Love is patient love is kind but it can also be tough too, pick you up and shake the dust of sin off your soul and put you in your place. However I feel that it is very important for us to take great care in how we present the faith to others. Souls are fragile and need great care. Each soul is different to the other so we need to be careful how we present the faith and in what way we present it to them. Not every soul is going to react the same way to some tough love or the gentle approach. It is important we become like shepherds who gather the flock and not scatter it.
I feel many people who offer too much tough love that goes beyond the border of charitable conversation tend to dig up the Saints to justify such behaviour. I have seen Michael Voris use St.Nicholas and Archbishop Fulton Sheen as two examples. I have even seen them dig up scriptural reference to Jesus over turning the tables and taking a whip in hand to run out of the house of God those profaning it.
During the Arian heresy that denied Our Lords divinity, it is recorded that Arius denied Christs divinity to St.Nicholas face. Nicholas was so overcome with anger that he smacked Arius in the face. This incident did of course upset the Bishops and they stripped St.Nicholas of his title as Bishop. That very night God gave all the Bishops the same dream to reinstate St.Nicholas. They woke up and of course obeyed Gods command to reinstate him as Bishop.
That’s where it leaves off and of course to anyone at face value people naturally assume God agreed with St.Nicholas behaviour. In fact we are left not knowing whether God did or did not so one would imagine its open for debate. I don’t think God agreed with that behaviour in the slightest. The desire of God to reinstate St.Nicholas as Bishop was his way of showing the other bishops that for such small matters as this it can be forgiven and one carry on in office. It was really that simple.
Michael Voris uses the example of this great Saint in order to justify shouting the faith at people. Michael told the story of how he was an altar boy for Sheen in the 70’s. One day after Mass whilst Fulton Sheen and Michael were in the Sacristy a hippy walked in and said something like “Father, I finally found a way to mash both Christianity and the eastern religions like Buddhism together”. Archbishop Fulton Sheen swooped around and screamed at the man ( quite loud and literally ) GET OUT! GET OUT! I am not going to hear this blasphemy so GET OUT!
I don’t know about you but not everything a saint does in the course of his life was a good decision. And I feel that Fulton Sheens decision here was very surprising but definitely not inviting. There was not need for the loud booming. He could have given to him gently or invited the man around for tea. Instead he scattered when there was ample opportunity to gather. I broke my heart but it still doesn’t mean he isn’t a Saint but I definitely didn’t like it.
THE CLEANSING OF THE TEMPLE
Here we see an anger being expressed by Jesus that is bereft of all sin. It is whats known as Righteous anger. Each of us have this righteous anger ( not like Jesus whose anger is beyond ours ) but the Fathers in the philokalia recommend we don’t utilise it often as it we think is ok to do. Because for us fallen humans too much of anything isn’t good and certainly too much anger cannot be good for the soul as ( sinful and weak that we are ) righteous anger abused can lead to unrighteous anger and death. Too much of it can turn us into grumpy old men disgruntled with everything the church does or people say and we LASH out thinking we are doing The Lord a service when in fact by our treatment of others in such a way only adds to the mystical re-crucifixion of Jesus by our sinful behaviour. Because whatever we do to others we do to Jesus.
Allow me at this point to remind people that Jesus did not hit anybody or strike anyone. He took the whip to drive out the cattle but not to beat any person with. But of course I feel that Michael glances over all these things and he presents to us the idea that its natural to “be a man” and “get angry” with everything in the Church. This is not healthy advice and it is certainly at odds with what the Church fathers have to say. If anything it mimics the heresy of Jansenism front the 17th century.
Jansenism was a form of severe moral theology born in the 17th century by a French Bishop known as Jansen ( hence how the heresy got its name ). This moral theology was an angry one that shouted the faith to people and it was a pound the pulpit and scare the people into fearing God and so on. It would also teach you to refuse people confession more often. St.John Vianney was a victim of this severe moral theology and he had written that he was tired of having to send people away without absolution, that was until someone handed him a book of St.Alphonsus de Ligouris book of moral theology. This changed St.John Vianneys life around and he became the best confessor in all of his country and eventually became a Saint.
This is in huge contrast to the Michael Voris and Vericast on YouTube approach that has just sprung up recently in which it seems to adopt this kind of angry behaviour. I write this blog post because I met a victim of this kind of angry traddie behaviour online within an Irish website. This news website is quite liberal especially the readership and comment section. I often go in from time to time in order to shed some light in a very dark cave. Whilst in this cave on topic about an article to do with the Popes resignation, it receives quite a lot of nasty comments. So I head in and yes I can be firm sometimes but another catholic came in using a sledgehammer for the mere breaking of sand and calling all the people there stupid and morons. I told him to calm down and take a break. I said just take some pot shots and go home its not worth worrying yourself about.
He private messages me on Facebook and asks me do I know of a channel on you tube called vericast? It wasn’t until he said that that I realised were he was getting this anger from, and phrases such as “are you stupid?” And “moron”. Now I could fit the puzzle together. This is an angry apologetics that I absolutely disagree with. It has no basis in tradition or modern theology. It is am absolute blight upon the church and is doing it much harm.
But isn’t Michael right some of the time? Yes he is right a lot of the time, but its his tone of delivery and focus upon the mundane that is doing great harm I do believe. Now I am a proud man myself and in need of much grace of humbleness and humility but its important for us all to note that God resists the proud….even when they are right.
So my advice to everyone is to get back to prayer, take Michael in extremely small doses if you must watch him ( and I sometimes do and try to bypass his tone and behaviour ) and remember that every word we utter will be accounted for before The Lord, our tone of delivery and how we went about gathering in the sheep.
What about vericast? Please ignore this altogether, its really bad and a spiritual time bomb of destruction just waiting to go off. These kind of videos mimic the severe theology I spoke of earlier and if you find yourself watching them and having to wade through too much chaff to listen to the wheat then its time you gathered it all and threw it in the fire to be burned.