"Are we prepared to promote conditions in which the living contact with God can be reestablished? For our lives today have become godless to the point of complete vacuity. God is no longer with us in the conscious sense of the word. He is denied, ignored, excluded from every claim to have a part in our daily life." - Alfred Delp, S.J.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Do not let sad Christians take your joy away...

And watch out for blog-rage.

The other day I closed comments because some people, convinced of their own self-righteousness, insisted upon denigrating others who disagreed with them.  When the Catechism says gay people must be treated/accepted with respect, it doesn't stipulate - "yeah but, only those gay people who live chaste and celibate lives in accord with Catholic teaching."

The rude, inflammatory comments are not limited to my blog by any means - most online Catholics know which sites advocate that stuff.  Last evening I came across a comment at Fr. Blake's blog very similar to the comments I get - the comment on Father's blog was in reaction to the controversy surrounding the Franciscan Friars of The Immaculate, the author of the comment spewed the following venom:
If I were to meet Fr Volpi I would spit in face, no more 'Holy Obedience', no more 'offering it up' the time has come to storm St Peter's and throw the diseased pieces of filth such as Fr.Volpi and the sodomite clergy into the gutter of Rome after being ritually humiliated (like Mr Banks in Mary Poppins).  - comment @ 1:48 am
Fr. Blake kindly admonished the author.

The other day, a friend of this blog, offered this:

[...] The time to be nice is over. The time to be truly Catholic and call out these heretics and evildoers, like ____, is now. I'm a fighter, and I will no longer take ____ crap, or crap from any other homosexual activists attempting to destroy my Church and my life. No more being nice to you and no more accepting any of your bullshit.
It is time to stand up to them. We need to lock arms and protect our Church like the brave men in Argentina. These vipers will not stop until they destroy the local Church. - comment removed from post Archbishop Nienstedt
After I removed the comment and closed the com box, my friend responded on another post with this:

Wow. No place for zealots. No place for those who choose to stand up to bullies and heretics, huh? Wow, Terry.
Fact is, there really is no room for zealots - especially when charity is lacking.  There is a good zeal and a bad zeal.  These examples, and the like I see elsewhere on angry blogs, which are also more or less encouraged by the blog administrator, are no longer permitted here.  It seems to me, such comments lack humility and charity. 

Maybe people are just not feeling in a 'Christmas mood'?

A few of my friends, online and off, tell me they just aren't into it.  I think that is what may contribute to their feeling sad - in part of course, because we all get sad from time to time.  We are so accustomed to having our way or taking some medication for sadness when we don't get our way, or feel real perky, we can blame it on all that is wrong with the world.  But listen - the world has always been wrong, life isn't a box of chocolates, Forest.

When we feel good, and everything is going our way, we think we are sitting on top of the world.  We are so good, God is so good, I can see Russia from my house.  Squeaky clean good!  I've had very fervent religious, holy-holy friends who were so charitable they could gently correct me - out of charity - and it didn't even hurt.  A week later, when they were in the deepest stages of their dark night of the soul - not the purgative one, but the "I'm suffering for all the sins of the world expiation-reparation-victim-soul kind.  The same correction I might have received so sweetly the week before can be suddenly slapped across my face with a vengeance!  Sr. Mary Toonces is pissed off and Jesus is so not nice!  Get what I'm saying?  When you're in a good place - you are so good.  When you are in a bad place, you think you are better than you are.

You don't know of what spirit you speak.

Jesus told the Apostles that - after they asked if they should call down fire from heaven on their enemies.  He rebuked them.  Yet we little lay people imagine ourselves so holy that we can shout prayers at the top of our lungs in the Cathedral.  We can miss Mass on Sunday and on Monday tell off a heretic.  We can get drunk one night, and the next morning after we did the dirty-dirty with ourselves, call out a creepy fornicating SOB.

Homosexuality can make us nuts.

It may not be on APA's list of disorders any longer, but it sure seems to drive us all nuts.  Especially if you're religious, and even more so, if you are rigidly religious.  Many traditional Catholics fit that category as well - don't bend the rules, don't strain the rubrics - it is the only thing I have to support myself.  Not all trads are like that, TO BE SURE - but some are.  They do weird things and see things so much differently than other, normal mortals.  Sometimes they know better than the Church, they know so much they can tell the Church how to govern religious orders, such as the FFI.  But I digress.

The other day I told some one that zealously Catholic gays have a tough time of it because they are fighting the spiritual combat on so many fronts.  Though they can adhere strictly to tradition and prefer the loveliness of the Extraordinary Form of Mass with all of the rubrics and decorum, their preference cannot be their stability.  Sometime, as it happened in times of persecution, war, and history's disasters, our structures, our supports can be taken away.  We need faith, a deeper faith, and complete dependence upon God.  We need to accept from God whatever he permits to befall us.

Gay people who struggle and fall, who cling to this or that stage of freedom from unwanted same sex attraction wage a fierce battle in our culture.  We defend ourselves from innumerable assaults to the senses, the spirit, and most of all the emotions and the heart.  Our struggle for chastity and wholeness can sometimes make us feel totally nuts - wondering who am I?  What am I?  The saints asked the same questions.

That can scare us at times. 

When we are scared, we react, we do and say things to defend and protect ourselves.  The saints did too.  The saints struggled with their own demons.  What we can lack is charity, and without doubt - humility - and bam!  We fall.  If we don't fall into sin, we can fall into sadness and gloom - acedia.  All because we were scared we already failed in this or that, or we were afraid we might fall, or we just do not have the courage to go on.  Often because we were scared that we might be the only person in the world suffering.  Or because we were scared to admit we were envious that other people could be so happy and gay, yet we are so miserable because we can't accept that way of life for ourselves.

Maybe I'm way off, maybe it is just me - maybe the rest of you are already saints, already perfect, and already completely happy and content.  Good for you. 

If the house is all swept and cleaned and tidied, be on guard. - Luke 11:25

Over the years - the decades, especially before the grace of the Holy Year in 2000, I also vacillated from time to time on these issues the world has a way of bombarding us with on a daily basis.  Even today I can begin to second guess myself.  We are so deeply influenced by the culture and the general acceptance of homosexuality as normative.  We see or hear of others living wholesome lives with their partners, sharing benefits, while we can wonder to ourselves, how can they justify it?  How can they be so happy?  If they can do that, how can it be wrong? 

It's the times we live in - we can't help being influenced and questioning why we are like this.  I for one cannot understand gay Catholics who say - it doesn't matter how or why I'm gay - I'm just gay.  Nevertheless, that is their affair - maybe they don't want to know.  That said - these things impact us in our spiritual combat - which, as I said before, is fought on many fronts. 

However, as St. John of the Cross said, no one can escape drinking somewhat of the cup of the Whore of Babylon, and I might add, nor avoid accepting the Mark of the Beast.  Which means all of us live in a  constant struggle.  Sometimes we seek to protect ourselves in strict enclosures which offer stern adherence to rules and rituals - only to collapse from exhaustion and depression.  We need to pray very much, and get up from every fall.  God is humble and allows us to fall in order to become more humble after we repent and recognize that he alone can save us.

We can never say, 'the time to be nice is over, no more obedience, no more offering it up'.

Therefore, always try to remember how incredibly patient God is to you and me, and remember how patient he has been over the years, even when the temptation to apostatize over some triviality seemed to overwhelm us, and maybe even swept us away for a time.  How many sinners have returned to their old way of life and sought to justify themselves and work out for themselves a religion easier to practice?  Sometimes they come back.

We must try never to fall into that trap wherein we believe we are so safe and secure, so spiritual and religious,  that we can condemn others.  I know we can condemn sin, and that it is a work of mercy to admonish the sinner, but we need charity and humility to do it efficaciously.  


