There was an interesting show on NPR the other day in which people would call in and the host would ask: who are you and what are you angry about. The show was in response to an NBC/Esquire report analyzing the various reasons people in America today are angry. I think we can see in the success of Donald Trump’s strategy of targeting Latinos, immigrants, and Muslims in an effort to secure his adopted party’s nomination that anger plays well to a significant part of the American audience. I am not sure that does not spill over into the Church(es) today and is not a considerable factor in the growing tension in the pews. As is President Obama in the realm of politics, Pope Francis in particular is a flashpoint for many conservatives who find that his focus on the challenges to the environment, on income inequality, his opposition to the death penalty, and his support for immigrants has made them feel not at home any more in the Catholic Church. As we look at “FrankieB’s” flood of comments to my site I think we can see that sort of anger and how, while it may be a bit more extreme than most, it is typical of the Katholik Krazie mentality.
1. the reactive (as opposed to responsive) tone of FrankieB’s comments.
Frankie doesn’t engage the issues—or even seem to notice them but jumps right to a reactive comment. Ideas (and people who hold them) are “stupid” but the flaw in the argument is never laid out and a counter-argument is never proposed. You simply have “garbage on the left” differentiated from a vague reference to what “loyal Catholics” (presumably like Frankie herself/himself) hold. At the end of the day we really don’t know what Frankie believes, only what s/he rejects.
2. The amount of unfocused anger that underlies these comments.
Ok, we are clearly dealing with a rageaholic here. People like Frankie have found that anger releases certain endorphins that give them satisfaction and even pleasure. Some studies have shown that the endorphins released by anger are the same as those released by sexual excitement and offered that as at least a partial explanation for the connection between anger and rape. In other words, you might want to steer clear of including people given to rage in your list of friends and acquaintances. Not saying that you don’t want to invite Frankie to your next birthday party, but you might want to make sure there is always a crowd around. But then would you really want somebody at your party who tells everyone with whom they disagree—which is most people—that they should “get out…” or questions whether they are as “stupid” as they appear, or that your Protestant guests are “apostate retreads.” Again, to express such fury without engaging the issues is a sign that someone is off their meds, or in this case, found the combination to get them out of the psych ward. But then they get their energy from hating. You can be sure that Frankie B hates President Obama, Robin Roberts, Justice Ginsburg, The Disney Corporation, the French, The New York Times, Catholic Charities USA, the United Nations, and signs that say “No Turn on Red.” Some people hate just because it is so satisfying and, unlike its endorphin equivalent, masturbation, you don’t have to confess it (though you should.)
3. The frequent recourse to ad hominem attacks rather than engaging the issues at hand.
Ok, so I’m stupid. And I am a pseudo-Catholic Intellectual. And I am one of the most arrogant know-it-alls commenting on things Catholic. And I’m not too smart. And I am a liberal retread. And I have far too much time on my hands which is demonstrated by my having a “degree in religion.” (Actually it is theology.) And Cardinal Wuerl has been appeasing anti-Catholic liberals. And the Pope is half-assed. And Georgetown is an apostate heretical institution supporting a whats-what of anti-Catholic Left wing garbage. But at the end of the day, what are you arguing for? What specifically am I (and the Pope and Cardinal Wuerl and Georgetown and whoever else pisses you off) wrong about? OK, you did mention the Holy Father’s efforts at ecumenism, so why are they wrong? You rant but in the end you have nothing to say. But only goes to reinforce my point about your being a rageaholic. You’re angry but you can’t articulate a reason.
4. The lack of knowledge of Catholic teaching
FrankieB clearly has a limited knowledge of his/her Catholic faith. S/he clearly rejects the teachings of the Second Vatican Council on Ecumenism and on non-Christian religions. Social Justice issues being “bogus nonsense, s/he is unfamiliar with the social teaching of the Church found in Mater et Magistra, Populorum Progressio, Gaudium et Spes, Octogesima Adveniens, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, Centesimus Annus, Caritas in Veritate, and—of course and probably most of all, Laudato Si. If FrankieB knew her/his faith s/he would understand that far from the American Religious of the LCWR being not “quite content to undermine Church teachings to pursue their non-Catholic liberal political agenda,” but were, in fact, standing true to the magisterium while our silk and lace begowned clowns in San Francisco and Malta-on-the-Aventine were busy denying the sacraments those less worthy than themselves. Fortunately Pope Francis cleared up that scandal over the Sisters and gave them a clean bill of health.
