Sunday 21 August 2011

Why are they so miserable?

I'm continually struck by how angry, unhappy and, frankly, messed-up anti-Catholic protesters always seem to be. Looking at the photos of "protesters" verbally attacking young pilgrims at WYD in Madrid made me feel physically sick: it was as though the "protesters" were trying to destroy the peace and happiness they saw manifested before them. As though they, having rejected the pearl of great price, wanted to snatch it from the hands of the pilgrims and trample it underfoot.

Photo: Reuters 
(twitch of the mantilla to Joe @ Defend Us in Battle)

Compare the posture of the pilgrims with that of the person confronting them. Contrast the scabs on the central girl pilgrim's knees with the bitter accusatory look on the figure to the right. There are more photos that tell the same story on the Reuters website.

Perhaps some good may come from this darkness: Fr. Ray Blake writes about a lapsed Catholic woman who's came back to the Church as a result of comparing and contrasting the faces of the pilgrims and protesters at last years's Papal visit.
 She saw the the anti-Pope snarling mob led by Dawkins and Tatchel, with their plastic devil horns and inflated condoms, sex "toys" and angry faces and she saw the sheer joy of those cheering the Pope and the banners carried by the enthusiastic youth. She said it wasn't about arguments, it was about faces. Dawkins & co. glaring and hopeless, those who were there cheering the Pope full of hope and smiling - anger and joy, hate and love

Hopefully in Madrid comparing and contrasting the the pilgrims and protesters will bring about similar conversions of heart.

All this week whenever I've seen photos like the one above, lines from Matthew 18 have kept coming to mind:

[6] But he that shall scandalise one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea. [7] Woe to the world because of scandals. For it must needs be that scandals come: but nevertheless woe to that man by whom the scandal cometh.

I find it hard to pray for people like the so-called protesters, but I suppose they are the ones in most need of our prayer. It is hard to muster charity for those so intent on destroying the faith and happiness of others.

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