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 amFr. 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.
After I removed the comment and closed the com box, my friend responded on another post with this: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
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.
Wow. No place for zealots. No place for those who choose to stand up to bullies and heretics, huh? Wow, Terry.
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.