Tolerance is the only virtue common to those who don't believe in anything.----G.K. Chesterton
This is going to be a really quick post. It is entirely in response to my personal opinion of an audio that was posted on my Facebook by a friend, who just happens to be Novus Ordo. I'm sure you've seen it posted on Facebook, too, or YouTube. But just in case, here is Donna, the Deer Lady. I remarked on Facebook that there is no excuse for the stupidity of the American people. Personally, I think that was a fair representation of the situation, and something poor Donna even admitted herself! What surprised me, really, in the whole matter, was that eventually I was admonished for my comments and counseled to be more tolerant and compassionate. And why? Because I found this poor woman's ignorance to be offensive rather than humorous. What a shame.
Somewhere in the comments, there began a conversation regarding the nature of what I was saying. I was reminded that the poor woman was just "an airhead" and I should give her a break. Most people, my Catholic friends, seemed to be offended by my not finding any humor in the ignorance and stupidity of this woman. They were offended by me! Finally, I was completely admonished and then reprimanded for not being tolerant and lacking compassion. I shouldn't be surprised, really. The modern Catholic Church has taught her children well: Be Nice At All Costs! Some People Are Just Born That Way. They Can't Help It. You MUST Show Them Compassion! You MUST Be Tolerant!
Of course, poor Donna has zilch to do with Catholicism. But lucky for Donna, she has had good friends who have been charitable enough to instruct her in her ignorance. And because she is warm and forgiving, she has, by her own admission, learned the truth about the deer. Good for Donna's friends! So in a like manner, I am going to be charitable with my friends and instruct them in their ignorance. What will happen as a result: I will probably be unfriended and chastised for being judgmental!
As always, I suppose the best place to start is with the words themselves. Words have meanings. Yes, some words, like "nice," have changed over time, well because we just don't like what they mean! I will let you do your own research on that word and focus my thoughts on just four: ignorant, stupid, compassion, and tolerance. Oh this is so much fun!
Ignorant: lacking knowledge or comprehension.
Stupid: acting in an unintelligent or careless manner.
Compassion: a sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it.
Tolerance: sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one's own.
Let's talk about poor Donna first: Poor Donna was ignorant. She lacked a real knowledge about the nature of animals. She really believed that these poor creatures had some primitive form of intelligence and could be convinced to cross the highway at specifically designated points. I don't know why this poor woman thought this. Perhaps this lack of comprehension grew out of her genuine love for animals and elevating them to some status they don't deserve. Who knows? But she admitted that this is indeed what she thought, that animals could understand road signs. Her phone call into the radio station, her letter writing, her insistence were all very stupid. She was acting in a very unintelligent manner. Her actions were based purely on her lack of knowledge. And she embarrassed herself. And that is absolutely not funny. But lucky for Donna, her friends decided she was important enough and loved enough to be saved from this embarrassment. Out of genuine compassion, a desire to alleviate her stupidity and embarrassment, they called her and instructed her on the true nature of deer---they cannot read. They do not follow road signs. The deer crossing signs are not to guide them, but are there to ALERT US to their presence! Out of love for their friend, they just could not tolerate her ignorance. Why? Because she had already had 3 accidents due to her ignorance and stupidity. They love her and just could not imagine allowing her to continue to risk her life over her ignorance. Such good friends that sweet Donna has. And yes, I think Donna is genuinely sweet. Bless her heart!
Now let's talk about what any of this has to do with Catholicism: Modern Catholics are ignorant. They, by their own admission, lack any real knowledge about their faith. Oh sure, they know who the Pope is. They love him dearly. They trust him. But they couldn't tell you a thing about Catholicism, other than what their priest tells them. Syllabus of Errrors--what's that? Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus--Huh? Christ is Really Present in the Eucharist---what does that mean? Why are so many Catholics ignorant of their own faith? I don't know. Most have never been properly instructed by either their parents or their priests. Many just don't have time or no where to go. Some or blissfully happy with the way things are because of sentiment. Whatever the reason for their ignorance, these Catholics just do the silliest and nonsensical things. They marry people who are not Catholic or who have no faith at all. They don't have their children baptized. They receive the Precious Body of Our Lord in their dirty hands. They continue to send their children to public schools. And they do so in good faith and in all sincerity. And eventually they embarrass themselves, like these people in Germany.
Lucky for our modern Catholics, they have friends of the traditional variety, who love them and don't want them to continue to risk their souls. So out of compassion, we approach them. We bring them books on the dangers of the New Mass. We invite them over on Fridays in the summer for fish and chips. We encourage them to read the Encyclicals of all the Popes, not just the modern ones. We keep on encouraging them to find a traditional Mass and go there. We share with them the necessity for confession. Most of all we pray for them. What we don't do is tolerate the ignorance, the stupidity. Why? Because tolerance is an infection. It grows in our hearts like a virus, eventually making us comfortable with whatever anyone wants to do. All we become concerned with in our tolerance is making people happy, being nice, and making people feel comfortable. In our tolerance, we've decided to replace compassion with acceptance. Instead of sharing other's distress and attempting to alleviate it, we just approve of whatever they are doing because it makes them happy or feel comfortable. It is truly sorrowful. But that is the state of modern Catholics and the modern Catholic Church.
Advent is upon us. Perhaps during the time of fasting, sacrifice, and contemplation, we can offer prayers up for the whole Church. She is suffering. She is not what she used to be and many Catholics are confused and many souls are lost.
St. Andrew, pray for us!