Catholics Come Out Guns a Blazin’

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By Fr. Dwight Longenecker, Patheos, Sept. 19, 2017 

I watched a forgettable film the other evening called Tombstone. It was a predictable Western with Wyatt Earp, his brothers and Doc Holliday shooting up the OK Corral.

It made me think of this week’s shoot out between Fr Martin and his pals and some conservative commentators. Both sides came out guns a-blazin’ about Fr Martin’s rather slight and sentimental book about being friendly to gay people.

But is it really worth all the nastiness? Fr. Z posed questions about Fr Martin’s suitability as a speaker at seminary and Michael Voris has been clobbering the media darling, but as Fr Z says here, they are mosquitos pestering an elephant. The liberal Catholics control the main Catholic media channels, the majority of mainstream Catholic universities and control most chanceries and the Vatican.

Do we really need Villanova intellectual Massimo Faggioli to come out shooting with this article which not very subtly compares Voris and Fr Z to terrorists and Nazis? I thought the urbane intellectuals were above that sort of smear campaign. Then one of the pope’s key colleagues–Fr Spadaro joins in the gunfight with a Tweet that continues the comparison to Nazis? Come now. This “you disagree with me so you must be a Nazi” tactic is the classic routine of sad people who live in their mother’s basement and troll blog comment boxes.

Then Bishop McElroy chips in here praising Fr Martin for being probably one of the very brightest and best of evangelists the Catholic Church has ever had and saying that the campaign against him is a “cancer in the church.” Again, is this really necessary?

The shoot out at the Jesuit Corral? My view is that it is what we used to call in England “a tempest in a teapot.”

It would seem that Fr Martin and his friends are trying to normalize homosexuality in the church. All you have to do is have a look at the agenda of New Ways Ministry to realize what their message is and where they want to take the church. Fr Martin and his friends clearly have no time for orthodox and faithful outreach to people with same sex attraction, or they would be pushing Courage and EnCourage. There is more on this here.

For the other side, the church has always had some hotheads.

Hotheads? So what? The church has always had firebrands who have used strong language to preach the gospel. Surely we can all appreciate the prophetic voices in our midst and thank God that someone still has a bit of fire in their belly for the faith, and if one does not agree with Fr Z and Michael Voris or any of the other critics, why then treat them as you would wish to be treated, and engage them in polite and fraternal discussion.

You might even have a drink together and share a few jokes. You know the sort…”A Franciscan, a Jesuit and a Benedictine needed to change a lightbulb…”

After all, we are told constantly that we are to get down and get dirty and get the smell of the sheep upon us. If Voris and Fr Z smell bad to you, then listen to Pope Francis and get down and smelly with them and make a mess. We are to meet people where they are. We are to accompany them and not judge. We are to listen and engage in dialogue. Right? Well, what does it say when our Catholic intellectuals and bishops resort to insults, name calling and extremist language?

My own response is to read the parable of the wheat and the tares. The disciples were outraged at people they thought were not bona fide and asked Jesus if they should weed the garden. He shrugged and said, “the wheat and weeds grow together. Leave it till judgement day.”

I’d offer that as sage advice to both sides. Do Fr Martin and his buddies get your dander up? Take a deep breath. The weeds and the wheat grow together.

Does Michael Voris and his gang get you riled up? Do you want to call them names and lower yourself in such a way? What are you going to do-burn them at the stake like Savonarola? Take a deep breath. The weeds and the wheat grow together.

For my part, I’m determined more than ever not to be flustered by the stormy seas. I’m going to strive to be local and to do what I can with what I have where I am–to pray more, to try to overcome my faults and work harder to love God and my neighbor.

That seems enough for any one person to attempt.