Open Letter to Catholics in the Public Eye

Dear Catholics in the public eye,

It’s time we had a come-to-Jesus moment.

First, let me introduce myself. My name is Micaela, and I’m a small time blogger of a near-abandoned blog. I doubt you know my name, as I’ve rarely said anything of consequence. I’m a nobody, really.

Except I have a rather important status as your sister in Christ, and I’m here to point out that you may be sowing division and discord in our Church. So here we are. Grab a coffee or tea and let’s have a conversation and get a little closer to unity.

There have been, in my experience, an unprecedented number of public kerfuffles between faithful Catholics lately. (“Kerfuffle” makes me think of baby bunnies fighting. A better word in this case is probably vitriol.) No need for me to point you to any, I’m guessing. If you’re on social media, you can probably name one off the top of your head. On Facebook, Twitter, on blogs. The divisiveness between professed Catholics is rampant.

This discussion isn’t about healthy debate or rigorous disagreement. Those are important activities in a healthy Church. I’m talking about virtual eye-rolling, mockery, shaming, and bitterness. I’m talking about a professed Catholic throwing another Catholic under the proverbial bus, and then publicly washing their hands of it by calling it honesty, calling it authentic, calling it afflicting the comfortable.

Not gonna mince words here: it’s evil.

If I’m describing you, you probably know it. Do you want to know how I know?

Because I’m also describing myself.

Oh, sisters and brothers. It’s so easy, isn’t it? So easy to sink into self-righteous indignation, bitter tweets, and Facebook shaming. I know. I KNOW. I want to do it 20 times a day, and that’s when I’m in a good mood.

But my gut knows when I’ve taken the low road: it’s when I get that little thrill of “gotcha,” that knowledge that I just took some jerk and knocked him or her down a peg or three. It feels pretty good for a bit, until the angel on my shoulder gets a word in edgewise.

Pride is ‘my besetting sin,’ as Anne says, and the deadliest of all my deadly tendencies. I’m sure my confessor is pretty darn tired of hearing me repeat: “I wanted him to think I was smarter than everyone else. I thought I was better than her.”

From the desire of being praised, deliver me, Jesus.

“Is that how Catholics are? Are they really that condescending and cruel?”

These are real questions that people ask about Catholics in the public eye. They probably won’t ask them to our faces, so we continue to gloat over our perfectly composed 140 characters + GIF. We write our posts with impunity, blithely ignoring the niggling of our conscience. We hide behind our computer screens and iPhones and forget the humanity on the other side.

Let me be frank, again. Those of us in the public eye, no matter how small our following, will have to account to our Father for the souls we maliciously pushed away from Him. To the Lord God Almighty who knows the hearts of every man, it won’t matter if you got virtual high fives from a thousand people in the echo chamber of your comment section if, through a misuse of the gifts He gave you, you pushed one soul away from knowing Him.

Better that a millstone be hung around my neck, and I be cast into the sea…

Here’s the thing. Your voice and your experience are important. If God gave you a talent for writing, He wants you to write. But I guarantee you He doesn’t want you to use that skill to cut the knees out from under one of His little ones.

Guarantee.

Stop and think before you post. Did I speak the truth in love and charity? Am I drawing people closer to Christ? How will someone outside our Church read this? Is there a way to share the experience I have without mockery? Can I be authentically me without degrading someone else’s equally authentic experience?

If the answer to any one of these questions is no, then don’t post it, don’t tweet it, don’t share it. Period.

Let’s spend more time on our knees instead, praying for humility. The Holy Spirit will use our prayers to bring about more good than our snarky, clever words ever would.

With love,

Your sister in Christ

Gus at the beach

Comments

  1. This is so needed. Thank you, Micaela. And I’m talking about myself. I don’t have a blog but as far as comments I may not necessarily post something mean-spirited but I often think it. And what did Jesus say? “If you have lust for a woman you’ve already committed adultery with her in your heart.” That applies to any sin. I sometimes have this sinful need to be *right* and to *show* someone as in “I’ll show them.” Which boils down to pride. That eternal, ancient sin of me-first over God and others. We need to show more kindness, empathy and charity. That means getting our hearts right. Thank you for this eloquent and charitable post. And now I won’t ever read the word kerfuffle without thinking of baby bunnies. 😀

    I follow you on IG but nice to see a post here again!

    Love in Christ

  2. Thank you. So much. From a Californian married to a half Korean. 🙂

  3. I’m glad your heart led you to post today. Your post has encouraged me to post more on blog and follow through with my writing projects. I agree, let’s pray more!

  4. Thank you for your post today! You have encouraged me to post more on my blog and follow through with my writing projects. Yes, let’s pray more!
    Phyllis recently posted…“Perfect Liars” – MCBD 2017 Book ReviewMy Profile

  5. I agree! I try not to engage but it’s so hard sometimes. I try to engage in research instead. Thank you for posting this.

  6. THANK YOU for this. I have enjoyed crafting a snarky response too many times than I should have, and am posting less because of this. It sure was fun, but I realize the mistake in my pride. As someone who represents my faith whether I like it or not, I’ve got to do it justice when I write. I see this so much too, and can’t stand it. It’s maddening and heartbreaking. I hear twitter is especially bad, so I’m glad it’s not something I frequent. I wish we were better at sharing the beauty instead of calling out fault. Blaming is easier than examining ourselves and working on the logs in our own eyes. I wish our prayers were as fierce as our googling and scrolling. It starts with each of us, and I really want to personally work on this. This has been on my mind so much, and I think it needs to be said again and again. Thanks for starting the conversation!!

  7. Carmel Momma says:

    God love you. God love Kendra. God love Simcha. I’m a Momma of a Carmelilite navigating through the Catholic blogs and I have gotten blogged down and discouraged as I traverse through my life with all the rules! and negativity! and not-rules! Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  8. Carmel Momma says:

    *Carmelite* stupid me for texting under the influence of cold medication!

  9. *hugs* This is one of the reasons I stepped back from active blogging. I noticed I was getting snakier, and so were the other blogs I was reading. It wasn’t worth my peace of mind, or the peace of my soul before the Mighty One.

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