Wednesday, June 08, 2005

St Greg Popcack the Great

Reading for St Greg Feastday:

First Reading: Romans 1:22: Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

Second Reading: Luke 18:9-14

9: And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
10: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
11: The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
12: I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
13: And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
14: I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Greg Popcack for some reason has descended on Joe Cecil's blog for the past few months and has deigned to grace liberals with his impeccable wisdom. But now in a fit of the righteous indignation against the sinners and unrepentant (us liberals), he goes back to his Right wing outfit and cries martyr:

Over the years, I have attempted in good faith to "dialog" with various Catholics on the left side of the pew. I disagree with many of their positions, but I have never borne them any ill will. I have debated vigorously, and I have not always been as charitable as I should be, but I have always been honest, direct, and in those times when I have overstepped, I have always sincerely apologized.

Unfortunately, I'm done. I have just emerged from yet another encounter with the tolerant left side of the Church having been told that I am hateful, bigotted, anti-woman, homophobic, shaming and backward. The more I try to defend my positions, the more hateful the "dialog" becomes. I have endured the name calling and dismissive treatment for the last time. I'm done "dialogging."

I hope the left can overcome their misery at some time. I really do wish them well. But I'm afraid they're going to have to continue the dialog amongst themselves, because they can't handle the truth, and I'm done taking the abuse.

Here's an example of a regular day at the office for St Greg at Joe's blog:

Emphasis mine-to point out the loving speech of this great paragon of Christian virtue.

Exhibit 1

As for the rest of them, all I can say Joe, is that's the kind of inanaity that results when people--like yourself--ignore Tradition and interpret scripture and the Christian faith however they feel like.

You're no different than any of these people Joe. You're their left leaning doppleganger. As this post points out, and your blog illustrates almost daily, the more you ignore tradion, the dumber you sound.

Exhibit 2:

but the comment is either indicative of how little Joe and his crowd really understands Church teaching or an illustration of the juvenile lengths to which they'll go to attempt to make their silly point. Is it any wonder the Church doesn't take them seriously?

Joe, are you really so ignorant of metaphysics?

[Joe has an M.Div (72 credits of graduate Theology work), until the brilliant Dr Popcack can produce a transcript reflecting comparable theological endeavours he'd do well not to comment on what Joe knows or does not know about metaphysics and theology]

Exhibit 3: The All-Holy Greg speaks

As for not going away. Great! Keep coming--and send your friends too! I'll tell them the same thing I'm telling you. It isn't as if you threaten anything important to me. I engage in these discussions because I have a Christian obligation to "counsel the ignorant." I'm happy to offer whatever insight or knowledge I have to give. If you can use it, great. If not, then proceed at your own risk--at least you've been warned.

Clearly, I've gotten under your skin. Maybe you should look into why that is instead of indulging your anger with me. Perhaps the Holy Spirit is trying to show you that the pedestal you like to put yourself on isn't as secure as you think. Its worth considering.

Exhibit 4

My "beef" with him is not that he asks questions. Asking questions is healthy and I do it all the time. My "beef" with him is that he misrepresents the facts and takes an extraordinarily prideful tone that conveys a superior attitude to anyone who doesn't agree with him. [Joe??!!!]

So, if you want to be Joe's groupie, go right ahead. But if you want to abe Catholic, you're going to have to learn to think with the mind of the Church, which is a damn sight more intellectual challenging than Joe (or perhaps even you) gives it credit for.

Then there's Exhibit 5, my favorite, in which St Greg the spiritual master sits on his perch to diagnose the immature faith of everyone else:

Incidentally, the thing that both left wing and right wing Catholics have in common is that they are convinced that they know more than the Church on certain issues.

By contrast, orthodox Catholics know how to ask probing questions about the faith without coming off like haughty teens. Read James Fowler's Stages of Faith sometime. Libs and Cons tend not to be beyond stage 4 (Individuative-Reflective Faith--with Cons being more on stage 2 or 3 and Libs being more about stage 4), while Orthodox Catholics tend to be at Stage 5 (Conjunctive Faith--which involves both an ability to deconstruct the faith and a "willed naivete" allowing the individual to surrender to its teachings nevertheless.)

The problem in these debates is that they are only partially theological; they are primarily psychological. The Church is teaching at Stage 5 and 6 level of faith but most people are living at a lower stage. Rather than trying to use the teachings as a ladder for reaching spiritual maturity, people try to understand the teaching through their own experience. From their limited perspective, they find that the teaching (not surprisingly) doesn't perfectly fit their present experience, and pronounce the teaching to be wrong (and doom themselves to a perpetually immature faith).

Bottom line. You can't effectively criticize Church teaching from below. You have to get to at least Stage 5 Faith before you have the maturity to mount an effective argument.

You seem to be somewhere at the early-middle of stage 4, Reese is probably at the mid-late stage 4 (and just for a point of reference, Ono is early stage 4, intoxicated with the sense of power that comes from first poking holes in some of the mythic-literal conceptions of faith which came before). At any rate, none of you can mount a successful argument against the teachings because you're still coming at it from underneath.

No doubt you will find this post demeaning--if you give it any credence at all--but it isn't meant to be anything other than what it is; namely, bringing to bear what the psychology of religion has to say about the experience of Libs, Cons, and Orthodox.

This has certainly gone on long enough. For someone who is a licensed therapist, Greg Popcack's behavior on blogs is embarassing. He acts like a 14 year old boy who insults people and runs back giggling and hi-fiving to his friends. Apparently someone died and made Dr Popcack God or a saint. Either way, 97% of us never got that memo and absent that memo, we have little to go on but his juvenile behavior, which is far from convincing. What I would suggest to Greg is to take sit down with some prunes and take care of business.


Blogger Ambrose said...

High-fiving? Check out HMS right now. Total high-fiving.

12:15 AM  
Blogger Ambrose said...

And HMS allows for no comments.....but they pretty much have no problem dominating comboxes on Other blogs.....

1:05 AM  
Blogger Ono said...

You are right. It is pretty chicken to troll around but close off comments on your home turf.

10:44 AM  

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