Monday, March 16, 2015

Divine Mercy Chaplet for the Sick



Divine Mercy is a very good prayer to say for the sick and the dying. It is short, and it only takes a few minutes to finish an entire chaplet, which is said on a pair of regular Rosary beads.

This is a prayer I like to say every day for the people involved in a church-based mobbing that drove our family from our place of worship. This happened years ago, and we're now in a much better spiritual home. But I still like to write about our experience, in order to bring attention to this apparently widespread problem.

Bullying in church is real and, unfortunately, all too common. Oftentimes, the instigators are lay people who've seized positions of power. They may suffer from what the psychologists call personality disorders. However, the pastor may also have trouble relating to people.

If you decide to become heavily involved in a parish, you run the real risk of coming up against difficult personalities who may feel threatened by your presence. Or, they may realize that church is very important to you, and decide to make life difficult just because they can. This happens because we all suffer from the effects of original sin, and also because some people are so sick, in the soul, that they enjoy emotionally abusing others.

They are in most desperate need of our prayers. 

Divine Mercy is based upon a series of private conversations with Our Lord, as recorded by Saint Faustina Kowalska.This is a Church-approved devotion, and the chaplet is prayed all over the world at 3 pm, the Hour of Mercy. 

Please join your prayers with mine, for the poor troubled souls who misbehave in God's house. 

Pixabay image top by starbright

Friday, March 6, 2015

Church Bullies - What They Do to Themselves



When you're in the midst of a church mobbing, it helps to remember one thing. Eventually, God will quiet the storm that's raging. You'll emerge stronger and closer to Our Lord. Your bullies, however, have cut themselves off from His grace. Unfortunately, they are so blinded that they cannot see the serious harm they've done to themselves.

In the long run, they sabotage only themselves. The lies, innuendo and false rumors ultimately don't hurt the target. Yes, it does cause a little short-term temporal pain. But, eventually, we move on, and we realize the people who weren't loyal, and didn't stop the mobbing, were not our true friends to begin with. Some of them even had some serious personality issues of their own.

Strangely enough, we find ourselves thankful that a gang of church bullies ran us out of our parish, because the environment was so toxic. It's true that some people thrive under those circumstances. But these are the ones who cause trouble for others, which means they jeopardize their own eternal salvation.

Psychological dynamics rarely happen in isolation. If someone hates one person, they likely have a history of hatefulness and a future filled with more hatred and scapegoating.

Yes, there is forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We sincerely hope that each and every Catholic Church bully avails themselves of this opportunity. However, Jesus is a just Judge. We will all have to account for our sins. This includes mistreating others, at church.

Original Pixabay image by johnhain

Friday, February 27, 2015

A Culture of Narcisissm



It's getting harder and harder to ignore the fact that something is very wrong in the Church and in the world. One of the symptoms is the current epidemic of narcissism. In a much earlier post, I mentioned the fact that, according to published reports, Pope Francis has decried the fact that narcissistic behavior is apparent, even at the level of the Vatican.

So, if that's the case, we can expect to see much disorder in society as well. It's a pious believe that what happens in the Catholic Church, founded 2,000 years ago by Christ himself, is reflected in the state of the world. So it's no surprise that Pope Francis, the 266th leader of the Church, is hoping to change some hearts.

Yesterday, while watching Mass on EWTN, I was struck that the celebrant, in his homily, also mentioned the huge problem of narcissism and its attendant proud, arrogant and haughty behavior.

So, how do we survive, when narcissists seem to be everywhere? I certainly don't have all the answers, but here are a few things I've learned from an unfortunate encounter with church bullies, whom appeared to suffer from what psychologists call narcissistic personality disorder.

