The National Catholic Review

I wonder if you can say anything about the Catholic faith without people taking offense.  No matter how benign, no comment on the web about Catholicism goes unchallenged.  That goes for blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and pretty much everything else.  Moreover, the idea of trying to understand a person by reading carefully what they're actually saying, or giving them the benefit of the doubt, is fading quickly from Catholic discourse.  No matter what you write, there are Catholics ready to take immediate offense, to explode in righteous anger, to threaten to report you to the proper authorities or, most of all, to correct.  The most common responses are these five: 1.) Your soul is in mortal danger.  2.) You’re uneducated and need to be schooled. 3.) I hate the church and so I hate you.  4.) You’re an unthinking tool of the Vatican.  5.) You’re disobedient and must be reported.

Here is a not-so-farfetched exchange, based on some very, very real experiences.  Believe me, it would be hard to make this stuff up.

Me:   I love Jesus.

Father Martin, with all due respect, I don’t mean to be critical, particularly to a priest, but I am compelled to point out that in your most recent post, you didn’t say “Jesus Christ.”  As you know, Christ, from the Greek word Christos, meaning the Anointed One (years ago, all Jesuits understood Greek, but perhaps no longer), is the nomenclature that Holy Mother Church uses to signify Our Lord’s divinity. Father, do you somehow not believe in the divinity of Our Blessed Lord?  I am terrified to conclude that you are also denying the Resurrection here.  Father, I will fervently pray that you are not dwelling in error, as I have feared for you since I read this post and reread the definition of “heresy” in a theology reference book that I always keep handy.  I pray every evening for gravely misled people like you, Father, and I must say this: my conscience obliges me to correct your errors. Do you fear for your soul?  

Me: You’re misunderstanding me.  Of course I believe in the divinity of Christ. And the Resurrection. 

Father, forgive me for pointing this out, but I couldn’t help noticing in your last comment that you said you believed in the divinity of Christ. What about his humanity?  As you surely know (or at least I hope Jesuits are still taught this, as I was in Catholic school) several ecumenical councils spoke definitively about his humanity (e.g., Ephesus, in 431 A.D.).  I trust that you understand what that means, Father.  This means that Jesus was a flesh-and-blood human being (Catechism of the Catholic Church No. 464).  I feel obliged to ask: Do you believe him to be divine but not human?  That is a heresy, as you know, Father, and I greatly fear for our church if priests are permitted spread such serious theological errors.  It is, I would like to humbly remind you, the heresy of Docetism, (Nicea, 325 A.D., Catechism No. 465) where Jesus was not seen as a human being, but God simply "playacting" (as my dear theology professor used to tell our class) at being human.  Surely you’re not suggesting that, are you, Father?  Are you a Docetist?  (Or, worse, a Monophysite?) Please send me your email address and I will forward you all the references to the councils so that you may read them, study them, and pray over them.  I will do you the favor of awaiting an answer before I begin any formal canonical action against you.   

Me: Look, I believe in both the divinity and humanity of Christ.  I was only saying that I love Jesus.  Can we perhaps move on?

I haven’t followed this thread and I don’t know what you posted about, but did you REALLY say that in your last comment?   Move on???  Do you realize what it MEANS for a priest to tell a layperson like me to “move on”?  Do you know how sick and TIRED we are of priests like you telling me what to do?  I’ll move on when I WANT to move on!!! It’s this kind of clerical ARROGANCE that gave rise to the sexual abuse scandal.  Is that what you want, Martin, a return to sexual abuse?!! And what’s with the “Look,” at the beginning of your snotty comeback?  What’s THAT supposed to mean?  Frankly I find that incredibly insulting.  Who do you think you are???  I don’t think you can ever fathom the anger that people like me have for priests like you.  I used to like the Jesuits once, back when they cared about the poor.  Now all you do is cater to the WEALTHY in your schools!!  LOOK—as you might say to me--I studied theology too, am a lifelong Catholic (no matter WHAT any priest or bishop tells me), and don’t need to be told to “look” at anything.  By ANY priest!!!  I see very clearly, thank you.  I see what the church is up to.  Read the papers!!!  It’s all about squashing the laity.  Have you ever even HEARD of Vatican II????  For those of you as angry as I am, and SICK of being treated like DIRT by the clergy, write to Martin’s superiors.  Friend me on Facebook and I’ll give you all the addresses, which I got online at www.ImDisgustedwiththeChurch.com.  Better yet, stop buying his books.

