Taking Offense: An Enemy of Truth

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Taking offense certifies the modern man as one who cares. If we take offense on behalf of another, we can number ourselves among the sensitive and loving. If we take offense personally, we can brandish a stop sign declaring to all that the offense must cease. In either case, the offending words must stop and the conversation must end. For the modern lover never offends. Instead he unfailingly affirms. He affirms us with an “okay” that builds our self-esteem, engenders good feelings, and requires nothing of us beyond self-affirmation.

But can people who love one another do so simply by remaining inoffensive? Is the purpose of love to enhance good feelings and discourage bad feelings? WWJD? What would Jesus do? Frequently, we find a modern interpretation of Jesus that would indeed prioritize feelings, one that asserts “I gotta be me” and “you gotta be you” because, after all, God made us that way and He wouldn’t want to offend us. The fact that the “I” that one has to be, frequently walks over the “you” that somebody else must be, seems largely irrelevant to the modern man. Jesus would certainly love. But what does that mean?

Because we are imperfect humans with our hidden biases, discerning what Jesus would do is more difficult that it seems. However, we can begin with the most basic assumption of love: we do not hurt others. But is being offended equal to being hurt? Certainly, some people offend with the intent to hurt and this is certainly contrary to love. The subjective act of one’s being offended, however, does not necessarily impugn the love of the one offending. Nobody offends the average teenager more than his parents, the ones who love him the most. A parent who does not offend his or her child’s sensibilities either has the perfect child, or has decided that good feelings are more important than challenging the child. Children growing into adults get things wrong before they get them right, whether it be math or morals. The problem is not that the child needs correcting. Correction is the simple give and take of learning that every child requires. The problem is a childlike pride or inflated self-esteem that makes the process offensive to the child. A mother and father do not intend to offend but to engender the greater good of the child. It is a parent’s job to expose the falsehood in both poor arithmetic and the purloined lollipop. A child who sees love in correction will grow up understanding the contradiction between taking offense and seeking truth. A child unable to move beyond personal affront will always find the truth elusive.

Returning to “What would Jesus do?,” the gospels clearly tell us that to love and not offend are certainly not synonymous. Whether you believe in Jesus’ divinity or you think Him simply a wonderful man, He set a standard by which love is judged across religions and across cultures. The modern world loves to claim the Jesus of the Beatitudes as the very essence of caring and love, forgetting that the same Jesus died lonely and forsaken on the cross, not to the crowd’s acclaim but to its disdain. Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen in his Life of Christ makes clear that there is no disconnect between the two. Living the Beatitudes leads to the cross. In his introduction to the chapter on the Beatitudes, he wrote, “But let any man put these Beatitudes into practice in his own life, and he too will draw down upon himself the wrath of the world.” Innocent people who do not offend are not crucified. But an innocent man who speaks the truth with his life and with his words, regardless of personal cost, will offend those challenged by that truth. Not only do we see in Jesus that one who loves may offend, but that offense is in the very nature of love. In the very act of loving, Jesus called out the deceptions of those they seduced. Those offended demanded not a conversation but a crucifixion.

If it is the truth we seek, we must pursue a conversation and not a crucifixion. A society that elevates disagreement to offense will not remain free. By its very nature the false promise demands approval. It cannot stand eye to eye with the truth but must dissemble and discredit it by other means. By its very nature it shuts the conversation down and demands the truth be crucified. Because a falsehood exposed quickly dies, the best deceptions cloak themselves in the guise of love. They are truth distorted, wolves in sheep’s clothing. They appeal to our goodness, telling us what we want to hear and blinding us to things we prefer unseen. Their cunning deceptions offer us a new truth, painting real truth as antiquated and outdated, something for another time, another place, and another people. However, all false promises destroy love. Love and truth go hand in hand. In Jesus love and truth are inseparable. To see one is to see the other. Destroy one and you destroy the other.

Destroying truth requires guile. Great deceptions appear as goodness to those seduced. Assuming the pain of one offended throws a defensive wall around one’s beliefs, immediately calling the love of the offender into question and placing the one aggrieved on high ground. But is it really high ground to demean the intentions of the other and condemn them as hateful? Frequently, the very person who has so judged and condemned another as less loving than himself is the first—when his behavior has been called into question—to declare, “do not judge.” To take offense and to condemn the offender shuts down the conversation and declares the other unworthy. The party that fears it is losing the argument is more likely to shut down the conversation. Reasoned debate often leads to uncomfortable truths.

