Since being on Facebook, former friends, co-workers, distant old friends and family are all there and they now know where I am - literally and figuratively. Blogger friends who have read what I write, or happen to follow Abbey Roads over the past 10 years are there as well. The mix on Facebook is interesting. I know when old friends show up by the 'friend' suggestions which pop up.
I sometimes wonder what they think about the religious friends I have, and the really conservative people who link to me. At times I'm a little embarrassed.
I seriously do not know who would be attracted to the Catholic Church these days with the types on Catholic social media condemning the pope, the president and anyone who disagrees with them, spreading gossip and rumors about homosexual priests, heresy, and deviltry controlling the Church. I'm not talking about those people online who voice honest, constructive criticism, or counter false teachings with a charitable correction, without demeaning others, or hurling invective, including ad hominem attacks upon their lifestyle or political POV, whatever.
Actually, it is repellent.
I always thought the locutionists and visionaries and apparition chasers were screwed up - albeit kind of funny - but the anti-papist Catholics and crazy politico conspiracy theorists strike me as total fruitcakes as well. I love the AA saying - take the alcohol out of the fruitcake - you still have fruitcake. I use that line for 'former' homosexuals as well as all the 'converted' sinners with a blog who now condemn everyone else who hasn't experienced conversion. Amazing that these people write advice columns, or promulgate traditional Catholicism while denigrating everyone else as a liberal or CINO. Some of these people spend a great deal of their time digging up dirt on their enemies and spreading gossip to undermine their reputations, all in the name of religion. Only to claim persecution when they are called out or threatened with lawsuits.
That type of religion is bogus and no one is convinced by some pious soul waving the Syllabus of Errors in their face, or threatening them with a 19th century message from heaven filled with all sorts of scary threats to humanity.
You want a smaller Church - you'll get it - but it will not be Catholic. The Church is where the Pope is. Pope Francis is the Pope.
I watched an interview with Charlie Rose talking to Mark Shriver, he and his sister Maria are very enthusiastic about Pope Francis. Mark had been disillusioned with the Catholic Church until Pope Francis came along. It's interesting how many lapsed Catholics, lukewarm Catholics, as well as non-Catholics have been touched by Pope Francis.
Shriver says he has changed, he's become a better Catholic because of Francis. His new book “Pilgrimage: My Search for the Real Pope Francis” is a credible testament to that.
When John came to you in the way of righteousness, you did not believe him; but tax collectors and prostitutes did. Yet even when you saw that, you did not later change your minds and believe him. - Matthew 21:32If we lack joy, and if from the fullness of our heart only bitterness, scorn, and condemnation flows - something is wrong - something is wrong with us.
In closing, I have to say I'm edified by the daily Mass goers in every 'Novus Ordo' parish - especially mine. Every single day they are at Mass, every Thursday they are at adoration. They volunteer everywhere, some at church, some in nursing facilities, others at shelters - many go on mission trips. Some are in neighborhood groups. They are not gossips or busybodies. They always have a smile and a greeting. They don't wear chapel veils or scapulars on the outside of their clothing. They stand for communion - receive with reverence but not ostentation, and so on. They pray. They live the Gospel. I never hear a mean spirited criticism or complaint about the pope. I never hear a word about impending doom. Normal Catholic men and women - they are the backbone of the parish, and they are the heart of the Church. Old and young. Men and women, boys and girls.
These people would never embarrass me.