Remember: All it takes is a spark

Thomas Peters posted a few photos of anti-Catholic bigots in Spain harassing young Catholics at WYD.

Here are two.

Consider this well, friends.

It could happen where you are.  It could happen to you.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. RichR says:

    America’s egalitarian approach to religious/secular and tolerance is a smoke screen. This is reality: the dogmas of Christ’s Church irritate many people who want to persist in their hedonistic lifestyles. If you stand up for the Church, get ready for the vitriol.

    I think this is good for these youngsters: don’t respond to religious persecution with hate or with a victim mentality, face it with prayer and love. That is the only way to convert souls. And our faith is worth converting to, or dying for, or simply being persecuted for.

    Welcome to real life.

  2. Jack Hughes says:

    So it begins……………..

  3. JoAnna says:

    What’s with the guy with the bath towel on his head?

    “Blessed are the persecuted…”

  4. Theodore says:

    Alenskyites. They’re everywhere. Like locusts.

  5. randomcatholic says:

    I’ve been mocked while praying outside an abortion clinic before. I don’t consider that persecution. Persecution is, for the sake of one’s beliefs, getting burned at the stake, or being denied employment, or being denied your right to property, or being beaten.

    Some crazy guy dressed with a towel on his head carrying a rainbow flag mocking you is not persecution. Its an annoying distraction.

  6. OUChevelleSS says:

    The girl in the bottom picture with her eyes raised while praying to heaven reminds me of so many portraits of saints. May Our Lord be pleased with our brethren and sustren experiencing this…imagine the treasure they are building for the Kingdom!

  7. benedetta says:

    I am so sorry the WYD pilgrims were forced to endure that. No person should be treated that way.

    I saw a photo, it was either msnbc or Reuters, which showed a young man toe to toe with a police officer with a shield. The young man was putting his chest into the shield and staring down the police officer just trying to do his job. But I noticed that he had the sort of A symbol in a circle tattooed upon his bicep. In the way that in times past men would have the name of their sweetheart or even Mom tatooed, he seemed to wish to identify and show devotion to anarchism through his tattoo and for others to recognize it. Obviously with a photo no one could know in detail what he desires to declare by this or the extent of his commitment to anarchism. But my guess is that whatever pure anarchism might look like, no one would in fact wish to live there.

    I pray that God comforts those who were harassed and strengthen their faith, may those to whom they showed compassion by praying for them experience the mercy of God.

  8. Rob Cartusciello says:

    If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. – John 15:18

    But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. – Luke 6:27-29

    St. Stephen the Protomartyr, pray for us.

  9. Peggy R says:

    Wow! Britain was not this offensive during B16’s trip there. In the top photo, is the man holding the commemorative tea towel (I guess) holding it for the woman to burn, or are his eyes closed and he doesn’t realize she’s setting his cloth on fire? Vile either way.

  10. chironomo says:

    Pray for them…they hate it, and God loves it.

  11. Jack Hughes says:

    Peggy R

    Britain was lost the Holy Faith long ago, therefore the Holy Father’s visit was not as contreversal; but as Spain was thoroughly Catholic as little as 30yrs ago I guess that these protestors are Baptized Catholics who have turned upon their Saviour in the Blessed Sacrament with all the fury of a convert.

  12. SPWang says:

    I see RR (an acquaintance) is in the think of it even in Spain!

  13. benedetta says:

    As sad as those encounters certainly must have been for those who experienced it, I did see this article by a Jesuit scholastic in the HuffPo. He compares the number of protesters with the numbers attending WYD which is interesting. And then he recounts how a woman he met while en route back to where he was staying one night pointed out that the protesters did not speak for the heart and sentiments of the city and the Spanish people. Also very encouraging on the whole to read of this Jesuit scholastic’s sense of his experience at WYD.

    It is interesting too how the Church really is no longer into shaming and guilting people as perhaps it could rightfully be accused of in certain instances (not the whole by any means) in the past. But now Catholics, just for attempting to live and connect with one another in faith, are now being shamed and guilted, without even doing anything more, just for identifying, apparently. And of course many contemporary thinkers have noted that Bl. JPII, and Pope Benedict, and numerous other leaders in the faith, worldwide, themselves suffered as young people under the iron fist of totalitarian regimes which despised the practice and expression of religious faith. We have to be grateful to God for sending us leaders we need at the right time who speak with experience of reason and clarity in opposition to totalitarian regimes, whether supposedly from left or right, these things never make sense or are legitimately ordered in democratic political terms, no matter the attempts to disguise or dress it up. The desire is for anarchy, mob rule, not government by the people, for the people.

  14. tealady24 says:

    Anti-Catholicism has been raised to an art form; it’s all over, and when you hear it or see it, say something! You’ll never regret standing up for your Catholic faith.
    Aren’t some of these people a little old for trick or treat?

  15. moon1234 says:

    St. George and St. Michael pray for us. Guide us on the successful path to defeating those who would attack the Lord’s faithful here on earth.

  16. BLB Oregon says:

    According to a piece by the New York Times News Service, protesters were “furious over the trip’s cost to Spain”. It’s hard to believe that Spain won’t make the money back many times over in tourism spending, both during the visit and in the years after. Otherwise, you have to wonder what these guys would be doing if Madrid had landed the Olympics!

  17. KAS says:

    According to coverage of WYD it is costing Spain nothing, that the pilgrims fees paid for the venues and the tourist money is a boon.

    I think it is the same hatred of Catholicism that is common everywhere simply because the Catholic Church is the only organization that fully teaches God’s truths and those who love sin are unwilling to tolerate the existence of anything that teaches about sin and how to live virtuous lives that reject and resist sin.

  18. Ezra says:

    I think Thomas goes over the top in calling this “martyrdom”, but the hatred that motivated the Spanish left’s cruelties in the 1930s is clearly still at work in Madrid. Well done to our religious and young people for maintaining prayerful composure in the face of such provocations. Mr Towel ‘n’ Turban looks especially annoying.

  19. anthtan says:

    Video if you want to see and hear the protests up close:

  20. KevinSymonds says:

    Persecution? That was comedy!

    If that’s the best they can do, then the devil is impotent indeed.


  21. shane says:

    anthtan, thanks for that video. Most unpleasant. Echoes of the 30s.

  22. benedetta says:

    It’s easy to take for granted the relative size of the country compared to the U.S. WYD has been in the works for years, it is very easy for people to get quickly from one city to another by train or car in a short period of time, and at minimal expense, and, with all of that, this is the best these protesters could muster? It is just spectacle and threats, nothing more. As usual it means, nothing. But thanks to anthtan for your video offering which showed the Catholic young people witnessing most politely, with kindness and gentleness, while abuse was hurled and threats thrown at them all the while. It shows what the photo cannot, which is that those young people (and young ladies I might add) could easily have run away terrified but they did not, and could have hidden behind escorts and police, but they did not. They were in extremely vulnerable position, so outnumbered, and no one would have blamed them for avoiding it entirely. But they prayed and showed grace and love in the face of hatred that wished them harm. So I am very encouraged that the protesters really have told us nothing. Anyone can jump up in a huge crowd and yell that the Holy Father is a pederast. But it takes guts in that same crowd to silently pray for all. The protesters all got together in one place, to call attention to themselves, to tell us, what exactly, these slogans? Even if I were not a Catholic and whatever my political views in the end I would still vote for one of the WYD pilgrims for office, I would hire them to work at my business, I would want them to teach my children, I would be edified by the art or music they create, on the basis of the way they lived their lives in that moment and, by what the others said about themselves, I would not vote, no matter how much I agreed with their politics.

  23. catholicmidwest says:

    I don’t know where the rest of you are, but it already happens to me. I am surrounded by non-Catholics and have to remind them on a regular basis that I have the right to be Catholic if I so choose. I don’t push it on other people but I also do not keep my Catholicism a secret. There is a lot of prejudice out here against Christians in general and Catholics in particular.

  24. ray from mn says:

    Now that Spain is broke and about to be tossed out of the European Unioin, I suspect that these socialist, anarchist and marxist ne’er-do-wells who have been living for many years off the charity of the Spanish government might have to get jobs. Who would want to hire them?

    These 20 somethings won’t be able to pick on 15 year old girls any more as they beg for food. God Bless these young kids experience a baptism of political fire.

  25. Denis Crnkovic says:

    Fr Zuhlsdorf, you say “It could happen where you are. It could happen to you. ” Yet these things happen to all of us Catholics, all the time, often in much more subtle ways. Every time we are challenged to defend our Faith by those who assume as a given that all Catholic priests are child-molesters, or the Pope is a woman-hating bigot, or the Church is one of the most oppressive institutions on the planet, we face an insidious attack of the devil. This is why we were confirmed: so that we may recognize and counter the subtle and clever attacks of Lucifer, who tamquam leo rugiens circuit, quaerens quem devoret (as you are lately fond of reminding us). Unfortunately, confirmation is often looked on now as a kind of afterthought sacrament, one that these beautiful youth in Spain seem to have taken quite seriously. Overt attacks of the enemy are easy to recognize, while subversive attacks are equally — or even more — threatening. “Vigilate!” as the prayer says! This is not necessarily the open battles of Joan of Arc or Pius XII agaisnt evil Fascism; this is the battle of the intellects given purpose by the soul against the falsehood of the Devil – the real struggle of the ages.