  1. I saw that comment over at Father Blake's and was shocked. It reminds me when Michelle Malkin, a Catholic btw, hoped some recently deceased person (can't remember who) was rotting in hell. It made me literally flinch.

    It's the reason I avoid almost all "Catholic" sites. It was the first time I had been to Father Blake's blog in years. What I saw in the combox made me feel sad. Who needs that???

  2. It makes me sad to hear that these things are said.

    Basically what you are saying is that you get better results with a spoon of honey than with a tone of bitterness- I think it is from St Ignatius.

  3. Zelus domus tuae comedit me?

  4. God love you, Terry. You are one of the signs of hope I see in the Church.

    1. What is it you are hoping for, Mark?

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. I remember the first time I saw your blog and read up on some of the topics that I found interesting, helpful, and above all, inspiring. I knew that you could be trusted, that you could help your fellow brothers and sisters along the walk to Calvary. I knew that because you have struggled, you have walked away, you have come back, well, I knew you would be one solid Christian who could show me the Way, the Truth and the Life.

    Not many Catholic blogs do that nowadays. Thanks be to God, yours is a good place to rest and to learn and to pray. Jesus resides here as does his holy mother, Mary.

    May you remain steadfast and strong as you continue to guide/help the rest of us towards Jesus, towards fidelity and towards virtue.

    God bless you Terry! May your life continue to give glory to God!

  6. Well, I was the commenter here. I'll own it. It was me.

    I am saddened and angry. Pope Benedict's resignation made me sad. I will say I do not like Pope Francis. Watching Cardinal Mahoney dance and celebrate was a warning. Do I consider him the Vicar of Christ? Yes. Do I recognize his authority? Yes. Will I obey him on matters of doctrine and dogma? Yes. But do I like his style, his non-authoritative interviews/musings, or his administrative decisions? No. That does not mean I am any less Catholic than the biggest Pope Francis fan on the planet. I'm not too crazy about Pope Formosus or Pope Stephen VI either, but that doesn't make me less Catholic. I dissent from zero Church teachings.

    Do I sin? Yes. But I admit that they are sins. Which leads me to my second point: I am angry at people like Michael Tedeger and Michael Bayly for what has happened in this archdiocese, particularly their vitriol against Church teaching on sexuality (that I struggle to uphold and would rather die than deny) and His Excellency. The celebratory tone of both following the accusation against the archbishop was enough to make me want to St. Nicholas each men in the face.

    But I can't. I have to love them. I want to beat them senseless, but I can't. I have to love them. Christianity is hard. It is hard as hell, but it is true. And in order to not end up in hell, I need it and I need the Church.

    I was drawn back by the writings and style of Benedict XVI. I was inspired to take up Newman and Aquinas and burn my old bigotry and prejudice against the Church. I became fascinated with the fact that she held the Truth itself. I was inspired by the liturgies of Cardinal Burke and the strong witness for marriage by His Excellency Archbishop Nienstedt. They mean a lot to me, and while that does not make me any more or less Catholic, it explains the emotional response.

    Truth be told, it is hard for me to love anyone, myself included. I do not like Mark Shea, Bayly, Thom, Tedeger, and many others out there who have at one time been Catholic or still may be. But I have to love them, and again, that is hard.

    So pardon my rage. You and others here have your sins too. Mine are the passions of lust and anger. I cannot help being zealous - it is my personality. When it is zeal for good, I am inspired by the martyrs. They are my heroes - those who would rather die than commit a sin. Those who died for truth and love of God. Those who never "lived and let lived" when it came to Truth. When my zeal is for bad, I lash out at the Baylys and others who are disgusted by me and my love of the Truth. Those who cannot understand me and I cannot understand them.

    I ought to let my zeal carry me to them, much like St. Francis of Assisi was carried by his zeal to the heart of Islam and in front of the Sultan himself. I ought to let it carry me face to face with those who seek to take down the Truth in the Church. I ought to be with those men in Argentina, protecting the Cathedral. I ought to be out praying in opposition to Bayly and his protestors at the Chancery. I ought to let the Spirit use my passion and zeal for good.

