Anger, Hatred and Irrational Rage

The death of Margaret Thatcher and the suicide of Matthew Warren–the son of Pastor Rick Warren has brought to light the irrational rage that has been simmering in our society for some time.

I experienced this when a colleague said in 2008 that any Catholic who knowingly voted for Obama should go to confession. His statement made the national news and his email box was suddenly flooded with hate mail. When he disabled his email they started sending their hate mail to anyone associated with the parish who still had an email box open. Some of it came to me. This was not simply polite disagreement. It wasn’t just anger. This was vile, blasphemous, explicitly sexual and scatological language directed not just toward me, but toward the Catholic faith, the Blessed Mother, the Pope and Our Lord Jesus Christ.

I have seen the same vile material in comboxes all over the internet. Neither is this simply a few nut cases who troll around spreading their filth. This is a global phenomenon, and it is truly frightening. To understand it we should be clear. This is not simply anger. Although anger is an emotion, it still has a rational dimension. I’m angry because someone harmed me. I’m angry because of a perceived injustice. I’m angry because of some fault or failure. Even when the anger is deeply rooted, there is still a rational object or focus for the anger.

What we are seeing as the result of Matthew Warren’s suicide and Mrs Thatcher’s death is not simply anger. It is being called “hate”. Hatred is anger that is nurtured into an active wish for someone else’s harm. I might get angry at my boss for being a jerk, but when I nurture that anger and direct it towards him as a person (rather than just anger with his actions) and when I start to plan revenge or imagine harm to him or his loved ones, then the anger has turned to hatred. The hatred–while vile–still has an element of rationality to it. It can be discussed and analyzed and understood–even if it cannot be defused.

The phenomenon we are seeing is something worse than anger and hatred. It is rage. Rage is irrational. You cannot argue with rage. Rage is cruel and violent for its own sake. Rage is anarchical and demonic in its absurdity and irrationality. When I say it is demonic, I am not exaggerating or being symbolical. The spirit of hatred has overtaken people, and I fear what we are seeing is only the beginning. Are the people so filled with rage demon possessed? I am not an authority on the subject, but I venture the diagnosis that if they are not literally demon possessed, then their personalities have been oppressed by evil to such an extent that they are out of their minds.

What to do? This sort only comes out by prayer and fasting.

 

  • Dylan

    I began reading Chesterton’s book on St. Francis recently and in the second chapter he makes the argument that the Dark Ages (after the fall of Rome, but before St. Francis) was a time of prayer and fasting (monasticism) that the West needed to drive out the demons of fallen pagan culture. The nature worship of pagan Rome lead to many things unnatural. Your article dovetails nicely with this idea of Chesterton’s, only for our time. Perhaps we need such a new period of monasticism to eventually purge the West of these acient demons that have once again risen to oppress mankind. Before that purge happens (however it may happen) I think it’s obvious that the near future will not be friendly to Christians. All signs point to a persecution, and a nasty one at that.

    • http://pfm11@mac.com Patrick

      I think it has begun. Christians are being slaughtered around the globe. It will soon be against the law to be Catholic.

    • Ben

      If monasticism cast out the demons of the ancient world, then we need something seven times more powerful today:
      “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.” (Matthew 12:43-45)

    • Imperious Dakar

      This just seems to support my view that Chesterton was vastly overrated.

      • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

        Chesterton: vastly over ate

    • expat

      The so-called “Dark Ages” were anything but dark – they saw a great flowering of intellectual and technical achievement; in a sense, medieval times were more innovative than the Renaissance.
      The hate speech following the death of Margaret Thatcher is utterly disgusting and reprehensible; perhaps an unfortunate sign of our times that are sorely lacking in positive role models for decent behavior.
      That said, I have read comments by Catholics that were pretty hateful towards others with different viewpoints. Some of the online comments made about President Obama – since he was mentioned – were about as bad as it can get. And as far as the idea that those who vote for him should go to confession: What about those who want to deny healthcare to the needy? Maybe they should think about the meaning of Christian charity and the role of conscience in making decisions. It seems to me that neither side has a monopoly on good or bad behavior.

  • Michael

    Hermant Mehta, the “friendly atheist”, makes a good post on this issue ( http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/04/08/mental-illness-cannot-be-ignored-and-rick-warren-can-help-change-that/ ) Mental illness and mortality are two issues we all share. Neither are an excuse for cheap, uncivil remarks.

  • http://cause-of-our-joy.blogspot.com Leticia Velasquez

    I often leave comments in secular sites commenting on moral issues to represent the Catholic view as best I can, and the level of vitriol is escalating to a frightening degree, and you are right, it is quite personal.
    I once left a comment on Planned Parenthood’s ‘Choice on Earth” Christmas cards. They followed me back to my blog, and waited for a chance to hurt me. When I mentioned that my five year old daughter with Down syndrome had double pneumonia and needed prayers, they responded with death wishes. Demonic is the right word.

    • Michael

      There’s much hate, alas, on both sides. I’ve encountered much as well (though not here).

      I’m truly sorry about your experience.

      • Dan

        Michael, no there is NOT much hate on both sides. Catholics don’t post the venom I’ve seen from the pro-abortion, athiest, leftists, etc. Nor do Catholics respond to those posts in kind. The hatred is one sided.

        • Michael

          Alas, I’ve had it against me one some blogs by Catholics (and other Christians) saying I’m going to hell, that I’m stupid, that I have no morals, etc. My only typical response to such attacks is to correct the poster’s grammar and spelling and offer it back as a learning experience for them.

          • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

            I agree. In the previous post you wrote ‘and’ when you should have written ‘an’.

          • Doug

            Michael, here are my [non-Catholic] corrections:
            “one some blogs”: probably s/b “on some blogs”
            “My only typical response”: Your response is “only” [the same one always] OR “typical” [of you, usually, but sometimes modified by circumstances]. Pick one, please.
            “poster’s grammar and spelling and offer it back … for them.” “Poster’s” is a singular possessive; “them” is a plural pronoun.
            You’re welcome. :-)

          • Michael

            That’s well done. Much better than offering up Psalm 14:1 to me.

        • Bill M.

          It doesn’t matter if there’s more hate on one side than on the other. Any amount is bad, on any side.

    • Captain America

      absolutely amazing. That’s very scary to me, the retribution.

  • Will J

    There seems to be many angry people on the right and left. The internet, radio, and television seems to empower some even more. Some seem to have much free time to spend (waste?) on hate instead of spending quality time with family or helping others.

    • Norris

      Yes, but the Jews hated Hitler too.

      • Will J

        Sorry but I am not sure what your point is. There certainly is much unjustified hate today.

  • http://thebackroomcatholic.wordpress.com Epicus Montaigne

    This post is completely spot on. I wrote a post just recently about the New Atheism and their hatred of religion, and how it stems from a deep-seated guilt that arises when deprived of any meaningful telos in life.

  • Paul

    Thank you for this, Father. While readin this, I seemuch in myself that I’ve been needing to address. While not directly related to what inspired this, you’ve explained rage in a very good way…and actually addressed something very much and wrongfully ignored…the work of the devil.

