Saturday, December 2, 2017

Father Ray Blake and Poor People


I recently wrote a blog post in which I showed the deceitfulness of a a blog post by Father Ray Blake which was linked to by Father John Zuhlsdorf.  Both of these priests are radical traditionalists who believe the Catholic Church is basically in apostasy with the exception of the traditionalists, who are the only real Catholics left in the world.

In my post, I referenced another blog post by Father Blake in which he talks about the poor and homeless and what a pain in the a-- they are.


Father Blake's post about the poor received attention from the secular media because of its harsh description and apparent rejection of the homeless by a Catholic priest.  However, I did not mention that Father Blake tries to redeem himself at the end of his post.
. . . even in our pain and suffering we can grow complacent, 'the poor' challenge our complacency. They interrupt our comfort, our prayer, our routine bringing the mess of their lives into our lives.
 . . . 
The sin of the Pharisees, of the rich man in the story of Dives and Lazarus is complacence. The rich man didn't even notice the mess that Lazarus created at his front door, he didn't respond to it, he needed someone to bring him out of his complacency.
My big difficulty with confession at the moment is that I have grown complacent in my lifestyle, I don't want it changed, the message of the Gospels seem to be let the poor into it to mess it up a little.
There were not just a few bloggers who rushed to defend Father Blake against the charges brought by the secular media.  One person who commented on my blog respectfully suggested that I also need to revise my opinion of Father Blake's attitude towards the poor.  After all, he does say they help us spiritually, doesn't he?

So Father Ray tells us in the first part of his article how disgusting and disruptive the poor are, but he mitigates this by stating that we need the poor to shake us out of  complacency.  First he is disgusted by them, and then he says that he needs them for his own salvation.

But there is a very important element missing from Father Blake's message. He tells us, "The sin of the Pharisees, of the rich man in the story of Dives and Lazarus is complacence."  Complacence?  Was "Be Not Complacent" the message of Jesus Christ?

Where is Father Blake's concern for the poor and homeless?  Can he possibly get past his own needs and how he is either disgusted or how he benefits?   Where does Father Blake tell us that we must actually learn to love the poor?  That just does not seem to figure into his message.  Would you feel loved by someone who said you are disgusting, but you have worth because you are good at shaking people out of complacency?

Look at one of the greatest saints of the 20th Century, St. Teresa of Calcutta. She lived her life caring for the poor and homeless.  She would literally go into garbage dumps and pull people out. She would lift people out of the gutters and carry them on her back.  We can only imagine how "disgusting" that was. These people were probably covered with rotting, stinking garbage, flies, maggots and their own wastes.  Did she secretly feel these people were disgusting but she helped them anyway because it benefited her?

What was Mother Teresa's attitude towards these poor souls?
“I see Jesus in every human being. I say to myself, this is hungry Jesus, I must feed him. This is sick Jesus. This one has leprosy or gangrene; I must wash him and tend to him. I serve because I love Jesus.”
- Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa loved Jesus Christ with her entire being, and she served others because she knew that was the best way she could serve Our Lord.  Did Mother Teresa see the poor as "disgusting"?  She saw Jesus in the poor, and that filled her with love, not disgust.  She didn't hold her nose and help the poor because it was "good" for her.  She didn't give her life to the poor because it would shake her out of complacency. It never occurred to her to give to the poor because it would be beneficial to her in any way. She gave to the poor because she loved their Champion, Jesus Christ.

I must admit that for most of my life I felt completely disgusted at the sight of homeless people.  I would never think of giving to anyone begging for money.  I didn't even go so far as Father Blake in thinking that it might benefit me to help the poor.  I would just hurry by them and put them out of my mind as fast as I could.

The truth is, I was much poorer than any of those asking for help.  That drunk laying in the gutter was likely much closer to God than I ever was.

Jesus directed his ministry to the poor and rejected of society.  He never shunned them in any way. Our Blessed Mother put it so well:
He has scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and has exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich He has sent away empty.