Me: I’m sorry I said “Look.” To clarify: I believe that Jesus Christ is fully human and fully divine. I simply wanted to avoid debating something about my personal spiritual life. 

Just got a Google alert about “debating” and “Catholic” and came to this site.  I didn't read your original post but I couldn’t believe your last comment.  I had to read it twice.  You’re kidding, right, James?  You want to "avoid debate"?  I guess that’s just what the Vatican wants priests to do…stifle any legitimate discussion of anything remotely controversial…stop people from thinking!  That’s the kind of narrow-minded, anti-intellectual, soul-destroying attitude that I had thought (falsely) died with the Inquisition.  (Which I just read about in an eye-opening book called The Church is Your Enemy, which you’re probably not allowed to read.)  All you Jesuits take your marching orders from the pope anyway, don’t you?  I’ve read all about your secret fourth vow, your “vow of blind obedience” to the pope, and how you’re not allowed to think on your own…what rot.  The Pope’s Marines?  I understand that Hitler’s S.S. was based on your group.  Not surprising.  I read that last night on www.WhoAreThePopesMarines.com.  (And I saw it on a revealing documentary on The History Channel 2.) It goes without saying that you parrot anything, no matter how offensive or ridiculous or oppressive, that the Vatican or your superiors tell you.  Part of that is, as I can see from your comment above…no debate.  No wonder people are forced to leave the church…you don’t let them think!  I bet you hate women, too. 

Me: I don’t mean to stifle debate.  By the way, our fourth vow is obedience to the pope “with regard to the missions.”  It has to do more with Jesuits being available to places the pope wants to send us. 

I saw a link to this appalling comment on www.WeAloneAreTheTrueChurch.com.  Are you saying that you’re not obedient to the Supreme Pontiff?  How can you even still considered a priest (sacerdos) in good standing?  I’ll wager you that the Prefect of the Congregation for Religious would like to know about your inane idea of “obedience.”  Am I correct in stating that you believe that Jesuits may pick and choose those doctrines to which they are obedient?  Give me a good, old-fashioned Jesuit, a real Jesuit, of the kind that did not quail to speak the Truth, the kind that taught real Roman Catholicism, not the hippy-dippy, liberal, wishy-washy, Cafeteria Catholics which your last comment reveals that you so obviously are. Are you not deeply ashamed of yourself?  Why don’t you hang up your Roman collar?  I’ve been reading about your order on wwwww.IReallyHateLiberalJesuits.com, yes, all about the group that in days past was known as the Societas Jesu.  (That means Society of Jesus, just in case, like most Jesuits, you "have no Latin.") I also read somewhere that your vocations are plummeting.  I cannot say that I’m in the least bit surprised.  It is thanks to “priests” like you who have blithely forgotten what it means to be fully obedient to the Magisterium.  When I think of the glorious history of the Jesuit saints and martyrs (you might want to read some day about the North American Martyrs, when you're not busy opposing the church), and how we ended up with Jesuits like you today, I should feel less of a man were I not to weep bitter tears.  For my part, I devoutly thank God on my knees every night that there are still a few real religious orders left which are fully obedient to the Roman Catholic Church.  Rest assured that the Congregation will be receiving my letter quoting your last outrageous comment.  And I pray that it is your "last" comment, if you get what I'm saying.

Me: I’m not sure how a simple comment degenerated into argument.  Can we give one another the benefit of the doubt?

Father, I just saw your last comment when I stumbled upon this page.  I didn't read your original post since I'm too busy right now, but I want to say this: That’s what people say when they are afraid of the facts.  “Give people the benefit of the doubt.”  Right.  That’s the kind of squishy, feel-good, namby-pamby drivel that people say when they’re frightened of being proven wrong.  So what are you afraid of? 

Me: I’m not afraid of anything.

Then why aren’t you ready to attack and judge and condemn your fellow human beings?

Me: I love Jesus.

