On Scolding

If I had a chance for a brief meeting with Pope Francis, the topic about which I would inquire is not liturgy, but unity.

For years, and especially online, one brand of Catholics made it a cottage industry to tattle on other believers, scold them, suggest they become Episcopalians, and otherwise go away. In the name of Truth, the rhetoric has been quite vigorous.

Now, many of my sisters and brothers (like here and here) feel scolded themselves. Their own doing? Misguided or misunderstood Catholicism? Narcissism? Better to harp than be harped about?

As a parent, I have scolded. I don’t find it effective. I’ve done it as a choir director in my younger days. It is less effective against volunteers who, unlike the young miss, can simply walk away. Usually the scolder thinks she or he is right. And often this is correct. So what’s the problem? My sense is the lack of an important, but overlooked virtue: prudence.

I would ask Pope Francis where he thought we American Catholics could find the answer. The non-Right felt scolded by the Conservatives. The Right feels scolded by the pope. How does it all hold together? Or are we just trapped in a motto, “Don’t do to others what you dislike done to yourself”?


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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3 Responses to On Scolding

  1. charlesincenca says:

    What I fail to understand, brother, is how you seem to accept or rationalize seemingly capricious decisions that alter your whole family lifestyle as NOT scolding? Is this reaction “offer the other cheek” in extremis? Very commendable. I’m tired. I’d probably accept any rebuke now as a stripe earned by pride, but dedicated in memoriam Passionem. Scolding? That’s just normal Freudian crap we’ve all endured. Victimization, well whom do we thank? Marx, Marcuse, Robber Barons, Christ of the Beatitudes, Alinsky, Sharpton, Jackson and Pfleger, Trump?
    Scolding victims is as old as Cain.

    • Todd says:

      Not sure where you’re heading on this one. I’ve certainly been the target of scolding. My internet practice has been to hold the mirror to it. Or attempt humor. It’s not that it hasn’t affected my wife and daughter, but often enough, it does little harm in the long run.

      During the heady days of the conservative blogosphere, I kept a focus on the real life. And a lot of work to do in it. Ms Scalia and Mr Olson have been prominent internet scolds, or at least have associated strongly with them. These days rather affect their self-image more than mine ever was.

      • charlesincenca says:

        Neither was I sure. “I’m tired.” probably sums it up. Two more friends dismissed from DMM positions on Friday, no reason other than pastor change. A beloved chorister (Bruder) suffered a stroke down in his new home in Mississippi. Just tired.

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