Diaconal Cheap Shot

Pat Archbold over at Creative Minority Report (CMR) has a knack for tracking down the best and the worst in ecclesial life, usually in his homeland, the USA. Recently he re-blogged a video put up by Deacon Sandy of Good Shepherd parish,  Menomonee Falls, in the diocese of Milwaukee. In one of the cruel twists of this fallen world’s disorder, he has been appointed to lead this parish. In this video Deacon Sandy provided an introduction to the parish, and despite his PC enthusiasm it was a depressing experience. He was upset when his video gained negative attention, not least on CMR. Having conceded that he would need to rethink his approach Pat agreed to take down the video, taking Sandy at his word. That appeared to have led to a resolution that looked positive for both parties.

So now Pat at CMR, with the help of Ben Yanke, has found a homily from only 10 days ago in which Deacon Sandy gratuitously insults Benedict XVI. And I mean gratuitously. It is the zenith of the genre of the cheap shot, focusing (as all these people do) on the papal red shoes (as if Benedict was the only pope ever to have worn them). He gets a fact wrong too – they were not Prada. So it is a cheap shot with a seasoning of untruth and lashing of injustice gravy. The video from Ben via Pat is below – the relevant bit starts at 9 minutes 55 seconds (in case the embedding code does not work!):

The egregious Sandy clearly implies to his co-religionists that Benedict XVI is not one of the tolerable clerics who dresses finely “for good reasons” but some, like Benedict XVI, wear “finery” because, “unlike us secular folks”, for him it is an “issue of self-esteem”.

Sandy got one thing very much right – he, and those who joined him in snide and mocking laughter, are certainly “secular folks”. I can only hope that others sitting in that church were equally as appalled as Pat, myself and others at Sandy’s abuse of the pulpit and his mandate to preach God’s word. He, and his co-religionist mockers, show themselves to be the smug, self-righteous little crew that has ever been a danger in the history of Christianity. Oh, how insightful they are, these wise ones. Yet I wonder if that Powerpoint projection system is really necessary, or just an extravagant (and ugly) way of camouflaging the vacuity of Sandy’s preaching? After all, he told Pat that the parish cannot afford kneelers (and thus they never kneel. What a surprise.)

Mockery is rarely appropriate. Unjust mockery, the cheap shot – never. In fact, I doubt it is ever just to mock any pope, even the ones who were personally or morally flawed, even the ones we just do not like. Their office demands they be given a level of respect since they act as Christ’s Vicar. However, since Sandy has revealed his true colours Pat has re-posted the original video (also found on Ben’s page with other Sandy horrors). If you look at it, it would be no injustice or cheap shot to mock Sandy and the perversion of Catholicism he espouses. Given his abuse of his preaching office, such mockery would be just indeed. What a nasty little man. What on earth is he doing running a parish?

One might suspect that any self-esteem issues lie more with Sandy than they ever would with Benedict XVI. Benedict XVI was humble enough in his own self-assessment to step down from an office, the gravest and most solemn office, which he felt unable to continue to fulfill. While I am not convinced that Benedict XVI was totally accurate in his self-assessment, yet Sandy would do well to imitate the pope he mocks and step down. His parish deserves better than it seems to be getting.

Sorry if anything above sounds intemperate. This Sandy appalls me. Immensely.

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12 thoughts on “Diaconal Cheap Shot

  1. Annamaria says:

    It would be better if deacon Sandy worry about his own soul and not the sole of the Pope’s shoe. Dosen’t he understand that good shoes will take you to good places. The Pope certainly does.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As someone who is often regarded as an “uncharitable traddy” it is nice to be given an example of how I should behave.

    Like

  3. Father, have you seen the response from Deacon Sandy?

    http://www.creativeminorityreport.com/2014/03/deacon-sandy-responds.html

    He didn’t realise the picture was of Pope Benedict.

    Like

  4. Not only is this fellow not a “good” catholic, he is not a “good” Christian—sadly his ego seems to take precedence over any semblance of spirituality —
    And somewhere along the line he also failed learning manners, respect and that whole lead by example thing—chalk another one up for this “modern” christian movement business–
    Prayers offered that hearts and eyes may be opened to Truth and Grace

    Like

  5. Fr Bede says:

    Dom, I’m so enjoying your blog. It and coffee start my day off well. Apropos Sandy: we have become a Church of illiterates when it comes to ‘reading’ our own symbol system. We substitute secular concepts about things such as humility. Shoes after all, are shoes. Black shoes or red shoes fulfil the essential functional requirements of footwear in either case. There isn’t really any issue of humility at stake here. What is at stake is a whole Catholic world of sacred symbolism. Our religion is rapidly becoming a closed book for many Christians struggling to be faithful Catholics in our increasingly antinomian society.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Fr Hugh says:

      Dom Bede, how kind! I quite agree with your point. What came to my mind with his fixation on shoes and humility was that somehow he was not seeing the forest for the trees. But in hindsight, that seems too generous an image.

      Pax semper.

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  6. p says:

    yes it was a cheap shot at Benedict who is a humble man. But I ask you is your post one of brotherly love towards Sandy? Calling your brother in Christ a ‘nasty little man’ is not, in my opinion, Christlike.

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    • Fr Hugh says:

      It is quite fair to call me to account for the language I use. In our anger we can fall into the same sins we condemn.

      However, let us analyse my phrase. “Nasty” – someone who makes snide, sarcastic remarks about others behind their backs is indulging in nasty behaviour. Yes, he was nasty as far as I am concerned.

      “Little” – putting others down is usually a sign of low self-esteem, a need to drag others down since one does not feel able to rise to their level. Since his target was a great man, Sandy’s behaviour rather suggests he is a little man psychologically and spiritually.

      “Man” – this is not in doubt, is it?

      So I am afraid I stand by my description of him as he behaved. Fraternal correction is commended by St Paul. And if you really want to bring in “Christ-likeness”, then you might recall Christ calling the Pharisees “you serpents, you brood of vipers” (Matt 23:33, and again at 12:34), or “you whited sepulchres” (Matt 23:27). Not that I am saying that I am Christ-like at all. Far from it. But Christ was not really a hug-a-tree and whisper-sweet-nothings sort of man.

      Moreover, it seems Sandy repents of his actions, and I doubt he will ever do it again – on camera at least. He has been called out, and a good result has been achieved. A good result for everyone.

      Pax.

      Like

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