50% Proud

Recently I got the term hypocrite thrown at me, a term that no one likes thrown at them. And the shameful part is that, in this case (and there are others), it was perfectly accurate for them to call me one.

But what occurred to me as I was taking my lumps was that I was being called a hypocrite not to attack the negative thing that I had done, but to attack that which I promote as a Catholic that I had failed to live up to. The point was not to get me to change my sub-optimal actions, the point was to get me to stop promoting the optimal ones. And when I realized that, I realized what was really at stake and I fought back.

I looked up the definition of the word hypocrite. Dictionary.com states it this way:

A person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, esp. a person whose actions belie stated beliefs.

If we go by the dictionary definition, I’m not a hypocrite. I don’t “pretend” to have religious beliefs and principles. I very much have them. But I also admit that I fall short of them at times. By that definition, I’m not a hypocrite. At the same time I think the dictionary definition is more precise than the term’s broad use, the way it is most frequently used today. In broad use I would define it this way:

A person who supports one set of behaviors but does not always (or perhaps never) follow them.

I admit to that definition of being a hypocrite. There are times when I do not live up to the standards I create for myself and promote for others. I would never deny that.

But here’s the thing, and the reason for this post:

I’m proud that I promote the standards that I promote and no amount of my falling short of those standards will shame me into no longer promoting those standards.

So, I’m 50% proud to be a hypocrite. I’m proud that I stand up for what is right. I’m ashamed that I don’t always life up to it. I’m convinced that what I promote is right and good. I’m ashamed that I don’t always do what is right and good. I will do every thing in my power to continue to be a voice in society that encourages others to do the right thing. I fear, in fact I’m nearly downright confident, that I’ll continue to fall short of those same standards.

You can call me what you want. You can point out my hypocrisy. (I’ll even agree with you.) You can call me a hypocrite. You can mock me and deride me, but I will not be stopped. I refuse to ignore the truth. I refuse to stop sharing the truth. I refuse to be ashamed of promoting the truth. Plainly stated:

I’m 50% proud to be a hypocrite.

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