5. The lack of actual knowledge about events, people, or how things work in the Church.
FrankieB honestly thinks that letters from krazies like her/him/whatever set off the campaign about the Religious Congregations comprising the Leadership Conference of Women Religious? Honeychile, I have to tell you about reliable sources of Vatican gossip: CRUX and Whispers in the Loggia, and even—I hesitate to say it—the inimitable Father Z. Their work demonstrates that it could help you get traction in your revival of the Spanish Inquisition if you know some desk jockeys in the Curia. But Honeychile, I can all but guarantee your li’l ol’ letters were all but unread before (and even if) they got a pro forma acknowledgment and then used to wipe up the morning cappuccino that some Monsignore spilt on his desk. No, no, no. The attack on the nuns was a well-orchestrated attack by the evil Cardinal Law, the sartorially confused Cardinal Burke, and creepy Archbishop Lori who owed his rise to the peculiarities of a sycophantic relationship with the late Cardinal Hickey whom he served as “secretary.” They were aided and abetted by Carl Anderson, Grand Poobah of the Knights of Columbus and donor of millions of K of C Dollars to the Vatican (where much of that money was recently found stuffed in desk drawers where auditors were meant never to find them). It was nothing but a mean-spirited attempt to discredit the Sisters in favor of the (far) more subservient good Sisters of the various Congregations associated with the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious. With a little education, some of the nuns were getting a little uppity, you see, like Sisters Joan Chittester, Elizabeth Johnson, and Sandra Schneiders. Due respect and kowtowing to their Episcopal Lordships was sometimes being overlooked and embarrassing questions were being posed that hinted that the women questioning might be brighter than the mitered men being questioned and we couldn’t have that, could we? But fortunately Pope Francis came along and quashed the inquisition, giving the Sisters a clean bill of orthodoxy. So y’all, plug into the Vatican Gossip mill and learn how things really run (despite Pope Francis’ attempts to clean out the barn.)
6. The anger at Church teaching and polity to the point of rejecting magisterial authority.
To a great extent this matter was covered in issue 4 which dealt with the ignorance of Church teaching. Catholics have, for the most part, never been well catechized and I am amazed (not to mention distressed) at how many priests still preach the faith learned at their mothers’ knees as children rather than the magisterial Tradition they (hopefully) were taught in seminary. But the fact of the matter is that many Catholics agree with the teaching authority of the Church when the teaching authority agrees with them. The liberals were often in dissent during the previous two papacies and conservatives often stand in dissent during this one. As I have often observed in this blog, all us Catholics, liberal and conservative, innovationist and neo-traditionalist, are dining in the cafeteria these days. But FrankieB goes over the line when s/he refers to the Holy Father’s “half-assed attempts to appease the anti-Catholic liberals.” His contempt, not only for the person and the office of the Pope, but for the heritage of socially conscious papal teaching regarding the rights of labor, of the poor, of the disenfranchised in society—a heritage that extends back almost a century and a quarter and which is rooted in the teachings of the Fathers of the Church—is not ignorance but is a rejection of the magisterium. Ironically for all his contempt of his fellow-Christians who are Protestant, FrankieB has fallen into the root heresy that enabled Protestantism to develop, the heresy that each believer is his own Pope to define what Christian orthodoxy is. Move over Martin Luther, there is a new guy in town with his own 95 theses challenging the Catholic Church.
7. The racist and religious prejudices underlying many of the remarks.
Just look at what this person writes:
“to support the political agenda of anti-Catholic Leftists (including left-wing WASPs, Jews, and blacks) … The Church is FAR too obsessed with social programs and taking money from white, middle-class Catholics and giving it to black anti-Catholic bigots from the Congressional Black Caucus … apostate Protestant retreads … If Catholics wanted spineless and gutless and effeminate leadership, we would have become Episcopalians … Reminds me of the loser who came to our office with a degree in "Black Studies" whatever the hell that is.”