Comments

annemie pelletier | 5/2/2012 - 6:17pm
And this is why Jesus remained silent ....
As they say in German "Reden ist Silber, Schweigen ist Gold" (to speak = silver, to remain silent = gold)
Joel Haubenreich | 4/25/2012 - 6:44am
O Zdeu; I almost couldn't finish reading this post for its reality. I've gotten into way too many conversations that could be classified most charitably as pedantry. You've definitely captured the spirit!
Rosalie Krajci | 4/19/2012 - 11:27am
Dear Father Martin -Do you really think you should laugh at or about these serious matters? Where, in the Bible, do you see our Lord laughing? Isaiah refers to him as ''a Man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.'' We see him weeping at least twice in the Gospels. We know that Sarah laughed, but that was the OT, and what does a dumb female know about serious matters anyhow?

I've always thought of the Jesuits and being highly educated and, therefore, full of wisdom. I'm rather appalled at your frivolous message.

p.s. I do hope you know I'm kidding. As some Roman said, ''Ride si sapiens.'' Please keep us in stitches. 
Charlie Hearn | 4/18/2012 - 10:51am
 Jesuits = sense of humor. Could only laugh at this post. Loved it. Oh, and I love Jesus too.
R Black | 4/16/2012 - 2:33pm
This demonstrates to me the miracle of the Eucharist.  Somehow we are crazy, opinionated, radical thinkers who don't demonstrate to ourselves or the world that we can get along on any level...but then wait, we come together weekly, shake hands and agree to be one in the body of Christ- and we would never be able to do that, ever, by ourselves- yet in that moment of receiving the Eucharist we are one!  Only God can accomplish that.  Hooray for that blessed grace and miracle!
michael murphy | 4/15/2012 - 1:15am
Thanks, Fr. Jim, you've hit it square on the nose. I am reminded of a seminal GK Chesterton insight: "'Funny' is not the opposite of 'serious': 'funny'  is the opposite of 'not funny.'" Your post was seriously funny. Well done, sir. Keep it going, but beware of celebrity. There be dragons.
Kait Skyler | 4/15/2012 - 1:02am
I have several comments for those who insist on judging their fellow Catholics and other Christians: 1).  How dare you limit God and try and to put Him/Her and His/Her believers in your narrow box! 2).  I believe when many people get to Heaven, God is going to take them aside and say, "How come you were so worried about________ and _________, and ______, (fill in the blanks) when you should have been out doing the work of the kingdom? 3).  The biggest obstacle to people becoming Christian/Catholic is other Christians/Catholics!  Great article!
Jadie Matthew | 4/15/2012 - 12:16am
I thought aboud trying to do a meta-satire in the combox, but don't think I could improve on this.  This could almost be cut-and-pasted out of responses I've read in the last week.

Is it safe to end with "I love Jesus"?
Colleen Baker | 4/14/2012 - 7:42pm
Oh Oh, I think someone has spent way too much time with Stephen Colbert.  This was hysterical.

Daniel #41.  You maybe have not spent enough time on liberal websites.  We can be every bit as obnoxious with our theological, scriptural, and historical knowlege.  That's what makes Catholic debates so much fun and so educational and so elitist.
Craig McKee | 4/14/2012 - 6:20am
So you just LOVE JESUS, do you?
And what about his MOTHER, his FATHER, his STEP-FATHER and the HOLY SPIRIT?
No time for them? Well of course not, cuz you're a JESUit. It even sounds like JESUS!
You bloody CHRISTOMONIST, you!
Have a nice day.
Sincerely yours in CHRIST!
;@}
p.s. And stay out of my way in the CHURCH PARKING LOT!
Carolyn Disco | 4/13/2012 - 11:47pm
Superb!

Wonderful send-ups, with the obligatory catechism citations, aspersions on the caliber of one's faith and character, trigger happy comebacks, self-righteousness personified, etc, etc, etc, (in Yul Brynner staccato). 

Now, if only chanceries would extend some benign neglect to all those policing reports they receive.

