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Monday, July 17, 2017

The Humorous Situation of Catholic Bloggers who Condemn Bloggers for Condemning

There's an old saying that if you are pointing a finger at someone, there are three fingers pointing back at you. It's true; try it.

And so I'm always amused to find Catholics in the blogosphere who consider themselves kind and luving as they condemn others "for condemning."

Fr. Z and Mike Voris are regular targets as well as anyone who dares to criticize the faux mercy of Pope Francis and the disastrous impact he is having on Church teachings.

Because of Amorous Laetitia we now have one diocese upholding the indissolubility of marriage (Poland, Philadelphia) while another tosses it out the window (Malta, Chicago). After all, poor sinners can't be expected to live up to those hard teachings of Jesus about a man who divorces his wife and marries another being an adulterer. Pshaw! Jesus didn't mean it. And, besides, grievous sins aren't really all that grievous after all. And everybody has a right to receive the Body of Christ whether they repent or not. Besides, we are all sinners, so who is anyone to judge anyone's actions? (Time to rip out that inconvenient book in the Old Testament called Book of Judges. Martin Luther, we need you!)

According to the "non-judgmental" bloggers, the nasty, rigid, condemning bloggers don't have a luving bone in their bodies and are as far from acting like Jesus, as, well...hmmm...the Pharisees and Sadducees...with maybe a little Hitler and Donald Trump thrown in for good measure.

Of course condemning and name-calling "those condemners" is justified, because the luving bloggers follow Jesus and the "rigid fundamentalists" obviously don't. And, hey, the luvers have a parade of liberals who agree with them like Jesuit Anthony Spadaro whose  recent article co-authored with Presbyterian minister Marcelo Figueroa is breathtaking in its assault against conservative American Catholics. Ironically it was published shortly after the Vatican gay orgy scandal -- a coincidence? or an attempt to deflect attention and shift the focus to those bad old homophobic, Islamophobic, xenophobic, Manichean, fundamentalist Catholics in the U.S.

And then there's Fr. James Martin who loves to talk about hate; not his hate, of course, but the hate of critics who disagree with his normalizing gay behavior. Any criticism of gay behavior as disordered is vilified as calling the homosexual person disordered. Hey, if we just affirm them in their sin, they are sure to repent of it and join Courage.

I am so sick of hearing the misuse of Jesus' words, "Judge not lest ye be judged." to neutralize the spiritual works of mercy that call us to "instruct the ignorant, admonish the sinner, and counsel the doubtful." All those require us to use our intellect to make prudential judgments and our will to take action.

Why are the spiritual works being neutered? Well, I can think of one reason. It's a whole lot easier to stand on the moral high ground claiming to luv the sinner while leaving him in his sin. I've been tempted in that way myself. Silence, which implies consent, is always easier than confrontation, even gentle confrontation.

I'll close with a little story. There was a wealthy man in my parish; I'll call him Henry. He gave very generous monthly checks to the St. Vincent de Paul Society (now the Outreach Committee). I saw Henry every day at daily Mass. In fact he sat right behind me. We often smiled at one another and shared the sign of peace. During the election cycle I noticed he had a bumper sticker on his car for Virginia Senator Mark Warner one of the most pro-abortion members of Congress who publicly supported even the monstrous partial birth abortion method. Every day I looked at Henry's car and thought about what a scandal it was for a Catholic to support a man publicly supporting the murder of children. Should I should speak to him? I dreaded the thought. So I began praying every day at Mass and at other times for him.

One morning I once again was praying about whether I should speak to Henry and felt an interior movement. The thought came to me, "There's no time like the present." So I followed him out of Church after Mass and said with a big smile, "Hi, my name is Mary Ann. I see you every day at Mass, but we've never met." He smiled back, introduced himself, and shook my hand. I held on. The smile disappeared when I said next, "I've noticed your Mark Warner bumper sticker. He's very pro-abortion. In fact he supports partial birth abortion." He pulled his hand away and began walking quickly to his car. I walked right along with him. As he got in and closed the door I said. "Catholics can't support that."

The upshot of the conversation was that he moved to other side of the Church. We often came out of the pew opposite each other going to Communion and I made eye contact and smiled. And I continued to pray for him. I don't think he ever took the bumper sticker off his car, and he died a few years later. But I found out after he died that my conversation was so upsetting to him that he brought it up with another parishioner who was very pro-life. I'll never know what happened; that gentleman had also died when I learned about it from one of his close friends. I still pray for Henry occasionally as well as the gentleman he consulted and hope we all meet merrily in heaven.

