THE PROBLEM WITH CONTRIVING TO BE CONTROVERSIAL

Here’s how this week’s arts and culture column begins:

I have never much kept up with Catholic “politics,” if that’s the word. I depend upon Always Forward, from our own Angelus, for daily news of the Catholic world.

And I read one blog: Neal Obstat, faithfully maintained by the wonderful Dr. Tom Neal, husband, father, and Professor of Spiritual Theology at Notre Dame Seminary Graduate School of Theology in New Orleans.

 In a recent post. Dr. Neal wrote of his conscious choice to avoid being a “controversialist.” I couldn’t agree more.

That doesn’t mean you never say things with which people disagree. It means you don’t make a career, in or out of the Church, out of being a provocateur and a hater.

READ THE WHOLE PIECE HERE.

13 Replies to “THE PROBLEM WITH CONTRIVING TO BE CONTROVERSIAL”

  1. Mary Anne Konizeski says: Reply

    I really love this.

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Thanks, Mary Anne!

  2. Michael Larson says: Reply

    I think you’re making some good points here, but I raised an eyebrow about your comment about abuse scandals. “Being conversant about every last abuse scandal” isn’t contriving to be controversial. Being informed is a necessary first step to making sure abuse doesn’t keep happening. I guarantee you that for survivors, abuse is NOT irrelevant to their life of faith. Nor should it be for Catholics whose heart reaches out to them with compassion.

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Thanks so much, Michael, point well taken. Maybe I should have said “endlessly reviewing every last abuse scandal–in lieu of examining my own conscience and changing my own behavior with respect to sex, using people as objects” etc. Once I know the problem, in other words, my question would be how can I contribute to the solution instead of adding to the problem? How can I be in solidarity, in the most meaningful way, with the victims? Can I admit that in some horrible way, because of past or present behavior, I’m in solidarity with the perpetrators? This is one place, among many, that the teachings of the Church on marriage and the family make so much sense to me. My fidelity to them, as a single celibate woman, I believe goes toward the purity of heart that in turn goes toward the healing of the Mystical Body that is obviously deeply deeply wounded in this area. I have such a bad track record in this area myself, granted many years ago, from my life in the bars that my instinctive reaction to sexual abuse of all kinds is to know that I am in some sense complicit, or have been complicit in it. So that’s what I was trying to get at. Not that abuse scandals in the Church are irrelevant, God forbid, to my life of faith, but rather what is my fullest response to them? The expression of public outrage, for me, with no corresponding interior action, just leads to more outrage and a kind of addictive craving to foment and express more. No-one else is transformed, and I’m not either.

  3. Bob Rueger says: Reply

    Tom Neal. Sounds like a person I need to read. I would think you are famaliar with Bishop Robert Barron, LA Bishop. I read him just about daily & have been reading his Word On Fire Bible. The Word On Fire Bible is excellent. Thank you for blogging.
    Bob Rueger

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Thanks, Bob, yes, I’m very familiar with Word on Fire–they’ve re-posted some of my stuff from time to time. Glad you are finding some good spiritual meat!

  4. I saw your photo on Instagram and I can’t get over the two light sources. Wha time did you take this photo? Every time I read your pieces, I find my spirit lifted. And then I pray.

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Well that’s the spirit, David, thank you! I just took the pic on my iphone, early morning, maybe 6? I was standing on my second-floor balcony, which faces west, and the two lights are just highish-mounted lights, maybe motion lights, in the parking lot area of the driveway. It had rained and a heavy mist had settled–I’m in the shadow of the San Gabriel Mountains in Pasadena. So yeah, this very “ordinary” scene was temporarily revealed in its mystical otherworldliness…I’m so glad you “got” it!

  5. Bob Rueger says: Reply

    Michael Larson – Oh my, the abuse victims are victims of the ultimate betrayal – put your trust in someone & just cannot fathom how betrayed they must feel.

  6. May we be true to the One True mover and shaker… and true to our hearts in the process… and act a fool along the way… 🙂

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Ha, here he is in the flesh–right on, brother! I demand a po’boy next time I’m in NOLA!

  7. Michael Larson says: Reply

    @Heather: thank you for your thoughtful response. I appreciate you taking the time to clarify. I belong to an organization called Awake Milwaukee. We are a group of committed Catholics who are trying to walk with survivors to work for transformation and healing in our archdiocese. This is why this was so important to me. You can check us out here if you’re interested: https://awakemilwaukee.org/.

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Oh Michael, this is absolutely incredible, your organization. I just read “Survivor Story: How I Found Healing Through Scripture.” Weeping. Your own work and the approach of Awake, it seems to me, is just what I’m pointing toward. Hatred of the perpetrator, no matter how seemingly justified, is not the same as concern and compassion for the victim. What you are doing constitutes compassion and concern for the victim. Many thanks for this–people, check out Michael’s link.

I WELCOME YOUR COMMENTS!