  26. Marc says:

    @KevinSymonds: This is only the beginning. We can expect the hatred, vitriol, and persecution of Christians only to intensify. In the minds of the homosexualists, “resistance is futile.” They will stop at nothing until we give in (as if) and except their lifestyles as being normal and natural.
    Here is a tidbit that I love to quote:

    “And as to tolerance, it is surprising how far removed from the equity and prudence of the Church are those who profess what is called liberalism. For, in allowing that boundless license of which We have spoken, they exceed all limits, and end at last by making no apparent distinction between truth and error, honesty and dishonesty. And because the Church, the pillar and ground of truth, and the unerring teacher of morals, is forced utterly to reprobate and condemn tolerance of such an abandoned and criminal character, they calumniate her as being wanting in patience and gentleness, and thus fail to see that, in so doing, they impute to her as a fault what is in reality a matter for commendation. But, in spite of all this show of tolerance, it very often happens that, while they profess themselves ready to lavish liberty on all in the greatest profusion, they are utterly intolerant toward the Catholic Church, by refusing to allow her the liberty of being herself free. ” Libertas Praestantissimum – Leo XIII (20 June 1888)

  27. It just makes me sad. Having said that there are 1.5 million people there who can pray for those who are protesting. If just one of the protesters is touched by all the witness going on in front of them and opens themselves to the Lord then it will be a victory. God can make good out of anything, this we know.

  28. benedetta says:

    @Marc, Maybe so, and, maybe not, as far as just the beginning and intensifying. I don’t think that it is a foregone conclusion, by any means.

    I think that it is simply wrong to conclude that everyone who identifies as gay desires anarchy or wishes to harm others for no apparent reason or even hates the Church, as heated as things get sometimes in the discussions about marriage.

    Your quote is from 1888. Perhaps the experience of persecution of Christians is not really very unique to our age and place.

    The experience of this summer shows that people can and will organize others via blackberry messenger or technology to do some destructive things towards others. It is a bit of a fad, and maybe a flash in the pan, and on the whole not constructive for anyone. What seems to be happening is that people are being organized through incitement which tries to fuel anger, and anyone looking at the video may see that the truth, or any sort of meaningful statement is nowhere to be found in any of these mob happenings. That’s how it is. So what is behind it is deceit, manipulation of people who out of whatever weakness or groupthink can’t resist going along with it, or by deception are incited to be very angry. What is expressed is so far fetched and irrational that in and of itself shows that what is behind it is lies, not anything legitimate. Is that a new phenomenon or just a very old one.

    Now, if you take a look at what these groups have been doing and saying and you compare it to, other youth organized or supported protests such as the march on Washington, or civil rights protests, or Tianaman square, where there was coherent, united, visible and audible purpose, you can see there is nothing similar about those to what this is showing itself to be.

  29. Marc says:

    @ benedetta, thanks, well put.

  30. tioedong says:

    BluePangeetBlog (a Philippino ex seminarian) has loads of photos from WYD.

  31. UncleBlobb says:

    Not to be cynical in the least: but is this not a part of what the New Evangelization must address, with the love of Christ? I wonder how St. Paul would handle such people, modern society.

  32. Geoffrey says:

    “Beati, qui persecutionem patiuntur propter iustitiam,
    quoniam ipsorum est regnum caelorum.”

  33. flyfree432 says:

    “Not to be cynical in the least: but is this not a part of what the New Evangelization must address, with the love of Christ? I wonder how St. Paul would handle such people, modern society.”


  34. RobertK says:

    Maybe we should show these images to the Muslims, who are planning on moving to the secular West. And to see how people who believe in God are mocked. Would be interested to see their reaction to the secularists.

  35. Joanne says:

    Love that the kids praying are clearly younger than the harassers. Shame on these immature fools – they had nothing more meaningful to do with their time? Love also that the young ppl praying are ignoring them. heh.

  36. donantebello says:

    @ anthtan
    thanks for the vid. notice the Soviet flag flying at 6:55?????

    -too bad Socialism is crumbling on the ash heap of history, while the Faith moves into a new period of Renaissance…ha!

  37. Supertradmum says:

    There are some people familar with the four stages of religious persecution, developed by sociologists and anthropologists after the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust, who claim that America is already in the third stage of persecution and rapidly moving into the fourth. If anyone does not think we are in persecution already, they have not lost jobs because of their faith (as I have), or been ridiculed, even by family members (as I have) or lost friends because of various stances, such as seeing homosexuality as sin, or being against abortion (as I have). No offense to anyone here, but if you have not experienced negativity towards your Catholic Faith, you are either in a very unusual place, or are not standing up for your faith in the workplace or family.

    America is not worse than Britain or Spain, unless you have never stood and prayed in front of an abortion mill and have been insulted. The only difference is that America has the political ability, owing to the federal system, of withstanding outright persecution longer, as our local laws, state laws and some federal laws have protected us somewhat. However, as Catholicism is open game in the media and has been lampooned in universities and colleges since I have been there thirty years ago, the persecution has begun. Those who cannot see this are, simply, blind to realities.

    One cannot be a Catholic openly in many places of education, for example. What is the difference between this and the Communist persecution of academics in Czechoslovakia under the old USSR, when academics either lost their jobs or were not promoted, or were asked not to be Catholic? The persecution is only more subtle, but it is there. I highly suggest looking at some of the stages of persecution and applying them to America, as well as Europe. One can find these online. Catholic answers had five, although I learned four: “1. Identifying: This involves finger-pointing by the ruling authority for the purpose of placing the blame for the nation’s troubles on one particular group. In 1 Kings 18:17, King Ahab identifies the prophet Elijah as being the one responsible for the drought that took place in the land of Israel. He accused Elijah by asking the question, “Art thou he that troubleth Israel?” The true body of Christ and Biblical Christianity in America today are blamed for being the greatest obstacles to the liberal establishment’s plans for a totally humanistic “utopian” society.

