Echoes, Ghettos & the Chasm of Unknowing

Start here with Robert Royal’s piece on the “anti-Catholic moment” Are we living in one?

Maybe. But I’ll get back to that, later.

The hatemail and disgusting threats being made against Stacy Trasancos are reprehensible and cannot be justified.

They can’t. Don’t try. Don’t say “well, she…” and then prattle on that her expressed frustration and the hurt feelings of others justifies wishing that her children be “kidnapped, raped and murdered.”

Don’t say, “but…” because there is no but. There are lines. The excessive, gratuitous frenzy of hate that Trasancos experienced was all out of proportion to what she said.

And what did she say?
Well, for some reason I can’t cut and paste it, but in a self-described rant, she expressed approbation at seeing what she perceived to be gay public displays of affection, including two women who were “so happy to see” a baby boy laughing in a bucket swing that they embraced and then “remained, rubbing each other’s back in a way that was clearly not just friendly affection.”

Now, of course, it was very possible that what Stacy was seeing was a gay PDA, both at the swings and at the public pools where she spied two men “effeminately rubbing elbows and exchanging doe-eyes” — behavior which her children “don’t see Daddy do, except toward Mommy.” It’s very possible she did see that.

It’s also possible that she saw something else.
In the case of the two women who were so happy to see a laughing baby that they embraced and then tenderly rubbed each other’s back, she may have seen two sisters who had recently endured a death in the family, or two friends who had shared a journey of infertility, or cancer treatment. Maybe that child had been critically ill at some point, and his laughter was sweet and poignant. What she perceived to be Sapphic tenderness could have been simple human consolation, shared between two women who had walked through a fire together and in that child’s laughter, recognized that they had made it through.

In the case of the two doe-eyed men, she may well have seen two men with homosexual inclinations, but she can’t have any way of knowing whether or not their affection was anything more than that. In fact, for all she knows, the men make a point of going somewhere public, like a pool, rather than a bathhouse, because — while attracted — they prefer to not tempt themselves.

Which, ironically, would be an intention Stacy would applaud, I think.

My point being, we can’t actually know.
We can wonder, but unless something is more overt than what is being described, we really can’t know.

And if we cannot know something for sure, then perhaps we ought to hold our rants until we do.

I don’t know Stacy Trasancos, but I’ve had a few email interactions with her and she has always struck me as pleasant, smart and serious. I probably would not have written what she wrote; had I observed what she reports, I might have looked at it differently.

Nevertheless, a spree of violent fantasies made in response to her admitted “rant” was mature? Spite is legitimate?

Might makes right? Is that what it comes down to?

Anyone who thinks they’re going to force gays back into the closets
is kidding himself. And anyone who thinks Christians are going to stop believing what they believe because the conventional wisdom says they should is also kidding himself. We are all going to have to learn to live together.

This is not all about “tolerance” and relativism; it’s not about holding hands and singing Kumbaya. It doesn’t mean that see people (gay or straight) making out in public we have to take it and say, “it’s alright children, there are all sorts of people in the world.” Of course not. We try to discretely make the couple aware that there are children present (assuming they would care) or we leave and tell our kids that such behavior is unacceptable; that it is disrespectful to the self and to others, and we explain why — and that lesson extends into all of the other kinds of conversations.

It also doesn’t mean that when someone goes on a “rant” about perceived behaviors, the proper responses are death threats, vile name-calling and the worst sort of vituperative hate-spewing. Descending en masse upon a blogger and — because you didn’t like what she said — using that as a pretext for justifying threats of rape, murder? How does that sort of bullying and intimidation convince people of anything? How is different from the sort of bullying and intimidation a project like “It Gets Better” tries to address?

How does becoming the bully make everything squared?

The increased Balkanization of our society
— with everyone hanging out in echo chambers peopled primarily by those who agree with everyone else — is settling us into ghetto mentalities. I once had a Catholic Mom express concern to me that her kids admired a flamboyantly “g-a-y” singer, and she didn’t know what to think about that, or what to tell them, since “we don’t know any people like that.”

And in the ghetto next door, of course, there are gays who have nothing good to say about “Christian conservatives” because they don’t actually know any people like that. A family member once brought a gay friend to an Eagle Scout ceremony. He’d prepared to walk into a lion’s den of growling, spitting haters, and instead found himself told to get comfortable by a bunch of firefighters doing ceremonials and middle-aged moms fighting over the coffee urn, none of whom cared about his eyeliner.

