Being Catholic is making me mean?


#1

I have been Catholic my whole life, but only within the last year, since I finished the RCIA course for my confirmation have I been really practicising my faith.

However, since this amazing change in my life I have noticed some changes that I am not so happy with. It seems I have become more judgemental.

  1. When watching TV I get offended so much more, there are only a few shows I’ll actually watch now.
  2. I seem to have lost my sense of humor, I get annoyed at rude jokes as I now understand that they are wrong
  3. I used to be so much more accepting of other peoples beliefs and opinions and now I am so much less tolerant.

I don’t think people have started noticing the difference yet, but I have. I know Jesus taught us not to be judgemental, but it is so hard to be accepting when these things are against our faith… and there are so many things!

I can’t be the only person who has this problem. Any advice of how I can handle this are greatly appreciated!


#2
  1. TV is offensive. I don’t own a TV, my other good friend dosn’t own a TV, my boyfriend ownes a TV for spots. So I can’t back you up there. You’re probably seeing valid points.

  2. Are you annoyed becuase the jokes are petty and rude (like farting jokes) or are you annoyed becuase the jokes are insulting? People simply mature out of petty/rude jokes by age 12. So it may be part of growth. Remember, the best comedians make fun of themselves, thier gender, beliefs, or religion…so inserting humore is not a sin.

  3. Catholocism, if anything, when with the right people, has taught me to be MORE tolerant of others and not fall into the path of many protestant/islamic views of "death to all unbelievers). If you’re hanging out with that sort of crowd it may be good to step away.


#3

I don’t see how any of the things you listed equate to being “mean.”

“Mean” is not listed among the fruit of the Spirit. Perhaps reflect on Galatians 5:22-24 and the Beatitudes in Matthew 5.


#4

When you go from being permissive of immorality to being not permissive, you will be tempted to let go of mercy, too. You’ll be tempted to close your eyes to those things that, while they don’t remove responsibility, do mitigate culpability. You’ll be tempted to live as far as possible from “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”

Don’t think that you will be allowed to improve your fidelity to God without a fight. I would highly recommend that you read The Screwtape Letters, by CS Lewis. It is not only a delightful read; it is enlightening about the perils of repentance. This writer knew what he was writing about!

Here’s a quote that treats the subject you’re bringing up here, from Letter 23 of Screwtape (boldface mine, obviously):

Through this girl and her disgusting family the patient is now getting to know more Christians every day,and very intelligent Christians too. For a long time it will be quite impossible to remove spirituality from his life. Very well then; we must corrupt it. No doubt you have often practiced transforming yourself into an angel of light as a parade-ground exercise. Now is the time to do it in the face of the Enemy. The World and the Flesh have failed us; a third Power remains. And success of this third kind is the most glorious of all. A spoiled saint, a Pharisee, an inquisitor, or a magician, makes better sport in Hell than a mere common tyrant or debauchee.


#5

It isn’t rejection of the immoral acts, but the felt attitude of heart that can go with making that rejection. It is the inner knowledge that it is not just the sins that are being rejected, but the people who commit them. It is being so overwhelmed by the evil around oneself that one can no longer find what it is that God finds so delightful in the souls one sees. It is a great temptation, and it is often smuggled by the evil one any time that a person tries to reject evil. Yet we know that God does delight in humankind. He sees not just our sin, but that what he has made is good, and not utterly ruined. He can see generosity of soul, he can see the need for love, he can see all the beauty that he put into a person, even when a person’s sins sully the view for the rest of us.

Moreover, it is this attitude that will give those who are witnessing this conversion a reason to reject it as false, because the mistake easily goes both ways. When people are fond of a sin, and find it rejected, they will often leap to this rejection as a rejection of themselves. They will be tempted to project pride onto the person correcting them, even when there is no pride there. This is also the work of the evil one. The one who makes sin appear glamorous also works hard to make virtue seem mean and sour, instead of large-hearted and sweet. It is the most common thing in the world, for these are two of the oldest ways by which the enemy tries to thwart evangelization.

Think of Billy Joel’s song, Only the Good Die Young, and how he portrays a) the virtuous as not having fun (joy? What’s that? I don’t see any joy!) and b) Virginia’s mother as not caring about him or his soul:

*They say there’s a Heaven for those who will wait
Some say it’s better but I say it ain’t
I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints
The sinners are much more fun…

You know that only the good die young…

You say your mother told you all that I could give you was a reputation
Aw, she never cared for me…But did she ever say a prayer for me?..*


#6

I do feel like I am being mean, in the sense that I am not being nice, I am having thoughts when I see or hear these things that are definately not nice… I am being intolerant and judemental. I am English, and mean is a common word here, perhaps I should have chosen I different word.

The fact that I may have to not watch television is crazy! Is our world so full of sin that we can’t watch tv?

I am afraid that if I listen to incorrect teachings, or watch sinful material, that it will weaken me somehow and make me more susceptable to sin! I find that once I sin, it is so easy to do it again, I think it is the same for being influenced by sin.

Thank you for the reading suggestion, I will definately read that!


