Sunday, December 06, 2015

Disgruntled Catholics


I'm cleaning out my archives.  I think I deleted at least 200+ posts so far today.  I've deleted more than that if I count the past few weeks of editing.  They are mostly opinionated posts, critical of others, or simply evidence of being a disgruntled Catholic... as in disgruntled employee too.  Filled with resentment and the remembrance of wrongs.  Scoffing, mocking.  Detraction, gossip.  Seeking approval.  Trying to be 'hip' - I used to use tags or popular search words to get more traffic - for what?  So vain.  All the stuff I accuse others of doing - I've done that - I do that.  So I'm trying to clean up the blog - delete the crap, the filler nothing-to-blog-about idle-thoughts posts.

How can you believe when you seek approval from one another?

Christ said that.  The other day I accused some of using the Summorum Pontificum on the Roman Liturgy as a sort of license to goad Novus Ordo bishops and superiors legally - in the canonical sense.  Holding up the traditional liturgy and all that goes with it as a sort of 'weapon' against liberals and progressives.  I think we all do that type of thing at one time or another.  There's an unhealthy competitiveness religious people get into.  The so-called conflict between the active and contemplative life for instance.  Or the proposition one school of spirituality is better than another.  Perhaps my support of Pope Francis has become for me some sort testimony to my Catholicism - that I'm all right.  How many times have I posted some sort of testimony of my orthodoxy or fidelity or celibacy - to prove somehow I'm a faithful Catholic.  Why?  And to whom?  What does that even mean?  Aren't I suggesting I'm somehow better than someone else?  Or better than a reader thought I was?  That's vanity.  That's self-righteousness.  That's hypocrisy.

Self-righteousness sneaks up to bite you, or nibble at your heel - constantly...  at least it does me.   Disgruntled is crazy - because one believes they are entitled to feel that way, and that 'my way is the right way'.  Deluded and disgruntled.

You learn to pick it up in others online when you begin to recognize the same faults in yourself, I think.  The danger is taking oneself too seriously, believing you are somehow indispensable.  No one needs me to point out the faults of others, or to defend this or that person.  It is a great freedom of spirit to accept that - I always forget that lesson and keep committing the same sins - and keep doing posts like this.

I so like this meditation from Sr. Wendy which was in Magnificat the other day - I'll copy a portion here:
"Which of us can dare claim we see the truth?  ... The whole truth?  The truth with a capital letter that Jesus identified with himself: I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  The truth is immensely vast and challenging.  Would we be eager to see our conduct, our fulfillment of our responsibilities, our unselfishness as God sees these things? If there is no glaring wrongness, do we not quite happily jog along, conscience clear? ..." - Wendy Beckett
Someone told me the Pope doesn't need me to defend him, much less try to explain what he says or does.  What a light his words became for me.  Just because I feel I understand the pope - doesn't mean he needs me to defend him.  As Jesus said, they have the Law and the prophets - in other words, we do too, we have tradition, the Fathers, the catechism, the Scriptures, the Mass, and we have Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.  So if someone asks - 'how can the pope say this or do that?' or, 'does this mean I can do this or that now and do whatever I want?'  The only answer I need to give is 'what does the catechism say?' or, 'what does the Church teach?'  I'm not qualified to speak for the Pope - and he doesn't need me to do so.

"Recognizing our failures is the first step to allowing the grace of God to purify us.  We all have a stick and a begging purse.  If we allow our Lord to cure our blindness, we can throw both away ..."

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices. - St. Teresa of Avila  
Jesus is in The Blessed Sacrament
All will be well.

"Lord, I want to love you, but you know you can't trust me!" - S. Philip Neri
Jesus, I trust in you.

Song for this post here.  My 'visitor' also told me that everyone will let you down ... except for Christ Jesus - he is in the Eucharist and will never let me down.

I said in my alarm;
'no man can be trusted'
all have gone astray,
there is not a good man left -
there is no one who does good,
no, not even one. 


  1. The only answer I need to give is 'what does the catechism say?' or, 'what does the Church teach?' I'm not qualified to speak for the Pope - and he doesn't need me to do so.