    2. Marginalizing: By this means, the “politically incorrect” portion of the Church is looked upon as not being part of the mainstream of society. This is done by an organized smear campaign conducted by the ruling authorities through the national news media. They do this by the use of such trigger words as radical, extremists, separatists, and fringe.

    3. Vilifying: By this means, the persecutors employ such methods as uttering slanderous and abusive statements against targeted groups as to cheapen and debase their worth and significance in society. The accusers need no factual evidence for their accusations, but innuendoes, insinuations, hints and making associations with other previously known undesirables of society.

    4. Criminalizing: In implementing this step of persecution, it gives the state “legal” justification for arresting and incarcerating the accused. Here the state charges the persecuted with accusations of alleged criminal wrong-doing. The state naturally picks on the most vulnerable segment of the Church in order to send their threatening message to all the rest who adhere to similar views and practices. Incarceration of a few means intimidation of the many. Victimization of a government- protected group is a direct result of the incrimination of the accused. This gives the state “legal” authority to take a heavy-handed control in “protecting” its citizens. Presently, our federal government has several groups which they deem as “victims” for whom they feel responsibility to protect.

    5. Terrorizing. This is the blatant and outright acts of terrorism carried out by the police powers of the state against the persecuted. These are acts of coercion by threat or by violence and are intended to create anxiety and fear in the hearts of its victims, with the purpose of silencing and neutralizing the opponents of the tyrannical government in power.”

  38. Supertradmum says:

    If I may add a postscript. This morning, a TEFL (ESL) teacher from London, who teaches Muslim women from the Middle East, English, told me she was downgraded in her yearly recommendation because she did not teach homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle in a section of the Western Family, and at the same time, she was criticized for using the love letter in class, which all the teachers use for punctuation, without stating that the letter could be from a man to a man, or a woman to a woman. This teacher works for the local authority in London and obviously is coming into persecution, and has more cultural sensitivity to her Muslim students than those grading her. She has been teaching for years, has a Master’s Degree and is very sensitive to her students, without being overt about Christianity. She lived in Muslim countries for years teaching and is a traditional Catholic. This is persecution in education, and it happens in the States as well. One of the lessons on family included five hand-outs, four of which showed same-sex couples, and only one a heterosexual couple, as the norms in Western Culture. So, the inference would be that only 20% of couples in GB are heterosexual. Needless to say, it is hard for a middle-age woman to change careers. However, she will not be getting a raise because these specific criticisms. Sounds like the old USSR to me….

  39. Stephen D says:

    In the UK, the visit itself received no secular media coverage, only the protests were reported. They make it sound as though half of Spain is on the streets distressed about the cost of the visit (which, I understand, is almost entirely covered by sponsors and participant registration fees). The only picture in The Times was of a person dressed as a bishop with an effigy of the devil beside him. (Spanish TV has provided excellent coverage).

  40. let us consider the Radiance of Christ in these encounters. The young who endure and witness to the saving action of Christ are evangelizing in a new way. How many of these protesters will eventually embrace the Cross because of the youthful witness in the world. God bless all of these young people.And may the Mother of God enfold them all in her mantle of protection.

  41. jorgens6 says:

    I noticed that one of America magazine’s first posts on WYD was “WYD Begins With Street Protest”……figures! Read the comments left on their site……interesting!

  42. benedetta says:

    Supertradmum, I think you are right in that is the way persecution plays out.

    It is telling that something such as World Youth Day where a million or so young adults get together to pray together is targeted and deemed so threatening just for its existence. After all, in an international group there is no time for politicizing, the Church can’t conceivably organize in every language to politicize it if it could. It is purely an expression of faith. In a way, it is a testament to the overall success of these World Youth Days that this brings haters out to show hate towards one religious group. The more the living of the faith is visible, what hates it and wishes to encourage hate in others shows up all the more.

    But as in the hacking it is the same with these cartoonish displays. Can anyone point to anything of substance that they have to say, about, anything it seems? There is still nothing. The groups themselves chanted, lies. Nothing informative, nothing that raises awareness, nothing unifying, nothing edifying. No leaders. That is because what is behind it is lies and hatred, nothing more, there is nothing noble, nothing of substance, and certainly no conversation. Their desire is to target for harassment one religious group. And, in just the way throughout history when one group is targeted and singled out for special hatred, it is never constructive for the people doing it ultimately or for the culture. About all they stand for is that they have decided that Catholics should not be permitted to exist and that others should harass and scream lies at them. Even the supposed cost to the nation as everyone says is a lie and has no truth behind it. Further that would not animate grown men to scream in the face of nuns in habit, grown men to come up to young women who are guests in that country and humiliate them for the purpose of drama before an audience egging on and taking photos.

