Rod Dreher

Rod Dreher


Ted Haggard event pre-criticized for your convenience

posted by Rod Dreher

haggard-overseer.jpgHere’s what’s going to happen today, says the AP:

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Former megachurch pastor Ted Haggard has called a news conference to announce the next step in his career.

OK, stop right there. You want a sign that you, a disgraced megachurch pastor trying to rebuild your marriage and your reputation after being caught in a kinky, druggy situation with a male prostitute, are on the wrong path? It’s right there in that first paragraph. Since when does a Christian who is serious about repentance call a press conference to announce the next step in his career? If narcissism were cupcakes, this guy would be Buddy Valastro.
Watch this entry for post-announcement criticism.
buddy.jpg
UPDATE: So that’s it? He’s going to start a new church? But we knew that already. Ted still had to hold a press conference, and hire a Hollywood PR firm, to tell people that he’s starting a new church. Are you sure St. Paul done it this way? Get this quote from one news report:

“I was not willing to let the scandal we faced be the final chapter of our lives,” Haggard’s wife, Gayle, said.

This is a revealing comment. Would it occur to you that your spouse’s losing his platform as a megastar pastor because of scandal would mean the end of your life, or your family’s life? This comment only makes sense if Gayle Haggard conceived of the family’s life as consisting primarily of Ted being a star. What’s implied by her remark here is that Ted going out and getting a normal job, outside of the spotlight, would be “the final chapter of our lives.” Sure sounds like she’s as addicted to fame as her woebegone husband is.
Oh, and naturally, the Haggards are leaving the door open to a TV reality series being done about their new church. You cannot make scoundrels like this up. Only in America, baby.



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Allen

posted June 2, 2010 at 11:08 am


Maybe he and George Rekers are starting up a summer camp for wayward young men — you know, to share the Gospel with them in real rigorous, sweaty one-on-one sessions.
Mark Foley’s going in as a silent partner, with the stipulation that he be provided with the campers’ email addresses.



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kenneth

posted June 2, 2010 at 11:15 am


Flaming Ex-Gays For Jesus!



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Saint Andeol

posted June 2, 2010 at 11:30 am


this does make for a fascinating study of our culture. the fact that Haggard actually thinks this is a good idea is telling, and an obvious calculation on his part. but what is he calculating?
i’m guessing he’s betting on exploiting the persecution complex that is running rampant in the religious right. i.e., it’s not his fault for slipping, it’s the MSM’s obvious liberal bias in trying to destroy the reputations of men of God.
as to the actual next step, should we start placing bets? Starting a gay rehab clinic? Starting a new, “smaller” church? Missionary work?



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Brett R.

posted June 2, 2010 at 11:51 am


I don’t know, I feel an odd twinge of sympathy for this guy. If you’ve ever seen him speak in front of a crowd (Check out “Jesus Camp” sometime), he clearly has a talent for ministry and speaking. It’s a bit easy for us on the outside to say that he can’t legitimately be a spiritual leader anymore, but how do you just turn that off and go sell insurance or flip burgers? I’m not saying I think it’s right for him to continue in ministry, just that it’s a lot harder to do than to say. I know, I know, he dug his own grave…



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hlvanburen

posted June 2, 2010 at 12:10 pm


I’m popping popcorn and grabbing some soda to catch this comic opera today. It has to be better than the reruns on AMC.



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BILL

posted June 2, 2010 at 12:21 pm


Just listen to Rod Dreher and all the commenters here… Unbelievable.
Where is Jesus Christ’s message in Rod Dreher’s article or any of your comments?
It is a sad, sad time for Christianity.
Jesus Christ himself would take Haggard in his arms and tell him that he loves him.
Rod Dreher, who calls himself a Christian, does the exact opposite.
And publishes it for all the world to see?
Rod Dreher, you will be lifted up in prayer at evening services tonight.
That you may relearn the message of the Christ. Because it is quite clear that you’ve wandered far from Him.
(Judgment hurts, Rod. No?)



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Rod Dreher

posted June 2, 2010 at 12:29 pm


(Judgment hurts, Rod. No?)
Uh, no. I appreciate your plans to pray for me. I surely need it. Meanwhile, look up “cheap grace” on the Interwebs.