It’s easy to simmer in the ghetto, easy to get comfortable with assumptions, stereotypes, paranoias and fears, because there is nothing to challenge them. Actually meeting the people we think we know all about (gay people; “illegal” immigrants who have been here for twenty years, the progressive blogger everyone told you was a meanie, but is just worried; the conservative who seems so terse but is just shy) getting to know them, working with them, agreeing on some things, disagreeing on others — when you do that, suddenly the “other” is a person struggling along, just like you, being battered in some ways, soaring in others. That’s when caricatures crumble.

And others, of course, culled from the same groups, are just miserable bastards you can’t do much about but kiss ‘em up to God, and move on.

So, what are we going to do? Have ghetto wars? Try to legislate each other away? Act like shrieking baboons in an attempt to convince the other that we are humans worthy, at the very least, of simple courtesy and respect?

I don’t know what we’re going to do. Let’s pray about it, and for each other.

One of the things I love about Catholicism is that it’s not strident. We have an enormous catechism, and we have a depository of faith, a duty to propagate the truth and a pope who gives excellent instruction and models the life of faith for us. We know that there is only one truth, the Word Incarnate, and all that flows from that Source — but we also have the humility to understand that, as we heard last weekend at Mass, “my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD.”

Which means that sometimes even things that strike us as infuriating, unjust or in all-ways-wrong are used by God for his purposes and glory.

The crucifix reminds us of that, everyday.

It is into the chasm between our imperfect and limited understanding and God’s infinite Knowing that we sometimes must simply trust that — even though we do not understand — the the Holy Spirit is on the move. The same Holy Spirit who so often confounds us by saving the “unlikeliest” of people, or reaching into and turning a heart in ways our understanding (and our attachment to letters-of-law) cannot quite get. We dislike it when a politician committed to a pro-abortion platform publicly receives Holy Communion but we have no idea how Christ, in Flesh and Blood, may be working on that person. We know the law; we know what we think. But we cannot know what is happening, supernaturally, within that exchange — in the power of that absolute, darkness-overcoming-Light received in that Communion, or its effects over time on a soul with whom God is not finished.

As he was is not finished with any of us.

In that chasm of unknowing is where the miracles happen. And knowing that should cue us toward humility for all we do not know, no matter how much we do.

Are we in an “anti-Catholic” moment? I dunno. The world is supposed to hate us, if we’re doing the thing right, and sometimes the hate is completely unwarranted, and other times our imperfect, flawed selves tempt it, all unwittingly. In either case, we’re supposed to respond to that hate with, in ways the world would not:

The job of the Christian is to hold fast in the face of chaos and recall that Christ is more powerful than any man or media — that darkness does not overcome light. To be honest, all the fretting from us Christians is a bit unseemly. If we are secure in what we believe, [nothing takes] us down, no matter how perverse and offensive, because Christ is alive, and Grace abounds, and because– just as an Abbess or Abbot is entitled to use whatever resources his or her community contains to advance the stability of the abbey — the Holy Spirit has a way of confounding us by using what is out there in the world to do the will of the One.

Pray for those who hate us. There is power there. [. . .] This is why sometimes stillness and silence and even retreat is so important. If we Christians do not occasionally step out of the whirlwind, if we do not remove ourselves from the day-in, day-out noise and craziness of the world . . .we tend to get caught up, to forget that half of what is assailing our senses is strictly illusory and the other half is only semi-important. We start hyper-ventilating about every insult, we start wringing our hands about conspiracies. All of which flies in the face of faith, and grace and trust.

Don’t get distracted. Don’t get over-involved in the whirl, and leave the wind to the Holy Spirit. There are angels and demons in the whirlwind; let ‘em battle it out. Observation is valuable; so is reflection. Most valuable of all is prayer and contemplation and communion.

We probably are in something of an “anti-Catholic moment.” But it’s not the first one, and it won’t be the last. Don’t get hooked into the daily chaos; don’t buy into the force out there that wants to tempt us away from reason and into group hysterics — regardless of the topic — none of it is of God.

Related:
Msgr. Charles Pope
DaTechGuy
Abbey-Roads:
Heather King
Fr. Ryan

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • NBW

    Well said! I am surprised that people would stoop so low as to insult & threat a mother and her children.