Father Blake is right.  We do need the poor. But Father Blake is so wrong when he says the greatest sin of the Pharisees or of the rich man is "complacency."  Their sin, as with all of us, was their inability to love.

The poor can do far more than shake us out of complacency.  They can teach us how to love, truly love, with no thought for ourselves.  They can teach us how to completely give of ourselves.  We can give them material goods, but they will lead us to Christ.

Don't let your motivation be only how you benefit.  Ask Christ to fill you with true love for the poor as we saw so beautifully in St. Teresa of Calcutta.   Ask Our Lord to let you see Him, just as she did.  Forget about yourself, and follow St. Teresa of Calcutta's lead, and just love.


21 comments:

  1. Catholic in Brooklyn, what do you have to say about the recent scandals involving Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer, and Garrison Keillor? Do you know about Leah Darrow, a former contestant on "America's Next Top Model"? Leah is a strong Catholic who has spoken out about chastity and modesty.

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    1. I think it is so ironic that as our culture has fallen into complete immorality, considering sex as no more than shaking someone's hand, we have at the same time become very sensitive to those who use sex to abuse others. This kind of sexual abuse has always happened between men and women, but it seems only only now that we are recognizing it. We live in very strange times. But this is a very good turn of events.

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  2. Dear Lady,

    I think this latest post of yours is definitely an improvement! It's true, you did "reference" Father's post in your original post, however you did not link to it! You only linked to the Daily Mail hit piece. It took me a lot of searching to find Father Blake's original post.

    I must ask: Did you read his 2013 post before wrote your original post about it? I do have a high opinion of you and I CANNOT IMAGINE you sneering at him in your first post IF you had actually read what he wrote. (not that I have anything against sneering...it can be earned and effective)

    Father Blake is not at all as you paint him (as a modern day Pharisee or even a conservative Republican!).

    I think you are right that he would define love for the poor more as actions, verbs on their behalf--INDEPENDENT of and even despite personal FEELINGS of revulsion. You now seem to be condemning him for denying that love is a feeling, or for saying complacency leads us to hell.

    He's right isn't he?


    In American terms, Father is much more a Democrat than a Republican with regards to social justice as can be seen here

    http://marymagdalen.blogspot.com/2006/08/on-option-for-poor.html

    and here

    http://marymagdalen.blogspot.com.es/2007/09/dives-and-lazarus.html

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    1. The two posts you link to are again not about love for the poor, but that we had better help them in order to save our own souls. Fr. Blake does not seem to believe in actually respecting the poor or valuing them as human beings. Fr. Blake is a staunch traditionalist and he is all about rules. We should care for the poor because if we don’t, we will go to hell. And to say that the rich man is guilty not of a lack of love but of complacency?? Have you ever read the verse about giving our bodes to be burned, giving all we have to others, but if we don’t have love, it means nothing. If Fr Blake actually had respect and love for the poor, he would never see them as disgusting but as Jesus in disguise as St Teresa of Calcutta did.

      I stand by my post. And no, I did not read his original post the first time I wrote of him. That is my bad, but reading the post only confirms my view of his writings.

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    2. >>>>complacency:a feeling of smug or uncritical satisfaction with oneself or one's achievements.<<<

      Ma'am, please do not tell me you don't see complacency as a spiritual hazard. My image of you will suffer immeasurable harm!

      regarding 1 Corinthians 13, I think it is difficult to see what St. Paul is talking about. he seems to be linking alms giving with some form of suicide, surrendering one's body for self-immolation and some translations wrap the sentence up 'that I may boast'. That latter phrase would make it harmonize with what our Lord said about doing things so to be seen by others.

      What I cannot accept about this passage is the interpretation that LOVE is a kind of FEELING or SENTIMENT that one needs to have, and -prove me wrong please!- that is how I understand you.
      i.e. 'I must have warm feelings in my heart when I help someone...or I would be just as well off not lifting a finger!'

      I really think there are two basic reasons for performing a corporal act of mercy: either as an act of penance to please God, or as an act of self promotion as mentioned above. Maybe I could do it to feel good about myself with no intent of pleasing God, or just cause I feel like helping people, again with no intent of pleasing God. But these latter two examples probably fall somewhere in between the two extremes.

