Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Mounting Irritation

Regular readers of my blog know that I have a particularly low regard for the felicitously titled blog "Good Jesuit, Bad Jesuit."

I suffer no illusions: the Society of Jesus is a group of men, sinners all, and each is capable of missteps in his attempt to walk as a Companion of Jesus. But I believe it demonstrates a serious and egregious lack of charity to assume that every time a Jesuit does or says or writes something that is not to one's satisfaction that it is, by that fact, an indictment of the entire order.

Joseph Fromm, to my mind, is an instance of an insidious lack of charity that is motivated wholly by an evil spirit of malice and deceit. His mode of operation is to post article he has found on the web (he seldom, if ever, writes his own posts on the site) and then adds his own bits of commentary - either by strange and often inappropriate labels or by frisking the piece with red letters.

I've included three links to show just how deranged these posts can be:

Exhibit A: Jesuit Inspection??

This post indicates that Bishop Dolan is visiting a retreat house for a fundraiser. What is he inspecting? The orthodoxy of the buffet line? The liturgical abuses of the termites? It's a fundraiser, not an apostolic visitation. Wait, that would be the normal, sane interpretation of the article.

Exhibit B: Jesuits Connected to Ira Einhorn?

Ira Einhorn, known also as the Unicorn Killer, purports himself to have been involved in the origins of earth day. So what does this have to do with the Jesuits? Nothing, really, except that the Jesuits ran a piece on earth day. So the logic of the post is: Ira Einhorn is a killer. Ira Einhorn helped to start earth day. America Magazine wrote about earth day. Therefore.....

Exhibit C: Does Joseph Fromm think the Cross was a good time?

Joseph obviously has a copy of the Spiritual Exercises. I do, too. So is he suggesting that victims of torture should be happy or grateful to be tortured like Jesus? Last time I prayed, the Cross was a scandal, not a spa trip to Club Met.

I know I'm a bit testy about this, but it really galls me that Joseph Fromm (if that is his real name) feels able to post stories that intentionally distort the truth about the Jesuits. I simply don't see how this bears the mark of charity or love. To my eyes, it's little more than the fruit of the evil spirt working through someone with far too much time on his hands.


Kiwi Nomad 2008 said...

I think one of the saddest hallmarks of a whole lot of the "Catholic" blogosphere is a lack of charity. I gave up reading many such blogs quite a while back. I see no point in letting them destroy my peace: they certainly don't add to my understanding or my faith.

Joe said...

I think this goes back to your earlier (first?) post on the ND/POTUS thing.

The lack of charity is (pervasively so) disheartening and, sadly, too indicative of our fallen nature.

I'll be the first to admit that certain Jesuits' public comments test my family history of hypertension. That said, I try to explain my disagreements in charity. I may not succeed, but I try and I am open to being corrected, and I can provide several instances where I have retracted something because I didn't express myself charitably or I had misinterpreted something.

To cite two concrete examples:

1) There is a certain blog where there is a post up discussing the ND/Obama thing. The post itself is fairly innocuous, but the commentary is scrofulous with vitriol. Those whom the author takes to task are labeled "radical" or "extremist" or "ayatollahs" or "thugs."

You get the idea.

The first seed of this lack of charity is the expression of "us vs. them" in posts and comments. If I think someone is wrong, I don't want to label him; I want to convert him.

2) There is a post on which I am working, dealing with Liberation Theology (at least in its most...uh...famous understanding) and the involvement of several Jesuits. It's held up because I am not comfortable with the way my writing fails to convey the appropriate charity.



Anonymous said...

The Earth day one is the best--he actually has a picture of Ira Einhorn up there next to a link to America magazine! Because, you know, Fr. Keane is a serial killer.

Tim Irish said...

This fellow is more than an imbecile; he's plainly malicious. I avoid his blog and urge others to do the same.

Anonymous said...

Time to get a hobby.

Anonymous said...

Does Joe Garcia ever post here that he doesn't make some reference to himself? Who gives a damn whether or not he's "working on" a post? Doesn't he have a job?

Mark said...

Ryan, I think your comments on his blog reflect poorly on you. You would be better off to just keep him in your daily prayers and not bring more attention to him.

Anonymous said...

I graduated from a Jesuit college in 1982. I am a third generation graduate of said college and also an attendee of Mass at the downtown Jesuit parish. I celebrate the faith and heroic virtues of many Jesuits. But I also personally grieve for the pain some Jesuits have inflicted on many of us. I have been mocked in confession, in the classroom, and in conversation.

Most of us who are critical just want the Jesuits, a a whole, to be Catholic. We love them. My poster child is Fr. Reese. By all accounts Fr. Reese is a good priest and I don't know him. I do know what I read. His application of the political science paradigm to the church doesn't reinforce my faith. It reinforces the Social Gospel. This is not necessarilty a bad thing but in his battle with hierarchy and organiztional power to make his point, he actually undermines the Gospel and faith. He undermines the church - that I love. I don't love the hierarchy but I do love the church with all of its problems. The pain he causes is real - not intellectual.

Of course, my experience every time I state something like this is an exposure to the lack of charity being talked about in this blog rather than anyone really hearing my pain. I continue to find the others, including other Jesuits who I respect don't really respect me as they defend their brother.

Perhaps I "don't understand" as they tell me, but I don't think I'm being listened to either. I am not valued. The blog under discussion is a validation that I am not alone. The pain for all of us in this conversation will unfortunately continue. Perhaps, you will find the time to pray about it for maybe you my find the way to bridge the gap and help us who have this love/hate relationship with the Jesuits. Perhaps - it could be your mission?

Ed Kowalski said...

The 'mounting irritation' that you claim to feel is nothing compared to the same irritation that Catholics feel regarding the continuing reporting of abuse cases that, sadly, come in every morning with the regularity of terrorist activity in the Mideast.

Item: Germany's heinous sexual abuse scandal, which has cast shadow over the country's Jesuit-run institutions, deepens with the likelihood of over 100 victims in one of the schools.

Item: It is one of the darkest chapters of sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church. More than 110 children in Eskimo villages claim they were molested between 1959 and 1986, raped or assaulted by 12 Jesuit priests and three church volunteers. Families and victims believe that another 22 people were sexually abused by clergy members but have since killed themselves. The Jesuit Oregon Province, which includes Alaska, has agreed to pay $50 million in damages. It is believed to be the largest settlement ever against a religious order.

Item: Jesuit priest who fathered two children in Alaska decades ago but contended earlier this year that he shouldn't have to pay back child support, in part because of his vow of poverty.

Sadly, I could go in. Where will this end? What is needed is that your mounting irritation become righteous anger at those Jesuits and other clergy who have created the mess that the order now finds itself in. Perhaps these Jesuits suffer from the same 'insidious lack of charity that is motivated by wholly by an evil spirit of malice and deceit'.