Saturday, August 04, 2007

Is there such a thing as a "charitable comeback"???

August 4, 2007 - Feast of Saint John Mary Vianney

Is there such a thing as a "charitable comeback"???

There is an older woman at my N.O. who has the tongue of a viper. She is an elderly woman who has a control issue. She used to be in charge of the sacristy - for years I believe. She "retired", but not really (one friend said she will be directing the workings of the sacristy from her grave.) Our new priest (well, not as new anymore) has (unintentionally) put her on the warpath (especially since the recent Motu Proprio - Summorum Pontificum). She criticizes him freely, to anyone who is in earshot, even if it is him. She saw one friend of mine signing the petition for the Latin Mass (supported by our priest, by the way), and chastised her for it, saying some hateful things about it. I have a feeling there would be a lot more signatures if not for her.

I recognize that she is elderly, and often the elderly don't accept change readily. I am also sure that she has done some good things for the parish. But when it comes to obedience to your priest, bishop, and pope, there is no excuse. I have a feeling if Jesus Christ showed up in the church wearing a robe and sandals, she would criticise him for wearing sandals in the church.

Anyway, I have conversations with her, in my head. Trouble is, I am not good at charitable comebacks - though I think of plenty of UNcharitable ones!

Help a girl out! Do you have any charitable comebacks? Those comebacks that refer to the Motu Proprio, and/or support for the Latin Mass, and/or respect for your priest, will be especially appreciated!

Help me out, so I can win these conversations in my head!

P.s. - Our priest is doing "dry runs" of the Latin Mass. I don't know when his first "real run" will be, but you can bet that I will be there!


MaryT said...

I don't think there is such a thing as a charitable comeback. I think that may-be printing up a few short-ish , fact filled answers to her most common complaints is your only answer. I think the Pieta prayer book has a thing on respecting priests. Good luck!

Lily said...

I was going to say this, but MaryT beat me to it. I would suggest asking Father if you could write up a little informational flyer to insert into the bulletin. If he likes it, it could be put in (likely the church would print them as well) and information will go out anonymously in an educational and non-threatening manner. Maybe write it up first, then show it to father to see what he thinks.

Lily said...

BTW, St. John Marie Vianney is one of my most favorite saints...interesting that you bring up respecting priests on his feast day. Or was that intentional?

bethalice said...

Lily, I am sure it was intentional, but not by me. The credit goes to the Holy Spirit, I am sure. I am far to unorganized! LOL!

BTW, you all are assuming I am going to confront her. I don't think that would make any difference. Although, a charitable reply should, she confront me, would be nice.

Interestingly, she has not confronted me. I am probably the most obvious TLM supporter there (daughter and I are two of the 3 or 4 who veil at Mass), and she knows we attend a TLM an hour away, when we can. In fact, she has always been nice to me. Perhaps she is scared of me! LOL!

Rae said...

I sometimes reply "Thanks, I'll think about that," or "I'll consider that." (But I'm not sure how charitable it really is, since an edge of sarcasm inevitably creeps in!) However, people generally don't know how to respond to it, since it closes the conversation while avoiding the fireworks that they often oh-so-desperately desire.

Like Lilly, I like MaryT's idea of inserting some non-threatening PR material into the bulletin.

Christopher said...

Pray for her...

that may be the ony thing that can save this situation

Dust I Am said...

Have you considered asking the woman some questions that would cause her to look inward into her own motivations and soul? Like, "Do you think the Church would be better off without decisions such as the Motu Proprio?" "Why?" "How should we deal with the problem of [take your choice!] in the Church today" "Do you think young people are attracted to old things?"

By your questions, move her to where she is explaining a point and she will then likely fall into making absurd or irrational or emotional comments--just keep her talking and I think she will get there! Don't argue with her, keep smiling and just keep asking questions so that she has to keep explaining her positions. She'll remember the conversation later, and her memories will not be of your questions, it will be of her poor answers. Then smile at her the next time you meet.

I'm guessing that the poor lady is suffering some pain or loss, and she has too much pride. If you listen to her arguments carefully and then ask questions, she will believe you really understand what she is saying. Of course, what she is saying isn't helpful, and I suspect your questions will allow her to partially see this. Nevertheless, it's a long road to make the woman recognize that some of her arguments reduce to absurdities!

Anonymous said...

funny thing.... the "other priest" that this person loved so much always taught us to love our priests.