let it never be said that I joined the Catholic Church for Her followers…

… There isn’t a day that doesn’t go by where I am not absolutely grateful for my Catholic faith. I love being a Catholic, yet there are days when being a Catholic is an extreme exercise in patience. Especially when dealing with other Catholics. We are a contentious lot.

I believe with all my heart the tenets of the Catholic Church and faithfully practice them to the best of my ability – my flawed human ability. If I falter the sacrament of reconciliation is sought. I am not a perfect Catholic. No one is. Which is why I always find it amusing that some Catholics feel they’re in a position to condemn others for their short comings.

My favorite of favorite insults is the one levied against another as not being a real Catholic. “I thought this was supposed to a Catholic blog”, “I can’t believe a supposedly pious Catholic as you claim to be thinks those things”, “Anathema Sit!” loudly declared with some invisible, self ordained, and made-up authority.

Being nasty to a fellow Catholic simply because they do not share your same opinions is not part of our baptismal vows or Profession of Faith. Neither is the spiritual work of mercy to admonish the sinner an open invitation to verbally flog, mentally harass and publicly humiliate another human being with viscous internet screeds. Doing so does not make you a champion for the faith and a True Catholic Warrior. It makes you a mean spirited and petty bully.

There is nothing humorous or entertaining about a soul in grievous error, guilty of heresy and/or causing scandal. This is precisely why I don’t waste a whole lot of time writing about the scandal du jour that is usually regurgitated elsewhere online. Prayers should be our main source of action, not a mad dash to the internet with a clucking of tongues and wagging of fingers.

There is also nothing brave about being purposefully combative and argumentative. It does not make your writing fierce and edgy to be nasty and sarcastic all the time. Your popularity is not in direct correlation with how many people you’ve managed to offend on any given day or by how well you can articulate a litany of insults. I don’t give credence to the belief that if you are pissing people off you must be doing something right. The only thing your proving is an insecure need to always be right. This can only be cured with highly concentrated doses of humility administered daily. I suppose this is why the Church has Doctors, because we are all a bit ill.

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  • Ironiccatholic

    You should get writer’s block more often–this is great.  Peace is flowing like a river, dude.  (sorry couldn’t stop myself)

    • http://www.blessedisthekingdom.com Fr. Christian Mathis

      The Dude Abides.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

        Watch it man, there’s a beverage here!

  • http://www.facebook.com/stephanie.a.richer Stephanie A. Richer

    And this is why I love you, man!

  • Johnny B. Aldred

    How would you suggest speaking to or correcting a fellow Catholic who openly goes against Church teaching while claiming to be a  “true” Catholic?   By this post are you saying that we should *never* call them out?   I think that not publicly coming out against a Catholic who is publicly going against the Church would also be a lapsed of charity.   This article makes me believe we should never speak out and just be totally passive.   (Perhaps I’m reading too much into it, please do correct me if I am).   I understand when you say that none of us are perfect and we have the sacrament of confession when we fail.   I do understand that we all sin, but that says nothing of the person who directly defies the Church, unrepentant.      That’s a whole different story.  I think it is one that deserves rebuke.   Not haughtily, not with a holier than thou attitude, but it must be corrected.   There are those in my family who are quite outspoken that you needn’t follow all Church teaching exactly like the Church teaches, but you follow the “spirit” of what the Church meant (which really is just their own interpretation).   This allows them to accept things like contraception and so on.   They are influencing a lot of people in the family to throw many teachings out the door.

    They would call me rigid and actually off in my own world for being against contraception, believing that protestants are in need of evangelization (we all believe in Jesus after all, right?), believing in the need for frequent confession, etc.  Then they would turn around and say that I’m the one not actually following the Church teaching because they treat all of what I just said as good suggestions, but not the true spirit of what the Church really intends.   Should we not correct and yes, sometimes debate these people when they are spreading these “teachings” within the family?

    • Ironiccatholic

      You know, I understand what you’re saying, but I think there is a big difference between ad hominem attacks (which is what Kat is talking about) and telling someone simply and charitably that he/she is wrong.  I can say certain people hold wrong positions and why, but when it gets “personal”, you harm yourself and the body of Christ.

