Was I in the wrong here?

This question relates to an unpleasant interaction I had on a thread I made on CAF.
Without naming names,though I have linked the thread below.

I do Seamstress (sewing) work in spare time and I had asked whether it was sin to sew shorts for “Gay Mardi Gras” (a gay pride event) as someone had requested this job.
I received a lot of kind,helpful and respectful responses.

But I also received a response that disturbed my peace a lot.

A previous poster had wrote:"
If, on the other hand, you’re being asked to make something that is morally repugnant quite apart from where it is going to be worn, because of the cut or what it depicts…"
I had responded back to that poster:
“How do I know what the line is for morally repugnant-I’m not trying to be crude but do you mean like if it had a photo of a penis on the outside or something?”

I meant that as a matter of fact question to get an understanding of what was morally repugnant and what wasn’t-I wasn’t in anyway stating it to be crude or “rude” or “sexual meaning” etc.

A different poster then took great offence to my statement and maybe misunderstood my character.
In her perceptions,it’s wrong for me/someone to “inflict these graphic imagery” (me mentioning the shorts with the photos on them) her even if the intent is innocent.

In my reasoning,things should be taken in context.
Stating something like this for objective clarifying purposes is not the same as stating a same/similar thing to be vulgar or “sexually entice” etc.

According to this poster,it is still wrong and not Holy.
Well,to me,if being Holy means avoiding saying words/terms/subjects that are relevant to human life and going against good reasoning,then I’m not sure that I want to be Holy.
I understand it’s not good to be affected by worldly influences/mentality-but at the same time Christians are meant to be in the world and I don’t live -or want to live-in a bubble or be prudish.
If being a Catholic means I have to be offended if a hear someone ask (genuinely,innocently,and open to differing views) questions and use words as an example to give greater clarity and get angry at them then I don’t know what to do.
If Holiness means giving up context and proper reasoning and not talking freely and naturally then I probably don’t want to be a Catholic./Christian.


I’m not sure if I should post this her,but it’s bothering me quite a bit and I’m having a crisis of faith :frowning:

It’s the internet. A person so sensitive and offended by the word “penis” on a thread that clearly is labeled with a subject that the thread is about a moral issue related to “gay mardi gras” should probably not be on the internet. It’s an anatomically correct word for male genitalia. We aren’t in sixth grade. There is no need to giggle, snicker, or be offended by the word.

Since it’s the internet, also realize that people are going to say all sorts of “whatever” to you when you post. So, don’t be offended or feel the need to defend your character on the internet. That’s why we have anonymous user names. I don’t really care what people think about “1ke” on CAF because I know the difference between my online persona (where people only see a small slice of me) and real life where people see a much more multi-dimensional me.

Don’t sweat it!

ETA: Also the ultimate arbiter of whether something is out of line is moderator action. Since that thread is well over 50 posts and has been up for days, has had no moderator action, isn’t locked, etc., I would say you haven’t posted anything out of line or against forum rules.

When I read your reply the other day, I thought your example of graphic/inappropriate material was a good clarification. I haven’t gone looking for penis-print material but I wouldn’t be surprised if it were out there.

I am sorry you are faced with such a dilemma in the first place since all you want to do is sew some nice clothes.

Elena, my advice to you if you are having a crisis of faith is to stay away from CAF and other online catholic forums. They can sometimes be a great source of information, and it can be pretty cool to converse with other catholics of similar mindset; but too often the interaction between posters and personal opinions expressed with authority serves to drive people further from the faith rather than bringing them closer to God and the Catholic Church. IMHO, I would not linger here if your faith is wavering. (I’m not really addressing this particular event, just speaking in general).

Try to find close Catholic friends in person, or find counsel with a priest. I think these would serve you better if you are in a tough spot in your faith life.

It’s just a body part. Catholics are allowed to work as urologists even though it brings them into contact with said body part.

If this very slight (relatively speaking) misunderstanding is causing you a crisis of faith then you are putting your faith in people, not in God. Let it go.

Just drop it. Let it go. You will never “win” as there is no winning. Don’t let it color your faith or cause you to lose sleep. If you think about it there are gays in uniform defending your freedom of speech and that of the other poster as well. Worry and pray for hunger and suffering throughout the world. Peace.

A crisis of faith?

  1. don’t sew the shorts. That is a conclusion you should have reached.
  1. Don’t take anonymous online forums so personally.

Perhaps unsubscribe from the thread.

Well, I suppose you could have used the more general “obscene image” rather than given a concrete example, but I also think the offended poster could have merely said that he/she would much rather you use a general description rather than a graphic image in your question, and report that he/she found it personally disturbing. Feedback about unintended bad results is feedback you’d presumably want to hear.

