Anti-Catholic signs like these are of the type that could be found outside of the L.A. Congress last week – the efforts of a small group of anti-Catholic protesters who show up every year looking for a fight.
Unfortunately, too many Catholics obliged. As I sat nearby, waiting for my shuttle to the airport, I watched with curiosity, frustration, amusement, and anger at the unfolding scene. It always begins with a Catholic deciding he or she needs to stand up for the Catholic Church by engaging these folks in a polite discussion. After the protesters feign dialogue for a few minutes, they unleash their barrage and before long, the shouting begins.
Catholic passersby feel the need to come to the aid of their fellow Catholic(s) who are at this point barely able to get a word in. What I find amusing is that each Catholic that “steps to the plate” feels like they have the answer (it’s like watching guys line up at the carnival to show their strength by swinging a sledgehammer to ring the bell…each one fails but the next one is sure he can do better) . They step in, deliver their salvo, and within a few minutes, find themselves going toe-to-toe in a shouting match. Among those who attempted to persuade the anti-Catholics was a young priest who ended up with the same results. I was especially disappointed that the priest didn’t just call all the Catholics to step away, invite them to pray for the protesters, forgive them for their bigotry, quietly pray the Nicene Creed to affirm our Catholic beliefs, and then disperse.
I watched this go on for about a half-hour and resisted the temptation to insert myself knowing that I would fare no better than anyone else…these folks are not there to dialogue…they are looking to pick a fight.
Catholics, don’t oblige them. Walk away!
That is not a sign of weakness. It requires fortitude…the same kind of fortitude that Jesus showed by keeping quiet as he was being unjustly maligned before his crucifixion.
The saddest part of all was that there was a junior high volleyball tournament going on in the same venue as the Congress and the parents and kids arriving for the tournament all had to pass by this scene. The looks on their faces said it all: why are all these people who say they are followers of Jesus shouting at eachother?