Saturday, May 19, 2012

Words of Discouragement

What does one do when one can't vent?  Blog.

Eugene Delacroix, 1840
Entry of the Crusaders into Constantinople
This is the image of the Crusades most people picture.
I am presently taking a seminar on the Crusades.  The seminar itself is excellent.  However...unfortunately we have an anti-Catholic Orthodox chaplain and a anti-Jew bigot in the discussion.  Obviously the university cannot know about these prejudices before someone enrolls in a class or seminar, but it is frustrating to those of us who chose a Catholic university for a reason.  I don't want to have to defend my faith at a Catholic university.  I'm trying my best not to say anything personal.  I am virtually biting my tongue.  I have tried to gently explain to the bigot that we do not blame the Jews for Christ's "murder" (at least not normal people), that French Jews did not finance or found the Knights Templar, that the Jews are innocent in the Crusades (there were too few of them in Palestine to make a difference), and that the moon is not made of green cheese (just threw that one in for safe measure). 
I have been told by many, many friends that individual Orthodox Christians are just as sincere and just as nice Christians as most Catholics.  I wish this had been my experience.  Since my conversion to His Church 14 years ago, I've experienced lots of unpleasantness from Protestants--I'm not a Christian, I'm a bigot, I'm going to Hell, etc.  But I've experienced much, much worse from Orthodox "Christians".  (I use quotes because I don't consider what I've experienced from them very Christian).  One example:  We used to go to a local Orthodox churches annual heritage day.  After the last time we went, I don't plan to darken their doorway again.  We signed up for the church tour which is the only way you can see the nave and the outside of the sanctuary.  The so-called tour guide wasn't that interested in telling us about his church or his faith so much as wanting to make sure everyone understood they were not Catholics, the Catholic Church split the Church apart, the Catholic Church made up doctrines, the Pope was not the head of the Church nor infallible in anyway, and much more.  I walked out of the tour in disgust.  But, I'm told by a friend that not all Orthodox are like that.  I have terrible experience talking to Orthodox Christians on line; most of whom have spewed anti-Catholic propaganda (things that if we said would be considered "hate speech", but are okay to say to a Catholic.)  Now, there's an Orthodox clergy I have to put up with in a Catholic class.  Why?  What is God telling me?  Pope John Paul II went out of his way to reach out to the Orthodox in an attempt at unity.  He said they were the "other lung" of the Body of Christ.  Honestly, I don't understand why they don't see it that way.  I don't.  Should I hate English people because they tried to eradicate my Irish ancestors a couple of centuries ago?  Cultural hatred is something I cannot fathom.  I'm trying my best not to develop a prejudice for the Orthodox.
(Picture above right is an ancient illustration of the siege of Jerusalem during the First Crusade.)

I am trying my best not to be prejudiced, but some people are making it extremely, extremely hard.  Why can't I take classes without having to explain and defend His Church?  In the world, yes, but at a Catholic University?  Why? 
("Our Lady of the Streets" One of my favorite images of Our Lord's mother.  May she help all her children get along.)

No comments: