Prayers for Chase Padusniak and ThisCatholicGirl

Prayers for Chase Padusniak and ThisCatholicGirl September 14, 2016

She catfished Catholic Twitter and he got hurt as collateral damage along the way. Chase’s first-hand account is here.

I had something like this done to me once, also on line, in a chat group. There was none of the relationship dimension that Chase had to endure. Just a person who deceived everybody about her identity. But when somebody lies to you about their identity and you believe them, you don’t have to have romantic feelings about them to feel deeply betrayed. It’s given me a bit of a radar (no idea how accurate) about this kind of thing. So I feel nothing but sadness and empathy for Chase and the others snookered by her and pity for the poor disturbed woman who did this. It’s such a betrayal of trust and it takes you a while to regain your ability to trust others. There’s so little we actually *know* about people we “know” online.

I wonder why people do such things. It sort of *feels* like this person just… needed to re-invent themselves. She seems to have gotten nothing monetarily out of it.

I remember in the Lying for Jesus debates a few years ago, one of the arguments briefly put forward was “Well, *actors* give a false name and invented identity and we have no objections!” Right. Because we know when we walk into the theatre that Elijah Wood isn’t *really* Frodo Baggins, but we willingly suspend our disbelief. In the same way, when I pick up a novel, I know that Bridget ban and Mearana don’t actually exist and that the Michael Flynn (who you really should read) is inventing the tale of the Spiral Arm for my amusement, not lying to me about anything.

I suspect something of the attraction of acting, or role-playing games, or writing fiction is in it when people concoct these elaborate cons. ThisCatholicGirl didn’t seem to be in it for money as, for instance, Fr. Corapi was with his elaborate fabulisms. She seems to have just gotten something satisfying about being this invented girl and having the friends and virtual relationships this fake person had created. Only the key element of “willing suspension of disbelief” among the audience members was ignored and people became unwilling participants in a lie. That’s the difference between the social contract that is fiction and lying.

Mysterious. And disturbing.

Anyway, prayers for the victims of this con game.

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