Monday, March 19, 2012

Where is Compassion for Father Marcel? Buddhism

A wise reader in Minnesota gently chided me for excoriating Father Marcel, the priest who denied a woman communion at her Mom's funeral because he'd heard she was Lesbian.  I called his act a "real hate crime" in contrast to the callow Rutger's student's tragic prank that helped spark a suicide.

This little trifecta of Practical Buddhism posts is one of your best. 

The only question I have is where is the compassion for the Father Marcel?  Your commentaries about Buddhism and Christianity, Buddhism and GLBT matters, and the like are always good, and reflect, I think, a truly practical Buddhist response.

The commentary about Father Marcel is also quite good.  I hadn’t heard about this atrocity until I read your post this morning.  I’m not sure if I agree with you about which is worse.  On second thought, I guess I end up choosing the priest because he has intended the pain he’s inflicted, perhaps thinking he’s doing the Lord’s work, lopping off all the bad branches in the vineyard.  But I’m wondering where the Buddhist compassion angle comes in for the likes of Marcel.  What lessons do we have to learn from his ilk – whether we are gay or straight, Christians who take Jesus’ commandment to love seriously to heart or non-theistic Buddhists trying to be practical about all the noise in the neighborhood…

Practical Buddhist Response

I get indignant. Morally superior. I decide who's a criminal and who's not.  I said Marcel was far guiltier than Ravi the Rutgers boy because Marcel had years of training and study to teach the love of Jesus. I claimed Marcel's failure was ego-based and wicked.

Who do I think I am?  Not in a Cartesian sense, but just plain who?

Marcel could be just as wounded as the Lesbian daughter. Or worse.  He could be battling horrible demons in his heart. He may suffer.  Many who hurt others are themselves deeply hurt. 

Being a Buddhist blogger is good for the soul.  It's not up to me to say who is a criminal and who is not, and if I go there, a teacher who is wiser than I am will tell me to stop.