Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Why Catholics Pray for Piety (and should refrain from vulgarity)

TTC reader Mark Docherty writes:

Here I am agreeing with Shea... I guess there's a first time for everything.

"Early in my conversion, I swore off allthebadwords. I was oh so pious, and this was part of the piety, and this had to be the way. This went on for years, until a good priest explained to me my error. Actually he not so much explained it as he demolished it. He demolished it to the point of me realizing that honoring these non-curse words with the same or more ‘esteem’ as the real offenses was actually a sinful act in itself. Elevating man-made structures to the level of God. A violation of not the Second Commandment but the First. https://nonvenipacem.com/2016/04/01/language-as-a-wmd/

Anything jump out at you?

A priest demolished him from the pursuit of piety by explaining he should exchange holiness for swear words.

Any questions for Mark?

I have one.

Was the priest drunk when he told you that?

I was so upset that a priest would do this, I couldn't think straight enough to properly respond. I prayed for guidance and when I opened up the 54-day Rosary for that day, it was devoted to praying we receive... the gift of piety!

Exactly Lord! It's a GIFT. Piety is a gift! Thank you!!

Here was the meditation for the day:

The Gift of Piety: A special gift of the Holy Spirit; it perfects the virtue of religion, which is the practice of justice toward God. It produces an instinctive filial affection for God and devotion toward those who are specially consecrated to God. As an infused gift of God, it is ready loyalty to God and the things of God, arising not so much from studied effort or acquired habit as from a supernatural communication conferred by the Holy Spirit. This gift enables a person to see in God not only one's sovereign Master but a loving Father, according to the teaching of St. Paul: "Everyone moved by the Spirit is a son of God. The spirit you received is not the spirit of slaves bringing fear into your lives again; it is the spirit of sons, and it makes us cry out 'Abba, Father!'" (Rom 8:14-15). It engenders in the soul a filial respect for God, a generous love toward him, and an affectionate obedience that wants to do what he commands because it loves the one who commands. (Fr. John Hardon, Modern Catholic Dictionary)

So here we have a priest who encounters a soul being infused by this gift (no doubt through prayer and the Sacraments), and he rushes over to rob him of it.

I see you are prayerful and your soul is transforming. I'm a priest and I'm here to help.

Here's your list of swear words kid.

We sure are surrounded by deranged prelates aren't we?

Mark, you seem like a humble, smart, catechized Catholic. Why on earth wouldn't you recognize the stupidity of this advice? Ugh.

Before I was a blogger, I had an avocation of St. John, the beloved - spending free time in front of the Eucharist and in mystical prayer. Some day I hope God calls me back to it. I used to occasionally ask God in prayer to 'give someone else a turn and let me just go back to lounging around Your Feet, holding Your Head in Gethsemene, Dancing at Cana, listening to the Beatitudes, hanging with the Saints and Angels, praying for intercession. It's the better path. A higher avocation.

I digress.

So what's wrong with Catholics recommending we talk like longshoremen and putanas because it isn't mortal sin?

Every time I read a Catholic suggesting this, it reminds me of the theses priests use to make an all-about-me-circus out of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: "The GIRM doesn't forbid it."

We are all familiar with that, right?

If the Romans didn't anticipate every stupid innovation a priest could think of and list them as prohibitions in the Roman Missal, it is permissible.

You won't find anything saying its a mortal sin to have a clapping for lust and fornication Mass, so it must be ok to do, right?

Jesus only told married heterosexuals they couldn't sleep around so homosexual sex and single people hooking up isn't committing adultery, right?

There's actually nothing in the Bible or Catechism that says its a mortal sin to poop on the front steps of town hall. It might be a venial sin, at best, so if you feel the urge to do it, don't you worry your pretty little head. Right?

I think you get my drift.

Nevermind that our fiat is reserving the Divinity of Christ in our animus. You don't swear in front of Him for the same reason you wouldn't swear in a boardroom or in front of your grandmother or a Holy priest -- or the Pope for that matter!

It draws the soul away from holiness.

It's a manifestation of a lost temper. An animus that has leaped away from God and become agitated. It is NOT the by-product of God.

There's a reason we never see the Holy Family swearing in the Bible.

St. Michael at the Annunciation? No swears.

The Apostles: Didn't swear.

