Where has all the charity gone?

4 Feb

Readers who have been with me for a few months know my feelings regarding fundacatholics. And far be it from me to beat a dead horse with my lacy black mantilla. But I’ve observed a few online discussions between fellow ORU Catholic converts over the last few days that frankly, grieve my heart.

One friend posted this, in response to the Vatican II bashing that is very common among my convert friends:

—–

“Not sure if this group helps or hurts the cause. So far I have seen accusations that the gates of hell prevailed against the liturgy and a general lack of charity. The Second Vatican Council is a council for the edification of the Church and its controversies are due to cultural applications in the fallout of the sexual revolution and the general liberalization of ecclesiastical culture. The Catholic Church at large would have seen schism if not for Vatican II, that’s my professional opinion. So, let’s just move on and get on with what we can do for the future of our glorious Mother Church.”

—–

There were some replies that were less than charitable in tone, but nothing compared to this little gem of Christ-like love:

‎(1)[Original poster] you really need to shut up. You need to realize that you know absolutely nothing about Roman Catholicism. You have not even been fully initiated into the Church and you have the most absurd opinions about Holy Mother Church. As [another poster] said, when you begin practicing and actually STUDY then give your opinion.

(2)I have practiced for 13 yrs straight then non practicing for 4 and have reverted back to the Church, however attending the Novus Ordo, I knew there was an issue with it to I began to study the Liturgy

(3)Attending the Novus Ordo or the TLM has nothing to do with an issue of preference, the issue at hand is how this new “rite” came about, so get the doggone chip off your shoulder and take the time to study the Liturgy…study how this “mass” came about and you will realize the issues that [another poster], I and others realize about this Ordinary Mass.

(4)Grow a pair

(5)Stop being so emotional, stop thinking that all of us “catholics” are being douche bags, looking for a fight to pick within the Church, we are outspoken, for we STUDIED and now know the issues within the Roman Rite…Do you not find it odd that the Roman Rite is the only Rite of the Universal Church that has two rites? This was unheard-of prior to 1969!!! people wonder why the East laugh at us.

(6)Vatican II was a PASTORAL COUNCIL, and yes their documents were extremely vauge…no, I am not going to run off with the SPPX [sic], nor am I will to throw away 2000 yrs of Church History, and Catholic Tradition!

(7)Lastly, stop throwing around “big words” the purpose of this group is not to impress anyone, the purpose is to share Catholicism and our spiritual development with one another…to express concerns etc.

(8)Really, especially as a prospective convert, you need to just be quiet and study and stop taking to other converts as yourself who do not know anything. I am not insulting you by any means just advice you need to heed based off of this absurd post. Pax domini sit semper vobis cum.

Almost all of the participants in this discussion are personal friends of mine. All of them are ORU alum. All of them have made deep personal sacrifices to enter/re-enter the church. I care deeply for each of them, and pray for them often, as my fellow alma mater converts. But the fact that statements like this are made in a semi-public setting, with others reading who have yet to make a decision to enter the Church, is a disgrace, and a disservice to Our Lady. I cried writing this – not because I’m a sweet southern belle with a thin skin, because I was raised in a quick-tongued, sarcastic and witty family – and a very, very large family, immediate and extended, at that. I’m all about friendly banter, teasing, heated discussions, the yelling to be heard over one another. . .all of that I am well accustomed to.

But how, in the name of all that is holy, do we expect people to find the peace and refuge in the Holy Eucharist, safe in the arms of Mother Church when our discussions amongst ourselves continue to boil down to this? How do we expect to be a light on a campus that is so close to the truth yet so far, when our interactions with our fellow ORU converts are quite frankly repugnant? Am I allowed to use that word, or is it too long? We can wax eloquence about the superiority of the Latin Mass until the Second Coming, we can defend Vatican II with all of our being, we can condemn the SSPX to the outermost circle of Purgatory, and we can pay lip-service to the fact that Eucharist trumps all – but the bottom line is, our separated brethren DON’T KNOW THE POWER OF THE EUCHARIST. They don’t understand the deep, soul-wrenching power of sitting before the Body and Blood of Our Lord. All they hear is talk of a One Holy Catholic And Apostolic church on one side of our mouth, and diatribe like this out of the other. Shame on us – ALL of us – for letting this be so.