No one is more likely to shut down a conversation than a man with a chip on his shoulder. Men in every age ably find chips to put on their own shoulders. Our age produces chips in industrial quantities and offers them gratuitously to all comers. A man no longer needs to find and cultivate his own chip. Today’s “reformers” will seek him out and give him one fully grown. But every chip placed invites offense. Every chip placed gives its recipient a reason to feel cheated and offended. Every chip placed shuts down, a little bit more, the conversation that leads to truth. This is the antithesis of love. Each chip centers a man on himself. The man placing the chip on the shoulder of another can marvel at his own goodness, while actually giving nothing of his own. The man receiving the chip sees only the invoice due, not the gift to be given.

Love begins with each man freely removing the chip from his own shoulder. The rich man removes the chip that tells him, “I owe nothing to nobody.” The poor man removes the chip that proclaims to the rich man, “You owe me.” Only with both chips freely removed can the rich man and poor man enter into a conversation, a conversation that leads them to a relationship based on the gift each has to offer. Only when all men, male or female, black or white, rich or poor, or any given x and opposing y, have freely removed the chips from their own shoulders can we truly begin to see good people seeking good in a world of false propositions. Only then can a real conversation begin.

Truth requires free speech. But critics of truth are not satisfied with restrictions on speech. Even silence offends those enslaved by deception. The ascendant lie, the one whose power reaches into a culture’s very core, cannot be ameliorated by silence. Pervasive deceptions require approval, not simple acquiescence. The distortions of Henry VIII required the life of his friend Thomas More, whose conscientious silence Henry refused to accept, demanding instead More’s public approval. In the twentieth century the falsehood that men could be forcefully molded into more perfect men assumed form in communism and fascism. These hubristic barbarisms raised the art of oppression to new levels of inhumanity as nations turned in on themselves, slaughtered large parts of their own populations, and forcefully “re-educated” those remaining. Those still standing were required to live the lie, to goose-step in unison to it, and to turn on neighbors who did not bow to it. There is no sanctuary in what is false, not even in silence.

Good deceptions sedate us before they enslave us. However, it is the very nature of truth to offend, to elicit the cry, “Crucify him!” But, unlike deception, truth cannot take offense without belying itself. Truth sees both the deception and the tragedy of love deceived. That tragedy permits no offense, only sorrow. Truth will die and triumph on a cross before it takes offense. Even though He was the one without sin, the one truly qualified to take offense and to throw stones, Jesus accepted the cross with all its loneliness: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46) Contrarily, the unrepentant criminal repudiated the cross and cried, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” (Luke 23:39)

Truth is not a blunt weapon wielded to bludgeon the deceived. Truth offers more love to those who love incompletely. It rescues good people caught in great deceits. We offer truth, one fellow traveler to another, not to strike one down but to raise the fallen up and to help them on their way. Once embraced, truth is a gift that must be offered. To grasp it as ours alone transforms it into something false. Following Pentecost, the Apostles went forth bearing gifts, not swords. The gift was a truth so compelling they could not contain it. They must pass it on. Doing so brought the wrath of the world on their heads, with each martyred in turn.

The gift of the Apostles is the same gift we must seek and then pass on. To see a fellow traveler mired in a mud of deception he cannot see, and not offer him the light he needs, extinguishes the very light one carries. To offer a light expecting gratitude is to misunderstand the blindness of the mired traveler. Only when the falsehood is killed will he see and understand. If it is truly truth that is offered, the untruth will rage before it dies. One who carries the truth will not see an enemy to be conquered but a man enslaved. He will meet the fury of a lie exposed with the patience of Jesus carrying the cross.

Every age has a false promise with a conversation to shut down. The twentieth century holocausts burned through humanity on the false promise that some men could remake other men. The deceptive promise of the twenty-first century proposes that each man can remake himself into whatever he wants. This is the pernicious promise of the Sexual Revolution with its deceptive allure of “love” and “freedom.” Nothing offends like a critique of modern sexuality. Suggesting error in any of its various facets, whether it be contraception, abortion, gay marriage or the now ever multiplying number of genders, elicits cries of hate, bigotry or homophobia.

