Catholic Blogs & Charity – UPDATED

My Tuesday Column is up; today I pick up on the discussions begun yesterday, at Deacon’s Bench, America Magazine, Inside Catholic and elsewhere over Rachel Zoll’s AP piece on the “purge” mentality exhibited on some (in my view extreme) Catholic blogs.

Having blogged about religion and politics for nearly 6 years, I acknowledge that one can occasionally “write mad” and deliver a bit more zing than one has meant to, although I personally have never gone after other bloggers pronouncing who should “stay” and who should “go,” which is what the gist of my piece is about. Determining the state of someone else’s soul is none of my business, and I’m not interested in going there.

Yes, there are extreme Catholic bloggers, “progressive” and “conservative,” who tread recklessly upon their fellow Catholics, and whose motto should read ego usus a blog quod ego sum fortis utor is. Yes, there are a handful of extreme Catholic bloggers to whom Jesus might say, “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy. . .’.”

And, because they are extreme types, they will each assume that that line is meant for the “others”—the ones against whom they burnish the swords of righteousness; the ones they lampoon, often, unto snotty incoherence.

In fact, the line is meant for every one of us writing in the Catholic blogosphere, for no one manages perfect charity all the time. I am too cognizant of my own failings to believe I have any business drumming anyone else out of the church and I would venture that most Catholic bloggers, either “progressive” or “conservative,” feel similarly.

We add to the broken body of Christ when we try to judge who is the “better sort” of Catholic, or who is doing damage to that body. We all do impressive jobs of bringing “scandal” to the church by our very passionate need to see things “made right” (as we see it) and by the ways in which we indict each other’s imperfections.

I’ve never called anyone a “heretic” and I don’t like seeing others do it. I don’t like seeing people referred to as “Taliban Catholics” either. It seems to me there is a basic measure of human respect we Catholic bloggers should be able to manage between ourselves, for the sake of heaven. And yes, I accuse myself, first.

My clumsy thoughts are here.

UPDATE I:
Now THIS is anti-Catholicism at its best! Or, given the update, just a really dumb ad. Then again, it was dumb before, too.

Lisa Graas notes that people still believe what they read in the newspapers, and she has a good roundup of Catholic sites.

Insight Scoop has more thoughts on the AP piece

UPDATE II:
On a somewhat related note: Danielle Bean, writing over that the WaPo (I do believe she is the hardest-working mom-blogger on the ‘net) looks at “sanity” and faith. I frankly don’t understand how someone can look at the Catholic church’s commitment to knowledge in her universities, her commitment to science (Vatican observatory began in the early 20th century) and suggest that faith and reason are mutually exclusive.

The other side of that: Kathryn Jean Lopez
with a fine piece on the faith of Stephen Colbert, which you’ll really want to read.

Chilean Miners: The “Catholic faith was everywhere…”

More: On Being the Adult in the Room

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • http://vita-nostra-in-ecclesia.blogspot.com Bender

    can you recommend a good history of Catholicism in England?

    Sorry, Nora, I wouldn’t have a clue. I wouldn’t have even the beginnings of a clue.

    We do have some Brits who comment here, now and then, don’t we? Maybe they know?

    I know that Fr. Dwight Longenecker lived in England a while. Given that he converted from being an Evangelical to an Anglican to Catholic, I’m guessing that he might have had an interest in history along the way. And since he lived in England, maybe he knows some good books?

  • Carol McKinley

    Bender,

    You don’t make distinctions between what we teach at home to where our children go to school and parish ministries to be indoctrinated into screwball theology which sets their entire lives up for confusion.

    Nor are you able to make the distinction between a Bishop who is maligning truth and misleading souls and one who is ascending with his followers to Heaven.

    I feel sorry for you and others who are reading this contemptible drivel.

    Elizabeth’s article was an attempt to silence me and others that clearly backfired. The days are upon you that the more attempts there are to silence us, the louder we will get so that others will have the courage to stand up to it.

    We are going to hijack the cowardice and weakness of bishops and make some beautiful music.

    Relax and enjoy the show.

    [News to me, Carol. Can you point out where in my article I am trying to "silence" anyone? -admin]

  • Carol McKinley

    n.b.

    Bender,

    me:

    When dissent is silenced, our children can’t hear it

    You

    “Believe me, they can hear others being silenced, they can see the contentious acts of uncharity being done. And they learn from it. They learn the wrong lessons.”

    Herein lies the difference between us.

    You want our children taught the “wrong lessons” to avoid teaching the person in error the “right lesson”.

    As a person consumed with love for the welfare of her fellow human beings, your idea that Christian charity is to mislead all of the souls in this scenario is a riveting example of the fruits of the author of this posting.

    Let those who have ears, hear.

    God Bless you.

  • Carol McKinley

    “News to me, Carol. Can you point out where in my article I am trying to “silence” anyone?”

