A couple news notes about expected and unexpected consequences

Occasionally I see news stories which leave me momentarily puzzled… but then I come to my senses again.

For example…  this one in Harrisburg, PA.

DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa. — A Harrisburg woman is recovering after being bitten by a Bengal tiger at the Lake Tobias Wildlife Park in Halifax Township, Dauphin County.

Investigators say the victim, who asked that her name be withheld from the media in consideration for her privacy, [I’ll bet!] is a tour guide driver at the park and in her twenties.

It happened around 5 p.m. Thursday in a non-public area of the park. Don Federaff, Chief of the Halifax Ambulance Company, told News 8 the worker was in a walkway between two cages.

The employee apparently climbed over a fence to get into an area that is restricted to the public’s use, and then she stuck her hand through the fence into the tigers’ cage.

[…]

Wow.  Just… wow.

“Hey!  Watch this!”

Hijinx, and screaming, ensues, followed by sirens.

If you stick your arm into the tiger cage you just might get… wait for it… bitten by the tiger.

Tigers aren’t the only ones who bite.

This from Chicago, in a neighborhood where crime is up and thugs prey on seniors …

When in Chatham, don’t mess with Edward Alexander.

The guy is tough. Old school tough.

While Alexander was watering his front lawn at 82nd and Wabash Thursday, a would-be robber pointed a gun at the 85-year-old and told him to “give it up.” Alexander knocked away the pistol and punched the man in the face, hobbling the bad guy, who ran away — but not before the pistol went off and a bullet hit Alexander in the leg.

From his hospital bed Friday, the retired probation officer of 32 years says he has no regrets.

You’ve got to make a stand one way or the other in life,” he said from his room at Advocate Trinity Hospital. “And if you don’t you’ll be run over.”

[…]

According to Alexander, the man who attacked him was trying to take advantage of the largely senior population in Chatham.

Alexander was up and walking Friday morning and discharged later in the day after “one hell of an experience,” he said.

“I hope I’m prepared next time,” he joked to a friend visiting at the hospital. “Prepared to send them to the morgue.”

Bullies must be resisted.

I know no reader here is contemplating sticking an arm into the tiger cage or robbing an 85 year old.  But these stories remind us that being stupid can be fatal.

And, now that I have your attention, please consider also going to confession regularly.  It is Saturday as I write this.  Perhaps your parish has confessions scheduled.

How long has it been?

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52 Responses to A couple news notes about expected and unexpected consequences

  1. Carolina Geo says:

    “But these stories remind us that being stupid can be fatal.”

    I’m ROFLing over here! Father, I hope you don’t mind if I use this quote – properly attributed, of course – as my latest Facebook status. :-)

  2. DrTenochtitlan says:

    Um……actually…. I was just bit by a Bengal Tiger last week! (COMPLETELY serious here!) Now that said, it was because I was taking part in a once-in-a-lifetime program where you get to work alongside a zookeeper for a day. That, and the *three* Bengal Tigers were 16 week old cubs! I also assisted with Ruffed Lemurs and Kangaroo joeys.

    Fr Z's Gold Star Award

  3. APX says:

    I was going to go to Confession today, given that we have a priest from the FSSP visiting and offering extended Confession times, but my manager guilted me into changing my shift because someone forgot to book off for a wedding today. So, it’s another two weeks wait for me. Grr!

  4. Luke Whittaker says:

    But the tiger was fluffy.

  5. tealady24 says:

    I’m waiting to hear about the impending lawsuit which I’m sure the employee will pursue.

  6. Luke Whittaker: But the tiger was fluffy.

    Yah… and the old man looked weak.

    Sometimes people aren’t as weak or timid as they appear. People should remember that when they think they can bully and intimidate.

  7. APX says:

    @tealady24
    I’m waiting to hear about the impending lawsuit which I’m sure the employee will pursue.

    Yes! That’s right! This happened in the US, the country where people can become a millionaires by suing companies for their own stupidity.

    “I hope I’m prepared next time,” he joked to a friend visiting at the hospital. “Prepared to send them to the morgue.”

    I can’t help but be concerned about this type of attitude, though. I don’t think this is something someone should even joke about. It scares me to think there are people who actually find hilarity in this. I have friends and relatives who are police officers, and while they are trained and prepared to “shoot to kill” if they have to, it’s not something they joke about doing. In fact my uncle was a sergeant who retired after being shot and returning fire. It was too much for him. There’s nothing funny about killing people.

  8. Luke Whittaker says:

    Father Z.: I agree that bullies should be resisted. But I also believe, respectfully, that we will all see the day when we are helpless to resist and then must either embrace that impotence or hold onto the desire to do what is beyond us. To say nothing more of the Tiger bite, how will the elderly man accept the suffering of not being able to go on any further once his clear ability for potent, self assured action is gone? The ernstfall (German) seems to be when we come to the Cross and say yes or no. Ama sicut Christus et fac quod vis (love as Christ did and do what you will).

  9. Banjo pickin girl says:

    APX, yes, and Jesus didn’t say to always be prepared to send somebody to the morgue. I was halfway through my CCL training when I realized that there were very few instances where I would be willing to shoot to kill. And of course that would make me less able to do so. Hooray for that. Shooting to kill to defend ourselves, even from death, is one thing but to defend another is something else entirely, such as what police officers do. And killing to defend property is unthinkable to me.

    Most of the class was spent going over which scenarios are legal and which are not. But ever one is different and there is always uncertainty.

    Also, the man’s reported remark could be held against him if there were a further incident where he used deadly force. He could be charged with a premeditated crime.

  10. Stu says:

    Some kids just don’t understand “old man strength.”

    Walt Kowalski’s of the World Unite!

  11. benedetta says:

    Luke Whittaker, I don’t agree that embracing the reality of the cross means cooperating with evil in body, mind and heart, or shirking from the need to resist all of the effects of evil. We consent to the mystery of the cross but we reject the glamour of evil and all its works. I wouldn’t worry about that elderly gentlemen in his old age (which is already upon him) not being able to come to terms with weakness from further advanced years.

    As to the tiger, that is just really dumb on several levels. First off the reason why we don’t have bengal tigers roaming the streets or reclining at home on sofa would be because they are wild and resist human attempts at complete domestication, they do this all on their own quite naturally. Cages and fencing would seem to indicate this clearly. Wild things are not machines. Even if a bengal tiger has reacted the same way to this “hundreds of times” there is no guarantee that one day it will not chomp that hand. We don’t control everything and when we think we are in charge of what is naturally occurring we sometimes discover that there are undesired consequences which should have played a definitive role in our calculated attempt to predict the future in the first place.

