An epic Catholic rant

H/T to Rorate Caeli:

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56 Responses to An epic Catholic rant

  1. ginnyfree says:

    Well, it is quite a rant. I agree with a few points, but in general these guys are over reaching and over reacting. If you want to see something, it isn’t hard to find. God bless. Ginnyfree.


  2. Michael says:

    What does he mean by ‘neo-Catholics’? At times the usage suggests people who are not supportive of ‘progressive’ changes in Church teaching, but want to pretend that such movements are not as endemic as they really are, etc; at others he seems to use the term to describe those very people who are trying to force such changes through.

    Similarly, when I looked up the term, some define it as being doctrinally conservative but open to some changes in practice, but others go as far as to suggest it means anyone who doesn’t reject Vatican II and even the pontificate of Saint John Paul II. I’m a bit confused. As to the video, I agree with Ginny above – some good points (particularly the absence of repentance in recent discussions, and its absolute centrality to any real offering of mercy to sinners), but a bit over the top, and the rants even come across as slightly paranoid at times.


  3. Michael says:

    P.S. Some more reflections on the misuse of mercy here:


  4. The video, the conversation, the “rant” are all brilliant. Michael Matt is right when he says that the only thing that faithful Catholics can do now is to continue practicing the true Faith.

    Moreover, he suggests, we can be secure in the knowledge that in the decades ahead – perhaps even more than “decades” – the opening to evil that this synod provides will be closed.

    In the end, this synod’s grave errors will be corrected.


  5. Crow says:

    I must say, while I am a traditional Catholic, and Latin Mass, I am alarmed when I see people take positions which can only be divisive to the Church. In the past, it was always the Vatican II types who endlessly (& to my view, destructively), criticised the Church. Now it seems to be the traditional ones. I see this as destructive and there are two elements which these people don’t factor in to the equation: first, this is a religion, not a political party. Some things may be left or right, but it is not a focus group. The Church had to get a message across of mercy – Even I can see the harshness of the divorce/communion doctrine and I understand the mercy with which it is enforced.
    Secondly, there appears to be a tendency in some quarters to an “end of the world” mentality, which personally, I see as American and based on your Puritan origins. The fact that the merciful parts of St John Paul’s statement were included without the final sentence is not significant if the overall message upheld traditional doctrine. It certainly does not mean the end of the world. As Ginny Free pointed out, we can find things if we look for them. The Church is given to us as the Church of Jesus Christ. It is a divine creation. It is not Man-made. This is where it differs, with all due respect to the Ordinariate, from the Protestant churches. Of course it will be subjected to pressures. There will be persecutions and there will be betrayals- it is a Church of men. The Apostles were flawed and Judas was an Apostle. However, to act as if everything of a theological or doctrinal nature could mean the end of the Church is to misconceive the true nature of the Church of Jesus Christ.


  6. ginnyfree says:

    Hello Crow. Sometimes I wonder if all of this in our days might be applied to helping us understand exactly how the faithful Apostles felt in the presence of Judas Iscariot who betrayed our Lord. He was known as a thief and the other’s disdain for him is recorded in Scripture. Jesus even called him a devil, “Did I not choose you twelve? Yet is not one of you a devil?” Jn. 6:70. But they didn’t dismiss him did they? Nope. Judas served a purpose and so do the current bunch of wicked prelates and assorted heretics. Trial by fire I think it is called. Yeah. I’m beginning to think i understand how some must’ve felt way back when. God bless. Ginnyfree.


  7. Tom Fisher says:

    The vast mass of the population is inert, um, it’s inert, it’s thick, it’s not necessarily its own fault…

    The breathless, excitable guy not holding the mic sounds a lot like Lenin really! — Bring on the revolutionary vanguard. Great stuff though, all good fun and hopefully satire


  8. Michael says:

    A couple more good pieces on the Synod here:

    The first shines a light on an unintended but beneficial effect of the Synod, and the second one is particularly interesting insofar as it turns the whole ‘Pharisee’ accusation on its head, showing up a very different kind of legalism amongst those making the accusations.