    Elizabeth,

    I’m happy to do so.

    When discussing the apostolate of parents and Catholics whose mission is replacing unsound teaching with sound teaching, you caricatured us as bigots as vengeful as name calling as wreckless people who wants people struggling with teaching excluded from Catholics (citations below) among other things it is too late to gather. But all of us doing this work realize how important it is to tie oneself onto the Ark and hold on for dear life until we finally get it because we have been there ourselves.

    For the past 20 years, we have encountered these false charges against us in our parishes and communities and when people watch how you and the people who act like you treat us, they naturally don’t want to be treated that way because it generates malice against the person. This kind of treatment then is the cause of people who are too afraid to speak out in this climate. Unless you have your head under a rock, you know how this phenomenon has played itself out in the secular culture. This same treatment has been given to our priests and so they are too afraid to speak up.

    The vacuum of teaching the authentic faith is causally related to this bullying.

    Most of us have tiptoed away from the conflicts and let your presence be the monument to those who would dare to request a particular spiritual error being taught to their own children be corrected.

    Those who want authentic Catholic teaching to inspire their families do not want to characterized as a bigot or a spiteful bigot by you or anyone else in their community.

    You are then sending the message to those wallowing in error that any priest who stands up to teach moral theology is bigoted and hateful. This drives the spiritually poor further into believing the Catechism is hateful.

    You have it backwards.

    You are unaware of the damage you are doing, but nonetheless, YOU are representative of the person caricaturing Christ’s Church, its prophets and evangelists.

    What you are seeing now is the backlash. We are no longer going to tiptoe away. and we are going to stand up in parishes and schools and the public and absorb your insults while continuing to expect and in fact demand that the errors be put out to pasture.

    Carol

    it is the bigot’s most-effective weapon

    we have a Catholic blogosphere riddled with vengeful self-appointed guardians and the anti-authority raspberry-blowers who call names and make faces at them

    extreme Catholic bloggers

    who tread recklessly

    [Color me astonished. And fascinated. "it is the bigot’s most-effective weapon" -- yes, that line, in its entirety is "the article is almost caricature [and caricature] is the bigot’s most effective weapon.” I was calling on the reporter–calling HER a bigot–for painting in too broad a stroke and “almost caricaturing” the “conservative” bloggers she was covering. That says ZERO about the bloggers and nothing at all about silencing anyone. I am astonished that this is not clear.

    “we have a Catholic blogosphere riddled with vengeful self-appointed guardians and the anti-authority raspberry-blowers who call names and make faces at them” yes…another way to say that would be “right and left” or the sort of rhetoric you and others have been spouting here, and the rhetoric of some that I have encountered on “progressive” blogs. In other words, I was acknowledging the simple fact that there are extreme voices on the internets. Oh, my! How awful of me! I must want to spiritually abuse children! You didn’t like “vengeful”? Well, I’ve been told that some people in Boston are going to “get” me for the crime of…wondering if we can be more charitable in how we address each other! That’s kind of vengeful, isn’t it? And, again, I miss where I have suggested that anyone be “silenced.” In fact, I don’t see where I even said that either side was right or wrong. I just described the rhetoric. It seems to me you read an awful lot into the piece that was not there.

    “extreme Catholic bloggers” – um…yes? First of all, that was a broad statement about the extremes of the blogosphere, but are you saying there is no extreme rhetoric being used? I’ve been told I am trying to slit the throat of people who want to defend the church, I and my “breed.” There are plenty of extreme Catholic bloggers on right and left/conservative or liberal, whatever you want to call it. How, again, have I tried to “silence” you? I asked you for specific examples. There are none here.

    “who tread recklessly” – again, let’s look at that in context. WHO did I say was being reckless? “Yes, there are extreme Catholic bloggers, “progressive” and “conservative,” who tread recklessly upon their fellow Catholics, and whose motto should read ego usus a blog quod ego sum fortis utor is. Yes, there are a handful of extreme Catholic bloggers to whom Jesus might say, “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy. . .’.”

    And, because they are extreme types, they will each assume that that line is meant for the “others”—the ones against whom they burnish the swords of righteousness; the ones they lampoon, often, unto snotty incoherence.”

    Given that the AP piece was illustrated with a picture of Michael Voris holding a sword, and the frequent snottiness of the “progressives” that all seemed pretty accurate to me. Once again, I was not talking specifically about you or your comrades, but both sides. I said further: In fact, the line is meant for every one of us writing in the Catholic blogosphere, for no one manages perfect charity all the time. I am too cognizant of my own failings to believe I have any business drumming anyone else out of the church and I would venture that most Catholic bloggers, either “progressive” or “conservative,” feel similarly.

