Do we have to be rude?


#1

As I read through many posts, especially in those areas that deal with liturgy, traditional Catholicism, apologetics and the news, which are the ones that I read often, I find that there is frequently a bite to many posts. I am often very saddened by this. I have often asked myself, “Do we have to put a bite into everything that we say? Must we present and defend the truth in a manner that is often hostile?”

I’m reminded of our Holy Father Francis who never failed to teach the truth. He never shied away from the topic of sin, hell and damnation. Yet, his manner of speech and his writing is always so filled with love. When he spoke or wrote he always began with the same affect. He wrote for his brothers and sisters. He treated his audience as brethren, not as antagonists in a tragedy. He often referred to himself as the greatest of sinners. He knew that he was not the greatest of sinners. But he was also aware that we are all sinners and that we are all worthy and deserving of God’s love through the merits of Jesus Christ.

Often, I follow my Franciscan brothers on EWTN, the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word, Fr. Benedict G, the other Franciscans of the Renewal, the Friars Minor and I notice that I do not see or hear in their voices or in their writings a harsh tone. Their manner of drawing people to Jesus is always gentle and kind.

Then there are those courageous souls like Bl. Mother Teresa, Bl. John XXIII, Archbishop Sheen, Ven. John Paul II, and even our current pope, Benedict XVI. They too have always inspired me to speak to men as if they were the most deserving of my respect and kindness.

These and other great men and women evangelists have always been honest, straightforward, yet respectful. Then I read so many posts on these threads and I wonder, if the truth has to be taught with harshness. Is truth that is delivered with harshness, with challenges to prove this or cite that, is that kind of delivery filled with grace or with personal pride? Is the person really filled with the Holy Spirit or with love for his or her point of view?

I guess the question that I’m asking is, do we have to be unkind? Do we have to set up these little traps for others when we post? Do we have to ambush people to bring them to the faith? Must we sound as if we are authorities over others? St. Dominic once told his friar preachers to make sure that they practice charity and humility when preaching. St. Francis told his brothers to preach with their lives. He had an interesting style of preaching. He would usually preach through poetry, music, symbols, gestures, personal anecdotes and scripture. He rarely used doctrine and dogma. His goal was to bring people into the love of God. His idea was that once they came to know the love of God, though the love of his brothers, they would gradually learn the doctrines of the faith. But we often seem to forget to present the love of God.

Do we have to be rude to preach the Gospel?

Have a blessed Christmas season,

Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:


#2

[quote="JReducation, post:1, topic:181227"]
As I read through many posts, especially in those areas that deal with liturgy, traditional Catholicism, apologetics and the news, which are the ones that I read often, I find that there is frequently a bite to many posts. I am often very saddened by this. I have often asked myself, “Do we have to put a bite into everything that we say? Must we present and defend the truth in a manner that is often hostile?”

I’m reminded of our Holy Father Francis who never failed to teach the truth. He never shied away from the topic of sin, hell and damnation. Yet, his manner of speech and his writing is always so filled with love. When he spoke or wrote he always began with the same affect. He wrote for his brothers and sisters. He treated his audience as brethren, not as antagonists in a tragedy. He often referred to himself as the greatest of sinners. He knew that he was not the greatest of sinners. But he was also aware that we are all sinners and that we are all worthy and deserving of God’s love through the merits of Jesus Christ.

Often, I follow my Franciscan brothers on EWTN, the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word, Fr. Benedict G, the other Franciscans of the Renewal, the Friars Minor and I notice that I do not see or hear in their voices or in their writings a harsh tone. Their manner of drawing people to Jesus is always gentle and kind.

Then there are those courageous souls like Bl. Mother Teresa, Bl. John XXIII, Archbishop Sheen, Ven. John Paul II, and even our current pope, Benedict XVI. They too have always inspired me to speak to men as if they were the most deserving of my respect and kindness.

These and other great men and women evangelists have always been honest, straightforward, yet respectful. Then I read so many posts on these threads and I wonder, if the truth has to be taught with harshness. Is truth that is delivered with harshness, with challenges to prove this or cite that, is that kind of delivery filled with grace or with personal pride? Is the person really filled with the Holy Spirit or with love for his or her point of view?

I guess the question that I’m asking is, do we have to be unkind? Do we have to set up these little traps for others when we post? Do we have to ambush people to bring them to the faith? Must we sound as if we are authorities over others? St. Dominic once told his friar preachers to make sure that they practice charity and humility when preaching. St. Francis told his brothers to preach with their lives. He had an interesting style of preaching. He would usually preach through poetry, music, symbols, gestures, personal anecdotes and scripture. He rarely used doctrine and dogma. His goal was to bring people into the love of God. His idea was that once they came to know the love of God, though the love of his brothers, they would gradually learn the doctrines of the faith. But we often seem to forget to present the love of God.