      Regardless of people's motivations for acts of mercy, I think it is best for our own souls, if we do not consider ourselves competent to judge them.

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    3. Have you really read Fr Blake’s posts? No where in his posts does he talk about the dignity of the poor. He just tells us that we need to respond to them because otherwise we will go to hell. Of course complacency is a bad thing. I struggle with it myself. That is not the point. The point is that Fr Blake seems to view the poor only as a means to an end, which is his personal salvation. That is what St Paul is talking about in I Cor 13. You can *do* all the right things but if you are only doing it to benefit yourself, then it means nothing. And no, I am not talking about feelings. St Teresa of Calcutta lived most of her life in spiritual darkness, sometimes to the point where she questioned the existence of God. Most of the time she felt nothing at all. Yet, everything she did for the poor was done for them, not for her own benefit. She saw Christ in the poor and that is why she lived her life for them. Fr Blake says we must care for the poor not because they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect but but because it will get us into heaven.

      I cannot make it any clearer than that, if you still don’t understand, there is nothing more I can say. The poor are not just a means to an end.

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    5. CIB>>>Fr Blake says we must care for the poor not because they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect<<<

      Ma'am, here are two more helpful links about your 'punching bag' and his attitude towards the poor...

      http://marymagdalen.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/bill-gardner-unscrupulous-journalist.html

      http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/commentandblogs/2017/09/26/how-a-priest-made-mps-squirm-at-the-launch-of-catholics-for-labour/

      First off: I do appreciate your patience.

      2nd off: It is my opinion that you, dear one, have made a snap judgment about Father Blake in your first post and now you are having to spend ink trying to back up your snap judgment by getting more and more judgmental and more extreme.

      Was it when you were a Catholic traditionalist when you felt you could rush by the poor and not help them? if you had investigated a little further into Fr. Blake, you would have seen that that has never been his 'brand' of traditionalism. But now you've trapped yourself and you have to keep making more extreme claims...

      like saying that people who threaten you with hell for not helping the poor do not really respect the poor's dignity and only see them as a means to an end...Really? Our Lord never said anything like 'you can go to hell for not helping the poor'?

      Here's an easier fix for you: just use 'find and replace' and and go back into your articles and replace Father Blake's name with some rigid hateful traditionalist whom you know for certain does not run a soup kitchen 365 days a year!

      You are accusing and calumniating and detracting an innocent man. That should give you pause.

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    6. I don't mean to offend you or get intoo a fight with you but Jesus did say that you would be judged on works. Good works include helping the poor. If you will read the whole chapter of Matthew 25, you will see Jesus condemning people for sins of omission, not just commission. If you read another passage on it (do not know it from the top of my head) many of these people call Him Lord (implying faith) and are prophets and miracle workers (having charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit)--and yet they are condemned. Read the Haydock commentary with the 4 gospels. Jesus set the bar so high you can go to hell for not helping the poor!

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    7. KC, I feel like I am talking to a wall. You don’t answer any of my statements, and the posts you link to only prove my point more. The reason Fr Blake was attacked by the secular media is because his original post spoke so disparagingly of the poor. As I originally wrote, he tried to mitigate that by saying we need the poor to shake us out of our complacency. And my response is that even though Fr. Blake is right about the effect of the poor on the rest of us, he is still wrong overall.

      St. Paul wrote in I Cor 13: “If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,BUT DO NOT HAVE LOVE, I gain nothing.” WHAT we do is not as important as WHY we do what we do. If you love someone, you do not say on the one hand that they disgust you, as Fr. Blake did with the the poor, and then try to mitigate that by saying, well you are still worthwhile because I need you to get to heaven. In all of the links you provided, none of them talk about the dignity of the poor. As I have written over and over again, Fr Blake sees the poor as a means to an end, which is his salvation. If he truly loved them, he would never have disparaged them as he did in his original post.

      KC, I know you won’t accept this truth about Fr Blake because you don’t want to, but it doesn’t make it any less true.

