Monday, October 18, 2010

Angry Ex-Catholics

Father Dwight Longenecker on the subject of those very angry ex-Catholics.
What's this idea that people think the Church is going to be perfectly free of human frailty and failure? What kind of unrealistic dream is that? Furthermore, wouldn't you be distrust any religious organization that was totally free of human failure, flaws and weaknesses? Don't those religious cults where everyone goes around with a pasted on smile in a fake sinless perfection give you the creeps? People who are otherwise smart and grown up cry out, "The Catholic Church is a fraud! I'm leaving!" and they slam the door as they go.

... They're so obsessed and outraged by the sin and scandal of 'the Catholic Church' that they are blind to the sin and scandal in their own lives.

I think it was Abp. Fulton Sheen who once met an ex Catholic on a plane. The man was going on and on about the corruption and graft and simony and nepotism in the Catholic Church. Sheen listened and then said, "What is it that you have stolen?" The man was instantly stunned into silence for he had been guilty of serious theft. I suspect this problem is epidemic ...
This is not all so go read the whole thing at Standing on My Head.


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  4. In my former world (USMC) we called that delusion the "zero-defect mentality."

    See what I mean? Fourth try just to post this simple comment. ;)

  5. I wondered why four comments showed up so fast. I've had that problem myself. :-D

  6. I suspect that one of the reasons angry ex-catholics refer to themselves as (fill-in-the-blank)-catholics is that some part of them deeply wishes still to be in communion with the Church.

    I don't know whether they want to be invited back, or convinced to confess and repent. I suspect many just want a sympathetic ear.

  7. I think I'll just steam quietly.

  8. What a great story about Archbishop Sheen! And a perspective about all of those angries that I've never thought of before.

  9. Sad. Another Catholic ranting without knowing. Stop talking to your brand of "ex-Catholics" and start talking to Buddhists, Hindus, Unitarians, etc. who used to be Catholic. You'll hear a significantly different story that focuses on doctrine/teachings, the whole 2,000 and more years of garbage the Judeo-Christian tradition represents. Get your heads out of the sandholes they've been sunk in and take a grasp of realty. And, no one who leaves a religious tradition has to be healed by it or forgiving by it. Good Grief! grow up! Oh, I'm sorry, too much to handle - growing up?

  10. Aha ... welcome, angry ex-Catholic ranting quietly away in the comments boxes. :-)

    And back atcha ... grow up.

  11. Except Anonymous is right, in his or her own way -- assuming you know why someone is an ex-Catholic, or pondering why they use the prefix "ex", isn't really very Catholic/Christian, is it?

    Claiming that you think some Archbishop may have said something indicating it's alright to assume something about someone else's motivations and then running with it is the exact opposite of what Christ definitely told us. But more Catholics take the former route because it makes them feel all smug and superior, and the ex-Catholics who are genuinely struggling and who are on the outside looking in see that and figure same-old same-old and they remain outside.

    You wanna be cute and smug about "ex"-Catholics, fine. You wanna act all superior and holier-than-thou, fine. That's yours to answer to God for, not any ex-Catholic's.

    If it makes you happier for people like me to lose the "Catholic" label altogether, fine. Will do. You win.

    OTOH, if the Church insists on baptising infants who get no say and then claiming once a Catholic, always a Catholic, it's beyond hypocritical to whine about how ex-Catholics still use the Catholic label -- really.

  12. As the original article pointed out (not sure if you clicked through and read it), the point is not about "us" calling someone ex-Catholic. It is a question of why people who leave the Church still tend to identify themselves through the very thing they left, the Church.

    It isn't as if someone moves to Texas and then goes around saying, "I'm an ex-Kansan." Etc.

    Though your obvious angriness does seem to be reinforcing Fr. Longenecker's point. Please feel free to go debate it with him ... after you've read the article. :-)

  13. I read the article already.

    It's always convenient to blame the "other" -- or just to relegate them to "other" status, isn't it? Then you can write them off as something less human than yourself, right?

    I'm really not angry, but forcing people to prove negatives is what people who have no reasonable response usually do. You need to think I'm angry -- fine. Like I said, yours to justify, not mine.

    For all that Catholics go on about the Truth of the Church, and the mystical, it's funny that they're now snarking at those who are struggling with the Church for any variety of reasons for still maintaining, no matter how tenuously, some sort of connection.

    Why does it bother you? Why so snarky and rude? Why assume the worst, or assume anything negative at all?

    Why not concern yourself more with why there are ex-Catholics in the first place? Why not listen -- really listen -- to what they have to say, angry or not, as Christ would have, and see where you share common ground?

    Thing is, Christ encountered people and gave them a lot to think about -- no condemnation, no snark, no sneering comments, just a few gentle words -- left it up to them. But Catholics such as yourself and the original blogger would rather hold yourselves above, look on those supposedly "angry ex-Catholics" as something "other", something to be riduculed, snarked at, sneered at, jeered at.

    S'okay. They sneered and jeered at Christ, too. He understands.

    I guess Ijust don't understand how you can claim to be a practicing Catholic and behave the way you do. Which is why I am no longer Catholic, don't refer to myself as "ex" anything.

  14. As an ex-agnostic (which term I also do not use) I am not meaning to be snarky. Presumably it came off that way just as your previous comment came off as "angry."

    I am more interested in people who are identifying themselves as the "ex" category because I know several. You cannot easily categorize them just as I cannot either.

    I found Fr. Longenecker's article interesting. Sorry you didn't. Sorry that it came off as behaving whatever way you think it did. But to look at how people identify themselves is as revealing as looking at how others identify them. So ... it was interesting. So sue me.


  15. Except the article does categorize them, and then offers up a pretty nasty-minded way for readers to formulate an answer to the original question, and then the blogger -- a priest, no less -- invites readers to run with that formula.

    If you were genuinely interested in the question in a healthy way, you'd be genuinely interested in a discussion.

    Guess you're not.


  16. I reread it and it seems fairly even-handed to me. Yes the example from Sheen is not about something "nice" and so then it becomes something to become angry about, if you take it that way.

    However, to me it was more of an idea of a clue in terms of listening to the angry, ex-Catholics I know who do go on ranting and raving. That if I listen then I get a clue as to what they're so upset about ... and can go on to address it.

    I see why it wasn't taken that way.

    I apologize.