Getting Men Back To Church: Be “The Proof,” Not “Aloof”

Getting Men Back To Church: Be “The Proof,” Not “Aloof”

Larry D, over at Acts of the Apostasy, has an excellent article on Getting Men Back to Church. He uses a term that is – shall we say – not for general consumption (although I agree). So, I am adding some of the highlights of his article, with a bit more user friendly terms here.

The term I use is “The Proof.” “Proof” here means to test, as metals are tested in the fire; and hence the word denotes the favorable result of the testing, or approval. If the Holy Spirit has “truly” invaded our soul, there should be “proof” of that by the way we live our lives. Our life should fully display the “Fruit of the Holy Spirit” … charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, chastity.

“Aloof” here means haughty, elitist, snobbish, cavalier, egotistical, disdainful, superior. In short, kind of a “jerk.”

So, here are some highlights of Larry D’s article, with my “Proof” and “Aloof” edits …

A lot has been written about the importance of getting men back into the Church (data available here) …

So what’s the answer? What will attract men back to the Church?

There are a lot of things that can be done, and no single silver bullet will reverse things. But I have one, simple suggestion for starters: Be “The Proof,” not “Aloof.” (that’s the terms I changed from the original article).

We all know what a disciple is. Disciples attract. Disciples challenge. Disciples are guided by the Holy Spirit, using their charisms to build up God’s Kingdom, thus leading men – and women! – into the Church. Disciples are in relationship with Jesus Christ, on a deep and intimate level. Not in terms of “I know who Jesus is”, but in terms of “Jesus has called me, and I am following Him.” And then they invite others to follow along …

The “Aloof Dude,” on the other hand…well, let’s highlight the signs of this …

1) Freemasons are EVERYWHERE, and they’re controlling EVERYTHING!!!

Yes, Freemasonry is a thing, and membership is verboten for Catholics. But claiming the hierarchy is rife with Freemasons, that they’ve sold out the faith, and you have incontrovertible proof? Come on – conspiracy theories aren’t gonna inspire guys to become Catholic. For instance – the Year of Mercy logo is a symbol of Freemasonry? Stuff like that makes the Raëlians seem normal. Sure, the logo has inspired emotional responses – and looks kinda strange – but a representation of evil and conspiracy? Smacks of the “Aloof.”.

2) Addressing the Holy Father by anything other than his title or taken name.

Cos nothing says “I respect the office of the pope” more than by calling Pope Francis “Bergoglio”. Or “Jorge”. Or by calling him a Marxist. Same goes for those who called Pope Benedict XVI “Ratzinger”. Imagine how that invitation might sound? “You know, Joe, it sounds as if you need to return to Church and the sacraments. Before Bergoglio completely destroys everything by changing doctrine. Cos that’s what he’s doing – have you heard about the Synod of the Family??” That’s not how an attractive disciple – “The Proof” – talks.

3) “Admonish the sinner” is the only Spiritual Work of Mercy.

Hey, if the only tool in your spiritual toolbox is “Admonish the sinner”, then guess what – everyone looks like a sinner (and yes, I know – we are all sinners). Bearing wrongs patiently? Sure – as soon as I’m done admonishing you, you sinner. Fraternal correction done privately, and not broadcast across the Innerwebz? Pfft – where’s the fun in that? Corporal Works of Mercy? Who has time to feed the hungry or clothe the naked when there’s admonishing that needs doing? The “Aloof” commands that all offenses be pointed out as publicly as possible – how else will people know how holy you are?

4) Drop the H-bomb every chance you get.

There are heretics, and then there are heretics. For the “Aloof,” heretics also include anyone who may have at one point in time written, said, or done something that they disagreed with, and deserve no benefit of the doubt, and must be told that they’re heretics. For example:

Me: I just read a very interesting piece by Fr Robert Barron and…
Aloof Dude: Whoa whoa whoa! He agrees with Urs von Balthasar, that Hell might be empty! He’s a heretic! They both are!
Me: What? Aren’t you interested in hearing what he…
Aloof Dude: From a heretic?
Me: Gee, I really doubt he’s a heretic, but regarding what Barron wrote…
Aloof Dude: I don’t read him, he’s a heretic. And if you read his stuff, that makes you a heretic too. Be gone with thee!

5) Conflating preference with hatred when it comes to the Latin Mass v Novus Ordo

If you write comments like this, you might be an Aloof Dude: “You know when the novus ordo becomes the butt of jokes you know it is time for it to be put out to pasture. The TLM is the Mass of the ages that has been celebrated for 2000 years. it’s the liberal modernists the sodomites, the liberal modernists those even political agendas that hate the Catholic Church such as communists and Freemasons that want to obliterate the TLM.” (actual comment left on Google+ on one of my posts)

Denigrating the Novus Ordo might attract other Aloof Dudes, but it does nothing to strengthen the body of Christ. Pointing out legitimate liturgical abuses and working to get them corrected is one thing – blasting the entire rite is something entirely different, and leads to infighting. You prefer the Extraordinary Form over the Ordinary Form? Great, awesome. Just don’t be an Aloof Dude about it. You prefer the Novus Ordo? That’s great, too. You don’t be an Aloof Dude either. We’re all members of the body of Christ, partaking in the same Eucharist. We ought to act like it …

If the goal is to engage with men and encourage them to strengthen their faith – to enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ, to truly believe and live the commandments of a) loving God, and b) loving one’s neighbor as oneself – then one excellent way of doing that is through “Being the Proof.” But not an “Aloof Dude” – that leads to infighting, separating, and splintering. Which is exactly the place we’re in right now.

You can read the full article here (slightly crude, but effective)

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