We are called to admonish one another in charity. Admonishing always begins with self-examination and prayer (fasting too if it's really serious). But to excuse oneself as luving while describing the one who takes the spiritual works of mercy seriously as condemning is irresponsible and rash judgment. I will never apologize for calling sin sin and urging the sinner to repent. I'm just urging him to do what I do myself. That is not being a Pharisee, but being a serious, responsible Catholic.

So you luving Catholic bloggers out there who frequently condemn others as condemning, do yourselves a favor and stop dressing up your nasty, condemning judgments in righteous clothing. You can't have it both ways. If you are pointing the finger of condemnation at others because they condemn sinful behavior, you are really judging yourselves.


Roe Antinore said...

OMG Mary Ann, I can relate to every word in your blog. You are such a Godsend to me and you give me courage in a world that is so lacking in true faith and morals. Thank you so much for being you and thank you, Jesus, for giving me and all of us, Mary Ann Kreitzer. I'm sharing this on my page and spreading the Good News of Jesus.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

Thank you Roe. I am grateful for you as well. God knows we need one another in this sick and crazy world. I'm putting your intentions in the pocket of my heart and taking them to Mass with me tomorrow. I hope one day we meet in person.

Connecticut Catholic Corner said...

What a wonderful blog post Mary Ann. Well said!

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

Thanks Julie. I'm sure we share the same kinds of wounds for our blog posts. You must be picking out arrows for your blog post on Fr. Rosica and Fr. Martin. Who are you to judge? Keep it up, girl. And I wasn't aware of the Vatican taking the Bible off its website. Thanks for that bit of head-shaking news. I wonder if they'll be purging all the encyclicals against modernism next.

Connecticut Catholic Corner said...

Don't give them any ideas Mary Ann! ;)

Catholic in Brooklyn said...

I guess Jesus was pointing three fingers at himself when he condemned the Pharisees.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

You are making my point, Mary. Those who use their "seat of judgment" to fight evil are NOT condemning the person. Only God has the right to judge the state of a man's soul and condemn Him which He will do on judgment day if the sinner refuses to repent.

Catholics DO have the obligation to fight evil, like abortion. Since evil acts are performed by people, we need to challenge them about their actions. If their sins are coddled and affirmed (which is exactly what Fr. James Martin does) why should they even consider repenting?

Catholic in Brooklyn said...

But you are condemning people all the time, from Father James Martin to Pope Frances, calling them heretics. I do not condemn people, I judge their actions and the harm it does to the faithful. How do you rationalize what you constantly do on your blog with this post?

I do thank you for publishing my first comment, but I highly doubt you will publish this one.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

What is heresy, Mary? It is the rejection of a Catholic doctrine that one is required to believe (by Christ Himself through His Church). Fr. Martin rejects (as Charlie Curran did after Humanae Vitae) Church doctrine on marriage and sexuality. That is a heretical position, an action and a behavior. And it is to be condemned. If it isn't, others can be led into Fr. Martin's error. I don't presume to know where Fr. Martin stands before God, but his actions are not encouraging. If someone is standing with his back to a cliff, it's an act of charity to warn him not to take a step backwards.

What would you say about the apostle St. Polycarp's statement described here:

Irenaeus in “Against Heresies” (III.3.4) refers to the anti-marcionite actions of Polycarp and how he was able to convert many from the heresies of Marcion and Valentinus to orthodoxy. Irenaeus also describes a meeting that Polycarp had with Marcion himself in Rome. When Marcion asked Polycarp if he recognizes him, Polycarp replied: “I do know thee, the first-born of Satan”. Heresy for Polycarp is a danger for the Church worse than persecution.

Would you condemn Polycarp? Can you address a heresy without addressing the heresiarch?

St. Polycarp also described an episode where St. John the Apostle fled the local bathhouse when the heretic Cerinthus entered warning everyone else in the bathhouse to flee as well because the heretic Cerinthus was in the house.

As for not condemning people, Mary, get real. You have told me numerous times that I'm "off the rails" and that you are worried for my soul. That is the condemnation that judges the state of a person's soul before God that we are forbidden to do. I think you are a well-meaning Catholic who lacks logic and has a gentle, non-confrontation style. That's fine, but it's not the same for everyone. Some flowers in God's garden are tiny violets. Some are sunflowers and some are stinkweeds. There is a place for all of us.

I wish you only well. But I will not follow your example of defending heresy and evil when the evil-doer is wearing a roman collar.

Anonymous said...

