Insults against the Catholic Faith

I wondered if anyone was aware of any Catholic teaching or recommendation on what to do when faced with insults against our faith? This relates to insults which do not cause physical harm to any persons or the physical Church itself but rather to the Sacraments, Our Lord Jesus Christ and Our Blessed Virgin Mother.

I suppose we have a duty to warn the sinner when he headed for disaster. We also should not allow such profanities to appear in public places but my question relates more to whether we should be actively trying to silence these people?

I think what triggered this question is the recent “The Photo Of Jesus Crucified” by Andres Serrano which you may already have come across. I agree that we should petition against this picture. However should we also be protesting (non-violently) against the person himself? Basically to try to stop this sort of thing happening in future. Or is this sort of thing a trap to provoke violence from Christians.

(Personally I feel a deep sympathy for people like this because they may never come to experience even a glimpse of the immense love of our GOD.)

Any advice from a Catholic perspective is especially welcome.

GOD Bless.

Our Lord bore many insults (and much worse). He did not lash out at his oppressors, or try to silence them (even though it was within his power and the offense was much more severe).

Why should his Church react any differently?

I would pray for him, as God will be the final judge. Think about it … would you rather cause this person some kind of pain — or pray for him that someday, before his death, ne may find God!

I have not seen the photo in question, but I have read descriptions of other pieces of art that have been disrespectful of Mary and Jesus.

Why Christianity and especially Catholicism seem to be the target of their hate I don’t know. I really think these artists hate themselves and resent that others feel love bestowed on then by Jesus and Mary and these artists don’t feel love.

I think this qualifies as a teaching of the Church…
"38 “You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' 39 But I say to you, Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; 40 and if any one would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well; 41 and if any one forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to him who begs from you, and do not refuse him who would borrow from you. 43 "You have heard that it was said,You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

I suppose we have a duty to warn the sinner when he headed for disaster. We also should not allow such profanities to appear in public places but my question relates more to whether we should be actively trying to silence these people?

Should we make our views known? Yes. Should we be actively trying to silence these people? That depends on what you mean…Freedom, and free will means we must allow them their views just as we expect to be allowed ours. But this does not mean we cannot try to convert them. So this would be the better place to put one’s activity.
Show Christ to the world by our actions - by our Love. This will do more to silence such people than anything else.

I think what triggered this question is the recent “The Photo Of Jesus Crucified” by Andres Serrano which you may already have come across. I agree that we should petition against this picture. However should we also be protesting (non-violently) against the person himself? Basically to try to stop this sort of thing happening in future. Or is this sort of thing a trap to provoke violence from Christians.

Yes some I think do use this sort of thing to provoke a non-christian response from Christians. On the other hand some are simply acting out on some thought or feeling they have and they don’t care about the reaction…

No we should not protest against the “person himself”. How can you protest against one that you are to love as yourself? If you wish to protest…protest the work…“Hate the sin, not the sinner”, as the old saying goes.

(Personally I feel a deep sympathy for people like this because they may never come to experience even a glimpse of the immense love of our GOD.)

Yes - build on this…

Any advice from a Catholic perspective is especially welcome.

GOD Bless.

I hope the above helps some…

Peace
James

We should defend our Constitutional rights in the US at least. There is an organization already dedicated to defending Catholicism against malicious detractors and defending our rights: The Catholic League

I am a member, and support its projects. At the very least Catholics should be aware of these insults, slurs and defamations so that they can understand why they are wrong, and how it hurts all of us as a country.

Thank you all for the wonderful responses so far, I have learned something from each and every one. Please continue to add more.

Thank you JRKH for the scripture passage. This was exactly the sort of thing I was searching for.

I think in some ways we should even be “glad” when these things happen and seize them as an opportunity to display true Christianity. For example what if a non-Christian friend who knows a bit about our faith were to ask us how we would react to these recent on goings, our gentle response might be a source of conversion for this person.

I thank GOD for creating Christians. Otherwise the world would be a very lonely place (at least for me) and would probably contain a lot more hate and violence than it does now.

GOD Bless.

I think perhaps the best thing to happen to the Catholic Church in the past few years is the election of our new Pope Francis. A truly humble Christian man who still wears the black shoes to remind us all that he is first a priest. Nearly every reaction he has had, every public statement he has made against detractors of the Church has included the reminder for us to pray for the offender.

When speaking to such a person I usually first try to listen to their side of the story, or their beliefs. I might ask what their intention was in producing such a provocative piece/statement/display then urge them to bring out the reasons they feel this way. If their final answer is something along the lines of “Because Christians/Catholics are stupid believers in mythical beings and I wanted them to know how stupid they are” (a Bill Maher type of answer) I will simply say, well, I guess it worked, you’ve succeeded in offending a great many of us. But I respect your beliefs and I won’t try and debate you. But I will pray for you. God bless.

But sometimes when you listen to their beliefs you can see the pain that has caused them. You can talk gently about your own faith and the joy it brings your life. You might be able to share some scripture or give your testimony about how you found your joy in Christ and eventually, with love, can careful avoidance of confrontational debate, you may see a convert in the making.

Sometimes it can take years. It almost NEVER happens at your first “discussion”. Be patient, be loving and be fully in Christ. If you know a meeting is about to take place, pray about it. If you are suddenly confronted, pray quickly about it. Then be calm, happy in your demeanor and NEVER tell the other person they are wrong. Just let them know what the teachings of the Church are. The teachings of the Church are truth. “The truth will set you free” and eventually, non-believers will have a difficult time refuting the truth.

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Because Christianity, especially Catholicism, is king of the hill. And everyone wants to knock the king down.

Some really great answers here.

Here’s a thought I had. Take some time to consider that other faiths get made fun of and insulted as well. How would you expect people of those faiths to react.

Which sorts of reactions are likely to be taken seriously, be respected and perhaps lead to some positive changes?

If you purposely or inadvertently insulted another faith, and someone came and told you that, how would you respond?

I find that often, if I take time to consider things from the other direction, it helps me discern what an appropriate response from my side might be. Or help me understand what is going on in the person who initiated the insult in the first place.

I think you are right but sometimes it can also be a cry for help. However other times it is neither of these and just a cheap way of getting the spotlight.

So true and well put.

If one is comfortable in his own faith then it’s like water off a ducks back.

Keep your eye on the prize and finish the race.

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