July 21, 2016
Posted by Tantumblogo
Matthew Schmitz, who apparently writes at First Things, has a piece at the Catholic Herald wherein he wrings his hands over the future of liberal “Catholicism.” Apparently, liberals are feeling a great deal of angst over Francis’ failure to implement as radical a policy as they would like. Goodness, his documents and statements all but obliterate the moral Doctrine of the Faith – what more could they want?! That, in itself, tells us a very great deal about what liberal Catholics really believe. They want a Church that is so permeated by the sense of the world, that it is indistinguishable from it, and bends to every shift in liberal opinion.
I’ll excerpt quite a bit from the below, adding my own comments [in brackets], but the thought that overwhelmed me throughout reading it was how un-Catholic it was. Not in the details, not in the diminution of Tradition or the advocacy of error, but in its overall sense. There is no sense of conversion. No sense that perhaps the liberal who desires to be Catholic should shift his belief to conform to that of the Church, instead of always insisting that the Church should change to conform to his belief, and militating to that end by devious means (which the author openly advocates – “hollowing out” the Doctrine of the Faith is desirable for Francis right now, because outright repudiation of it is not possible!). This is a path of pure destruction, as any review of history and the ongoing collapse of the mainline sects would reveal to anyone with even a remotely open mind.
This desire for the Church to conform to me, wonderful me, is utterly alien to me. I am a convert. I have, by an act of Grace and of the will, changed by belief on a huge number of subjects to conform with Catholic thought. That process continues to this day, as I learn the Faith better (I pray). I became a Catholic by choice. I think Dom Prosper Gueranger would, among other Catholic greats, agree with me, that it would be far better for these liberal “Catholics” to leave the Church whose beliefs they so manifestly reject, rather than continue to heap coals of fire on their heads in their useless attempts to create a Church in their own fallen image. In fact, if I put my mind to it, I am certain I could quote Gueranger to precisely that end.
Nevertheless, the angst of the unsatisfied radical:
…….The first problem is demographic. There are not enough highly committed young liberal Catholics to replace the older generation. Last September, the posh Town and Country Club in St Paul, Minnesota, hosted to a conference with the title “Can Francis change the Church’s approach to sexuality?” Barbara Frey, a human rights lawyer, and Massimo Faggioli, an advocate for the theological education of newspaper columnists, addressed a crowd of 125 attendees. Notwithstanding the spicy topic, the National Catholic Reporter noted that crowd members were “mostly in their 60s, 70s and 80s”.
Though many self-identified Catholics count as liberals, broad trends [trends perpetuated by…….liberalism!] away from religious attachment and observance have left fewer than ever willing to spend time and energy trying to change the Church. Phyllis Zagano, a professor at Hofstra University and advocate for women deacons, worries that “older Church professionals who adjusted to vernacular liturgies and who incorporate mercy into their understandings of justice are retiring daily” only to be replaced by young conservatives. [I pray that is the case. If it is, it isn’t happening fast enough. I would posit to those who incline liberal, that they actually belong to a different and inveterately hostile religion. Liberalism is itself a religion. It has dogmas, certainly, but also signs and symbols, and even diabolical sacraments (abortion, contraception, etc). Liberals seek to force the Church to correspond to their true religion, left/liberalism. Thus the Church must be forced to yield to their worldly religion at all times, and since the revolution is never over, even Francis’ mighty novelties are judged insufficient, and cannot be, until there is literally nothing left. Then there will be a crocodile tear or two, while the liberal rests smug in his act of destruction]
Though liberals control various[virtually all] media outlets and theology faculties, they have not been as successful as traditional Catholics in drawing people into the sacramental life of the Church. Liberals who have accepted calls to the priesthood or religious life, who attend Mass daily, who volunteer on parish councils are getting older [and fewer] every year…..[Why is that? It’s because liberalism is a false religion inefficacious of Grace and unable to work true conversion on men’s hearts! Why? It is a religion of men, for men, and by men! Liberalism has always sought to dethrone God and replace Him with a false god acceptable to the world, as I quoted just earlier today! And the ONLY reason liberalism ever had any more than a bare handful of Catholics who assisted at daily Mass or, incredibly, took a religious vocation, is because THEY WERE ORIGINALLY FORMED IN THE TRUE FAITH AND THEN REBELLED AGAINST IT! That’s why liberalism cannot replace itself, the original cadre of aging leftist “Catholics” were formed before the revolution occurred, and still carry elements of that formation, that attachment to the Faith, even though it is twisted and perverted. But for younger people, that formation has been denied them as liberalism swept over and subsumed all but a few small pockets of the Church! They never had have, and never will have, the well of true Faith upon which to draw in order to become good, faithful Catholics – Catholics who assist at Mass daily, who deeply care and are involved in the life of their parish, who might even become a priest! Thus, a liberal church’s collapse is a self-fulfilling prophecy – the more liberal the Church or a sect becomes, the smaller and less effectual it will become, BECAUSE IT HAS DEVIATED FROM THE TRUTH OF JESUS CHRIST AND IS NOT EFFICACIOUS OF GRACE! See all the mainline sects for examples of this]
This spring I attended the ordination and first Mass of a young priest. As the infant children of our friends cried in the pews, I watched him kneel before the altar and elevate the Host. [Oh, the horror! How gauche! Didn’t he know there were liberals in the audience who would look aghast at such cornball displays?] After the liturgy ended, we gathered in the parish hall for a reception with sandwiches and soda. The newly minted Father entered the room dressed in a soutane. [Good for him] He is neither a traditionalist nor a controversialist, [Too bad, I pray he becomes both] but his long garment would have struck a previous generation or priests as grossly retrograde. [Which tells us a great deal about them, doesn’t it?] I asked if any of the older priests he knew would be offended by it. He said yes, but that they had by now resigned themselves to seeing such things among their younger colleagues.
