Are we Catholics really such negative, angry people as some say?


#1

Every now and then there is a poster who announces they are leaving the forum because there is so much negative stuff here, too many people with problems, too much anger, etc. Sometimes they even leave on a jet plane and promise never to come back.

Are we really that bad?

As far as I'm concerned, this world is not such a happy place and suffering is immense. I can't pretend that things are rosy while there is persecution of our brothers and sisters out there, governments trying to control the church, parents losing rights to raise their children in faith because it is not a pc thing to do. These are only some of the issues that make me angry and worried on a daily basis. I don't think I'm paranoid or generally negative because of my feelings, but I guess there are people who would say that I am, and that I should be full of love rather than worry so much.

I don't know any people who actually practice a different religion so can't say if they are more positive in their outlook. All the atheists I know complain a lot about the world, but that is something that doesn't surprise me, since they have no comfort in God and rely on people only. (I know many people who belong to a different religion but don't practice, so I can't take them as examples.)

What do you think? Are we the most negative, depressed bunch of people out there, or just realistic about the state of the world? :confused:


#2

These forums are a place where people come to find help for their problems, so if this is someone's only contact with Catholics I can see why they would assume we are all like this, all the time. They've never had a chance to see us in a different context. I used to be Baptist, and there is definitely a lot of in-fighting, gossip, and splitting up of churches over there so no one can honestly say that one denomination has a monopoly on negative behavior.


#3

When you don’t have to attach your real name or a picture, you tend to forget your manners. I think that counts for something. Most Catholics aren’t negative and angry all the time, but many are.


#4

If one looks at the Deciples before The Penecost, you most likely will agree that They were a pretty negative, argumentative, and doubting group. Just because we say we are Catholic does not mean a thing until we really act as Catholics-myself included here:p


#5

I think there are two problems going on. One, CAF is a message board and like RascalKing said, when you can be anonymous, manners tend to go out the window. In my experience, most message boards come across angrier than real life interactions. Without body language and tone to help interpret someone's intent, printed comments can seem cold and unkind.

Second, many people come here to CAF when they begin to try to understand what the Catholic faith is really all about. Many times they are hearing some of the teachings of the faith for the first time, such as why the Church is against IVF or why can't someone have an outdoor wedding or some other heavy issue that can get heated as comments are posted. For some new members, the comments can be quite shocking and sometimes they don't want to hear what the Church teaches because they are quite comfortable doing what they've grown accustom to. Its not easy hearing what the Church teaches sometimes when you thought you knew the faith, but you didn't really know the faith. People can take it very personally when they are being corrected in their misunderstanding of the Catholic faith.

I don't think CAF has a corner on being an angry bunch. And I think people threaten to leave because its easier to run away than to change their habits when they are presented with the truths of the faith.


#6

I agree with the above posts. I think the anonymity of forums such as these can sometimes encourage the negative and angry attitudes you see here. People will sometimes feel more open to just say what they want without having to really suffer any consequences. Also, the written word can often be misinterpreted since we do not hear the tone of voice, the facial expressions, etc. of the other. I’m sure that I’ve been mistaken about others who seem to be constantly angry, bitter, cold, ready to be offended, arrogant, negative because of the way they write, just as I’m sure people have been mistaken the same about me. Any of us could have had a bad day, a bad month or a bad year or we just might not be very good communicators through the written word.

At the same time, I do believe that there are people who are just negative, miserable people and are ready to pounce on the first thing they can to bring them down with them. But I’d like to believe that they are not in the majority since I believe the majority of people in real life are not like that.

In real life, there are angry and negative people in all walks of life, just as there are happy and optimistic people. I used to be on wedding forums when I was engaged and afterwards just to get an idea of what brides were looking for since I did a lot of wedding ceremonies in my line of work. A lot of these brides in some of these threads were absolutely nasty and cruel. My husband used to belong to reenactor and LOTH forums, and he says that those threads were just as bad with the people being negative and angry. He stopped going on them because of that reason. I’ve actually slowed down on here because of that reason as well.

