Saturday, January 06, 2018

You know what I'm sick of? Trad bashing.

I read a comment on Twitter last night in which a man complained that "Trads" turn converts off with our jerky opinions. Here we go again. How is it that the smallest group in the Church is not allowed to express our thoughts in public? How is it that the smallest group in the Church is ignored for the most part except when it's time to bash us? Must we only whisper to each other while sitting in the basement in the dark? It seems that lay people who make their money off of the Church must undergo the ritual of bashing traditional Catholics in order to get the book contract, the sponsored blog, the speaking circuit gig and the golden ticket of the writing job with a Catholic news outlet. This man went on in subsequent Tweets to express horror at traditional Catholics who don't like the Luminous mysteries and/or the Divine Mercy or who were upset with the canonization of JPII because this disturbs converts.

 Oh please. JPII was the pope for most of my life and I loved him unquestioningly, but as an adult who's hit the mid century mark, I can see that my still beloved papa made some mistakes that had long ranging effects.

First off, in fairness to Pope John Paul II, let me get a few things out the way.  JPII did not say that you're a bad Catholic if you don't use the Luminous mysteries. He merely offered them as an addition to the rosary. Anyone who doesn't use them or like them is within their rights. As for the Divine Mercy devotion, JPII never said you must practice it or be damned.  Essentially he said that the devotion meant a lot to him and many Poles and he wanted to make it more widely known in the world. If you prefer the rosary or the Sacred Heart devotion or the Miraculous Medal novena that's fine. If  people virulently attack  you for not liking the Divine Mercy devotion or the Luminous mysteries assume that you are talking to  petulant children who need to take a nap and ignore them.

Now, let's get on to the nitty gritty. JPII made a mistake when he kissed the Koran and you are not a sedevacantist, mentally defective or a loser living in a van down by the river if you say so out loud.  I've heard people claim that theHoly Father didn't know what that  big green book was and was just being nice 
but that is horse manure. If my Muslim neighbors invite me into their home and they give me a green book I know dog-on well that it's a Koran. If I go to my Jehovah's Witness relative's house and he tries to give me the little pink book (essentially it's their catechism for converts) I know what he's giving me and I will throw it in the trash as soon as I'm able.  If  an earnest teen aged Mormon missionary hands me the a little paperback or leatherette Book of Mormon I will discretely throw it away after giving the poor kid a slice of cake and politely asking him or her what their church teaches about Fanny Alger. 

St. John Paul II kissed what he must have known was a Koran. He planted a seed that has bloomed with Pope Francis telling Europeans that they aren't Catholic if they object to hordes of Somalis and Nigerians arriving daily in their countries although oddly enough he never tells Argentinians this. It is not out of line for a Catholic to be appalled by these events.

JPII made another mistake out of naivete when he refused to hear anyone who tried to tell him that Fr. Marcial Marciel the founder of the Legionaires of Christ was in fact, a pervert and con man. The excuse many JPII experts offer is that it was a standard Soviet Union tactic  to call men who objected to communism homosexual before arresting them and sending them to the gulags and as a Pole in a captive nation young Karol Wotyla saw this so many times that he simply rejected it out of hand. I've never met anyone who lived under the Soviet Union so I can't speak to that but over the decades apparently the pope was told multiple times by prelates and lay people that certain members of the clergy were up to no good with young males and they were apparently ignored. It wasn't only traditional Catholics who voiced concern or objections to the canonization of JPII. A lot of the loud objectors were people who were affected by the pedophile scandal. Whether the victims and their families are being fair is another matter but they exist and if they are still Catholic at all, they are not exclusively traditional. 

Finally, to get back to the idea of converts being turned off by traditional Catholic behavior and conversation, I know a Protestant man who is a classical pianist. He has been the organist for various Catholic parishes and provides music for the Novus Ordo rite and the traditional Latin. Every time he thinks about converting he is turned off, not by the priests or by traditional Catholics, whom he respects, but by the average, ordinary people in the pew who behave irreverently towards Our Lord, in His own House before, during and after Mass. He has seen and heard so much that he is unsure about joining a Church where apparently most people really don't believe what they profess every Sunday. 

The girl in the booty exposing shorts, the guy in the lewd t-shirt, the parents talking about their son's soccer game in front of the Blessed Sacrament are the people that most potential converts come in contact with, not a traditional Catholic who happens to dislike the Divine Mercy devotion. If a traditional Catholic is grouchy about a particular topic, what of it? Everyone has their days. To the guy who wrote that Tweet I say, if you want traditional Catholics and apparently only traditional Catholics to behave like Jehovah's Witnesses who are exquisitely careful to  present a happy, shiny image in front of new people until the victims are baptized, then you're barking up the wrong tree and need to look around. Only cult leaders and their enforcers tell members to speak nothing but happy words in front of potential converts and I don't want any part of that.