Devout people are, as a class, the least kind of all classes. This is a scandalous thing to say; but the scandal of the fact is so much greater than the scandal of acknowledging it, that I will brave this for the sake of a greater good. Religious people are an unkindly lot.It is comforting to read Father Faber's words and know that devout people of the past treated each other as badly as they do now. I am wondering if that is why God permits the Church to be purified from time to time with persecution, so that we will be shaken out of our petty squabbles and remember the Savior who should be at the heart and center of our lives on earth.
— from Fr. Frederick William Faber's Spiritual Conferences
Someone sent me an article from the National Catholic Register in which my friend Catholic author and speaker Colleen Hammond is ridiculed by name. Colleen's book Dressing With Dignity and her articles on fashion have helped many young ladies learn to dress with both style and modesty. Colleen is a warm and incredibly witty lady as is her book. She has always shown me a great deal of support and kindness. It is one thing for a writer to take a swipe at a worthy adversary, which can be done without depriving the other person of their dignity. The remark about Scooby-do is a childish insult intended to do nothing but demean Colleen rather than welcome intelligent debate. It is unfair that her name was mentioned in the article since the point could have been made without doing so. If a person really feels the need to offer fraternal correction to another it can be done so without derision. If you do not like someone's book, just go to Amazon and write a review.
When I read the article in question I was still reflecting upon the wonderful time I had in New York with a group of purely secular writers, editors and agents, who appeared to be supportive of each other as well as being very polite to me, whom they did not know at all. It struck me that some Catholic writers cannot even pretend to be nice to each other, for the sake of propriety if not for the sake of charity. Or maybe they can be nice only to people who think exactly the same way they do. In that case, what happens to the beautiful and genuine diversity of the universal Church? I wish people would be comfortable with who they are and not have to make others the target of facile humor and snark. I am disappointed in the National Catholic Register for allowing such goings on.
In the meantime, another friend sent me an uplifting article by Elizabeth Foss. It is worth pondering. Mrs. Foss says:
Is it necessary? Does this need to be said? As our communications lurch forward at reckless speed and it becomes commonplace to tweet, share and blog every time we sneeze, children have to be intentionally taught the value of silence. Without quiet, we cannot hear. Without quiet, there is no white space; there are no boundaries. Does what I’m going to share contribute to the holiness and happiness of our community? In a big, busy family, quiet is a valuable thing.
It’s a simple three-fold filter: true, kind and necessary. The people who use it are happier, and the people who live with the people who use it are cradled in grace-filled communication.Share