  • Stacy Trasancos

    Thank you for your wisdom! Sometimes I think I wasn’t meant to live in MA; sometimes I’m sure I was. We sit next to apparently homosexual couples frequently in Mass and focus on our own sins, and that is as it should be. The “in-your-face” stuff all piled together gets to me sometimes too, but I think I’ll keep the rants in the kitchen with hubby from now on and say more prayers when things seem unbearably chaotic.

    I laughed at “singing Kumbaya” and “shrieking baboons!”

  • http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com JoAnna

    This reminded me of one of the Mass readings for today:

    Eph 4:1-7, 11-13

    Brothers and sisters:
    I, a prisoner for the Lord,
    urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received,
    with all humility and gentleness, with patience,
    bearing with one another through love,
    striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit
    through the bond of peace:
    one Body and one Spirit,
    as you were also called to the one hope of your call;
    one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
    one God and Father of all,
    who is over all and through all and in all.

  • Mark L

    Somehow, over the course of my lifetime (I am in my 50s), tolerate has changed its meaning from “endure something with which you strongly disagree” to “enthusiastically embrace something with which your conscience tells you that you should strongly disagree, but which political correctness demands acquiescence.

    Orwell lives.

  • daisy

    I do feel sorry for her but the hyenna bites if you get too close. That’s the way it is if you criticize certain groups. This type of behavior sereves as a warning to all of us that we’d better shut up or we’ll be next.

    [Shutting up is not the answer. -admin]

  • Richard Johnson

    The truth in these words bears repeating.

    “The same Holy Spirit who so often confounds us us by saving the “unlikeliest” of people, or reaching into and turning a heart in ways our understanding (and our attachment to letters-of-law) cannot quite get. We dislike it when a politician committed to a pro-abortion platform publicly receives Holy Communion but we have no idea how Christ, in Flesh and Blood, may be working on that person. We know the law; we know what we think. But we cannot know what is happening, supernaturally, within that exchange — in the power of that absolute, darkness-overcoming-Light received in that Communion, or its effects over time on a soul with whom God is not finished.

    As he was is not finished with any of us.”

    Well written, Anchoress. Thank you for sharing these words and the rest post.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    It isn’t just an Anti-Catholic movement, it’s an anti-Christian movement, and, yes, we are living in it.

    Christian persecution is rising all over the world; you think the Copts and Iraqi Christians can suffer it, but we’ll get off scot free?

    I agree with Royal that the current hostility towards the Catholic Church isn’t fueled by the pedophilia crisis; if that were the case, the critics would be equally, if not more, outraged by the UN’s sex abuse scandal, and the worldwide sex trade in children and young women.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    I don’t know what was really going on with what Stacy Transancos saw—and it doesn’t really matter.

    What matters, and what is incontrovertibly there, is the hate campaign Perez Hilton, and various gay and atheist websites have lauched against her.

    It doesn’t look to me as if Catholics are the ones being tempted into hysteria at the moment.

  • http://victor-undergo.blogspot.com/ Victor

    ((((((Don’t get distracted. Don’t get over-involved in the whirl, and leave the wind to the Holy Spirit. There are angels and demons in the whirlwind; let ‘em battle it out. Observation is valuable; so is reflection. Most valuable of all is prayer and contemplation and communion.))))))

    So so true and it seems that the more we pray, the more we might get tuned into these so called whirlwind. I’m slowly learning to keep out of “IT” while praying that me, myself and i also learn to recognize what is good for U>S (usual sinners) and follow suit.

    For example, about a week ago while I was taking my wife to a planned appointment and while I was waiting outside in the car, wouldn’t you know “IT”, two woman walked by me holding hands? I took a second look only to make sure that “IT” was not a mistake on my part and long story short, I believed that I was right and that some in the spiritual world were trying to provoke again. In the pass that might have really UP SET me but nowadays, I just say to myself things like, sorry LORD but you know that there’s nothing I can or should do about something like that. Some of my sins wanted me to make fun of them in someway cause they know that I only believe in Adam and Eve and not Eve and Eve nor Adam and Steve.