(Satire alert) I, of course, am perfect, and crush the humorless, ignorant opposition with irrefutable scholarship.
James Koval | 4/13/2012 - 3:53pm
Dear Fr. Martin,
Thanks for the thoughts. It made me smile. It also made me think...It is very easy to read a text through our own rose-colored glasses (BTW: some of my glasses actually do have rose colored lenses :-) ). Our society runs in at ever increasing pace. Such fast-paced living does not help any of us take the time to carefully read or listen to someone else. I even find it with my children. With my 18-year old, for example. I get 3 words of my sentence out and he is already commenting on that snip rather than listening to my entire sentence. Often what he comments on is different than the idea I was trying to express. There is a growing expectation of instant gratificatoin or instant communication,and this is contributing to a lack of patience (in my opinion) and lack of really listening. those activties take time, and many people do not want to take the time. Comment #41 also seems to illustrate your point. ;-) Enough said
Jim
Daniel Ruwe | 4/13/2012 - 3:06pm
I have to confess that I am very, very disappointed with the tone of this article. It touches on a number of important issues in the church that should be debated with respect and kindnesss, not sarcasm and mocking. I would direct your attention to Jerome and other early Church fathers for excellent examples of rebukes done with charity and respect. This is an example, I feel, of the kind of clerical disrespect for the opinion of others that leads to disaffection from the Church for many people. Even if Catholics are allowed to think for themselves in the wake of Vatican II, what is the point if legitamate, honestly asked points of view are mocking by our ''superiors?''

In addition, this article seems to spend a disproportionate amount of time making of those Catholics who are traditional and spend time learning about the history of their Church. (''Be wise as serpents, etc'') This attitude seems representive of many Jesuits I have come into contact with. It is truly unfortunate that sometimes the stereotype is 100% correct
Victor Savard | 4/13/2012 - 12:43pm
Dear Father Martin,

I agree that there's no way most normal people could make this stuff UP so "IT" must be true! Whether we're Catholic and/or catholic, it is sad that some of the funniest material can be found to be so real nowadays! :(

I hear ya sinner vic! That's only because today is Friday, April the 13 in the year of our Lord 2012.


Who said in so many words that, "The more things change, the more they stay the same".

I'll close by saying that from what I've read, you've obviously got some cells with very powerful tough spiritual skin like Saint Martin I. had during the good old days!:)

Peace

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/theanchoress/2012/04/12/successful-satire-always-bites-a-little/
john fitzmorris | 4/13/2012 - 8:10am
part of the problem is the schism in Maerican life and the anonymity of the socail media that allows anyone to spew whatever she or he wants without saying it the old-fasioned way: face to face! And by the way that last column .... Great column
CLAIRE BANGASSER MS | 4/13/2012 - 7:43am
A great column, a fantastic description of what goes on. 
So glad you're here.
Max Lindenman | 4/13/2012 - 6:20am
David:

There's an even more basic reason, I think.  Society imposes taboos on discussions of sex, politics and religion for good reason - people tend to take their own views on these subjects very seriously.  In a sense, it's impossible to have a minor disagreement on any of them; when you're dealing in absolutes, any disagreement is, ipso facto, enormous.

That's especially true when one party believes the other to be speaking from a place of privilege, which is usually the case in intra-Church disputes.  Broadly, progressives believe conservatives have marginalized them since John Paul II became pope.  Meanwhile, conservatives believe they've been so marginalized in the general culture that any advantage they currently enjoy in the Church counts for nothing.  If you see yourself as a cornered beast, then naturally you're going to fight like one.

Here's one thing nobody's brought up: some Catholics may go for each other's throats, but they do it much more decorously than anyone else.  If you don't believe me, check out Salon's combox sometime.  We may throw around terms like ''syncretist,'' ''relativist'' and ''Smoke of Satan''; out in the ol' saeculum, people just tell each other to go bleep themselves.
david power | 4/13/2012 - 4:35am
Max,

I am sure that you are right in what you wrote.
As others have pointed out David @11 summarized all of this quite well.
The argumentation on the net is a couple of notches below that of faccia a faccia dialogue.
I have learned many things on the net and also from Fr Martin but it is difficult to separate the critical faculty from emotions and without the civilizing effect of a face before us we may not be as reflective as we like to think we are.

  
Max Lindenman | 4/13/2012 - 2:46am
David:

I don't think Fr. Jim was trying to make his hecklers look dumb.  If anything, he went out of his way to demonstrate how well-informed they are.  If they share any less-than-endearing quality, it's a short fuse. 