The Sexual Revolution tells us that we can destroy our own progeny in the womb and call it good, that a man or woman can “find” his or herself at the expense of others, and that the life-denying act of sodomy is equal to the life creating sexual act. Against Humanae Vitae it has raged and railed, declaring it offensive to the newly understood sexuality, effectively removing it from discussion even in Catholic churches. But a deception’s defense through taking offense is simply a beginning. The Sexual Revolution now seeks the participation of all through mandated insurance policies that have clothed the wolf of moral choices with a sheep’s clothing of medical need. Its advocates declare all objections as religion writ large, as superstition properly banished behind church doors, unworthy of a hearing in the public square. The Revolution insists itself triumphant. It demands the conversation end.

Truth requires conversation. There is no freedom without the free pursuit of truth. And without freedom, there is no love. Love requires choices freely made. Love requires truth because truth leads us to love. When we deny truth we deny love. As love cannot compel, neither does truth. Truth proposes and never demands. It sees the love we strive for and points us to even greater love. Its pursuit requires a conversation where offense is neither intended nor taken. Ultimately, truth tells us who we are and where we are going. Strangely, in a time when every man declares the right to define himself, we are on the verge of closing that conversation down. In a world seeking truth, that is truly offensive.

Pete Jermann

By

Pete Jermann is a self-employed craftsman and homeschooling father.

  • cloonfush

    Simply a great and much needed discussion. I yearn for the day when such topics are addressed in homilies in local parishes around the world. We need priests with courage to tackle such issues and begin to knock some chips off some shoulders.

  • Vinnie

    Truth cannot die.

  • Michael Francis James Lee

    Someone at Crisis Magazine should go over these articles for proper use of punctuation.

  • Ciarán Ó Coigligh

    Thank you for this really excellent article, Pete Germann. I was so impressed by the argument that I failed to notice the punctuation. This is surely a complement to both the argument and the (in-obtrusive) punctuation.

  • GG

    Great essay. We, as a society, cannot wait to claim offense. It is a new sport for people. That is the only “sin” most acknowledge today. Just say you are offended and we are supposed to drop on our faces and plead for mercy. There is never any talk of truth. It is always about perceived offense even where there is no right to be offended.

    Just see any comments on threads about homosexuality and this offense business is front and center.

  • GG

    There is a story going on right now about a Muslim woman in Vermont who was “offended” by a bacon sign. It was on a lamp post and it referred to a diner. The owner of the diner took the sign down and apologized to the woman.
    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/386212/vermont-diners-bacon-sign-taken-down-offending-muslims-andrew-johnson

    • DE-173

      Vermont is the bedroom community and playground of idiots and before anybody contests that- be prepared to contest Bernie Sanders, whose hystrionic and lachrymose pleas against excess never apply to the feral government.

      • GG

        Mostly true, but the incident proves my point. Simply claiming offense is enough for another to be shamed into complying with an absurd request.

        • DE-173

          I’d have told her that if she was truly Muslim, she shouldn’t be speaking to me.

  • montanajack1948

    Way back in the 1950s and 1960s, I was raised Catholic and attended Catholic schools. I clearly recall the list of forbidden books and movies that was posted in the church vestibule; my friends and I consulted the list so we could set our reading and viewing choices accordingly–that is, we eagerly sought out what was forbidden. I bring this up only as an example of how universal is the tendency to want to guard Truth by shutting down conversations. Truth, as Mr. Jermann reminds us, needs no guardians; it will do just fine on its own.

    Taking offense is nothing new; it’s not limited to the Sexual Revolution, and it crosses ideological lines. People take offense at vulgar TV shows and movies, people take offense at the way teenage girls dress or at the way dress codes are enforced (see the recent brouhaha in Oklahoma), people take offense at crucifixes dipped in urine, people take offense at a Black Mass offered in a civic forum, people take offense at a politician’s failure to wear a flag-pin on his lapel, people take offense at the phrase “God damn America” (they should have been around to hear the original Jeremiah lambaste Israel!), people take offense at the phrase “they get bitter, and they cling to guns and religion”…it’s widespread, this taking of offense, and it’s honestly no big deal. It certainly doesn’t stop the conversation, as Mr. Jermann’s article, along with many others, demonstrates.

    • DE-173

      “It certainly doesn’t stop the conversation, as Mr. Jermann’s article, along with many others, demonstrates.”

      Yes it does, and it suppresses the truth, which is what allows error to flourish as people find evasive ways to express the same thing. “Single mom” vs. “Unwed mother” comes to mind. You aren’t allowed to find fault with non-marital coupling, it’s “offensive”.

