Those who demonize the faithful often times, ironically, include in their rant the hypocritical message to not do just that.
Such is the case of Fr. Larry Richards, a celebrity priest from the diocese of Erie, Pennsylvania. As host of EWTN's Open Line, Richards ranted on air Sept. 20 that Church Militant is "of the devil" right before he accused them of demonizing "people that don't agree with them."
"Church Militant is not of God. Stay away from Church Militant. I'm very clear about it. Church Militant is not of God," opined Richards. "It is from the devil himself. It brings division, division, division. Don't ever listen to anything from Church Militant."
A few breaths later, Richards goes on to accuse Church Militant of making such ad hominem attacks on others.
"What do they do is they demonize people that don't agree with them," Richards stated. He added a few sentences later, "For someone just to demonize people that they don't agree with is wrong."
He said a few moments later, "That's exactly what the devil is trying to do. He's dividing us and trying to say, 'Well, this one's of God, this one isn't of God.'"
Even Pope Francis seems to judge who is of God and who is not while saying, "Who am I to judge?" During a papal audience Feb. 20 in Rome, Pope Francis stated:
And those who spend their lives accusing, accusing, and accusing … are the friends, cousins and relatives of the devil. Well, when things are not right, one has to report the defects to correct, but when you report the defects, you make known the defects, you love the Church. Without love is something from the devil.
His message a year earlier, however, was seemingly conflicted. In his address for World Communications Day in January 2018, Francis wrote:
The tragedy of disinformation is that it discredits others, presenting them as enemies, to the point of demonizing them and fomenting conflict. Fake news is a sign of intolerant and hypersensitive attitudes, and leads only to the spread of arrogance and hatred. That is the end result of untruth. … We need to unmask what could be called the 'snake-tactics' used by those who disguise themselves in order to strike at any time and place.
Watch the panel discuss how messengers are hypocritically attacked to silence their message in The Download—Demonizing Catholics.