It’s Important For Catholics To Engage With The World

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Catholic Christians have created their own subcultural underground communities. I suppose underground isn’t quite the right word for it as everything they do is with a view to reaching the general public but it’s a close description. While the Holy Spirit can make an impact anywhere in the world with what Christians can afford to give from their store of creative ideas, I can’t help but think we can always do better. I feel that by creating close knitted communities we stifle the Spirit rather than allow it to breath and make the progress He wants to.

In these uncertain and difficult times where paganism, heathenism, atheism and just about every other “ism” that doesn’t include Theism is making a comeback, it’s not hard to notice the new trend of close Catholic communities. In Ireland there is a specific hub of Christian families that tend to stick together.

On such a small island it isn’t unusual to notice familiar faces at every Catholic event. You go from there to Veritas and you’ll find that this persons Auntie works there and that Auntie has a cousin who works in the Irish Catholic or something similar. Not altogether a bad thing, yet not great either as it can help foster an environment of favoritism of family and familiar faces in the work place over and above the stranger whom we are trying to convert. It looks bad to the newcomer.

They’re mostly of middle to upper class stock and tend to scratch each others backs and are ambitious to work in the Church and have their children work in the Church. The idea behind some of their creative retreats is to make small steps in converting others by having one Christian friend bring another along. It’s nothing new and we see it in the Gospel where the apostles invite one another to come see Jesus.

However, to the average secular mindset they appear as a small community of family and friends who have created their own group and refuse to engage with the world. They’ve got their own TV channel (EWTN) they’ve got their own writers, radio stations, newspapers and magazines and an all round small yet corny type of celebrity culture going on. It’s all devised with a view to reach the actual general public but sometimes I can’t help but feel it alienates the average secular person on the ground.

Then there are the really extreme types who use the Latin Masses as a sort of hub where they can meet with like minded individuals who want to live in the medieval ages. While visiting a Latin Mass one expressed to my wife that he’d like to build a little island off the coast and have a village just for Catholics and he wasn’t being humorous either. Other more prominent writers and voices in Ireland want the Church to hand over their public schools and create private ones that are just Catholic.

There is literally this push by a small Catholic community in Ireland to alienate themselves from the public. They want their own private schools, private islands, TV stations, magazines and newspapers. By doing this they are convinced that it will be better in the long run for the country. Nothing could be further from the truth. Did Saint Paul walk away from the pagans? No, he walked into the middle of them, got beaten to within an inch of his life, thrown off the cliff, got up and walked back in and began preaching again.

St.Paul never ran away, he engaged constantly with the world and other religious communities. We are not monastics, we are not St.Benedict. We are people with a vocation to interact with the world no matter how hostile the times. In fact, the more hostile the times the better for all of us. There’s nothing wrong with us becoming a small community, after all the very first Christians would have been familiar faces and family orientated. But when that community wants to isolate itself from engaging with the public or gains for itself the appearance of a subculture independent from the rest of the world, then we have a problem on our hands.

EWTN and all these other publications have done well in America and many protestants came back to the Church through it. I used to watch Fr.Corapi back in 2008 when I first began to take another look at my faith. But there is a danger present where careerism takes root and with all the promotion of family members to prominent places in the Church it’s starting to look like a royal dynasty where the intellectual Catholic family members lord it over the peasants.

This type of behaviour belongs to original sin and can be found in every aspect of human life both religious and secular. For example music is a subculture of liberals and you go from there to photography and you’ll find it there also. Go to the local village and you’ll find one stranger working as part of 50 bar staff who are all related to the owner or in someway to a manager. I once worked a Bistro where one of the managers told me that a polish manager is trying to get me fired. I asked why and he said she does it with everyone who is English speaking. What happens is once they get a foot in the door, they fire all the English people and replace them with their polish friends and family. “I will do my best to fight your case, but she’s such a good liar I doubt I’ll win”.

This kind of behavior has seeped into the Catholic Church and it looks ugly. There’s no benefit to be had in a Church that behaves like that and while they may be making small steps in the odd vocation and conversion here and there, they are for the most part alienating the general public through their appearance of a corny middle class subculture. They tried to rope me in at one point, but when they found out this guy doesn’t kiss ass and is far too frank and honest, it wasn’t long before relations with them broke down. I don’t have any loyalty to anyone except Christ. I have no favorites and there’s zero ambition there for a prominent place in the Church or their little subculture.

I’ve no desire for a career in the Church or making money from it. I want to engage with the world and find ways of inviting them in without being part of “the family”. As of recent a Catholic Priest who is editor for an Irish magazine asked me for my details so the Bishops could pay me for my articles and I told him I don’t want it. I’m not interested in making money from something the Lord may have blessed me with. I find it abominable that anyone would use their God given gifts of teaching, healing or any other gift of the Holy Spirit to put bread on the table. No, Be like St.Paul, get yourself a real job making tents, driving a taxi or something. Charge money for your book to see that the publisher get paid for his work and take no money for yourself.

This kind of behaviour got me “unfriended” on social media by an Exorcist friend and priest who I engaged with through Skype. We had this long discussion on Catholics making money from books and using their gifts to make money (unless they be clergy making money for the parish). He became extremely irate and you can only imagine his reaction when I pointed out the person he spiritually directs who gets messages from Jesus does not profit from the books she writes. That was it he lost his mind with me and although I managed to chase him down and regain his friendship he never spoke to me much after that.

Why? Because I’ve got a habit of destroying the conscience of others because I simply have what I like to call a Divine indifference to it all. I can’t be bought one way or another. My number one goal is to lead a quiet life and make progress in reaching the world with whatever I can afford to give to the Lord. Like people follow and model themselves after their favorite pop idol that’s how I am with St.Paul and some other saints like St.John Chrysostom. People try to abuse scriptures to justify making money from the Church and I could go into that today and have in the past but it would make this article longer than it already is.

All I’ll say is while St.Paul often encourages those to remunerate others that give them spiritual advice it’s in the form of a donation and mostly only for clergy not for lay people. What many Careerist Catholics neglect to do is point out the many places where St.Paul says he takes no money at all even though he could (because he was a minister) but preferred to do his secular job and not have to depend upon donations.

That’s a far cry from the current profit people are making from their gifts of teaching and instructing. I’ve simply no time for these people and I doubt St.Paul would either.

I’ve reached the end of my article and would like to encourage you all to engage with the world. Do not run away from it. Unless you’ve a vocation to be a monastic like St.Benedict do NOT go into hiding. Your job is to be Crucified and beaten until you’re unrecognizable by the world, yet recognized by Christ when you come into his kingdom. When you attend the Royal banquet make sure the garment you’re wearing is one drenched in your own blood because if not, you won’t be recognizable by the Lord and risk getting thrown out.

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