Jesus Said There Would Be Days Like This

Before I get too far into this new discussion, I need to tell you something about me.
I grew up Catholic, surrounded by many Catholics. My town has just about 2 million of them. Literally. I went to Catholic school without really realizing it, from first grade until graduate school. I married a Catholic and now send my kids to Catholic school. Some people used to say that my maternal grandmother was holier than the Pope. People in my family still fear her influence with the Big Guy; she’s been dead twenty years.
So you probably won’t be surprised to hear that I’ve been astounded in the last few weeks to experience the depth of hatred there is in the world for Catholics. Not that I didn’t know we were looked down upon globally. I did. It’s the extent of this hatred I saw this week that chilled me to the bone.
The Diocese I belong to with my family recently announced that it had collected double the donation commitments for its first ever annual campaign than it was actually seeking. Somewhere in the neighborhood of $2.5 million.
The campaign, as I said, was the first-ever organized annual drive the diocese has promoted. They made a hard sell, especially to parishes and parishioners with means. But in the end, giving was of course voluntary.
The disapproval this announcement met with was…well weird. People came from everywhere to attest in online forums, newsgroups, Facebook and Twitter. Comments stated that the Church is nothing but a common thief, that it threatened excommunication to any Catholic that did not donate, that all money would be used for legal funds for defrocked priests and against sex abuse victims, that it would buy Pope Francis, the Pope who lives in an old hotel, more gold crosses (my favorite) and so on and so forth. Many if not most of these posters proclaimed to either be Catholic, or former Catholics. Almost all comments were laced with profane language or anger.
And here I thought my diocese just needed some help repairing our amazing cathedrals, churches and chapels. Keeping the heat on in older structures, and the air on in the summer. Paying the groundskeepers, handy men, contractors and laborers. Keeping up with code regulations and handicapped access. Fixing the leaking roofs in some of our most beloved and oldest holy places. Paying taxes. Funding parish programs, etc.
Don’t let the ancient pomp and decoration fool you. Even the Catholic Church needs money. You just don’t melt down historical treasures to pay the electric bill. To deny Bishops the right to ask for it – like every institution of higher learning, charity and non-profit regularly does – is crazy. You don’t want to help? Then don’t. No need to throw stones.
That was odd enough. But this morning reading my Twitter feed I came across yet another story on the evils of Mother Teresa. You read that right. Evil and Mother Teresa in the same sentence. Why, didn’t you hear? She was mean to her nuns. She denied patients proper medical care, and she only did what she did because she enjoyed misery. Are you kidding me? Oh, I forgot she took money from dictators. So, a once young woman dedicated her life to people living in filth in India, fed them, provided for them, comforted them and founded a legion of nuns to continue her work when she died and used money she guilted out of bad guys to do it and we think SHE’S the bad guy?
It seems lately any pot shot there is to be taken at Catholics is taken and then some. The United States government has us listed as possible “extremists” because we pray outside abortion clinics. Michael Sam, that gay football player who wasn’t good enough for the NFL, needed to rub our noses in our commitment to traditional marriage by proposing to his partner a top a sacred Vatican building. Then he signs up with Coke to keep us thinking “positive.” Nuns around the country are being forced to provide birth control and abortions to their employees. And no one cares at all about the decimation of the Christian faithful in Syria, Iraq and Nigeria.
But if Pope Francis says anything that might indicate he favors women priests or gay marriage, it’s front page news. Reality check people : there are things even he cannot change about Catholicism.
Catholics certainly have their issues, I won’t deny that. But currently, were the only ones working diligently at the abuse problem (ask any Catholic who wants to be active in their Church or school. I needed four hours of training and a state police background check to read a story to my daughter ‘s class and work in the lunch line. We all know more about sexual predators than we ever wanted to.) And as for our gay problem, talk to the multitude dying of AIDS who in their darkest days have only Catholic nuns and volunteers to comfort them.
We’ve all been taught through our Catechism to turn the other cheek. And we obviously do, or else we wouldn’t be such an easy target for everyone who wants to blame their morality issues on us. But there are times when we must stand firm and remind the world who we are as Catholics and what we do. We are not perfect. We are indeed sinners. But yet our tradition of loving, feeding, clothing, housing, educating, comforting and assisting all of God’s people shows not only our sincerity, but that we are deserving of carrying on in our journey toward Godliness.
Be proud to be Catholic.


1 thought on “Jesus Said There Would Be Days Like This

  1. rosesnearrunningwaters

    Whenever I see people bashing the Catholic faith or the media trying to drag Catholic through the mud I think to myself…we must be onto something. To me it only makes sense. If the devil wanted to chip away at the work of Christ, it only makes sense that he would attack the faith at the core of it all doesn’t it? But he will never succeed as Christ and His Church will always triumph. God Bless!


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