  • Paul

    Something went wrong and I couldn’t fix my typos or add more to what I wanted to say.
    Prayer and fasting. Too easy to forget. And I’m also very fearful of what I may discover or what may manifest itself if I really dive into deliverance. Do you have any suggestions on how to face likely demonic obsession or worse?

  • An5thony Nonymous

    You know, I’ve wondered before if the wide “popularity” (or at least the rampant production) of zombie movies and fiction might not be the pop-cultural manifestation of a broader and growing awareness in the cultural subconscious of a real and scary shift in the culture: that “zombification” is in fact happening–if not in the literal fact of the dead coming back to “life” and eating the brains of the living, then in the supplanting of human culture and vision and morality with something new and, if not media-driven, certainly media-fostered, which to some extent encourages rage and irrational and eager vitriol and the reviling of one’s perceived enemies, along with the need to HAVE more enemies so that the rage and unreason and vitriol may continue unabated. In this new psycho-regime, one does not have enemies and then hate them: one searches for enemies so that the hate which is already there can have an object. If no enemies are readily available, one must MAKE them–as many of them as possible–because the Hate must flow.

    No idea about the rate of actual demonic possession amongst those so afflicted, but I suspect that, from Hell’s point of view, this would be a distinction that likely makes no difference. But the Hate-Rage is out there and spreading like a zombie infection. As almost always, I would recommend C. S. Lewis–and in particular, his “Abolition of Man,” as a diagnosis of one of the causes of the current situation. You tear down the walls, and of course the barbarians are going to pour in. That’s what barbarians do.

    • Birthday girl

      I have wondered the same sort of thing. And pointing up at Dylan’s reference to the Dark Ages, I wonder whether our world is in a similar position with the “zombie hordes” in place of the Huns or whoever … sigh … fasting is so hard for me … better get to it …

  • Edward Hara

    Dear Father –

    You obviously haven’t spent any time perusing the posts over at Common Dreams or Huffington Post. The posts are, almost to a man (and a woman) filled with this same seething rage and hatred. Any attempts at rational and gracious discourse on subjects like abortion or same sex “marriage” are met with the most vile of responses. And then, to top it off, Common Dreams will simply ban one from posting. I have been banned so many times and under so many different names that I have lost count. So much for tolerance and love from the Left.

    I find myself getting angry at those who commit these atrocities. My response, however, must be to remember that our Lord said “Except you forgive men their sins, neither will my Father in Heaven forgive you.” A tall order, but one worthy of pursuit. Alas, how many times have I been to the Confessional for the sin of detraction, anger, or sheer hatred of some person who is defending the killing of the innocent unborn or the destruction of traditional marriage.

    I find that this hatred is almost equaled on the political Right as well. The level of venom expressed on both sides makes me believe that we are heading for an inevitable shooting civil war something along the lines of the Spanish Civil War or the Russian Revolution. It will not surprise me.

    The age and time of diplomacy and disagreement in respect has long since departed.

    • Guest

      You don’t need to leave Patheos Catholic. Just head over to Unequally Yoked to see some of the vilest obscenity and denigration of God in the combox that goes completely unchallenged. It’s digusting.

  • Ioannes

    Dear Father:

    I myself have always felt hatred towards those abusive people especially against our Faith and felt it justified to inflict harm upon them, when reason becomes futile. I thank God that I fear and love Him.

    Maybe there is a certain different kind of strength in prayer and fasting.

  • Lynda

    This is the spread of the demonic. It is everywhere and how could it be any other way with the evil that is actively promoted through man-made laws and state policies, international “laws” and policies, of UN, Council of Europe, etc.? Stand outside places where babies are routinely murdered or, as in Ireland, sent abroad to be murdered, in protest at such evil – and see the demons fly at you in rage! You won’t have to wait long. It is like looking into the fires of Hell. Satan is more in control of humanity than at any other time in history. Those not in his thrall are in the minority. Blessed Michael, the Archangel, defend us in the hour of conflict …

    • MarylandBill

      I am not completely sure I agree that Satan has more power over humanity now than he ever did before. Our memories tend to be short and we tend to forget how horrible things were in the past. Constantine might have ended formal persecution of Christians by Rome, but the Church remained under assault. In the Empire the Church still had to contend against pagans, arians, gnostics, pelagians and a host of other heresies which at times threatened to dominate the Church. Then Christian world was under constant assault from arian and pagan germanic tribes, muslims, magyars and ultimately the vikings. The Christian world of 1000 AD was about half the size of the Christian world of 500 AD.

    • Peter

      St. Maximilian Kolbe, the martyr and founder of the Militia Immaculata said something very important and profound: “Modern times are dominated by Satan and will be more so in the future. The conflict with Hell cannot be engaged by men, even the most clever. The Immaculata alone has from God the promise of victory over Satan.”

      Are we living in a worse time spoken by St. Maximiliian? I don’t know – and I am not into apocalyptic theories – but I think we might be headed for chastisement.

  • Paul Rodden

    Welcome back. Hope you had a refreshing time with your family.

  • Charles E. Mac Kay

    I passed through George Square in Glasgow at the time of the announcement on the death of Mrs Thatcher. I could not believe the anitcs. I laughed my head off and some of them ran away because I had taught them and would tell their mothers. Most of them had not even been born when she was Prime Minister. But anger on such a scale and resentment is terrible and frightning.We tend to forget that Regan and she destroyed communism. For that I am grateful and I never had to go and fight on the Oder Ninsen Line which I was trained for in NATO.
    I was sorry about her heart and how she forgot the poor, maybe the Great Creator, the wonderful judge will have mercy on the soul of Margaret one time Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

  • Jonty

    Father, I do not consider myself an angry person. Quite the opposite. But I had a spring in my step this morning knowing that That Woman has finally gone to meet her Maker. It is impossible to calculate the misery she inflicted on this country, entire communities destroyed by Job Losses and Industry closures. They may well have happened anyway, but it was Mrs Thatcher who delighted in taking away jobs from ordinary people. She began the sell off of public services, leaving a few rich individuals but no improvement to delivery. I’m glad she is dead, and if she has a grave I hope to do a little dance on it one day.

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      Many people would argue that, in the long run, Mrs Thatcher’s policies created many excellent jobs for many people, and that the industries that were closed were inefficient, expensive and subsidized by the taxes of other ordinary working people. I’m not an expert in these matters, but I think your analysis is simplistic.

      • Michael Petek

        As John Maynard Keynes said, ‘In the long run we are all dead’.

        Mrs Thatcher gave a sort of liberty to the British people. A liberty too many of them could not use well as they lacked the virtues to do so. It’s said she expected the British to have the morals of her father, yet they turned out to have the morals of her son. This can be seen from the fact that, before the Falklands War, public opinion was outraged that mass unemployment could be allowed to reach such high levels. By the time the 1980s were over, the rage had subsided. Those lucky enough to keep their jobs discovered that they, too, could hold the unemployed to be expendable for the sake of their own prosperity.

        Let’s not forget that Mrs Thatcher was the first adulterer to serve as Prime Minister. Denis Thatcher had been divorced by his first wife (who died only in the 1990s) at the time he married her. And so she could not be expected to value marriage and the family in the way she ought to have.

