Love, Lies, and Bigotry: A Sorting

I’m not loving. Nor is the Catholic Church. We’re both chock-full of hate and intolerance, lacking equally in understanding and compassion. Or, at least, that’s what I’ve been told.

It’s not, mind you, like I’m torturing puppies in my basement. But I do have the temerity to think that no one should have the right to end the life of a child, born or unborn. I also think that same-sex marriage is a dangerous oxymoron which brings with it body, soul, and culture-destroying consequences. Oh, and I really don’t like it when priests, bishops, and teachers do and say things that lead others to think the Church is hunky-dory with either.

Accordingly, the culture (and a few Facebook friends) tell me that I lack love.

But do I?

Let’s talk a little about love, shall we?

Love

Love, as the song tells us, is a many splendored thing. It’s also a multi-faceted thing. It has many faces.

Sometimes, the face of love looks like this:

Bride_And_Groom_by_Alena_Kratochvilova_CC0_10_CNA_US_Catholic_News_6_14_13

But, it can also look like this:

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Or this:

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Or this:

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Sometimes, love is patient. Sometimes it can brook no delay.

Sometimes love is gentle. Sometimes love is fierce.

Sometimes love holds its tongue. Sometimes, it cannot be silent.

There are times that love says Yes. But there are other times that love must say No.

There are times when love brings us peace. And other times, when it drives us half mad.

In all that, one thing is clear: No matter what the Beatles say, love isn’t easy. It’s quite hard actually. And complicated. Love in reality doesn’t look like love in the movies. Not for lovers. Not for friends. Not for parents.

And we know that. When we look around us, we see love’s many faces. We see what love demands. We see that loving a person as they most need to be loved won’t always bear the fruits we hope it will bear. They might not love us back. They might get angry. They might walk away.

But that doesn’t mean we choose to stop loving that person. That doesn’t mean we start acting in the most unloving of ways.

Yet that is what the culture is tempting us to do right now.

Lies & Bigotry

It doesn’t say that directly, of course. It doesn’t say, “Be less loving.” It says, “Be more loving.” It says, “Be silent. Hold your tongue. Turn your face. Let others do as they want to do and live as they want to live. Mind your own business. Don’t judge. Be tolerant. Be nice.”

When we don’t heed that advice, it sends slings and arrows galore our way. Those who speak up—priests, bishops, and plain old, ordinary folks—are called unloving, hateful bigots and charged with the capital sin of the post-modern world: intolerance.

It’s an effective tactic. It intimidates some. It silences others. It brainwashes many. Countless Catholics and other Christians have heard those words hurled so many times at opponents of same-sex marriage and other cultural juggernauts that they actually believe them.

They believe, in their silence, in their acceptance, that they are loving as God calls them to love.

But they’re not.

The people doing what the culture smiles upon—aborting their children, hooking up, using pornography, and engaging in same-sex relations—aren’t doing something to smile upon. Those people—those beautiful, blessed, broken people—are just breaking themselves even more.

The less broken we are the more clearly we see that. And even if we can’t see it plainly, there’s a mountain of sociological evidence that tells us the same, that tells of the increased rates of depression and dissatisfaction, abuse, violence, and even suicide among those following the culture’s script on morality and sexuality.

And yes, we all, in some way, are broken and breaking ourselves. The difference is that those of us trying to follow Christ and live according to the teachings of the Church don’t think our failings are something to smile upon. We know, in falling short of what God asks of us, that we’re neither loving him nor ourselves. And we want to do better.

Part of “doing better” means concerning ourselves more with our own failings than with others’. But doing that doesn’t also necessitate standing silently by while others hurt themselves, body and soul. It doesn’t mean never expressing our true opinion about an issue, never explaining why we agree or disagree with a certain behavior, or tacitly cooperating in another’s folly. It doesn’t require we pretend that black is white, up is down, or in is out.

Again, we can’t do that. To do that is to be the very thing the culture accuses us of being. To do that is to fail to love God and others.

The Sorting

Remember, love doesn’t just say Yes. It also says No.

Love says, “No, you cannot have that. It’s not good for you.”  Love says, “No, you must not do that. It will hurt you.” And love says, “No, you should not go that way. It will lead you to a place you do not want to go.”

