Friday, November 14, 2014

Anti-Catholicism: The Mask of Desire?

A quick anecdote that may illustrate a big idea. Or maybe it’s only a one-off experience.

I have a friend who is angry at the Catholic Church. I met this man about three years ago, and since that time I have heard him rail repeatedly against the Church. To say he hates the Church would not be too strong a statement, although it’s also a false statement, as you will see.

One day, for reasons too personal to broach here, my friend took his hatred a step farther than usual. He let slip the reasons behind his hatred—nothing so obvious as disliking a Pope or being horrified by scandal.

My friend, it turns out, was raised Catholic, and he grew up wanting to be a priest. Being a priest was all he wanted for his young life. But in high school a spiritual advisor told him that he probably wasn’t cut out for the priesthood. I will not say whether I think that proved to be a sound judgment, but my friend clearly thought it was a cruel and unjust judgment.

He was so hurt by this perceived rejection that he more or less stormed away from the Church and has never returned. So far.

What I could not escape noticing, as my friend fomented, was how much he loved the Catholic Church as a youngster and how much he would still love it if only he could get over his resentment.

My friend’s desire for the Church, for the infinite, for what my old CL friends call the Mystery—that is still there, burning a hole in his heart. And he will not be satisfied, I’m sure, until he finds an object, the only true object, for that love.

What percentage of anti-Catholics wear the mask of anger or revulsion over the face of desire? Just a thought. Just asking.

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