    Btw, can anyone help me out with that term ‘neo-Catholic’ above? I am genuinely struggling for a clear definition of the word, and, as I said before, it is used in the video to suggest a couple of different meanings.


  9. kathleen says:

    Crow @ 23:01 yesterday

    In the past, it was always the Vatican II types who endlessly (& to my view, destructively), criticised the Church. Now it seems to be the traditional ones.

    May I suggest that the traditionalists are not criticising “the Church” Herself… but instead they are criticising those very “Vatican II types” in the Church who they see are trying to undermine Her infallible teachings? I’m not referring solely to the video above either, but to all those who are seeing some dangerous and un-Catholic ideas being infiltrated into the weak parts of the Final Report.

    Certainly this video is extremely fatalistic and gloomy, although I believe it is wholly legitimate and necessary to point out errors too as the Remnant members have done so emphatically. There were definite evil manipulators at work among the [mostly] good Synod Fathers, who by hook or by crook were out to get their own way. Some feel they succeeded! As Cardinal Pell has said*, there is “insufficient clarity” in certain shaky paragraphs of the Final Report… and this could be just enough to open a whole can of nasty ‘worms’ in the future!

    * [Ed.: And it is not just Cardinal Pell who is saying this. Cardinal Burke, plus numerous honest priests, Catholic apologists, canon lawyers, journalists… and ordinary Catholic bloggers of integrity are all saying likewise, that the “lack of clarity” could be a dangerous crack in which the liberals and modernists could twist to push through their evil agendas. No wonder the Kasperite dissenters smugly smiled and kept mum at the close of the Synod!]


  10. kathleen says:

    Michael, thank you for all those excellent links you give above, both yesterday and today. (Phew, so much good, informative stuff to read, and such limited time to do so! 😉 )

    The link of the interview of Edward Pentin with Cardinal George Pell after the Synod was particularly revealing. For instance:

    EP – You had this year 45 papal-appointed delegates who appeared to swing the vote. It’s said those controversial paragraphs on divorce and remarriage probably wouldn’t have passed without those papal appointees.
    Card.Pell – That’s very possible.
    EP – Do you think that’s a problem?
    Card.Pell – It’s a fact.

    !!! So it is clearly also a fact that Pope Francis was in favour of their sinister proposals then. That’s why he appointed them.
    And their ‘proposals’ were?
    Looking for loopholes in the established Doctrine on Marriage of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church to allow for those living in mortal sin to flagrantly receive Holy Communion!

    The implications of all this for those of us, who have always looked up to the Pope and hierarchy as rock solid defenders of Truth, are truly terrifying!

    Re your question: Btw, can anyone help me out with that term ‘neo-Catholic’ above?

    I’m do not know whether this term was ever used before the dreaded “Spirit of Vatican II” got underway, but with “neo” meaning new, one could presume that this derogatory term is used to describe a type of liberal ‘C’atholic made in that mould. IOW, a non-traditional Catholic, and therefore not a real Catholic at all!

    However, as Toad was wont to say, “I might be wrong”! 😉


  11. GC says:

    Dear Michael and Kathleen, the Remnant people give the answer themselves. It’s something like the “neoconservatives” in American (mainly) politics. “Neoconservative Catholics” as opposed to “paleoconservative Catholics” (the traditionalists).

    The term is intended to capture the unprecedented development Johnston describes: the post-conciliar division of the body of Catholics into three main currents: a Catholic “left” (Modernists or liberals), a “truly Catholic right” (traditionalists), and the new “conservative” middle ground occupied by those who “by any historical measure… are progressive Catholics.” A rough parallel is that of the division of Judaism into Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox branches. Such a division was not seen in the Catholic Church before Vatican II.