Not everyone is willing to concede so quietly. A few years ago I attended a Mass at which the priest began to rage against Benedict XVI’s investigation of American nuns: “This is evil, evil, wicked and evil! It is a sin, and Benedict should beg for forgiveness!” [What a stupid, vapid argument. Imagine, the Pope investigating serious, repeated, and incredibly well-documented deviations from the Doctrine of the Faith, and the 40-year promotion of a hostile and alien set of beliefs, within the Church!]
……..Yet such anecdotes tend to overstate liberal Catholicism’s weakness. It may not be able to propel people toward the centre of Church life, but it appeals to many who are falling away, or at least lingering near the exits. Newman once wrote, “there are but two alternatives, the way to Rome, and the way to Atheism: Anglicanism is the halfway house on the one side, and Liberalism is the halfway house on the other.” Liberal Catholicism may be a temporary home for many who are headed to unbelief, but some who stop there take the opportunity to turn back. [Setting aside the fact that this is circular reasoning, what the heck is he saying? That liberalism is a deviation from the Faith that some return from? Is that it’s only use, then? To stop a few wayward souls from completely departing? But what damage do they do in the interim? This is really a weak and rather pathetic bit of argumentation – he is completely misinterpreting Blessed John Newman. Newman wasn’t positing Liberalism as a good thing, but as a very, very bad thing, simply one other way to leave the Church and enter another religion, like Anglicanism.]
Liberal Catholicism is based on the admirable and eminently Catholic aspiration for a Church and society that work in concert. What distinguishes the liberal from your run-of-the-mill integralist is the liberal’s belief that the society must not only be brought around to the views of the Church, but that the Church must also, to some extent, and perhaps to a very large one, be brought around to the views of the society. [Thank you for making my argument for me. Did not our Blessed Lord specifically warn us to reject the false wisdom of the world? And yet you would drag this into the heart of the Church? No thanks.]
……..Revolution may have seemed possible in the 1960s, but it no longer does today. The New Mass may have given our grandparents a delicious frisson, but it is comfortingly or depressingly familiar to younger Catholics. As it no longer has the power of revolution, liberal Catholicism has lost its last taste of transcendence. Those who want some share of excitement must look elsewhere.
I’ll conclude on that note, leaving aside the author’s statements – which he plainly makes – that Francis’ attacks on the Doctrine of the Faith are made in a deliberately underhanded way, as that is the only way to attack the Doctrine without opening up an obvious breach (I’d say the breach is obvious any, but….). He also notes with great candor that Francis has advanced beliefs that contradict the solemn Doctrine of the Faith.
But I’ll leave that aside, and simply note in conclusion the possibly inadvertent “tell” the author gave us there in the last paragraph. What is intoxicating about liberalism? The excitement of revolution? What does revolution always involve – the destruction of the preceding order, and its replacement by a new one, most often involving violence, always with great distress to the maintenance of peace and civil order.
If revolution was the only thing that ever gave liberalism transcendence, then the author would, I think, be forced to admit that it is a false ideology and one that is not pleasing to God. Catholicism is transcendent to its core, in all of its manifestations. It is transcendent in the public sphere, and in the interior forum. It is transcendent in its Sacraments and in its Doctrines.
But liberalism is not. It is only “transcendent” – and in a manifestly false way – when it stirs the emotions to a violent peak, tearing down what existed before and promising to build a better tomorrow, which somehow never comes. Catholicism posits an interior revolution, a quiet, peaceful revolution in the soul, as one exchanges the errors one holds for the Truth of Jesus Christ, just as St. Paul did. Liberalism, on the other hand, posits an exterior revolution, a revolution of emotional excess and invariable suffering – just as millions of souls were anguished by the changes unleashed on the Church in the 60s and 70s.
In brief, Catholicism demands the soul convert to Jesus Christ and the Church He gave us. Liberalism demands everyone and everything – including the Church, including Jesus Christ Himself – submit to the individual liberal will. Thus, liberalism advances a revolution that never ends, until the last human being has breathed his last. It is the ultimate realization of the notion of non serviam. It is, as Pope St. Pius X alluded when speaking of liberalism’s ecclesiastical offspring, modernism, the synthesis of all errors.
May God have mercy on all those who fall into this false, nightmarish ideology.