Interesting Facebook encounters over two days. A while back, I took a long hiatus from FB due to trolls of a different faith questioning any Catholic views I posted on my page or as a comment elsewhere. I decided that if people can’t discuss without hostility and ad hominem attacks, it wasn’t worth staying.
Eventually, I returned to give it another try. Still had occasional blips, but friends were civil, for the most part. And I stayed away from argumentative groups and conversations.
Fast forward. Lo and behold, there is a new form of ideological bullying. Ironically, it is now from those who realistically ought to be in the same camp: fellow Catholics.
In analyzing the two incidents in two days, I attribute it to the divisionary tactic recently employed by the heirarchy of the Church. Progressives vs. Traditionalists. Novus Ordo vs. Old Mass Liturgy. We as Catholics have been suddenly encouraged to fall on our swords in a battle over liturgies that was never intended by Vatican II. Unwilling pawns in a spiritual battle where the Devil and his minions are the only ones who benefit. The psychological game of “Let’s you and him fight” threatens to break up a family who once embraced both the Old and New Liturgies as valid expressions of the same True Faith.
This unfortunate situation has been prompted not by a Council or new Doctrinal Law that found error in the Old Mass. Rather, by a notion that there was some degree of infighting among the two.
[NOTE: though there was some small degree of truth in that, wise individual pastors could have easily handled it via subsidiarity. Our parish pastor prior to the ax coming down on the TLM did just that in an education process at Sunday Mass and in the bulletin, which gave historical context to the meaning of the old Mass and its form.]
However, instead of taking a pastoral path toward healing, a dictate came forth which punished only one side: the Old. Yet in essence, the New was also punished. They were deprived of an understanding and appreciation of the Mass of the Ages. This was the Mass of martyrs and saints, which in some jurisdictions would be no more. I say some, because there have been some Bishops (ours included) who have not caved.
Now, you may ask, how in the world that religious drama effected my last two days on Facebook. Simply put, it has created an even more pronounced infighting and division between Brothers and Sisters. I won’t bore you with he-said, she-said details. But suffice it to say that this new polarization causes some to question others in vicious attacks on whether they are good Catholics. God forbid if one side asks what people think a Bishop may have meant by a partucular statement. Such an honest query is often met by uncharitable accusations of blasphemy.
Correct me if I am wrong here, but aren’t we commissioned to test the uttering of leaders against Scripture and Doctrine? Sad to say, but the most spiritually honest comment on this topic I heard was from a Protestant pastor [rest his soul]. He announced once that if he ever said something that was not in keeping with Biblical teaching, he wanted his congregation to tell him because he was just a man who was also prone to maybe getting it wrong. Kudos! And although in his world personal interpretations abound to where it can become hard to sift through and find objective truth, he was on the right path.
Back to my story. So now, after two days of bullying from fellow Catholics on Facebook, I’m wondering if my time is better spent elsewhere. Or maybe I should just stick to joke memes and pictures of my culinary masterpieces.