    1. It was the best advice I ever received - glad you liked it!

    2. Another solid post with lots of food for thought and with the hope of putting some of it into practice.

      Yours truly is the best blog/way of continuing on the Royal Road ... well, for me it is.

      Thank you again, Terry.

  2. Great post. I struggle with similar stuff. I'm not a blogger but in my professional and private life I commit the same prideful sins over and over again. Why am I so insecure? Always trying to build myself up in others eyes. My confessions are like the movie "groundhog day "......

    1. Before the blog - I might have been worse. Hang in there.

  3. Blogging is not journalism. It is not reporting the facts. It is about recording our reactions to the events around us. In some ways, it is Ike sharing our diary with the world. So if you no longer want to share your feelings with the rest of the world, why blog? I think bloggers do go way off course when they get into condemning anyone who doesn't agree with them, or pushing hateful points of view, as far too many do.

    I appreciate your statement that many of the posts you have done have been just to gain attention and approval. I am sure that it is the underlying reason for many of us who blog. At the same time, I think it is important to counter those who are spreading hate and division, especially in the Church. As I have written many times, the Catholic blogosphere has become one big scandal, and it is important to expose it.

    1. You are right too - and you do a very good job of trying to counter those who are spreading the hate and division. Thanks.

    2. Your latest post is nothing short of courageous. God bless you!

  4. “Seeking approval…”

    I remember asking a priest’s advice about a book I was wanting to publish. I wasn’t sure about my real motives for publishing. Was it for approval (ego), for financial reasons, or simply to share with others?

    The priest was very brief in his wise response. “Do it for the glory of God” he said, “and if God wants to share some of that glory with you, accept it.”

    My own take on seeking approval is that it stems from a very deep sense of rejection or not fitting in with what is considered the norm. Perhaps because of an absent parent and a lack of natural nuturing, particularly in childhood. It send us deep into ourselves, sometimes down a path of creativity, in an effort to learn to find and deal with ways of being ‘alone’ and coping with the an absence of love in our lives. Sometimes it can drive us down the path of perfection, but demanding perfection from those around us as well. We hate intolerance and exclusiveness but sadly find ourselves adopting the same behaviour we reject in others.

    Reaching the crossroads – any crisis in life – is positive. It calls for decisions and change. It’s part of the conversion experience, leaving behind the old ways. The magi found this out after their eucharistic encounter with the Infant Jesus. They returned home by a different way. Wise as they were, they had still much to learn about life and themselves. Conversion is a daily process. Sometime we linger in the same old place for just a little too long.

    Time to move on Terry – and truly trust in the voice speaking in your heart. Let go of the branch.

    As for your blog – “do it for the glory of God”.


    1. Thanks bg - very deep - much to ponder. God bless and many thanks.

  5. Terry,

    Used to read your blog years ago, and rediscovered it on the Catholic blog directory. Probably stopped reading at some point because of what you discovered yourself above. I think it's a testament to growth and self-awareness to have a sense of humility enough to recognize and admit to it.

    Was actually doing the exact same thing tonight--rediscovered my old blog (all of 567 posts) and realized the majority of it stemmed in part from needing to process things, and part from a desire to be heard and noticed. Felt like late Thomas Merton rereading The Seven Story Mountain or something, a sense of sophomoric embarrassment--but also realizing it was just a different time in my life.

    I often wonder why I write at all. Then I realize that my wife and I met in part because she first read my if it served no purpose aside from that, it would have been worth it. I thought about just continuing on the old blog with new writing 4+ years later, but realized it would be like sewing a a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. Better to start fresh.

    Stay rooted in prayer, and as the above commenter mentioned, do it all for His Glory.

    1. Thanks Rob - I appreciate your comment. I'm surprised it took me so long to really recognize these things. God bless you!

    2. Thanks Rob - I appreciate your comment. I'm surprised it took me so long to really recognize these things. God bless you!

    3. Just came across this: "The idea that everybody thinks they’re specialists with voices that deserve to be heard has actually made everyone’s voice less meaningful." - NYT


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