I’ve found that there are those who are quick to think the worst of people and they can spread that negativity around. It isn’t worth replying to people like that because it’s draining and sad. I also had to slow down on here because I had seen so much corruption and cruelty going on in the parishes around where I live, knowing some of the people personally to whom this happen to, and mix that with some really cruel, judgmental people on here that it was really turning me off. Before, it was very easy for me to think the best of people, but getting pounded by so much negativity, hypocrisy and scandal at one time, made me start thinking negatively. So, I had to stand back and evaluate what I was feeling and how I was to handle this. I love Catholicism. When it is practiced purely and with what I believe is God’s love and help, it’s perfect. I didn’t want to end up hating it because of the human element and I realized that all faiths have this human element. We aren’t perfect people and there will always be this. I now don’t feel this way after a few months, but I plan on not being on here as often as I was. I lurk more than I post and when I do post I try to be on threads that won’t have people who are quick to be offended and ridiculous, although I’ve found that you sometimes get them there as well.


#7

A Miscellany of Men
by G. K. Chesterton
- Full Text Free Book

"... the saint, the hypocrite, the brawler, the weak brother."

"As long as you have a creed, which everyone in a certain group believes or is suppposed to believe, ... who can be appealed to by the creed and judged by it, the saint, the hypocrite, the brawler, the weak brother, these people do each other good; or they all join together to do the hypocrite good, with heavy and repeated blows."

"But once, break the bond of doctrine which alone holds these people together and each will gravitate to his own kind outside the group. The hypocrites will all get together and call each other saints; the saints will get lost in a desert and call themselves weak brethren; the weak brethren ...."

Continued at:

books.google.com/books?id=zmMDosGx6ZIC&pg=PA48&lpg=PA48&dq=Miscellany+of+men+gk+chesterton+creeds+saints+weak+brother&source=bl&ots=usj_woB1Rs&sig=cVueCHdlFfC2K6_cwr33ki2vcTQ&hl=en&ei=osstTci2LMOclgeyza3JCw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBMQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false


#8

I think that it is not easy to express the whole richness of the authoritative process in a very kind way through a message board. When someone blatantly tells the truth it is hard to see charity. Charity comes not only by the words, like some people mentioned but also through our body language or context of conversation. Many of the comments made here could probably be spoken in real life in a more intimate environment but here there is no such discretion.

Catholics tend to seem like they are negative because the truth is that there is a lot of negative things in the world today, but I think some people tend to overreact. If this world is sustained by God it is His will that will be done and not what we think should be done.

I think that our caring for each other seems to be a little overprotecting... God is the Father. We are just brothers =)


#9

Ironically, I just posted the following in another place for anoherr question,, and then saw this post.

"And now I am going to vent and all of you can go argue and post on this because I probably am getting off for good. I would say on lots of posts elsewhere for other people on these Family Issues pages,(how about the mom whose son was dating a stripper, how about realjuliane) and I see it in church too all the time , not so much from the priests, but from the lay,. I constantly see a lot of judging from Catholics that lacks true compassion. It is like every body gets so rule oriented they forget that most people who sin are HURTING and are searching for happiness and love in a very self centered wrong way. That includes her husband. Look, I am conservative, agree with the church completely, follow its teachings. I am prolife, against gay marriage, go to church every Sunday, etc. I do not question the church, and its teachings."


#10

[quote="Rascalking, post:3, topic:225654"]
When you don't have to attach your real name or a picture, you tend to forget your manners. I think that counts for something. Most Catholics aren't negative and angry all the time, but many are.

[/quote]

I would agree with this. The anonymity the internet provides has an extremely powerful usually negative effect on some people.

