Monday, October 26, 2009

Catholic Wild Horses...and Others

I’ve been mulling a blog entry for a long time about some downright nasty sites that are out there, put up by some of my fellow Catholics seemingly for no other purpose than to snipe at some of my other fellow Catholics...and how sick I am of that whole mess.

Mind you, I’m not talking about calling fake “Catholics” like Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden on the carpet: the more of that we can do, the better our Church will be for it. And no, my Church’s primary reason to be on this earth isn’t to be “inclusive.” It’s to be the Body of Christ on earth. If you don’t LIKE what the Body of Christ on earth prescribes for you—i.e., if you can’t find it in your (misguided) conscience to just obey the Magisterium—then, fine, go somewhere else. You’re already not Catholic to begin with; we won’t miss you.

But, just as the Pharisees and Sadducees and many other sects of Judaism started arguing about who was the better Jew—when they were all basically obedient—there has developed, and continued to develop, a chasm between ordinary obedient Catholics and people who’ve taken a stance that being a “real Catholic” entails a LOT of things it, in fact, doesn’t mean.


Denying the legitimacy of a) the present pope or b) various other popes (on bases that can run anywhere from “mistranslation” of the English Mass all the way to some pretty wacky conspiracy theories about Paul VI “wanting to turn us all Protestant”);

Declaring that the Novus Ordo Mass isn’t “really” Mass at all (see Paul VI reference above);

Harping on the “fact” that any liturgical music that’s not Gregorian chant is a waste of church time (most ESPECIALLY if it’s ANYTHING by Marty Haugen, David Haas, or a host of others of like ilk);

…and even...

Opining that a woman who wears anything other than skirts/dresses (below the knee, thank you very much) or doesn’t keep her head covered in church isn’t truly obedient and submissive to God. (I kid you not.)

Make no mistake—I’m not saying that some of the people who do, believe, and practice such things are not trying to be the best Catholics they can be. If I go and say that, I’m as guilty of error as they are.

But the plain fact of the matter is…
Jesus instituted His Church on earth and He continues to keep it in His hand.
That INCLUDES our present popes.
That INCLUDES a well-prayed, reverent Novus Ordo—and yes, for the smartasses out there, THERE IS SUCH A THING. (Just because YOU don’t encounter it—maybe because you don’t look for it?—doesn’t mean it doesn’t EXIST.)
And yes, the Body of Christ on earth can even include women who wear blue jeans, the occasional sleeveless top or bathing suit (heavens!) and who don’t worry about whether they’re going to Hell simply because they don’t have the mantilla on at Mass.

(Note: I’m not saying I think blue jeans or such are appropriate for Mass. I don’t much care for them. Nor are shorts, nor is anything else that’s “playclothes”—but that’s another issue, for another time. These folks who insist on the skirts below the knees, the elbow-length or longer sleeves, and no slacks for women are talking about it outside church.)

In short…I’ve had it with bloggers, magazine editors, book authors, and various others who hold forth in various media with personal opinions presented as Gospel truth and slam anyone who dares to think otherwise. I don’t mind a good chiding for those who deserve it; but these posts and blogs and editorials and published pieces don’t fall under the category of good chiding for those who need it. They are little more than personal religious tantrums, thrown under the guise of “shaking things up,” but really are nothing more than attempts to grab a little (in) fame by being “rad trad” or some similar coloring. And God help you if you take issue with one of these jerks…you may as well paint a target on your back.

This does not strike me as edification. Sarcasm, yes. A narcissistic conviction that “I” have the Truth and “you” don’t (neener, neener, neener), yes. But I don’t see anywhere in my Bible where it says to correct a brother or sister with sarcasm or public humiliation…do you?

Or is that just because I read an inferior BIBLE to yours, too?

Some very big names in the Catholic apologetics/blogging/writing biz are guilty of this. Some otherwise pretty darned good magazines and publications are allowing themselves to be totally ruined by this smartass mentality…and driving away honest, earnest Catholics whom they could be educating, edifying, and blessing instead of berating, browbeating, and ridiculing.

Does the Church need this?
Do ANY of us need this?

There’s an old story about the difference between wild horses and wild jackasses that you probably know, but it’s very remiscent of this situation. Supposedly, when wild horses sense a threat, they put their heads together—literally—in a large circle, back hooves facing outward, and they kick the blazes out of the potential predator. But when wild jackasses sense a threat, they do the opposite—they gather in a circle, all right, but facing outward, braying like fools, while their back hooves are kicking the blazes OUT OF EACH OTHER.

Which are you?

A fellow blogger
echoes these sentiments quite well, and I nearly let her say it for me. (Amen, and Amen.) But then again, when more than one of us sees a threat…it’s probably better if more of us put our heads together, and more than one of us kicks the crap out of it.

I hope more of us who are sick of this nonsense will start kicking back. And soon. The Church needs excellent catechesis, reform, and obedience—and a good housecleaning. But she won’t get it through sarcasm, paranoia, superiority complexes, and backbiting. Not now, not ever. And those of us who continue to engage in this nonsense, I believe, do so at our own peril.