I’m Saddened. Deeply Saddened. Not.

Michael Sean Winters at the National Catholic Recorder has registered dismay at the tone of my article criticizing Huffington Post columnist Cara McDonogh. The language, it is said, was too tough and I was too angry.

 When confronted with a fellow Catholic whose opinions a priest finds disturbing, I think the appropriate tone is one more of sadness than of anger for a priest.

Really? What Would Jesus Do? I mentioned in the combox that he wasn’t always “gentle Jesus meek and mild” with a little lambkin on his shoulder. He showed a fair bit of anger towards the corrupt religious people in the temple and had some choice words of anger for the Pharisees and hypocrites like the people who call themselves Catholics but say they are pro abortion, in favor of same sex marriage, don’t think pornography is so bad really and think going to Mass doesn’t matter.

Well, I am angry (whoops) deeply saddened by the hypocrisy and double faced self righteousness of the progressive Catholics . Why doesn’t anybody ever see them as hypocrites? We all think of the classic religious hypocrite as the pious rosary reciting sour puss who doesn’t live by his creed. Why are the progressives who don’t even intend to live by the Catholicism they publicly profess ever vilified as self righteous hypocrites, for that is what they most surely are. They profess to follow the Catholic faith and “cling to their Catholicism” while not living their faith in any way that is even remotely recognizable as Catholic. Instead they cause scandal and encourage others to think that it is perfectly okay to be “Catholic” but skip Mass, skip confession and support abortion and the rest of the culture of death agenda.

I’m blamed for telling them to clear off and join the Episcoplians? Well why not? Why should they not be honest with themselves and everyone else and leave the Catholic faith and stop being publicly insufferable self righteous hypocrites? Either they should do that or get themselves off to confession, bone up on what the Catholic Church really teaches and embark on the adventure of actually trying to live and pray and love like a Catholic.

As for being “saddened” and “deeply concerned”. It’s exactly that kind of passive aggressive nonsense that gets me going in the first place. Whenever I hear someone express their “deep concern” and that they are “deeply saddened” I hear a lot of repressed rage and fury papered over with a polite smile and sometimes a kind of pouty little sad look. One of the guys I know even affects a self righteous hurt little puppy dog look on his face as if he’s being some kind of martyr for Jesus and Mary.

Forgive me folks, but I can’t stand that kind of deception. I hate deception of all kinds, but self righteous hypocritical deception is worst of all. Give me a dose of the cheerful anger of the happy warrior any day. At least you know where you stand. You know who your opponent is and when it’s all over, like the gentleman scholars and debaters of all, you can get over it, shake hands and share a cigar and a whiskey.

But all this “deeply saddened” stuff and “deep concern”? It’s dishonest. People who are saddened and deeply concerned should acknowledge their rage and work it out or they’ll develop health problems.


  • http://rosarynovice.stblogs.com/ Augustine

    Hear, hear, padre!

  • tracymoschelspenst

    Father, give me some help here. In reading an article some time ago about a different situation, a responder said that it would be wrong to encourage someone to leave the Church. The person quoted something they said was from Church teaching on it. Do you have any idea if this is true?

    I am rather glad to see you say that such Catholics as you’re referring to above need to be honest and go elsewhere. Although I’m never glad to see someone leave the Church, quite often the person is in a state of mortal sin and looking for approval for it. It seems the height of dishonesty to demand the title “Catholic” while rejecting almost all her teachings.

    • Faithr

      But if someone has already left the Church in all ways except maybe technically (i.e. they still call themselves Catholic but don’t practice) just telling it like it is isn’t encouraging them to leave (that already happened!) it is just calling a spade a spade! And I think of what Jesus said, paraphrasing here, if they reject you, shake the sand from your sandals and move on! These folks have already rejected the Catholic Church, so let’s shake those sandals. The Church isn’t going anywhere, they can always come back if they have a change of heart. But meanwhile they are a destructive force in the Body of Christ if they stay.

    • joe

      I’d be interested in seeing it too. Here’s the thing, though, of someone persists in sin, don’t they effectively remove themselves from the church anyway?
      Might as well live honestly, no?

    • http://www.adoroergosum.blogspot.com/ Nathan718

      If they don’t go to Mass, never confess their sins, and support grave moral evils, they have already left the Church. Just saying “I’m Catholic” (or with these types “I love my Catholic Tradition or Catholic Culture) is not the same as being Catholic. We all sin, but Catholics at least try to live the. Church’s teaching.

  • Dave Flitton

    Awesome article Father…keep up the good work. Will keep you in my rosary this week!

  • Rebecca Duncan

    thumbs up!

  • Charles G

    I don’t really disagree, but if you are going to invite someone to leave the Church, it doesn’t hurt also express a hope and prayer that the person will see the error of their ways and turn back to the Lord their God.

  • Ray Visotski


  • Guest

    Your words, Father, prove that you are a wolf in sheep’s clothing, not a shepherd of Christ’s flock. You are not to be trusted.

    • MarylandBill

      How is he a wolf in sheep’s clothing? Because he speaks the truth as he sees it?

      The Devil is the wolf in sheep’s clothing, convincing us that we don’t need to worry about sin. That sin doesn’t even exist if everyone consents, etc.

  • jackryan

    the rosary is for sinners, that’s one its main points. people who recite it and yet still struggle with sin is the norm. progressive catholics just hate the rosary and all the “old-fashioned” stuff it represents to them, including stuff like Original Sin, Confession, belief in Hell, etc.

