It must be Thursday. A certain Catholic blogger is at it again, posting publicly all over her facebook that some good blogger friends of mine have “lost their faith,” which makes her sad. She is properly horrified by the scandal of my friends “instructing people in the Catholic faith, even as they lose their faith.” That would trouble me too, if it were true, but none of the people she’s mentioning have lost their faith. They’re still practicing Catholics; I couldn’t say if they’re in a state of grace, but they’ve committed no mortal sins that I noticed recently. As far as I can tell, her allegations of lost faith are solely because my friends are no longer Republicans, and because they don’t post about “personal piety” on their Facebook pages.
I must say that if this blogger’s faith is in a political party rather than in God, then it’s certainly clear that one of us has lost our Catholicism, but I won’t name names. In addition, I’ve noticed that it’s generally the snakiest trolls who fill their facebook posts up with prayers and holy card images instead of silly memes or something fun like that. I don’t pay her much mind anymore.
But I sat up in shock at one of the comments on her post. This commentator came right out and said what I’ve suspected some people believe all along, but I’ve never seen them admit it this starkly.
Oh my gosh! I read through several threads on his page. Gasp! How pompous and self-righteous they are! I hate to say that, but it’s true. It’s easy to think you are wonderful when you are against dropping nuclear bombs and want world peace [eye-rolling smiley face], to feed the hungry, etc. Few will criticize you for that. But when you dare to defend the Church’s moral teachings, you are a Pharisee. The mean-spiritedness there is not of the good tree.
This poor person doesn’t think that feeding the hungry, being against nuclear war, and desiring peace are part of the Church’s moral teaching.
For any of my dear readers who don’t know, let me just be clear: nuclear war is against the Church’s moral teaching, because one of the Church’s moral teachings is “thou shalt not kill.” Catholics are forbidden to directly target human lives and civilian lives in particular when we are at war, and nuclear war necessarily murders civilian population centers. That’s how nuclear bombs work; you can’t obey the Church’s teaching on just war and still use them. We’re not even allowed to stockpile nuclear bombs just in case somebody else does. That is not my hippie dippie interpretation of Church teaching, that’s the Catechism. And on that same page of the Catechism, you’ll find that pesky Gospel quote, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” We cannot hope for total world peace until Christ returns, but we are required to work for what peace we can manage until then.
And as for feeding the hungry, that’s required too. The corporal and spiritual works of mercy are works of justice; they are part of every Catholic’s vocation. The food that we have belongs in justice to those who are hungry. Christ Himself made it very clear that not feeding the hungry puts your immortal soul in danger of hell. There’s no getting around that. May God have mercy on us, not one of us is doing enough to feed the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual hunger of our neighbors. This is Catholic moral teaching.
Yes, the Church also teaches on pelvic issues, on holy days of obligation and so forth. Those teachings aren’t optional either, for the Catholic. I strive to obey them as best I can. I encourage my readers to obey them as well. But feeding the poor, opposing unjust war and striving for world peace are also the Church’s moral teaching. Her teaching is one; we’re not allowed to pick and choose which commands we’d like to obey, if we’re going to be faithful Catholics.
A lot of people do seem to think that the Catholic Church only cares about your genitals, uterus and whether you go to church on Sunday; they will call you names if you bring up any other church teaching. When I bring up that this is the case, people tell me I’m calumniating the pro-life movement or something like that. And this is why I’m laughing at that commentator’s allegation that “few will criticize” people who stick up for the poor and oppose nukes.
Sticking up for the poor, and occasionally opposing nukes, are what I do on this blog, and I get criticized. I get criticized every day of the week. I’ve been called a liar, a pseudo-intellectual (whatever that means), bitter, anti-Catholic, “on the dole,” hysterical, anti-middle-class, stupid, “worse than most pro-aborts,” communist. A couple of Pavone’s disciples had a whole comment thread luridly speculating about the types of porn they imagined I was interested in. One of Pavone’s disciples presumed I’d had an abortion and mouthed off about me to earn a head pat from Pavone– Pavone’s disciples are about the worst-behaved hyenas in any combox. Prissy people like the blogger who started this thread claim people like me have “lost our faith.” My more prominent Catholic blogger friends get it a lot worse than I do. And we’re used to it. This is what happens when you try, however badly, to tell the whole truth to a wide audience. It’s not martyrdom, it’s not a war they’re waging against us, it’s not an heroic cross we have to endure, it’s just telling the truth and getting trolled. Some days it’s stressful, but anything worth doing is.
Catholic moral teaching is notorious for afflicting the comfortable. It will properly horrify your average Republican lady blogger and her facebook friends as much as it horrifies anybody else. It certainly involves opposing nuclear bombs, promoting”world peace,” and feeding the hungry. Catholics ought to proclaim the whole truth without fear, no matter what backlash they get.
If that makes you think we’ve “lost faith…” I’d question what, exactly, your faith was in in the first place.
(image via Pixabay)