  12. Michael says:

    Kathleen and GC, thank you for the responses! I think the problem I have is that, in the video and elsewhere (including the Remnant article) the usage shifts between a.) a middle ground, where people are doctrinally conservative but do not place as much emphasis on the TLM and recognise development of doctrine, and b.) a group who are, for all intents and purposes, in league with the progressivists and subtly support their attempts to change doctrine.

    The only thing that is common to these two definitions is that neo-Catholics’ acceptance of Vatican II and the papacy of John Paul II is seen as a bad thing, and any such acceptance is set over and against the pre-Vatican II Church (even if neo-Catholics themselves do not explicitly make such an opposition*). This would seem to me to make Pope Benedict XVI and his advocacy of a ‘hermeneutic of continuity’ very much neo-Catholic in character!

    *For example, George Weigel is listed as an example of neo-Catholicism, but if you look at the ‘notes’ of NC listed in the Remnant article, I find it very hard to associate his views with many of them.


  13. ginnyfree says:

    Michael, go to their website and see how they use it, then trust your instincts. Thanks for the links. I like the gal in the nice Mantilla! A sister to me in more than one way! I would’ve gone with all black for a Vatican appearance rather than the two-toned version she chose, but it’s a matter of taste I suppose. God bless. Ginnyfree.


  14. Michael says:


    I’ve looked at the article at the Remnant, and still find it lacking in clarity (to be fair, they list the overly broad way in which the term is used as a common objection – though I don’t find the explanation of this clears things up much). My instinct is that the term is not particularly helpful really – firstly in that it provides yet another ‘label’ to be bandied about, and secondly that the label is disconcertingly imprecise. Glad you liked the links!


  15. ginnyfree says:

    Persons who rely on labels rarely admit they are being prejudicial in their conversations. But it is sometimes a necessity to lump folks into a category for the sake of discussing a particular point or event. Take for instance “LGBT” and all it implies. Persons who deal in words sometimes coin phrases that the rest of us have to catch on to. My impressions of the two men in the video using the term neo-catholic is not favorable. I’m wondering what they would consider me? I’m conservative about a few things but I certainly don’t seek out other conservatives and absorb all their positions on things simply because I can describe my particular personality as conservative in most regards. Basically, I was taught to make up my own mind about things which sometimes doesn’t work well as a Catholic woman. I wasn’t raised Catholic or even Christian and sometimes this shows in exactly this way: I don’t fear speaking my mind and I don’t let others tell me what that mind should contain, yet I am faithful to the Church in all regards. So, when I raise my voice in the Land of the Catholic Blogs, a certain assumption gets made about me as a Catholic woman : that I will always condescend and that all questioning is a bad thing and a “sign” of the imagined sin of “doubt,” whatever that means. I’ve figured out that “good Catholic gals” NEVER ask questions or disagree with anyone! So, I’m labeled a bad girl all over again and it gets tough sometimes to have a reasoned discussion of relevant issues or even to be taken seriously at all. I’m growing used to it, though I haven’t yet come up with a cute little label for Catholic Bloggers who can’t handle female converts with opinions all their own who aren’t fearful of sharing them either. Maybe they are the Anti-Spunk League or Neo-Something or others. I’ll figure it out. God bless. Ginnyfree.


  16. Michael says:

    Ginny @ 11:01

    Well, I certainly hope you haven’t experienced any of that here! I doubt it very much indeed. It is a shame though if, elsewhere, you have received some bad responses merely because of your sex (as opposed to being opinionated per se).

    But yes, going back to labels, it is inevitable that we often have to group people together and refer to them with a common term – this happens all the time, is normal and communication would be very difficult without it. But there is also a needless proliferation of labels, either to use as a stick to beat others with (like LGBT – you must respect my identity choices! etc) or to simply pick out people with whom we disagree on one or more points and lump them in with others we disagree with for other reasons, to create an easy ‘us vs. them’ scenario which doesn’t do justice to the variety and complexity of positions out there. My worry re the term ‘neo-Catholic’ is that it falls into this latter category.