    Them who know and love me would probably say that this event did not hit close enough to home because if “IT” had Victor, you would have lost “IT” and if God let my sins have their way, all Senior Doctors who truly know me would agree because I’ve been known to spiritually become some kind of polar bear in human flesh which I think they’ve nicknamed Pipolar Disorder or something like that. Long story short, I’ve learned that “IT” really is not my fight and that God doesn’t nead my help and in the pass I’ve always been too willing to give The Angels a little help but I’ve NOW learned that there are all kinds of Angels and “IT” is best that I simply learn to keep my spiritual friends close to me and to keep my sins even closer and in that way if I control them and/or keep “IT” All balanced, then The truly Good Angels are not waisting their time defending me, myself and I when they could be doing work that is truly needed to be done.

    There’s times when I think that I’ve been blessed with a curse and I won’t get into “IT” HERE but for example when I’m almost sure of a thought that burns within me and would hurt many but would do Good in the world, I try to find ways to let people know without really letting them know the truth as to the way I think “IT” is, especially when no body, I mean nobody really knows God’s Thoughts. For example some of these thoughts have told me that a trillion years is but a moment for God and yet “IT” is but a trillion years for humanity. Go Figure! For example, I believe that God can take any event which any human would consider some kind of disaster and turn that event into a miracle for our spirit and our soul even thought “IT” was a complete disaster for our flesh, if you know what I mean?

    OK! If I honestly believe that I’m being provoked by demons, I’ll probably try and stand my ground while praying for them also. Some might ask, what will you do if Canada does not correct their injustices done to me and my wife by placing in our constitution that blessed marriage is only for a man and a woman? I’ll simply say what Jesus and Moses said, concerning issues of this kind and that was, that these things were only allowed because the people of that time were too stubborn and God Our Heavenly Father is all love and didn’t want to destroy Himself when He knew that “IT” was just a scab and would eventually heal “ITSELF”.

    If our Nation chooses to be that stubborn and continues to defend same-sex-married and from what I can see in reality with all the innocent babies that are being killed nowadays, well in that case and for what “IT” is worth, they can have my wedding finger. I’ll simply wear my wedding ring around my neck cause as far as me, myself and I know, violence is out of the question in the real world for this event. Me, myself and all my sins will just quietly wait cause we believe that as far as God is concerned, He can handle “IT” and we’re not interested in playing “LORD” if you get my drift?

    Me myself and I have two questions?

    #1. What is Right and what is Wrong?

    #2. When we learn, will we be too stubborn to change or do we continue to tell God that if He won’t change to our way of thinking then we want nothing to do with HIM?

    I better close NOW!

    I hear ya Anchoress! We wouldn’t want you to get carried away would we NOW Victor? :)

    Peace

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    As you say, Daisy, it looks to me as if this is an example of “Shut up, or else!”

    Like the Anchoress, I don’t think shutting up is the answer—on the other hand, speaking up—even when you say something relatively mild, and inoffensive—looks like a good way of getting not only yourself, but your children and family, in trouble.

    Anybody for martyrdom? Raise your hands!

    (Oh, and Perez Hilton is a creep.)

  • Richard Johnson

    By all means folks, judge away. But remember, as the Bible teaches, you will be judged just as you judge others. If you accuse someone of being a dirty homosexual couple when they are, in fact, two sisters comforting each other over the memory of a lost child, you invite the same ill-informed judgement upon yourself. Heavens, were my wife and her sister there watching a youngster, I suspect they would have embraced each other in a similar manner given that my wife lost a pregnancy earlier in her life. And no doubt there would be those who, in their ignorance, would think that it was a romantic embrace rather than a sisterly, comforting one.

    Perez Hilton and the others who attack this woman for her statements are indeed creeps. Honestly they are far worse than that. In many ways they are terrorists, seeking to use fear to attack those who hold different views than they do. There is indeed no excuse for what they are doing and I offer none here. They deserve whatever criticism they receive for their actions. Were it my wife and children he threatened, I’d enjoy delivering a firm fist to Perez’ face.

    But do we, in jumping to conclusions about what we see but do not understand, risk taking steps down a similar path? Only God knows the heart.

