Monday, March 02, 2009

Theological Rant 7.0: Judge not, lest ye be judged

An occasional series of theological grumpiness.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Have you ever had a series of events in your life that made you think: we don't have time for this crap?

The ranting topic of the day, readers, is judgment. Not prudential judgment: I mean getting your kicks from from your holier-than-thou self-righteousness.

I have had a few hours that have resulted in me being officially sick and tired of Catholics bashing each other with a spiky stick in unrestrained glee.  We can't let that person in our special group--she's "not on our page" (aka: way too conservative).  That "Catholic" (with the twitching fingers as quote marks)--is not really, or else he would have mentioned that important issue.  Never mind that what he said was perfectly valid.  And on, and on.

This isn't improved by being placed into a simultaneous series of events where I am defending the Catholic faith to people who should know better.   One responded to my suggestions about a heightened awareness of Catholic identity within a particular institution (I'll let you take a wild guess which kind of church-affiliated institution that is) would come across like a sledgehammer (and I don't think he meant the old Peter Gabriel song, although that's probably good, because I'm pretty sure that would have constituted sexual harassment.  I mean, it's catchy, but the lyrics, people!).  

Where was I?

Right, "Catholic identity is a sledgehammer."  I managed to respond politely, I think, by saying that one's person sledgehammer is another person's beloved tradition.  He apologized for the "choice in words." But you know what?  If he has had contact with the folks I've been dealing with in paragraph #2, I can see why he thinks it is a sledgehammer.  So I seem to be spending my time lately with people who think the Church ought to be buried under a bushel, or people who spend their time determining who is or is not sufficiently in the elect.  Where the $&*% is God in all this?

All I know is this, and I'll repeat it again so as to remind myself as well: we don't have time for this crap.  The reading for today gives us a hint: "...nor shall you stand by idly when your neighbor's life is at stake." –Leviticus 19:16. This season, this life, is about salvation, humility, and repentance.  It's about saving people's lives, including your own.  I feel like we're relishing a debate about what's the preferred method of CPR while we've got a world on the floor, dying.  Or maybe this is what the truly dying do: zealously take over the judgment seat when we should be loving, and pleading for mercy, instead.

I'm going to go grade now.  God pity my students.

over and out for a while,


Suzanne said...

Wow! I really appreciate this -- all I can say is that you're lucky you don't live in my town!

Dcn Scott Dodge said...

Yes, I have experienced those moments and more often than I care to recall. I have been around long enough to learn that nothing grows old and stale more quickly than relevance. Being Catholic is a way of life that makes you know what it means to be alive. It is a life with an objective form,

You and your students will be in my prayers.

elizabeth said...

Amen! So well (as usual) put.

Did you happen to hear/see Fr. Pavone celebrating mass on EWTN today? He hammered (and I mean hammered, which is such a joy to see a priest do - but none suprising from him...) this message home!

God Bless!

The Ironic Catholic said...

I didn't--I don't get EWTN or watch TV to speak of. Nice to know someone else was of the same mind today though.

opey124 said...

It was Fr. Pavone on EWTN today. You can listen to it here:

Thanks for the reminder.

Meredith Gould said...

IC, I love you.

I spend a fair amount of time on Twitter -- for a variety of reasons, some of which I've mentioned in my blog. I follow Catholics across the spectrum and, shock-of-all-shocks, I follow other Christians. Wow. There are other Christians!

And guess which Christians seem to spend the most time and energy bashing each other and judging each other's fidelity?

I can decide whether it's more heartbreaking or infuriating. Heck, why choose? It's both!

Steve T. said...

Well, we must all recall that in the Book of Dork, Chapter 756: 4858433-4858434, it says, "Thou shalt takest the Sledgehammer of Righteousness and bash everyone who dost not believe exactly as thou dost. For they are doomed to a life of Justin Timberlake videos."

Just a smile?

Karen E. said...

What a wonderful theological rant. Nope, we don't have time.

Sister Mary Martha said...

I'm always amazed that it seems to escape everyone that everyone will be in heaven together (we hope...or don't we?).

Ray from MN said...

I don't watch any TV but EWTN and when my local UHF station goes to digital I probably won't buy a new digital set.

But I would miss Father Corapi and some of their live programs at 7:00 p.m. M-F or Father Groeschel at 6:00 p.m. Sundays.

It is possible to watch and listen to EWTN on your computer:

Click on "Libraries" on the top "index strip" and then "Audio Libraries" for old EWTN radio & TV programs, some as new as last week.

Click on "Document Libraries" if you feel like reading encyclicals, V2 documents, etc.

Click on "Radio" and "Listen Live" to hear live EWTN radio programs.

Click on "Television" or "Multi-Media" for the choice of live or archived television and radio programs.