  17. ginnyfree says:

    Michael, you’re right. It isn’t a very nice categorical statement to make about someone’s faith. Also the use of labels in the Land O Blog sometimes is done to discredit or disparage a certain person. It becomes a way to dismiss the views that aren’t one’s own. It is a way of keeping a wall about one’s self and one’s particular point of view to feel safe I suppose. But walls can keep things out one doesn’t want to keep out: namely the Holy Spirit. As far as spiritual matters go, no one can claim to have the “correct” opinion about all things Catholic. Birds of a feather tend to flock together and it is nice to feel part of a broader community within the Church. The men in question are a good example of labels used as walls that exclude others rather than simple categorizing for the sake of discussion. And the effect it has had on you is to create a confusion for you which ultimately undermines the real reason for all this blogging: the Message of the Gospel and carrying it to all the world via our shared call to evangelize all nations. I really don’t like it when men such as those in the video reduce my faith to a “position” or political point of view. They want me to question my faith in general to see if it measures up to their idea of what faithful looks like and I’m supposed to examine my conscience I suppose and rid myself of all shadow of things that may be “Neo-Catholic” and amend my way of life according to their opinion. No, the only label I think applies when it does matter is “Faithful.” But since it isn’t PC to state whether or not a particular person is considered faithful as opposed to unfaithful, they choose other labels that may say the same thing just not in those words. These guys are good at that. Btu what is their point? God bless. Ginnyfree.


  18. Michael says:

    Ginny @ 11:35:

    Yep, you’ve pretty much hit the nail on the head there I think! 🙂


  19. Michael says:

    Kathleen @ 09:49:

    P.S. I was umm-ing and ah-ing about whether to post this link (which I think you might well have seen already!), but on balance I don’t think it is that controversial really:

    It certainly does seem hard to deny, when it is all laid out in one piece like that, and taking into account his concluding speech, that the Holy Father, orthodox as he otherwise is, very much seems to be in favour of the Kasperite proposals.

    All I would say is that, regardless of the Pope’s intentions, it is precisely through such material that the Holy Spirit does his work. We have been lucky to have had two papacies of clear direction and consistent teaching, but it is not always the way – nevertheless, the promises to the office of the papacy and to the Church as a whole will persist.


  20. Michael says:

    P.P.S. Sorry, one more link, but I just read this piece on a letter written in complaint of Ross Douthat’s recent articles, and it shows how shameless those seeking to undermine the Church’s teachings can be:


  21. ginnyfree says:

    Hello Michael. Thanks for the link. It was a nice article. God bless. Ginnyfree.


  22. ginnyfree says:

    If some had their way the only voices raised would be theirs. Mr Douthat is only fulfilling is right and duty as a Christian according to the Code of Canon Law 212,3 which says we all have to let our pastors know our opinions about what they do and say and teach. Read if for yourself and see! Surprise! You’re supposed to let Father and everyone else know exactly what you think of what they say and do regarding the Church and who they express what she teaches. It calls the obligation to express one’s opinion BOTH a right and a duty. So there ya go. Never let Sister of Father shut you up again. God bless. Ginnyfree.


  23. kathleen says:

    GC @ 10:20 yesterday

    Thanks for that fascinating Remnant article explaining in great detail what a neo-Catholic is supposed to be!!
    Also interesting (and amusing) were Michael’s and Ginny’s follow-up comments on the subject. 🙂

    Yes, it’s not very pleasant to be boxed into little man-made categories, especially when these names (categories) are then used as tools with which to beat the contrarian over the head! 😉
    But we all do it, as Michael pointed out, because it simply makes dialogue more fluid and comprehensible all round. However, “neo-Catholic” appears to be a new term for most of us!

