Letter to Maureen Dowd

The Ms. Maureen Dowd wrote an “Opinion” piece that appeared in the NYTimes today titled “Forgive me, Father, for I have Linked” which describes a new iPhone app that “guides Catholics through — and if they are lapsed, back to — confession.”

There are not many commentators that get me more upset than Ms. Dowd as she continually beats up on the church. The following is the letter I sent back to her. You can pray for an open heart if she actually reads it!

Being a Lutheran Christian I am certainly not party to much in Roman Catholicism, much less a silly confession app… But yet I can’t help ask “What is the purpose of such an “opinion” piece?” It has no obvious point. It has no stated “opinion”. It is more like a regular news article – except of course it isn’t! It is nothing but a thinly masked slander of your favorite punching bag, the church. Tongue and cheek you say? Maybe some could write this piece and get away with it. But not you!

Ms. Dowd, the church is not a perfect place. No matter what God’s plan for us is, the fact remains that the church is made up of human beings. It is filled with sinners who have missed God’s mark. The whole main point of being a Christian is not that we are without sin and perfect, but that we are sinners – sinners that are forgiven by Christ. It is the task of the church to name sin as sin, preach repentance, and cling to the cross of Christ. We do this (however imperfectly) even as the rest of the world rejects wholesale the concept of sin, judgment and ultimate truth.

My complaint is that you use your very public “pulpit” all too often to “pontificate” on issues that quite frequently you have no idea about. Are you theologically and exegetically trained? Do you know Greek and Hebrew to decipher the meaning of scripture you so often throw around? You seem to think that simply because you were raised a “Catholic” you have something substantial to say. The issues of the church are not issues of “opinion”. They are issues about what is true and what is false. We ought to be debating them that way, in great awe of the One who reveals truth and IS Truth. You state that not much is sacred today. This is correct. But I am not sure that anything I have read of yours concerning the sacred does anything to reinstate it.

Ms. Dowd, it is very possible to rail against the the faults of the church without being disrespectful. All we ask is that you treat us with a measure of respect. Don’t do it because of who we are, but simply because the church is the (however cracked) earthen vessel of God’s very person and presence here on earth. If you “preached” as you do against Islam or any other religion – you would most certainly lose your job. But for some reason it seems so easy and acceptable to delight in tearing down the church.Enough is quite enough!

And I say this with all sincerity:

God bless you.

Kristian Bjornstad

 

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