Do we have to be rude to preach the Gospel?

Have a blessed Christmas season,

Br. JR, OSF :)

[/quote]

:clapping::clapping:

Hiyas Brother JR:)

I admit I have to try hard...them rude Atheists just...hmmm..tick me

~huggers~


#3

You know, I tried getting on an Ayn Rand board just to ask a question and they rejected me because I was Catholic. I guess they didn't want arguments. I wonder what Catholic Answers forum would be like if we just let Catholics on.


#4

Awesome post, Br. JR.

The harsh tone you "hear" on internet forums and especially on these forums saddens me too, though I'm afraid I've been short with people before as well.

I think the internet has a lot to do with it. It's easy to be uncharitable when you are not communicating with someone face-to-face, just like it is easy to be selfish on the road because you are "hidden" behind a vehicle.


#5

You are talking about tact, and that’s something we should use more often. It’s not the message or information, it’s how it’s being delivered. Speak forcefully if it’s nonsense that’s disrupting the topic, do the same if the other poster cannot handle anything differently, speak with a gentle logical tone to the rest and you will find the same message you are stating, to fall upon listening ears.

I tend to become defensive if someone just bombards me, then makes false accusations as to my integrity and motives. I will of course fight back when backed into those corners with teeth blaring, but sadly, it’s too easy to just blurt out everything, not take into account the posters mindset, and damn them to hell if they cannot see things exactly the same way as yourself. We must back off some times, even if we know we are right, just to save the peace, and it’s the reason I’ve opted out of so many threads that were turning vicious.


#6

Brother JR, I totally agree with you, and it’s posts like yours that I appreciate because they bring me up short when I’m tempted to be unkind.
But have you read posts on other forums, news forums for example, or movie reviews? They can get positively toxic, and constantly make personal attacks if they dislike a person’s comments. At least Catholic Answers has a semblance of courtesy.


#7

The Brothers of Life do a lot of writing for different web sites, newsletters and periodicals on the subjects of abortion, euthenasia and end of life issues. As the superior it is my job to guide our brothers. I always tell them to try this as they write, “Read what you have written and as you read it, try to imagine the look on Christ’s face. Remember, you are writing for him. If he smiles back while you read, then you have spoken truth with charity. If he bleeds and tears from in his eyes, you may have spoken at the expense of love. Go back and write again. Keep writing until Jesus smiles at you.”

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:


#8

I couldn’t agree more. We should preach with love and humility, knowing that we do not know the intentions or the state of another soul. Only God can truly judge our motivations. I am a firm believer that truth, when preached with love and charity, can inflame the hearts of men. But if we are speaking in a harsh manner, will the ears of the heart remain open or will the person find ‘truth’ in other ways?

I absolutely love what St. Paul wrote:

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.–1 Corinthians 13:1-8


#9

Hiyas Brother JR

I try that when rude atheist attack me… what’s up with them ]…but I see Jesus kicking but* in the Temple.


#10

St. Paul wrote this beautiful message because he understood what only the saints have understood. We must not make the simple so difficult. This is what Jesus tried to tell the leaders of his time. Paul echoes the same message.

If you love God, you will love your neighbor. If you want to be polite to Jesus, be polite to your neighbor. If you want Christ to hear your prayers, speak to your neighbor as you would to Christ, with the same simplicity, honesty, gentleness, and humility.

God chose to become a simple child born in a stable, how much more simple can truth be revealed?

May the spirit of St. Thomas Becket, whose feast we celebrate today, fill us with the courage to live in truth and proclaim it with great love.

Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:


#11

Have you ever wondered why Jesus turned the tables of the money changers? Listen to his words. He calls them “thieves”. They cheated the poor out of their money. Jesus drives home the point that his Father’s house is not a den of thieves, but a house of charity and respect for human dignity.

He does so in a way that the thieves could understand, not because he hated them, but because he loved them. He wanted to change their hearts. Rather than steal from the poor, he wanted them to be generous and honest with the poor. He used a simple gesture that drove home the point clearly and succinctly.

That is how we must proclaim truth, simply and succinctly, in a manner that others will understand. Like Jesus, our actions must be rooted in love for the sinner, not in pride because “we are not like the rest of men.”

Please pray for my soul!

Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:


#12

Hiyas Brother JR:)

Firstly…You are ever in my prayers.

I dono if you know it or not…but you have impacted my spiritual growth. Thank you.
I choose my mentors very carefully.

I do try to bring charity into my responses back to rude atheists …but I do cut to the quick. Basically, I don’t allow them to use God, that they don’t believe in, to try to convert me.

If they are anti-God…anti-religion…why try to convert me to their beliefs? Certainly, to me, they are strange folks and that deifies the logic they think they alone possess.