    I just need to get out His way.

    1. There have rarely been better words spoken on a Catholic blog.

    2. Hi Jericho,

      It seems we have a similar personality and understanding of the faith. Like you, I've been disappointed with dozens of things that the pope has said and done. But avoid those internet voices that have turned the pope into a caricature of himself. See the whole picture and appreciate his many gifts and deep spiritual insights. He has his blind spots like all of us--he often seems to be reacting against the church of his youth, but the church of the 40s and 50s is long gone. Similarly, more traditional catholics often act as though we're still at the height of the crisis in the 70s and 80s. The church is on the mend while our societies still slide...

      Finally, don't let the devil reduce people into narrow little categories--that's what demons do. Demons look for reasons to despise and criticize while Christ looks for reasons to love. People are rarely what they seem--especially on the internet. I bet if you had a cup of coffee with Mark Shea you would change your view of him. Peace.

    3. Amen, Scott, Amen!

  7. Jericho, I've been busy getting my mom's house on the market so wasn't available to counterprotest at the Chancery. I really want my Bishop back and they want him out. They should be careful what they ask for; for all you don't like how the Pope comes across, I think he's more likely to assign a St. Nicholas type than a warm fuzzy bishop should he feel the need to replace Abp. I want my Bishop back.

  8. Jericho, I appreciate your honesty, even as I find your zealous rage troubling.

    You say you are angry with me for "what has happened in this archdiocese." What exactly are you referring to?

    Also, I don't see anything celebratory in my post about the recent allegation against Archbishop Nienstedt. What do you see that's celebratory about it?



  9. There's so many Biblical-verses that come to mind about this post, and I believe what MJ states about "getting better result with a spoonful of honey than with a tone of bitterness". First Biblical-verse comes to mind is: "And Jesus calling unto Him a small child, set him in the midst of them, and said, "Amen, I say to you, unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Whosoever then humbles himself as this little child, he is the greater in the Kingdom of Heaven. And he that shall receive one such little child in My name, receives Me." (st. Matthew 18: 2 - 5, Douay-Rheims Bible version). It seems to me that small children are interested in playing with each other and being loved by the parents, very simple and straightforward. Even when they have "spats" over a toy, if lovingly taught how to share, they learn to grow with love instead of hatred, too. Also, I always believed this Bible verse teaches a "glimpse" that since children's sexuality is dormant, we also may strive to imitate that in the sense that we can strive to be more chaste and innocent, as far as is possible, by prayer, especially Rosary, the Sacraments, etc., and behaving or striving to behave more like brothers and sisters with each-other. Love is what's important, no matter what it takes. Just my thoughts and "take" on this post. God bless, Terry and ALL yr. readers here..

  10. I like the blogs & comments telling us just where Pope Francis is going wrong! Some people are so blinded - we must pray for them.

  11. Hi Terry I haven't commented in awhile b/c I've been w/o a computer but I do manage to read "you" on a mobile device. Keeping you in my prayers. Scott thank you for saying what I've been thinking. I don't know Mark Shea but I can't imagine anything he has said or done could be worse than some of the attacks. Truly I wish "Catholic" bloggers would stick to talking about their own faults and what they're doing to correct them. Terry you are the most humble blogger I know. We're in the throes of some kind of chastisement and none of us can afford to do anything except pray repent and trust in the promises of Christ. That's why we're not "feeling it" this Christmas. God bless you and all the regulars here. Pray for me. Joyce

  12. Good post Terry.

    There are so many ways that concupiscence affects us from disordered inclinations we may have to the inclination to rash judgment. The God-pleasing approach is to beg for mercy for others as we would ourselves. My anger for what others do is often tempered quickly when I beg God to have mercy on them, and on me for any rash judgments I may have made.


Please comment with charity and avoid ad hominem attacks. I exercise the right to delete comments I find inappropriate. If you use your real name there is a better chance your comment will stay put.