The information you have shared on your blog helped me approach a relative about a very sensitive issue. I was afraid to say the things I needed to say, thinking I was going to hurt this person. What I discovered was a tormented soul that desired guidance and was sickened by the "Church of nice" crowd sense of Mercy. Thank you so much, Mary!! I don't think I would have known what to do for this beautiful person who felt so alone and abandoned by his own church.

Catholic in Brooklyn said...

Yes, Mary Ann, and I will repeat that you are off the rails if for no other reason than your constant condemnation of Pope Francis. Being worried about someone's soul means I have looked at your actions and I do not see the fruits of the Holy Spiritil. I do not see love, mercy or compassion from you. I mentioned that Jesus condemned the Pharisees, which he did. But don't you find it interesting that he never condemned anyone else? He only condemned religious leaders because instead of leading people to God, they were actually destroying people's souls through the heavy burdens they were placing on the people. Our Lord never spoke that way to anyone else, not even the woman caught in the actual act of adultery. But you take every opportuntiy you can to leash out at sinners.

Pope Francis wants to extend mercy, just as Jesus Christ did, and for that, you call the Holy Father a heretic. Think about it.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, that should say, Thank You, Mary Ann!

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

Well, Mary, you can have the last judgmental, condemning word. And I do mean the last.

Roe Antinore said...

It is not mercy to affirm people in their sins. It is merciful to admonish the sinner. For what doth it profit a man if he gains the whole world but suffers the loss of his soul.

Mack Malone said...

I think there are several factors in play here. First, its seems the Pro-Trump Crowd (and I voted for him..with a heavy heart, as I can't stand Hillary...) is that they confuse being Anti-PC with being rude and crass...(like Trump himself.) I don't consider myself PC but I do consider myself polite...(I try to be..but often fail..) and if Sam wants to be called Sammi..I will call him Sammi..( I have a transitioning person working for me...would it help him if I called him out on his "reality," ? ) Its called living in a polite society. I also think that to correct someone you need to have some kind of moral authority or a relationship with that person first. If you came up to me after Mass and commented on a political sticker on my car...(by the way I HATE stickers on cars...) I would listen politely our of respect for your age (that is not an insult at all) but if I did not know you or have a relationship with you I would not really "listen" to you.

I think the main problem, mostly with Voris, is that he comes off less the muscular Catholic he wants to be, and more as a grumpy old biddy.. he is strident, angry and self righteously unpleasant. That may be to your liking...I know it is for most of his followers, but it counter productive to his cause. Most of the people who are listening to him are agreeing with him how does that change anyone's heart or behavior if he is just preaching to the choir? What "good" does he do if he does not ever reach the people whose behavior he feels...needs to be corrected? I think that is what Pope Francis is taking about with Mercy and with meeting someone where they are. Jesus ate with the prostitutes and corrected them...but first he sat down and ate with them, more then likely talked to them about their lives and got to know them, before he corrected them. Jesus took that time to be gentle with sinners, but Voris, a sinner himself does not?

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

I don't disagree, Mack, about much of this. Voris is often over the top. I don't watch him much. I think there is a difference in correcting, for example, a family member who's living with his significant other and addressing a public scandal (the bumper sticker on a Catholic's car).

When I was sidewalk counseling we always tried to establish some rapport with the couples coming to the abortion mill. But sometimes whether there is rapport or not you need to witness to the truth.

I'm not sure how I would deal with a situation like your "transitioning" employee. Pray a lot to begin with and talk to my confessor.

The behavior of these folks makes them a serious danger to themselves as well as others. He might be the nicest person in the world, but I certainly wouldn't want him around my grandchildren. And I'm not sure how I'd deal with the pronoun wars. If someone is delusional (but doesn't have dementia) is it mentally healthy to coddle the delusion? For either the deluded one or the person dealing with him?

Tough times.

Mack Malone said...

Regarding the transitioning..legally you can't discriminate (not that I would...) You don't have to throw a party for them however. As for a danger...I try to take each person for what they are..I think sometimes the most normal looking person can hide a lot of scary stuff, but we all have to make choices about who we allow around our children. I agree...tough times indeed!

Honest answer..thanks... and keep working on those bees, my neighbors in my Disney World like suburban street are freaked out by my wildflowers!

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

When we lived in Alexandria our next door neighbor worshiped her lawn. She was out there every waking hour. She hated our yard (lots of dandelions) and kept putting more bushes and things between us and her. It was kind of funny. But sad too. Her husband ended up leaving her. I always wondered if it was her compulsive behavior. Somehow I doubt it was just her lawn. I still pray for her.