  12. benedetta says:

    Also in the Christian life one does not come to the cross only the one time to say yes or no, clearly. Further the cross, far from being a matter of as you call it “impotence” it is instead a matter of omnipotence. We are not called to regard ourselves as impotent even, say, if we are in the arena facing down the prowling lions to the great cheers of pagan enthusiasts, or, if we have been arrested by a nihilistic fascist state that despises the faith, or, if we have been declared an enemy of the state and our every move is monitored and we narrowly escaped death while imprisonment under harsh conditions in Siberia, those may be photographs frozen and time but before during and after each snapshot moment there are plenty of choices and options. Even if one is in solitary confinement for a decade or so and no one has any ability to help you. Finally I just don’t see that in the cross and what was endured leading up to what seemed to onlookers the final moments that each step was an affirmation of impotence in the face of evil, assorted and coming from many different directions at once (see, the Stations of the Cross or read the passion narrative in any Gospel and also see what Our Lord said at the Last Supper). The fact that He knew how it would play out and explained to others, showed that His assent was not to single out for notice as exemplary the evil actions and place impotence along with that. Instead it was intended to reveal His full power over every conceivable and perhaps inconceivable works of evil that occur to any human being, for all time, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever will be, world without end. We are instructed specifically to not live in fear, to not be afraid, to have confidence, even while acknowledging what does go on, and resist given the circumstances of the present moment, and even if our efforts may seem failing or lacking in controlling events joined with omnipotence there is power. If it was just a matter of assent to impotence then in the Lord’s final hour I suppose the earth would not have shook and darkness come over the land…But after all He was God.

  13. Random Friar says:

    I just wanted to add…

    [Begin Mom voice]

    Go to Confession. No whining. Go!

    [End Mom voice]

  14. benedetta says:

    Random Friar, excellent suggestion and I think that even if one is not “technically” in a certain state (as defined by regulations?) or is uncertain about different things in retrospect I think it is a phenomenal help in terms of the grace that it imparts to overcome and resist evil, whether from within or without. I would never have said this, ten years ago, and if someone had said it to me I would have eye-rolled them to the margins and gone off laughing, at them really, however I truly believe now that the overall discouragement of the sacrament is a demonic trend. I don’t blame the folks who a time ago thought it may be a good idea pastorally (which is all I know truly, never had the full explanation and still do not know, why, or the pastoral reasons for it) but it really doesn’t seem well thought out at all. Instead of withdrawing the sacrament altogether, other pastoral efforts could have been chosen and strengthened so that people could receive the support they needed.

  15. The Book of Judith believes that the Lord will look favorably upon the weak being prepared to defend themselves against their oppressors with deadly force. Chapter 9 is particularly eloquent. But there are many other Biblical examples.

    There is no shame in being weak and helpless. But there is also no shame in the weak or the strong defending themselves, as God gives them strength to defend the right.

  16. Luke Whittaker says:

    Benedetta: I am afraid that you missed my point. I used the elderly man as a likeness for each one of us, by the way. I am not worried about him in particular. And who said anything about cooperating with evil or shirking from the need to resist its effects? I will try to write more effectively in the future.

    The decisive moment (Ernstfall) when we say yes or no to the Cross happens many times a day. And for those times in life when we are not made impotent because of some form of constraint we are to choose impotence (surrender) over taking action because it is the very example that our blessed Lord gave to us as the only one in history who could have changed his circumstances (cf Jn 18:36). Saint Paul gives us the same example. The same Paul who tells us that we should allow ourselves to be cheated (1 Corinthians 6:7 (it does not apply merely to lawsuits, by the way)).

    It seems that I must now disagree that bullies should simply be resisted. It is a right in some cases but it is not the more perfect road. Bullies are often those who never learned to love. And so it is for us to show them love even at cost to ourselves so that they might learn to respond in love (Philippians 2:4). God’s power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Cor 12:9). How many of us, given the opportunity, would defend God by the sword? And how many again would be reprimanded along with Saint Peter for misunderstanding the lesson of Jesus’ life? How many of us can overcome sin by our own will power? It is only in surrendering our sinfulness to God that he can begin to lift us to something better. And I would argue that it is exactly by allowing God that space within us that we are transformed and made capable of allowing Christ to act through us in the same way in which he acted when he walked on this earth. That is the very thing that we agree to allow each time that we receive him in holy communion. Love as Christ did and do what you will.

    While I’m at it, I apologize for the fuzzy tiger statement. I should not have demeaned the girl who was injured.

  17. bluesky74656 says:

    That’s a shame about the lady and the tiger. I guess the fence wasn’t enough warning to keep out. Maybe they should put some sort of deterrent behind the fence. Like a man-eating tiger that will bite anyone that tries to get through.

  18. off2 says:

    Banjo pickin girl says: 13 August 2011 at 12:29 pm “… killing to defend property is unthinkable to me….”

    This is an attitude that has (mostly) arisen during my lifetime. When I was a kid it was acceptable for police to shot looters. And looting was very rare. I do not understand why public opinion has shifted so far on this issue. ??

  19. AnAmericanMother says:

    Off2, BPG,
    See if this makes sense: Your property is acquired through your labor. It represents a portion of your life. Someone who steals it takes a portion of your life away from you.
    When that portion is very small, trivial, it’s not worth much resistance. But there comes a point – especially in the invasion of the home or robbery of the person, that resistance is justified.
    And criminals unresisted become ever bolder, eventually threatening the social fabric itself. That, not so much the loss of property, is why looters traditionally are shot on sight.
    When I was a child of 12, a burglar attempted to break into my bedroom window in the middle of the night. “Hot” burglaries are generally committed by desperate and reckless men. My dad did not hesitate – he shot the man (he didn’t kill him, in case you’re curious). Took the Alanta police (notorious even then for not doing their job) almost an hour to get there.
    Instead of being terrorized by this experience, my sister and I were comforted by the knowledge that my dad was prepared to defend his family. It became a family story of valor and quick action, instead of a horror story of feckless, helpless wards of the nanny state cowering before evil while waiting for 911 to answer.

  20. Luke Whittaker says:

    @ AnAmericanMother “…feckless, helpless wards of the nanny state?” Really? Would you rethink this position or should we throw in the towel on the Gospel and buy bigger guns? Defend your family with a gun if needs be but as Christians we must come to see that our property means nothing when weighed against the value of our fellow man. Saint Paul goes so far as to say that he would wish (if it were possible) to be cut off from Christ so that his brothers could then come to know God in faith (Rm 9:3). He would essentially give up his place in heaven so that others might enter there before he did. I have to imagine that he was a shirt off his back kind of a guy.

  21. AnAmericanMother says:

    Well, there *are* those remarks about selling your cloak and buying a sword if you haven’t got one . . . and the strong man keeping his house (at least until somebody stronger comes along, in those days of limited law enforcement) There’s also St Paul’s comment about the magistrate not bearing the sword in vain . . .
    As I noted, “hot” burglars generally aren’t too nice in their respect for life and limb, and if you take the time to ask his specific intentions you will generally regret it.
    A man who is not willing to protect his family is shirking his responsibility. The nanny state has its own reasons for encouraging learned helplessness, which are not based in any Christian doctrine.
    As for buying a bigger gun, you have to make sure that recoil doesn’t outrun your ability to control it, and that excess velocity doesn’t cause wall penetration problems.

  22. Luke Whittaker says:

    Every responsible householder runs the risk that they might find themselves helpless through no fault of their own. No matter what the intention of our aggressor is, our own intention should be to love. Our attitude should reflect that of Saint Paul who said, “I’m willing to endure everything for the sake of those who were chosen, so that they’ll be able to attain salvation in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim 2:10).

  23. benedetta says:

    It’s interesting that you mention these things Luke Whittaker as I am following the way of our Lord in every respect you have mentioned in the face of real persecution at this moment. I guess you would have to re-read what I wrote about for I fear you have misinterpreted or have repeated your word impotence without comprehending. It is not impotence at all. Further, it is not surrender, as in, surrender to evil intentions and the fruit of evil, the works and effects. We are called to resist evil, internally and from without. You seem to envision excessively political terms and all that sort of thing but an individual is not the state. Even if you espouse pacifism, in your daily life, career and property ownership, for yourself, and also wish to require others who are defenseless in the face of evil to that same path, regarding as insignificant possessions (and I readily agree with St. Paul), the Church supports the way of justice and societies formed with the value of justice as articulated and clarified over the generations. Some dioceses even have whole pastoral outreaches concerning restorative justice. While it is true that criminal actions may come and go, others, the bystanders or the rest of the Christian community has a very real responsibility to aid the crime victim, bind up his wounds, see to his care, even if he is not a member of their immediate Christian community.

    St. Lawrence whose feast day we celebrated this last week certainly surrendered. But according to the account he did not commend or validate in any way the evil works, did not surrender on their terms, did not render himself impotent. The same goes for St. Stephen.

    I am not sure what in the final analysis you are attempting to articulate, either by your flip comment about the tiger and his victim, or your other comments quoting from St. Paul and insistence upon this idea of impotence. The example and surrender of our Lord, as I said, was far from impotent, if it was just a matter of surrender and impotence, there would be the tomb and nothing more, and further our Lord would not have instructed the disciples before or afterwards as to events. You are being quite selective in your quotations from various sources but seem to miss the completeness of the Gospel message. Surrender, as you seem to envision it, would have affirmed the evil acts, “Father, I am like every householder. Crime happens. I am impotent.” No, those were not the words. It is not that He refused to come down from the cross because He wanted the evil to seem, appear or be conveyed as justified and more powerful than God. God’s terms are not our terms, God does not do things for the tempter’s sake, “Come down if you really are…” Or, “turn these stones to bread if you are really…” Obviously He did create bread to feed multitudes. He did change water into wine. He could have come down from the cross and He did not convey to the faithful that He was surrendering to evil. He loved those who were His, who heard His voice, to the end. I suppose if Judas had been more cognizant of who He really was He would not have despaired. Now when Judas did what he did would you call that surrender and impotence. Or not.

  24. benedetta says:

    Also all of the saints and the Church of course teaches that we are not to seek martyrdom. The Church certainly does not endorse suffering or the results of criminal actions, for their own sake, to prove an idealogical point. For St. Lawrence, for St. Stephen, for many others, and often in white martyrdom, there is no apparent way around it, no avoiding it, but when persecutions lead to that end because the prince of this world hems in and permits no way out, and because imprisoned one is no longer effective by use of their physical abilities, it is far from “impotence” in the eyes of God, the only view that matters to a Christian. As a matter of fact, such instances bear fruit which is infinite. You who quote various authors surely know that the Lord is not called our bridegroom for nothing.

  25. AnAmericanMother says:

    Call it tough love.
    Seriously, if you want to preemptively surrender to evil men, you have that choice. But how about your wife and children? And the community?
    St Paul had no family or household to protect, and he was enduring persecution forthe sake of (and directly on account of) his evangelistic efforts.
    He had nothing to say about surrendering to thieves, looters, or armed robbers who attack in the night. He did classify robbers with the natural hazards, like rivers and storms at sea – unlike his persecutors who attacked him for his beliefs.

  26. benedetta says:

    I agree AnAmericanMother, far from endorsing that innocent children with their mothers be subjected to what he endured, shipwreck, imprisonment, or others, stoning, martyrdom…St. Paul wanted the Christian communities to support one another and witness to the faith to others. The demands and persecutions of such missionary work itself is an argument for the celibate state as St. Paul said “as I am”.

    Further any reading of any Gospel shows clearly that Our Lord, during or before and after the crucifixion was never in “dialogue” with those committing acts of evil, on their terms. One observes that he prayed for them, and invited even Judas, knowing his struggle, to reconcile, but for those given over to evil and the prince of darkness, what he said and did in those moments of surrender were simply not at all on their terms nor in dialogue at all with their assertions, taunts, threats, harassment, ridicule, humiliations. What little he said was for the purpose of all who would believe in Him. For those who make up their minds (the intent) to commit evil towards innocents, and then carry it out, He is not forever unavailable for the conversations between the others who acknowledged their criminal acts who were crucified alongside him are instructive. Jesus did not refuse the one who acknowledged both what he had done and his own actions as well as who Jesus really was and asked, from the heart to be acknowledged and be in relationship. Perhaps that speaks more clearly that there was no such thing as impotence at work at all in the first place. Jesus did not then turn and also affirm the other one who refused to acknowledge, in the guilt that was admitted (thieves), now that would have been the triumph of impotence and that never happened.

  27. Luke Whittaker says:

    Benedetta: I am sorry to hear about your particular cross. I will remember your intentions at Mass this morning. Bear in mind that my second response in this thread was a broad sweeping generalization and not a personal attack on the way that you carry your own cross.

    (still @ Benedetta): Regarding the word impotent, the very fact that you mention persecution demonstrates that you have found yourself “unable to take effective action” against whatever weighs on you. That you are enduring the persecution itself implies that you are suffering something patiently. And I don’t quote various sources here. I am quoting the New Testament, whose words do not contradict themselves. “But I say to you who hear, ‘Love your enemies, ‘do good to those who hate you…To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either” (Lk 6:27-29): This is pacifism by many definitions but by turning away from a personal desire to defend what we believe to be ours we are allowing the power of God to touch other people.

    Please note that I did not say that Jesus was impotent in some way. What I did say is that “we are to choose impotence (surrender) over taking action because it is the very example that our blessed Lord gave to us as the only one in history who could have changed his circumstances (cf Jn 18:36).” He chose weakness for us, so that we might follow him and come to know the love of his Father.

    And yes, my comment about the fuzzy tiger was flippant, which is exactly why I publically apologized. Even more so because my name appears above my post.

  28. benedetta says:

    Luke Whittaker, Yes I am familiar with that quotation from the Gospel of St. Luke. It is quite meaningful. Even as one may choose for one’s self pacifism in the face of such circumstances (offer your tunic…), it does not say, offer your tunic and then provide the tunics of your neighbors, innocent children, disinterested people, and everyone else’s. Nor does it add ‘and deny that evil is happening’ or ‘pretend that all is ok’. And the rejoicing in the course of persecution like all else is a process, not a momentary snapshot which may be shared and sniggered over but perhaps a prolonged action of grace over time. Of course grace acknowledges who we are and what we are about, in our weakness and the very details. Being open to grace is the opposite of repression and suppression and it acknowledges that we are flawed, have faults, but appreciate the Divine mercy always offered to all nonetheless.

    I appreciate your prayers on behalf of others victimized. I am getting by with what is available. I in fact do pray for those who choose to persecute and I would appreciate prayers for their conversion, even if it comes in their last breaths on earth and too late for changing their course of action with respect towards myself and those to whom I am responsible, in which case the chaplet of the Divine Mercy may be a good option. I don’t know the details, am not permitted to know much about them but as far as I can tell they for whatever reasons do not seem to avail of the love of Christ. Onlookers might say that is obvious from their actions themselves, which seems to target on the basis of Catholic faith. But all of us who have undergone conversion know that no matter what it is it can be brought to the throne of mercy, always extended, for the asking.

    I have noticed that others, wiser and stronger than I am, apparently having realized quite some time ago that persecutions were on way (perhaps without knowing exactly how or what or towards which), and have prepared accordingly, ahead of time for this purpose, to strengthen the hands that are weak, perplexed, to begin with, going forward. So for that also I am thankful. Of course the saint whose feast we celebrate today and numerous other saints, blesseds and martyrs and victims of various anti-religious regimes of our own times left behind a record of events and what they encountered. Some who experienced first-hand are still around with us and some have gone ahead of us and help us even now.

    I did happen to read this today from a contemporary thinker, “Jesus had made this solemn promise to His disciples ‘Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house, or brothers, or sisters, or mother, or father, or children, or lands, for my sake and the gospel’s, who will not receive a hundredfold, now in this time, houses, and brothers, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life’ (Mark 10:29-30; Matt. 19:29; Luke 18:29-30)…For the disciple who has left everything the Church is a home with innumerable dwelling-places in which he is called to serve…”

    Come what may I see no reason whatsoever to alter my hope in the unity of the Church in the days to come.

  29. Luke Whittaker says:

    AnAmericanMother: We overcome evil with good–not with a Magnum gun and combat training. You can pick Saint Paul’s vocation apart all that you want to, but in the end, his command to imitate him as he imitated Christ was given to each and every Christian man and woman. Being technical about gospel principles is a slippery slope.

    Has anybody here ever heard of a conversion happening to an agnostic after he was beaten up by a Christian? Remember: we want to see the men and women who might come to harm us going to Mass and standing in line for confession. I don’t want them to go away. I want them to know God in Christ. Our actions, intentions, choices, are what I am referring to here–regardless of whatever evil presses on me from without. I believe that it is better to choose the cross now (in this moment) by way of desiring to accept whatever may come our way, and for the sake of others.

    But more on point, if I were to be held up at gunpoint I would hand over my watch, wallet, shirt and so forth. And then I would ask the person threatening me whether or not they knew if God loved them and desired them to grow closer to him. Even if it meant that I would be shot because of some rage on the shooters part. We can discuss various situations and circumstances all day long. But in the end, if I were that old man, the gospel would compel me to act just as I described. And if I were the young girl I wouldn’t be suffering from a tiger bite–although I have made regrettable mistakes in the past.

    And Benedetta, be careful which contemporary authors you read. If you expect to see any part of the hundredfold in this life you may be disappointed. There is a preacher named Matt Kammond who has led many people astray with such thinking. And I used the word impotence, by the way, even though it doesn’t truly do justice to the helplessness that God took on for our sake.

  30. Stephen D says:

    Speaking of confession, one of the priests I confess to gives absolution without asking for an act of contrition to be recited. I did once point this out to him and he said, ‘Say one if you wish’ so I did but this was after absolution. I am in the habit of saying the Act after confession and before my penance now. Is this OK?

  31. benedetta says:

    Well the Lord did say “now in this time” not the contemporary author and so inasmuch as I trust in Jesus I do expect it and will continue. On the Church’s terms. Not the world’s.

    And believe me I have been down so many rabbit holes from various false preaching that I think I have pretty much heard it all at this point, there is nothing new under the sun as far as that goes. Though I am intrigued by the sermon of St. Augustine of yesterday referencing the First Letter of John which says that many will say that they are in Christ but for just for the saying are not. It can give pause. I also think after following many different proposals that the only way for the Church is the way of obedience and unity.

    Further regarding St. Paul of course he did not just say, ‘You are right, I am a Christian, kill me and be done with it.’ It is quite interesting that before the ultimate and definitive surrender he invoked Roman law to apply. Once again, it is not the persecutors or evil’s terms which dictate, no matter the appearances.

    With your gun hold up scenario (which as AnAmericanMother points out isn’t the same as persecution for being religious), one could very well serve the same end by praying for them. Of course one could disarm the other if one has the skills as this elderly man (from being in law enforcement) did have and pray for them all at once. Pacifism doesn’t mean the other is entitled. Nor does the command to give the tunic. St. Paul’s writing is filled with references to what he does of his own accord, the way Christians live consistent with their status as children of God even if enslaved by the world. Surrender in any given present moment to God’s will it seems would not be to continue to live consistent with the enslavements of the ways and workings of the world, for the point of it. We don’t hand over the tunic because we are enslaved. We choose. If we choose to disarm because we as citizens can, then that is a choice. The guy in the article didn’t kill the criminal, he just disarmed him and they both suffered non life threatening injuries. I don’t see that either way, to give over the tunic to the one with the gun with a smile, or to knock the gun out of his hand, is morally the better. In your scenario proposing that the one with the gun is an agnostic and the one disarming a Christian (which of course we don’t know at all), it is not necessarily logical that the agnostic will say, I tried to rob that Christian, and, he knocked my gun out of my hand, therefore I will never be a Christian. Logically, or psychologically, or spiritually, just about every myriad response is possible. Many people “caught in the act” as it were come to terms that what they were up to in the first place, was not good for themselves, and was certainly wrong towards one’s neighbor, but on account of God’s love and mercy yet they may repent and believe in the good news. There are myriad saints who had that very experience and lived to tell the tale. Nor do I think that the agnostic hold up artist is going to admire the one who forks over his tunic as a Christian necessarily. And I don’t know that Jesus’ command was to give over or to forgive in order to demonstrate how great we are (which would be somewhat a matter of pride) or to guilt or shame or persuade someone to become as you are (which would not be respecting free will) but to forgive as we are forgiven, by God, forgive others as we ask God to forgive us our trespasses. Not to prove a point and not to make someone do anything at all which is not our business but God’s.

  32. benedetta says:

    Just as you “beware” me, Luke Whittaker, I shall “beware” you and say that to go around expecting to convert people on our terms is not necessarily God’s equation for what is God’s relationship with each person. It may not happen on our timeline or at all though we are commanded to pray for enemies (and the distinction in types of enemies in Fr. Z’s article on the sermon from St. Augustine was interesting) and leave it to God as to the details to be worked out for each individual. I don’t deny that people observe and should observe what Christians do. Sometimes that leads to conversion. And sometimes conversion comes apart or despite that. St. Paul himself did not attribute his conversion to, say, what St. Stephen did and said when he took part in his stoning and slaughter. Perhaps in hindsight. Quite often the converting is done by God alone.

    However in these times I often find it very funny when people say, “Well, because of this or that scandal I have decided to leave the Church” or “I can’t be in the Church because they are all hypocrites”. By that standard, no one would belong to any political party these days…The Church is something more and very different than the sum of possible votes, something very different from schools of political thought, and doesn’t stand or fall by the sins or the successes and apparent achievements of its members. Again many contemporary thinkers taking into account two thousand years recognize that in times of persecution or when oppressive regimes suppress the practice of religion or in times of great scandal from those who were supposed to lead with authority, nonetheless God raises up the saints required of the times. Of course the foundation and unity of the Church in the first place is a work of the Holy Spirit, not of our own design or orchestration.

  33. benedetta says:

    Also Luke Whittaker I have never heard of a preacher named Matt Kammond. A google search (since you referenced this person) turned up nada. Care to elaborate or were you just name dropping.

  34. benedetta says:

    I suppose somewhat like Luke Whittaker takes seriously that the Lord commanded that His disciples forgive, to give of tunic, etc. I similarly take seriously that now in these times one will receive, hundred fold, for the sake of the Lord and His gospel. Though of course Catholic Christians have the senses in which we read scripture, something others here could better explicate than I. Still, though I might forego my lawful rights based on a command of the Lord’s, for His sake, I am not sure that we can direct others to relinquish their property as well because I am attempting to follow the command which goes over and above, well beyond, legal rights.

    Of course our legal rights in the western world are derived from acknowledgment that we are created equal in the eyes of God. One need not be a disciple of Jesus Christ by any means to follow and support a civilized culture, in which the values of justice have been articulated from recognition of the dignity of humanity. Since our laws recognize we have inherent dignity in the first place, and are set forth contrary to spirits of nihilism, fascism, marxist atheism, isms and systems or notions that decide just for our humanity that we are nothing, mean nothing, and amount to nothing, capable of little other than immediate needs, we certainly can find consensus in religious plurality that we all share the right to life. Of course the way of pacifism and the hippocratic oath support the right to life.

  35. Luke Whittaker says:

    Benedetta: I too am intrigued by Saint Augustine’s sermons on 1 John. I didn’t give the real name, only one that rhymes with the real name. There’s actually a “c” at the end of the first name and an “H” at the beginning of the last name. I didn’t think it appropriate to give the real name. And I do not intend to convert people on my own terms. Hence, I quote from scripture. Nor am I a pacifist, which is defined as the belief that any violence, including war, is unjustifiable under any circumstances, and that all disputes should be settled by peaceful means. But the gospel calls me to put other people before myself. When we go to war and with whom we fight is a matter for the state to decide. If I am a soldier I fight in the name of freedom against the enemies of the state. If as a citizen I intend to wield a gun at every “hot” criminal who crosses my path then I have missed the message of the gospel. I am sorry if I misread your quotation from the contemporary thinker. If I did it was because whenever I here the expression “contemporary thinker/author” my skin tends to crawl.

    This conversation seems to be fait accompli.

  36. Banjo pickin girl says:

    The first response to my remark was very much off the mark, misunderstanding what I said and putting forth a theoretical situation to disprove something that I never said.

    However, I think Luke understands what the Gospel requires of those who would call themselves Christian.

  37. benedetta says:

    The 85 year old probation officer from the report in this post did not use deadly force. And any police officer and anyone who has ever lived in an urban environment well knows that in a mugging unless one knows what they are doing they are not to at all resist and give over whatever one has, immediately and without hesitation, that is just plain common sense. I think Fr. Z was offering this more in the way of saying, look. To one person, armed with a gun, this elderly man looks like easy prey. With the gun, he doesn’t imagine that the guy will though he is old and frail actually knows how to stare it down and disarm, without being armed or wielding a gun himself. That is the entire point, surprise. He looks elderly and like someone you can easily boss around, and, things are not always what they might seem. The guy was not armed himself and, he it says very clearly that the last comment about the morgue next time around was a JOKE. He joked around about it with his buddy as people who have undergone trauma or have been victimized are often found to do to relieve the tension and regain perspective. He is not threatening. He is saying, yes, that I could do but what am I supposed to do next, now go around my own house with a gun myself. It shows the absurdity. Sometimes people take calculated risk and they think they can adequately sum things up as to their targets by a quick study. Things don’t always go off as planned. You can’t predict everything and when you’re up to something you’re not supposed to be doing in the first place then you can’t blame the guy who knocked the gun out for the failure of the overall plan, or for what seems to you to be, chaos because it doesn’t make sense the way you designed it.

    Banjo pickin girl, I know you have mentioned your disability in the past and I sympathize. I know that I would really not appreciate it if I was targeted because someone helped themselves to browse around my world and decided that they felt entitled to move in for the kill. And when you have others who are relying on what you manage to be able to do despite those weaknesses, well. I fully recognize that at this moment in history when we have had it pretty good for a long stretch that the Christian communities may not be ready to do what needs to be done, not at all threats, mind you, certainly not violence, but extending support to those in our mutual care in order to build up the Kingdom. Many speak of experience of feeling somewhat alienated but carry on in faith nonetheless. We can’t really do the work of evangelization and inviting others to look into the faith if we just shrug off evil in our own midst which is trying to wear us down and prevent us from living out our lives in freedom. I think AnAmericanMother makes the overall distinction well between Christian communities settled in a locality as opposed to those on mission who encounter various threats as a matter of course. Free societies guarantee that the former is ordered to justice, and the entire thinking of the Church on social justice is about this. It is completely consistent with Christianity for Christian communities to see after integrity in order to provide for the welfare of those in their care including children and elderly. A single person traveling around might feel comfortable accepting risks for himself knowing that he does so of his own free will.

    Unfortunately I sort of see this male paradigm afflicting both supposed political polarities of the Church (which of course is a flawed way of viewing the Church) and really gives short shrift to the very important and meaningful work which the early Christian women were engaged in, which St. Paul references throughout and without whom the Church would not have come into being or been able to function and spread. All are invited to join with the community but there are some called to establish and protect and nurture a visible and stable community from the inside to begin with. We seem to have lost touch with this to some extent but there are many who are doing just this right now and often overlooked or dismissed.

  38. AnAmericanMother says:

    Luke,
    Magnums are terribly overrated. Clint Eastwood has a lot of sore wrists and herky-jerky trigger pulls to answer for. :-D
    Still, all I can say is that for a 12 year old girl, her 8 year old little sister, and our mother, the fact that my dad did overcome evil with a 16 gauge Parker shotgun means that I was not beaten, raped, or worse in my bed. After evil is stopped and de-fanged is the time to reason with it and ask if it knows that God loves it, not while it is advancing towards you with a tire iron and curses on its lips.
    Unfortunately, you don’t know in the heat of the moment if the thug’s only got robbery on his mind, or if he will just kill you because he can, or because he’s a meth head and out of his mind. People hand over their wallets and get killed anyhow, too many robbers now are the feral amoral creatures that figured large in the London looting, and they will stab you or beat you to a pulp just for grins.
    And yes, I’ve heard of lots of people undergoing conversion after having been stopped in the act and held for police. They aren’t going to listen anyhow until their violence and pride and wilfulness are broken. Sometimes, of course, it’s just a jailhouse conversion, but it does happen.

