop who don’t do anything about it. That’s great, say pro-lifers.
But John Q. Catholic publishes a letter to the editor calling out pro-abortion parishioners in his parish and demanding that the priests do something. But the same pro-lifers say, “Hey! You’re creating scandal and being mean-spirited.”
People have no problem getting on message boards and listservs and blogs, and arguing with anonymous strangers who aren’t even Catholic and telling them to be pro-life. But they won’t stand up to the pro-choice Catholics sitting next to them in the pews, because that’s “divisive.”
So, am I mean-spirited?
Mean-spirited? No. Mean-spirited means I wish ill of people.
I just want people to repent and accept the fullness of the Gospel.
I am not willing to see them go to Hell without my doing everything I can to push them to repentance (that goes for the pro-abortion laity and their money-minded clerical codependents)
I am not willing to put my soul at risk for failing to stand up to these injustices.
The real mean-spiritedness is holding back for fear of your own personal attachments and personal comfort zone being damaged. To be willing to risk someone else going to hell just because you’re afraid of the confrontation.
I want my priests to act like ministers of Christ and not ministers of Mammon. I love them that much.
I want all these aging baby boomers to repent, turn their hearts to God and make recompense for what they’ve done to society before they die.
I want to see the Boby and Blood of Christ handled with proper reverence.
I love Jesus too much to stand by and see Him mishandled and abused.
Of course, Jesus was accused of being “mean-spirited” and “intolerant” and “divisive.” So was St. John the Baptist. So was St. John of the Cross. So was St. John Bosco. So was St. Stephen. So was St. Catherine of Siena. So was St. Louis de Montfort (who actually beat heretics up). So was St. Francis of Assisi.
Most of all, I want people to see that the New Testament is very clear that, when we’re too comfortable, we’re doing something wrong.