“The Right Is Meaner”

Archbishop Chaput compares internet correspondence:

The left mail I get will use terrible words but be less vitriolic. They use the F-word and things like that, call me names like that. But the right is meaner, but they’re not as foul.

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Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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27 Responses to “The Right Is Meaner”

  1. Gavin says:

    There’s jerks on both sides. What does it matter whose are “meaner”?

  2. The left will stab you in the back while telling you its for your own good.

    The right will also stab you, but in the front while telling you its for their own good.

  3. Todd says:

    “The left will stab you in the back while telling you its for your own good.”

    I think Archbishop Burke was channeling the left, wouldn’t you say?

  4. Chaput’s observations are in alignment with my woeful experience. How sad is that?

  5. I have long considered the left to be ‘meaner’ because of their willingness to sacrifice those in front of them for some distant cause. They are by nature ideologues who mistake their ideology for charity. Perhaps my favorite book for explaining the left is Polly Anna. The entire book is an explanation of the uncharitable left lying to itself thinking its acting charitably.

  6. Todd says:

    The relative “meanness” of people within particular ideologies is more a function of human failings as a baseline of behavior. Common to most people is an unwillingness to confront directly. And when the words themselves are strong, most people, liberal and conservative, tend to take cover, be it from face-to-face contact, or in the case of the internet, from full disclosure of who they are.

    That’s not to say anonymous comments aren’t welcome here, or that in the case of truly personal revelations, aren’t appropriate. But I do want to draw attention those who have declined to self-identify and use the comfort of that stance to be as vociferous as they want to be.

  7. Todd writes : “when the words themselves are strong, most people, liberal and conservative, tend to take cover, be it from face-to-face contact, or in the case of the internet, from full disclosure of who they are.”

    As to myself, you are partly correct. I do choose to use a nom de plume because the internet can produce strong words. I use it as means of protection not of myself, but of my wife and 6 children.

    People on the internet can be irrational and vindictive. I use the internet as a sounding board to test out my various hypotheses and sometimes to teach those who are in error. And always as a means of entertainment to myself. Some people on the net take themselves far too seriously and usually they’re not discovered for what they are until they’ve gone off the deep end making accusations which could be damaging to my self.

    In other words, I intentionally go to blogs where I expect to find those who will not agree with my positions so that I can test out those positions for weaknesses, while prudent steps to protect those who I have a duty to protect.

  8. Todd writes : “The relative “meanness” of people within particular ideologies is more a function of human failings as a baseline of behavior.”

    While no doubt there are radical variances within any particular ideology, the problem is not human failings per se within each ideology but the clinging to ideologies themselves, because ideologies blind those within them to that which outside the ideological construct.

  9. Holly Hansne says:

    Oh my ! This is the first time ever I have agreed with Archbishop Chaput on anything. God never fails to surprise.

    Holly Hansen

  10. Todd says:

    ltg, thanks for the clarification. I’ll keep it in mind the next opportunity comes that you need your sword sharpened.

  11. Holly Hansen writes : “This is the first time ever I have agreed with Archbishop Chaput on anything.”

    I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that you’re unfamiliar with Archbishop Chaput and his adherence to the Church’s teachings on Faith and Morals.

    But leaving that aside, you might try this on to see if might find some agreement. I think its very good.

    http://www.zenit.org/article-19489?l=english

  12. Todd says:

    ltg, yes, Archbishop Chaput is good with this talk. My only quibble is the hubris, if you will, in the supposition that our age is any more or less spiritual than others. I don’t know that anyone aside from God is qualified to say that.

    Certainly young people of today and of the 60′s had a certain idealism that steered itself to selfless service, from secular outfits like the Peace Corps or Doctors Without Borders to efforts like the Jesuit Volunteer Corps.

    What we can say without hesitation is that the present age does not live up to its potential, and that there is hard work to do. I think it’s a waste of breath to suggest we’re in deeper doo-doo than the 80′s, the 50′s, or another era.

    That said, I think we could identify particular elements of the Church and society that wax and wane in fruitfulness. The past several years have been particularly bad for the hierarchy, but one might say the popes are on a good century-long roll, relatively speaking.

    For the record, the Archbishop’s adherence to faith and morals is not an original idea to him, therefore not a valid commonality in the context of this discussion.

  13. Holly Hansne says:

    To Love The Girls,

    Thank you for the Zenit article and transcript of Archbishop Chaput’s presentation. You are correct there is much with which I can agree. This quote in particular;
    “Humility is the beginning of sanity. We can’t love anyone else until we can see past ourselves. And man can’t even be man without God. The humility to recognize who we are as creatures, who God is as our Father, what God asks from each of us, and the reality of God’s love for other human persons as well as ourselves — this is the necessary foundation that religion brings to every discussion of free will, justice and truth, and to every conversation about “the common good.” Sirach and Psalms and the Gospel of Luke and the Letter of James — these Scriptures move the human heart not because they’re beautiful writings. They’re beautiful writings because they spring from what we know in our hearts to be true”.
    We all know what the media of the left and right do with snippets, soundbites and clips. Context is so very important. That article needs a more careful reading than I just did and I will read it again.