  • Holly in Nebraska

    There’s a transvestite that comes to my church on occasion. I’ve seen him about half-a-dozen times in the seven years I have been here. He comes in right before mass and sits in a middle pew. Right as mass starts, he leaves. He doesn’t dress well. No drag-queen style. In fact, he dresses like a dowdy midwestern woman: long-haired wig, blouse, jacket, skirt, low-heeled pumps, and a purse. Nothing flashy. It just figures that a midwestern transvestite is frumpy. (I think that’s funny.) He doesn’t talk to anyone and nobody talks to him. Some people stare but only the ones behind him. He doesn’t appear to be there to make a protest: no badge or sash. No scene. I often wondered what would happen if he stayed for communion. Probably nothing. The worst thing you can do around here is call attention to yourself or make a scene. I don’t think my pastor, who is a really nice guy, would deny him communion. I don’t think he would deny communion to anyone unless they walked up in a t-shirt that said, “F*** the Pope.” But he never stays.

    One day last fall, I went to an early and mostly empty mass. I decided to sit in an empty pew, right behind a father and son who were the only ones in their pew. As soon as I did, they got up and moved to the farthest end of their pew. For some stupid reason I decided to be offended. I don’t know why I do this. I decide that someone is slightly me and get all tore up about it. I probably just broke the cardinal rule about people spacing. If you get on an elevator with one other person on it, you go to the farthest corner; you don’t go stand next to them. I took my offended self and my coat and went out to sit in the vestibule on a padded bench. I actually sit out their fairly often when my RA acts up and my knees don’t work and I don’t want so huge man squeezing my braced-hand until I’m in tears. I did feel rotten about it. I knew it was dumb, stupid, sinful, childish, and idiotic, but I did it anyway. The procession went in and they closed the doors.

    Within a few minutes, the transvestite walked out. I didn’t know he was in the church. He turned the corner, and went into the bathroom. I waited and after the normal amount of time, I could hear him leave. I peeked around the corner just in time to see him exit the church through the side doors.

    I hadn’t seen him when I arrived. I wondered again what brought him here and why he always left. Was he a Catholic who still felt the need to try to meet his obligation? Was he church-shopping? Was he there to make a protest and chickened out? I began to think about all the people who don’t come to mass. How many are afraid to come because they don’t feel welcome? How many don’t come because they hate the church, which means that they really do want to come but are angry? How many just roll over morning and shut the alarm off? How many, driving in the cars that I could hear outside, will go the whole day and never think of God once? Not once. I felt a vocation coming on. I was sitting in between. I wasn’t in the sanctuary, but I wasn’t outside either. I imagine the transvestite feels something similar. He is not a woman, but he is not feeling like a man either. I probably wouldn’t have noticed him if I hadn’t walked out. Pray for them, I felt inside. Pray for them.

    I wanted to cry. God is so big. He’s so big! He’s big enough for transvestites, stupid middle-aged women, and every other kind of sinner. God doesn’t love our sin, but he loves us. He took my stupid actions and gave me a gift in place of them. I know why he comes. He comes because God called him. He calls everyone. He called that man and he called me and we came. Sometimes, I think that is the most beautiful thing in the world.

  • http://victor-undergo.blogspot.com/ Victor

    What you say makes a LOT of sense Holly in Nebraska. I guess God does keep His Friends close and maybe His Enemies even closer but God is The Only “ONE” who would know that for sure! Right?

    I hear ya Anchoress! That will be enough out of you sinner vic! :)

    WHO’S LAUGHING?

    Shalom

  • http://abbey-roads.blogspot.com/ terry nelson

    Well this is certainly decent – I did not know you had posted on it. Thanks. Like I just said in my latest post – whether one agrees with Stacy or not – her post certainly exposed the dark side of the GLBT rights movement.

    I’m officially on Stacy’s side now.

    Your points are well taken and very helpful for me at least – thanks!

  • friscoeddie

    Holly in Nebraska; good observations .. a solution?
    There is a ministry called greeter, at the Church door. Say hello/welcome, hand out the bulletin. It’s a WWJD.

  • kelleyb

    “Don’t get distracted. Don’t get over-involved in the whirl, and leave the wind to the Holy Spirit. There are angels and demons in the whirlwind; let ‘em battle it out.”

    Ah, OK…now I understand why after I am engaged for a while I feel like I am being caught up in some unknown maelstrom. Out of self-preservation, I step back, wondering what is WRONG with me. I regroup with prayer, but always head back into the storm. I believe you have defined that unknown force for me. With greater understanding, with deeper prayer and with increased clarity I will go back to work fortified.