      • montanajack1948

        And yet the conversation continues–how has it been stopped? Some people may object to some of your terminology (or mine); they may even express to you (or me) their objection. You (and I) remain free to disagree, to adopt different terminology (or not), to defend a particular usage, to change the subject, to walk away, etc. “Evasive ways” to express ourselves are also known as “euphemisms,” and they’re a matter of taste and social custom: “bastard” vs. “illegitimate child” also comes to mind. You’re apparently offended by certain euphemisms and instances of “political correctness,” and you’re expressing yourself here on a public forum–who’s stopping you?

        • DE-173

          Try doing it outside this little square on the public checkerboard.

          Does “Brendan Eich” ring a bell?

          • montanajack1948

            Yes, bell rung, thank you. Of course there are sometimes unfair and adverse consequences to speaking one’s mind–that’s hardly new. In the 1950s, you could have lost a teaching job for teaching Marx (or, in some parts of the country, Darwin), or for exposing your students to, I don’t know, Catcher in the Rye. And trust me, you’d not have been served dinner at my parents’ house if you put in a good word for FDR or JFK. Times change, manners change, etc. Still, Brendan Eich and whatever other isolated cases you want to cite don’t amount to any grand “silencing” of dissent. And come on–let’s not minimize “this little square on the public checkerboard”…

        • GG

          On a message board on this particular website. That is not true elsewhere in this culture.

          • montanajack1948

            Oh, I think there are plenty of other sympathetic venues–not just websites and message boards, but magazines and talk radio and cable TV etc. In my experience, we’re pretty much free to say pretty much what we want pretty much anywhere (not “fire” in a crowded theater, of course); we’re just not free from other people’s reactions. That’s the part of “free speech” I think a lot of folks don’t get–that other people are free to react, and sometimes angrily so. But you know what they say: if you can’t stand the heat, don’t strike up a conversation in a kitchen…

            • Barefoot Momma

              Sure you can talk. But conversation requires active dialogue. This is not possible in the culture of offense the author describes.

              • montanajack1948

                I really don’t think we’re any more of a “culture of offense” than we ever were; I think we’re just offended by different things than we used to be. I’ve lived long enough to see the change, and I’m just as surprised at what is now considered acceptable as by what’s considered (by some) unacceptable. In any case, active dialogue is always possible with some people and not with others; intolerance is not a new phenomenon. I, for instance, am a loathsome progressive/liberal/leftist, yet I find it possible to converse on this site with people who hold different views. Heck, I even enjoy it…

                • DE-173

                  “I, for instance, am a loathsome progressive/liberal/leftist,”

                  You are not a progressive if you are a leftist. There’s nothing “progressive” about the modern left. It is an atavistic desire to subordinate the masses to the elite, and chain reason to the viscera.

                  Of course, I’m not really in a position to dispute your declaration of being “loathesome”.

                  • montanajack1948

                    No, you’ll have to take my word for that. In any case, I used the word “progressive” the way it’s commonly used these days; you clearly don’t accept that, so okay–I’m a card-carrying member of the modern left (where the heck did I leave my card, anyway?). As for my atavistic desire to subordinate the masses to the elite–why would I want to do that? I’m as non-elite as you can get. Must be false consciousness on my part…lots of that going around.

                    • ForChristAlone

                      ..

                    • DE-173

                      the way it’s commonly used these days;”
                      No, the way it was recycled from 100 years ago. Everybody forgot that the left of that time was peddling eugenics, so

                      “why would I want to do that? I’m as non-elite as you can get. ”
                      Lie. The modern left is all about the untrammeled power of the state. I don’t care if you realize what you stand for-but you are for the advancement of the bureaucratic superstate.

                    • montanajack1948

                      But if I don’t realize what I stand for, then I’m not lying about it–I’m just confused, or ignorant, or both. Honest: I am resolutely non-elite, and I do not want the state or anyone else to have untrammeled power (nor does anyone I know, and most of the people I know are also members of the “modern left”). However, that’s kind of a different topic than the one on which we began–how people take (or feign) offense as a way of shutting down the conversation. I’m glad to see that’s not happening here.

                    • DE-173

                      “know, and most of the people I know are also members of the “modern left””
                      No kidding. Who’d have imagined that?

                      Most leftists are quite frankly, rather manipulated, but they like it.

                      It’s the left that has the “talking points memo” for a reason.

