Monday, June 26, 2017

Pride, Outrage, and a Catholic comedian

What happened to us? 

While there’s plenty to feel frustrated about in the world of Catholic Social Media, one thing I’ve always been proud of is our seemingly otherworldly ability to rise above the typical routine social media outrage.

While most folks seem to be scrolling through their feed hungry for the latest minor thing to get mad about, Catholics seem better able to take the long view and not freak out over every little thing. 

Cue a Jim Gaffigan tweet of his children holding rainbow flags on the day of New York City’s Pride Parade to prove me completely wrong. 

Just the sight of that rainbow flag seems to have awoken the anger of the Catholic Internet, and all of the sudden I’m consulting the Catechism to see if I’m still allowed to go to Jim’s show in September.

On Instagram, Jim’s wife Jeannie clarified, “They (their kids) were at the sprinkler park in their bathing suits and the parade just marched by and handed out rainbow flags,” but the damage was already done. Messages were already flying across the Twitterverse, not only to the Gaffigans but to any other Catholic media-types who have ever associated themselves with the Gaffigans.

Suddenly, we were all frauds, and even Purgatory seemed like a long shot if the folks running wild in our mentions had anything to say about it. 

And with that, I’m right back to asking myself the same question I asked at the beginning of this take: What happened to us? 

What happened to our openness to the example of Jesus, who routinely spoke with people he shouldn’t have spoken with, dined with sinners, and embraced those who were pushed to the margins of society?

What happened to our interest in Pope Francis’ push for a “culture of encounter” that Catholic writer John L. Allen Jr. says “seems to intend the idea of reaching out, fostering dialogue and friendship even outside the usual circles, and making a special point of encountering people who are neglected and ignored by the wider world”?

What happened to our belief that each and every person we meet is our brother and our sister and deserving of our love, most especially meaning our desire for them to seek and find salvation with Our Lord (which typically starts first and foremost through a relationship, and then instruction in the truths of the faith)? 

What happened to our Catholic idea that we can be a witness to the culture by being in the world but not of the world, drawing people to the source of joy found in us just by showing up?

Was the Year of Mercy so long ago that we’ve moved on, and are content to jump back into our judgmental ways simply because of a rainbow flag?

Let’s be clear: All of us our sinners, all of us are called to repentance and submission to the teachings of Jesus and His Church. We all need to listen to the Gospel message and turn from our sinful ways.

And quite often, we need someone to show us the love and mercy of Jesus to help us take that first step. 

If we reduce ourselves to simply being outraged by anyone who sins, and anyone who associates themselves with sinners, we’re going to find it pretty difficult attracting people to the Church, as those who need to hear the truths of Church teaching the most won’t ever be open to hearing it.

*Also, on a side note, am I the only one who got that Jim was making a pun with his tweet? I mean, come on people! 


  1. I admit I was confused at first and then I got it and laughed. Hey, maybe they thought "look, it's like the rainbow God sent to Noah as a promise never to destroy the world again." I mean, really, kids love rainbows, so of course they grabbed the flags! And, I agree with your post 100%. Please, let's not be like so many others these days who are quick to condemn others with hatred in their hearts.

  2. I'm saving (printing) this for my mother.

  3. Catholic Hipster, I believe that the Catholic Church in the US remains one of the last great bastions of civil discourse. On any given Sunday, you will find diverse people of a multitude of political opinions sitting side by side at Catholic masses around the country giving worship and praise to our God. There is way too much attention given to social media over-reactions on any given issue, and we would all be better off by putting down our devices and following Ben Franklin's advice ... "When angry, count to 10, when really angry, count to 100." But, I can't help but feel that "what is happening to us" is actually exactly what God has planned. Like a large family that occasionally has its bickering and emotional outbursts, we still function together in unity when the chips are down. Witness the good works of Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Charities, and the many fine works of charity and mercy performed regularly by Catholic fraternal organizations like the Knights of Columbus. Through the power of the Eucharist, we remain in His love, and He remains in us. (And, I'm definitely still going to see Jim Gaffigan perform when he comes to Cleveland in December!)

  4. There is no God. Just ask any starving, diseased, abused, raped, or murdered child.

    And why are you Catholic and not Muslim?

    Geography. Let that sink in.

    Are you not a good human without religion?

    1. Wow Bashea. I'm disappointed that you think this is some type of argument. I know of many in those situations you listed who believe in God.

      Sorry for whatever suffering you're going through. Cynicism will do nothing to alleviate your pain.