…and it’s worth fighting for.”
-Samwise Gamgee, The Two Towers
I spend a fair amount of time in various Facebook groups. Several of them are focused on religion and different religious views. As a Catholic, I’m pretty much the minority in every group. It doesn’t bother me; I’m used to being the odd man out. I enjoy hearing from people all over the world, from all different backgrounds, and all different beliefs (or lack of beliefs). I have met some very interesting, respectful, humorous souls and we’ve sparred over all the questions humanity has asked for a very long time, “Who am I?” “Where did we come from?” “What is the purpose or meaning of life?” “Was Noah’s ark really a T.A.R.D.I.S. and that’s how he fit all the animals on it?”
All this talk has led me to deepen my understanding of my faith. After all, it is hard to defend something you don’t understand. I can now explain points of my faith where before I struggled to find the right words. I mean, I still struggle to find the words sometimes, but I’m getting better.
What gets old is the misinformation I run across. There are so many myths and half truths about Catholicism out there in the world. Most of them are some variation of problems with the Eucharist, Mary and the saints, the pope, or conspiracy theories about the Vatican. Often it feels like playing an online game of whack-a-mole: Explain one statement reasonably and four more pop up as soon as you hit ‘enter’.
What gets soul crushing is the hate or, even worse, the apathy.
:”All priests are child molesters. How dare you put your sons in danger by letting them be altar servers!”
:”Yes, I know it’s a human being in the womb. I don’t care. I get to decide whether I want it out of my body or not.”
:”So what if those people are starving in war zones? They should have moved. It’s not my problem.”
:”Choosing to end your life is the ultimate freedom. No one should stop you.”
In all these, typed through human fingers, I hear the hiss of something darker. Something utterly evil. Something that most would flee from, if they could only see the form beneath the disguise.
But every once in a while I see a ray of hope. A conversation with a pro-choice person ending with them being open to more information about pro-life stances. An avowed anti-Catholic who admits the beauty of the rosary. An atheist who is respectful of my beliefs and with whom I discuss various topics without animosity. These and other instances keep me going.
We cannot concede souls to the enemy. Pray for each person in this valley of shadow. Your prayers and good witness are most needed.