I really shouldn’t be on Facebook in the morning. It tends to make me crabby.
Advent and Lent are the times of year when the almost reflexive anti-Catholicism of ordinary people raises its ugly head. They are typically fueled by media stories that take one line of a Papal address or speech out of context and twist it until it’s meant to mean the exact opposite of what was intended.
He’s A figment of Your Fuckin imagination most rational adult humans Dont have imaginary friends “christians, Good ol’ Lion chow!!!” where was jesus when those kids were getting raped? Golfing? WTF?!
The devil draws us out to anger, and I confess I often succumb. Christ, however, calls us to endure ridicule for His sake.
Let’s be clear: the abuse of children is never acceptable. Covering up for the abuse of children is also never acceptable.
And yet, we humans do it all the time. Universities and their students and their fans cover for abusive coaches. School districts cover for abusive teachers. Families cover for abusive parents and relatives. It’s the very human condition of instinctively protecting one’s own tribe. Circling the wagons.
It doesn’t make it right, of course, but far too often when we must choose between doing what is right and doing what is easy, we choose easy.
I can understand why 85% of the media stories about child sexual abuse are about the Catholic Church, even though we are responsible for only a tiny percentage of cases. We are the Church, and we are called to protect, to comfort. This is, for us, the ultimate betrayal.
Having said that, it would be nice if folks would also look to the example the Church is setting in cleaning up this mess. New policies and procedures have essentially extinguished this blight in the American Church. But that’s not sensational enough.
You get a lot of hits on your news site if you publish a story about the Pope’s speech saying that sexual exploitation of children was acceptable in the 1970s. The truth of this “story” can be dismissed with a quick Google search and reading the actual speech, but most people are too lazy to do the research.
Imagine what headline you could use about this post? “Covering up the abuse of children is normal, says area Catholic.” You see what I did there? It’s exactly the same as with these stories about the Pope.
But the lion thing I quoted above? It’s not even the worst of what I’ve seen. My instinctual reaction is anger. I want to circle the wagons, to call him out on his hate speech, to leap in righteous indignation and fury down this guy’s throat.
But that’s not what we’re called to. If you have any doubt, read Saint Peter’s first epistle. It’s short. I’ll wait.
Pray for the man who posted this hate. And pray for me, who nearly rose to the bait.
Bring on the lions.
Today is the Feast of Saint Nicholas – yes, there really was a Saint Nicholas – and in today’s Patristic reading from the Office of Readings comes this:
However distressful death may be, the strength of love ought to master the distress. I mean the love we have for Christ who, although He is our life, consented to suffer death for our sake.
Consider this: if death held little or no distress for us, the glory of martyrdom would be less. … For the Good Shepherd who suffered for all mankind has made all mankind His lambs, since in order to suffer for them all, He made himself a lamb.”
(From a treatise on John by Saint Augustine)
Bring on the lions.