      • Johnny B. Aldred


        Thanks for the reply!  I see what you are saying and I’m totally against ad hominem attacks for sure.   I just didn’t get that *clearly* enough from the article — that is, it wasn’t clear enough to me that it was only about ad hominem attacks.   It seemed to me that it could be taken to mean we should be totally passive and anytime we speak out against a heretic we are being mean spirited.   I think even the fact that I used “heretic” would cause me to be lumped into the group of Catholics that the author describes.  

        The part that says,  “Being nasty to a fellow Catholic simply because they do not share your same opinions is not part of our baptismal vows or Profession of Faith” seems extra vague to me.   What type of opinions?   I know for sure that if my family member read this article they would say, “see, you ‘attack’ me for my opinion on contraception!”   And what is considered “being nasty” to another Catholic?   

        If a friend or family member is teaching other friends and family members that contraception is ok, and that its ok to choose whatever church you wish since all denominations are equal paths to Jesus… and if you say otherwise you are misinterpreting church teaching and just crazy and rigid…  If I tell them they are not being true to Church teaching, proceed to quote Church teaching, and tell them they can’t call themselves “Catholics” in “good standing” if they support not adhering to Church teaching am I wrong for that?  An ironic part of the article is that the author seems to be implying that these Catholics who “come” down on others view themselves as on another level and accuses them of thinking they have some type of imaginary authority, but the tone of the article is one that makes me believe the author thinks himself/herself as on a “different” level than these other Catholics that he/she must have the the patience to “deal” with.I think I would have agreed with the article more if it went into more of what “opinions” meant, defined what  being “nasty”  to another Catholic is, and also demonstrated how to talk to deal with a Catholic that is diverging from official Church teaching.    Too much can be read into the article the way it is.   

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

          There is a way to fraternally correct someone without the nastiness. I didn’t define “opinions” and “nastiness” well, because it doesn’t need to be defined. An ad hominem  attack is pretty easy to recognize.  And yes, I would say you are wrong to tell another Catholic they are not a real Catholic or are in good standing with the Church if you are not in a position to do so. Are you a priest, clergy or monk?   

          You can tell someone what the Church teaches, direct them to that teaching, but from there the condemnation of their sincerity is not yours to make. Also, this is never to be done online but in private – as the provided link to “admonish the sinner” states.    

          I don’t know. I think what I wrote was pretty straightforward. I’m not seeing anyone else commenting about ambiguity in my writing.    

          • Johnny B. Aldred

            Thanks for your reply as well.   I think where I see the ambiguity is when you say “opinions” and “nastiness” does not need to be defined.   I only say this cause in my interactions with others (I keep mentioning my family cause that’s just where it happens most for me)… there are very different “opinions” on what is left up to opinion.    If you don’t accept what they believe is up for grabs in regards to Church teaching well that’s just your “opinion” and you are being “nasty” for telling them official Church teaching actually holds water.   

            I don’t see where one would need to be a clergy man to tell someone, for example, “if you believe its perfectly ok to go have an abortion and you believe its not against Church teaching… you cannot be a Catholic in good standing”.   I think that much is very evident.   

            Thanks again for your response.   

          • Johnny B. Aldred

            I’ll be honest, I’m not a regular on this blog.  I stumbled upon the post.   Maybe not many are pointing out ambiguity because they are already followers of the blog and already “on board” so to speak?  Just an observation. 

            Thanks again,  I guess I just have slight disagreements in the clarity of the article and I will leave it at that.  I just know how this would be surely be used by some people I know.   I don’t have anything against saying ad hominem attacks are uncharitable.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

            You may not agree with Church doctrine on contraception – to use an example – however, if you still faithfully follow the teachings of the Church on the matter, whether you agree or not or simply don’t understand – you are still in good standing.  

            So you see, no one really has the authority to throw around anathema’s sits at other Catholics to such a  degree that so many self appointed online pontiffs do. And I would hope your fraternal correction to your family is not done so online in viscous screeds. 

            That’s really the gist of what I am saying. 

            Welcome to the blog and I appreciate your thoughts. I appreciate more your time to ask me what my meaning is instead of just assuming and leaving some reactionary reply. Thank you. Sincerely, thank you.   

