Friday, November 28, 2014
In ages past, many Catholics had to risk their lives to attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the supreme act of worship that we owe God. During the prayers of Consecration, we firmly believe that bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ. (Not all of the people who read this blog are Catholic.) We are obligated, under pain of mortal sin, to attend Mass every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation, fulfilling the Biblical command to keep holy the Sabbath. Church bullies do not absolve us of this duty.
As difficult as it may be, we must press on go to church, regardless of what has happened. Of course, if this becomes excruciating, it would be a good idea to move to another parish. However, oftentimes, this is not possible, especially if we live in an area with only one Catholic church. Under these circumstances, we must strengthen our resolve and put up with the situation, as horrible and discouraging as it may be.
In various parts of the world, at various times, including the present era, Catholics could be killed for their faith. The early Christians risked being fed to the lions, which was why they worshiped in the catacombs. Others, such as Saint Thomas More, lost their lives for refusing to compromise. Last year, more than 2,000 people were killed, around the world, for being Christians.
Although most people can now attend church without risking their lives, they may encounter sufferings and persecutions that come from within. These can be very harmful, because they have the potential to kill the life of Christ in your soul. Don't let them.
God Bless you all.
Pixabay image by mamandrews
Monday, November 24, 2014
In one sense, if someone is making life difficult for us at church, we owe them some thanks. That's because, as Christians, God wants us to forgive them, so our own sins can also be forgiven. If everything behaved perfectly, there'd be nothing to forgive, and nothing to forgive.
Of course, this is much easier said than done, and it's infinitely easier when viewing a church mobbing from the benefit of hindsight. Our family was driven from our place of worship several years ago, during one of the most difficult times of my life. Forgiveness is hard and it takes time. Eventually, though, it's possible.
I recently read a very insightful post on Pinterest that talked about forgiveness. It pointed out that the people in Heaven have one thing in common. Their sins were forgiven by our most loving and merciful God. Also, these same people forgave others.
Pixabay photo top by skeeze
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
It is very hard to discern someone's character, because we are living in an era of deceit, betrayal and entitlement. Unfortunately, given the times, we must always be on our guard, even at church. Actually, I should say especially at church.
There is a type of emotional predator that some psychologists describe as a "covert narcissist." I've written about this before, but I want to cover it again because it is such a serious problem. These predators are drawn to churches and religious organizations for a number of reasons. One is that this is where they will find acceptance and enough people whom are nice enough to overlook their personality quirks. Oftentimes, covert narcissists, whom are extremely dangerous, come across as nerdy.
I have the most experience with female covert narcissists, the church lady types. These gals may look and act like saints, but, deep down inside, they are highly competitive. Because church has become their home away from home, they will fight to the death to destroy any other female they view as a threat. So watch out for these she wolves in sheep's clothing. Under no circumstances, should you share your secrets with anyone you don't know well, even if they have a pious exterior.
Female malignant narcissists, especially the covert ones, are very dangerous creatures. It's my personal opinion that you're more likely to find them at church than anywhere else.
Pixabay image by Nemo top
Monday, November 17, 2014
We know that God will always bring good out of evil. The Old Testament account of Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his brothers, tells of Joseph later telling his brothers, "You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good."
Joseph being forced to go to Egypt, where he later rose to a position of prominence, and he was able to help many people, including his own family members, when a famine struck the land. Joseph correctly prophesied a seven-year famine, following seven years of plentiful harvests. Because he had gained the trust of the Pharoah, Joseph was able to go about the country, and order that grain be stockpiled, preventing mass starvation.
So we can trust that in our own trials, God is overseeing everything and allowing it to happen for a reason. Perhaps it is your prayers that will make a difference, and the church bully, or bullies, will eventually convert as a result. (Church bullies are in serious need of conversion.)
No doubt, there will be great benefits for your own soul as well. For one, a church mobbing will make you stronger. Once things settle down, and you relocate (probably the best thing to do), you will no longer care as much what people think of you. This is very liberating. If this happens when you have young children, you will learn to trust more in God, and to realize that nothing anyone can do, to drive you from a parish, will ultimately affect the eternal salvation of your family.
This whole experience can be one big lesson, of learning to trust in God. When I look back upon the time my family was driven from our spiritual home, it all seems so inconsequential now. At the time, it seemed larger than life. Now I can smile and shake my head, and think, "Did that really happen?"
In any event, please don't let what's happening shake your relationship with God. Lose the bully, but don't lose your faith.
Pixabay image top by cegoh
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
One of the things church mobbing cures you of is being overly attached to a place of worship. I had come to regard our spiritual home as a second home. I loved it there, and the thought of leaving was unthinkable. It's hard to fathom how someone with a personality disorder, working behind the scenes, was able to conduct a hate campaign that resulted in our family having to flee this somewhat irregular setting, which wasn't a parish, but was still subject to Rome.
