| Bud Malby | January 10, 2013 | CCMT |
Fr. Emmett Coyne in his book, The Theology of Fear, told a short, but powerful story.
“A late friend, Mary Murphy, was in her nineties and computer illiterate though aware of the Internet when she asked me one day, ‘Emmett, do you think the Internet is the Holy Spirit?’ She startled me. Of course, I did ask her what she meant. She responded, ‘It seems to bring people all over the world together. Isn’t that what the Holy Spirit is supposed to do?’”
The wisdom behind Mary’s remark is worth pondering. “The wind of the Spirit blows where it will,” we’re told by scripture. Do you suppose the Internet is where the gentle breath of the Spirit is blowing these days, and not in the halls of Saint Peter’s?
If that’s even remotely possible, perhaps we should be paying more attention to what’s being said. For example, I read the recent newsletter from the American Catholic Council that Rosemary provided the devotees of this website. Buried in the ACC’s offering was a reference to a video called, How to Start a Revolution! Here’s a link to that video, which is well worth your time for many reasons.
First, it will inform you about HOW the recent non-violent revolutions in Tunisia, Georgia, Ukraine, Egypt, and elsewhere happened, and why it failed in China.
Secondly, what worked in those countries would also work with our struggle to overthrow the power structure we know as The Vatican. That was the point that the ACC was making, although I think they are too divided in their goals and opinions to bring it off.
Overthrow the Church? Who would dream up such an idea in the first place? Overthrow doesn’t necessarily imply, as you’ll learn from the video, replacing those in power. In that sense, it could mean the idea was dreamt up by the Spirit. That would lend credence to several articles in recent days on our own website. You can begin with Rosemary’s call on Wednesday for an International movement of non violent revolution, (certainly radical change) and supplement hers with the words of Sister Joan Chittister about how the change coming to the Church is inevitable, and will happen – someday. Watch the video to determine if you see the same links I do.
If you don’t, where I’m sure we can agree is Mary Murphy’s wisdom that through the Internet the Holy Spirit is bringing people from all over the world together. What follows is my experience of how this happens.
Several years ago, I made a frantic, almost two month search of the Internet, looking for ANYTHING out there that might be an answer to the alienation I felt about the Church. One day, nearing desperation I clicked on an obscure website called, Catholica. It was in Australia but by this point I was willing to settle for a foreign county if they at least spoke English.
Catholica for those of you familiar with the work of Brian Coyne (no relation to the above Emmett) is a treasure trove, not just of information, but a strong sense of community. After I published my book, WINDKNOCKER, I mailed a copy to Brian. His first story in January of 2011 was a two-page review of my book. That summer Brian attended the ACC convention in Detroit, and contacted me, saying, “We’re renting a car and driving out to Montana to meet you.” As it played out, Brian and Millie were here for less than twenty-four hours, but when they drove away a bond had been sealed between us that could only have been the work of the Spirit.
I met Jim Hogan in much the same way. Again an Internet search coughed up an email address, and it was Jim’s distribution of my book that led to a soft spoken little nun in Billings. We met Sister Mary at a Bed and Breakfast in Bozeman one day, where the gentle breeze of the Spirit formed the same bond.
Don’t get the mistaken idea that one has to write a book to make such contacts. They are out there every moment of the day on the Internet. Before bringing Mary Murphy to your attention, I had just finished an email to a different friend in Australia, also new. We share such items as the weather, interspersed with spiritual things that would make one think he was my confessor at times, and vice versa.
Elsewhere, on the Internet I too have a blog. It is quite similar in content to this website, and like this gathering of interested Catholics, far more people read it than participate by commenting. I was amazed to learn recently that an area of my hard core readers is in Alaska. Google will divulge that information to people with blogs, but what stymied me is I hardly know a soul in Alaska. More astounding is when I learned my secondary readers live in Russia. The only Russian I know lives outside Superior, Montana so how can that be?
Lastly, a chance encounter led me to the Sted’s group page. That’s a private group of former inmates (students) of St. Edward’s Seminary, now defunct but near Seattle. It is still difficult for me to describe the feelings I have had of renewing acquaintances with fellow students, all of whom I have had no contact with for over fifty-five years. More interesting was learning that my memories were not skewed or exaggerated, but that we all share the same, poignant, happy, sad, and vivid memories of a very unique experience. An offshoot of finding the Sted’s page is it allowed me to put Jim Hogan in touch with one of his seemingly lost ordination classmates. I heard about that reunion from both parties, and I wondered right along with them at the time the odds of that ever happening.
I’m sure most of you could relate similar Internet experiences, but I wonder if up until now we’ve considered the wisdom of Mary Murphy behind it all. That brings me to this website. Here, it’s more like home, since it has its own Montana atmosphere. That may be the reason, but more likely it’s the breeze of the Spirit underlying it all that allows me to say, I feel less alone than I did months ago.
I’ll give you three guesses where and how I met Fr. Emmett Coyne, the author of the book mentioned at the beginning.