                      That you have no access to some politician and merely swoon when he comes on TV makes you no different than the people who assembled with their arms aloft in Nuremberg in the 1930′s, or for that matter the idiots that held lighters aloft in Grant Park. Same sort of mental defect in operation.

                      I realize you aren’t IN the elite, but you support elitist ideas.

                      Don’t hand me the crap that your side isn’t for untrammeled government power. Everything from the left is more government, bigger government. Government first, foremost and always.

                    • montanajack1948

                      And the civil conversation continues, with each side respecting the other’s intelligence, sincerity, and good intentions…or so it goes in my fantasies.

                    • DE-173

                      Civillity starts with honesty. I’m not going to tell you I respect the political left when I find it to be detestable.

                      The left and the gutless has given us 70% illegitimacy rates and 17 Trillion in debt.

                      It is at war with the Church and the truth. The legacy is clear.

                      If you want unconditional approval, watch Barney the Dinosaur or buy a black Lab.

                    • montanajack1948

                      I’ve been (and am being) honest. I think what you actually want is not honesty but agreement (in fairness, we all want agreement, because we all think we’re right). I wasn’t asking for unconditional approval or for approval at all; I’m simply attempting to hold up my end of a conversation in which you continue to accuse me of dishonesty, in which you berate my political beliefs (or your caricature of them) as “detestable,” and in which your tone has become increasingly hostile–all this on a thread spun off a post about how people’s “taking offense” shuts down conversation. I have absolutely no idea what the source of your anger is; all I know is I haven’t done anything to provoke it. I’m sorry to disappoint you, and I certainly can’t speak for “the political left,” but I for one am not at war with the Church or the truth; actually, I’m not at war with anything.

                    • DE-173

                      You talk much, say little. Your denials are the fantasy. You aren’t even honest with yourself.

                      You complain about “hostility” while you traffic in passive aggressive sarcasm.

                      “And the civil conversation continues, with each side respecting the other’s intelligence, sincerity, and good intentions…or so it goes in my fantasies.”

                      How am I supposed to respect the intelligence of somebody that responds to a fact (Brendan Eich) with this drivel:

                      “In the 1950s, you could have lost a teaching job for teaching Marx (or, in some parts of the country, Darwin), or for exposing your students to, I don’t know, Catcher in the Rye.”

                      There’s quite a difference between parents exercising control over the people teaching their children and a man hounded out of a private company he founded.

                      Marxism is an enemy of the Church and humanity. Tens of millions are dead at its altars. It only serves those grasping and covetous of power. It should be taught in schools alongside Nazism as a crime against humanity.

    • GG

      The point is there must be an element of objectivity to being offended or else all is subjective. If it is all subjective then your post offends me.

      • ForChristAlone

        It’s just that there’s a particular political party that makes make a career out of feigning being offended.

    • Tony

      It is one thing to take offense when no offense is intended, and another to take the offense that the offender really does intend; and still another to wish to protect the people whom some offenders intend to hurt.

      It is also one thing to say, “You have hurt me personally,” which is often no more than a touchy and petulant way to stop discussion, and to say, “What you have done here is wrong, and here is why.”

      • montanajack1948

        I think you’ve delineated that quite accurately. And you’re right, plenty of people attempt to shut down discussion by citing (or feigning) their hurt feelings. It’s a cheap tactic, but not a new one. At the same time, there are also plenty of people who, having said or done something egregiously and deliberately offensive, shrug and say “Who, me? What did I say? Jeez, don’t be so thin-skinned.” Neither feigned offense nor blithe insensitivity have to get the last word, however; those who want to continue reasonable discussions just need to soldier on…and, often, find someone else with whom to converse.

  • elarga

    But faithful Catholics often “take offense” over, for example, public acts of desecration of symbols or objects of the faith. Such acts offend the truth and offend us personally, and we often say so.

    So I am not sure I agree with Jermann that “Unlike deception, truth cannot take offense without belying itself.
    . . . That
    tragedy permits no offense, only sorrow. Truth will die and triumph on a
    cross before it takes offense.” I am thinking of the Catholic reaction against the so-called Black Mass in Oklahoma City and Cambridge, MA; also, of the thunder we often hear (rightly) from the William Donahue of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.

    By the way, I happen to agree that “Redskins” is a terrible name for a sports team; it is offensive (would you introduce your Native American friend to another person as a “redskin?”)