      • http://PortaCaeli Patricius

        Mrs Thatcher voted for the Abortion Act in 1967 and was a consistent supporter of abortion and other pro-death policies. She was responsible for sending many young men both British and Argentinian to their deaths in the pointless Falklands War which almost lost Britain the visit of Pope Blessed John Paul II in 1982. She promoted the “Greed is good” philosophy which subsequent governments of both parties bought into and which many consider responsible for the economic troubles which bedevil us yet. She famously declared that “there is no such thing as society” and argued that the good Samaritan FIRST made his fortune before attending to the victim in the parable. Her role in the fall of the Communist bloc was peripheral and like much else about her achievements has been over-hyped. I will dance on noone’s grave but, as the media circus goes into a long-prepared overdrive, I will insist upon the truth that I witnessed.

        • Mr. X

          “She was responsible for sending many young men both British and Argentinian to their deaths in the pointless Falklands War”

          Since when is defending your country from invasion by a fascist dictatorship “pointless”? Since when does the responsibility for a war lie with the side defending themselves from unjust aggression, rather than with the aggressors? Do you also think that Churchill was wrong to stand up to Hitler, or that FDR was wrong to fight against the Japanese after Pearl Harbour? If somebody gets mugged and tries to defend themselves, are they to blame for the resulting scuffle? Or does this weird inversion of moral responsibility only apply to people you don’t like?

          • Michael

            Argentina, in the early 80′s was no Nazi Germany. The complaint about the Falkland Island war was that haste that PM Thatcher went to war, over the concerns of many people at the time and the then pope. War should only be a last resort, (unless lives are immediately endangered or being lost) and when all other possibilities have been exhausted.

          • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

            The post was about Thatcherism–not the Falkland war.

        • MarylandBill

          Just curious, but I wonder what the British Subjects who lived in the Falklands at the time thought about the war? While one can debate the validity of the competing claims to the various islands in the South Atlantic that both Argentina and Britain claim, there is not much question about which side initiated the use of military force in the Falklands War. Further, by every account I have read, it was Argentina, not Great Britain that resisted all efforts to come to a negotiated settlement. To blame that war on Tatcher seems to be overly harsh on her as a leader.

          • http://PortaCaeli Patricius

            The war was fought not to protect the inhabitants of the Falkland Islands but to save face on the part of Thatcher and her government. The Falkland Islanders had had their British citizenship downgraded by the British Nationality Act of 1981 and the Governor, Rex Hunt, is said(Times Obituary) to have been sent to adjust the islanders to the idea that British sovereignty should not be taken as a given in perpetuity. Following the war the government backtracked and hurriedly passed the British Nationality (Falkland Islands)Act 1983 in order to restore the Citizenship they had earlier removed. I agree with war in defence against an unjustified aggressor like Argentina was in this case, however, as with all war the issue of what is just and proportional should not be forgotten. At the time of the war about 1,800 people lived on the Falklands. Just over nine hundred British and Argentinian troops were killed- the proportion is about one life to every two inhabitants. Perhaps you consider that proportionate?

      • Liam Ronan

        @Jonty
        “And because iniquity hath abounded, the charity of many shall grow cold.” Matthew 24:12
        Let us pray for those who (we imagine) persecute us for the judgement we give is the judgement we will receive.

    • MarylandBill

      Regardless of what we might thing of any politician’s policies, our reaction to news of their death should never be joy in the sense you imply. If we think they lived a good life, it should be hope for the resurrection, if we fear it was other than a good life it should be prayers for their soul (well it should be prayers either way). The loss of as much as a single soul to the enemy is a reason to grieve.

    • gerg

      I was living in England in 1976-77. I saw the terrible shape that country was in before Thatcher came. Nothing got done. People were living on the dole as a way of life. I was amazed because the government was completely impotent. They had something called the Trades Union Council, and if they said the government could not do something, the government had to back down. It was nuts. The Unions ran the country. I knew so many that had no lives because they went on the dole and just sat in the pub all day. There was no reason to work. In fact, they rejected any job unless it was perfect.
      No doubt recovery from this sad state of affairs was difficult, but as a result, Britain rose to become the 5th largest economy in the world. The nation recovered a sense of moving forward. No, I doubt that Thatcher liked taking jobs away from people. What she did enabled the country to thrive, and millions have jobs today because of what she did. And yes, those industries would have closed and millions more would have been out of work.

    • http://www.cleansingfiredor.com Nerina

      You know, Barack Obama was not my choice of President and I do think he is doing many, many harmful things to our country, but I simply can’t imagine wanting to “dance on his grave” or “having a spring in my step” were I to hear of his death. Jonty, this is not a good disposition.

    • Brad

      Sickening.

  • Deacon Joseph C. Buccilli, PhD

    Right On Father! As a clinician (40+ yrs) who’s still serving ‘a myriad of wounded-others’ through mental healthy and substance abuse/addiction treatments and who’s served as a RC chaplain in the NJDOC, this reality isn’t about appropriately showing anger but that which is being aggressively complicated by demonic-driven rages! The most effective intervention into this self-fulfilling human toxicity which has proven able to defuse this deeply-internalized phenomenon appears to be psycho-spiritual intervention, which consistently are empowered through prayerfulness.

  • u3

    Much of that rage, I chalk it up to, is by demons possessing people and Satan having control of their lives:

    When they came to the crowd, a man came up to Jesus, falling on his knees before Him and saying, 15“Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is a lunatic and is very ill; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. 16“I brought him to Your disciples, and they could not cure him.” 17And Jesus answered and said, “You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him here to Me.” 18And Jesus rebuked him, and the demon came out of him, and the boy was cured at once.

    19Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not drive it out?” 20And He said to them, “Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. 21[“But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”]~Gospel of Mark (NAB)

  • Darlene Mathis

    Excellent !

  • Byron

    That’s brings up a question I’ve had after several years debating atheists and other anti-Christians: How do you debate someone who’s not only ignorant of what Catholicism actually says, but is also incredibly insulting and won’t eve listen?
    How do we deal with people like this?
    God help us if people like that ever get any political power. It would be like the Coptic Chruch is experiencing and owrse in Egypt right now.

    • Scaevola

      You don’t, at least not directly. You pray. Only grace can help where reason has failed.

    • Michael

      I’m a former Catholic, having lived the first 35 years or so of my life very immersed in the faith. I know my Catholic theology (at least what was taught pre- 2000) quite well. I took philosophy and theology courses at university while pursing degrees in the sciences and have on many occasion corrected Catholics in their Church’s official teaching on sacraments, papal infallibility and contraception.

      But my response I typically get is you don’t understand the faith. You need to be a theologian to understand theology (pity the poor Catholic in the pew), or a practicing Catholic to truly understand it (like you must have been in uniform to have an opinion about war), etc.

      I will listen, it’s just that many Catholics don’t like and informed critic.

      • Brad

        It is a dire, great, lamentable sorrow that you seem to (brother, I am only going by the tone of your words, so forgive me) value what you know and what others know or don’t know.

        My brother, this is not gnosticism.