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hlvanburen

posted June 2, 2010 at 12:32 pm


Bill,
Ted Haggard agreed with his “recovery team” that he would complete a series of meetings/treatments to deal with his problem. Halfway through that he stopped attending.
He also agreed that he would not open a church in the Colorado Springs area if/when he did return to ministry. Earlier this spring he filed papers registering the name of a new Christian ministry with the address in Colorado Springs. He has been having prayer meetings in his home with a group of people, and has sent up trial balloons in the area regarding the possibility of opening a new “ministry” in the town.
Now, it may well be that he is not opening a church. But I will bet you a can of YooHoo that by the end of today there is a new church plant announced in the suburbs around Colorado Springs with Haggard as senior pastor.
Prophetic captcha: increased filched



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BILL

posted June 2, 2010 at 12:33 pm


I do not need to look it up.
Your actions define it clearly.
I only wonder how you feel inside. But I have a hunch simply by the way you responded to me in such an un-Christlike manner.
Your audacity is heartbreaking.
And your judgment of this man is as sinful as the very actions Haggard himself committed.
How sad that you do not see that.
How very sad. Especially since you have been given a voice.
Perhaps one day you will live to deserve the voice you have been given and use it to spread the message of Christ instead of the messages of judgment, which is a grave sin in the eyes of the Lord. As grave as the sins committed by Haggard himself. A Christian would know that. Sin is sin. God views your actions on this web site today as every bit as sinful as he views Haggards actions.
You should know that.



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stop it bill

posted June 2, 2010 at 1:11 pm


no one wants to pay your troll toll, troll. stop it.



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Debbie Thurman

posted June 2, 2010 at 1:13 pm


Unfortunately, Ted Haggard has made himself fair game for bloggers, Christian or worldly. Jesus instructed us not to judge (the actions of others, as only God judges our hearts) or seek to remove the splinters from others’ eyes unless we have first removed the planks from our own. Many consider that an impossible task for fallen man, hence the nearly universal injunction against rendering any public judgments at all. That should lead to the certain obsolescence of media op-eds and blogs, but it won’t. (What does it mean for preachers or apologists, I wonder?) Oh, and Beliefnet is on the auction block, for those who aren’t aware of it.



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Andrew

posted June 2, 2010 at 1:15 pm


1 Cor 5.11-13
“But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.””
If you’d like to criticize writers on the internet for their sinful judgement, it might be a good idea to find out what the Bible actually says about judging others. Here’s a hint: don’t judge, but simply love those outside of the church; discipline and judge those inside the church, for their own benefit.
And all of that doesn’t even consider the utter hypocrisy and what Haggard said and did.



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hlvanburen

posted June 2, 2010 at 1:22 pm


today.msnbc.msn.com/id/35097496/ns/today-today_people/



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hlvanburen

posted June 2, 2010 at 1:25 pm


Sorry about that…clicked wrong button. Provided that link for background on Haggard. It’s his announcement from January that he is “cured”.
Oh come on! Captcha has to be run by a Christopher Hitchens.
shysters personally



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AlDelG

posted June 2, 2010 at 1:31 pm


Carlos’ Bake Shop was a great place before it became “popular”.
But even so the comparison of Ted Haggard with Buddy V. is uncalled for.



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Cecelia

posted June 2, 2010 at 1:32 pm


Jesus probably would take a genuinely repentant Ted Haggard in his arms and tell him he loves him – but I do really doubt he’d tell the guy to have a press conference and start a new ministry.
But c’mom – picking on Buddy! Ok – he may be a bit exuberant but City Hall Bakery has been a northern NJ landmark since I was a kid (and that was some time ago). Their crumb cake is sublime.



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Rod Dreher

posted June 2, 2010 at 1:59 pm


Just posted this:
UPDATE: So that’s it? He’s going to start a new church? But we knew that already. Ted still had to hold a press conference, and hire a Hollywood PR firm, to tell people that he’s starting a new church. Are you sure St. Paul done it this way? Get this quote from one news report:
“I was not willing to let the scandal we faced be the final chapter of our lives,” Haggard’s wife, Gayle, said.
This is a revealing comment. Would it occur to you that your spouse’s losing his platform as a megastar pastor because of scandal would mean the end of your life, or your family’s life? This comment only makes sense if Gayle Haggard conceived of the family’s life as consisting primarily of Ted being a star. What’s implied by her remark here is that Ted going out and getting a normal job, outside of the spotlight, would be “the final chapter of our lives.” Sure sounds like she’s as addicted to fame as her woebegone husband is.
Oh, and naturally, the Haggards are leaving the door open to a TV reality series being done about their new church. You cannot make scoundrels like this up. Only in America, baby.



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hlvanburen

posted June 2, 2010 at 2:09 pm


“Oh, and naturally, the Haggards are leaving the door open to a TV reality series being done about their new church. You cannot make scoundrels like this up. Only in America, baby.”
So now his wife is playing straight man?