    Thank you

  14. JC says:

    ” if you will, in the supposition that our age is any more or less spiritual than others. . . . Certainly young people of today and of the 60’s had a certain idealism that steered itself to selfless service, from secular outfits like the Peace Corps or Doctors Without Borders to efforts like the Jesuit Volunteer Corps.”
    Not sure what you mean this to exemplify, but these technically constitute _vita activa_ and not (necessarily) _vita contempliva_. My wife went on many mission trips in college: inner city charities; drug rehab places; Haiti. . . . And she says the thing that struck her is that the ynever prayed. Other than going to Mass, they didn’t really get together for group prayer, partiuclarly before beginning their mission work. The nuns at the charities talked about *discouraging* the people they helped from coming to mass, because they didn’t want to “proselytize.” Then they’d occasoinally attend a service at a separated Christian community like Methodists or something, and my wife was the only one who didnt’ get up to receive “communion.”

    I really don’t see how the exterior practice of corporal works of mercy indicates any sign of spirituality.

  15. Todd says:

    JC, we also see a desire for greater spiritual meaning: why else would people of a Christian culture turn to the East and to pagan practices? My guess would be that many lay people found the preconciliar Church inadequate to address some of the spiritual needs. Many Catholics have gone beyond Roman traditions to discover iconography, Taize, or other elements one can find in the Orthodox or Reformed traditions.

    Exterior works of charity, in the Christian context, are most often the product of self-reflection, personal generosity, sacrifice, and the desire to make a difference.

    My point is that every age has its spiritual longings. Augustine described the human condition of longing for God–not something unique to him. I don’t see the point of Archbishop Chaput saying our age is any needier or spiritually improved than a past age. The comparison invites either narcissism or a triumphant I-told-you-so. Either is a distraction from the point: the modern age, as every age, does not live up to its potential.

  16. Todd writes : “My point is that every age has its spiritual longings. Augustine described the human condition of longing for God–not something unique to him.”

    Luke 18-8 When the Son of man comes will he find faith on earth?

    Not all ages are the same.

    It is well recognized that some ages are greater than others, that some are more impoverished than others. By all accounts, we are an impoverished people.

  17. Lee says:

    Wow Todd, you actually found something Archbishop Chaput said that you liked!

    Better watch out or people might start thinking you are beginning to flirt with the dark side. :-)

  18. Todd says:

    “Not all ages are the same.”

    Prove that, please.

    “It is well recognized that some ages are greater than others, that some are more impoverished than others. By all accounts, we are an impoverished people.”

    Some ages are greater than others in some qualities. Take a look at the saints of history, to provide some perspective. Which ages had more bishops, more religious founders, more martyrs, and so on?

    Self-identifying one’s age as great or impoverished strikes me as rather prideful. As for me, I’m glad for the age I live in and the opportunities it affords.

  19. I suspect that one of the problems is what is considered “The Right”. For instance, capitalists are liberals or left wing, but are often mistaken as right wing.

    Patrick Deenen has a nice article which touches on the subject:

    http://www.frontporchrepublic.com/?p=2057

  20. Todd writes : “Self-identifying one’s age as great or impoverished strikes me as rather prideful.”

    Would it have been prideful of a Carthaginian to remark that their human sacrifice to Baal was impoverished? or For an Aztec to have done the same? Not all societies are equal in virtue. Some are worth aspiring toward, and others are worthy of being shunned.

    And just as local particular societies vary so likewise do ages which those societies reflect.

  21. Todd says:

    Ah! Bait and switch, ltg.

    First it was an age and now we’re talking cultures. I think I will bow out of this thread, too. I’ll reengage on another thread that’s rational.

  22. Liam says:

    “The deepest tragedy of our age is how many of our own Catholic people who claim to believe in Jesus Christ, really don’t prove it in the way they live their lives — and don’t like the inconvenience of being asked to prove it.”

    That is a perennial observation. I would be hard pressed to name an age where it was not true in substance.

    Beware the Good Old Days and Bad Old Days shibboleths.

  23. “First it was an age and now we’re talking cultures.”

    I didn’t start with “Age”. I was attempting to bring it down to that which is more knowable or to a level where we can find common ground. And then proceed to Age.

  24. Jimmy Mac says:

    “I really don’t see how the exterior practice of corporal works of mercy indicates any sign of spirituality.”

    I suggest you read Matthew 25: 31-46 for your answer.

  25. Jimmy Mac writes : “I suggest you read Matthew 25: 31-46 for your answer.”

    Nice answer. The flip side are those acts which would be considered the antithesis to corporal works of mercy. Thus if we are to judge an age via outward signs, we need to include those as well.

    Such as that 250 million people have been murdered by their own governments as per R J Rummels estimate.

    Or over a billion babies have been murdered by procured abortions.

  26. Jimmy Mac says:

    LTG: the flip side that you mention has nothing to do with Matthew 25 or your statement: “I really don’t see how the exterior practice of corporal works of mercy indicates any sign of spirituality.”

    The issue that you raised was corporal works or mercy, not their antitheses.

  27. Pingback: Mean Plus Hubris « Catholic Sensibility

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