  • Greta

    The simple solution is to do what the founders desired in the Constitution. Have the federal government/courts follow the actual text of the Constitution. The venom started to build between people on social and moral issues when the federal government stepped into many areas that they should never have been allowed. They wanted to force everyone to accept whatever a few judges decided about some of the most fundamental issues and social beliefs in our country. Thus the first attack was against the freedom guaranteed to religious beliefs from the government using a lie of separation. For all the attacks to come on what the vast majority of people believe and support, the churches needed to be marginalized. This allowed words to again be discovered on privacy to allow the murder of babies or to give special rights for the first time based on behavior of same sex individuals. While the same argument used for special rights for gays can also be used for incest or poligamy or whatever other behavior you want to choose, it has not done so “yet” although they are starting to work on sex with children being made normal. Before anyone says no way, who would have said in 1960 that in 50 years gay marriage would become legal and gay behavior mandated in the military as normal.

    This is not judgement, but facts about where we ar going. The issue is not judging others on a personal basis and saying John or Joe is a sinner and I am not, but that of changing by the force of a central government on the people in all states. we saw the hatred spew forth in the comments on Stacy Trasancos blog based on her personal beliefs and yet we are chastised if we mildly object when our core faith beliefs are attaked despite having protection as written in the Constitution from exactly what the government is doing to us without democratic vote.

  • SteveP

    “Might makes right? Is that what it comes down to?”

    Yes, I think so: the tyranny of the minority cloaked as the will of the majority. It is to be resisted but not fought as one can lose one’s soul when fighting.

    I find myself turning to the Corporal Works of Mercy and the Spiritual Works of Mercy as trusted guides for loving my neighbor when, in fact, my neighbor behaves unethically, immorally, or unlawfully. That being said, I fully understand Stacy T.’s exasperation.

  • newton

    No surprise there.

    If I could comment at Stacy’s blog, I would have said to her that MA is so “far gone” that it will only be a matter of time before knowing for sure that anyone who calls himself Catholic (Christian, for that matter!) will be considered persona non grata in that state. Catholic Charities had to stop adoptions because of conflicts with the state re: gay couples. There will be another excuse for the government to forbid Christians from doing this, or that. Doing charity work. Counseling drug addicts. Open an after-school program. Etc. You will see it coming.

    You’d think that the harassment at Mormon temples in CA after Prop 8 was bad enough. Just wait. More is to come. Those who are Bible-conscious know it, because the Spirit has spoken about it.

    “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” 2 Timothy 3

    Stacy, if you’re reading this, may I invite you to come to Texas? There are a lot of families with children being raised in Christian households around here. (The norm, not the exception.) Lots of Mothers of Preschoolers around here. Lots of home-school families, and the most liberal home-schooling laws in the country. Oh, did I mention that lots of companies and jobs are coming here?

    I like to say that this state is 43 percent Catholic, 43 percent Protestant and 14 percent everything else. Might as well take advantage of it.

  • http://Janehartman.com Jane Hartman

    Thank you, Stacy and Anchoress, for articulating what many of us feel. Growing up in the arts, I had a fondness for my friends with alternative lifestyles. I didn’t think too much about it back then, but enjoyed their take on life, if you will. Things are different now – I feel “afraid.” Here in Illinois, our Catholic Charities have lost state contracts for adoption because of the gay agenda. I left my beloved Anglican church because of “gay” issues. Things are changing so fast and I am fearful these days. Is traditional marriage on its way to becoming a “hate” crime?

  • Deacon Norb

    A significant percentage of those folks were spew anger and venom our way are not really emotionally-neutral; they are ‘ex-Catholics” themselves who were turned into “ex-Catholic/anti-Catholics” by what they perceived as unjust and unchristian actions on the part of those of us who remain in the fold.

    I have met and worked with maybe a dozen folks who fit into the “ex-Catholic/anti-Catholic” pattern. In each and every case, when I scratched deep enough to find the root causes, I was looking at pastoral malfeasance of the worst sort. In one case, bad follow-up on a sibling’s suicide from drug overdose; in another, a pastor “shunning” the Catholic party after they dared get a divorce; a third case was a lady who genuinely wanted to “find Jesus” in her Catholic parish only to be swamped by its bureaucracy. None of the folks I worked with over the years were openly gay, but I can easily see a Catholic gay person becoming bitterly and angrily “ex-Catholic/anti-Catholic” as well.