For that matter, I don't get the impression he dismisses all critical readers as cranks.  I've seen him on Facebook, refereeing debates among some very intense, very opinionated people.  Provided nobody goes for anyone else's jugular, he moderates the excbanges with good grace and good humor.



JANICE JOHNSON | 4/13/2012 - 12:06am
Reading this hilarious (but, also serious if you are the one being attacked) post of yours, Fr. Jim, I was reminded of an old saying:  "People are angry at God for not giving them perfect parents".  There is so much anger and vitreol in some of these interactions of Catholics (members of the Communion of Saints").  Where does it all come from.  God did not give us perfect parents nor a perfect church.  As St. Augustine described it, the church is a "corpus permixtum" composed of mystics and all the rest of us.  a hospital for sinners.  Far from perfection but with Divine Inspiration. 

Sometime, along in lilfe, many of us are able to love ourselves knowing all of our warts and faults and failures and come to love our parents in all their imperfections.  Is it possible to also come to love our Church in its human-divine essence?  And loving, honoring and respecting our fellow sisters and brothers in faith?  Pope Benedict has said that the church is always in need of purification.  Can we work toward that purification in humble charity?   
NORMA NUNAG | 4/12/2012 - 10:15pm
Thanks everybody.  This is so entertaining!!!!  Okay, now that we have laughed so much, let's calm down and start again.  First, we should have some ground rules: define your terms (concept), listen, ask question to clarify things, explain,  take turns to express your ideas, smile and shake hands.  There, that ought to do it.   Ha,ha,ha. seriously we all see the picture.   We can do better, next time.
Kathy Hutchins | 4/12/2012 - 9:46pm
I joined my first Catholic Listserv group in 1993. The first thread I read was....this essay. Guy 1 was accusing Guy 2 of subscribing to the Jansenist heresy, with a side serving of scrupulosity. I think he was also a Feeneyite. Guy 2 accused Guy 1 of syncretism and being gay. I'd only been in RCIA for a few weeks and I hadn't a clue what a Jansenist was. I guess not a lot has changed, huh.
Paula Minell | 4/12/2012 - 9:44pm
THANK YOU.  I've been trying to communicate this for a long time.  The anger I have observed has less to do with a person's opinion's on the Catholic Church than it has to do with their lack of willingness to listen.  I've observed people of all perspectives engage in respectful discussion, and I've observed people from all different perspectives attack.  We forget the words of St. Augustine that should govern our conversations: "In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity."  It is my belief that nothing causes more scandal to the world than members of the Body of Christ who tear each other apart.
Paige Deaner | 4/12/2012 - 7:49pm
Forgive me Father, for I have sinned. I am guitly of a couple of these, one of which is actually using the term ''hippy-dippy'' (though always followed by ''hand-holdy crap.'') This is so right though. I returned to the Church and have many, many atheist, feminist, not-so-friendly to any religion friends. It's hard to remember that I'm not under attack. I guess part of my ''stress'' comes from the fact that I know what I would have said had I seen similar things posted on people's facebooks, twitters, etc. 
Spot on.  
J Cosgrove | 4/12/2012 - 5:58pm
Just to remind everyone, there are times when some with SJ behind their name and some who associate closely with the Jesuits are guilty of the same thing to those they do not agree with.  It is a two way street that I have noticed in my life time with all sorts of people but has been exacerbated by the internet.
Nina Marie McKellan | 4/12/2012 - 5:31pm
So funny and so true! :-)

But 'tis true of most commentary/discourse on the internet, unfortunately, regardless of the subject matter. All this social media stuff is making us totally socially inept rather than fostering understanding.
Nancy Walton-House | 4/12/2012 - 3:35pm
Great article. Humorous. Alarming. True. I get so disgusted with the pettiness of some commentators. Don't they have real work to do?  Is their life so boring they have to create online battles to feel alive and engaged?  How sad if that is the case.
Fr. Jim, thank you for all you do to bring faith, reason, humor and relevance to your followers.  I very much appreciate your work. 
Joanne McPortland | 4/12/2012 - 3:34pm
Laughing out loud in a truly unseemly fashion in a public place. You managed to get them all, with the lone exception of my favorite of late, "warm fuzzies" (applied to anything that has the potential to cause Catholics to feel less than excruciatingly racked on the wheel at Mass).

