UPDATE (18 June 2012): The atheist blogger-of-good-will is no longer an atheist, thanks be to God!
"He will not break a bruised reed or quench a smoldering wick, till he brings justice to victory" (Matthew 12:20).
Do you know that "the Lord loves a good game"? I'm not going to follow the blogging convention and post an excerpt. If you haven't read Deacon Doug's address of that name, please read the whole thing; and if you're already familiar with it, please consider reading it again. I'll wait.
That outstanding talk is very germane to the present controversy involving a leading American gay activist. If for some reason you don't know of whom or what I speak, you can do an Internet search. Some self-identified Christians responding to this activist's April 12 outburst have been of a certain fundamentalist variety. For example: "Soon you shall be in hell-fire for not receiving the only payment possible for your sins – the shed Blood of Jesus." Catholics, ideally, have a greater awareness not only of our universal sinfulness but the universal call to holiness.
When engaging anyone hostile to the Faith, it is good to start with love and to remember that God's mercy triumphs over judgment. It's okay to defend yourself and the Church from aggression; it's not okay to return aggression with aggression. When you're introducing the Catechism's tripartite teaching on homosexuality, it's best to lead with the middle of those three paragraphs by affirming the dignity of the person. As the saying goes, you may be the only Bible that person ever reads. In the case of someone like this celebrity, you won't be the only Bible, but you might have a chance, as it were, to be a more accurate translation. And then there are the print and online readers whose circumstances aren't knowable.
There's no need, comboxers, to send me the evidence that this latest incident is one in a series of egregious incidents; I've probably read it or seen it. This isn't a blog post about serial bullying by an anti-bullying icon. This isn't an apologetics post to clear up lingering misunderstandings about interpreting the Bible or condoms or excommunication latae sententiae. Those discussions are certainly needed and are available elsewhere. When done well, they can represent three spiritual works of mercy: instructing the ignorant, counselling the doubtful, and admonishing sinners.
This is a blog post about the other four spiritual works of mercy: to bear wrongs patiently, to forgive offences willingly, to comfort the afflicted, and to pray for the living and the dead. This is a blog post for Catholics of good will, faithful to the Magisterium, who know that we have all fallen short of the glory of God. Because on Monday a Catholic blogger-of-good-will linked to an atheist blogger-of-good-will who disagreed with him (their dialogue has continued since), we had the privilege of reading this transcript.
Better yet, here's the audio.
You can skip ahead to Act Three at the 37:47 mark. The host has already explained at the prologue that this show includes a word that is sometimes bleeped for radio, but hasn't been here. There are other words and views that might offend you. Please see this through. The piece will be done in less than 16 minutes, and it could be life-changing. We wish it had come to our attention a long time ago.
Know before beginning that it's going to be messy and heartbreaking and beautiful. When we're deeply aware of our own sinfulness and God's own mercy, we can be grateful and confident about God working in His own good time.
The episode in question aired exactly three years ago, on May 1, 2009. This date is the feast day of St Joseph the Worker. He is the Guardian of the Holy Family. I invite you to ask his intercession. If you read the transcript or listen to the audio, you'll know Who else to pray through, and where to pray.
Love this man. Forgive him if you need to. Make acts of reparation not only for his offences, but for those of the self-identified Christians who've been unhelpful, hateful even, in their critiques. Pray without ceasing, and fast as we approach the Pentecost. Get ready to welcome him (and the other guy, and the kid) back, when the time comes. "Pack a lunch." Love him, as Christ has loved us. Look forward to the real possibility of living with him in eternity, and help make that possible.