  1. Keep Your Expectations Low. We are living in very disordered times. Don't expect a perfect church experience.
  2. Watch Your Back. Be careful whom you trust at church, especially when you're just getting to know them. Troubled times breed troubled souls, and many of them gravitate toward church, hoping to find a purpose in life. Sometimes, these people can become extremely territorial and psychologically aggressive.
  3. Change Parishes. If a situation becomes intolerable, and a chief instigator manages to make life difficult, your spiritual life may suffer. Moving away from this toxic environment is probably your best option, even if it means driving a distance to Mass.
  4. Pray a Lot. This can include special prayers for spiritual protection, which I've talked about in the past, and will discuss again in a future post. 
  5. Pray for the Bullies. People who emotionally abuse others are in dire, desperate need of prayer and conversion. We'd hate to have this jeopardize their eternal salvation. We are praying for them to become the people God wants them to be.
  6. Life is Short. This too shall pass. Very soon, for all of us, we'll enter eternity. Will yourself to forgive these bullies. With time, this is possible. Don't let them keep you out of Heaven.



Original Pixabay image by blickpixel

Friday, February 20, 2015

A Church Bully's View of Morality



Church bullies have a strange sense of morality. They are overly focused on one type of sin, which they observe or imagine others engaged in. The predators I've met are very quick to point out if someone isn't dressed modestly enough, if their children are not dressed appropriately or if someone's marital situation is not in accordance with God's commandments.

These folks also love to dredge up past sins (of others), and talk about them to anyone who will listen. They seem to forget that going to confession with sincere repentance means that a person gains God's forgiveness. If He forgives someone, then we should as well. (This blog is written from a Catholic perspective, but all are welcome to read, follow and comment.)

Also, they seem oblivious to the fact that if God is keeping someone alive, He dearly loves them. We must do the same.

Curiously, these abusers become almost obsessed with one type of sin. But there are others, which are also highly immoral. For instance, slander, gossip and bearing false witness against your neighbor are downright evil. So is conspiring to drive an individual or a family from a parish or other place of worship. But, somehow, church bullies turn a blind eye to their own failings.

Morality means so much more than simply living a chaste life, and expending a considerable amount of energy to make sure others are doing the same.

Original Pixabay image by Bonnybbx

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Church Bullies are Self Righteous


The church bullies I've met share a common trait. They spent a lot of time pointing out the foibles of others. But, apparently, they don't have enough insight into their own wretchedness, which we all suffer from, to curb their own deviant behavior.

I've mentioned this in earlier posts, both here and on my Female Bullies blog, but it's worth repeating. Church bullies are often what is known as "covert narcissists." They are often difficult to spot, because they appear so holy, and unassuming.

From what I've seen, and from what's been reported elsewhere, these "meek and mild" narcissists are drawn to religious settings. There, they find fertile ground to maneuver themselves into positions of authority. This can be either a formal office they hold within the parish, or it can simply mean seizing control of all social activities.

Spotting covert narcissists, before getting too involved with them, can save you a lot of time and trouble down the road. If you are targeted by one, he or she will work relentlessly to drive you from your parish. However, they don't give away too many clues, and they have taught themselves to blend in so well that they can fool even the experts.

However, one sign, if you see it in a church person, is over-the-top self righteousness. Pay close attention to this one.

Pixabay image top by Nemo

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Group Think Can Also Happen at Church


Earlier this week, on my Female Bullies blog, I talked about the role of "group think" in a mobbing situation.

Group think can also happen in churches. This is a psychological phenomenon in which the dynamics of a particular group are not conducive to the individual critical thought process. Instead, people will march in lock-step with a highly charismatic leader, or a team of leaders. All discussions are then engineered so that the group will arrive at a predetermined conclusion, decided upon in advance by the people running the show.

It may appear as if there's a real debate going on. But this may be staged, just to make it appear as if it's a more democratic process. Narcissists and sociopaths, found in all walks of life, even at church, are extremely clever and very good at manipulating people and situations.

So, it's this "group think" dynamic that can result in a social mobbing, in a parish, in the church choir, on a committee or in a religious education program.

Narcissists love power and they love to run things. They will seize any opportunity to push people around. Churches offer them the perfect venue, especially if the pastor is outnumbered by a narcissist's flying monkeys.

Although group think is not always a bad thing, because sometimes groups and committees need to agree, in order to move forward, it can also be a highly destructive force when a church bully is running the show.

Pixabay image top by geralt