26 April 2014

How stand we still?

I find I am getting disturbed once again as I continue to read bloggers. It is quite depressing, sometimes, to see and reflect how things go.

I have observed in the past that I find many conservatives under Francis are acting like Liberals under Benedict, and vice versa. This Pope is wrong, or can be ignored, or, one way or another, we get to pick and chose his teachings, or at least their version of his teachings, while at the same time the other side is trumpeting that this is the best Pope, he is the one for whom we have been waiting, we should all listen to him, we should all follow him, or at least follow their version of what is saying.

It seems to me that it is getting worse. Several bloggers I read are actually distancing themselves from the Church not because Francis has done anything radical, but because they believe the radical shift is just around the corner. Again, much like many liberals back when Benedict ran the show.

It is hard to watch them go. There seem to be few of us left, sometimes. Many of the old blog have shut down, their authors stopped writing or changed their minds. Many have seitched over to Facebook, and are active there now. I remember the first time I ran into a Catholic blog. It was The Cafeteria is closed, now defunct, by Gerald Augustinus Naus. At first it was a good blog. He wrote thoughtfully and attempted to explain teachings, or news events, as best he could. He was a capable teacher and defender of the faith. However, as time went on, he became more dismissive of those with whom he disagreed. Rather than explain why they were wrong, he would fire off some quip like "Awww- Thppppt!" or "Poor baby got a booboo?". In his more extreme moments he would talk about how much he hated liberals and loved his guns. And then, he became liberal. Last time I read any of his writings, he posted a critique of Obama- for not being liberal enough.

He became for me something of a cautionary tale. He was a warning about the dangers of popularity, and how having many, many people cheering and repeating your every word is not always a good thing. It was also a warning of how fast those people could turn on you. Gerald wrote one post where he questioned the Church's teachings and sought to see if there was a way through some problems, when his followers turned on him, viciously.

There were others who ably and passionately championed the Faith, and then went away. Some switched extremes, others retreated more deeply into their own side and became more extreme. It leaves a hole, in a sense. How can someone who wrote with more intelligence and with greater passion than I could ever muster suddenly turn their back on that and walk away? What chance do we have to stay true when those who were greater than us did not? How did the lesser angels continue to stand when the brightest of them fell?

These thoughts sometimes cause me trouble. But then I recall the words of scripture: "Be still, and know that I am God." There are also the words of Theresa of Avila: "Let nothing disturb thee, nothing affright thee. all things are passing; God never changeth; Patient endurance attaineth to all things; Who God possesseth in nothing is wanting; alone God sufficeth."

I know most Catholic bloggers know these words. Why do so few act like they actually believe them? How many would still be with us if they only took them to heart? Am I even one to talk? Patient endurance is not my strength. But it sure beats being angry or worried or living in constant fear or surety or anticipation that the sky is about to fall.


DP said...

I'm not asking anyone to agree with my perspective or even share my concern. However, speaking as one of the people you describe, it would be a tonic if concerns were respectfully engaged instead of "you're behaving just like the liberals were under Benedict" and "your faith is weak."

The latter is certainly true, but St. Paul had some eternally good advice about how to handle weaker brothers.

Bear said...


Welcome to my blog. I am honoured by your presence, and I welcome any and all comments, even those who disagree with me. Comments are rather sparse around here, and I generally get the impression I am doing nothing more than speaking to myself.

I will not deny that you were among those of whom I was thinking at the time I wrote. I was moved to pray for you when I sa your struggle with the faith. But at no point would I have thought or written that I found your faith to be weak. If your faith were weak, you would not be struggling so now. I found you to be a strong and capable voice, one of the best among those I read. You blog was and is still among my favourites.

You are correct that I wrote that post with little charity. At the time I was writing, I was thinking of myself, and the effect these blogs had on me, when it would have been better to have been thinking of others, including you, and the struggles through which they are going. I should have tried to offer a word of support to you, rather than vaguely dismiss and offend you, even as I accused others of the same. I ask you, now, for your forgiveness and prayers, even as you are in mine.

DP said...

To the extent forgiveness is needed (I don't see it), I'm happy to offer it.

No, I think the "problem" with your post is that it is quite correct. My faith is a tattered thing and I have a hard time reaching out in prayer these days.

My only suggested corrective is to ask you to remember that what you are hearing from such bloggers is pain. It doesn't excuse bad language or thinking, but it explains it. The pain has a source and it is a reaction to something real. It may not be *correct* in its perception, but it is a response. Thank you for your prayers.

Bear said...

My first six or seven attempts to respond to your comment all sounded like Bill Clinton's 'I feel your pain'. I'll just have to go with it.

We all have pain. I recognize it in you, I can see it in myself, those around me. I can even see it in the liberals, sometimes. It comes from something real, sometimes from without, sometimes within. Sometimes it brings us home, and sometimes it drives us away. Sometimes we soldier through and rise above, sometimes it drags us down.

If there was a way for me to assuage your pain, or some word I could speak to remove your doubt and bring you peace I would do it. I will say that my wife has a prayer that she speaks when her depression and anxiety grow too much for her, she prays to Christ and asks Him to bear it for her, if only for a little while. It has brought her some peace in the past.

DP said...

I appreciate all of that--thank you.