Friday, October 24, 2008

How do you react when you feel attacked?

I recently got an email criticizing me for the below homily that I preached last weekend at my university parish. The email was, frankly, pretty stereotypical in it's criticism of me. It complained that I talked about abortion and gay marriage while endorsing my statements about the war. It also inferred that I am responsible both for abortion bombings and the murder of Matthew Shepherd because I preach about abortion and gay marriage. And, the person thought that I brought unnecessary stress in the congregation's life by joking that I was going to endorse a candidate and then deciding not to. The person asked if I heard the gasps from the congregation at that point in the homily, which I didn't because there weren't any.

I resolved at one point not to respond to angry emails because all it does is make me mad and not further the conversation. Email is too impersonal. It's easy to say hurtful things without having to look people in the eye when you do so. But, I got pretty angry at this email and, frankly, felt like the prophet who could hold himself in no longer. I felt like I had to answer this person. Nonetheless, I wanted to answer what I perceive as rather typical cries of complaint with an atypical response. But, looking through it again, I'm afraid I merely gave the person exactly what was expected. Please join me in praying for the person, that my email will be more of a source of conversion and less a source of exile

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