        What one — what you, brother Michael — knows or doesn’t know will not get one into heaven. Christ’s Mercy alone, the only true commodity in the universe, is what will allow one to be invited into heaven, from beyond all hope. In the name of Christ, so soon after Divine Mercy Sunday, I beg you, Michael, ponder the Blood of the Savior who, at His own cost, is willing to pay the debt of your sins for you before the throne of the Father, if you will accept His help. Ponder confession and ponder the Body and Blood of Christ, the only currency in the universe, and you will soon stop so breezily referring to yourself as a former Catholic. There are no former Catholics. There are only souls who have not been absolved of their sins by a priest and who have chosen not to receive the Body and Blood, the, again, only currency in the universe. Ponder Christ and do not ponder yourself and your fellow creatures. You and they will distract and disappoint you, as you evince here. Let go of the desire to be the perpetual critic. Life is so much more than setting yourself down in a nice front row of the peanut gallery and waiting for the fools to parade before you. You are not criticizing people of faith: your anger is with the Lord: “‘Saul, Saul, why ME dost thou persecute?’ And he said, ‘Who art thou, Lord?’ and the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom thou dost persecute’”. Let go of the desire to be the outsider, the perpetual critic. That is the job of the one Adversary.

        May St. John the Almsgiver help a sinner’s prayer for you. My Lord, forgive your unprofitable servant for such a threadbare prayer for your beloved and prodigal son, Michael. Ave Maria.

      • Norris

        “I will listen, it’s just that many Catholics don’t like and informed critic.”

        This is true.

        Also, many Catholics don’t know the most basic elements of the Catholic faith.

        I’ve long said if two people are both rational and of good will then no disagreement between them should be of any concern.

        The problem comes in when dealing with people like those described by Byron:

        “How do you debate someone who’s not only ignorant of what Catholicism actually says, but is also incredibly insulting and won’t eve listen? How do we deal with people like this?”

        Heck, forget “debate”, how do you even get to know as a person someone like that? Someone whose only goal is to demean and ridicule? That’s the goal of so many of the “New Atheists”.

        Are there Catholics like that? Sure. Do they exist in numbers that even come close to parity with the like among the atheists? Not a chance.

      • Bernard

        If you are so intelligent, why are you a FORMER Catholic?

      • Theodore Seeber

        “at least what was taught pre- 2000″

        If it was anything like what I experienced pre-2000, that’s pretty bad.

  • Jenn

    I am a Catholic homeschooling mom of 4- ages 3-9. My kids are not exposed to any hate-filled things, yet they have outbursts of this rage you speak of. Yes, they are young and still dealing with self-control. However, some of the things that come out of their mouths is unbelievable in its disturbing nature. How often I hear “I hate you!” in my house, directed at myself or to their siblings. I have spoken with other homeschooling moms who have unexplainable behaviors in their children being exhibited. The disobedience and disrespect are especially prominent. I never would have even dreamed of acting that way toward my parents! Some of my friends have suggested the behaviors are a manifestation of the general evil that is occurring in the world. The kids are being affected by it even if they are not directly exposed to it. I admit we have serious discipline issues in our house but I also I believe it is a direct attack on these intact families striving for holiness.

    • David Zelenka

      My wife and I say the same thing to each other, ” I never would have even dreamed of acting that way toward my parents!” Now, I could blame it all on my parenting.

      There is certainly a collective infection (attacks as you say) within our American society that trickles down into all of our families–even the most insulated. How far that extends into the rest of the world is hard to tell.

      The answer: Jesus, patience, discipline, grace, mercy, prayer, hope, and love.

      We can’t run away or hideaway from these problems. We must approach them head-on with Christ’s love and forgiveness. Although, as Jesus points out, there is a time to flee to the mountains. The question is how bad does it have to get before we take that radical step? Jesus says we take that step when “you see the abomination of desolation standing where he ought not to be.” I never figured out what that means, but I suppose we will know when it comes to that.

  • Brad

    What grows now in the world to the point where it is markedly apparent is not rage but WRATH, which is the cardinal sin presided over by satan (as opposed to the cardinal sin of pride, which is presided over by the same prince of demons under his original guise of lucifer).

    Wrath: rage and an obsession with uncharitable justice: when lucifer became “satan” his name changed to “the adversary”, the one who, with no charity, accuses his fellow creatures instead of advocates for them.

    The wrathful soul is trapped in a mode of looking without and never within: the mode of the pharisee in prayer and not the mode of the tax-collector in prayer. The wrathful soul sets himself up to judge others constantly. He is stymied because he cannot judge others, however much he wishes to have that power. Nor can he even judge himself. The particular judgment looms and even he knows it. Thus he follows in the stymied and hotly frustrated footsteps of his master, satan. Thus wrath and rage.

    “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except One — God.”

    Creatures are literally insane to ask for God’s justice to come down upon others, because it will thus and then come down upon themselves. “And enter not into judgment with Thy servant, For no one living is justified before Thee.”

    “To Thee all flesh must come, overburdened by sins.”

    The only sanity is to instead appeal to God’s mercy, which He will extend for the asking, in place of His justice.

    Wrath is utterly destroyed by our dear Lord on the Cross by one of the Seven Holy Wounds: the Knees of Christ, which fell so many times under the weight of the Cross, in perfect patience, eschewing even rightful indignation.

    This vice is also destroyed by one of our dear Mother’s Seven Sorrows: the meeting on the way, where our Blessed Mother displayed the same virtues, shadowing from the alleys her Son’s sad progress, of patience and pardon.

    Praise God in His angels and in his saints.

    • Paul Rodden

      Interesting, Brad…
      I’m going to look into Wrath a bit, particularly as I hear in on the lips of my Evangelical friends so frequently because, if you’re right, it’s not a term that can be used of God at all, surely?

    • Scaevola

      Thanks, Brad, this is beautiful.

  • Ellen

    I frequent quite a few sites and there is a lot of hate out there – a LOT of it. On too many conservative sites, there was almost a glee at the news of Roger Ebert’s death. I did not like the nastiness Mr. Ebert exhibited after the 2000 election, but I chose to remember him as the perceptive film critic and excellent writer that he was. May his soul rest in peace.

  • Lila

    You said this so well, Fr., and it is truth. I wrote recently on my own blog that it felt as if the road to hell was partially paved with comboxes. I’ve declared a moratorium for myself on reading them, for an undetermined period.

  • Rob B.

    I think that at least some of the problem can be attributed to the relative anonymity of the Internet. I teach online and I’ve had students who have said things to me that I bet they would never dare to say to my face. When you can hide behind a handle, though, even the basic elements of human decency are non-existent.

    Another problem is that nowadays, wrath easily masquerades as righteousness. You have to imagine the Devil getting a chuckle out of that…

    • Paul Rodden

      I think that’s a very important point, Rob. I agree.

  • Lynn

    Rage = demonic… excellent post, for how else do you explain the glee of the spectators when Christians were martyred at the Colosseum in Rome… or the glee of those who committed atrocities against the Armenian Christians during the first World War… or the glee of the Nazis tossing Jewish and Christian children into the air and using them as target practice… among the other multitude of atrocities…

    And now we have the glee of those who would force us to support abortion by government mandate, the glee of those who would force gay marriage upon churches who object or be shut down, the glee of those who would force all objections to any immorality behind closed doors or face character assassination for standing up for your beliefs, and the glee of those who would rather remain ignorant and parrot vile lies in comboxes than bother learning the truth about a matter.

