Anatomy of a Catholic Snob

Do you regularly turn up your nose at other Catholics and Christians? Is your personal piety beyond reproach? Are you constantly flaunting your superior “Catholic cred”? You may be a Catholic Snob. Here are the ways to spot “if your nose is in the air and you just don’t care!” 

You may be a Catholic Snob if…

1. You have no funny bone.

In order to really appreciate our human condition as well as our Catholic faith, it’s important to be able to laugh, especially at ourselves. Laughing at our own foibles, but with a sincere and contrite heart is a small step towards sainthood. St. Francis de Sales remarked, “Humor is the foundation of reconciliation.” While St. Padre Pio is credited with saying, “serve the Lord with laughter,” the Catholic Snob finds very little funny. They can be severe and make many harsh judgments about others and themselves. If they are found laughing, often it is because they’ve met someone who prefers the guitar mass to Gregorian chant.

2. Your knee jerk reactions are off the charts! 

The Catholic Snob’s reflexes are keen but often too quick. They are known to react with anger, judgement or scorn before carefully considering a situation. Mercy and compassion tend to be seriously lacking in these situations. This prevents their ability to successfully evangelize. As St. Teresa of Calcutta said, “We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.” Smiling, while meeting those who disagree with us, is contrary to the Catholic Snob. Instead they are characterized by a variety of sneers and grimaces, especially when someone admits to enjoying a Matthew Kelly book.

3. You have carpel tunnel from firing off all those social media nasty-grams. 

Epic Facebook and Twitter battles are your thing and you spend hours “setting people straight” online. You love to stir it up in Catholic forums and are delighted to pounce when someone messes up. While being a good apologist for the faith is a gift, it must be conducted with kindness and prudence. The gospel has something to say about winning for winning’s sake. “What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?” -Mark 8:36  The Catholic Snob can become so obsessed with winning an argument, they risk losing a soul from God’s Kingdom. Not to mention a heck of a lot of Facebook friends!

4. You have bad posture or walk funny from bearing the weight of the entire world.

The Catholic Snob is often hunched over from the burden of carrying all that righteousness. It’s not easy carrying such a heavy load. He or she associates not with the prodigal son, but with the prodigal son’s brother. Remember he was tired of working and wanted his party too! Being an expert on so many complex doctrinal Church topics is a lot of pressure and results in serious back pain. Jesus’ advice: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest… For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”-Matthew 11: 28, 30 It’s hard for the Catholic Snob to let go and realize that God’s got this. You can’t tackle every issue and heresy in one day. It takes a lifetime of striving towards virtue. So, seek regular prayer time and put it in His omnipotent hands.

5. You are human and tempted by pride.

That’s right. We all face the temptation of being a Catholic Snob. If you have a pulse, you suffer from the sin of pride. In fact, it’s the oldest sin in the book- the Bible, that is. Adam and Eve’s pride led to the fall. So, it’s not surprising that we grapple with it from time to time. If we’re intellectually honest, we’ve probably all been a Catholic Snob at some point throughout our faith journeys. If you just thought, “Not me!” That’s a warning. It’s important to note that snobbish, or prideful characteristics can prevent us from growing in holiness and experiencing the fullness of our Catholic faith. As GK Chesterton wrote in The Innocence of Father Brown, “Humility is the mother of giants. One sees great things from the valley; only small things from the peak.” When we allow God’s mercy to really permeate our souls, we are humbled. We will benefit from the inclination to be more merciful and to face our fellow human beings with greater humility.

The next time you encounter a pretentious Catholic Snob, kindly introduce yourself and smile. Then walk away from the mirror and promptly go to confession.

The Lord said to him, “Oh you Pharisees!

Although you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish,

inside you are filled with plunder and evil.

You fools!

Did not the maker of the outside also make the inside?

But as to what is within, give alms,

and behold, everything will be clean for you.”

(Luke 11, 39-41)

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