    • Augustus

      You wouldn’t introduce ANYONE by reference to their ethnicity or race. That does not mean that by identifying your team with a particular ethnicity or race you are holding it up for ridicule or abuse. NO ONE would name their team after a group they dislike. Do you REALLY think that schools or professional sports teams that name their mascots after “Celtics” or “Vikings” seek to offend or belittle descendents of those groups? The whole notion is patently absurd.

      • DE-173

        Thanks, I forgot about the Celtics. At least they and the Redskins aren’t called the “Fighting Irish” and feauring a leprechaun in a Kelly Green suit.

        Perhaps Boomer (Esaison) and Tony (Dungy) can encourage college broadcasters to follow their lead and simple say “Nore Dame” without reference to the team name.

        • Fred

          And now you can add to your list your hometown tabloid who refuses to print the name in the editorial section. How brave and proud they must feel for being so bold – it probably makes them feel a kinship with fellow professionals who really put their lives on the line.

      • elarga

        You entirely miss the point, as have a couple of others above. I did not object to “Indians.” I objected to “Redskins.” Don’t tell me you don’t see the difference. Indians is to Italians as Redskins is to Wops. Get it?

        • GG

          A flawed analogy.

          • elarga

            OK, GG, I’m waiting. How is it a flawed analogy?

        • Augustus

          You are imposing a meaning onto the word that it does not have. You are viewing the word through a racist lens, not the fans how identify with their team’s mascot. You are the one who thinks having red skin is a bad thing. Shame on you!

        • ForChristAlone

          I think that we should no longer call those hawking game tickets outside the Redskins stadium at exorbitant prices “scalpers.”

          • DE-173

            I think they should be renamed “Congresscritters” and the herald should show somebody reaching into somebody else’s pocket.

    • DE-173

      “By the way, I happen to agree that “Redskins” is a terrible name for a sports team.”

      A recent survey of Native Americans found that something like 95% see no offense in the name.

      Right because a game based on collisions and a martial ethic (with blitzes and the objective of gaining territory) should have teams with names like Puppies and Kittens to avoid the arbitrary and tender sensibilities of the chattering classes. Next we’ll be told the “doomsday defense” should be renamed the kumbaya defense.

      Where does this lunacy end?

      Should people of Nordic descent be offended by the Minnesota Vikings? And who gave the San Diego team the right to appropriate the name “Padre”.

      It’s only rich white effete snob caucasions that take offense. Harry Reid (who is a revolting cheerleader, no matter what cause) who puts the “senile” back in Senator
      is a craven, venal and disgusting piece of detritus; I suspect that this is simply a way to show that no private property is beyond forfeiture, even when there’s no legal way to effect the taking and yet useful idiots sign on to this so they can display their superior sensibilities.

      • ForChristAlone

        I would vote for the Redskins football team changing its name to the Washington Sissies and we can get on with the feminization of all men.

      • Steve

        I wish they would change the name to the Capitalists. I’d love to hear the lefties rail against that one!

    • GG

      There is legitimate offense and illegitimate offense. The notion that all is simply subjective is exactly why essays such as this one have to be written.

  • msmischief

    always remember that if you ask, “What would Jesus do?” the answer may be “Throw a fit and start to toss around the furniture.”

    • newguy40

      Maybe… but, your comment reminds me of a quote I’d like to share with the community.

      “Jesus told us to imitate Him because He was meek and gentle of heart, not because he flipped tables” Diane at Te Deum

      • DE-173

        And here’s one I’ll share.

        Think ye, that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, no; but separation.

        Like 12:51.

      • GG

        The two characteristics do not contradict each other.

      • R. K. Ich

        I disagree: our Lord’s outrage should inform us as much as his humility. I have to wonder if there isn’t a valid application there to how we should feel about the liturgical, doctrinal, and architectural train wreck that’s assaulted the majority of US Catholic churches these past 50 years.

    • Episteme

      …likewise, when folks try to accuse us unmarried Catholic/Christian thirty-somethings of being Momma’s-Boys without real jobs, who just wander around philosophizing and getting into trouble with our friends, I like to (rather than taking offense) just thank them for calling us Christ-like!

    • Akira88

      There is such a thing as righteous anger.