    Maybe the question we should be asking is “what have we done to deserve this anger?” The answer might surprise you.

  • Gail F

    I read her original post a while ago and it was, indeed, a rant written for people she knew — these days, not the sort of thing anyone can put up on a blog, where anyone might see and forward it. You can’t just blow off some steam about a controversial topic, anymore than you can say that your boss is an idiot or your neighbor is up to something shady. If you’re going to say something at all, you’d better have something well reasoned and well thought out to say, because when the attacks start you don’t want to begin with the handicap of sounding flighty. To me, her examples did not sound outrageous — but she was referring to them as the last straw in something ongoing and omnipresent. And as the Anchoress says, her post in no way deserved an outpouring of hate, threats and bile.

    Deacon Norb: You have a good point — splinter, plank. Got it. We must try to be holy, loving, generous, and NOT bureaucratic. On the other hand, we live in a country where it is fashionable to blame everyone else but ourselves. I had a long conversation once with someone who strongly disliked the Catholic Church because her grandmother (Catholic) had been mean to her mother. The fact that her grandmother was a jerk does not mean the entire Catholic Church is made up of hypocrites. That’s the kind of thing we all think when we’re 16 and outraged that people aren’t perfect. At some point, you’re supposed to get over it.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    You can’t even rant, blow off some steam, express an opinion, talk about something controversial without having an avalanche of bile, death threats and hate coming down on your head.

    Forget having reasoned arguments—in the swamp that communications have become today, no one’s going to listen to them.

    This is what freedom of speech has come to; be careful what you say, or else. And say nothing that could possibly offend someone, anyone, anywhere, any time.

    The Founding Fathers would not be happy with this, I think.

    Deacon North, I’m sorry, but no one deserves to have their life, or the lives of their families, threatened, merely for saying something others don’t like. Catholics—all Chritians—are flawed, sometimes bad people; so are people in the secular world. As Gail F points out, at some point, you have to get over it—and, no, it’s not an excuse for hating others.

  • Cathy J

    Well Stacy, if anonymity makes you feel better: I hadn’t heard of any of this until I read the Anchoress this morning and so with any luck it will blow over.
    And as someone who lives in Greater Boston, I can truly, truly see where you are coming from and how the frustration builds. I hope “newton,” above is wrong about the future in MA, but I’m not optimistic. One thing to (sort of ) hold on to here–most people in the state are just trying to live their lives and raise their kids th same way their parents did, you just don’t hear from us.

  • Greta

    Born in 1934 in the midst of the depression and at 7 watching my brothers and uncles go off to war in WWII, I grew up in a time when we were expected to get on with life no matter what lemons were placed in your path. The era of big government had started with FDR, but compared to today, it was only the basement floor. WWII derailed the great progressive big government experiment. LBJ should be viewed by this country as our worst president ever, maybe until Obama. LBJ got us in up to our eyeballs in the war in Vietnam that JFK and Eisenhower wanted us to stay out of and at the same time started the biggest expansion of liberal big government ever. The 60′s crowd who actually got into the anti authority movement are still with us today, many of them in universities and government, but also in our courts. It was here in the 60′s that America started off the track and the Nanny state and blaming others really started. It seems like each year one group or another came up with some new excuse for what we would have called bad behavior or at its worse, degenerate behavior. Everything in place to have our society grow in the right way bringing people along in small stages was thrown overboard. Anything that got in the way was trashed be it the Church, the people, schools, corporations, or the government.

    The thing many people today do not seem to confront is that many young people today do not have the first clue about our country, our founding, our values, or why we are One nation UNDER GOD. Even as some take the oath of office, they do not intend to live up to their oath and don’t seem to care. Protecting and defending the Constituion does not mean much when you believe the Constitution is some bowl of jello that can be molded any way you want. Many take a phrase from the gospel and do the same thing with it conveniently leaving out the parts which get in the way and many do not even know they are being lied to about the actual full text. Some try to indicate that Jesus call for us to care for the poor is somehow a call for big government to steal from one to fund programs which while never seeming to impact poverty, certainly increse the size of scope of government. We do not seem capable of connecting the dots. When they are laid out, those who are in total dissent attack the messenger for it is hard to actually attack the truth in what is being said. Look today to anyone who says the truth about anything and you will see them attacked and marginalized. In fact it is getting worse than that for many want to make any statement they do not like or that gets in the way into some sort of crime. We are very near a time when we will see riots because what the left is trying to create will not work and never has anywhere. When the bottom drops out, those who know nothing else but blame others and that they have endless rights will not stop taking what they want by force. People who think that could never happen here are not paying attention. And that is what makes Obama the worst president in that he enflames the mobs for his own gain and could care less if America comes apart at the seams.