    But, does everyone hate Catholics and wish to dress up in a silly outfit and scream hatred. No. They want you to think that because one guy in an anarchy tattoo will stand and look at a police officer that everyone will also or cares to. But that is also deception. People can be incited to do certain things and with enough lies via technology even will do things that is not in their own best interest, let alone their neighbor’s. In legal case law there is this notion of the one who yells ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre where there is no fire. Who perhaps is jealous of the owner of the theatre, or has a petty personal grudge, and desires to create a visible disturbance, for the heck of it, pointlessly indulging his own fantasy and personal feelings, willing to have others put in harm’s way. That is not a moment of freedom of speech or any sort of freedom that person is entitled to at all. To start with personal hatred and then to manipulate others into carrying it out for you, perhaps because you yourself are too timid to have a conversation in the first place about your issue, or maybe the issue isn’t anything at all but jealousy, hatred for the point of it, it’s not at all legitimate.

    But, it is a reason why all the more young people deserve to have an opportunity to know the beauty, goodness and salvation of the faith, to be fortified to go against destructive lemming like behaviors with the crowd and have the wherewithal and the leadership skills to say no and to advocate for what is good. All the more reason why the Church needs to offer transcendent liturgy, the sacraments faithfully and encouragingly, the teachings in all their fullness, and to be united and support all Christians. Young people need to be equipped to deal with many different societal ills which are pushed on them indiscriminately which researchers in health agree are not good for their overall well-being. Our leaders have to take an honest look at what is currently provided for them and determine whether it meets their needs and see how we can be of support to them. There are many who are already doing this and their hard work pays off but more is needed. At the very least young people deserve to hear both sides, to think through what faith might mean for them, just an opportunity to look into it seriously with joy and in its challenge, in order to exercise free will in life and reject evil and its works.

  43. Jack Hughes says:

    At least you Americans are backed up (to an extent) by conservative evangelicals who can still mobilise voters on polling day, here in blighty merely mentioning that ‘whilst you disagree with the homosexual lifestyle you could work professionally with them’ is enough to earn you an informal reprimand

  44. benedetta says:

    It would be a great thing if in our parishes this weekend or next we could pray for the faith of our young people and in particular for those who tried to humiliate young people for their faith at WYD, and ask that God bless those who tried to harass, torment and humiliate the WYD pilgrims for their faith, and that God show them His great love and mercy at work in their own lives, on God’s timeline, not ours, however God’s will may be.

  45. Liz says:

    We need to pray for all of them especially Our Holy Father and his safety, the safety of the Catholic Youth, but also those poor, hateful people. How lost they must be. Sad.

  46. I watched the video posted by anthtan, and it really shows how appalling and so terribly sad this is. Of course, it is absolutely outrageous, but it really leaves one feeling very sad indeed for the young people who took part in this process and behaved in this manner.

    It evokes the words of psalm 35: ‘So fiendishly he sinnet in His sight, that his evil doing reacheth unto hatred.’

    There seems to be so much hatred, inexplicable even by the most inveterate ignorance, though I do hope that ignorance plays a part. I guess some are so used to being told that every possible inclination (apart from the few still recognised by society as an evil) is something that defines them and must be celebrated, lived out and accentuated that they not only do so but see any teaching to the contrary as a direct attack upon their innate value; as if they must play out their every desire and have them not only tolerated but accepted and preferably praised by others. Evils committed by people in the Church obviously provides a further excuse for such behaviour, even if it is a bad excuse.

    It is perhaps possible to understand a little better their hatred of the truth if they (or at least some) perhaps truly believe the truth to undermine their worth as human persons, even though it is of course the exact opposite that is the case. I believe this insidious tendency in modern society to celebrate the living out of almost every inclination as a necessary and positive definition of the person experiencing them and a necessary act of self-expression is at the root of much harm.

    It is of course not within our scope to assess culpability nor any need to do so, but we need only pray that they receive and accept the grace to accept ‘the knowledge to act rightly’ and to embrace the perfect law of freedom and love which will truly help them achieve their true potential as human persons and reflect the true dignity of being a person made in the image and likeness of God. That is what is so very striking – the complete lack of dignity and any manifestation of true self-respect in their protest. Very sad.

  47. digdigby says:

    Kooks braying at us on the street are not much. Its the media we must fear. No absolute tyrant in history ever had such ruthless control of minds and lives as our ‘elites’ now have. Gay lust is…lust. I am not going to even get into that now. It is the anger, envy, spite and impotent fury of those full of deep self-disgust and unexamined gender confusion that we must fear. These wield a mighty and evil weapon called ‘camp’. Camp is that eye-rolling weary cynicism that loves to bring down everything to its own deadness of spirit.

    It uses a perversion of humor, gossip, innuendo and loves nothing so much as ‘to get the dirt’ on everyone and everything. It loves to hate – it loves ‘the amphetamine rush’ of mindless rage. I have seen radical gays fall into a condition resembling demonic possession at the sight of a young religious reciting the rosary and holding a crucifix at a pro-family demonstration.