It’s exchanges like this that have left my father with a filthy taste in his mouth regarding Catholicism. And it’s no wonder he is so loath to see me plunge into the Tiber – he and my mother spent countless hours of their life pouring into their children and making sure that we knew how to treat other Christians, regardless of our differences. Who would want to see their daughter baptized by fire into this darkness?

I’m every bit as guilty of this as anyone else. I understand the pain that leaving the faith of our earthly fathers causes. I know how easy it is to be bitter against churches and a campus that we feel so often betrayed us spiritually. But we have to hold ourselves to a higher standard. We will never get anywhere in this debate if our words are not utterly soaked in charity, in well-meaning, in respect for ourselves and for our fellow brothers and sisters. regardless of which side of the liturgical aisle we’re genuflecting on.

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13 Responses to “Where has all the charity gone?”

  1. Julie Robison February 4, 2011 at 7:14 pm #

    Amen!! Wow, I am really sorry that was written. Someone needed to take a breath and a walk before responding. Charity is definitely needed, because NO ONE wants to feel out, even if/ when they are in the wrong or have a misunderstanding. I like to think of Aquinas, humble, modest and brilliant, being instructed by a fellow, older student, who took pity of the “Dumb Ox”; there was a difficult passage the older student did not know, and St. Thomas graciously explained it to him. He could have said, YOU MORON WHY DON’T YOU GET IT or STOP INSULTING ME BY THINKING I’M AN IDIOT. Instead, he listened and taught when needed.

    The passage that really struck me was, “but the bottom line is, our separated brethren DON’T KNOW THE POWER OF THE EUCHARIST. They don’t understand the deep, soul-wrenching power of sitting before the Body and Blood of Our Lord. All they hear is talk of a One Holy Catholic And Apostolic church on one side of our mouth, and diatribe like this out of the other. Shame on us – ALL of us – for letting this be so.”

    Some of my best friends are Reformed Protestants, and it wounds me to know they think our seperation is for purity purposes, and simply a choice. So I pray, and if something comes up, we talk, but otherwise, I feel helpless. God is the only one who can change anyone’s heart, tear down people’s scales.

    Thanks for this post. I really admire converts, and this is another reason why. I’m sorry again for any uncharitable comments made; I hope God uses the occasion appropriately.

  2. blueberriesforme February 5, 2011 at 12:09 am #

    Amen sister. I have to admit that I don’t know too many fundamentalists; most Catholic relations of mine are pretty liberal. But it makes me so sad on the web when how mean I see Catholics being to each other. Do we really think that that is how Christ would talk to each other? What about non-Catholics who read these sites? What will they think? We need to keep our words holy in real life and on line.
    Also – which side of the aisle they kneel on. Hilarious!

  3. Kimberlie February 5, 2011 at 12:42 am #

    Dearest Kassie,
    You know how I feel about this subject. As a convert, I cringe to see other converts bring their Protestant rebellion into the Church. Here’s the thing they aren’t getting (besides the whole Christ-like acting in love and charity thing), the Church has said that the Novus Ordo is valid, it’s acceptable, and that is that. I know they probably do not think very highly of Catholics who think they can pick and choose which moral teachings of the Church they will follow. They would say, “It’s the Church’s teaching therefore we accept it and follow it.” Yet, they approach this whole argument about TLM vs Novus Ordo with the same attitude as a liberal Catholic would about birth control or abortion or that it’s not necessary to go to Mass every Sunday. It’s really, at the heart of it, a rebellious spirit.

