Sunday, 30 March 2014

Egos in the Church

In America, the phrase "a chip on your shoulder" means that kids put wooden chips, not a potato chip, on their shoulders and others had to knock these off. The phrase now means something else, as the poster.

disputandi pruritus ecclesiarum scabies

Sir Henry Wotton, (d. 1639) said this and it will be the death of the Church in Great Britain, from the inside out. As an American observer, who lived in England for almost 13 years, I can say that the biggest obstacle to the power and strength of the one, true, holy, apostolic and Catholic Church is the propensity to argue, constantly.

Arguing about things that matter belongs to the conference table, where things hammered out behind closed doors, such as pro-life policies for lay groups, or the necessity for women to either stay-at-home or work, which must be a personal decision, creates a climate of hatred and ill-will.

Until the laity learn to work together in England, Wales, Scotand, Northern Ireland, and, indeed, Ireland, the Church will stumble along like a sick, old man, instead of like the warrior Church Militant.

Why the squabbling? One reason. Egos out of control.

There is in classical argument and debate, both of which I have taught, three absolutely necessary techniques or skills for excellence in disputing points.

The first is complete objectivity. One cannot argue from a subjective position, the "me" position.

The second involves facts, not emotions, not opinions, but facts based on truths. The person or debate team with the better facts wins.

The third is humility. Humility allows one to listen and learn.

The stubborn mind cannot be open enough to stop talking long enough to listen and grow.

For the Catholic lay person, male or female, the bottom line of humility comes in prayer. Prayer brings self-knowledge and self-knowledge leads to repentance.

I suspect the person who must argue about something all the time. This is a person with either the proverbial chip on the shoulder, or one who has fallen into a state of constant dispute, looking for arguments, looking for enemies.

Too many trads fall into the argumentative mode. This mode defines them after a while. No longer can such a  person love, as love comes from humility.

Egos get hurt, persons feel left out, persons have to be heard, over and over and over.

I, for one, have little time for the person who is always in a state of argument, debate, or pique.

A person whose vanity lies so close to the surface that intelligent debate descends into subjectivity, both feeling put out and name calling, weakens the Church by continuing this type of edginess in the market place.

Sadly, twitter and com boxes are full of such the chip-on-the-shoulder types.

But, Holy Mother Church suffers from the immaturity and hissy fits of Her children.

Even Christ had something to say about this point.

Luke 9:46-62

46 And there entered a thought into them, which of them should be greater.
47 But Jesus seeing the thoughts of their heart, took a child and set him by him,
48 And said to them: Whosoever shall receive this child in my name, receiveth me; and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth him that sent me. For he that is the lesser among you all, he is the greater.


  1. Humility is one of the greatest lessons... Also one of the most difficult.

    The struggle of purgation is shedding the ego/pride.


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