Friday, November 2, 2007

Piety vs Weirdness

Many Catholics now-a-days seem to confuse piety with weirdness. It is common for people new to the faith, or for young people, to have problems with scruples and the like. I am thinking of those who have been Catholics their entire lives and should know better. They seem to think that being "holy" dispenses them from basic kindness and courtesy. They are so holy they can violate the rubrics prescribed by the Church for the worship of God. They do not need Church documents because they are so "holy." They can indulge in lies and calumny but because they go to Mass everyday, it's alright.

Yes, we all have our sins, faults, and eccentricities. Being devout, however, is not equivalent to being an unsocialized crank. Holy feelings do not make a saint; sanctity is won by taking up the Cross. We are commanded to love, and to show love even to those whom we despise or who despise us. We are commanded to forgive injuries. The saints give so many examples of this; the Savior, of course, is the greatest example of all. Share


Jeff said...

Boy, oh, boy are you ever right.

My wife is in the publishing business and she is unfailingly polite. But we just had one of those experiences with a bookseller (Christian this time) who was appallingly abusive and felt free to question my wife's integrity and intimate that "funny business" must be going on in the background just because she didn't pick one of their books.

I told her, "it's the 'Christians' again, don't worry. They're always like that."

It's surprising how Christians often seem to be intemperate and full of pride and self-regard compared to ordinary agnostics and such. Maybe it's as C. S. Lewis said, "people who need it become Christians"...the crazies and the unbalanced have a sense that something is missing.

But I also find this is rampant among traditionalists. They are thin-skinned, focussed on details, never forgive a slight, etc., etc. So there is constant infighting. I think it's the practical abandonment of authority that has something to do with it.

elena maria vidal said...

Yes, Jeff, there have always been such problems. I am thinking even as far back as the Pharisees.

Anonymous said...

The Pharisees continue to this day.

Give such folks the Kindness book by Fr. Lawrence Lovasik! It really is the cure to Phariseeism (because it is the Golden Rule and the Beattitudes summed up into solid, practical advice!)

elena maria vidal said...

Yes, Georgette, that book is excellent!

Terry Nelson said...

What you describe is all too common, and is the most likely reason others think piety is wierdness.

Anonymous said...

a friend from Rome once told me when I was going through a rough time that Catholics can afflict more abuse on fellow Catholics than seculars. In the beginning I was naive about such unkindnesses, but over the years, one can easily see how true this. How refreshing it was to stumble across a Catholic who was genuinely kind, almost like an oasis.

"You will know Christians by their love and you will know Catholics by their fights"

elena maria vidal said...

True, Terry!!

"You will know Catholics by their fights."

Anonymous, you have me laughing.

Anonymous said...

Not to take away from the guilt of Pharisee-type Catholics (of which I've been one myself), but I will add that the protestants are defined by their infighting and divisions....I read somewhere that there are 40,000 different protestant denominations worldwide and some of their disagreements are on the most infintessimal things.