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Monday, July 27, 2009

An Open Reply To Joan Doe

Back on July 15, I posted on a column written by Rev. Richard McBrien, wherein he defended the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in light of the upcoming Vatican visitation. I highlighted the positions and history of several of the former presidents of the LCWR he claimed to admire, and not surprisingly, they are heterodox in some of their views, especially in the area of ordaining female priests. If you so desire, you can read that post here.

And in typical AoftheA snarky fashion, I reworded Willie Nelson's song "To All The Girls I've Loved Before", calling it "To All The Nuns I've Loved Before", a quasi-love song from McBrien to the religious women he admits to admiring.

Several readers who liked it left comments expressing their thoughts, while most who read it left no indication of their opinion - which is fine. Readers are not obligated to comment on every post in a person's blog - for me, if a post is powerfully written, or evokes a big laugh, or touches on a subject that is important to me, then I'll leave a comment. Sometimes I just write something I think is funny. However, I've never ever left a comment on anyone's blog anywhere at anytime just to score a point in the You're An Awful Person game.

Like this one left by Joan Doe in response to the aforementioned post:

A visit to your blog is surreal,extremely sad and can make me feel ill. Entry after entry from you Larry D and your small band trashing, making mock of and composing cruel poems about priests, sisters and fellow baptized catholics who do not live in your intellectually circumscribed thought box is not humorous.The religious you bash have lived lives with vows that you and your cohorts could not or would not commit to, desite (sic) your profession of such pure orthodoxy. The inquisition and the crusades are over except for you and your thought police. Your cruel and nasty behavior indicates how threatened you are. No where on your blog is there any expression of love of neighbor. This love was recognized as the sign that we were followers of Jesus. Why would you mock and slam your fellow Catholics like little children in a tantrum. You may disagree with others but that discussion should be on the level of St. Thomas Aquinas where true intellectual dialogue was engaged in. This stuff is truly puerile. The mockery you think so prophetic is devoid of any love and so we hear the cymbals for sure. Do you have any credentials to speak for the church? I suspect if you did they would head every page in the blog.So we are dealing with uber orthodox critics, lacking in the ability to adequately deal with theological issues. The scattered Latin terms and phrases are a fanciful affectation and I would suspect no one here has studied the language. By the way God can understand English and Jesus spoke Aramaic.Do us a service and give up blogging, go out and minister to the poor and perhaps your heart and soul may heal and you may develop some tolerance for your fellow man. As Paul said give up childish things. My creds - I served as a Dominican sister for 13 yrs, have a B.S. and M.S. from prestigious Catholic college and university, am married in and presently serve in my parish as a Roman Catholic in good standing Joan R.

This comment was made while I was on vacation, so I didn't have the opportunity to respond (I know - it's not always a good idea to 'feed the trolls', but in this case, I'm making an exception). So here's my open response:

Dear Joan Doe:

"A visit to your blog is surreal,extremely sad and can make me feel ill."...Thank you for visiting my blog. I'm sorry you felt ill after reading some of my posts. I've always believed that laughter is the best medicine. Some people have allergic reactions to certain types of medicine. In any case, I hope you feel better now. I'll be praying for you.

Let me first say that your opinion of me has not caused me to lose any sleep, or reevaluate my blog, or alter any belief that I hold. Since I am the sole publisher, I can be as surreal as I wish. However, this blog is never ever sad - I presume you meant pathetic when you said "sad". In order for this blog to be pathetic, it'd be defending heterodox positions of individuals and groups (Call-to-Action, Catholics for Choice, VOTF, WOC, etc) intent on destroying Christ's Church, rather than exposing them to the light. I do not trash people - I trash the harmful and dangerous ideas certain people espouse. We are all created in the image and likeness of God, and baptized Catholics have a great responsibility to carry Christ's message to the world faithfully - and when certain individuals and groups don't, I have a responsibility, as a baptized Catholic, to point it out and do what I can to keep others from straying. The people I talk about are dangerous people, and in my opinion, they have abrogated their responsibility to lead others to the truth. The Truth who is Jesus Christ. They are seeking to fragment the Church - which is a very silly thing to do. Therefore, I point out their silly actions using satire, parody and humor. Do I go for the cheap laugh? Yeah, I admit it. It's because I hide my poor theological understanding and lack of intellectualism behind puerile childish humor. You figured me out.

