What good is “red-pilling” anyway?

There’s a lot of talk about in social media about “red pilling” on this or that about the Catholic Church.

The red pill vs. blue pill is from the movie the Matrix, where the main character is offered a red pill that would enable him to see the reality behind the false dream construction he lives in; the blue pill would enable him to stay “asleep” to reality and remain in the dream.

Let’s say the red pill does wake one up to disconcerting realities of sin in the Church or contradictions in teaching.  How obligated are we to pass this on to others who are content in their Catholic faith and going about their business, that is, if they are not  mired in sin or another Gospel?

People “red pilled” after becoming scandalized, confused or upset by this or that and start looking for answers to confirm whether they are in fact crazy or not.  There is a lot out there in the Catholic internet to confirm almost any reaction, for good or ill.

My spiritual director has shared his concerns  about people being so critical of the Pope or this or that in the Church that consequently they miss how the Holy Spirit is moving.  Do people need to be red-pilled to bring people to Christ?  To serve God in other ways?  Or are the blue-pilled people, who love their Pope because it’s the default position of Catholics to love the Pope,  going to do just fine in the long run.  Is there another way?

I frankly think priests giving homilies at Mass should stick to expounding on the readings and not use Sunday as a time to inject politics or their personal opinions into the mix.  I remember a priest who had  personal opinions that veered towards universalism—-not the bland kind of “everyone goes to heaven no matter what” but based on his personal experience of the overwhelming love of God in the Holy Trinity that he believed would prove irresistible in the end, even to the most hardened sinner. But he also knew this was not the teaching of the Church, and consequently he never promoted his personal opinions, only what the Church has taught.

Even a pope can have personal opinions that do not hold magisterial weight.

The other concern I have about the “red pill” is that one can easily overdose and become angry, and despairing, and become tempted to give place to critical spirits, spirits of division, of rebellion, of contempt.  Then one can fall to temptations of sedevacantism, schism and heresy in the opposite direction to the apparent heresy which one condemns.

If one has “red-pilled”  how does one best think with the Church?

Blue pill or red pill, it is best to be a Catholic of Communion, first and foremost, Communion with Christ.  It is best to be moved by the Holy Spirit who can alone bring about unity in Christ and not to be partisan with one’s elbows up, shoving aside those with whom one disagrees.   Catholicism is not only about doctrine, as a dear friend told me this morning, but about love.

 

5 thoughts on “What good is “red-pilling” anyway?

  1. You’re right, it’s easy to OD on red pills. That’s one reason I’m grateful for Lent. If we keep it well, we go into the desert without any baggage or pill bottles. We need to detach from the problems of the world (including the Church’s problems) and keep our eyes on Christ.

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  2. Taking the red pill is good if you resolve ahead of time that whatever disturbing information you learn, you will turn to Christ, and the historic teachings of his Catholic Church to comfort you once it happens. If you don’t do this, the red pill can be dangerous.

    Case in point, woke Catholics (meaning those who have been awoken by taking the red pill) have learned much disturbing information about Pope Francis and the Vatican in general, in addition to corruption throughout the Church in Europe and the Americas. But at the same time, the red pill has shown us that this corruption was planted by communist moles in the early to middle 20th century. Once you know that, you should be able to understand that the Church’s historical teachings remain in spite of it, and that we only need to seek personal reconciliation with the last 2,000 years of Church teaching, while ignoring anything that contradicts that. If we resolved to remain faithful to Christ and his Church ahead of time, taking that red pill should only lead us to being better Catholics.

    I think the red pill becomes dangerous when we don’t make that resolution in advance. When we allow what we learn to influence our faith, we’re going to end up in trouble. In the end, we have to ask ourselves; “do we place our faith in Christ and his Church, or do we place our faith in the men who run the Church?” It should always be the former, not the latter. For the latter will always disappoint in one way or another.

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  3. “My spiritual director has shared his concerns about people being so critical of the Pope or this or that in the Church that consequently they miss how the Holy Spirit is moving. ”

    That is just insufficient red-pilling. One must grow in truth. As our Lord said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” The Red Pill is just the first step.

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  4. Our Lord himself is the Truth, so the metaphoric “red pill” is the choice way of true faith. Indeed, Lent is precisely the time when the church tells us to take that red pill, no matter how terrifying it may seem to face what we don’t know.

    Having said that, it is far too easy to blame current leaders for situations that they inherited, but with which they are trying to deal in an effective manner. Bishops appointed to dioceses with widespread problems in the ranks of their clergy are between a rock and a hard place — if they remove the problem clergy from ministry, they won’t have enough clergy left to staff their parishes. The best that they can do is a combination of remedial formation for clergy who are lacking coupled with better training for current and future seminarians. And in dioceses with a large number of clergy engaging in sexual abuse of others, the abusers are typically are a small part of the real problem. Such dioceses typically have a “good ol’ boy” network among their clergy that embraces and enables clergy who live duplicitous lives which undermine the gospel and that fosters dereliction of pastoral duty manifest in shoddy celebration of the liturgy, shoddy preaching, and grossly defective catechetical formation. When such a “good ol’ boy” network gains control of the diocesan clergy personnel board, the diocesan seminary, and the diocesan vocations office, they tend to recruit and form new clergy into the same mold — those who should be weeded out in seminary instead get promoted while those who are worthy get a lot of encouragement to seek their vocations elsewhere, and the situation deteriorates rapidly. It’s not easy for a new bishop, typically arriving from another diocese with little “inside knowledge” of the situation, to cut through this and get to the root of the problem — and even if he does figure it out, what, practically, can he do about it without drawing the ire of large numbers of parishioners for their parishes that he no longer has enough clergy to staff?

    The bottom line here is that the current problem did not come into being overnight, and it is going to take a long while to solve it completely. But as baptized lay members of Christ’s faithful people, we do have clear responsibilities.

    >> 1. Above all, we need to pray for our bishops and those who assist them who are working to solve the problem as best they can — and perhaps even more fervently for the conversion or removal of those who are part of the problem.

    >> 2. We need to do what we can to assist in solving the problem. This begins with reporting known instances of abuse to the proper authorities, both ecclesiastical and civil. Additionally, those among us who have relevant professional skills or specialized training should be willing to contribute whatever we can, Such contributions can range from psychological/psychiatric and medical evaluation to serving on the various councils that assist and advise the bishops and their assistants.

    >> 3. We need to do whatever is within our capacity to assist the victims of abuse to find healing and to recover from the ill effects of the abuse. This, again, may take on different forms according to our professional skills or specialized training.

    >> 4. It goes without saying (but I’m going to say it anyway because someone surely will take me to task if I don’t) that we need to remain firm in our commitment of faith, living in the light of the Lord in a manner that gives witness to who we are and in whom we truly believe.

    Let us proceed together on the journey of Lent!

    Norm.

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