I’m not going back to find the exact interchange in the thread, because I’d rather stick to general principles rather than render judgment on either one of you. Objectively speaking, extrapolating your unintentional mistake into a conclusion about your character would normally have been an instance of rash judgment, particularly since your question identifies you as someone who has a concern about unintentionally cooperating with evil.

It would be better not to allow the mistakes or faults of other Catholics as a reason to question your faith. There are over a billion of us, all human, so expect not everyone is going to make the practice of your faith easier. Try to find what profit you can in corrections and allow the unprofitable bits go by as penance for your own unintended transgressions. Think of it as practicing mercy, as forgiving those who trespass against you in the hopes that you’ll be forgiven. It is hard for any of us to actually do, but it helps in letting go of self-defensiveness and it lightens the load a great deal.

IMHO, you were not in the wrong here. You sought clarification with a perfectly normal, anatomical word. You cannot help if someone is over-sensitive about that. I also thought it was uncalled for when generalizations were drawn about your character. It was not charitable.

Please let it go. There will always be those who misunderstand you and are unkind to you. God knows your intentions. Take heart in that.

I agree that the word is not offensive, per se, but I think the example of St. Paul also applies:

*Now food will not bring us closer to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, nor are we better off if we do. But make sure that this liberty of yours in no way becomes a stumbling block to the weak. If someone sees you, with your knowledge, reclining at table in the temple of an idol, may not his conscience too, weak as it is, be “built up” to eat the meat sacrificed to idols? Thus through your knowledge, the weak person is brought to destruction, the brother for whom Christ died. When you sin in this way against your brothers and wound their consciences, weak as they are, you are sinning against Christ. Therefore, if food causes my brother to sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I may not cause my brother to sin. *1 Cor. 8:8-13

C.S. Lewis had a good insight on the use the Evil One can make of these matters in The Screwtape Letters (Letter XVI):
You would think they could not fail to see the application. You would expect to find the “low” churchman genuflecting and crossing himself lest the weak conscience of his “high” brother should be moved to irreverence, and the “high” one refraining from these exercises lest he should betray his “low” brother into idolatry. And so it would have been but for our ceaseless labour. Without that the variety of usage within the Church of England might have become a positive hotbed of charity and humility.

If you are aware that a certain kind of language seems to someone else to be desensitizing to obscenity and you have no compelling reason to use it, then why not avoid using it? One must use judgement, of course, since sometimes one can be “enabling” a bad habit rather than encouraging some good end–not to mention that we do have a positive need for correct terminology for human body parts–but giving in to the sensitivities to others is usually a kind thing to be willing to do, even if you think they’re being a bit too sensitive.

Extending undeserved kindnesses is good habit, after all. What is mercy, if not that, particularly since we all inflict unintended harm from time to time ourselves? Following that rule, the OP’s post, though taken as an offense, would be written off as unintentional and simply pointed out as a feedback that would be wanted. The OP, meanwhile, might find the feedback a bit too sensitive, but would be willing to assure no harm was intended and would re-word to make everyone in the discussion as comfortable as possible. Everyone thinks they are in the right, but since they all give each other room and the best reading, they all also sow accord instead of discord, and everyone feels more at ease, too.

:shrug:I think the poster was posting through the lens of other most recent threads about not being sure if cursing was ok, and similar threads.
I’m sure she was frustrated.
But that’s how it goes. Someone goes out there and posts things. There is no assurance that people are going to say “good for you, you’re absolutely correct”.
It is what it is.
Being offended applies to everyone.
Only you can choose to rise about it.
Or, refrain from threads that are going to invite criticism.

This should not cause a crisis of faith for anyone.

Ahhh…i see its bash mommy k day in family life forum…:wink:

This is a blatant example of being uncharitable…starting a thread to judge another poster…sheesh.

Thinking using the term omfg is ok, demandimg that others need to soften comments that object to this…then describing a males sex organs on the front of spandex pants for a gay pride parade…and now this…and nd I’m the bad person here, because she links to one portion of all of this…

One way filtering…the op can post whatever nastiness comes into her mind, and after telling her not to, she keeps doing it.and then here, says if she cant, she does not want to be catholic. Yikes. And then trashing me for trying to help her. And painting me like a shriveled up old judgemental prude…lol…

I reported this thread and op.:rolleyes: I can deal with alot…but this is waaaaay over the top. I usually ignore this op too. How stupid of me to get involved with this nonsense.

But you live and learn…Elena you won. You stole my peace for a nanosecond. No need to keep the score card rolling.