I am hastening now to change the name of my blog to I Alone Am the True Church, which you people would have beaten me to if the Jesuits were as smart as they crack themselves up to be. Thanks for making my day! 
Stephen SCHEWE | 4/12/2012 - 3:00pm
Hi David (#11),
Really appreciated your contribution today - very thoughtful!
Matthew Pettigrew | 4/12/2012 - 2:46pm
Someone on this blog once challenged me, a non-believer, to explain why I follow this blog. This is why. The only thing missing from your note, Fr. Martin, are a few links to obscure theological texts. But at least you managed to squeeze in the word "Magisterium." It's always a pleasure to read what you write.
Jack Barry | 4/12/2012 - 1:41pm
Superb.  
Time to add a new book  -  Judges II  -  to the Bible, considering the proliferation of the species.    It would serve as the unquestionable, authoritative Scriptural source for the rituals, apothegms, and axioms established by common usage and save bandwidth in the process.  Imagine the possibilities: 
 
Righteous Commenter:  Judges II 27:2   Judges II 3:11?    Judges II 194:6!
Me: ?  
Righteous Commenter:  Judges II 18:21???    Judges II 41:8!   Judges II 318:23!    Judges II 2:1!!! 
Me:  ??
etc.
Thomas Piatak | 4/12/2012 - 1:20pm
Very good.
Joan Bartolomei | 4/12/2012 - 1:06pm
Fr. Jim, this is you at your best!!! Great article.  It is so sad though, that it is so true.
Anne Chapman | 4/12/2012 - 12:54pm
This one really made me laugh. Absolutely on target, and I say that as one who sometimes has to backtrack and say ''Mea culpa!''.  If more Catholics demonstrated some humor and tolerance, I might still be in a Catholic pew instead of an Episcopal pew.
Ann Turner | 4/12/2012 - 11:37am
Oh, Fr. Martin, this is priceless, laugh-out-loud writing!  Thank you for exposing the insanity of the "debate" today among some Catholics.  I sometimes write for Busted Halo, and see a lot of the comments that come in in response to articles.  Incredible!  Such anger-and being righteous.  Eckhart Tolle (that must mean I'm not really a true Catholic if I read Tolle) says that there is nothing that strengthens the ego so much as being right.  Amen.
Juan Lino | 4/12/2012 - 10:57am
LOL!!!! I love this post especially since I see parts of myself in both your comments and the responders to your comments. 

Most of all, however, it highlights the fact that nothing beats cara-a-cara interaction because tone, facial expression, body language, etc. (all integral parts of human communication) are absent in blog posts, tweets, etc.  So, what when writes and reads is fraught with so much misunderstanding that what would take two minutes to clarify in a face-to-face conversation sometimes takes 100 comments on a blog.

BTW, I loved your recent book!  Bravo. 
Alan Kmiecik | 4/13/2012 - 5:24pm
What do you mean you "don't feat anything"?  What kind of priest does not fear God?!?!  That is the first of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.!  How can you profess to have any kind of wisdom (the seventh gift), if you can't even admit to exercising the first gift!
Franz Kuo | 4/13/2012 - 1:10pm
Oh Fr. Martin, this was incredible.  Incredible that these were real exchanges, but also as in I cannot believe that these are our sisters and brothers in Christ.

These sorts of self-righteous, uncharitable and often anti-social behaviors were precisely what made me very weary of American Catholics when I first came to this country.  Thankfully American Catholics are not all like this, but the screaming (not talking) heads really seem to dominate Catholic discourse these days.  God help us!
Marcia Gilbert | 4/13/2012 - 11:07am
Thank you for this - it brought a much needed relief to a hectic week!  Laughter is often the best medicine!  I rarely comment on anyone's blog because comments are easily misconstrued as are ''conversations'' in email and online.  People find it easier to be super critical of others if they are unseen and say things they'd never say in ''real'' life. 

Blessed Easter! =-)

Michal Spocko | 4/13/2012 - 3:11am
My wonderful sister sent me this link. I registered just to tell you what a great article this is. It is clearly based on real life examples. I read a lot of comments on right wing political blogs, they rarely write in complete sentences, so at least you have that going for ya. 