#7

[quote="FullOfThought, post:6, topic:246328"]

The fact that I may have to not watch television is crazy! Is our world so full of sin that we can't watch tv?

[/quote]

The fact that you freak out about loosing acess to TV is what's really crazy. Not you in particular...there are hundreds of people that feel this way. TV could play such a small role in your life that no TV dosn't seem like a big deal. Sure, TV has bad stuff. The comercials are the WORST, even worse than the shows. From time to time I'll catch an episode of "Psych" online or grab a DVD of "Geeves and Wooster"...heck, I'll even watch NCIS (everyone watches it where I work). But online and comercial free.

But I have no need to, no deep desire. It is a very sad state that humanity has come to that many people consider TV a basic entertainment tool. TV is a microcosm of life. Working at a Community College I really think it is no worse than walking around a medium sized city. You can find bad wherever.


#8

So you pretty much hate sin? That is a grace from God. You are not being mean, just righteous, depending on how you are thinking.


#9

Hi there,

I have been Catholic all my life too but recently was confirmed through RCIA. I can totally relate here. I think it's actually wonderful you're recognizing immoral behavior, but I'm with you that there can be a point when it gets judgmental. Here's what I would ponder: You don't have to put up with immorality, but don't let yourself think you're more righteous or not a sinner than anyone else. (I'm not saying you're doing this). The Devil likes to trick us that we're more righteous than we really are. I fall into the habit of religious pride over some of my less pious friends. Just follow the example of the Gospel by living it :) Pray a lot and ask for guidance from the Holy Spirit to be have an open heart around sinners and for them to follow your example of striving for Holiness.

Yours in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary,
Tony


#10

I have been Catholic my whole life, but only within the last year, since I finished the RCIA course for my confirmation have I been really practicising my faith.

However, since this amazing change in my life I have noticed some changes that I am not so happy with. It seems I have become more judgemental.

  1. When watching TV I get offended so much more, there are only a few shows I’ll actually watch now.
  2. I seem to have lost my sense of humor, I get annoyed at rude jokes as I now understand that they are wrong
  3. I used to be so much more accepting of other peoples beliefs and opinions and now I am so much less tolerant.

Protestants call this being convicted by the Holy Spirit, as in having convictions about behavior and sin. I too get offended by stereotypes of Christians on television, glorifying sin, putting down Christianity. Jesus said he who has an ear let him hear, well you are starting to develop your ear. Don’t get too upset about what the world calls “intolerance.” Jesus didn’t tolerate sin and spoke against it. The point is don’t judge someone unworthy of salvation, judge their behavior but try to remain patient with everyone. God Bless you as you start to see Him work in your life. Happy Fourth of July!:smiley:


#11

[quote="FullOfThought, post:6, topic:246328"]
I do feel like I am being mean, in the sense that I am not being nice, I am having thoughts when I see or hear these things that are definately not nice... I am being intolerant and judemental. I am English, and mean is a common word here, perhaps I should have chosen I different word.

[/quote]

I think "nice" is the word you wanted. "Nice" feels like you're being both good and easy to like, at the same time. "Nice" is not threatening. Both people who are committed to virtue and those who are committed to sin like being around people who are truly "nice". (I don't mean fake and sugary. That gets old to anyone.) Nice makes for a popular kind of saint....which can be OK, but sometimes a sin of omission, too. There has to be a balance.

Be leary of the idea that it is a virtue for a Christian to be unfailingly "nice". That can be a code-word for impotent and having a toxic fear of conflict. Parents who try to be "nice" wind up having a great deal more rancor in their households than parents who dare to maintain moral authority when their kids throw down the "meanie" gauntlet. If you're going to be "nice", that's fine. Just don't let truth and virtue be made into a silent doormat in the process.

Paul doesn't say "love is nice." Go to 1 Corinthians 13, read the Gospels, and remind yourself that Christians aren't always going to be comfortable and free of conflict in this life. We're going to be at odds with the prevailing culture. That must be in a charitable way, that doesn't preclude joy and optimism, but it is not always going to be in a "nice" way. "Nice" is nice, but it has to serve higher priorities to be valuable in the end.

On the other hand, if you are naturally mild, generous of heart, and self-controlled as a rule, this is a good thing! If you have lost that, you are not wrong to want to work to integrate that back into your newly-found disdain of immorality. When you make a correction from a mild habit of behavior, it will also carry the force of having come from someone who is generally forgiving and does not easily become annoyed. There is a value in that, too. The Church needs more than one kind of saint!


#12

I don't think that you should consider that so much as being mean as it is feeling righteous indignation.

I would expect as we grow full of the Holy Spirit we should find many worldy ways repulsive.


#13

well I am well known as one of the mildest, meekest, gentlest participant of these forums:wink: but I have decided no more mrs. nice lady. I will speak to the point of the thread, answer the question posed in thread title, ignore off topic posts and speak the truth. take it or leave it.


#14

Your sadly right.So many Catholics seem to lack a sense of humor, politeness, and the like.

I say WHO CARES? Laugh, enjoy yourself, let mean and bitter people be mean, bitter, judgemental, whatever. They have their own problems. I also think that in “real life” not over the internet, many people who act the way you say you are turning into are lonely and unpleasent.