A parent who lets a child play with whatever he fancied, no matter how dangerous, would not be a loving parent. A sister who procured heroin for her addict brother, would not be a loving sister. A man who sent a wandering traveler down a road that was dark, dangerous, and not the desired destination, would not be a loving man.

In the same way, a Church that said nothing when she sees people stumbling along a road that she believes leads to perdition would not be a loving Church.

A Church that sanctioned or facilitated behavior that she believes will hurt someone in body and soul would not be a loving Church.

And a Church that did nothing in the larger culture to clear up the fundamental confusion about life, love, and sexuality would, again, not be a loving Church.

Nor would a person who sees the same and believes the same but acts otherwise, be a loving person.

Now, when we express our views uncharitably or thoughtlessly, when we fail to be kind, welcoming, and generous to those who think differently, when we’re imprudent about when we speak and when we hold our tongue, that is unloving.

Truth and charity are supposed to go hand in hand. Jettisoning one is as bad as jettisoning the other. And these days, we can’t afford to jettison either. It’s not an option for those those seeking the Kingdom of Heaven.

Nor is it an option for those who care about the Kingdom of Man.

The Vandals are no longer knocking at the gate. They’ve broken through and are running amok amongst us. They are destroying the lives of our friends, family, and neighbors. They are destroying our culture. And it’s up to us to stop them. Not with weapons. But with truth and love.

Slings and arrows be damned.

 

 

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Categories:Abortion Culture Marriage Theology

20 thoughts on “Love, Lies, and Bigotry: A Sorting

  1. Avis Cawley says:

    Thank you for this article. We need to care more about a person’s salvation and less about their current feelings.

  2. Angie says:

    Thank you for this wonderful article…..it helps a lot to know others are in the same boat. Just a month ago I was accused of being intolerant by my husband’s family because we are trying to protect our kids from their immoral behavior. It’s nice to know we are not alone.

  3. BAD SAMARITANS
    When a brother has wandered astray,
    Those who love him will show him the way;
    Those who follow the fashion
    Of corrupted compassion
    Will assure him his sin is okay.

  4. Colleen says:

    “Slings and arrows be damned.”

    Amen sister.

    I admire your courage and stand with you. It can be a difficult to boldly and lovingly speak truth. I’ve been discouraged ever since I tried my hand at it ( link below) and then gave in to the pressure to retreat into silence. Thanks for reminding me that saying something really is the least cowardly and most loving thing we can do and for reminding me that we are not alone in struggling to do it.

    http://ghostjar.com/?p=1289

    Colleen

  5. Heidi says:

    Thank you for such a beautifully written piece. God Bless you!

  6. Malia says:

    Mary Miller: perfect Church full of imperfect people. Know your facts and that will help. 80% of all sex abuse crimes in Church were homosexual in nature. It was not “pedophelia”, victims were typically between 11-17 years old. Homosexuals make up 1-3% of population and account for 1/3 of all total sex crimes against children. Its a widely recognized, but hushed problem even in the GLBT community. Homosexuality is a disorder with high risk of leading to the sexual abuse of minors. Bottom line, don’t defend the sinners in the Church, defend Church Teaching! And fully acknowledge how the people in the Church should have relied on Christ’s teachings, rather than modern pop-psychology when considering men for the priesthood back in the 60′s. We are a good example of what happens when a “society” sacrifices Truth to the altar of emotion.

    1. Ron Howard says:

      There is nothing correct about your stats or your sociological facts. Either you made them up or got them from a biased source.

    2. Mary Miller says:

      Malia, you need to get your facts straight. 11 to 17 year olds are children who were raped by pedophile priests. I’m aware that most of the abuse was done to boys. I know the percentage of gays are in the country. Good advice not to defend the sinners of the church, which I have never done, but to defend Church teaching. Unfortunately many Catholics will never return to the Church because of that horrendous scandal. I tell people that nothing will keep me from the Eucharist, but many others do not feel that way.

    3. Jen says:

      Malia:
      Your statistics are very interesting. Do you have any sources for your comments? More specifically, “homosexuals account for 1/3 of all total sex crimes against children?”

    4. Joyce says:

      Great response!

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