It lacks charity and respect for the people you subject to it.

Your children pick up on it and it affects the company they keep.

It's offensive.

It's ill-mannered.

It lacks class.

And people want to be around a woman and mother with a potty mouth about as much as they want to be around somebody who hasn't changed their underpants for a month.

We've all occasionally let one slip. That doesn't make it right.

Let's clean up our acts.


Michael Dowd said...

Well said Carol. If only the priest in question had as much sense.

Romulus said...

We are temples of the Holy Spirit.

Mark Docherty said...


I was wondering what was taking so long for you to respond, since I had offered my openness to correction. So after three days of discernment, instead of rational logic-based rebuttal to my argument, all we get are ad hominem attacks and red herrings? That’s very Shea-like, and very unlike TTC. I’m a little disappointed. But hey, it’s my first interweeb scrap, so I’ll go with it.

“A priest demolished him from the pursuit of piety…” That’s not what I said. I said he demolished one of my ‘notions’ of piety by exposing it as FALSE piety… “by explaining he should exchange holiness for swear words.” What? How is it “exchanging” holiness? “So here we have a priest who encounters a soul being infused by this gift (no doubt through prayer and the Sacraments), and he rushes over to rob him of it…We sure are surrounded by deranged prelates aren't we?”

Whoever said this was an exercise in abandoning piety? No, it’s an exercise in saving souls by using all means necessary, except evil. And I should have left the priest out of it. He’s long since dead, and I am taking up his argument without reservation. He was hugely responsible for my hard conversion, and the incident in question occurred many years after that. I should have just explained the logic and not mentioned him.

“Mark, you seem like a humble, smart, catechized Catholic. Why on earth wouldn't you recognize the stupidity of this advice? Ugh.”

Thank you, but humility is not one of my strengths by a longshot. So I will happily accept any and all prayers for that. But would you mind getting into the “stupidity”? The mission is salvation of souls, correct? Should we use all the tools at our disposal for the sake of the mission, or should we keep some tools in the toolbox, because we have more respect for the oh-so sensitive ears of polite society than we have respect for God’s will? Think about that.

Then you call me a putana? You go, girl. You’re starting to get the hang of it!

And I would never disparage “longshoremen”; in fact I have great esteem for them, as I do for all blue collar workers, especially the trades. Their skills will be in great demand after the collapse, when advanced degrees will be worthless. Furthermore, the weight of their souls is the same as anyone else’s.

You say I’m “offensive”. Is it offensive in the eyes of God or man?

You say I’m “ill-mannered”. Is it Ill-mannered in the eyes of God or man?

Also I lack “class”. Guilty as charged! I come from lower middle class family and a lower class neighborhood, the nickname of which is notorious in the region as the embodiment of, shall we say, white trash. But in the eyes of God, will my class count against me at my Particular Judgment? I didn’t think class mattered to God.

Your argument, from what I can discern, is that the Church Militant is REQUIRED to scuttle some of its weapons, at the risk of immortal souls, for the sake of the sensitivities of refined society. Please offer support for your argument.

Mark Docherty said...

And yes, I am still open to correction.

TTC said...

The post wasn't about you, it was about Why Catholics out to stop swearing and making vulgar sexual references with the worldly culture. That is what you invited me to do. I said we all do it from time to time and need to stop. I had no idea you were doing anything but letting the occasional swear word slip out so how you took this as an ad hominem against you is going completely over my head. I included my own guilt.

The idea that Catholics reserve a tabernacle reserving Christ a few inches from their mouth and talking vulgar is "respect for God's will" doesn't gel. The New Testament is filled with the witness of a perfect Man who carried out God's Will and there is no swearing. It isn't a tool for salvation by any stretch of the imagination

God Bless.

TTC said...

p.s. I stand by what I said about the priest robbing you, how the practice leads a soul away from holiness.

Class has nothing to do with money.

TTC said...

It doesn't seem to me that you are open to listening at this time, so I don't have much else to say about this subject.

Sandpiper said...

I think it was Gabriel at the Annunciation, not Michael. The

TTC said...

Oops! Of course! Thank you!!!!

Kathleen said...

Tsk tsk, Let's not be too pious: It was Efffffin' Gabriel ya jack$&@!!!!

(Sry couldn't resist)