Being happy is a choice. Make it.

:wink:


#15

Thank you for all of your responses.

It is comforting to know that I am not the only one who can see errors in our world, or am struggling.

I think the most valuable point I have taken from this is that I need more patience, however, it is a good thing I am seeing these errors in life. I love the possibility that it I am growing in my faith, and that it is the Holy Spirit helping me!

Thank you for all of the help!!


#16

[quote="FullOfThought, post:1, topic:246328"]
I have been Catholic my whole life, but only within the last year, since I finished the RCIA course for my confirmation have I been really practicising my faith.

However, since this amazing change in my life I have noticed some changes that I am not so happy with. It seems I have become more judgemental.

[/quote]

You sound like me. In some ways, I'm more judgmental, but at least now, I'm working on it. Before, I was still quite judgmental, but I thought I was right and everyone who disagreed could ahem attempt a physiological impossibility, if you catch my drift. Now, I try to work on it--not successfully, though.

  1. When watching TV I get offended so much more, there are only a few shows I'll actually watch now.

Me too! I was that way before, but now, even a lot of TV and movies I used to like offend me. I loved The Simpsons, but all the gay jokes and anti-Christian attacks felt like a punch in the stomach, so I quit watching. I'm mostly left with children's cartoons (which I love)... luckily, I can still laugh at the roadrunner outsmarting the coyote. :D

The problem is that my mom still likes sinful TV. :rolleyes:

  1. I seem to have lost my sense of humor, I get annoyed at rude jokes as I now understand that they are wrong

There are lots of jokes that aren't rude... do you still find them funny? I know I do.

  1. I used to be so much more accepting of other peoples beliefs and opinions and now I am so much less tolerant.

I know what you mean. I'm extremely angry at liberals for having lied to me all these years. Just hearing liberal ideas makes me practically go postal.

I don't think people have started noticing the difference yet, but I have. I know Jesus taught us not to be judgemental, but it is so hard to be accepting when these things are against our faith... and there are so many things!

I know exactly what you mean. We know this Orthodox Jew whose reaction to duck tongues on the menu in a Chinese restaurant was, "Duck tongues?!? That's not kosher!!" (Jews don't believe that the kosher laws are binding on non-Jews, so that makes it even more unusual.) I have a similar obsession with people being sexually kosher, so to speak. I'm trying really hard not to be a Catholic version of this guy, but in our sexually obsessed culture, I can't seem to manage it.

You might like this cartoon I drew: fav.me/d3jwhob

My other artwork there shows that I still have a sense of humor. :)

I can't be the only person who has this problem. Any advice of how I can handle this are greatly appreciated!

I wish I had some advice, but I need some myself!


#17

I understand exactly what you're going through! I stepped away from active Catholicism for a few years, and when I came back I started doing a lot of reading and research. The more I learned, the more I struggled with how to express my faith. I was worried about sounding all preachy. But Jesus called out the Samaritan woman who was living with a man who was not her husband after 5 divorces. He didn't ignore her sin. Instead He talked to her. He lived among the sinners. How else could He lead by example?

I've learned that it's okay to express my distaste for anti-Christian jokes. And racism. And gossip. And gay marriage. I can be Conservative! But I have to pray everyday for humility, and remember that I am a sinner. I may have different sins from someone else, but I still need forgiveness for my sins.

The woman that guided me back to the church didn't force me. She didn't nag me. She didn't judge me. When I decided that I didn't like the person I had become, I looked to her because she was the type of person I wanted to be. When I am around people that I desperately want to shake and scream "really??!!" I remember how this woman was with me. If she had of shook me and yelled, I might never have made it back to my faith. I hope one day to help someone else get here.


#18

Repulsion of sin is a good thing :thumbsup: Sometimes it is an indication of how much we realize what evil can do to our souls. Watching others sin and glorify their choice to sin is like watching some one choose to wreck their car after we have just recovered from a horrible accident ourselves. It isn’t so pretty to watch, and it’s not something you want to repeat or have others fall into. Take the gentle approach as others suggested. Love is the best antidote to a sinner’s ailment. We also know that sometimes we have to shake the dust from our sandals and walk away from those not interested in hearing about the Love we know.

God Bless! and welcome home! (a bit belated)


#19

Your sadly right.So many Catholics seem to lack a sense of humor, politeness, and the like.

I say WHO CARES? Laugh, enjoy yourself, let mean and bitter people be mean, bitter, judgemental, whatever. They have their own problems. I also think that in "real life" not over the internet, many people who act the way you say you are turning into are lonely and unpleasent.

Being happy is a choice. Make it.

Sense of Humor: Oh I'm sorry, I was suppose to laugh when someone makes a joke about pedophile priests for the hundredth time?

Politeness: More like tolerance am I right? After all the polite thing would be just to accept people for whatever sin they choose to officiate themselves with as an individual correct? Don't try to call them out on it cause that would be being an impolite pharisee.


#20

It sounds as though you are in agreement with the magisterium of the Church I would get annoyed at some of the same stuff yiou do.


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