~huggers~
you are loved


#13

The arguments start when people start to ask for sources of information. It then turns into show off of who has read most, knows most etc, deviating completely from the topic on board.

Pride, arrogance and self centredness that plague us to behave in that manner.

We should start working towards purging ourselves.


#14

I think the problem lies in that only one poster can be rude, then, since it is difficult to turn the other cheek, the response is also pointed. Another problem is that a little bit of bite in a post can often result in a response of equal bite, and a tad more. Then a type of feedback loop occurs until the level of rhetoric reaches a critical mass. This is worse in forums that are more loosely moderated. One solution would be to bring back the old reputation system so that those poster who frequently fire the first shot can be identified.


#15

I have to sadly agree that the tone on these forums has too often become hostile. I’ve reached the point where I tend to simply read through a thread where someone is crying for help . . . and instead of posting my sympathies and promises of prayers, I silently pray for all those involved. It’s easier on my blood pressure to not have to read the posts that often follow mine.

So - know that everyone who posts is in my prayers! :slight_smile: You won’t always have the chance to read my reassurances in a post, but you have my prayers for sure.


#16

Just bumped another thread by DBT while looking for this post of his, which I think is a good nugget to add to this thread.

I think we could title this post, “How to Post Like a Saint.” :smiley:

. . . and just a few examples of the type of fruit that would make for an easier going. Here’s my personal list of “signs and wonders” I’ve been looking for in these past threads:

  • Kindness in word toward all posters . . . especially those who challenge
  • Patience and understanding toward those who disagree . . . rather than irritation
  • Openness to learn from everyone . . . even those we view our lessers
  • Mortification of our all to human failings that want to build ourselves up by tearing others down . . . through ridicule, name calling, contempt and rejection of opposing views
  • Detachment toward the gifts recieved that render moot the need to defend and explain oneself . . . a mystic doesn’t care what anyone else thinks
  • Humility that acknowledges the true intimacy of these personal encounters with God and desires them to remain hidden between the partners . . . content to let one’s virtue shine forth before others as proof of the relationship
  • Wisdom that recognizes human parallels to the Divine. For example, one can sing the praises of your spouse without ever having to share in a public way that which is between just the two of you. We know this in the natural realm . . . but not the supernatural?
  • Docility toward Church teaching that, at times, is quite contrary to one’s personal experience
  • Light that shines on others rather than self . . . few mystics and Saints are fond of the word “I”

#17

This is such a wonderful post. Thank you very much!


#18

Br. JR, I always love your posts! Its as if Jesus Himself is speaking directly through you. Thank you so much for your wisdom.

Kimmielittle: I know what you feel like when having to speak to atheists that are rude. It seems that politeness is out the window these days. G.B. Shaw could be an atheist without being rude and bitter. In fact, he was good friends with G.K. Chesterton, and after G.K.C’s death, Shaw stated that “he was a man of unparalleled brillance.” When I remember the great intellects of yore, theist and atheist, I get upset knowing that rudeness is not necessary to intelligence. But these days are less civilized times. So, I take a deep breath, pray as long as it takes, and try to thing “would I say what I’m about to say to this person’s face.” I think the general rule should be that nothing should be typed that one would not say out loud if the person was right there.

We should all be compassionate, and remember that all people come here with their own sets of struggles and sufferings. This should be a haven, not a battlefield.


#19

I never forget that the Jews were always asking Jesus for a sign. Many of them could not recognize the signs, because of their hard hearts. You see, the sign that Jesus always gave was love. Remember the miracle stories? Jesus often prefaced the healings by telling the people that the Son of Man could forgive sins and that so they would believe, he would heal them. When he didn’t preface it that way, he concluded with, “Your sins are forgiven.” Once he told a man whom he healed to present himself to the leaders in the temple.

The point is very simple. Jesus proved God’s love and mercy by loving and being merciful. How can we preach a God of love and mercy, if we cannot prove that he is what we say? Who will believe that we worship and live with a merciful and loving God, if they are hurt by our speech and actions?

I’m sure that some will say that those who are hurt are hurt because they can’t take the truth or they are too sensitive. This may be true sometimes. But is it true all the time? A saint is one who has discovered something and wants to share it, not someone who has discovered something and wants to flaunt it at the expense of other people's feelings.

Some use the excuse that Jesus sent his disciples to convert the world. The truth can be preached with great love, good manners and concern for those to whom we preach. Let us not forget the greatest preacher in Christian history, the Mother of God. Her preaching outdoes even Paul's. In one sentence, Mary tells it all at the wedding at Cana. "Do whatever he tells you."

Have a blessed Christmas week and don't forget to pray for my soul.

Br. JR, OSF :)


#20

And please don’t forget to pray for mine. :slight_smile:


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.