Merridith Frediani considers how cancel culture has caused Catholics to be afraid of speaking truth.
Nevertheless many even of the authorities believed in Him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, lest they should be put out of the synagogue. For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. (John 12:42-45)
This rings true now. What do I believe that I’m afraid to confess for fear of being cancelled or worse? In my silence am I loving the praise of men more than the praise of God? If Jesus were standing in front of me right now and he asked about my inaction, what would be my answer?
“I’m afraid my friends will think less of me.” But are they my friends if they judge me because we disagree?
“I’m afraid of being called names.” But didn’t Jesus bless those who are persecuted because of him?
“I’m afraid no one will want to hang out with me.” But do I want to hang out with the people who would reject me anyway?
Why am I living in fear of the Pharisees?
I see the sadness and brokenness being perpetrated by the lies disguised as truth. I see the anxiety and depression, the ruin of family, the searching for more. I see the division and anger and hate. These are not of God. These are not true, good, or beautiful.
“The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it,” said Catholic writer Flannery O’Connor. The truth is in the Bible in Genesis 1:27 “male and female he created them” and 2:24 “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh.” I know this truth. Why am I afraid to speak it?
I’m afraid because if I speak it, I may be vilified. I may be accused of hating. The thing is, my Catholic faith, the compass by which I live my life, implores me to love those around me and reject sin. If I celebrate someone’s sin, if I encourage it’s continuation, then I am not loving that person. I can love a person and not agree with that person’s beliefs. It’s a both/and situation. I both love this person and disagree with her. I hope she feels the same about me.
Unfortunately in our culture this type of thinking is not allowed. Now, if I purport to love someone, I have to agree with that person. It’s either/or. I either agree with you and therefore love you or I disagree with you and therefore hate you. This is not a healthy way to live nor is it of God.
If I am to truly follow my Catholic compass, I need to reassess this. It has been weighing on me for some time. One day, I’m going to die and when I stand before my heavenly Father and give an account of my life, I want to be able to say that I stood for truth and I risked the praise of men because I prefer the praise of God.
I pledge to do this. I pledge to live my life in love. Silence is not violence -- silence is fear and until we break free from this fear and say what is true, the hate will continue. As Christians, as Catholics, we are called to love people and reject sin. True love is hard, not enabling. True love doesn’t take pride in that which hurts the soul of another. Deep, deep in our hearts, we all know the truth. Do we, do I, have the strength to speak it or am I afraid? Whose praise do I love more -- man’s or God’s?
Copyright 2021 Merridith Frediani
Images (from top): one, Pixabay (2008)
About the Author
Merridith Frediani loves words and is delighted by good sentences. She also loves Lake Michigan, dahlias, the first sip of hot coffee in the morning, millennials, and playing Sheepshead with her husband and three kids. She writes for Catholic Mom, Ascension Press, Diocesan.com, and her local Catholic Herald. Her first book, Draw Close to Jesus: A Woman’s Guide to Adoration, will be published by Our Sunday Visitor in August, 2021.