    When reading through the Remnant’s long list of attributes for a neo-Cat, I was saying to myself, ‘that’s okay, that’s not me, I’m definitely an affirmed traditionalist‘…
    And then I came to their points where they bash St John Paul II and some of his encyclicals, and that brought me up short! Yes, we all know JP2 made some errors of judgement – he was after all a fallible human being like all the rest of us – but he was also a great, faithful, orthodox and holy Pope, whose pontificate brought much good to the Church and the world! (However, I must just say that I greatly deplore all that Ecumaniacism of the eighties that JP2 promoted!)

    So what am I? An imperfect traditionalist because I love and cherish the memory of Pope John Paul II? And how many other Catholics are boxed into set names who also fail on their list of ‘attributes’? Perhaps we should (starting with myself) be a little more careful in our use of identifying others by fixed categories.


  24. ginnyfree says:

    Hello Kathleen. Thanks for the thoughtful commentary.
    How’s this for a newly coined term: Ecu-maniac! You could go there ya know. God bless. Ginnyfree.


  25. GC says:

    Dear kathleen, I suppose most of the ordinary folk in the pews could be termed “neo-Catholics” as they are faithful to the post-Vatican II Church as long guided by the post-Vatican II popes, John Paul II and Benedict XVI. I suppose the term is useful as it distinguishes them from both the more traditionalist Catholics and, well, the liberal dissenters from that period in the Church, who really are a sort of “parallel” church. These dissenters have gained control of many of the seminaries, universities and religious orders, as we well know. For how much longer is uncertain as they are mostly getting quite old or their religious orders are dying out. No need to join religious orders under vows if those orders are just offering the same things as the Guardian or the New York Times.

    I suppose my own father was a “neo-Catholic” as, despite having university degrees in Latin and Greek and having been a Catholic for 40 years before Vatican II, he was quite content that Mass was changed to the vernacular though he held orthodox beliefs until his death in the late 90s. I suggest we all know people like this, but probably find that most of their offspring have slipped away from the Faith.

    Mark Shea (and others like him, who often appear on EWTN!) converted to Catholicism during JPII’s long reign and they often get taken to task by the traditionalists, perhaps even because they are “JPII converts”. Mark Shea even suggests he is a “neo-Catholic traditionalist”:


  26. kathleen says:

    Dear GC, thank you very much for those two excellent and illuminating articles by Mark Shea; they really do explain as best they can – for the term ‘Neo-Catholic’ is being bandied about to mean so many types of Catholic that do not necessarily fill the description of the original way it was conceived – who can be sucked into this category!

    It is still highly convoluted, isn’t it, with many of us falling more on one side of the fence than the other, but not ending up either as perfect traditionalists (as I have always thought of myself), or as typical Neo-Catholics as described by that list in the second article. Overall it appears to be a category defining a large part of the Church, usually in a derogatory sense, and used far more in the US than in Europe… (which is probably why Michael and I, born and bred Europeans, had never really come up against this term before.)

    Could say lots more about it all, but have to dash off now. Thanks again for the links. 🙂


  27. Michael says:

    GC @ 14:10, October 29th:

    I second Kathleen in thanking you for those two excellent pieces by Mark Shea. I found the second one particularly helpful, as in this he is addressing the way in which it seems to have been used in the video above. His analysis of the eight points provided by a commenter, which do indeed seem to draw the usage into clearer focus, I broadly agree with, in the sense that he seems to be arguing against the idea (proposed by the eight points themselves) that one has to take an either/or position with respect to Vatican II and JPII’s papacy. Essentially, I think his response to point 1 is the guiding principle behind his analysis, and one that I definitely agree with – continuity, not a choice between two distinct Churches (thank you BXVI).