However, as one converting I will say that some truly are "that bad" in the sense that they can be quick to judge and come to rash conclusions that couldn't be further off base because they don't bother to consider and in worse cases even LEARN all the facts. I'm sure people of other faiths make this same mistake but the question was posed regarding Catholics.

There are plenty of healthy debates in which two intelligent people of varying opinions bring up valid points and can agree to disagree. Then there are those where one side wants to condemn something without really having much knowledge about it, they make blanket statements and vague generalizations that they can't back up with anything but hearsay and biased opinions. Sadly I've noticed a lot more of the latter happening here. It shows a severe lack of thinking but those that do it don't even realize it, much like a crazy person doesn't realize they're crazy.


#11

[quote="Barbkw, post:7, topic:225654"]
A Miscellany of Men
by G. K. Chesterton
- Full Text Free Book

"... the saint, the hypocrite, the brawler, the weak brother."

"As long as you have a creed, which everyone in a certain group believes or is suppposed to believe, ... who can be appealed to by the creed and judged by it, the saint, the hypocrite, the brawler, the weak brother, these people do each other good; or they all join together to do the hypocrite good, with heavy and repeated blows."

"But once, break the bond of doctrine which alone holds these people together and each will gravitate to his own kind outside the group. The hypocrites will all get together and call each other saints; the saints will get lost in a desert and call themselves weak brethren; the weak brethren ...."

Continued at:

books.google.com/books?id=zmMDosGx6ZIC&pg=PA48&lpg=PA48&dq=Miscellany+of+men+gk+chesterton+creeds+saints+weak+brother&source=bl&ots=usj_woB1Rs&sig=cVueCHdlFfC2K6_cwr33ki2vcTQ&hl=en&ei=osstTci2LMOclgeyza3JCw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBMQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

[/quote]

Excellent post.


#12

I can only speak for myself as I know that there are all kinds of positive and negative people in the world not to mention those in between given specific situations that may arise.

As a Catholic and a member of these forums for about 5 years now, I have, on more than one occasion, been called or referred to as less than charitable. Personally, I can admit that to some degree this is my own fault. However, as has been said by previous posters, I also believe that other factors come into play as well, such as the written word (these forums) compared to a sit-down conversation. As has been pointed out, people are unable to observe body language (facial expressions, movements, voice inflection, tone, eye contact, etc) and this plays a big role in our ability to understand the intent of the person expressing their advice, opinion, or thoughts. If the person who is reading the message is in opposition or disagreement with what is being said, they may perceive the words as an attack on them personally. Having said that, I would be lying if I didn't admit that at times, I have been overly critical and even sarcastic in my responses. When I hear people talking about "Bishop's whims" in reference to Church weddings not normally being allowed or Catholics who believe that they need to make an announcement (proclamation) that they are leaving these forums because others are too mean, too sad, too fill in the blank it irritates me. Why not just simply leave? Why does there need to be one more jab at your fellow Catholics as you go? If you have differences with Church teachings or with other aspects of the Church, why don't you open yourself up to the possibility that the Church might just know what it's doing instead of referring to its clergy as uncaring, uneducated, or prone to making decisions on a whim? On more than one occasion I have had differing opinions than what the Church taught. The difference is when that happens I step back, study up on why the Church believes this way, and 99.9999% of the time, it's my position that changes. I find it frustrating when I see others who won't dive deeper into the "whys" of the situation and instead insult or demean the Church... especially when I see that they have "Catholic" in their header under religion. So, that is something that I will have to work on and hopefully, those who throw out words like "angry people" or "negative" will work on learning their faith instead of tearing it down.