    Persecution always starts with words and ends in blood… where are we now on that spectrum?

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    A perceptive and accurate posting (mostly because I was thinking along the same lines before I read this posting.)
    But are we a bit too willing to blame both sides left and right in a quest to treat each equally???
    As far as I can recall,most of the moderate, but very” right” or “conservative” sites (like the Daily Caller), I regularly look at have had nothing like the vitriol and hate I’ve run into on what are considered moderate, but very “liberal” or “left” sites (Like the Huffington Post).
    I recall no cheering and exulting when Ted Kennedy died. Yet he was easily as polarizing as Margaret Thatcher. And when one of Bobby Kennedy’s kids committed suicide (or died of a drug overdose) I don’t recall the kind of evil jubilation that seems to have been unleashed by Matthew Warren’s suicide.

    • Mary

      I agree. There was nothing like this over Ted Kennedy or any of Bobby Kennedy’s kids–and I must confess I was none to fond of Ted Kennedy. He was not only liberal; he was a politician to the core.

      Still, I can honestly say I did not hate him. I learned not to hate bitterly–but I know now that the one person I did hate, viciously, for doing what I thought was harmful to a good friend, was nothing like the hatred these people are expressing. For one thing, if he had died before I saw my hate and repented of it, I would have felt fabulous shame and guilt for feeling such hatred toward anybody–this is exactly what I felt when I came to realize how guilty I was. No doubt it’s the Catholic in me. It does seem to me that we all need to head back to church.

  • Paul Rodden

    I would say the difference between us and the combox atheist is that we are people of Hope whilst they are people of Optimism. They are people of the Now alone.

    But then sadly, so often we respond with an equal and opposite Optimism as if Evil can be assuaged by our ‘good’ behaviour, too – or like ‘apocalyptic’ extremist groups, we merely return in kind: ‘infidels’ should be eradicated from the planet.

    However, I think this happens when the Eschatological – on both sides – has become severed from the whole – natural/supernatural (‘both/and’) – and that’s when the problems arise. If Eschatological Hope and Perfection are sought immediately without a ‘not yet’ dimension, then the anger, hatred, and irrational rage, are in ‘the gap’, expressing the frustration of not being able to ‘Immanentise the Escaton’, here and now, which gets taken out on those who are not trapped by immediacy and therefore over whom they can have no control.

    Yes. ‘This sort only comes out by prayer and fasting.’ Because, it seems to me, the most common learned and prevalent response – even from Catholics who have a ‘healthy’ view of Evil in the face of Evil – is still a tendency towards ‘Liberation’, social work, therapy, or simply politically correct indulgence, and I have a feeling him, Down Below, is very satisfied at that response indeed.

  • http://Pjkovacs@gmail.com Peter

    I don’t claim to have any of the answers except for the words our Lord left us on how to lead a good life. It is hard to escape the daily struggle for our bread, and even harder to understand the madness we see in the world, the hatred, and the coldness of many. I do believe however, if we stayed focused on Jesus as Lord and savior, and we live each day giving thanks and asking for the strength to overcome evil, then in the end we will win. I’m 60 years old and I love the Catholic church and believe in the dogma, the message and without any doubt that it is the one, true church. Yet I see the coming suppression of faith, and the persecution to come, and in some ways, hope my time is up before it comes to my house. I hope prayer and fasting can move mountains and I will put my trust and faith in he who has overcome the world

  • Tony R

    I agree that this is only the beginning. It will get a lot worse. This seems to be following the paths of Germany in the 1930’s and Rwanda back in the late 1980’s. There is a lot of anger and rage that is being stirred up. When satan can organize it and focus it on a particular group then it’s a frenzied rage against that group.
    I get this in my own family. I voted pro-life again. You cannot just get a simple disagreement on voting that sometimes gets a little heated. This anger is in the room as I step in. I no longer take my wife and kids to family functions because of this. I thought it might just be because we are getting older and a bit cranky but this is something different all together.
    I am not a survivalist like you read about on the internet but I do believe that when satan can focus this hatred against the Catholic Church, this time the events will be global in scale. For your safety you will have to remove any visible outward signs of your Catholic faith. Rosaries hanging from your mirror or bumper stickers that are prolife. I think it will be intense but brief.
    We can blame the political parties and global environment for the problems. Science, the media. I don’t think that all of these people are possessed but when you wander away from God it is easier for satan to direct you. People are angry, satan might not have caused them to be angry but, I believe, while in the state of anger he tries direct the anger towards his own goal. The people in power can cause problems, but “before Kingdoms change, men must change.”
    When you are depressed or anxious it might not be caused by sparky (what I call satan around the kids as to not scare them) but he steps in and makes it worse. If I had a drink that might help take off the edge….. watching this reality TV show helps me forget my problems for a little while.
    Like any drug, the effects are short lived and you need something else to fill the void. Something more intense. We need to trust God more. Pray the Rosary. Learn to hear God’s voice above all of the noise of the world. Then, Like St. Joseph, God will tell us when to get out of the way when harm will be directed toward our loved ones.

  • Lynda

    Of course, we ought to hate evil in its various, increasingly ubiquitous, manifestations. If we love the Truth, we will hate lies.

  • Brian

    Scary thing to fully understand the Catholic faith and then reject it. Holy Church (which Michael fully understands) has dire warnings for such people.

  • Doug

    Things are getting worse, as predicted: “Men will be in love with self, in love with money, boastful, proud, abusive; without reverence for their parents, without gratitude, without scruple, without love, without peace; slanderers, incontinent, strangers to pity and to kindness; treacherous, reckless, full of vain conceit, thinking rather of their pleasures than of God. They will preserve all the outward form of religion, although they have long been strangers to its meaning. ” 2 Tim 3:2-5, Douay.
    A more up-to-date translation says, “For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, self‐assuming, haughty, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, disloyal, having no natural affection, not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self‐control, fierce, without love of goodness, betrayers, headstrong, puffed up [with pride], lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God, having a form of godly devotion but proving false to its power;”
    The time frame for these occurrences? It’s in verse 1: “Be sure of this, that in the world’s last age there are perilous times coming.” or, “But know this, that in the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here”

    • Pattie, RN

      Doug, thank you for sharing this bit of scripture…..really speaks to the message.

      I am not a historian, but it seems to me that the rage and hate directed at all things good and holy is palpable and focused in a manner rarely this widespread. It is not just Hitler or Pol Pot or Stalin presenting and enforcing evil, but a groundswell of grass-roots hate gathering force from a tiny stream into a raging river.
      The Church, the epicenter of God’s presence here on earth, is sure to be a major target for these satanic influences….but we know that the gates of Hell [and Hell's lies and hated and pride] shall NEVER prevail upon her. Many of the laity will have to choose whether to commit themselves fully to the Church and God’s will, or leave altogether. I think we will see a much smaller number of Catholics, but those of us who stay will be firmer in faith by necessity during these troubling times.

  • kendallpeak

    This rage at all things Christian and pertaining to decency and morality is the work of demons. In “normal” times the demons work with subtlety and tend to remain in the back alleys. Now they feel emboldened. These are not normal times.