However, just as in a workplace mobbing, this couldn't have happened without the full cooperation of the priest who had just arrived, and whom seemed to be highly invested in being accepted by some of the laity. In an office, management either turns a blind eye to the bullying, or participates more actively. A mobbing can happen only if management cooperates.
In retrospect, however, this entire experience was a blessing. Being terrified by the thought of having to leave our spiritual home meant I was too attached, and too concerned with preserving what I had. This means, in a sense, that I was imprisoned by all the trappings of Catholicism found there.
Now I don't care as much what happens in church. God is there and He's all that matters. Nothing here on earth is permanent and everything is passing. This is a lesson I think God was trying to teach me.
Pixabay image top by skitterphoto
Friday, November 7, 2014
In the Catholic Church, priests tend to be reassigned to different parishes every six or seven years. Although there's no hard-and-fast rule, this is often a typical length of time for a pastor to stay in one spot. However, sometimes, a pastor could stay in a parish for two, three or more terms, which could equal about 20 years.
I strongly suspect that bullying and mobbing are highly dependent upon the pastor, how strong he is and whether he is willing to tolerate spiritual abuse of any members of his flock. However, there is also the possibility that he is a very holy man, who is trying to do the right thing, and is simply outnumbered by a pack of bullies, who may be giving him a difficult time as well.
Or, the pastor may have strong narcissistic traits, and is not a good shepherd. When our family was mobbed, and driven out of our spiritual home, much of it, in hindsight, appears to have been orchestrated by a "friend," working behind the scenes. However, I don't think she would have gotten very far if it hadn't been for a new priest who suddenly arrived from a different continent, and immediately took over, even though he had no legitimate authority to do so. No bishop had sent him there, which, in itself, was a highly irregular situation.
This priest seemed to have issues of his own, and he seemed to have a strong need to be accepted by some of the lay people. Upon his arrival, it seemed as if a switch had been flipped and a dark, hateful mood descended upon the community.
There is an old saying "Like pastor, like parish." This means that if you have a holy priest at the helm, the flock will behave in a more Christ-like manner. Kindness and charity will flourish.
However, the opposite is also true. If you have a troubled priest, expect trouble in the pews.
Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is that things can change suddenly in any congregation, depending upon the pastor. If you're being bullied at church, it's possible things could improve the next time your bishop moves priests around.
In any event, don't let a pack of narrow-minded people (or even one or two) keep you out of church and away from God.
Pixabay image top by Nemo
Tuesday, November 4, 2014
Part of the reason church bullying is so devastating for Catholics is that we don't have the option of not going to Mass. No matter what is happening, we must attend, under pain of mortal sin, in order to fulfill the Biblical command to keep the Sabbath holy. When a church mobbing gathers steam, the object of the game is to drive you from your parish, as well as the CCD program, if you happen to be a teacher, or the choir, if you happen to sing.
A hate campaign such as this probably means you'll need to change parishes. Because there may be so few parishes in a given area, especially with church closings throughout the United States, doing so many mean a lengthy drive to attend Mass, especially if you live in a rural area. However, this may still be your best option, especially if you have children. If this is bothering you, your children have likely picked up on the situation. After prayerful discernment, you might come to the conclusion that moving to another place of worship is your best bet.
Although it may now take an hour or more to get to Mass, this may be a small price to pay for the peace you will likely find someplace else, away from the bullies, whom are a major distraction.
Remember that previous generations of Catholics may have lived far from their church, and they needed to walk miles, often in inclement weather, to worship God. Be thankful you have a car. Turn to the saints and ask for their Heavenly help in this time of spiritual distress.
Pixabay photo top by skeeze
Saturday, November 1, 2014
Today is the day the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of All Saints. We believe in the Communion of Saints, which means that anyone who died in a state of grace, free from mortal sin on their soul, and is now in Heaven with God, is a saint. We celebrate these men and women who submitted to God's will when they lived on earth, and are now enjoying His company for all eternity.
The Church has canonized many people, formally declaring that they are in Heaven. However, the Feast of All Saints has a much broader application, as it includes everyone who lives in Heaven.
It's also a pious belief that the prayers of the saints are especially strong today. They can intercede for us throughout the year, but today is a special day, and we can ask for their help, especially if we are being bullied at church.
All of these holy people, undoubtedly, had their trials. Some of them were intensely persecuted, such as Saint Joan of Arc. Actually, she is a patron of those specifically targeted by malicious people, for their piety.
A mystic who had visions from Saint Michael the Archangel, Joan experienced extreme opposition and betrayal from her local church leaders. In a tribunal headed by a bishop, she was found guilty, after being trapped into making statements that proved damaging. She was burned at the stake in May of 1431.
Saint Joan of Arc, pray for us.
Pixabay image top by FeatheredArtStudios