  39. benedetta says:

    AnAmericanMother, Wow. On the one hand some are talking, Magnums, hypotheticals and what ifs. On the other some of us are talking about what can and does happen, and involves, children, not “I was coming back from the pub on the subway late night and…” when things are of course known to happen on one’s travels. You bring us back to reality quite ably.

    Also very funny about Clint Eastwood. What a 70s/80s hollywood caricature. If you really think that’s all it’s about then you have, simply, no idea what people are talking about.

    As to the looters and London, I haven’t read up on it totally but I don’t think the vast majority were armed themselves. I have seen miscellaneous reports where people were attacked in the street, set upon, just bystanders, but I don’t think that was a huge number of occurrences. Destruction of people’s business and livelihood for the fun of it is a horrendous thing, no question. At least one presumes that one who is mugging or holds up the corner store owner is desperate, probably addicted and trying to fund an expensive habit. Not that it justifies.

    I think we have to face that the very same things that we regard as neutral or pop culture and are conditioning young people, especially where a vacuum was created with abandonment of character formation or formation of virtues as old timey or whatever the latest denouncement, and, some are hiding behind that same social conditioning and exploiting young people’s dependence on it as pseudo social experiences for objective evil. The young people just don’t get that they are being manipulated, and way worse than anything the maligned Church could do in proposing faith and responsibility in that light. It will take some sorting out but eventually what will be discovered was that young people were induced, through lies and manipulation, into their raging and wilding, and whereas the young people many of them now have to face the music in the court system, some having their records and futures affected, over a pair of sneakers or a tv or some cds, whereas the instruments of the prince of darkness now skulk away for the time being looking out for the next opportunity to arise. The Church doesn’t use and abuse young people, does not impose upon their freedom, and on the contrary, creates for them true freedom. It’s the liar and the thief from the beginning who is ok with young people already lacking opportunity and encouragement in society with wide disparity between filthy rich and the poorest and without means, having to pay the time.

  40. Luke Whittaker says:

    Do you realize, Benedetta, just how your sentence, “I sort of see this male paradigm afflicting both supposed political polarities of the Church (which of course is a flawed way of viewing the Church)” sounds? It sounds like you are labeling a group of people (myself included) in order to dismiss their point of view. These types of caricatures are not conducive to a day-by-day atmosphere of the caring, trusting, warm love that lends itself to the unity to which you refer. And I am certainly not unsympathetically dismissing (short shrift) the important role that women continue to play in the Church. I cannot see what I said that would have made you think of such a thing. And you essentially called me absurd for something I said in response to AnAmericanMother (wouldn’t our real names be much simpler?). Do you realize that some of your writing comes across as an anger reaction? Argumentation, sharp retorts, obvious hurt feelings, defensiveness, and failure to disagree graciously all describe the way that we have spun this thread, generating heat but not light and so I think that we should end it soon unless we can agree that neither one of us sees the other person’s point of view exactly.

    Regarding your comment about occasional feelings of alienation, have you considered that you may be expecting too much from the people around you—people who no doubt have struggles of their own.

    AnAmericanMother: Do you realize how much some of what you wrote sounds like script from a Clint Eastwood movie? The Christic person judges the worth of others not on the basis of good or bad judgment but on that of their sheer inner worth as persons loved into becoming images of their Father. If the man threatens your family then by all means take action but don’t go on to label the person because it demeans them. I did say a while ago that your father acted justly. But I will admit to questioning whether your overall tone is gospel or not.

    Banjo pickin girl: Thank you. I am glad that some of what I have said is cohesive.

  41. benedetta says:

    Luke Whittaker, You are the one who started with the flip comments, the caricature, and the name-dropping. Now to turn around and demand that we admire it and if we don’t we are condemned as “angry” is really a bit much.

    Yes it is a male paradigm. Funny that this would enrage you so. But the distinction that AnAmericanMother made seems totally lost on you and even as you totally rip me to shreds (and you don’t know me) you still cannot manage to respond to any of the substance of what we have said. Other than to reap the complements as if you are so deserving in the first place, which none come here to acquire. If I had said what banjopickingirl had said, I would be blessed by you but since you do not recognize the substance of what I have said instead you are compelled to stomp me out of existence.

    Like I said before I am being persecuted currently. What can I say, it is what it is. Not everyone has to endure it. I am not sure you in fact could given what you have said. And the fact that while you are happy to talk theoreticals about magnums you refuse to acknowledge the very substance of what we have said. The problem of the victimization of children seems entirely lost on you in your scenarios. Again your failure to acknowledge what is a core women’s issue, the welfare of children is suspect. It is one thing to give over one’s wallet and call one’s credit card companies. It is quite another to offer up innocents to persecutors who indulge for sport. And I think the Church will concur that one should rightly be angry, very angry, about such situations. And there is such a thing as restorative justice in civilized society. Even if you choose to give over your wallet which is by far the common sense thing to do.

    What would you suggest in the situation of AnAmericanMother? Or others with the care of children?

    It’s not so easy to trash me and pretend it doesn’t exist. It does exist. And, as I said, just because evil zeroes in on what it sums up a likely target, it doesn’t mean that we are to merely affirm it on other, innocents’ behalf.

    I find it curious that to a very great extent you ignored most of what people, myself included have had to say here, whether it is on matters of the teachings of Our Lord, the teachings of the Church, the letters of St. Paul, or people’s real experiences. On a comment board of course it is entirely your choice to selectively listen or not. But in real life generally when people avoid the substance there are reasons for this, from experience.

    Regarding alienation, I don’t know what to tell you. I grew up expecting, precisely nothing, from the Church and that has remained essentially the same. The alienation I observe is not mine alone though I experience it just in the same way that a great many others do as well. Again you are reading selectively and pulling out one word or two to suit your little judgements but that is not reality. Not sure how you can guess about those around me unless you are a peeping tom?

    ;)

    Btw I thought the convo was a fait accompli? Well it’s been real. And a fun break from the situation I am currently facing. But yes, the 85 year old retired probation officer seems to be within his rights, as a human being, and as a Christian. Sorry that our disagreement enrages you such that you have to call us names but, no, you don’t always get to stick a gun in people’s faces and assume it all happens as planned, and especially if or when you size them up as a Christian. Even for a fundamentalist, which of course the Catholic Church doesn’t require of people at all as a way of reading scripture, it is not only your triumphant way that shows the Christian way and mothers with children have different priorities than someone out late at night on their own. That’s the way it is, that’s life. Sorry I couldn’t cohere more to your liking…See you around campus.