    We add to the broken body of Christ when we try to judge who is the “better sort” of Catholic, or who is doing damage to that body. We all do impressive jobs of bringing “scandal” to the church by our very passionate need to see things “made right” (as we see it) and by the ways in which we indict each other’s imperfections.

    I stand by all of that, and none of it was directed at anyone personally and none of it meant that anyone should shut up. All it meant was that sometimes the rhetoric gets too intense. You were “happy to” cite incidences in the article where I was saying people should be silenced. I do not see where you have done so. You’ll forgive me, but there is an election happening, and I hold down two jobs, so I’ve entertained this as far as I intend to. You are welcome to continue. -admin]

  • Carol McKinley

    one more thing–

    Christ’s teachings are to be taught in our schools and parishes to accept or reject but right now they are not being taught.

    That is just no longer acceptable.

  • Carol McKinley

    Elizabeth,

    I will respond in a bit as I am on my way to the train.

    I spoke to Rachel Zoll at length. She is not a bigot and it is an injustice to her reputation that you have done so and you have used it and misused “I desire Mercy” to create the fata morgana that you have created for yourself and your readers about Christ’s Church.

  • Cowardly Lioness

    Religion and politics – the trickiest and tickiest subjects of discussion, the two things most of us must politely agree to disagree about in our personal lives.

    This blog treats the two subjects with finesse and candor. Throw in some humor and self-deprecation and a good time is had by most.

    Here’s the thing of it for me – if I don’t like a particular establishment, church, movie theater, blog…I just don’t go there. Not everyone needs my support or to know my opinion, although I like to speak up as much as the next guy.

    I realize that some people feel a calling, if you will, to straighten the rest of us out. So, they will read for awhile and then point out the specks in our eyes. Thank the Lord that I don’t have either enough confidence or the desire, if I did, to correct everyone else – that would be really obnoxious.

    We would all do well to strive to be more comfortable in our own skin, and to remember that God almighty is loving and merciful. He knows what’s what in our hearts.

    These comments make me feel as though I’ve been answering the door to the JW’s. Very intense and in-your-face.

  • charles

    We have a person who is disconnected with reality. I don’t see the point in responding to the rants.

  • http://throwthebumsoutin2010.blogspot.com/2010/10/i-desire-mercy.html Carol McKinley

    The ongoing discussions about Rachel Zoll’s article have flushed out publicly the thrust of the theological problems we have been facing inside of our parishes, schools and community.

    Discussion with Elizabeth Scalia sheds decent light on the counterfeit church being erected. The theology she is using to warehouse her gig is “I desire Mercy”, from St Faustina. I wanted to dissect it so we can be armed for future discussion.

    So you’d have to believe that Scalia, who desires mercy, picked up the article written by Zoll and draws the conclusion she needs to tell the world that Zoll is a bigot.

    For the record, Zoll is not a bigot. She in fact expressed to me that as a religion reporter, she is reading with interest and has has gained more perspective on orthodox Catholics and this has been an insightful and pleasant experience.

    Scalia, completely out of tune with the spirit of the article, decides she’s going to give her readers her judgment call about Zoll and the new breed of nasty, hateful Catholics who want their religion taught to them.

    While trying to explain to Elizabeth Scalia that her clouded judgment is inciting the malice against Christ’s Church that is intimidating people into proclaiming the teachings, she said that wasn’t her intention but she was standing by her words.
    Yes, there are a handful of extreme Catholic bloggers to whom Jesus might say, “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy. . .’.”
    And, because they are extreme types, they will each assume that that line is meant for the “others”—
    the ones against whom they burnish the swords of righteousness; the ones they lampoon, often, unto snotty incoherence”

    That one line from St. Faustina can get played over and over in some heads. But lampooning innocent people and their intentions to make Christ’s Church and Her teachings look like hateful things said by nasty people isn’t exactly what St. Faustina was talking about. It is taking away the teachings that inspire us to seek the Sacrament of Confession and the Divine Mercy St Faustina was talking about. This is why the Sacrament of Confession is an essential part of the feast day of Divine Mercy when we granted indulgences and Divine Mercy. You won’t be seeing people Elizabeth Scalia is spiritually forming lined up on Divine Mercy Sunday because they are instead going to her to get kindness.

    Elizabeth wants to emulate kindness, humility and gentleness and we need this spirituality in the Church. Each of us is animated with gifts we are perfected and sponsored and prayed for by great Saints who had these gifts when they were alive and served Christ’s Church with them.

    None of us are perfect with these gifts, she admits, but she wants everybody to have the same gifts she is perfecting and mocks others

    There are also many great Saints who carried swords. The next time you run into a Bush basher, remind them that St. Joan of Arc not only carried a sword, she led an army of people who lampooned people with them in a thing called just war. People who use mercy as the symbol of their spirituality ought not to be mocking other Catholics whose gifts and symbols of those gifts are not the same as her own.

