How many of us have made fun of, ridiculed or have otherwise been annoyed by someone coming at us from a religious perspective? How many of us look with disdain at those who are intent on making us aware of higher things? If we're honest, we'd all raise our hands.
I consider myself an evangelist of sorts. A flawed one for sure, perhaps largely ineffective, but determined.
What I do here on the blog and through other social media outlets, and this perhaps more obvious to some and less so to others, is write of higher things, link to those doing the same, or do both with the expressed intent and purpose in furthering a Catholic point of view and the particular philosophy that undergirds Catholic thought, something that has become the focus of the blog for some time now. I do this because I've found Catholicism and Catholic thought to have a richness and depth heretofore unknown to me, a richness and depth I believe benefits not just me personally but anyone willing to mine it.
In the course of doing what I do, I'll inevitably offend people.
As an example, I recently linked to a story chronicling the rise of euthanasia in the Netherlands, noting the very troubling mindset that sees the sick and vulnerable as disposable. In that post, I related that mindset to the horrific story coming out of South Carolina involving a politician who thinks we should execute those stricken with Ebola. I then made the following reference, a reference someone found to be deeply offensive:
To add to that sickening piece of news, yesterday I read where a professed Catholic was suggesting that the Dallas Ebola victim be flown on autopilot back to Liberia to crash land. And people, including other Catholics, were applauding the suggestion.
What can you say other than God have mercy on us all.
The person offended relayed that as the result of these comments, they would no longer feel comfortable sitting across the Church from me as they would feel judged, as they would think I might ridicule when it is they kneel or cross themselves during Mass, something I find to be ludicrous, something that stretches the bounds of credulity but... this was relayed to be the perception of the person offended and I was reminded by them that their perception should be my reality. To which I can only shake my head.
This is the state we find ourselves in today. A state in which any reference to faith matters, any reference that attempts to put forth and express a related philosophy or teaching or dogma or tenet of said faith, and here I really particularly mean a related philosophy or teaching or dogma or tenet of the Catholic faith, must first be wrung through filters and/or conversational rules that check to see if there's any way that expression might be viewed to be subjectively offensive.
I'm refusing to play this game.
I'm refusing to be handcuffed by filters and rules clearly purposed in doing nothing more than silencing the public expression of those related philosophies, teachings, dogmas or tenets.
I'm refusing to listen to accusations that I'm engaged in judgment for doing nothing more than alluding to Catholic teaching or applying those teachings to particular circumstances in life. And I am, in this particular instance, refusing to be held conveniently responsible for some future decision to not go to Mass.
Yesterday, I came across a David Mills piece I found to be timely, relevant and, personally, quite validating. I close with his concluding comments but am urging the reading of his entire piece as I think it to be cogently challenging:
"What if we're failing charity. The evangelist we find so amusing, or so annoying, handing out pamphlets on the way to his truck may see the people he passes better than we do. He may see them merely as targets for this month’s sales report, but he may see them as souls in peril, and as men and women in need right now of the mercy of God. Some of them will find a tract from a passing stranger just what they need, or an address from a Catholic street preacher.
You don’t save drowning people only after you’ve spent enough time with them to become friends, because then they’ll be dead."
Carry on dear reader.
I certainly will.