    I did have a few quibbles – in particular, I don’t find myself able to be quite as enthusiastic about ecumenism as Shea is (though I do share his appreciation for bringing the riches of the Faith out to the other ‘ecclesial communities’ in ways that were perhaps easier to understand than before – emphasis on the ‘perhaps’ there of course!) and do I regret that in the second article he gradually ends up lumping all traditionalists into one group in the same way as the specific type of traditionalist originally being discussed does with the term ‘neo-Catholic’. Anyway, an excellent pair of articles overall, and it cleared up a lot – thank you!

    Oh, and here are some more links for today 🙂

    The second contains an excellent prayer at its conclusion.


  28. Michael says:

    P.S. Another interesting article here (and apposite, given our discussion about neo-Catholics above!), looking at a document written in 1985 by the then Cardinal Ratzinger which addresses (nay, settles) the issues raised by the Synod:


  29. GC says:

    That wonderful prayer, Michael, in your second link appears to be from one of the more literally pleasing translations of what gets referred to as the “Universal Prayer attributed to Pope Clement XI”.

    Monsignor Pope has declared that it seems that there’s nothing at all left out on the list of petitions in this prayer, a bit like that song from the Lord High Executioner in the Mikado.

    Dear kathleen and Michael, my last link this on the Riddle of the neo-Catholics. I think this sets it all out rather more clearly, and it’s written by an impenitent neo-Cath!


  30. Michael says:

    Thank you GC – another very interesting article!! 🙂


  31. Michael says:

    Without wanting to continue the discussion about what the term neo-Catholic means any longer (as I think the articles provided by GC have dealt with that admirably), I do wish to draw attention to a talk by someone who would probably receive the particular label – Ross Douthat. I don’t agree 100% with everything he says in his talk (which runs to around 30-35 mins, despite the official runtime on the video going on longer) but he raises some very interesting (and important) questions. Worth a watch (if you’ve not already seen it via that is!):


  32. Michael says:

    Ah – thought that might happen. If you just do a search for ‘The Crisis of Conservative Catholicism featuring Ross Douthat’ in Google Videos it will bring up a watchable version.


  33. ginnyfree says:

    Did you watch the Erasmus speech he gave for First Things? I is worth your time. Here is a link: God bless. Ginnyfree.


  34. Michael says:

    Ginny @ 22:50, November 1st:

    Erm, that was the very same talk I had linked to above…so, yes, I have watched it! 🙂


  35. Toad says:

    Just watched it. Extremely interesting – excellent talker. One thing that struck me was the dog that didn’t bark – that Douthat doesn’t give any time at all to what persuaded Benedict to bail out.
    Can’t cover everything in half an hour, though.

    A nice, friendly, tolerant, little schism is just the job to suit a variety of tastes, I reckon.


  36. ginnyfree says:

    Sorry Michael. Sometimes I’m dense. I used to be a blonde. My roots show. Forgive me and have patience. Some day I’ll catch on. Until then another cup of coffee has to do. God bless. Ginnyfree.


  37. Michael says:

    Ginny @ 11:58:

    Haha – certainly no need to apologise! I just thought the coincidence was kind of funny 🙂


  38. ginnyfree says:

    Glad to make you laugh. Life is too short to be taken seriously. Laugh out loud at least once a day. God bless. Ginnyfree.


  39. ginnyfree says:

    Since exactly why Pope Emeritus Benedict left behind his Papacy we will never be told, so it is “safe” for all those who like to speculate as to why he did what he did to do so and some do so very publically.


  40. Toad says:

    “Since exactly why Pope Emeritus Benedict left behind his Papacy we will never be told,”
    I see no particular reason it should “never be told,” Gin.
    Do you?


  41. ginnyfree says:

    Gee, Toad, when did you leave your last job and under what circumstances? Does everyone on the planet have a right and or need to know or is your career path a private matter? The Papacy isn’t exactly a career path, but similar rules of decency apply. You as a Baptised member of God’s Church do not have a right to an explanation of every and/or any decisions made by the Holy Father. God bless. Ginnyfree.