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Saint Andeol

posted June 2, 2010 at 2:16 pm


“So now his wife is playing straight man?”
i bet she’ll do a better job than he did.
. . . sorry, i couldn’t resist that.
and to try to legitimize my post, his wife’s comments are pretty interesting, as if chapters of their lives can only be defined by outside observers. so “the final chapter” equals “the final new story published about us”. ah technology, you sultry vixen.



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hlvanburen

posted June 2, 2010 at 2:18 pm


LOL…Saint, you and I will burn in Peoria for that. :-)



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Grumpy Old Person

posted June 2, 2010 at 2:36 pm


“Haggard did not rule out the possibility of a reality show about the new venture.”
Laffable! Especially from one who cannot/will not actually face upto his OWN “reality” – that he is a man with affectional preferences for other men.
Speaking of which, (from the link) “A launch party for Haggard’s new church was planned at the Haggards’ own home for Sunday at 10 a.m. At the party, Haggard says people can mingle, swim and jump on the family’s trampoline.”
To which I add, “!!!”
(CAPTCHA: “the pompons” – HIGHLARIOUS.)



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BobSF

posted June 2, 2010 at 2:41 pm


The Press Conference is a hallowed institution in the neo-Christian enclave of “family values” Colorado Springs. Part of the “local culture”, one might say.



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Nathaniel

posted June 2, 2010 at 2:43 pm


In regard to the comments of the person calling himself BILL,I have found over the years that “I will pray for you” is a Christian euphemism for “F You”.



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J. V. Sharpe

posted June 2, 2010 at 3:02 pm


Yet another in the long list of leaders (be they religious, political, or otherwise) that have failed their people as of late. And Nathaniel, thank you, you gave me a good chuckle with that one.
JVS



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Erin Manning

posted June 2, 2010 at 3:13 pm


Sigh. If Ted Haggard didn’t exist, Flannery O’Connor would have had to invent him.



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Oengus

posted June 2, 2010 at 3:14 pm


Rod: “This comment only makes sense if Gayle Haggard conceived of the family’s life as consisting primarily of Ted being a star.”
The real problem is that too many people conceive of the ministry as being a form of stardom. Now if they’d just quit writing checks for this kind of stuff, it would be stopped instantly.
Captcha: cowl billion



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BILL

posted June 2, 2010 at 3:26 pm


All is see here is judgment.
I see not a single ounce of Christ’s love.
Worse, the judgers seem blind to this.
Also, when I said I would hold Rod up in prayer tonight at services, I did NOT mean ‘F YOU’ as another commenter posted. I meant that I will hold Rod up in prayer at services this evening.
As for the other commenter calling me a troll… No ‘troll’ here. Whatever that is.
Just a Christian tired of watching Christ’s followers sully his name with judgment, disrespect, and the willful intention of going against what Christ asks of us.
Rod Dreher, and many of the commenters here, have truly failed Jesus Christ today. And I think in your hearts you know this to be true.
To the other commenter, my name is really Bill. Who lies about a name like Bill?
Go in Christ and stop judging your fellow mankind. Again, your judgment of this man is every bit the sin that his actions are. Unless y’all don’t really believe the word of God.



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Franklin Evans

posted June 2, 2010 at 4:31 pm


Well, Bill, goose and gander seems an appropriate metaphor…
Where is Jesus Christ’s message in Rod Dreher’s article or any of your comments?
Where does Rod claim to be the voice of Jesus, here or in any other post or public utterance he’s made?
Jesus Christ himself would take Haggard in his arms and tell him that he loves him.
Told you that, did He? Or does your “judgment” of Jesus’ sacrifice extend to people who have lied, cheated and profited in His name?
Your arrogant assumption to “judge” others is very… familiar. In the meantime, if the “pastor” smells like snake oil, leaves snake oil tracks when he walks, and insists even after being shown to be a snake oil salesman that he is peddling “The Truth”, I think Christians are well cautioned by posts such as the one Rod put up here.
Oh, and don’t mind me at all. I’m a godless Pagan, and I’m sure you already have “judged” that I’ll burn in Hell. Thanks, anyway.
[Sorry, Rod. Your being one of those rare Christians of my acquaintance who seems to get the difference between religion and faith, I can’t stand idly by while the Bill’s of the world rant at your expense.]



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Rod Dreher

posted June 2, 2010 at 4:53 pm


Oh, Franklin, you’re very kind, but I don’t take BILL seriously. It’s just kind of sad, because charlatans like Hollywood Ted depend on good people like BILL to fall for their act. It’s how they stay in business. Having an attitude of forgiveness for Ted Haggard does not require one to bless every fool thing he chooses to do. Only God knows Ted Haggard’s heart, but the rest of us can judge his actions, which seem to be driven by a narcisstic desire for fame. Again, what kind of penitent hires a publicist and calls a press conference to announce that he’s starting a new church? It’s just ridiculous … but not quite as ridiculous as the folks who are falling for this routine.