  42. benedetta says:

    I think this, what I wrote before, is worth repeating, as it is more to the point than silly squabbling:

    I think we have to face that the very same things that we regard as neutral or pop culture and are conditioning young people, especially where a vacuum was created with abandonment of character formation or formation of virtues as old timey or whatever the latest denouncement, and, some are hiding behind that same social conditioning and exploiting young people’s dependence on it as pseudo social experiences for objective evil. The young people just don’t get that they are being manipulated, and way worse than anything the maligned Church could do in proposing faith and responsibility in that light. It will take some sorting out but eventually what will be discovered was that young people were induced, through lies and manipulation, into their raging and wilding, and whereas the young people many of them now have to face the music in the court system, some having their records and futures affected, over a pair of sneakers or a tv or some cds, whereas the instruments of the prince of darkness now skulk away for the time being looking out for the next opportunity to arise. The Church doesn’t use and abuse young people, does not impose upon their freedom, and on the contrary, creates for them true freedom. It’s the liar and the thief from the beginning who is ok with young people already lacking opportunity and encouragement in society with wide disparity between filthy rich and the poorest and without means, having to pay the time.

    I think the time of coming onto Catholic blogs to mock other people and their real experiences is really over. The time when those who wish to destroy the Church may be flattered and empowered whereas those who look to unity and obedience must be harshed on and marginalized is totally over. Not everyone who quotes scripture and says they prefer the Extraordinary Form, or any form, necessarily for that reason alone intends well. If someone claims this but refuses to listen to what people are saying what could it be about. I am not attached to the Extraordinary Form as it is not offered in its fulness the way it is in wealthier places or in places in which hierarchy has been supportive of the grassroots. But I don’t decide ahead of time that I will selectively listen to one or other word and then condemn.

    I think that Luke Whittaker feels that it is only a fait accompli when he decides and if we reply then he gets angry…I guess it was never a conversation or dialogue in the first place in that case.

  43. JoyfulMom7 says:

    Fr. Z said, “Sometimes people aren’t as weak or timid as they appear. People should remember that when they think they can bully and intimidate.”

    Oh yeah . . . I can really relate to this! It’s been tried . . . and FAILED!

  44. benedetta says:

    Also am still not finding the reference that Luke Whittaker makes (you see because we are actually listening to what is said). Don’t know what the point was of that either.

    But from experience when people quote selectively from scripture or St. Paul, but refuse to recognize the whole, it has not gone well. I haven’t had any sort of training in scripture interpretation by any means but have read various Church fathers from time to time. But I do know that the Church’s approach is not the same as the fundamentalist approach and I am wary when one tries to throw out this or that at exclusion of the totality of the message. As in, this is only about the mugging situation and we will pretend the problem of children doesn’t exist…

  45. benedetta says:

    Further Luke Whittaker it’s kind of fascinating that although I confided that I am undergoing a certain trial that you remarked on it and proceeded to personally dump on me, and it is as if (wait for it…) I deserve it! All without knowing a single thing other than what I said. Fascinating I tell you. Also from experience, never tell a crime victim that they asked for it. Never never never. For many reasons. You don’t dump on people who have already admitted suffering. But, since you brought it up, this idea of what is or is not Christian, I would say that to do so is not the Christian way.

    Your rage has an eery kind of shut up vibe and tone about it, condemning me, insinuating odd things, and disregarding the reality of my situation altogether. But I can easily overlook it. Believe me I’ve seen worse things. But what I said, of myself and my situation, it is happening, I did not one thing to bring it about, and, no, I’m not going to be bullied into sacrificing innocents for pointless evil. Evil exists. Denying it is not healthy for anybody. And so much as my experience can help make people knowledgeable who may take good steps especially those who have care of little ones.

    As I also said my hope in the Church is boundless. People should note well, this is what animates, alienation or no, persecution or peace, whatever may be happening. I don’t accept alienation as a static thing and just accept. I don’t believe in impotence. I believe in omnipotence. That is my hope and cause for rejoicing.

  46. benedetta says:

    Luke Whittaker, just to show you I am not angry I will lead you down the commenting a bit to show you what happened and you can take a look for yourself, where rash judgments were made and who said what to whom with certain tones and you can then see if you still think your hands are totally pure and that others ought to confirm you in your indignation and attacks on me personally (I note you still have not replied to the great substance of all the various arguments).

    You quote selected scripture to us and invest with your belief and state how in your opinion these prove your points and the righteousness of your position, which is what you would do if personally held up at gunpoint. This you call “surrender” or “impotence”. You feel all others ought to do the same and this is best for everyone. All well and good, you are most free to articulate your opinions and the reasons for them.

    You also quote St. Paul and others but you do not reference the magisterium. I have no opinion on that either way. But that was your choice. Generally in talking ethical hypothetical the Church regards scripture with the tradition together as instructive. But that’s your choice. No one jumped in to ask you where was the rest of your explication. People were respectful and listened to what you had to say.

    However then when we quote from scripture you immediately ridiculed, and you directed it at me personally for whatever reason. “Don’t count on the houses”. So, it seems, from the outset we are confronting and dealing with a tiresome double-standard which is that you feel entitled to quote scripture liberally and invest in it even in a fundamentalist way (which isn’t the way the Church reads scripture) yet if we contextualize, attempt to apply, or, worse still, cite scripture of our own preference or selection (and my citation of Our Lord’s words can be found in three gospels) you come down like a ton of bricks, ridiculing, dismissing, trashing and overall refusing to acknowledge, and thus you feel free to deny us that which we permitted and supported you in, respectful listening, and then permitting someone invest belief or even in a literal interpretation as you seem in a hurry to do though the Church does not call us to that. You seem to be laboring under the error that you are entitled to come here and dazzle us with your scriptural references and claim they are paramount and that they of course support the superiority of your position, but you do not extend the same courtesy to others.

    Further, we didn’t mock your comments but simply replied with the substance of our positions having listened to your points. You refused to acknowledge the substance and chose instead to mock, to reference caricatures, inside jokes, and mentioning some mythical figure named Matt Kammond or Mark Hammond or whatever it is who appears upon a google search to not exist and your bringing him up seems to have, no point and certainly nothing to do with Catholicism. Then you thank banjopickingirl like she’s the only one who understands you.

    Finally when we get to the heart of the substance of our disagreements then you really haul off and let us have it, then it becomes all personal, then that is your turn to tell us we are all wicked witches and you are just the good guy, which if you follow the way it all played out seems really what you had in mind all along. But the comments reflect that people listened to what you had to say, with respect, disregarded your mockery of their comments, and stayed on the substance, and at a certain point when the substance you wished to deny or pretend did not exist mounted you lobbed your grenade. There is an internet name for the tendency towards behavior such as that.

    So what gives. Having a hard day? Here I am barely functioning and yet even I can recognize it for what it is. Troll much. Still it was interesting to look through what it is that Jesus really said. And no I am still not convinced of your impotence theory. I’d like to hear sometime Fr. Z’s take on it.