    • AlphaOmega

      No, not demons, just ignorance

      • Guest

        I disagree AO. Something is causing the rhetoric (for now) to escalate exponentially and it’s not just the existence of internet blogs. Everytime I read the headlines I see some new outrage against morality being touted as wonderful and the time it takes to becomes accepted as ‘good’ takes less and less time. It truly resembles many tiny streams that are now coming together into a raging river that is sweeping a lot of formerly solid ground along with it. I cannot help but see satan’s influence behind this in a magnified way.

  • TeaPot562

    Among other things, Jesus says we are to pray for those who persecute us. (I believe that’s in Matthew, perhaps in the Sermon on the Mount.)
    It does no good to answer someone so angry that he/she is “spitting tacks” rather than facts. Moreover, that person is typically not really interested in a resolution to the difference of opinion; they are just venting.
    We are better off not trying to debate one who apparently is not interested in reason, or a reasonable approach. But we can pray for him or her.
    TeaPot562

    • AlphaOmega

      Amen

  • Marye

    As the Internet has developed, the emphasis has been on promoting the personal freedom of the user and to that end, eliminating or minimizing restrictions on the user’s autonomy. This approach has been good in many aspects, and has brought unprecedented benefits, but there is also the dark side. People are free to share their opinions as soon as they have finished typing, and others can respond almost instantaneously, often without much of a filter. The result can be a rapid escalation of hostility in everyday communication, as fears are expressed over and over again, generating a kind of panic: repeated expressions of anger become magnified into rage. The seeming anonymity of the Internet gives users a false sense of power and invulnerability, but it is not true power, because if it was true power, there would be no need for hostility.

    We need a whole series of prayers, and perhaps some devotions, centered around the perils and pitfalls of net-based communication, and aimed at guiding us and protecting us as we participate online. A few years ago, I would have thought that was hilarious, but I don’t anymore.

  • Justin

    We see the same rage at work in the two gay men who are trying to oust Fr. Shaffer from his position as Catholic chaplain at George Washington University. These two men entered a homosexual relationship, and when the priest told them it was a sin, they turned on him all their rage and hate. If Father is ousted, then what is the point of having a Catholic chaplain on any secular university in this country? If the chaplain cannot teach and preach Catholic doctrine without fear of losing his job because of two vindictive individuals, then why hire a Catholic chaplain at all?

  • Eric

    Yes your hatred of President Obama is quite irrational.

    • Justin

      What are you talking about Eric? President Obama is not even mentioned in this piece! Who said anything here about hating him?

  • AlphaOmega

    Don’t be tricked by the enemy, Fr. l. The sky is not falling. The vitriol is generally only spread under the cloak of anonymity. Technology has merely enabled people to be more bombastic without fear of consequences. Meanwhile the Catholic Church counts the leveraging of social media amongst its highest priorities, and is–in many jurisdictions–imploring parishioners to spread the gospel on it. Not a good idea. Most Catholics don’t even know Scripture, let alone what a sacrament is ,or terms like ex cathedra, agape, sola scriptura, et al. Most Cathlolics don’t even know church history and things like the reformation. They make fools of themselves posting ignorant comments and harshly judging others, then they are baffled as to why people attack them.

    Let’s get real fellow Catholics, we have done a LOUSY job educating our people. Let’s not put the carriage of evangelism ahead of the horse of knowledge.

    • RoodAwakening

      AO, evangelism MUST come before catechesis, and certain, distinct levels of knowledge are necessary to both stages of evangelization. Personal conversion is the foundation upon which one’s entire Christian life is solidly built, and conversion is only the result of evangelism. When one is then subsequently well-catechized, he or she must evangelize others in turn, as God gives the opportunities.

  • Ninth Centurion

    Where did this anger, this hatred, this wrath come from? How did it grow?
    The perversions of the Catholic Faith and of what Vatican II actually taught and said went unanswered by those leading His Church on earth.

    Doubt it? What happened early on in the abortion debates when protestors carried pictures of the truth, of children butchered by abortion? The Bishops publicly reprimanded the Faithful who did so as being un-Christian and not acting with Christ’s love or Christian Charity.

    Just this past year a Cardinal of the Catholic Church publicly dinned and laughed with a Caesar who not only seeks to destroy religion but more than any other American Caesar supports the evil of abortion.

    Why is has anger and hatred and wrath grown so quickly during the last 20 years?

    Because Christ has been replaced in the Christian churches, and His Church, the Catholic Church with the false idols of feminist sentimentalism and PC tolerance.

    The homosexual sex abuse scandal in the Catholic priesthood was merely a symptom of the deeper spiritual disorders which entered through the windows thrown open under the false claims of being the spirit of Vatican II.

    AMDG

  • TeresaL

    I think it has to do with the anonymity that the Internet provides these cowardly commenters/trolls. How nice and convenient for them to really “give it” to their “sworn enemies” who can not retaliate in any way that can physically hurt these small-minded posters. And who is there to moderate or police their behaviour and virtual actions? Also, the vitriol is not exclusive to religious/non-religious blogs and sites; I have seen it as prevalent in political sites which I used to frequent many years ago. People feel entitled to their opinions, and also feel that no one else is, to a different opinion — a sign of the ultra-narcissism that plagues our society today. These hate-filled online thoughts and actions also account, methinks, for the irrational rage and hatred that one meets more often in real life these days, as these attitudes can only carry over into these people’s actual lives.

  • Uomo Senzanome

    Gee, here’s the only HuffPost piece I saw ( http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/09/rick-warren-son-matthew-warren-suicide_n_3046047.html ) about Matthew Warren and it seemed to me to be very compassionate and kind toward a grieving father, not at all the schadenfreude and grave-dancing complained of. Maybe I just missed it. I will pray for his soul and for the comfort of his family.

    Regarding Mrs. Thatcher – I celebrated when she left office, as I did when Ronald Reagan did, because I found their politics to be heartless. But their deaths were certainly nothing to celebrate; that might only be the case if they had been despots-for-life and their deaths the only way to remove them from power, but fortunately, they lived in democracies.

  • Uomo Senzanome

    PS (this will no doubt appear before my other comment, since it included a link to a HuffPost video): I appreciate your discussion of this problem, Fr. L, and I will say that I have seen this kind of rage on both ends of the political spectrum, from conservative and liberal, from those considered “orthodox” and those whose praxis is decried as heretical by the orthodox. Nobody has a monopoly on this irrationality. The regular practice of prayer and meditation, and cultivation of compassion and empathy, will do much to dispel it.

  • Paul Rodden

    Interesting post on HuffPo:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/Amelia/accept-and-tolerate-my-gay-kid-thats-not-good-enough_b_3021002.html
    One of the real trademarks of Evil these days, it seems, is its reduction of Christianity to a straw man moral code, then claim outdo it…

    They invent a straw man of a superhuman ‘Christian’, then point to a handful of counter examples of Christians gone bad out of the billions there have been, which they then extrapolate to all. Now, that’s not induction, that’s incoherence. The only Christian homophobe I know of, for example, is Fred Phelps, yet I’m in the UK!

