whining and name-calling

I am struck by the irony that in the same week that Catholics fall over them­selves to cheer Arch­bish­op Tim­o­thy Dolan’s blog post to the New York Times, accus­ing the paper of (the hor­ror!) anti-Catholi­cism, that these same Catholics are quick to share head­lines like “Jihadist gun­man kills Amer­i­can Troops in Fort Hood” with all their friends via Facebook.

I am not going to com­ment exten­sive­ly on the Arch­bish­op’s words; he says noth­ing new, adds noth­ing to the con­ver­sa­tion, mere­ly repeats the same old com­plaints with fresh new exam­ples. Yes, there is anti-Catholic bias in the press, and in our soci­ety. Much of it has long roots in the tragedies of his­tor­i­cal strife and divi­sion, while some is of more recent flour­ish­ing. He even almost acknowl­edges that some of it has been well-earned by the actions and inac­tions of the Church itself. With all due respect, Your Excel­len­cy, I would be far more inspired to hear you step for­ward to be part of the solu­tion to this peren­ni­al prob­lem rather than rehash­ing the same thread­bare defen­sive posturing.

And then there is the news from Fort Hood.

This was an Amer­i­can tragedy, a heinous crime of one Amer­i­can sol­dier against an indis­crim­i­nate num­ber of his broth­ers- and sis­ters-in-arms. A por­trait of this man has emerged in the media, and only more time and inves­ti­ga­tion by the com­pe­tent author­i­ties will reveal how com­plete or accu­rate that is. From what is avail­able to read, it seems almost cer­tain that his reli­gion — and his expe­ri­ence of hatred from his fel­low sol­diers in response to his reli­gion — had some­thing to do with his cru­el actions. Every­one has their own moti­va­tions for their actions, and for any­one with deeply-held reli­gious beliefs, those beliefs are going to play a sig­nif­i­cant rôle in any major actions, right or wrong, that they choose to take. But to draw a sim­plis­tic con­nec­tion between “he opened fire on a room full of Amer­i­can sol­diers” and “he was a Mus­lim” is reck­less and divi­sive, espe­cial­ly when the event hap­pens in the midst of an armed camp engaged in a war that has — thanks to elo­quent Chris­tian­i­ty of our 43rd pres­i­dent — acquired the atti­tudes and trap­pings of a Crusade.

Giv­en the state of the world today, it is an easy leap to equate the Islam­ic faith of the shoot­er at Fort Hood with his actions. But as Chris­tians (and we Catholics are sup­pos­ed­ly Chris­tians, you may recall) we are called to not make the easy leaps: to fear of the oth­er, to prej­u­dice, to hatred and divi­sive­ness. We are called to love as Christ loved, which was gen­er­ous­ly and unend­ing­ly, even to those we may tem­porar­i­ly see fit to call our ene­mies. I must stress that “tem­porar­i­ly” again, for in the End there can be only Love, and our Chris­t­ian voca­tion is not to idly and arro­gant­ly wait for the Oth­er to come join us. Each of us, indi­vid­u­al­ly and as the Liv­ing Church, must run out to meet and embrace our enemy

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