  • http://hjg.com.ar/ Hernán J. González

    I agree with Michael Sean Winters, in lamenting your nastiness towards “progressives” and more I lament that you use your blog for justifying that nastiness, placing yourself at the side of Jesus who reproaches with “anger” the “hypocrites ” – hypocrites “like the people”… you have not intellectual and sentimental connection. That anger saddens me, yes, (and you can place me among the dishonest ones with “repressed rage and fury papered over with a polite smile”), and it saddens me more your applause for “cheerful anger of the happy warrior” and all that self-justifying junk that usually goes with it.
    I’m not sure I agree with Michael with the other point, that for priests things should work in an essentially different way; in this respect, I’d say that there is no priest or layman.

  • Robster

    In John Shelby Spong’s heyday, I wondered why he continued to wear the bishop’s garb. Especially after dynamiting the foundation of the institution that garb represented. Even if I thought he was terribly wrong, I could have respected him for true authenticity, if, after having lost his belief, he resigned.
    Still, I have wondered just how can you keep someone in the church when certain aspects of their life or practice are diametrically opposed to the church? I certainly don’t think we should confront them head-on at once. But if the church preaches the truth conpletely and authentically, a collision will eventually occur.
    So what about the woman caught in adultery? She did not confess or express repentance, but somehow was restored to fellowship. Just rambling.

  • http://deborahldurbin.blogspot.com/ Deborah Durbin

    People are use to double talk. You’ve got guts. Priests shouldn’t have to tone down the Truth. We all need a good swift kick–to get us back on the right track. Keep

  • doughboy

    “Why should they not be honest with themselves and everyone else and leave the Catholic faith and stop being publicly insufferable self righteous hypocrites?” Because that kind of honesty necessitates a painful change; a separation from our idols. It’s difficult for me to admit how in love I am with the things that are slowly killing me, like the frog in a boiling pot of water. You’ve been entirely correct in everything you say, Father. I’ve had the truth proclaimed harshly (as I perceived it) to me before, and it turned out to be the best thing ever *after* I was finally willing to give the Church the benefit of the doubt, that She might have something to say to me & how I had been living. Once I discovered authentic Truth, I had to concede the Church was right and I had been wrong. That’s a very simple but difficult step to take. So don’t give up in this fight. We need you. Thanks for your witness.

  • Lynn

    Thank you! I hate that passive-aggressive language too. What nonsense. If more priests were angry with these hypocrites and spoke openly against heresy, the church would be better off. Standing up for the faith is considered bad manners these days, the only inexcusable sin.

  • Vladyk

    You’re in the wrong, Father, admit it. To advise anyone to leave the Catholic Church, for whatever reason is objectively evil. Read the following article by the canonist Edward Peters:

    You’re more than angry, Father, you’re sarcastic and condescending, and show no effort in trying to understand people’s issues with the church, that’s why when you talk to wayward Catholics you simply come off looking like a guy on the street shouting stock phrases at people at the top of your lungs. You show no interest in trying to get people to change their minds. This approach is below your dignity as an ordained priest, you’re better than this.

    • MarylandBill

      I think Father’s point was that that Ms. McDonogh is for all practical purposes, not a Catholic. Encouraging her to join another Church essentially is a way of giving her a wake up call that her claims to being Catholic when she doesn’t go to Mass and doesn’t follow Church teaching are at best hypocritical.

  • jacobum

    Spot on Fr L. ! We have forgotten about the spiritual works of mercy and true/valid righteous indignation. IMO, a lot of this problem of the infestation of CINO’s can be put directly at the feet of milk toast bishops taking the path of least resistance i/n/o ‘ecumenism”. The result has been the “Church Nice” approach over the last 50 years. Seems a large majority of Bishops have become or are afraid to speak/preach Truth to power and/or call out blatant /manifest sin at the risk of being called “intolerant”. All of us should be reminded constantly of a quote from Archbishop Sheen…”There are no cowards in heaven”

  • FW Ken

    Until recently, I considered it a kindness to encourage these people to go to the Episcopal Church. Besides the issue of honesty, Episcopalians are generally nicer people and have better music. But I’ve changed my mind, partly due to the article below, and partly due to my observation that Catholics tend to call for a priest at the end (I’ve seen it) and that should not be discouraged. Unless a person formally renounces the Faith or joins another church, they are a Catholic.


    That said, Cara’s article was juvenile, and most of the comments supporting her spoke more to an adolescent rebellion against authority than thought-out positions held with integrity. “Father is a hateful meanie” is not an argument, it’s a tantrum.

  • kenofken

    If “love it or leave it” is the new ethic (and it is an honest one), why then did the Church eliminate from Canon law any possibility of actually leaving? There is no such thing as an ex-member where Rome is concerned. There was a formal procedure for defection which was around for a few years (I utilized it), but as soon as it became widely known and people started to use it in numbers, it was quickly written out of Canon law. Sure, people can and do just physically leave, but it’s a deep hypocrisy for the Church to still count them for numerical purposes. The Church wants to pretend to speak for 1.2 billion people but only acknowledge a select minority to be considered “real” members. That’s just as hypocritical as the people who don’t want to live or believe as Catholics in any way but who insist on wearing the label.

  • PJ

    I second Ray’s “Bravo!” Totally!

  • Age_of_Reason

    Bravo! You, Father, are breath of fresh air.

  • Slocum Moe

    I’m certain that Sean and many others who write for and read the Reporter are active in and very attached to their Church communities.