  42. Toad says:

    Good grief, Gin – of course I’ve “no right” to know why Ben gave the papacy the elbow. No more than I’ve any “right or need” to know what Donald Trump thinks of Mexicans.
    I’m just curious. A perfectly reasonable thing to be, regarding this matter.And I suspect the truth will emerge sooner or later.
    If not – well, so what?

    “Gee, Toad, when did you leave your last job and under what circumstances?”
    Retired two years early, due to a little known-medical – condition commonly referred to by doctors as “weariness.” And I don’t care who knows it. Maybe Ben got a dose of it.


  43. Michael says:

    Ginny @ 12:18:

    Agreed – a good dose of laughter is an excellent tonic. Helps keeps things in perspective for one thing, and stops us taking ourselves too seriously. I shall prescribe myself several episodes of Dad’s Army post-haste!


  44. Michael says:

    P.S. Ginny, as a supplement to the video, have you seen this recent article from Ross Douthat?

    It’s very good indeed.


  45. Toad says:

    Read the Douthat article, Michael. Excellent. What a pity he’s a paid-up member of the Loony Liberal media, whose sole aim is to destroy the Catholic Church, which it hates.
    So we can’t believe a word he says.


  46. ginnyfree says:

    Hell Michael, I’ll have done if I were him is quote this Canon to them: 212 §3 “They have the right, indeed at times the duty, in keeping with their knowledge, competence and position, to manifest to the sacred Pastors their views on matters which concern the good of the Church. They have the right also to make their views known to others of Christ’s faithful, but in doing so they must always respect the integrity of faith and morals, show due reverence to the Pastors and take into account both the common good and the dignity of individuals.” There ya go – a right and a duty to speak my mind not only my Pastor, but to others as well. Just fulfillin’ my duty as a Catholic to let ya’ll know what I really think of what ya’lls doing with the place. God bless. Ginnyfree.

    P.S. Only a very brave priest would place this Canon in his bulletin on Sundays cause if we did tell them what we actually thought, they may not be so inclined to stand outside in the parking lot eagerly waiting to shake our hands and meet us where we’re at as they do these days.


  47. ginnyfree says:

    My guess was that after his 400th case of acute pedophilia in a Roman collar and having to sift through all the gory details of the cases and weeping over the sins of his brothers in the priesthood till he got permanent rivulets under his eyes he may very well have been more than weary as well. Looking into the world of the perverse can really take a toll on a soul.


  48. Toad says:

    OK, Ginny – We can guess, but we mustn’t ask. Makes sense to me. Not much, though.

    “Looking into the world of the perverse can really take a toll on a soul.”
    Looking into the world closely at all can really take a toll on the soul.


  49. Michael says:

    Ginny @ 19:17, November 2nd:

    I take it Douthat had assumed this right a long time ago! His most recent response was not just an eloquent reiteration of the spirit of that directive from Canon Law, but a sound and clear explanation to his opponents (and everyone else) just why he wrote what he did previously. That they (his – very vocal – opponents) have bizarrely decided to focus on his lack of theological qualifications, instead of actually engaging with his arguments, is very telling indeed.

    On these here topics, another couple of links – one on the Douthat affair, and another on Canon Law’s position on assessing the possibility of heresy when it isn’t stated outright:


  50. Michael says:

    Toad @ 17:26, November 2nd:

    Yes, sorry about that – I’d forgotten that what I had really meant in the past with respect to the liberal media is that they are completely untrustworthy and that anyone working for one of said papers, etc, is by default towing the party line on every point.

    On a more serious note, I think it’s good for the NYT to have a conservative ‘cuckoo in the nest’ – every paper should have at least one columnist that bucks the trend a little bit. Some do of course, but not all.


  51. Toad says:

    Quite so Michael. And every blog needs a Cuckoo.
    ..That’s where Toad comes in.