  • newton

    “I hope “newton,” above is wrong about the future in MA, but I’m not optimistic.”

    It’s not just MA that I’m afraid for. It’s happening just about everywhere in the Northeast. And it’s going to get worse.

    It all makes me feel quite fortunate that we moved to TX from the DC area (and the NE in general) and never looked back.

  • Michael Leroy

    “One of the things I love about Catholicism is that it’s not strident.”

    Anchoress has never been to a “rescue” of a Planned Parenthood clinic.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Catholicism, in general, isn’t a strident religion. Christians, in general, seem far less strident than other groups, such as vegans, feminists, Truthers, Marxists, PETA. . . I could go on.

  • Greta

    Michael Leroy, I have been to many Catholic rosary service protest outside abortion mills and have never seen anything remotely as violent as the union thugs in Ohio and Wisconsin in the state capitals or the protest at universities where a conservative speaker is invited and get trashed by students who in many cases are there on someone else’s dime. Of course the union thugs and students are violent over a few dollars or to block freedom of speech, not an attempt to save human life. I often wonder how some can be so angry about the peaceful attempt to save human life, but so welcoming of mob violence. I find it interesting that the courts have gone out of their way to protect abortion mills, but seem to care little about mob violence blocking a clear right of free speech and the acts of a legislature voted into office by free elections. Rhinestone is right on with his comment about the far left mobs and he indeed could go on and on. We even have a President who hung out with leaders of the Weatherman group that killed people and blew up buildings. His demonizing of so many Americans because he is so inept and that is all he knows how to do is a disgrace. If you work for a bank, on wall street, are a republican, belong to the tea party, work in hospitals or are a doctor or work for insurance companies, or make over $250,000 as a couple, you have been trashed in the last three years by the President. I am sure there are many more, but that is just off the top of my head.

    Everyone should read Ann Coulter’s latest book “Demonic” is clearly her best work and it gives us a picture of where we might be headed if we do not stop the mobs from taking away our rights detailed in the Constitution. Just in the last couple of days, we have heard Bloomberg and Clinton warning or riots if everyone does not agree to the plan to raise taxes for redistribution of wealth. The class warfare that the left seems to desire is not going to be pretty. There is not enough earnings to tax to continue to spend to satisfy the demanding mobs and demonizing those who in many cases have done great things for America makes no sense.

  • LisaB

    Greta, I don’t think those are warnings coming from Bloomberg and Clinton. Violence is the Left’s m.o. – they’re signaling. My husband was stationed in L.A. during the riots, being young and naive it was my first experience with what the Left was capable of doing and I was literally stunned. I watched a man be beaten to a pulp on live tv while the mayor screeched with anger at the injustice of the verdict, that the people were right to be angry that “they” would not tolerate this and that, etc. No calming words or a call for civility. It was a stunning example of leadership in a certain direction.

    The thought police in action: Christian boy punished for a private discussion where he said he believes homosexuality is wrong.
    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/09/22/texas-school-punishes-boy-for-opposing-homosexuality/

  • alwsdad

    Catholicism isn’t strident? Google Michael Voris.

  • The Dark Avenger

    Here’s the original quote:

    Today we decided to go to the park. We live near a nice park that is safe, clean and quiet. Two of my daughters were in the sandbox, one on the slide, the other on the swings, and as I lifted the baby out of his stroller I looked up to see four women laughing at a baby boy as he was swinging in one of those bucket baby swings. That seems harmless enough, but I’m so sensitized to the strangeness in my community that I’ve developed this ever-present jumpiness whenever I’m in public. Sure enough, two of the women, so happy to see a baby boy laughing, embraced and remained standing there rubbing each other’s back in a way that was clearly not just friendly affection.

    As for persecution, the next time a young boy or girl commits suicide because they were Catholic or Christian and weren’t accepted by their peers because of their religious affiliation, please be sure to write a screed about it as well.


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