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    8. Ma'am,

      I can't accept any 'truth' that requires me to believe you are competent to judge what's in a man's heart and you just keep assuring me that you are.

      What I do see is that the 'newspaper' Argus is pro abortion, etc. therefore they see Father Blake as the enemy and will attack him, even for running a soup kitchen every day of the year for the homeless.

      You are against traditionalists therefore you see Father just as much 'the enemy'as does the Argus. This is why you swallowed Argus' hit piece hook-line-and-sinker. You were eager to find dirt and you thought, wrongly, that you were onto something.

      Stop placing yourself above people and judging them.

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    9. I am not judging Fr. Blake's heart. I am merely responding to his words. And you have shown nothing that refutes that. Why didn't you comment on my blog post which shows how deceitful he is in judging and condemning Vatican II?

      I didn't *swallow* anyone's *hit* piece My thoughts are my own, which you know if you have read my blog.

      Seems that you are the one guilty of judging me. I'm curious, do you know Fr. Blake personally?

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    12. My compliments to you for bearing with my outburst! No, I haven't met Fr. Blake

      CIB....If he truly loved them, he would never have disparaged them as he did in his original post.......

      Ma'am your statement above is a heart judgment. you are implying that you can discern, truly, what's in Father's heart.

      Keep in mind that Father's actions helping the poor, mirror our Lord's. Even though you were entirely ignorant of them when took it upon yourself to condemn him.

      Also keep in mind Father's warning about hellfire--as Unknown points out 4 comments up--only echo's our Lord's warnings. oops. So Father's words and actions are like our Lord's. You must be seeing deeper. i.e. into Father's heart.


      The second half of your above statement about never saying an uncomfortable truth about a loved one is ridiculous!

      It makes me wonder if you have ever been married or even lived in a family. Saying someone's actions disgust you and try your patience and maybe are even your 'ticket to heaven' --all that means you don't love them anymore?? What a snowflakey thing to say! ROFL!!!!

      Forgive me for not getting around to Vatican II, but you led off with such a whopper about Father Blake that I got totally distracted!

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  3. Catholic in Brooklyn, hold your nose and check out the following URL/link:

    https://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/breaking-pope-declares-troubling-interpretation-of-al-authentic-magisterium

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    1. Looks like it's time for a post on this. Thank you, Christopher. The gap between the self-identifying "greatest Catholics of all time" and the Catholic Church is becoming wider and wider.

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  4. Over time it's becoming clear to me that there is no sense of solidarity toward humankind amongst the loudly religious. They do not see different looking humans as their brothers, which is why they can be paranoid about a Muslim invasion for people fleeing from war and bombs or feel no sorrow over the fact that world hunger is easily solvable. Or why people are able to view foreigners or infidels as lesser beings, who are thieves stealing our inheritance (read up on the universal destination of goods). The person dying of an easily treatable disease in the third world is not some unfortunate stranger but your brother, a fellow child of Adam. The world's thinking is that we aren't related to anyone not in our close family or (pagan) ethnic religion, but it follows that, by natural descent, we are members of one family. If we don't want to be like Cain, we ought to realize that we ARE our brother's keeper.

    Yes, many pagans and infidels will use you, not reciprocating several acts of kindness and compassion, but he is a brother who is trapped in spiritual deception. He does not recognize how you're truly his brother as you do him.

    This is my understanding of the gospel. God is uniting all men as brothers with one divine Father. We have to recognize once more the face of our brothers, not as the world or pagan priests teaches, but as Jesus does.

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    1. God bless you!! That is exactly how I feel. And that summarizes the message of Jesus Christ perfectly. There is no human being who is not our brother or sister. There is no one who is expendable. And as you write, there are far too many "loudly religious" who completely reject this message.

      Thank you so much for this comment.

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  5. I consider myself to be a "Street Catholic. Matt 25 is a big direction for me. I write six prisoners and help support them. Whenever I spring for cup of coffee for a homeless person, I always ask his or her name. Believe me: Try that. You'll get a pleasant surprise.

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