The famous, "somebody is wrong on the Internet!" impulse clearly extends in further than I thought.

 I Think David's comment at 11 is wonderful.

"One thing that encourages the unpleasant disputatiousness has to do with the lack of sensory feedback.  At the very most, we can see and hear our interlocutors, but even that seeing and hearing is a primitive simulacrum of what it would be if the people we're talking with were in the same physical place as we. "
There are times I wish I could see and hear someone make a comment so I could hear the tone or see the hesitation. Other times I wish they could see me making a bitter hateful comment.

The ability to not see how your rude remarks "land" upon your audience's ear enables people to write horrible things.
I just read some vicious comments on a blog and I wondered if I contacted this person via video conference would he say the same. 
david power | 4/12/2012 - 7:40pm
I agree with Bruce.
Lets outlaw critical thought now!!!!
6466379 | 4/12/2012 - 7:31pm
Father James Martin, SJ, is a AAA HumanBeing , AAA Catholic, AAA Jesuit, AAA Priest,  AAA Writer. His critics,  saturatuated as they  are in  the sins of uncharitableness and  Injustice  are 000s all of them in need of prayer AND penance. God bless you Fr. Martin! 
david power | 4/12/2012 - 7:30pm
This is a monologue not an actual dialogue.
Strawmanship at its very keenest.
We are all the heroes of our own stories.
If only my verbal opponents really were as dumb as I imagined them to be in my head. 
JAMES SHEIL | 4/12/2012 - 1:36pm
What I get often on my blog is something along the lines of, “I’ll pray for you, Father, that you may see the light and turn away from your errors”, or, in other words, ''so that you can become as judgmental, arrogant, and self-righteous as I am''. Which I probably already am.
Holly Case | 4/12/2012 - 12:58pm
I loved this post and really needed it right now! Funny yet completely true. I converted to the faith a couple years ago and made the mistake of trying to seek out Catholic sites online to help me when my faith started to lag. Long story short, that only made things worse for me because 95% of what I found was people arguing over exactly the issues you posted above. I just wanted to find some place where people who loved the faith could help me bolster mine, not argue over who had the ''more correct'' definition and practice of Catholicism. It presents such a bad image for our faith when Catholics themselves attack each other over who is more right. Very honestly it nearly drove me away and left me wondering if I'd converted to the wrong religion, because that kind of judgment from other Catholics was definitely not what I signed up for!
ANDREW VARGA PASTOR REV | 4/12/2012 - 11:45am
Sad but how true...
This syndrome has been around for a while...
Damned if you do and damned if you don't...
You know it well: Check out Matthew 11:16-19...
Someone has to invent a spiritual laxative and rediscover the joy of being Catholic...
Annette Sherwood | 4/12/2012 - 11:24am
I love Jesus.

Thank YOU!

Keep going...
John Martens | 4/12/2012 - 11:22am
Fr. Martin,

This is really good and timely and I am so glad you have called out all those other people regarding their petty concerns. If you don't mind, I would just want to correct one thing. I noticed there were no biblical references in the article. There are only references to Councils and the Catechism! Don't Jesuit priests care about the Bible? Do they even consult the Bible?
J Cosgrove | 4/12/2012 - 11:11am
''Me: I love Jesus.''


I love him too.  


For a history of the Church with a separate lecture on the Jesuits, borrow from the library or a friend or buy the ''History of the Catholic Church'', a Teaching Company Course.  Lots of beauty, lots of warts taught by a convert and is especially favorable to the Jesuits. 


http://www.thegreatcourses.com/tgc/courses/course_detail.aspx?cid=6640


Also a course on heresy is taught by St. Louis University professor, Thomas Madden.  It is in the Modern Scholar series.  If one is interested in Church history and Church thought, he is a incredible source for the history of The Church.  Here are the list of courses he has done for the Modern Scholar series, most of which have to do with the Church and its history.


http://www.recordedbooks.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=scholar.show_professors&prof_id=42


So all Father Martin has to do is point the people in his life to The Great Courses and the Modern Scholar series of Thomas Madden and see which category you fit into.

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