Sowing Discord Where None Should Exist

There are six things which the LORD hates,
seven which are an abomination to him:
haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked plans,
feet that make haste to run to evil,
a false witness who breathes out lies, and
a man who sows discord among brothers.
- Proverbs 6:16-19

John said to him, "Teacher, we saw a man casting out demons in your name, and we forbade him, because he was not following us."  But Jesus said, "Do not forbid him; for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon after to speak evil of me.  For he that is not against us is for us."
- St. Mark 9:38-40

It is already so easy for the average Catholic in the pew to feel isolated.  Most parishioners relate through the parish school and the extra-curricular activities surrounding the school.  Catholics without children in the parish school are out of luck.  Most Catholics are so harried and exhausted that they pass over the opportunities for fellowship and faith their parishes offer.  None of this, of course, takes into account the average person's penchant for associating only with those with whom they feel measure up to a set of entirely arbitrary standards, like education, wealth, and occupation.

It seems, though, that many Catholics today are rushing to add to those standards that only serve to isolate.  The extraordinary form of the liturgy vs. the ordinary form of the liturgy.  Home schooled children vs. Catholic schooled children vs. public schooled children and it's subset of Great Books religious education vs. Catholic school religious education vs. CCD.  Gregorian chant/classical music/liturgical music vs. contemporary Christian music.  Cradle Catholics vs. Converts/Reverts.  As we're making our lists, we're missing the point that dividing and conquering is the strategy of the devil.

It needs to stop.  I'm not talking about sedevacantists and Fishwrappers.  I'm talking about average Catholics in the pew who don't know if they should talk to the people in the pew in front of them, because they don't know whether liking Third Day's music is going to get them excoriated and condemned to Hell.  How many Catholics would speak to each other, if the first conversation they were having wasn't with themselves about their likelihood of successfully negotiating the litmus test minefield awaiting them?  This is the reason I don't attend coffee and doughnuts after Mass.

A woman I knew at Franciscan University of Steubenville once asked me after our first few weeks on campus, if I had noticed all of the students who seemed to be posing for their holy cards.  With all of the bitching and moaning about what is authentically Catholic, none of us is going to end up on a holy card ever.  It's all Catholic.  Homeschooling one's children does not make you "more" Catholic than those who don't.  Attending the extraordinary form of the Mass does not make you "more" Catholic than attending the ordinary form.  Enjoying Gregorian chant does not make you "more" Catholic than enjoying contemporary Christian music.  No one of us is "more" Catholic than any other.  Nothing we do or don't do can make us "more" Catholic than others.  All of us are Catholic.  "For there is no distinction; since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God..."



"For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places."

With all of this, should we really be finding fault with each other for the type of Christian music we like to listen to or which form of the Sacred Liturgy we attend?  Christ founded a Church precisely so we could support each other as we "work out [our] own salvation in fear and trembling."  As my oldest son says, let's bring it in and give each other some love.  Let's drop all of this petty bickering and remember that "he who is least among you all is the one who is great" and "in humility count others better than yourselves."

We have to love each other or we're not going to make it out of this life alive.

"Father...[t]he glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me....I will make it known that the love with which thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them."



  1. Hey Marcus,
    Does being Irish and totally awesome to boot make me "more" Catholic ?
    Dave O'

  2. Being Irish is being totally awesome, so you're redundant there. I'll ponder the other part of your question and get back to you.

  3. Yes, I should know as I am an actual Irishman, born and raised. Being Irish makes you both totally Awesome and totally Catholic! So, there you now know! Lol. Brendan.

  4. I am totally awesome and totally Catholic by association then as I know an actual Irishman, born and raised, and my patron saint is Irish, born and raised.

    Mike H.


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