Since the death of my friend, for some reason I've become much more sensitive regarding criticism and rash judgment. I've always opposed it when it has been focused upon the Holy Father, and over the years, I've gone back and forth on criticism of bishops.
For years I've been skeptical about 'new' religious orders, or communities, and I've offered my share of criticism suspicion about certain groups. Considering the toxic things Trump dishes out to anyone who questions what he says, it occurred to me that he is speaking from some sort of interior deficit. His cousin, Mary Trump suggests he acts out because of deep seated insecurities. That could include fear of failure, fear that people may discover his vulnerability or weaknesses, and so on.
I considered that analysis in respect to my own 'critical spirit'. Perhaps my criticism of others reflects what I most lack in myself? Or failed to achieve? Perhaps it is rooted in envy, even jealousy? Stemming from my own sense/fear of failure? Used as an offensive to avoid being found out by others... It's all stuff I've been reflecting upon in my grief and solitude.
I suppose I recognize it in others, probably because I am guilty of, or prone to the same toxic attitudes. In fact, many years ago, very much influenced by Traditionalists, I freely criticized so-called 'neo-cons' - without grounds. I followed the opinions of those who appeared to know better, because they were steeped in Traditional Catholicism, and trusted nothing after 1960, and that sort of thing. I began blogging under that influence. I freely criticized other writers, Catholic movements, priests, and so on.
My conscience has been especially troubled recently, as I encountered the mean spirited posts and comments regarding a well known Catholic blogger-writer. She was very much maligned over the years because she married a man who had been a priest. I followed suit in my criticism - totally unwarranted, BTW. She in turn contacted me and asked why I would treat her like that, since we didn't even know one another. I accepted her humble question as a 'rebuke' and an occasion to examine my conscience. I apologized and we became online friends. When I came across the latest attacks upon her character and talent, I had great sympathy for her, once again. She is in my prayers. The people maligning her seem to thrive on condemning those they disagree with.
That is just one example of my change of heart. Immediately after my friend died, a high school friend posted comments mocking Trump. I'm no fan of Trump, I don't like him at all, but the mocking, sneering comments are always against charity, and I can't support that any longer. I told her that, and she removed her comment.
In turn, some of my 'online friends' constantly criticize Catholics who support Trump, reject Pope Francis, while they themselves embrace so-called liberal politics, including the questionable political motives of a radical left. They seem to be able to ignore some of the tactics and agenda of the 'left', and embrace everything opposed to the Trump administration. (Like I said, I'm not a fan of Trump.) It seems to me, they fall into the exact same trap I fell into years ago, when I sided with the more traditionalist agenda, which supported Pope Benedict before his retirement.
I think both sides tie into an ideological mindset, a kind of dogmatism, and therefore become rigid in a closed system, as it were. Therefore one pigeon-holes certain groups and person, which excludes them from your social network/clique, and vice versa. I recognize in these situations the corrupting influence of a collective mentality, a sort of group think which influences social media and manipulates opinion.
Just sharing some thoughts.
*"Americans have discovered the way in which fear of collective disapproval breeds self-censorship and silence, which impoverish public life and creative work. The double life one ends up leading—one where there is a growing gap between one’s public and private selves—eventually begins to feel oppressive." - The American Soviet Mentality