    It pervades our lives. TV sit com family children reek of it. The so-called intelligentsia revel in ‘camp’. It has even found its way into the Church when we try to be part of the general ‘ethos’.
    When I hear a traditional Catholic self-deprecatingly use a phrase like ‘smells and bells’ its neither funny nor cute. It is camp. Alinksy (who dedicated his famous book to Lucifer, the First Rebel) knew its value but never suspected its immense possibilities. It took modern media to give us that.

  48. Neal says:

    While the idiots out there dressed like Halloween came three months early are obviously a nuisance, at least they are not causing any bodily harm. On the other hand, Spanish police picked up a student with plans for attacking the anti-papal protesters with poison gas (not sure of its lethality). If it had been planned against Catholics instead of by one, we would be livid with outrage. Why are we not now? Let us not forget that we are not simply playing different sides of the same game.

  49. Ah! Liberal tolerance on parade!

  50. randomcatholic says:


    You MAY be correct, but I doubt it. So far I have been ridiculed for my faith. I have lost friends because of it, and I MAY (I say MAY) have been denied a job because of it.

    These things stink.

    BUT, this is not being thrown into prison. It is not being burned at the stake, it is not me being denied my right to engage in business or enterprise.

    Its just…. annoying. Like gnats are annoying.

    When and if REAL persecution comes, then we must pray to be strong in the face of it. But still, in the U.S., most people (I would say the VAST majority) would be aghast at real religious persecution if it were to occur.

    Its like the story of the little boy who cried wolf. If a crazy man with a towel on his head carrying a rainbow flag hurls some insults at one and one cries “religious persecution!” eventually people will become immune to one’s claims of being persecuted.

  51. pinoytraddie says:

    Every Persecution should Lead us to Shout:

    VIVA CRISTO REY! VIVA IL PAPA! Estaes La Juventud de Papa!

    @tioedong Bluepanjeet NOT bluepangeet!

  52. torch621 says:

    I look at this and I marvel at the strength on these young people and their witness.

    But, I can’t also help but think that we Catholics are slowly being dehumanized.

  53. I wrote : “Evils committed by people in the Church obviously provides a further excuse for such behaviour, even if it is a bad excuse. ”

    I should have said rather a further opportunity for such behaviour as witnessed in the video, because there is much misunderstanding about due to bad media coverage and for some it may not simply be an excuse. They may perhaps truly believe that priests are likely to be child abusers etc. Sadly, I have read some comments during the various media storms that would indicate that some take what they read and see and run with it with no critical sense at all.

    My comments also mainly concern those we saw who clearly by their own witness are there in large part to defend and promote sinful behaviour in opposition to Church teaching, whether that to which they are themselves inclined or in ‘sympathy’ with others. It is not possible to exclude that there are parts of the crowd who are there genuinely because they are led to believe perhaps through a mixture of bad experience and bad media coverage and without the desire to promote, as it were, sinful behaviour. Thus there is an opening for a union of interests in a disturbingly vehement opposition, and in this sense the evils committed by people in the Church have provided an opportunity much enhanced by the disturbing lack of accuracy and critical analysis in the press. There may have been those who voiced that opposition less unjustly and disturbingly than those shown on the video. It may be that some of those on the video who were not clearly and outrightly promoting sinful behaviour were also there mainly from a wrongful impression of tghe Church. Regardless, the hateful, unjust, and distasteful aspect of what seems quite clearly to have been a dominant element without reference to how many were out to promote sin, and the many who are there clearly aggressively promiting sin is truly saddening.

  54. irishgirl says:

    Those who are mocking the WYD kids are stupid-on the other hand, the young Catholics are the bravest of the brave!
    May Our Lady place her mantle of protection over the Holy Father and all the good Catholic participants in Madrid!

  55. Among all the hateful and calumnious statements, I even completely lost track of the ostensible reason for the demonstrations: the cost of WYD to the Spanish state. I guess I could understand how someone might be annoyed at and protest costs in an economic downturn for something they not only do not believe in but dislike, and there might of course well be a lot of demonstrators present behaving themselves and genuinely and peacefully protesting the alleged costs. It does not, of course, in any way explain the many instances of outrageous behaviour captured by the video.

    But I should not think that World Youth Day was a net cost to the host country, a belief supported by the Vatican statement on the issue. Does anyone have information to the contrary? But that’s not to say that people won’t believe it and be outraged if the news is spread about. One brilliant way of making it a net outgoing for the country would of course be to require lots and lots and lots of extra security….

  56. yatzer says:

    My understanding is that all was paid for by sponsors and such, at any rate not the Spanish government. Even if some government money was spent, which seems quite possible, all those people are going to spend a lot of money. Usually cities vie for big events for just that reason.

  57. Peter in Canberra says:

    It is an indication of how militant the homsexual lobby is becoming.

    They are evangelical, proselytising.
    Here in Australia they are running a well orchestrated campaign to legalise homsecual ‘marriage’.
    They are organised, and they are nasty.

    And it seems that here, as in other places, many bishops are so afraid because of the fallout from the abuse scandals that they won’t say anything.