          • Johnny B. Aldred

            Thank you again for the kind response.   No, my interactions with my family members are all in person.  I’m usually on the defensive actually.  When member see me keeping Friday penance, going to confession, and coming out against contraception I tend to draw their wrath as being very “rigid” and interpreting Church teaching way too strictly. Its not meant to be followed down to the iota, they will say.   Then in front of other family members they will imply that i’m fanatical and in the end not really faithful in my “rigidness”.   Other family members who might’ve followed Church teaching faithfully put more “stock” in the attacking family members words since he is and elder in the family.   When I reply to these attacks I would say things like “you cannot be a Catholic in good standing and practice contraception, you simply can’t, that’s Church teaching and its meant to be accepted.”  or “if you are in mortal sin and you don’t go to confession, you should fear for your soul.  you cannot just blow confession of”.   Mind you, this person has not been to confession in over 25 years because he/she feels its not needed.   Its an old pre-Vatican II thing.   

            Another thing I am referring to is when I see Catholic bloggers post about a “Catholic” politician who is in support of abortion, contraception, and other such things… all the while putting themselves off as “good Catholics”.    These Catholic bloggers will say openly that these politicians are not Catholics in good standing.   And frankly, I agree with them and think it needs to be said to hopefully undo or avoid the confusion these politicians may be causing.   I think it absolutely needs to be said so that the public knows and hears a voice that supports the Church.   

            Anyway, that’s my 2 cents.   I’ve enjoyed your responses and thanks for the warm welcome to the blog.   I do see now what you are getting at, and I can’t say I disagree with you.   I think I would’ve been a little more clear about certain things, but THAT is only my opinion :)   …and need not be a point for argument.    

            God bless you.

        • Anonymous

          Often a quick reference to the actual church teaching and a citation from the CCC is good enough. We absolutely can correct heresy, but when we attack the person for something that is up for discussion, we look like intolerant jerks.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez


  • rox

    Thanks so much ! I actually hide my catholic self online now I had so much hatefelt stuff from other catholics .one woman unfriended twice the last time because I liked burning man on fb . why did she send me a friend request in the first place !
    I label myself a heathen now and show openly the pagan websites etc. that I visit . I make it an effort to look as uncatholic as possible . no one bothers me now ! lol I think because there is obviously no hope for me . I didn’t know being catholic meant be european or american and do not love the seasons , moon , sun and ths stars . to use my pagan ways but worship my God Jesus Christ was just to much for some they had to set me straight . gee I wonder if they remeber where the word Roman came from lol and where the church took the ritual and customs from but just worship thier God . relics , insence , holy salt , water , . I think how the nuns and monks learned to pray via the cycles of the moon . do people honestly beleive they had clcoks to wake them up 1,500 yrs ago ? did God not instruct people what herbs to use for both medicinal & spiritual purpose . but when I do these things pray my rosary with the fullmoon or make an herbal prayer candle I’m all of a sudden a pagan and not a real catholic .
    I had enough , I stopped my catholic blog and everything I just could not take the hate shunning etc. anymore . good example eh  I’m sure Jesus will Thank them for setting me straight 😉

  • tj.nelson

    This is about my last post on Mamie Eisenhower being an alcoholic, isn’t it.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

      Yes, yes it is. You are such a trouble maker. 


      • tj.nelson

        I know.  BTW – I just found out Mamie wasn’t an alcholic.

  • http://www.scross.co.za/ Gunther

    Very well said. Our Warriors of Apologetics often lose sight of Him whom they try to defend. Our Lord surely would weep at the hatred being flung about in his name. But how did He communicate with the sinners, and how did he address the appointed and self-appointed guardians of doctrine?

  • Mary M.

    There are Catholic blogs that permit nasty exchanges and I don’t think it’s inaccurate to say “welcome” them. The bloggers themselves are devoid in many cases of being charitable. I have seen profanity and blasphemy in the comboxes; one leveled personally at me simply because I defended the Church’s teachings.  Instead of the blog being monitored for profanity by the administrator,  I was chastised for complaining.  I have to admit though that I have used the term “authentic Catholic”. This, however was only in response to someone who was clearly speaking out against Church teaching.  There is a big difference about having an opinion on an issue that does not go against Church teaching and someone who speaks out against Church teaching.  That being said, our responses always need to be made in Christian charity.  Christianity demands we treat each other respectfully.

  • Gayle

     I love, love, love your blog.

  • Patricia

    “I suppose this is why the Church has Doctors, because we are all a bit ill.”