    As to the combox atheists, I often ask them why – if atheism is so great, morally upright, and so the anti-thesis of ‘vile, evil, hate-filled Christianity’ – their comments are so vile, evil, and hate-filled? Shouldn’t they be an embodiment of an ideal that goes beyond ‘Christianity’ (as in the warped example above of a completely intolerant nihilistic amoralism)? In other words, shouldn’t their posts be kind, loving, gentle, and so set us an example? Shouldn’t they embody the very things they argue we don’t? Turning their own logic against them, if atheism ‘works’, all atheists would be saints, turning the other cheek, feeding the hungry, healing the sick, and generally putting us to shame?

    Clearly they’re not. But, strangely, they come across awfully like ourselves: except we admit we need redemption because we can’t perfect ourselves. That seems to be the sole difference.

  • Jacob

    It should be more proof of our faith that those who don’t have it range in anger at those who do.

    We should expect this kind of hatred after we see how the demon-filled pigs react to Christ in the bible.
    That is how rage is. They hate everything, but truly themselves most of all.

    I notice that they do something similar to the pigs and run into the waters and drowned if you refuse to be swayed by their violent hatred.

  • Mary

    Ninth Centurion – you have nailed it. I admit to dismay at seeing a beaming Pope Francis with Joe Biden, another supporter of abortion.

  • buckeye pastor

    Comboxes are a cover-up for people who don’t want to take responsibility for the opinion they expressed. What they say about people in comboxes, they would never say in a face-to-face encounter. Although, when I look at the stories out of Great Britain about people’s reactions to the death of Margaret Thatcher, I will admit I may be wrong.

  • Amanda

    This is precisely why I can no longer read articles on most news sites. Have you seen the level of hatred in the comments? I’m always sickened, as well, by the replies people have for the Pope’s tweets. It literally makes me sick.

  • Don

    Your friend was right. Anyone who voted for Obama should refrain from communion until they have gone to confession. The Church has made it abundantly clear that its members may not support pro-abortion politicians. Obama is a pro-abortion politician of the worst kind – he has even advocated leaving babies born alive in botched abortions to die. And besides that, he’s attacking the Church through the HHS mandate. And he supports same-sex marriage. The Bishops made it abundantly clear to the faithful that they could not support Obama, even if they had to do so in a somewhat veiled way in order to avoid the risk of losing tax-exempt status. Many, many Catholics simply said to themesleves: “I don’t care what the Church teaches or what my Bishop says, I am voting for Obama anyway.” There should be consequences. There is nothing hateful about saying it; to admonish the sinner is one of the spiritual works of mercy. And, I will be the first to admit that I need plenty of admonishment myself. But, in my opinion, it’s time for those who reject fundamental moral teachings of the Church, and who support politicians who vocally reject those teachings, to get out. They should separate themselves from the Church, reflect on matters, and maybe they will gain a better understanding of what it means to be Catholic. If we can welcome them back someday, great. If we can’t, then at least they won’t have scandalized the faithful in the meantime. Bring on the vitriol; I can handle it.

  • David Zelenka

    There’s a link between this post and this one: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/standingonmyhead/2012/04/my-medjugorje-story.html (Fr. L’s Medjugorje Story). And I’ll go out on a limb to say it, but also note that I may be totally wrong.

    Demon’s infect/affect not only individuals but also collections of people. Likewise and alternatively, Jesus can become the glue within individuals and collections of individuals. This is why, for one, we must be unified in ‘one’ church, because when separated, we are not a part of him. As an aside: This is not to say that individuals outside of communion with Roman Catholic Church do not have Jesus and his Spirit. They most certainly do. Because it is from our Baptism in Christ in which we are connected to Christ AND his Church (the Bride). The Catholic Church specifically accepts most Trinitarian baptisms for this reason. And those Christians outside the Catholic Tradition must be considered a viable part of the Body of Christ. We need them. They need us. We are together in this, despite how fallen my understanding or his understanding is. It is the way we are brothers and sisters and we as a whole are essential to the body of Christ.[/aside]

    In Fr. L’s story about Medjugorje as well as other collective Marian experiences, it is clear that something supernatural occurred. But in the case of all Marian experiences, the unanswered question for me is that how much of them is a result of collective un-/conscious experience of groups of people–experiences that are quite real but potentially hallucinatory based on the group’s collective nature: hopes and prayers. And in which cases is it truly, Mary, a.k.a. the Bride of Christ, appearing to the people and communicating truths and reality. I expect that groups can hallucinate similarly to how individuals hallucinate. However, unlike atheists who use that argument to explain away our faith, I believe that there is a reality to these sort of events. For instance, the miraculous events of Jesus not only affected the minds of people, they had a clear and precise effect on reality. Jesus told the storm to quiet and it did! Jesus told the lame to walk and he did. The difference, of course, is that one type permanently manefests in reality, and the other does not.

    So, in our country and in the West in general, we are seriously possessed by demons: individually and collectively. Whether those demons are simply: hate-manefest or actual fallen angels, I certainly don’t know. But we can be certain that these beings affect all of us…yes, even us Christians and/even the best saints of us. We know it by the things that are triggered in our consciousness. We know it by the contents of our dreams. We know it by the thoughts that appear in our minds when we’re mad at someone. But it’s important to also note that even if it appears in our minds, it’s not us and it’s not sin until we act upon the thought or allow it to pass across the threshold of our heart.

    The key is for us to not allow for them to live and take hold of our wills and hearts. This means we must go to confession, and pray and fast like Fr. L notes, but not only for ourselves, also for others. Because we are a part of the ‘other guy’ who hates and does terrible things. We are a part of the family of Man. We must love for him who cannot. This is the whole ‘ruler’ thing, why we are told not to judge others, because we are the other guy in a real sense. When we judge him, we judge ourselves. This is why Jesus’ second nature is Man: to heal us and make us his own.

    One thing that I’m learning to do is to pray in my dreams. And as weird as it sounds, it helps. I’m not good at it. But it starts by praying before you sleep, every time, saying something like, “Dear Jesus, help my heart when I sleep. Help me pray to you. I need you with me always.” Then when that bad dream happens, we’re more fully equipped and prepared. AND likewise, when things happen in the real world, we are also more fully equipped to handle it.

    Lastly, we need to stop using handles in these blogs. We need to use our real names. It forces us to be authentic to who we really are.

    • Paul Rodden (Real Name) :)

      Hi David.
      I always enjoy your comments, and this one of yours is is excellent as it brings out and summarises the major problem of ‘groupthink’ and supernatural aspects of it in relation to this issue which I hadn’t been thinking about much. Thanks.

  • Jim

    I concur. It is evil.

  • alr

    I think, unfortunately, this is a situation where many of us need to remove the log from our own eye first. I have seen so much hatred thrown into the cyberworld by my fellow Catholics and other Christians, and I find that much more horrifying than when it comes from non-Christians. When my newsfeed has literal threats on the life of the President and First Family over issues like gun policy and contraception from Catholics and Christians…well, we need to start by cleaning up our own house. One problem is the extreme rhetoric that even we in the church (small c on purpose) lower ourselves to using. Truth is that the world will not end if you need a background check to get a gun or if the secular business down the street offers contraception in its insurance coverage. Nor will those laws or any laws ever change people’s hearts. Our Holy Father in less than a month on the job is giving us a living example of how to approach everyone with love, grace, compassion and humility. We should take heed.