    Love you sweet friend! I love your sensitive spirit. Maybe it’s time to give that forum a break for a bit so it won’t dishearten your spirit so much. Big, big hugs!

    • Eli February 5, 2011 at 2:05 am #

      Great post, and thanks for sharing what so many of us fail to find the words to articulate properly.

    • blueberriesforme February 6, 2011 at 10:57 pm #

      AGREE! AGREE! AGREE!

    • Dan Daly July 5, 2011 at 10:24 pm #

      A bit late to this thread, but Kimberlie’s comment really jumped out at me. Comparing attendance of the TLM to engaging in abortion or contraception or NOT attending Mass….is simply crazy. TLM is MASS. It’s just as much a Mass as the Novus Ordo. Most people I’ve met (my family included) who attend the TLM do so because they were looking for a reverently celebrated Mass. Where’s the spirit of rebellion in that?

      Pax.

  4. priest's wife February 5, 2011 at 1:03 pm #

    Kimberlie is wise- give that forum a break and pray for those commenters who are being so uncharitable. We Christians- Catholics and more- should be known by how we love each other!

    …sorry you are snowed in…thank goodness for netflix, no?

    • James Shelton February 5, 2011 at 1:28 pm #

      The readers should take note that the overwhelming majority of the comments at the site in question were charitible and positive. Please also note the attempts at balance and correction. Typical generalizations in the response.
      James Shelton

  5. Kevin Francis Bernadette Clay February 5, 2011 at 11:06 pm #

    Kassie, don’t let this get you [too] down. Most of us have been a “fundacatholic” or a fundamentalist in one camp or another, and often again when we switch teams. However, through our cooperation with grace we can conquer this devil inside, which often appears as an angel of light aka the remnant, the persecuted prophet, the pharisee, the true Christian, or simply God’s gift to the Church; though it is easier said than done.

    There IS such a thing as righteous indignation but we are usually wrong about how and when to utilize it, much less to know if we even possess it. Often we are merely projecting our shame and embarrassment due to our “time in the world” or “backsliding”, either with true guilt, false guilt or somewhere in between. Deep down [I want to believe] our intentions are good. However, in many cases we are acting out not so much against our neighbor, but God, who we resent for bestowing mercy on others, namely by permitting them to persist for a season in sins against faith or morals or both. Yet it is the divine wisdom of God to turn men over to disobedience so as to demonstrate His divine mercy and love upon them when they repent. We easily forget when God did that for us. In fact, He may be doing it right now.

    If it were not for something short of a miracle, we would all be eternally lost, condemned by the presumption of our own salvation and the damnation of others. There is a great mystery in the words of our Savior, “He who has been forgiven much, loves much.” The great mystery is that it means what it says. The greater mystery is that one does not have to commit sins in order to be forgiven, and thus to love. It should be a no-brainer for those who have read the Bible or the countless greeting cards and refrigerator magnets quoting 1 Corinthians 13 that if we have the Truth, we prove it by our love – more or less. For God is love, and he who loves shows that he truly knows God; or better said, is truly known BY God. God is mercy, and mercy is given to those who are merciful, and in due proportion.

    The mystery of sanctification (or deification) is that Christians are all hypocrites, trying to be something they are not and never can be by nature, but something they CAN become by grace – like God. We should not be so offended when we see others (or ourselves) fall short. Yet we SHOULD be offended by our own lack of charity in judging others when they do. We should also cut ourselves some slack sometimes when we get a little overzealous and scrupulous. One of the Devil’s titles is “the accuser of the brethren”, and I cannot think of a more fitting one. Though liberals are arrogant scoffers, fundamentalists are self-righteous accusers. Both are satanic but the latter is worse. I know first-hand. I have been both more than once.