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BobSF

posted June 2, 2010 at 5:01 pm


Hollywood Ted
Stop trying to smear Hollywood. Ted is quintessentially Colorado Springs.
Yes, yes, he hired a Hollywood publicist. But they’ll work for anybody.



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LivingWaterInAnEmptyDesert

posted June 2, 2010 at 5:15 pm


Reading the comments make me recall “See how those Christians shove one-another.”



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MJL

posted June 2, 2010 at 5:24 pm


I normally don’t comment on blogs as of late, but I really need to just ask BILL a couple of questions. BILL, where in the Bible did the Apostles or Christ permit scandal by a believer in their midst and not say a word? When Peter cursed people in Acts, was he judging and perhaps being a little harsh? Is there a single commandment for tolerance and high-fivin’ family and corporate scandal within the church body?
Forgiveness and reconciliation, of course! However, as Bonhoeffer stated in The Cost of Discipleship (which I can only paraphrase, sorry) Cheap Grace is preaching forgiveness without also requiring repentance, baptism without discipline. Haggard is obviously a man who needs our prayers and I have to admit his sins are not far from some of my own (please don’t use your imagination on that one), but the last thing I would ever want are people telling others to be nice and accepting–even encouraging–what I know to be an issue in my life. How annoyed I get when a priest tells me something is “merely a psychosis” in confession.
My apologies if you feel judged BILL, but I also have to ask how on earth you can be alright judging us judging-types if you are so open minded?



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Saint Andeol

posted June 2, 2010 at 5:29 pm


and just to clear things up for BILL, i’m not a Christian, and i’m sure several of the people who comment on this blog aren’t either (possibly godisaheretic? i can’t quite tell). i know this blog has a relgious theme to it, but it deals with a wide variety of topics that we’re all interested in. i would venture to guess that Rod would be bored if the only commentors were people who agreed with everything he had to say.
except when gay marriage comes up, of course. ;)



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sigaliris

posted June 2, 2010 at 7:05 pm


I’m on vacation from encouraging Christians to act more like Christians, so pile on freely, y’all. You’ll get no discouragement from me. However, I do find myself more than a little perplexed by MJL’s assertion that priests respond to his confession with “it’s just a psychosis” with annoying frequency. Seriously??
Psychosis is nothing to brush off thus casually. It’s a serious mental disorder. From our friend Wikipedia:
Psychosis . . . is a generic psychiatric term for a mental state often described as involving a “loss of contact with reality”.
People experiencing psychosis may report hallucinations or delusional beliefs, and may exhibit personality changes and thought disorder. Depending on its severity, this may be accompanied by unusual or bizarre behavior, as well as difficulty with social interaction and impairment in carrying out the daily life activities.
If your priest feels you are out of touch with reality, yet minimizes your problem as “just” a psychosis, then either he is culpably ignorant of the meaning of the word, or he is culpably remiss in his duty of pastoral care. Particularly if your behavior involves use of addictive drugs and prostitution. A mental disorder of this magnitude cannot be cured by a few Hail Marys. If you’ve been told more than once that your behavior is psychotic, you owe it to yourself and others to get help, and your priest should be telling you to do so. This would be part of a firm purpose of amendment.
It seems more likely to me. though, that MJL may be exaggerating just a tiny bit, and that in fact, no priest has ever really told him he’s psychotic. Perhaps he just chose the wrong word? (I acknowledge the possibility that MJL is a she–but that wouldn’t be the way to bet.)



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MH

posted June 2, 2010 at 10:00 pm


I hereby nominate hlvanburen and Saint Andeol as Statler and Waldorf to Ted’s Fozzie Bear on his future reality show.



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Jan Hus

posted June 2, 2010 at 11:55 pm


“Are you sure St. Paul done it this way?”
Love it.  Your roots are showing.  Waylon or Hank Jr.?



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hlvanburen

posted June 3, 2010 at 10:09 am


“I hereby nominate hlvanburen and Saint Andeol as Statler and Waldorf to Ted’s Fozzie Bear on his future reality show.”
LOL…now all we need is a little fellow to play Kermit. Suggestions?



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MH

posted June 3, 2010 at 2:15 pm


hlvanburen, not really. Our blog host seems the obvious first choice, but I don’t think his wife knows karate and wouldn’t make a good Ms Piggy.



