Nine Types of Catholic Commenters

6) Fetus Frenzy: This pious and tenderhearted Catholic is the best friend the unborn will ever have—just ask her. She has a singular genius for turning any conversation into a rant against abortion. In fact, she's practiced this trick to the point where she can find a logical segue from any topic. For example, the weather: "A shame you were caught in a hail storm on the golf links. Multiply that sense of disorientation by infinity and you'll know how it feels to be vacuumed out of your mother's womb."

7) Seamless Garment: Meet Fetus Frenzy's arch-nemesis. This natural-born contrarian is a firm believer in a consistent ethic of life. He is a firm disbeliever in episcopal integrity. Until the bishops pull up their socks and start protesting the death penalty, Guantanamo, Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, urban poverty, rural poverty, and school bullying, they can go poop in their zucchetos when it comes to abortion. Warning: when this person writes "pro-life" in scare quotes, you know a storm's a-comin'.

8) "I'll pray for you [and the horse you rode in on]": This bubbling well of caritas has taken a creative approach to anger management. When feeling aggrieved, vexed, nettled, or just plain hacked off, he informs the source of his irritation that he will pray for him. Presumably, he will ask God to make his opponent as judicious and diplomatic as he is himself. Nevertheless, his tone makes you wonder whether he might also be ordering up a lightning bolt or a plague.

9) "Learn humility!" Like the tetchy prayer warrior profiled above, this cyber-skirmisher loves a good euphemism. His favorite rhetorical stealth warhead is "Learn humility," or, on stilts, "I seriously suggest you consider learning some humility!" Coming from him, it cam mean anything from "Girlfriend, please!" to "Go fulfill your Oedipal fantasies."

An exhaustive list would have to include the Mass Nazi—that arbiter of good liturgical taste, who's unshakably convinced God is a High Tory. But enough. If you're like me, you identify with at least half of these characters. (And your friend down the pew identifies with the other half.) On a bad day, all of them are all of us.

That's why I'd love to bring Emily Matchar on safari with me. That poor hipster needs to learn that the life of faith doesn't cure human neurosis. It just offers it a room with a view.

3/24/2011 4:00:00 AM
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  • Max Lindenman
    About Max Lindenman
    Max Lindenman is a freelance writer, based in Phoenix. He has been published in National Catholic Reporter, Busted Halo and Salon.
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