I am sorry, I don’t think I put myself very well. I did not mean to say there was anything wrong with objecting to language you thought too strong. I did not mean to come down one way or the other on that. I meant to say that even if your objection had been too sensitive, the better thing to do is to avoid what offends you, when that is an option. You see? My point was that there is no need to judge that. People do not have to work out who is right in order to get along. They can choose to give room as if they ought to give room, because that choice is not a sign of “defeat.”

…Extending undeserved kindnesses is good habit, after all. What is mercy, if not that, particularly since we all inflict unintended harm from time to time ourselves? Following that rule, the OP’s post, though taken as an offense, would be written off as unintentional and simply pointed out as a feedback that would be wanted. The OP, meanwhile, might find the feedback a bit too sensitive, but would be willing to assure no harm was intended and would re-word to make everyone in the discussion as comfortable as possible. Everyone thinks they are in the right, but since they all give each other room and the best reading, they all also sow accord instead of discord, and everyone feels more at ease, too.

Take a deep breath. On the scale of world strife, this is not really way over the top. You found it upsetting (for longer than a nanosecond), and so you reported it. Understandable. Keep in mind, though, that if someone were tempted to leave the Church over an incident like this, it would be a great shame. None of us want to have anything to do with such a thing. People can be careless with words, it can really hurt, but putting it aside is reparation for the times we have done harm with no intention of doing it.

OP, the person only person in the wrong on that thread was the one who implied that you were just here to stir up trouble. Some people have been here so long that they think that they are experts at identifying trolls. I agree that some of the responses that you have received have been less than charitable and, “that’s just the Internet” is no excuse. Also, try the Ignore feature: it’s a blessing.

Don’t sweat it. But realize other people sweat it just as much as you do, or more. People can be quite emotional already before they start to get emotional in a thread. A lot of negative emotions is involved in online forums. Quite like in ‘real life’, but the difference is that in ‘real life’ people are more likely to defend you; online, people are more likely whomever is attacking you, so you have the impression of being alone, abandoned, or even that everybody agrees with the attacker. That, however, is unlikely to be the case.

There’s always a probability of misunderstanding, too. It’s good to ask people what they mean and make sure before you conclude it must be something bad. A lot of those attacks come from people jumping to conclusions.

I don’t think anyone said she was a troll. Show us where that is. :confused:
But how anyone who identifies as Catholic can believe that the phrase omfg is suitable language for anyone beyond me. And it’s ok to say so on a Catholic forum. I would be upset if someone DIDN’T correct it.
It IS the internet. But I’ll wager practicing Catholics in real life would say the same thing. Certainly her confessor would.

That is what I was thinking.
If someone was Catholic and a doctor they would be conversing “matter of factly” about those body parts “everyday” (or often) & they of course don’t have the intent to be crude,or in a sexual way,or to “transfer graphic images” onto people’s minds.
Wouldn’t this also mean that Catholics shouldn’t go on health forums/boards because they are likely to hear these body parts mentioned too?

Agreed. I don’t like to see the OP feeling so much guilt, however. We can’t control how others react to us, though we of course can change our actions out of mercy to prevent future misunderstandings.

Nah, some of us have your back.

Thankyou everyone.
The crisis of faith part might seem extreme but isn’t because I believe any less in Jesus now or His teachings.
It’s rather because that poster stated to be Catholic and Holy you have to be this certain way-offended and not speak openly or naturally-and this to me seems I would have to be irrational/out of touch with everyday life.
By using a Bible passage to back up her view and stating to me that my context doesn’t matter,it has made me question whether maybe my own understanding of what it means to be a Catholic is wrong.

I was told by the poster that my writing (the pants example) was the catalyst for their uncharitable comment towards me but I don’t understand why wouldn’t context matter?
There is a thread on CAF about whether “toplessness” is sinful and it involves mention of body parts) and it is many pages long and everyone seemed to be answering quite kindly and courteously and I didn’t see anyone making assumptions about the OP’s character or stating by posting the thread that the OP was “not being charitable by using graphic imagery” or that’s its obscene…etc

I tried turning the other cheek,I tried praying (and still do) but i still let it “get to me” eventually as I don’t understand why I’m being told by the poster that I was receiving a “rebuke” when I wasn’t trying to post anything obscene!:frowning:
My context was in regard to the limits of my sewing & trying to clarify the moral standpoint of the job that I had been requested to undertake (Gay pride parade) -nothing else & I feel it was “blown up”/misinterpreted to be something else.
My thread stopped being about my sewing and became about my “perceived” character.

If the poster is right,and it’s not Holy to discuss things openly,then won’t this potentially deter some people from asking questions openly on CAF?
I’d hate to think that s

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