  58. ipadre says:

    Wold these be the days the prophets and saints longed to see? Let us pray for their aid to be faithful, to become saints, and if necessary to be martyrs for Holy Mother Church.

  59. justamouse says:

    I understand protesting. But what kind of *adult* harasses kids at a religious meeting? We’re not talking adult to adult, here, we’re talking adults bullying kids.


  60. I wrote: “Regardless, the hateful, unjust, and distasteful aspect of what seems quite clearly to have been a dominant element without reference to how many were out to promote sin, and the many who are there clearly aggressively promiting sin is truly saddening.”

    I should say that by dominant, I do not mean that it is clear that they were dominant in number in the entire protest as such, but rather seemingly a dominating element in the forefront of the protest. It is to be hoped that the greatest number of protesters were there actually protesting the alleged costs, no matter how misguided and misinformed, and doing so without engaging in the abominable behaviour of which there are far too many examples in the video.

    It would be interesting to know how and why the rumour that WYD would be a net cost to Madrid and Spain was spread about.

  61. TheMother says:

    Interesting to me is the fact that both groups of pilgrims pictured above are American [the ones in the 1st photo are from the Diocese of Arlington and the ones in the 2nd photo are audibly praying in American English in the video linked in the comments above]. What proportion of the Catholic counter-protestors, do you suppose, cut their teeth in prolife demonstrations here in the US?

  62. benedetta says:

    You think they were counter-protesters?

    One would have to assume that what was happening in the first place was a protest. What is it that they were protesting exactly? What was the coherent message proposed by anarchist thugs chanting lies? There was none.

    The WYD pilgrims were invited to be there by the city of Madrid. As for the thugs who organized to harass them, did they obtain a permit with the city and on what basis.

    If you wish to call them protesters, that is your choice but obviously history shows that anarchists are protesting, precisely nothing and just want to generate fear and mayhem, whereas non violent resistance by Martin Luther King, Jr., by Gandhi, and by the Lord Jesus Christ were constructive witness organized out of religious faith to improve society for all, with openness.

    Where is the leader for this group articulating their points for us? Let me guess he is an internet troll who has no other point other than his own personal feelings that he wishes Catholics did not exist on the planet.

  63. benedetta says:

    Of course when there is legitimate political protest leaders have no interest in or need to disguise and they do not resort to criminal things nor do they target, threaten, harass or humiliate others, even those whose minds they seek to change. Again, if this were a form of legitimate political protest it would look and act completely different. Targeting one religious group for abuse is not in any way, shape or form legitimate. Civilized countries are repulsed by such things and of course that is why civil rights protect against hate crimes.

    Interesting no one has brought up the very real possibility that the towel guy or many others, especially on video, were paid for their services. It happens. The vast majority of people would not be willing, for any price. You can see it is likely with that guy who had to disguise himself so as not to be recognized. If you can’t own your actions then there is no integrity behind them. It is just hate.

  64. I wrote: “My comments also mainly concern those we saw who clearly by their own witness are there in large part to defend and promote sinful behaviour in opposition to Church teaching, whether that to which they are themselves inclined or in ‘sympathy’ with others. ” and “without reference to how many were out to promote sin”.

    I feel the need to qualify these words lest they be an unjust if unintended judgment through careless language. By ‘promoting’, I include celebrating etc against the teachings of the Church. However, while some are there clearly prepared to do so (customes etc that would have taken time to prepare), I am not so sure that I should have said ‘many’. It is entirely possible that some were not there in order to do so but were grabbed by the spirit of the moment and they may have some paraphernalia of that kind of thing handy anyway. And, while it seems like too many to me, it is perhaps hard to tell because it may not relatively be many. I don’t know. Perhaps I am being over careful of making an unjust judgment.

    At either rate, I think it is important both to note that this kind of thing is happening and the general intense apparent hatred of the Church going on there, but also to think in terms of how to approach such people. As I tried to indicate in the first post, I think many people truly feel provoked due to the tendency to identify with sin as being somehow a necessary part of one’s personality that should not be denied lest one fail to express and ‘be true’ to oneself. What could be more fiendish than this tendency to justify and truly see objectively seriously sinful behaviour as a necessary and integral part of oneself without which one is ‘betraying oneself’. What could creat a greater foundation for evil doing reaching unto hatred? It is clear that a person will easily hate what he is lead to see as an attack upon one’s very worth as a person, and no less so because this is mistaken. I mean this to describe an objective influence of evil on attitudes today regardless of the culpability of the person in question.

    In this kind of climate people find it difficult to understand the notion of hating the sin and loving the sinner. The notion of ‘juding another’ itself is confused with arguments that the prohibition on doing so should apply to behaviour as well as the internal state of a person’s soul known only to God.

    I think this kind of thing is a genuine problem people have. So what is the response? It is certainly not to accommodate the truth out of some misunderstood kindness which is only leading the person and society further away from God. We must preach the truth but always in charity with a view to the fact that many many may actually truly believe that if we say that, for instance, homosexuality is wrong then we are actually saying that active homosexuals are worthless and that we hate them. Somehow we must always as part of the explication on sin include the fact that God loves them and calls them back to him also very much for their own good, and that we strive to love in imitation of God. And we must preach on the cross as love, and not least by living it, because it is clear that conversion involves many crosses for many. The easiest way is not the one that will bring them the greatest true fulfillment even in this life!

    And, of course, we must constantly oppose false and skewed reports in the press that has contributed to the kind of atmosphere in which people can make such horrid statements about the Holy Father for which there is no foundation. But obviously also try to make amends for the sins and failings which have perhaps created an opening for this kind of thing.

    Thus endeth my ramblings on this topic for now. I hope. :-)

  65. Supertradmum says:

    Can we begin to make a necessary distinction between “political” protests and “moral” or “religious” protests? What the far-left wants to do is identify the teachings of the Catholic Church with the far-right. Especially in Spain, this is a sensitive issue. If, in our own language, we can separate the issues, such as not giving in to the idea that homosexuals or lesbians have civil rights equal to married couples, or that socialism is not merely a political system, but a condemned philosophy based on the undermining of individual, moral responsibility, we would be better at understanding and evangelizing some like those who protested in Spain. The issues are not any different than the feminist position that “one’s body is one’s own” and therefore, abortions are permitted, and indeed, to this mind-set, necessary. I am not advocating separation of Church and State, but merely asking that we delineated the use of language–the protesters in Spain who were homosexuals and lesbians should be labelled “moral” protesters, as there sin has no rights. Those who protested about the expenses, were, plainly, stupid and uninformed about the economics of the event and used the streets as an opportunity to show hatred for the Church. These issues are moral, not political.

  66. benedetta says:

    Agree with Catholicofthule and Supertradmum. Also one can see the results of our pretending for so many decades that heaven and hell do not exist, that sin does not exist, that evil and the evil one do not exist, that there are no real consequences, individual or community, to sin, that sin is a good thing to be affirmed, etc. There are many living and walking around consequences of sin, individual and community, and some know the baggage they are carrying and some are not even aware they may lay their burdens down. There are innumerable innocent victims of sin, individual and from community.

    But in terms of human dynamics and systems, the decision to forego all values completely has been a terrible mistake and one can observe that in the Catholic in name only institutions these fall prey to all sorts of forces that they did not plan on or desire, rampant bullying, by adults and children alike, corruption and people buying their way since there are no longer principles, ends justify means, constantly, essentially, might makes right and people have become meaner and more ruthless about asserting what they perceive to be their special interests and care not about whom is run over in process of obtaining this. All in one of the most powerful, wealthiest, most highly educated societies on the planet.

    Some healthier institutions, many in fact secular, a few Catholic (though Catholics more and more at grassroots level are asking for this) are still able, however it has worked out, to agree up front to try to live by common principles and really are aggressively addressing these base mentalities which are readily observable in all aspects of popular culture, media and in many other areas, through settling on certain values, open discussion of what is expected in terms of concrete behavior, and all attempting explicitly to live up to the agreed upon virtues. In secular institution this means setting goals or mission statement. Catholic identity has the advantage of having these values settled upon to begin with and they are readily available and verifiable to anyone who wishes to look into it. But Catholic institutions still need to assent to them in public and explicit way and then work with them in concrete ways in daily life, growing this way in community.

    Without some agreed upon principles up front, what rushes into the void or abyss to take over in absence of good affirming leadership will inevitably be totalitarianism, hatred, threats, brute force, mob mentality. That is why the religious pluralism the country was founded on is still a better proposal for government than the various other contemporary attempts which seem to as a requirement to the existence of the government rely upon human rights abuses starting with violating the dignity of human life to myriad other human rights injustices. Obviously America is dealing with its own failure in terms of denying the dignity of human life but the fact that certain secular institutions still manage to resist the bully and dominate impulse in its leadership and that newer Catholic institutions with support from laity to lead with explicitly Catholic values are doing well shows that people still recognize the need for this and wish to resist all that comes when people unwittingly, through the dictatorship of relativism, invite in all kinds of evil and abuse in their midst without comprehending, desiring, or ability to resist.

  67. benedetta says:

    Also Catholicoftherule, I just wanted to add that, although the Church has not historically achieved perfection on the earth, is composed of failing mortals, and that I have experienced the failings first hand, and further I really in particular have the greatest worry for children who are abused, sexually, spiritually, I have to say that, after all is said and done, the criminal, merciless, ruthless, threatening and obsessed manipulating treatment I have had to endure at the hands of organized supposed liberals of no faith affiliation is far and away the cruelest and most violent, and in organized form thinks nothing of attacking and victimizing children for its insatiable need to control and persecute, as compared to the failings and problems we all endure and experience, and, accept responsibility for, in the communion of the Catholic Church and that includes the problems of loving the sinner and hating the sin as you call it, the political factionalizing, the dissenting machine wish tries to demonize those who do not agree. The squabbles among Christians and within the Church, we ought to be patient with these, as people engaged in it would frankly never, ever countenance what a group who hate people of good will is attempting to do.

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