"Larry D and your small band"...I don't have a small band. I do, however, have a posse.

" in your intellectually circumscribed thought box..." I don't know what an intellectually circumscribed thought box is.

"...with vows that you and your cohorts could not or would not commit to..." I'm married, so I have taken vows, and I do know what they mean - and I live them as faithfully as I can because my life (and the lives of my wife and children) depends upon it. And some of my "cohorts" are also married, and even a few religious read my blog, too. And so do some single people who are living chaste lives. And guess what - we're all sinners. Big surprise. Now, based on your short bio, seeing as how you were a Dominican Sister for 13 years but now you're married, one might think that it's you who's unable to make and keep a vow. But then, perhaps I'm incapable of understanding that because I'm in an intellectually circumscribed thought box, and I still don't know what that is.

Here's the thing - the title of my blog is "Acts of the Apostasy". I post on and talk about things that heterodox individuals and groups are doing and saying, pointing out how they are damaging and dividing the Church. That's the main thrust of this stupid little blog - like the description says - "Orthodox commentary on heterodox hooligans - Serious. Satirical. Humorous. Faithful." Granted, the humor may not always hit its mark, but I'm deadly serious about exposing heterodoxy, I am 100% faithful to Church teaching, and, yes, I employ satire (and parody) from time to time. Why? Because I don't take their opinions seriously - no devout Catholic ought to -because to do so would give their ideas and positions merit, and I don't believe they are worth any consideration. Sure, I could ignore what they say and do, but there's nothing virtuous in turning one's back when the bride of Christ is attacked, especially when those attacks come from within. And doubly so when said opinions help to lead people away from the Truth.

"Your cruel and nasty behavior indicates how threatened you are." Believe me, I'm not threatened by anyone or anything. I know how the story ends - Christ is victorious, and the faithful will follow Him into heaven. I hope to be part of that parade. I hope that all my family and friends will be too. God wills the destruction of no man, and neither do I. People's souls are at stake here, Joan - I have family and friends who subscribe to a variety of the beliefs of these individuals and groups, intent on distorting Church teaching, whether it be abortion, contraception, female priests, so-called same sex marriage, papal authority, the Sacraments, salvation, and everything else besides. It breaks my heart - and while I do not claim divine knowledge of their hearts, and make no judgment upon their destinies, I am responsible to a certain degree in regards to their salvation (we're workers in the vineyard), so I brook no compromise on what is Truth and what are Lies. For instance, as my sons get older, I won't tell them that pre-marital sex is okay if they truly love their girlfriends and use contraception, so as to avoid hurting their feelings or appearing "uber-orthodox." That ain't love. The martyrs died for nothing less.

"...discussion should be on the level of St. Thomas Aquinas..." I can't comment on St. Thomas Aquinas. I should read more of him, I guess. But I know that many faithful Catholics were killed by followers of Arius. And many died at the hands of other Christians after the Protestant Reformation, too. Perhaps if they only dialogued more, they wouldn't have been exiled or martyred.

"Do you have any credentials to speak for the church?" My credentials are irrelevant. You see, while you and others feel compelled to defend yourselves with your degrees and education, and your life experiences, I'm compelled to merely defend the Church against those who seek to divide it. In other words, this blog isn't about me. I know that I'm not the fastest car on the track, but I'm at least in the right race, and I'll eventually, by God's grace, make it across the finish line.

"Do us a service and give up blogging, go out and minister to the poor..." You know, someday I may give up blogging. But for right now, it's what I'm doing. It's my way of expressing my thoughts and defending the faith. It's my way of commenting on the crazy things happening in the world. I talk about the things I like to talk about. I am not writing it for you, and I do not seek your approval. And why would you assume I'm not helping the poor? Because I don't talk about it? Again, this blog isn't about me - and I'm not going to use this blog to promote any of my good works. Those are between me and God.

"... develop some tolerance..." I tolerate everything which is good. Why should I tolerate evil? Why should anyone?

No one's forcing you to read my blog, but if you continue to do so, and if you make future comments, you should know that ad hominem attacks are not expressions of love of neighbor.

Praying for one another, though - now that's true charity. Funny how there's nothing about that in your comment.