  47. benedetta says:

    Also this is the substance of what I said. Luke Whittaker is most free to say what isn’t a male paradigm about the singling out of the hypothetical of the mugging to a male person travelling solo as being the controlling and more important scenario that we are to apply to some idealized notion of impotent surrender, than mothers with care of children right where they are settled and the role of women from the very beginning of the existence of the Church.

    I’m open to all disagreements on the substance. But no I’m not going to be bullied to shut up via personal attack in lieu of the actual discussion. I’m holding out for the actual discussion, come what may. It hardly needs be said that on countless other blogs if a woman points out her reality when what seems to be happening is to deny, ridicule, mock and marginalize, for that alone, what happens is that that position gets blasted right away, in much less friendlier and a lot angrier or alienated tones than mine here.

    Yet if I point out the reasoned concerns of children I get trashed down as an angry you know what. Speaking of double-standards…

  48. benedetta says:

    Here is what I said that Luke Whittaker decided entitled him to trash me personally

    We can’t really do the work of evangelization and inviting others to look into the faith if we just shrug off evil in our own midst which is trying to wear us down and prevent us from living out our lives in freedom. I think AnAmericanMother makes the overall distinction well between Christian communities settled in a locality as opposed to those on mission who encounter various threats as a matter of course. Free societies guarantee that the former is ordered to justice, and the entire thinking of the Church on social justice is about this. It is completely consistent with Christianity for Christian communities to see after integrity in order to provide for the welfare of those in their care including children and elderly. A single person traveling around might feel comfortable accepting risks for himself knowing that he does so of his own free will.

    Unfortunately I sort of see this male paradigm afflicting both supposed political polarities of the Church (which of course is a flawed way of viewing the Church) and really gives short shrift to the very important and meaningful work which the early Christian women were engaged in, which St. Paul references throughout and without whom the Church would not have come into being or been able to function and spread. All are invited to join with the community but there are some called to establish and protect and nurture a visible and stable community from the inside to begin with. We seem to have lost touch with this to some extent but there are many who are doing just this right now and often overlooked or dismissed.

  49. AnAmericanMother says:

    benedetta,
    Be of good cheer! :-) I always enjoy reading your comments, and you have been very patient and listened respectfully. So don’t take it too much to heart. As my dear old dad says, “We ain’t mad with nobody.”
    Luke,
    Go gently. Not everybody reads scripture the same way you do, and your view of what’s “Christic” is not dispositive. Your comments on firearms are going to draw a little wry kidding, because they seem hyperbolic and not based on any real knowledge or experience. It’s either that, or you’ve never seen a Clint Eastwood movie.

  50. benedetta says:

    AnAmericanMother, thanks I always learn a great deal from what you have to say. In my experience women who tend to wish to support the Holy Father don’t always have support or encouragement and even have to deal with other people’s issues in process of just trying to live authentically. I really benefit from your experience and other women here in going forward no matter the attacks.

    I take comfort on this day from the fact that Our Lord, in the midst of horrendous suffering in final moments, resisted the evil perpetuated, and far from passive cooperation with evil, though he acknowledged the power of the prince of this world, which is to kill, He still freely directed the establishment of His Church and subsequent events. And, had He not asked the youngest and beloved one to take the Blessed Mother as his own mother, the necessity of the stability and integrity of the early Church, traumatized and grieving and in fear of what they had witnessed, would not have been assured from the very beginning. In the midst of excruciating suffering, rather than surrender to the terms and voice and direction of evil for future plans, He led the way and established a future for those who were His own. The Blessed Mother and the early Christian women inevitably encountered hardships but it is a profoundly different path or charism than the missionary path that goes out to confront communities living under organization of pagan laws or customs with some agreement to live in civilized way and encountering armed criminals while on journey. What may be acceptable or invited in terms of threat for adult is not also a good for the littlest and for young people, contrary to popular understanding. And, one finds out that often enough one is edified much more from what is offered with the littlest in mind than what is supposedly marketed for enjoyment by “adults”. For a very long time marketers have exploited children such that now children have been sexualized by media and marketing and what is cool for a teen now in the 2nd grade children are competing to show off knowledge of, adults dress and act like big kids and so whether in society or in Church circles the distinct needs of families and children as compared to adult entertainments have become all mixed up and every which way. Any parent will tell you that it takes great effort to set before a child alternatives to what is marketed so that their thoughts are their own and they may make choices in free will with discernment as they see fit in future. Even if one wants to provide something of beauty or goodness, it takes investment and effort. But I see clearly that I am not alone in wishing to go against the grain in this. So we continue to do what we can and with joy.

  51. JuliB says:

    Killing for defending property? Sounds absurd, on the surface. However, how does anyone know whether property is the only thing “they” are after? Being a single woman, if someone broke into my house, I couldn’t know whether someone was there to take my DVD player or do MUCH MUCH worse to me. I’d rather not have any Monday Morning quarterbacks judging that situation later.

    And, FWIW, it’s Shoot to Stop, not Shoot to Kill. Are those the same things? I have no idea – but if you are ever in that horrible situation and are being questioned afterwards, please realize that Shoot to Kill is not the correct legal reply.

    Lest anyone think I am making light of possibly killing in self-protection, I am not. God willing, it will never come to it. And if it did, and was considered legally justified self-defense, I would probably still go to confession and do penance.

  52. pm125 says:

    The tiger was in a cage. I wish my little house were.
    The man was in his garden, just gardening. Here Is The Problem that has become a disease.
    For the twelve years I’ve lived here, I’ve gardened. Shrubs near curbs to keep some shade and on I won’t go.
    I live near where overflow traffic parks to view the annual fireworks. Exteme over partying at two neighbors. Kids wander in large groups (to take notes I think).

    This year, I knew a budding fear of children through my mother (88 next week) who now lives here. A group of 20 or 30 sat on the lawn afterwards near the curb on the other side of my shrub varieties, which made me wish I had a chainsaw to cut them down forever. Some misbehaved in the dark, my mother from the screen porch asked them what they thought they were doing. They only readjusted and curb sat again. Some came to sit on the steps near the door to use phones. She, so brave with her two canes, asked if they wanted something. They never looked at or acknowledged her and went back to the curb. My neighbor’s pick up truck was parked there, he came out, said to those sitting all over it that it was private property. No one moved. His son got the keys and actually moved it to his driveway when his company left. Still, they enjoyed the shrub backdrop. After I got lectured for the greenery, I went out and started walking around with a flashlight (trash hunting) thinking that I should have put the rose prunings out there along the curb. Finally, few by few, they walked off.

    If we weren’t ‘on patrol’ with crowds across the street, I can only wonder how at home they would be. I did hear my neighbors loudly saying that they didn’t know them (the Kids) to one another.
    Must have been the impetus. It’s the general attitude of nothing being sacred that pervades boldness and intrusion – or disregard of humanity which is frightening. A minor example, no blood, but – next year – floodlights? Thorny prunings seem so nasty.