  • Denver Gregg

    There isn’t a day that doesn’t go by where I am not absolutely grateful for my Catholic faith. I love being a Catholic, yet there are days when being a Catholic is an extreme exercise in patience. Especially when dealing with other Catholics. We are a whiny and easily offended lot.
    I believe with all my heart the tenets of the Catholic Church and faithfully practice them to the best of my ability – my flawed human ability. When I falter the sacrament of reconciliation is sought. I am not a perfect Catholic. No one is. Which is why I always find it amusing that some Catholics feel they’re in a position to condemn others for their short comings.
    My favorite is when someone calls another blogger or a commenter a mean-spirited bully.  But that’s just me.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

      Yeah, that’s my second favorite thing followed by someone who confuses sarcasm with being clever. But that’s just me.  

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

        Oh, wait. That was sarcastic of me. 


      • Denver Gregg

        Seriously, though, I’m one of your biggest fans (both in gross tonnage and in how much I generally like your blog). Just have had more than my fill – from too many Catholic bloggers – of the complaints about those horrible mean folks who dare to evince clarity about their differences with others.  It almost seems like a Patheos condition of service to pop in one of those gripes every so many thousand words. Maybe I just spend too much time around blogs.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

          Of course I have no issue with people of differing opinions. Intelligent people can have civil discourse with productive results as opposed to others who prefer the method of dogged verbal attacks and cheap name calling to make their points. 

          I don’t talk to people like that in real life, so I expect the same manners to be extended online.  I don’t think requesting politeness and civility is an unjust one to make. 

          Usually when one screams condemnation against another it has little do with correcting a sinner and everything to with  spiritual pride and superiority.  

          Like I replied above; ” You may not agree with Church doctrine on contraception – to use an example – however, if you still faithfully follow the teachings of the Church on the matter, whether you agree or not or simply don’t understand – you are still in good standing. ”
          We simply can not know which means we are no position to declare otherwise of someone else. 
          Patheos has nothing to do with this. At Crescat Version 1.0 I talked repeatedly about the need for humility and true  Christian charity.  The change of URL did not weaken my spine. 

  • kenneth

       American Catholicism is indeed a rough joint these days! When I came up in it, 1970s and 80s, it was more like a hippie commune. (My high school was run by Carmelites, who WERE essentially an order of Catholic hippies). These days, its about as jolly as Medici Rome or the Khmer Rouge summer band camp program! 
       I’ve found myself offering refuge in my attic to Catholics beset by their own kind! Of course I tell them they’ll have to share space with Julian Assange, because I offered him first. And I’m also reserving space for a Jew should the need arise, mostly because it would just be THAT damn cool to have my name inscribed along someplace called “Avenue of the Righteous”!
       I can also arrange to hide Catholics from internal pogroms on one of our many fine deep woods pagan compounds – places that not even GPS can find.  We’ll get you all up in sun dresses and kilts that smell of wood smoke and cat pee, grow out your armpit hair and teach you how to beat a drum with no particular rhythm into the wee hours, dancing naked alongside men who look like end-stage Jerry Garcia. Not even the bin Laden hunt team could find you out there, let alone the enforcers of “real Catholic” orthodoxy!

  • http://profiles.google.com/owenswain owen swain

    I didn’t become a Catholic because of the Church’s members because I am one and that would have put me right off

  • rox

    I was thinking today , do some catholics  actually believe somehow the world or we so called fallen catholics are not aware of the teachings of or the CCC ? I mean as adult beings are we not to walk our walk , use our free will , own our sin and receive our graces ? is it really a calling of God asking random people to come onto the internet and tell me an almost 50yo homeschooling mother of 6 beautiful heathens that I’m doing it wrong ? that I’m a bad bad catholic & not being a real one .  even worse I’m to be grateful now and thank them for their devote holiness ? really ? instead of calling the police about the child predator down the street , volunteering at the food bank , driving a senior or seniors to church , reading to the shut in at home . God is asking all  these wonderful catholics  to come online  and tell me how  bad, evil,  and wrong we are  so I can then come closer to Him . Oh that worked !
       really honestly when someone says they are praying for my soul .I love it !  I want people to pray for my soul ! however it is not out of real concern or love for another . what it usually means is mine is in such a  pathetic state and not even remotely destined for heaven . they in no way beleive that I equally should pray with deep concern and love for their soul because of course they are above the need for  prayer in regards to their soul anyway  . 
    really is this what God is asking ? if He asks you or I to pray for someone , do it ! but don’t use God to make another feel less than , that is abuse and the worst kind using God as an excuse to harm another . God never gave us permission to harm another , never .
    so these are expereinces I’ve  had & the reasons I just stopped blogging and showing my catholic self