September 20, 2018

Waylaid and Off-Kilter

I feel waylaid and off-kiltered by the news of one the early Catholic bloggers (one with extreme high-octane intellect) died in a bicycle accident.  Left a wife and college-age children, about my age.  He was wearing a helmet yet apparently still died of head trauma.  In one of those morbid things I tend to do, I went to his blog and read his last comment to one of his posts. Just feels so sad. 

He was a strong debater but not into ad hominems or straw men attacks, which made him feel like a throwback and the rare seeker after truth.  

I recently encountered someone on FB who had his back up and we got into it. It’s always surprising to encounter rough seas on the FB page of a Catholic, but Lord knows I should be used to that by now.  The funny thing is that my expectations have not altered going way back to circa 2003 when I got blasted by somebody on a Catlick blog for sport.  

Anyway, I was told to do something to myself that is anatomically impossible and is, or would be, against Church teaching. So I’m shocked a Trad(ish) Catholic would recommend I do something to myself against the tenants of the Church.  As is typical in these situations and as my pride is wont, I swung back hard although I didn’t ask him to contravene Church teaching, so there’s that. 

So today I read a lovely post on the same FB page (not the commenter mentioned above but the FB owner) who wrote about trolls: 
One of the clearest evidences that there is life outside of Facebook is that people will endure abusive, offensive comments from friends because they know that there is more to that friend's character than their FB persona suggests. The rest of us have to take it on faith, though...
It's how I know that Christian charity exists, that some people are given chance after chance even after most people would just block them.
And lo and behold my nemesis chimed in and humbly admitted he was trollish and then mentioned the loss of his wife to cancer and I realize that his life and mine may be on the same green earth but he’s seen troubles thus far that I pray I don’t have to endure.

Someone chimed in on the FB post and said, “I am lacking in Christian charity, so I tend not to post controversial things.”   Ditto for me.

And no less than Pope Francis has led the way inasmuch as he says he does not read his critics as it’s not good for his mental health. I think that’s true for most of us. (Although the Holy Father's recent homilies, like Trump's protestation that he never watches CNN, shows that he's at least tuned in to what his opponents are saying.) 

Everyone is going more towards their “natural” political and religious camps given that the unnaturalness of social media encourages spleen-venting and thus the unlikeliness of logic-based, civil discourse.   

The other telling thing is how Pope Francis went through a very dark period during the late ‘80s in which he has to basically just be a priest, which apparently was unsatisfying for the lack of power and influence. He went to a Jewish psychologist for six months of weekly visits for mental health help. This tracks well with his highly ambitious persona (such that he would feel at sea in just being a priest). 

Interestingly, he says he can’t live alone, again for mental health reasons, so that’s why no papal apartments.  This would seem to mitigate the meritoriousness of his eschewing the regal papal apartments.


Mark Shea said...

I am *so* grieved to hear this! He was a friend and as honest as the daylight. We met in person in VA and I spent some time with his family. I feel so bad for them. He took me for ride in his plane out over the Shenandoah.

Oh, this hurts.

If I may ask, how did you learn of this? It's the first I've heard of it.

Eternal memory!

FRLBJ said...

So sorry to hear about this tragic accident. I always think that bicyclists are suicidal when trying to weave around them in car traffic. I also think that the authorities who do not [provide bicycle trails away from cars are actually trying to kill all the cyclists by encouraging them to ride with automotive traffic. I wonder why bicycle helmets are mandated here, but not in countries where there are many, many more cyclists than here. While visiting the Netherlands a couple of years ago, I was struck by the fact of the tremendous bicycle traffic and not a helmet to be seen, not even on children! What is going on with the helmets? I asked a Dutchman about it and he thought that because cyclists there have their own special path apart from cars, that it thus was not necessary to wear a helmet.

TS said...

It does seem like Russian roulette trusting drivers who are increasingly distracted by smartphones to not run into them. Heck I don’t even want to drive a small car given the mismatch between them and SUVs, and a small car is infinite protection compared to a bicycle. Brave folks, those bikers.