  • Another Doug

    Thank you Father. Your post is much as I have suspected. I regularly ask in prayer that my light should so shine that others may see God’s light in me, and give Him glory. Unfortunately those people who hate God hate those who follow and worship Him. Deep Sigh. Oh well. The Liturgy of the Hours has loads of prayers and psalms asking for relief from evil men. More Deep Sighs.
    In Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, there is that line about “I’ve read the book, you’ll come out on top”. Good to know.
    God is good all the time.

  • Mariusz

    Catholics tend to forget this very important fact but Jesus offers us a choice: we may turn the other cheek or we may sell our cloaks and buy swords. The “meek and humble” Jesus is complemented by the Great Judge of the Book of Revelation, with a sword blade coming out of His mouth. In situations like the present one, we can choose the way of not opposing evil or we can choose the way of the Vendeans and the Cristeros. Prayer and fasting should accompany either choice.

    • http://themightyambivalentcatholic.blogspot.com/ Steve

      Wow, Mariusz — talking about taking scripture out of context. You really think Jesus made peace and love optional? It’s just one choice among others — perfectly equal to violence and destruction? What an awful message to derive from the gospel.

      • Mariusz

        Steve,
        I would be happy to answer your question if it weren’t so loaded. Perhaps you should try to read the Gospels without any preconceived ideas about “peace and love”.

  • Ed

    RE: to alr:
    This is admittedly off-topic, but you raised a subject in passing that calls for note.

    While submitting to a background check for purchase of any firearm from any source may seem at first blush to be a benign requirement, it isn’t. Let me explain.
    Background checks are run by calling the National Instant Check System (NICS) at its toll-free telephone number. Such numbers, among other features, produce monthly reports to the customer (the FBI in this case) of what telephone numbers reached the service, and when, and for how long. Caller ID (CLID ) is provided in these reports if requested. Those reports are not subject to the requirement to destroy the records of inquiries after 60 days. This means that anyone who requests a NICS check in support of a private sale, as would be required under Sen Schumer’s proposal, would immediately be on permanent record with the Government as a gun owner. Since the First Amendment rights of Americans are secured in significant part by the Second Amendment though deterrence of overreaching government, this provision for ready confiscation of all firearms or imprisonment/murder of owners is genuinely threatening. Abusive governments do not even need under this proposal to go outside the law to get this information; it would be legally in their hands.

    I think we can see by recent events that government can not be trusted to do right or to refrain from wrong; and while we await our delivery we ought not enable faithless men (or women) to abuse the faithful. Especially when their disingenuous proposals bear no significant benefit for interdicting the evil and insane, only opportunity for harm to the good.

    Let us now return to discussion of the sources and responses of abusive wrath.

  • vito

    I hope every British Catholic who voted for Margaret Thacher has confessed the mortal sin of voting for an openly pro-abortion candidate.

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      Good point

  • Julie

    I believe that only the Catholic Church has the tools to fight the very real demonic evil that is becoming more and more prevalent around the world. When we cease to believe in Satan, then he has the upper hand. Feel-good, affirming churches don’t have the tools. And of course secularists don’t. Leticia’s post made me cry. What on earth kind of vile people would wish death on a 5-year-old girl with Down Syndrome? I suppose abortion “rights” (go ahead and kill your baby; if you fight it you’re a bigot) is that slippery slope.

  • Al Bergstrazer

    Prayer and fasting? Yes. But let us not forget that St. Paul also when aprehended and beaten also turned to his rights as a Roman citizen.
    Demonic? Yes. We’re also dealing with a generation that has been cossetted and coddled without discipline and have developed into (‘grown’ is not an apt description) pseudo adults who like spoiled children fly into a rage whenever their fragile little world is upset.

  • Juana

    We must prepare ourselves now to lose everything, even our lives. This is not paranoia, it is prudence…because what we are seeing looks almost identical to the movements preceding persecutions elsewhere. And because of the domination of the world by the West, and by invasive technologies, there will be no where to escape to, most likely, when persecution comes.

    When you see the incredible vitriol that is very common on left-wing blogs, especially regarding anyone who does not accept the normalization of sodomy, it becomes apparent that real violence will likely break out upon anyone who will not go along with the evils of the day. It has happened in countries that had a much stronger initial Christian foundation than the US. So for those of us in the US to think it can’t happen here is foolish.

    For our collective sins these things are coming upon us, and it is going to be difficult in the extreme. We need to prepare ourselves to let go of everything related to worldly success and esteem, and truly find our identities only in our status as followers of Christ…

    I am very serious. Think about your own life now, and prepare yourself to think of yourself having to choose between Christ and everything you have…because if you are faithful to Him, you may face this choice sooner than we like to think.

    “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” St Paul in 2 Tim 3:12

  • Juana

    PS< the picture at the top of this story is so creepy I can't look at it – may I respectfully suggest that it be removed, because I think includign it spreads the darkness!!

  • http://themightyambivalentcatholic.blogspot.com/ Steve

    There’s plenty of celebration of war deaths (including civilian casualties (“Shock and Awe!”) and indifference to American service members’ vulnerability in a war zone (“Bring it on!”) that George W. Bush was guilty of, and many Catholics who hopefully have repented of their support for that man and his pro-elective war policies. (No, no matter how much Bush’s supporters wanted to term it a just war, John Paul and many other moral leaders warned that Bush was about to cause great harm.) Those Catholics who supported Bush’s pro-death penalty and pro-assault rifle policies can also repent of their votes. Confession and penance are good for all of our souls.

    Having said that, when George W. Bush passes from this earth, I will not celebrate, not at all. Instead, I will pray for his soul, as well as for the welfare of the thousands of American service people’s whose lives (and whose families’ lives) were forever damaged by his need to be a “war president” (a badge Bush proudly gave to himself in an interview with Tim Russert during summer/fall of 2004). Let us hope that Bush himself uses his retirement years to repent of his choice to ignore the weapons inspectors and ignore the Pope, in place of adhering to Karl Rove’s cynical advice about “rolling out a new product” (i.e., a war of choice) and marketing it successfully to the American public. Plenty of hubris in that choice.

  • Captain_DG

    I suggest that the vile stuff in comboxes might be treated similarly to graffiti. With graffiti (believe me I know this from experience as I was once a volunteer graffiti removal guy) you simply wash away or paint over as quickly as possible. The “artists” lose interest and it stops or lessens. As it might be too much work to monitor and clean up comboxes all the time, I was thinking that bloggers should at random intervals simply stop taking comments for a week. It will calm the waters and bore the easily angry.

  • fats

    It seems to me, that the current times are dominated by Satanic influences, and by demonic forces. That said, we have the free Will to deny and counter those influences, but it may come at the cost of our lives , or livlihood. The current estimates of persecution against Christians in the world, is about 130 countries out of something like 193 total ( i forget the exact number). It doesnt seem to be politically correct to say that there are demonic forces at work, since it might indicate that you are , at best, a nutjob, but without that explaination, i’d have to conclude that this world is irrational because of so many are idiots, which would probably cause me to go to Confession even more often than i do now. :>)


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