When I began this blog in the spring of 2007 I thought it would be simple and small and filled with pictures of my kids and stories from our lives. I thought it would be read by people who knew us personally. But then one day a stranger, a woman from the Pacific Northwest, emailed me and said she enjoyed my blog and was grateful for it because I was the only Catholic she knew.
With that email came a challenge in my heart that I needed to catechize, evangelize, and most importantly to be the kind of Catholic that Christ would be happy to have represent Him. I saw that in wanting to be authentic online I needed to be authentic in real life and I have tried very, very hard to be the type of Christian who can say, "Be holy as I am holy" and not have a line of people wanting to sucker punch me.
I have tried very hard - and I am still working on this! Believe me! - to represent Christ and the Catholic Church as I believe them to be: loving, forgiving, joyful, hopeful, peaceful, engaging, fun, compassionate, just, kind, generous, open to life, pro-woman, pro-family, pro-life. This is difficult because many of those adjectives I would not use to describe myself and growing in virtue is tough. But I still put myself out there - online and in my parish and community, as a representative of the Catholic Church, hoping that people will in the very least appreciate that I'm trying.
And then someone I love posted this picture of Facebook.
Now, a couple of things about this image. First, Westboro Baptists do horrible, horrible things in the name of Christ and they are wrong. But notice how the image representing Catholicism isn't of anyone doing anything ugly or mean - it's just the pope, tugging on his vestments. You might as well - in fact you should! - take his picture out and put mine there. Not because I hate people who are gay (because I don't!) or would ever call them 'fags' (but I'd like to say something to people who do!) or tell them God hates them (because He does not!) or that they're going to Hell (maybe we're all going to Hell in a hand basket). Lord have mercy!
No, that should be my picture because if I am the only person you know who is Catholic - who is actually living out the Faith as handed down by the Apostles and held up by the Magesterium - then I must be doing a pretty piss poor job if you think Catholics and the WBB folks belong on the same meme.
It's frustrating and discouraging to feel like the one thing I am trying my hardest to do isn't working. And when I first thought about it I just wanted to give up. But I don't think I will. Because I think another quality of the Church is that She doesn't give up on the mission Christ has given Her. My mission may be a very small, wee bitty bit of Hers, but I think it still matters to God that I do it, even if the only person who ever cared was that woman from the Pacific Northwest.
Bonnie, I love this. And I think you're a pretty fantastic example of Christ's love.ReplyDelete
You are an amazing person. I don't know you all that well, but from your blog, words from others you are an amazing example. Keep on going girl!! :)ReplyDelete
Keeo blogging!!! Also, I'd bet my favorite snuggie that any of those people holding up signs are Catholic...ReplyDelete
Really? You think some of those people holding the mean signs are Catholic? I know mean, bigoted ones exist but I'm not sure if I personally (or even via the internet) know any who would actually do that. Maybe I'm just naive.Delete
But I wouldn't, and neither would you or the pope - and that matters!
So, this may not totally apply (and it may seem kind of silly to quote a county song!), but whenever I feel disheartened, my first step back to hope is a Garth Brooks song called "The Change" about the OK City bombing. In general, it's about doing things...not to change the world, but to show the world that it will not change me. Sometimes...that helps me get out of a feeling like you seem to be describing. FYI, I'm new to your blog and I love it!ReplyDelete
The only excuses I can think of regarding that picture are that a.) it was made by someone who finds the Catholic Church to be hateful or b.) it was created by someone who remembers some of the things B16 said about Protestants before he became Pope because some of them were a bit painful on our end. Even if option b was true, it doesn't put B16 or Catholicism in general with in league with Westboro Baptist Church. Most of the people I hang with online are faithful Catholics and I can't think of any of them who are remotely hateful in the slightest. One of the reasons I hang with you (and everyone else) is that I don't fit in with other Protestants but I do fit in with you and Katie (NFPandme) and Cari and Dwija and others.ReplyDelete
I'm SO glad for your blog, Bonnie! I heard your talk about James right when I was ready to completely give up on the Catholic Church due to some of the people I know who represent it but don't reflect it in their actions. YOUR talk moved me to tears! It was so honest and it showed me there are REAL Catholics out there who really DO experience Christ in a real way and REFLECT that love! I have learned much from you already and I thank you!ReplyDelete
Bon-you are the ONLY reason I haven't written off the entire Catholic faith. : Love, Mary FlorenceReplyDelete
Christ never said Pick up your cross, and life will be easy. He said to follow Him. And you are. Awesomely! (Is that a word?) I wrote a couple blog posts last year about how hard it is to speak the truth with love, and encourage people without sounding judgmental. It's a tough balance, but we need to just keep doing our best :)ReplyDelete
Thanks for writing this Bonnie! I appreciate your honesty and bravery writing this post. Although I am blogging primarily to grow and learn professionally, I wanted to first write about how my faith defines me as a professional for just the reasons you mentioned. Very, very, super cool post!ReplyDelete
Great, Bonnie. Really great. Brave. That's what you are. While it is not fair that people put the Catholic Church in the same group as WBB, they do. But with peeps like you willing to address it, hopefull slowly but surely that will change.ReplyDelete
Unfortunately, in the last year, I've come into contact with some fellow Catholics who made me feel as awful as the Westboro Baptist folks do. The people who make up our Church aren't perfect, and some of them aren't even very nice. But that is exactly why you are needed and why your message matters. Truth can be spoken in love, and we can shine light into even the darkest places out there with our words (and we can shine that light without searing people's skin off). Your voice is authentic, and your message is real. Keep up the good work, Bonnie.ReplyDelete