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medianews

posted June 3, 2010 at 2:46 pm


Ted and Gayle Haggard will be on CO radio station KVOR on Friday, June 4, 2010 from 8:30 AM – 10:00 AM and welcome all comments. KVOR 719-540-0740.



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hlvanburen

posted June 3, 2010 at 4:05 pm


“…and welcome all comments…”
No…no, somehow I doubt they would welcome all comments. For example, it will be interesting in anyone calls in to ask him why he violated his restoration agreement by opening a new church in the Colorado Springs area? My guess is that there will be some mumbo jumbo about being led by God and having to serve God, not man, in all of his dealings.
But, we’ll wait and see…and I’ll go double or nothing on that YooHoo bet regarding my prediction above. Any takers?



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Appalachian Prof

posted June 3, 2010 at 4:44 pm


I spent a fair amount of time in this culture, and yes, Ted’s loss of a preacherate would seem like the end of everything for people invested in this world. Being a “preacher” is the highest-status job there is among them, and it’s an Olympian height to fall from.



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pagansister

posted June 3, 2010 at 9:00 pm


Some folks think the Bible tells them not to judge others. If one doesn’t use the Bible as a guide, is it OK to judge others? Just wondered…as I find Teddy just a little over the top. He stood in front of lots of folks and told them homosexuality was a “sin” and how it was against the rules set down by the Big Man. While doing this, he is sneaking about with …yes… a man. So, I think I’d think twice about using this man, Ted, as a guide for anything.



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susielee

posted June 4, 2010 at 5:59 am


I saw him on joy behar and he and his wife seemed close BUT i think he will still have lapses on his sexual behavior, in fact he seems a bit gay in his overall demeanor. i don’t care about one’s sexual preference, but this guy preached against what he is sexually, and that makes him a hypocrite!



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Marc

posted June 4, 2010 at 4:56 pm


Don’t agree often with you, Rod, but you called this one. This is all about public relations, and getting back at the church that dumped him. Haggard put this in motion when he played the “molested” card, and turned his gay scandal into a “i’m the victim” sympathy play. Now, the “Christian” is using a press conference, talk show outlets and a potentional reality show to target “broken people”? Oh, please.
He wants to syphon off people from New Life, and build back up his ministry to another mega-church status. Period. He even has his “victim” wife cashing in on it by writing book. (The kids can’t be too far behind with their book: “How to Love Your Ex-Gay Father.”)
It is both shockingly pathetic and PR savvy. Just like Swaggart and Bakker before him, Haggard knows, in this day and age, that “forgiveness” is a marketable attribute.



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MJL

posted June 4, 2010 at 5:28 pm


sigaliris,
I know the word “psychosis” is in fact the wrong word and the priest ought not use it. I was just reporting what had been said and is actually quite common in the confessional]. The word “psychosis” is usually just used to refer to the scrupulous in the confessional, but the more common word is mental illness. Again, I know that both uses of the word are wrong but it is what I am being told and is a large part of the culture we live in where every sin is reduced to a mental illness. Regarding the mental help for those who truly have a mental health issue, ya betcha. Anyone who is truly suffering from mental illness ought to seek help and long term care. However, the confessional is there for those whose weight of sin needs to be made lighter, and that is why it is frustrating to be accused of mental illness when you finally get the courage to admit you’ve been wrong and ask for prayer, healing and peace. I also agree with you that if said priest really feels I have a psychosis than he is obligated to see that I get the necessary help. And while I am currently in grad school, I am happy to report that I don’t seem psychotic, for the moment, to myself nor to those around me.
My comment was in regards to BILL’s nagging belief that we ought not to be critical of sin, even if it is a public sin that is causing a real scandal in the community. In many ways BILL’s response is the type of of pop-psychology that made the Sex Scandals so large in the Catholic Church; instead of calling a sin a sin and asking those who suffer from the various ills that make them susceptible to temptation they were refered to counseling to be healed and placed back in ministry. I believe in the power of forgiveness and I believe that therapy in itself in an indispensable good. However, there are some scandals that simply shouldn’t be tolerated in the public square. It is that, as Chesterton said, few disagree on what they call evil but many disagree on what evil they find tolerable. BILL asserts that Haggard is hurting and wounded, which is obviously true and he needs our prayer and the support of those who love him. However, I took issue with BILL and all others who follow this cheap grace idea when we are told not even to criticize someone like Haggard when he is clearly not seeking that help and doing everything his initial church has asked him not to do and what he agreed to.
Now, I’m not into Haggard’s thing of drugs or prostitution but my initial comment about having some of his problems was my attempt at humor. I meant that I have similar issue of pride and not being subject to correction. Pardon me, my dry sense of humor doesn’t translate well on blogs so I do apologize for causing more scandal.



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