Thursday, January 24, 2019

A message for Nick Sandmann

I am not inserting myself into this issue - a priest I know in the area reached out and said that he has heard that Nick and family are hoping for words of support from priests and bishops.  He probably won't see this.  But if so, and it helps him in the pain they are going through, that's great

On Bishops Getting Hate-Mail (about themselves or their priests)

Recently I was blessed to sit down with my Archbishop (I am very blessed to have such a wonderful shepherd and spiritual father).  I wanted to introduce why I engage in social media, how it got started, etc.  Archbishop Thompson is fairly new, and I had not had a chance to really introduce myself.

One of the things that I said was something to the effect of this:  "Archbishop, I'm sure you get lots of notes about me.  But I think that it is not because of what I'm saying, but because I'm a public person in some way.  Someone who is on the complete opposite theological spectrum (and has an infinitely larger following) from me would be Fr. James Martin, SJ.  Every time he posts something, there are hundreds of comments, and most of them are "I'm turning you into your superior, and I pray you are kicked out of the Church!"  Archbishop, I know the Jesuits are getting hundreds if not 1,000's of letters about Fr. Martin, most of them probably negative.  I think it just goes with being a public person in the Church."

We went on to chat more, and the Archbishop agreed, noting that he too is a public person, and has received lots of letters for and against himself.

Here's the point in all of this - the first wave of the persecution of the Church is underway - storm the Church with complaint letters.  I've seen it as a recommended TACTIC on some anti-Catholic entities list of strategies --- Just barrage the bishops with complaint letters about priests who are speaking out against homosexual marriage, abortion, etc.

Most bishops and dioceses are already overwhelmed with work load, and so it is TEMPTING to want to just stop the letters.  It is surely tempting for any religious superior to just say "WOULD YOU PLEASE STOP TALKING BECAUSE WE'RE GETTING ALL THIS STUFF ABOUT YOU."

Here's the point: The Jesuits stand in and take it.  They deal with the complaint letters because they believe in what Fr. Martin is saying.  They believe it is the Truth, so they add extra staff people to deal with the complaints, they have a standard approach, they send out a template response: "We're sorry you don't like him...but that's tough and that's life."

In that sense, even though I disagree with just about everything Fr. James Martine says, I admire the Jesuits for backing him and not just telling him "Hey, people are complaining.  Could you make our lives easier and just be quiet?"

There may be a day where we are literally silenced as a Church and are no longer able to teach openly what we believe.  BUT IT IS NOT THIS DAY!  And until that day of silencing comes, I would just like to cheer on all bishops, all dioceses, and all priestly personnel to back the play of those priests and laity who are on the front lines and trying to speak the Gospel in a prophetic way to a sick, decaying, and crumbling Western Civilization.

We shall all hang together, or we shall all hang separately.  Fight the good fight!

Monday, January 14, 2019

"Father, your social media is not joyful"

UPDATED: I forgot to add my favorite quote from Chesterton.  It is now included at the end

Every now and then, I hear from people "I follow you on Twitter/Facebook/Youtube/Blog, and you seem pretty intense."

Other words for intense would be "angry", "non-joyful", "non-happy", etc.

Here's my response: social media is a TOOL.  Social media is NOT a thing that should be used to present the entirety of one's self

MANY people WRONGLY use social media to try to present the entirety of themselves to other people (even though, of course, it is usually only the parts of themselves they want others to see).

Some people would respond: "Well, use social media to convey joy and happiness and humor"

My response: "NO!"

1) I find a lot of joy and happiness and peace in my life.  Most of the people who interact with me in person would say I'm joyful, of good humor, easy to get along with, and NOT a person who always talks about hard truths.

I don't typically call up friends and say "Hey, do you want to talk about contraception or McCarrick?"

2) The Gospels are not written to describe Jesus' personal disposition.  The Gospels don't say "One day, in a conversation, Jesus was really happy and smiling and giving off a great vibe of joy"  The Gospels are the Truth out of a fire-hose.  Every word is something that could fuel our prayer lives for years, but virtually nothing in the Gospels describes Jesus' personality/joy/happiness/etc.

The vast majority of my life is stuff that I will not share on social media.  I don't spend a lot of time on social media.  I also run two parishes and a university and prison chaplaincy, and am too busy to be on social media giving constant updates anyway.  But when I have an experience of joy or happiness or peace or a fun interaction, I pray that none of the first 100 things that pass through my mind will ever be "I should somehow go out and tell everyone how funny/joyful/at peace/happy I am by recounting this story on social media"



Those who think social media is for constantly demonstrating all facets of their personality equally and that the entirety of one's personality is to be gathered from social media have a very warped and even spiritually diseased and potentially lethal understanding of what social media is for.

My blog has 2,001,448 views
My Youtube channel has 15,000 subscribers and 10.6 million minutes of watched videos
My Facebook public page has 9,000 followers
My Twitter has 8,000 followers and about 8 million impressions

One might throw out there that Hitler had a huge following.  I share these stats just to say that despite me not conveying every facet of my personality via social media, lots of people find what I do, in a very limited capacity, to be helpful.

People aren't coming there looking for updates on my current state of mind and where I'm at spiritually at that moment.  They are coming for the Truth.  So for those who are looking to know about the effects that the Gospel has on one's personality, go introduce yourself to some people, in person, who are living the Gospel and have them over for dinner. 

I end with my favorite quote from Chesterton; his mic-drop conclusion to his best book "Orthodoxy".  Some people tell me they don't understand what Chesterton is getting at in this quote of his.  I feel sorry for those persons. Here is perhaps his best prose, and that is saying something!

"He never restrained His anger. He flung furniture down the front steps of the Temple, and asked men how they expected to escape the damnation of Hell.  

Yet He restrained something. I say it with reverence; there was in that shattering personality a thread that must be called shyness. 

There was something that He hid from all men when He went up a mountain to pray. There was something that He covered constantly by abrupt silence or impetuous isolation. There was some one thing that was too great for God to show us when He walked upon our earth; and I have sometimes fancied that it was His mirth."

Friday, January 11, 2019

What to do about the scandals in the Church

It was great to join Dr. Taylor Marshall for this conversation.  He's doing GREAT work on trying to address the scandals in the Church