    What St. Faustina meant by “I desire Mercy”, was Christ’s reminder that in our personal lives, when people malign, insult and hurt us, we apply the virtue of “charity” to nurture mercy in our heart.

    If you read the thread, you will see a comment by “Bender” that really demonstrates how backwards the unsound theology is.

    In the scenario they are proposing, “wrong lessons” are taught to our children and “right lessons” are withheld from the person espousing the “wrong lessons”. This leaves both people in these circumstances ignorant of the truth. What is astounding to me is that they see this as the sign that they are doing God’s work. This is impossible.

    Maybe a little parable will help put things into better perspective.

    There was once was a father who taught his children and his servants the moral theology of the Catholic Church. He brought his children to Our Lady of the Puppets because it said “Catholic Church” and it was animated with lively music and entertainment for teenagers. He sent them to CCD where they learned the teachings of the Church are antiquated. Everyone has sex as teenagers and if they need condoms or an abortion their god desires mercy so call 1-800-Caritas Christi or Partner’s Health Care and the Cardinal and Jack Connors will fix you right up. They helped many people at Our Lady of the Puppets to understand that they can vote for people who legislate abortions. They desire mercy. His eldest son, let’s call him Prodigal, started visiting the local brothel, being licentious, drinking, partying, etc. The other children in the house started to wonder if this was okay and thinking it looked like fun. After repeating moral laws of God, the son was getting madder and madder at his father.

    There was another ‘family’ who lived next door who was always out in the public square saying this man was mean old snooty curmudgeon. Other people in town started being mean to the father. Prodigal loved the woman next door. She was so kind, he thought. Prodigal kept comparing this woman to her own father. Prodigal grew angrier and angrier at his own father until finally one day he did not want to hear what he was doing was wrong and left his father’s house.

    The woman next store was wild. She went to the local church and gossiped about how the father purged Prodigal from his own house. She tarred and feathered the father until he was no longer welcome in his community. There is no joy and love in people like this, she told everyone in cyberspace. Other parents who also teach their children the morals of the Catholic Church were afraid to say anything because the woman had influence and they did not want to be tarred and feathered like the father at Our Lady of the Puppets.

    One day the priest at Our Lady of the Puppets was transferred and the new priest was all fired up for leading souls to the Sacrament of Confession and Divine Mercy St. Faustina was talking about. He dusted off the Catechism started teaching the people moral theology in it and about Humanae Vitae and about God’s Mercy in the Sacrament of Confession helps us to amend our lives and be better prepared to understand the truth when it is spoken to us because it awakens our consciences. Father noticed more and more people asking him for the Sacrament of Confession. He was pleased. But the woman was very upset with Father and told everyone in the parish that father was cold-hearted snotty extremist and he has to learn the meaning of “I desire mercy”. The more and more the woman complained about Father, the mobs in the pews started swearing at him and telling him they were not going to give him any more money. The mobs called the local Bishop, lets call him Cardinal Spineless, and telling him they were not going to give any more money to the Cardinal’s Appeal. Cardinal Spineless and his chancery bureaucrats told Father that he couldn’t teach that kind of stuff anymore but to teach people how to rely on the woman for kindness.

    People stopped coming to church because they can be kind in the grocery clerk and they can be kind to trees and plants. They hung quarts around their necks for energy and power and they drew circles in their yard and walked around in circles thinking about the peace they are creating on the planet and how Jesus must be so pleased with them.

    They link to the faith of Stephen Colbert and John Lennon.

    Imagine there’s no heaven, it’s easy if you try. Nothing to kill or die for and no religion too. No need for greed or hunger. A brotherhood of man. You may say they’re dreamers. But they’re not the only ones. They hope some day you’ll join them and the world will live as one.

    They didn’t intend to whip up malice to shut people up and they don’t know how that all happened. They’re just trying to be nice and the father of Prodigal and the priest who teaches the Catechism who is making people hate the teachings of Christ’s Church and keeping them away from the mercy of the women at church.

    See anything familiar with Elizabeth’s Scalia idea of “I desire mercy”?

    The prodigals are being keeping from conversion by whipping up a frenzy against our priests and prophets. They have replaced God in the hearts of His people.

    Elizabeth and others seem to think we are trying to get them to go back on their ‘words’. They think we are upset and angry and have hurt feelings about the names they are calling us. That used to work so well.

    But they better pull out the Book of Revelation to see where it’s going. We no longer have attachment to whether they accept or reject what we are saying or ridicule or mock or slander. We’re doing it because our eyes on on Our Beloved.

    n.b. Before anyone reads the parable and sucks on their charity crack pipes starts to throw around slanderous assertions about my children – for the record – all of them have done none of the things described in the story of the prodigal. I was referencing the story in the Bible. Your poor judgment has caused enough people anguish, especially Our Lord.

    Good day to you, ma’am.


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