There is righteous anger, call it zeal if regulated by humility before both truth and mercy, a righteous anger which is necessary in justice, such as when Christ Jesus cleansed the temple with whips, overturning also the moneychangers’ tables, reprimanding those who prostituting the Temple of His Father (a symbol of Himself). The Gospels are rife with examples, Jesus castigating the hypocrite scribes and Pharisees, et alii. Some ecclesiastics are angry that their fellow ecclesiastics could ever be angry for anything or on behalf of anyone, ever. But that is itself unjust. Righteous anger is always righteous, even if there are those who think all anger is always unrighteous.
Truly unrighteous anger, lashing out, using others – a bit of self-referential transference – to punish oneself, is, of course, an evil. People get angry when they are pushed on whatever because they are frustrated in their lives with whatever issue that happens to be. They are frustrated because of realizing they are not in control of that situation. They are not in control of that situation because they are depending on themselves for a strength and balance and fortitude they don’t have on their own. They depend on themselves in proportion to how much they have not learned to walk through life with Jesus, who, in solidarity with us, wants us to be His constant friends.
Rarely is it the case that anger is totally righteous or totally unrighteous. So, the Lord, as our spiritual director, along with our angel guardians, provide and permit circumstances which will push us down on our knees, having us go from whatever bit of even just temptation to be somewhat angry to a greater reverence before Jesus – more simple as a child – just as soon as our brains can assent through conscience to the truth of this economy of salvation in which we are saved, Jesus using our weakness to encourage us to give up on trusting in ourselves so that we can take just everything in stride, as it were, nailed to the cross, dead to ourselves, alive, with enthusiasm, for Christ Jesus.
Of course, we want to make ourselves believe that our anger is always totally righteous, you know, because we want to congratulate ourselves to compensate for the stupidity of things being a bit out of control because of trusting in ourselves. So, motivations are complicated, too complex for us to figure out, figuring it out being always a fail inasmuch as this ignores the way in which our Lord and our angels deal with our fallen human nature by way of grace.
So, having said all that, what makes me angry? Well, I’ll give you an example. Watch the video above. What it doesn’t say is the posse was a thousand men strong. What makes me angry, you know, that I feel that a bit out of control of the situation, is the utter lack of conscience, the vacuous arrogance, the un-human-ness. Of course, righteous anger is part of this, but it is nevertheless a bit of a fright to see nothing in the souls of racists. That’s just how much I don’t yet understand about the wounds of our Lord Jesus. I should just be able to take this in stride and instead of having any hint of unrighteous anger, what I do to right whatever situation, it should be about zeal, as Elijah said, Zelo zelatus sum pro Domino Deo exercituum. As Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn said, it wasn’t so much the torture that bothered him even as he was being tortured as much as seeing no conscience in the eyes of his torturer.
Part of the solution to all this is stated by a gentleman in that video above, a truly brilliant analysis, he saying that until we realize that we can all do this kind of horrible deed (of false accusation and smashing others down to build ourselves up), we will keep repeating such things. Humility before the Lord is, of course, the only way to do this.
So, having picked on this one thing, does that mean I myself am undergoing some sort of prejudice against myself? Well, I am Jewish, and Catholic, and a priest. My “Shadow”, who stole my identity (passport, driver licence, birth certificate…) back in the late 1970s-1980s, has spent a lifetime making himself perceived to be anti-Semitic, specifically, anti-Jewish, posing as a demographic conspiracy theorist analyst sympathetic to “David Ernest Duke (born July 1, 1950)[…] an American white supremacist and white nationalist politician, antisemitic conspiracy theorist, Holocaust denier, convicted felon, and former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan (Wikipedia). That’s a distraction. A cover. Nothing is ever as it seems until injustice is actually perpetrated, until people are wrongly imprisoned, until blood is shed. Then we know exactly where things stand. Oh, wait a minute, isn’t my “Shadow” the one who did up illegal international arms transfers to cartels, all in my name, leaving countless people dead having been killed with guns that were acquired in my name? So, yeah, I am angry with that. How much of that is righteous anger and how much myself just being offended for being used is known only to the Lord. But, there it is.