‘nuff said! I think I need to go take a shower and make sure this filth is all washed off.
8.The inaccurate reading of the original article and thus wrong conclusions that result.
Let me give you just one example. I never said I was a student of Monika Hellwig. I wasn’t. I said I was a friend of hers. In fact I was a “church-friend” of hers when we both worshipped at the same parish in Gaithersburg MD. I didn’t know her through Georgetown at all. And in fact I knew her for several years simply as Monika and had no idea she was the famous theologian. And, despite FrankieB’s inference, I did not study at Georgetown, though for both high-school and undergraduate work I was privileged to study under the Society of Jesus. As FrankieB never seems to have quite grasped my points in the various postings, s/he seems only to given them a quick read before reacting. In fact, in some of the postings I think there are some things FrankieB might have agreed with had s/he given them enough attention to actually see what the arguments were.
9. Lack of confidence in current papal leadership
Well, lets just refer back to the Holy Father and his “half-assed attempts to appease anti-Catholic liberals.” And then there was “Only in your warped world-view of moral equivalences can key moral issues regarding divorce/marriage/sexuality be cheapened by supporting bogus "social justice" nonsense as if increasing Food Stamp monies offsets butchering an unborn babies head. But for all I know, PF thinks the same thing.”
10.An anti-intellectualism that betrays a contempt for education
Well, there is that remark about people who have a degree in “religion” having too much time on their hands. And then there is the remark about “pseudo Catholic intellectual(s) and “one of those theologians at a ‘Catholic’ college’.” And then there is the thing about “how many 70-IQ liberals do you think actually know what this (Scholastic positivism leading to semi-Pelagianism) means?” Unfortunately intellectual life is not a level playing field and it depends on both natural ability and educational levels. Natural ability can—in those of exceptional intelligence—compensate for access to formal education but it obviously fails to do so for FrankieB and so s/he has a need to dismiss it to keep up the self-delusion that his/her ideas are of equal merit to their intellectual betters. But I bet s/he can beat me at beer pong.
Well, I have had more comments from FrankieB and now his or her several aliases over the days since I had originally composed this posting but they are just more of the same rant: LCWR are dissidents, deviants and lesbians preaching heresy who should be excommunicated and denied Catholic burial; Republicans are the Catholic Party and Democrats hate the Catholic Church; bastardized Protestant retread denominations; and my personal favorite “What the f*** is your (my) problem?” I gather that most evenings somewhere around 9 pm (Central Standard Time) I am going to be treated to a flood of vituperative (look that one up in your Funk and Wagnall’s, Frankie girl) ignorance. Sounds like someone has just come home from an unhappy happy hour in a futile attempt to wipe away the loneliness and insignificance of his/her life, but this is the end of the FrankieB show. I have other topics to move on to and as long as I know that I am rattling a few cages, I am content to keep posting. I don’t always like being the cheery idealist or the devout goody-two-shoes, sometimes that arrogant know-it-all side of me just has to be let out to have some fun rampaging around the Krazie Palace. My confessor doesn’t approve but then he is a saintly man and I am still getting detoured while I am finding my way to the Kingdom. So, FrankieB, Jim H, Joe L*******, et al good night and good luck to you and don’t forget your meds.
Well, anyway, the above is what I wrote about a month ago, before I started hearing from JimH. And then Joe L. One of the skills one learns while teaching under-grads over a period of 25+ years is how to recognize people by their writing styles—how they punctuate a sentence, consistent misspellings, repeated themes, idiosyncrasies in capitalization or vocabulary etc. As I said, I have been warned that FrankieB has multiple personalities and so next may be SuzyQ, JohnnyBGood, and Pasadena pole dancer, D.D. Melons. But under whatever nom de plume he/she writes, the comments aren’t going to be posted, not because I don’t post responses that I disagree with but because Frankie’s responses aren’t up to publishing standards. And it is my blog. Frankie can get her or his own blog and publish whatever she or he wants. It’s a free country, Frankie. Go get ‘em, Tiger. You might want to join the Katholik Media League: they have a wonderful summer retreat at Loon Lake.