I'm really a "nice person" in person... at least that's what I've been told. ;)


#13

The more the media and politicians sugar-coat everything, the more likeable and popular they become, the more money they make, and the more power they have. This lends them to being "Yes" men. They avoid the Truth if the truth is ugly. Since the average person is immersed in pop culture media for many more hours per day than on this board, people learn to ask themselves "Which feels better: the media who tells me how great and right I am, despite the Virtues-declining media which panders lust and drugs to the child inside of us, OR, the Church's calling for Virtues which will help us be responsible adults. Most people don't want to admit that the Church's influence in favor of Virtues has been successfully REDUCED by the pop culture media over the last few decades. It's only natural for each person to prefer to take the easy way out by wanting to listen to the child inside, but then responsibility is shed and our societal Reduction can and will continue....

The Truth only seems uncharitable when compared to the sugar-coated messages of the media. Many don't even realize that they have been conditioned by the media in this manner.


#14

[quote="Rascalking, post:3, topic:225654"]
When you don't have to attach your real name or a picture, you tend to forget your manners. I think that counts for something. Most Catholics aren't negative and angry all the time, but many are.

[/quote]

I agree with you :) But I think that whether or not most Catholics aren't negative or angry all the time, they wouldn't have the guts to talk in real life to people the rude way that some posters reply on online forums. It's the nature of online forums and even email.
I'm sure they gripe amoung themselves in real life about how so-and-so is just so noncompliant, and oh so irreverent, or that so-and-so needs to examine why their thinking is not in alignment with their specific thinking, but I doubt they would tell so-and-so to his or her face ;)


#15

ITA! Well, not about the stripper post because I didn’t read it. But definitely about the judging. I use to have to deal with a woman that was always quoting the bible and judging everyone around her. She used her beliefs to gossip and destroy families. I have been her favorite target for a long time, It really turned me off from religion. She was not a Catholic.

I see many people that post that judge and talk about how perfect they are. Their high morals. Drives me crazy. We are all sinners. I often want to post for them to listen to Fr Barron’s CD on the 7 deadly sins. Maybe, they will find that they suffer from sin of Pride. I know my sins and they are many. But at least I realize that I need the Holy Spirit to help me and not think I can change by myself.

I am so lucky to have a spiritual director that doesn’t judge my sins. He is there to help and support me. He doesn’t water anything down. Makes it clear that I need to change or go to hell. But at least he does not make me feel evil and unworthy.

Another that bothers me, is when someone post a problem about their spouse, we too quickly blame the spouse and throw out the abuse card. Some people are just whiny and need to realize that marriages are difficult and take work. It is not always abusive. Especially since we are hearing just one side. I can be truthful and make my husband sound like a saint or the devil. No one is perfect.


#16

First, statistically think about how many people come to this forum— just as posters, not even including the number who just read through the forums— so if a few decide to leave, really we’re not doing that “poorly”.

As for the negative emotions that we see at the forum— in my opinion, I know my post count is low but I was a long time reader of the site before I felt okay to actually post— we (the Catholics at this site) represent the Catholic Church. We’re not perfect, but people who come seeking to vent, ask questions, seek prayers, and the what not, come here to seek the Church in some small way— to find some relief. This is normal and this is just one of the ministries the Church is called to do: to offer comfort, love, and support to humanity.

As a teacher, I belong to a teacher forum and trust me there are a lot of negative threads— its not that the posters there hate teaching, but its one of the very few places that teachers can get together, complain about what they DO hate about their jobs, agree upon the issues, and then move on— and get back to teaching. If we didn’t have that place, we’d have no where really— we aren’t allowed to complain “on the job”, we might get fired if our administrators really knew how we felt, and our family and friends just don’t get it— teachers understand one another.

Are we really that bad?

No— we’re just humans. We need to get the negativeness out of our systems (hence the venting threads) and we need to seek wisdom from others. If we have a problem in our family we might know the solution, but sometimes we just need to have that solution idea validated by others.

As a young lady about to get married in a few months, it suddenly hit me that I really need to have a better idea of what it means to be a wife, in a Catholic family, so that I’m still not trying to figure it out once any babies come along. I am blessed that God has called me to do this, but I am terrified at the same time-- though I don’t openly share that with anybody. The wisdom here is comforting— it reminds me that even if there is sinfulness and badness in families, we have hope because of Jesus Christ. So through the negativity, we still see that great shining Light of our Savior.

As far as I’m concerned, this world is not such a happy place and suffering is immense. I can’t pretend that things are rosy while there is persecution of our brothers and sisters out there, governments trying to control the church, parents losing rights to raise their children in faith because it is not a pc thing to do. These are only some of the issues that make me angry and worried on a daily basis. I don’t think I’m paranoid or generally negative because of my feelings, but I guess there are people who would say that I am, and that I should be full of love rather than worry so much.

I don’t need we think to worry— God is protecting us— but you are absolutely correct that we shouldn’t just ignore the fact of what is going on around us. A good pastor friend of mine (he’s Messianic but I enjoy hearing his take on Bible topics) has gotten very much into the “keep your eyes open and be prepared”— he doesn’t hype up the “end times” like some Protestants do and has never given a date, so I can stomach what he is saying (and it seems, as far as I know, Biblically sound). He brings up news reports about how our faith is being trashed, the governments are doing whatever they want to at this point, etc etc. We should be aware, but we should remember our first calling: to continue Jesus’ ministry on this earth. I think by offering prayer, support, and love to those in need at this forum, we are continuing that ministry.

I don’t know any people who actually practice a different religion so can’t say if they are more positive in their outlook. All the atheists I know complain a lot about the world, but that is something that doesn’t surprise me, since they have no comfort in God and rely on people only. (I know many people who belong to a different religion but don’t practice, so I can’t take them as examples.)

I do have a few friends who are of other faiths— they are not much different from us. I knew one lady who was Indian and she worshiped a particular god that was just in her native area in India. She seemed extremely happy all the time, but I realized it wasn’t because of her faith really but how little she had seen of the world. She had stayed in India most of her life, was very well educated, worked in a hospital as a doctor in that town and was basically protected by her parents and older brothers. She had an arranged marriage (she did end up falling in love with her husband prior to getting married) but she lived over-all a very sheltered life. I think that is what caused her to be truly happy: she focused on family and friends and her education and that’s it.

And I find myself being happier because I don’t have cable in my house and I can choose what sources (and how often) I want to read about the news online. Too much negative news and stories can hurt a person— even if the badness isn’t effecting their lives. I can handle praying for people, I can handle talking to friends and family in times that they need support, but really that is it. I think we really need to tone down how much we bombard on ourselves about what is going on— be aware, of course, but don’t take on the world.


#17

As someone who spent time in various mainline liberal protestant denominations, and converted quite a few years ago to the Catholic faith because I came to believe it was the one true faith, and the church that Jesus founded, and as one who truly believes what the church teaches concerning morality is correct, I pass on my reaction.
In general, the liberal protestant churches seem to have much difficulty setting boundaries about behavior. They never even seem to mention the word sin. They want everyone to feel good about themselves and feel accepted and loved.. They are very therapeutic. As a result many seem to loose the chance to grow in goodness and sanctity in my view because they are not challenged to do so. .
In general, The Catholic Church is great about setting strong and appropriate boundaries about behavior and those boundaries are well thought out and generally well articulated. They don't let the line get squishy. Catholics are much more likely to correctly call a sin a sin. However, in my view, in the process they frequently come across as rule oriented , as though the rule is the most important thing, and self righteous and judgmental. I am not saying that a sin should not be judged a sin, but many Catholics seem to have left off the compassion and Christian charity part and forget that what drives many of these sins is deep hurt and longing for happiness and a desire to be loved that has been misdirected, frequently in a selfish way, but still they are hurting and searching and sometimes misinformed too. . Think of a parent. If the parent doesn't set any rules, well you are going to end up with a wild child, right? . If the parent sets appropriate rules but leaves off understanding and compassion and intimacy and love you are going to end up with a resentful, rebellious child, right? You guys some times are ending up with the resentment and rebellion for good reason.


#18

Honestly, I don't think its Catholics. I think its the Catholic Answers Forums. It seems that these forums attract people who are in real crisises looking for answers and people who seem to get a kick out of complaining, gripping and condemning people. I'm not saying its all the people on these forums. I think there are people on here who do sincerely want to help, but it does seem that they almost get shouted out by the people who approach answering questions without much sympathy. Than those nicer people who want to help and are loyal to the magistrium start getting condemned for not being harsher to people, as if the lack of harshness is the same as condoning the sin.

But like I said, I don't think its Catholics in general. I have a forum I visit online where I keep in touch with Catholic friends of mine from college. We're all very open with our struggles, encourage each other and bring humor and fun to those forums. Its not that we never have struggles, but no one on those forums ever fears being condemned for struggling. We encourage each other and offer prayers and we learn from each other as we go through those struggles and grow in our faith. And then we also have light hearted topics, just talking about the joys of kids, sharing birth stories or funny things our kids (if we have any) said to us. We have engagement announcements and share details about our weddings, etc.

I think people do bring up light hearted topics on this forum, but frequently it quickly gets lost in the pages. We're very quick to having our two cents on the hot topics and continuing a thread for a 100 pages to argue out our opinions. As such, the negative topics are most active. Maybe it'd be advisable if we just added our two cents and strove not to get into arguments about it with people. Or maybe our focus has to be more on building a community rather than having a place to give just our two cents.


#19

[quote="Contra_Mundum, post:1, topic:225654"]
What do you think? Are we the most negative, depressed bunch of people out there, or just realistic about the state of the world? :confused:

[/quote]

Being Catholic makes me happy and helps me cope with the vicissitudes of life. No, I don't think we're negative and depressed. I think we're realists and concerned for our brothers and sisters!


#20

Well I guess since my name was invoked in the context of another thread, I ought to respond.

I am a frank person IRL. I have walked a fine line between being boldly honest with others, and being blunt, too blunt for that person to handle. I am no diplomat and never will be. I am not an aggressive person, but I am honest, to my knowledge and point of view.

People who know me don't ask me for my opinion unless they want what I see as the truth. I don't hold back - I don't try to hurt the person, ever, but I do ask them if they truly want my opinion and how I see things. That is how I respond on forums like this one. And if I post a thread, then I am asking for everyone's thoughts, opinions, experiences - your experience, strength, and hope, put slightly differently - I am a big girl and can filter out what I don't need or can't absorb. Sometimes the hardest answers for me to read are the ones I need to hear the most. I assume that people who come here for help also want others' input on their situations.

I am not a person who will tell another only what that person wants to hear. I would rather that people not do that with me. Then I have to sort through all sorts of layers to determine what is really being said, because the person didn't have enough courage or self-esteem to say it directly. I don't need anything buried in a bowl of tapioca pudding, just hand it to me straight!

I do not flame other people and I never will. If you have ever been flamed on a forum or an email list, you know the difference between playing all the cards straight up, and getting out the welding torch and going at someone full-bore (to mix metaphors). I have a lot of compassion for people who post here, especially with problems that are either unique to Catholics or not unique but human. I may get impatient if someone can't seem to see the point that others are making, but human nature is what it is, and none of us sees 100% clearly. We need one another's perceptions and perspective added to our own in order to sort things out (of course God's perspective is the best one of all!). I do not insult people or name-call.

So I hope all of you understand that I may not be the cotton wool to cushion the fragile, but at least you will know exactly what I think, believe, have experienced, and know to be true. I may not be a teddy bear, but I consider myself to be honorable and honest. I will debate with you in the news threads since people who visit those are more interested in debate and argument than people who post here. I will only give you my opinion, experience, strength and hope here, not debate your problems as if they are a political issue. My own personal problems are my own but sometimes I need another viewpoint because I may miss things based on my own biases and character defects.


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