  • Fred

    Maybe it’s age, but I find myself increasingly astonished at the absurdity of what passes for real concern these days. Yet another story revealing how we as a society are losing our way – the faux outrage over the trivial is theater of the absurd. Not a smidgeon of insult here, nothing to see, move along. Could it possibly be just a smoke screen of deception to distract from the real crises obscured and occurring behind the curtain are, at least by those who stand the most to benefit in turning our gaze away? You think the rhetoric would just be a little more shrill discussing things like our so called leaders playing fiddle by the fireplace while our national debt and unsecured entitlement obligations balloon to stratospheric and unmanageable levels, or the slaughter of the innocents in the middle east and Africa, or in the womb. I think the real outrage isn’t in the team name, but perhaps the city they hail from. I didn’t expect to see a “sports” story in CM Pete, but spot on.

    • DE-173

      “while our national debt and unsecured entitlement obligations balloon to stratospheric and unmanageable levels”

      Nothing isn’t verbally engineered in that sphere, hence politicians call their vote buying, electorate dividing spending schemes “investments”.

  • cestusdei

    To be offended over nothing gives one power in our culture. Real offenses are often overlooked. Or if you get offended over an offense against Catholicism they are offended that you are offended.

  • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

    Editing, posted by accident.

  • Tony

    We are surely the most intolerant people in American history. Tolerance, literally, is the minor virtue whereby you put up with what you believe is bad, because if you don’t put up with it, you might bring about something even worse. Tolerance requires NOT TAKING OFFENSE, especially when no offense is intended. Tolerance is also not the same thing as condoning. When you tolerate, you acknowledge the evil of the thing you have to bear, and you try to mitigate its harm, while you hold open the possibility of eliminating the evil itself, depending upon its character and its seriousness. To condone, or to look the other way, is not an act of prudence but of cowardice.

    So, someone who cries all the time, “I am offended!” is either lying (he or she, more often these days she, is not at all offended but is gleeful to turn a knife against you), or is childishly touchy. The truly tolerant person has a thick skin, in matters that pertain to him personally, and in minor matters best dealt with patiently. But he does not require that other people suffer because HE happens not to want to fight the evil in question. I can put up with being insulted by a colleague; but I had better not put up with colleagues who insult students.

  • elarga

    I am amused by the rage I inspired among some of you when I wrote that “redskins” wasn’t a good name for a sports team because it is a derogatory term for Indians. Seems I’m not the only one capable of “taking offense.” Your rage also seems to have impeded your reasoning ability. I did not object to “Indians,” and so I therefore would not object to your favorite (but irrelevant) comparisons: the Fighting Irish, the Vikings, etc. “Irish” and “Vikings” are not derogatory. I am sure you can all think of derogatory names for, say, Italians, Mexicans, Poles, and Jews. It is those kinds of names that we should object to, on the good Christian grounds that they do indeed offend the dignity and God-given equality of such persons just because they are derogatory and in some cases do indeed reveal a racist (and therefore sinful) mindset. I would also like to point out to all that “giving offense” is a step toward “giving scandal” which is itself defined by the CCC (2284) as a “grave offense.” I am married to a Native American, by the way, and I don’t mind saying that she (and I of course) would be deeply offended if someone were to refer to her as a “redskin.” Someone once called her “your squaw” to my face. I wonder how you would have reacted had you been in my place. Did I have right to feel offended?

    • DE-173

      Don’t confuse rage with derision, disgust and dismissal. We come here to discuss serious things, not to spend time with the latest transient whim of the perpetually indignant effete class.

    • DE-173

      I am married to a Native American, by the way, and I don’t mind saying that she (and I of course) would be deeply offended if someone were to refer to her as a “redskin.”

      That’s irrelevant but if it were over 90% percent of Native Americans don’t care or don’t mind.

      This is a silly controversy concocted by grievously silly people who should be worrying about the IRS’ witchunt and other things that ARE their business, rather than this nonsense.

  • Desert Sun Art

    There is so much insight and wisdom in this article. Thank you.

  • Don Schenk

    As a Catholic I’m offended that…what do you mean, if you’re Catholic you have to develop a sense of humor?

  • Akira88

    I wish that this article could be posted on the front page of every magazine, news site, news paper — !!!! Wonderful!!! The parallel of raising children to loving with offending (not the intention), acutely insightful. What you pointed out in a way is a problem with Church leaders in America (maybe the world). They do not want to offend.

    Last week I heard Cardinal Dolan speaking as a guest on a radio program — never offending – always inclusive, yet a bit pinched when one asked a pointed question.

    It’s as if offending has replaced the true sense of sin. Offending is the social sin affiliated with the social justice itinerary.

    Thank you!!!

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