    I do not disagree with you regarding the scandal of uncharitable Catholics, especially Traditionalists, of which I am a card-carrying member. If, in the process of holding fast to Tradition, we lose the bond of unity, which is charity, it would have been better to have embraced novelty in good faith than to have held on to antiquity in bitterness, subversion, triumphalism or despair. With that said, there is nothing that can keep a person from becoming Catholic when he or she is convinced of the Truth. Those who consciously choose to remain a non-Catholic only use such things as “bad Catholics” as an affirmation of their own prejudices or conclusions, which is often just another projection (though not always). For EVERY religion and non-religion has a fundamentalist sect. In fact, like I said already, there is a fundamentalist in each and every one of us. Yet even fundamentalists deserve tolerance, mercy and love.

    In short, be of good cheer. If bad Catholics haven’t destroyed the Church in the past, they are not going to now or in the future. I forget who the evangelical pastor was who said, “If you find the perfect church, don’t join it; you’ll ruin it.” The Catholic Church isn’t “the perfect church” but it is THE Church. So, I say, “Join it! You might fix it!” or better said, it might fix YOU.

    There but for the grace of God, go I.
    Kevin Francis Bernadette Clay
    Peace.
    T

  6. Calah February 6, 2011 at 7:09 pm #

    I meant to comment on this when you first posted it. It absolutely and completely breaks my heart that this person said, in essence, shut up because you’re not a Catholic yet. The person speaking clearly has not a drop of Christ-like love in his/her heart.

    When I was in the process of converting, I had my way barred by a couple who taught marriage preparation. They did not like my “attitude” at an engaged encounter, but never once did they ask why I was in tears and on the phone most of the weekend. It was because my mother was berating me on the phone for not choosing my sister as my maid of honor (I couldn’t, because she’s not Catholic) and for betraying my family by converting.

    This couple filed an official complaint with the diocese and the bishop, stating that it was their belief that I should not be brought into the church and should not be married in the church.

    It was a terrible thing to happen. It nearly derailed my conversion. Their attitude and coldness and lack of charity was heartbreaking to me, who was leaving my family and the faith of my youth to enter into the truth. I expected to be welcomed, and instead I had a door slammed coldly in my face.

    You are so right to say what you did. This kind of attitude is a horrible, horrible stumbling block to converts and is not, in any way, the attitude of Christ.

    I really want to agree with Kevin. I think he’s right in everything he says, and yet…and yet as a convert who has suffered this attitude, shouldn’t we be furious that these attitudes are very likely at the cost of the salvation of souls? Shouldn’t we feel not charity, but blood-boiling righteous fury at those who would sacrifice the salvation of their brothers and sisters for their own self-righteous scrupulosity?

    And because I’m pissed just re-reading this and feeling childish, I think it’s very rich that the poster kept telling the person to “stop studying” and “stop using big words” in terrible, misspelled grammar.

    Good work, Kassie. Usually I don’t like strife and anger, but there’s a place for it (Jesus overturning the taxpayers in the temple, anyone?) and I think this is the right place.

    • Kathleen February 18, 2011 at 2:24 pm #

      I don’t know where to begin. Except AMEN!!!!!

      This seems to be a theme lately. I think the internet allows us, sometimes, to be more rigid in our beliefs than we would otherwise be. But I don’t agree with Kevin, to be perfectly honest…human beings are influenced by what they see, and if they see hypocrisy, why on earth would they ever think that the church being promoted as the truth is anything but more hypocrisy? We *do* represent the Church–we ARE the Church; the Church is the Body of Christ and that is us–and yes, we MUST get over these divisions that really, in the end, DO NOT MATTER. God doesn’t care what language we use, what instruments or styles–those are not moral issues, and they should NOT be confused as such.

      But I’m getting rolling again (this is not my first discussion on these subjects in recent weeks!) and I must not get bogged down; too much to do…

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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    […] I wrote “Where has all the charity gone?” I was not, in any way, trying to speak ill of my fellow ORU converts – and I was not, in any […]

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    […] don’t let this get you [too] down. Most of us have been a “fundacatholic” or a fundamentalist in one […]

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