The article shot around Facebook, with friends of every persuasion but the traditionalist posting it. My more conservative friends were as indignant as my more liberal friends. “Slut Shaming in the Adoration Chapel” by the Patheos blogger “Misfit Catholic” describes a mother and her teenage daughter coming to adoration one night. They sit, the daughter in the first row and her mother (he calls them D and M) right behind her. The girl is wearing short shorts. A woman (called W) in her late fifties, sitting in the back row, notices. “Thirty seconds later, W walks up, a light jacket in her hand, and drapes it across the girl’s lap saying ‘Cover up—this is Jesus we’re talking about here.’ She then goes back to her seat, without saying anything to M—and resumes praying.” The girl starts sobbing, and they leave. “Catholics,” Misfit Catholic writes, “can be such terrible Christians.”
You can guess the reason so many people passed this article on. It arouses indignation against a kind of Catholic who annoys most of us. Almost everyone knows people like this, and may have been their victim. They really gret up your nose, as an English friend puts it. The smug, priggish, judgmental old Catholic is someone you can safely criticize. They’re Pharisees, and Jesus hit the Pharisees hard and in front of other people. Religion offers lots of excuses for emotional predation and someone has to call out the predators. This woman isn’t going to stop driving people away from the church unless someone confronts her. Probably not even then, but certainly not otherwise. Of course, she may herself be a victim. The desire to control masquerading as the protection of some good, like modesty, may be a defensive response to trauma. Even so, or especially so, someone needs to talk to her.