I didn't mean those who pathetically blew up buildings or detonates deadly explosives in parked trucks and cars. I mean those who forbid you to express yourself positively and constructively without undermining set Catholic rules on modesty.
I call these extremist guys "Catholic Talibans."
OK don't get me wrong. Before someone frets out, let me justify my point here.
One beautiful thing why I am always fascinated with the Catholic Church is because it has a unified set of rules as a church--body of Christ or as an individual.
The official Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Code of Canon Law, the Magisterium, the Scripture, Apostolic Tradition, etc, they never oppose with one another. They're the surest guide for each Catholic whether he or she is an ordinary faithful or member or any Catholic community or a religious or priest. Everyone acts according to what the Church is expecting us to live.
The Catholic Church directs our lives from conception to death (and even after death until everyone reunites with God in Heaven by praying those poor souls in Purgatory).
I use to wear one earring. I wore it for a purpose. And I know perfectly why I wore that piece of metal. Every time I wear it, I feel good about myself. I feel much positive inner joy in me that I became more productive, friendly, prayerful, honest, helpful, helping, charitable. I feel am a better person-- a better Christian. Actually it's not about the piece of metal. It's about what I feel about myself.
Still trapped in his prejudices against men wearing ea rings, I was told to remove it like a military commander. I thought he was joking but no he wasn't. His face shows he really was serious.
Why should I?
Look. There are a lot of Catholic Talibans everywhere. They impose their own self standards. And they judge according to appearance. That's one reason why in many Catholic communities, we find many members unable to cope up with their specific cultures. After sessions, instead of talking about what to give up for charity, they would talk about the latest expensive gadgets showcasing what they've got not to mention what they wearing-- signatured shirts, pants, shoes etc. Those can't-afford members would be left out or they would feel insignificant because they couldn't ride on the conversation anymore.. and so they quit.
I use to listen anyone even how insignificant his story may be. I don't judge. I listen. I never threat. I sympathize. I never impose my own set rules. And I never give unsolicited advise. I think that's one good reason why I hear all those stories about Catholic communities.
Why are we having Catholic Talibans in our communities? Are those men wearing ea rings or having tattoo in their bodies unable to love as Christ requires each of us? Are they incapable of doing charity? Did they lose their Catholic identity? Did they sin? Or did they violate any of the Ten Commandments or went against any of the Catechism of the Catholic Church? Did they lose their souls or had they lost the chance to be saved?
Those men with tattoos or one earring still have their souls intact. They are still capable of loving and they can still perform charitable acts. They can still call Jesus as their Lord and God. They can still receive the Holy Communion (under the state of grace) and they can still the best Catholic that they could.
Now I understand. When we focus on our self-righteousness or judge people by their appearances, we loose our identities as channels of peace and love and we became "Taliban" unable to accept that there "what's essential is invisible to the eye."
But now, I removed my earring. I did it as I pleased. I am concern of anyone's sensitivity in my community and perhaps giving-up my pride and practice obedience is more self-fulfilling than wearing my earring at all.
I hope Catholic Talibans may realize that above all-- it's LOVE that counts. For this is what the Law requires us.