  52. Toad says:

    I admire some of the intellects that the Trads can field, like Douthat (put a “b,” before the “t,” yet again!) and Michael, of course. And I sympathise with their position. No good throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
    No, like beer, (see other thread) we just need another to brew another brand to suit changing personal tastes: “Catholic Trad,” too bitter for you? Switch to “Catholic Lite!” – The beer for people who don’t really like beer!*
    Te problem is, can they both share the brewery?

    * Let them drink Coke.


  53. ginnyfree says:

    Michael, what Mr. Douthat experienced in a public way is what many of us have also experienced: censorship. Did you not hear the talk at the Synod about the censorship that is expected from the left regarding any and all language that may be offensive and how we should monitor our speech and use words that ensure no one, especially the gays, feels excluded? They want such words as “intrinsically evil” and “adultery” to be replaced with words that aren’t so exclusionary, etc. They called this the “language event.” Well, it was my prediction as well as a few others who know tons more about this stuff than I do, that some folks having had their issues aired at the Synod will simply return to their places and begin to act as if their issues carried the day. It is a replay of the techniques of subversion we are all familiar called “the spirit of Vatican 2.” Mr. Douthat was corrected according to their interpretation of the language event at the Synod. They expect the word “heresy” to be banished as well from all religious dialog both public and private. it is on their list of forbidden words not to be used at all for charitable pastoral reasons as was mandated by the Synod on the Family so folks can meet these newly embraced, formerly marginalized persons of all stripes where they are. So, they tested their newly “mandated” powers of censorship on Mr. Douthat in a public way. Now, this type of anticipated self-censorship is not unknown or uncommon in the Land-O-Blog. I’ve been asked not to use the word “heresy” to describe the position of a person or their statements regarding the presentation of the faith. I was more than once told I haven’t got the credentials to make that kind of determination. I was also told it is uncharitable. I was also told I cannot even know if something is heretical because I’m only a layperson and not a theologian! It is the exact same BS they tried with Mr. Douthat. There are many places in the Land-O-Blog where Catholics are censored and not allowed to use the word heresy at all. One will find oneself monitored out the door quickly when on notices that certain positions not in keeping with orthodox Catholic teaching are being presented as if they ARE the official teaching of the Church. This is exactly how heresy spreads. Bad teaching foisted on the innocent trusting sheep as if it is the truth contained in the deposit of faith and if anyone notices and says something, that one has to be stopped and shut up and then damage control takes over. It happens. Michael, I’d go to the bank on this: if you had the time to research all the persons on the list who signed themselves opposed to Mr. Douthat calling a spade a spade, you’d find that each of them has heterodox ideas regarding the faith and speckled careers to prove it. They have a heresy to protect and by golly, the Douthats of this world need silencing! God bless. Ginnyfree.


  54. Michael says:

    Ginny @ 12:19:

    Yep – agreed, and this has been going a long time indeed. Only now, as Ross Douthat points out in his talk, the liberal censors etc feel as if they are experiencing a new spring-time, in terms of space given to them to air their ideas (but not for anyone else to air theirs of course).

    The really bizarre thing in all this, especially when one takes into consideration the idea that just because someone doesn’t have theological training* they shouldn’t be taken seriously in theological debate, is that the debates have been redefined away from reasoned argument and proving one’s case from Scripture, Tradition, etc, into emotive appeals – hence why they feel they can call people out because they’ve said something they find unpalatable. It’s all about how words make me feel, instead of what they actually mean; no argument, just hand-wringing and the shouting of ‘ad hominem’ anytime someone says something I don’t like.

    *Quite frankly, given some of the institutions many people on the list represent, and assuming they see these places as providing what they’d consider a sound theological education, I’m rather glad that people without such an education are entering the fray!


  55. Michael says:

    Toad @ 11:25:

    I think you win the prize for metaphor of the day 🙂 And the tag-line ‘“Catholic Lite!” – The beer for people who don’t really like beer!’ (or something similar) should definitely get more usage!


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