Behind the Looking Glass, and It Ain’t Pretty

I feel like I am caught in a bad fairytale.

I am publishing in-full Rorate Caeli’s follow-up on their Tolkien post and linking to it in my original rebuttal of Father X.

Follow-up: on Tolkien

The post including transcripts of the conferences first posted on Audio Sancto with a somewhat critical view of the value as Catholic literature of the mythological world created by traditional Catholic author J. R. R. Tolkien generated quite a bit of heat.

The reaction from many quarters was stronger than might have been expected if we had posted a denial of an article of the Creed!… In a sense, even though I personally disagreed with much of what Father had to say, it seems to me that this bizarre overreaction validates much of his concern over a sacralization of texts which, as loved as they may be by many, are just a modern piece of entertaining fiction, and, let us be quite honest about it, regardless of the academic brilliance of the author, are not part of the canon of great literature of Christian Civilization.

In any event, precisely because this does not involve an article of the faith, but a prudential judgment on which Catholics may reasonably disagree, we would be more than happy to post a rebuttal of the conferences from a traditional Catholic perspective, in case it is also authored by a traditional priest and is, of course, respectful towards his fellow man of the cloth.

Rorate Caeli (exactly who from RC, I don’t know) made a request yesterday in the comments section of my rebuttal that I provide a link to the above follow-up.  I asked him to provide a link on RC to my post in return, but he declined, saying

We are not ASKING for a link. We are saying that your link is incomplete since we had TWO posts on the subject, the one you link to and a follow-up, put up days before this post of yours was up. We are not asking in the sense that you need you to link to us, just to make this complete: since you are not willing to link to it, allow me to post it here.

Actually, I had told RC, prior to the above comment that I would get to providing him with a link in the morning.  (I am in Rome.)

Where do I begin with this?  Honestly, I have been at a loss since last night.

Let me start by saying that when I wrote my rebuttal to Father X I really wanted to take the high road.  I was tempted to bring up the whole anonymity issue, which I had dealt with before concerning Audio Sancto, but I let it go in the interests of fairness and the more important concern about Tolkien.  But now a response concerning this issue and others related to it is entirely appropriate and fair.

Between Father X, Audio Sancto and Rorate Caeli, all who have a part to play in condemnation of Tolkien’s work, no real name is provided.  Apparently no one wants to take responsibility for such a severe assessment.  (I know the alleged reason why there is not a single real person who stands up for these things.  I just don’t buy it.)  In any case, it is the ghostly Adfero whose user name is attached to the post, and he tells us the following about it:

Note: this is not the position of Rorate Caeli, but arguments by a traditional priest presenting a view of the matter that is different from that usually presented as the only acceptable one.

I surmise the double emphasis on “the” in “not the position of Rorate Caeli” means that that it is not position of the corporate reality of RC, which is to say that RC has no policy in regard to acceptance or rejection of Tolkien.  This does not really tell us much, except that no one (meaning no human person) in that sector of cyberspace wants to be accountable for what is posted on the matter.

In the follow-up New Catholic at RC wants us all to “be quite honest” about things and admit that Tolkien’s work is “not part of the canon of great literature of Christian Civilization.”  In all “honesty,” I am not sure what that even means, and I am also not sure whether New Catholic’s opinion in this matter is part of any Catholic canon.  And while we are being honest, why don’t we be very clear about Father X’s “somewhat critical view” (as NC calls it) of Tolkien’s work, and call it more “honestly” what it really is, a wholesale condemnation of Tolkien’s work as heretical.

New Catholic wants us to believe that he largely disagrees with Father X but thinks that the good priest is onto something, because people have reacted so negatively to the condemnation.  What New Catholic needs to understand is that this is what intelligent people do when fundamentalism is sold as orthodoxy and the defense of the one true faith, especially when it involves injury to the reputation of a faithful Catholic held pretty universally in high esteem.  And it is even worse when there is not a single person who will take responsibility for the condemnation, and then, when they get called on it, behind their screen names they are moaning and wiping their brow.

New Catholic is absolutely right, as I mention in the post, there is no one Catholic position on Tolkien, and people are free to disagree on the matter.  But that is not what Father X believes, nor is that what he is trying to convey in his conferences, which are highly biased and, in my opinion, poorly argued.

But Rorate Caeli has nothing to do with this?  Then why provide so much real estate to an article they largely disagree with, when they very often fail to even link to posts at odds with them, as they do to my rebuttal, which was eminently respectful?   And why characterize Father X’s piece as “somewhat critical” when in fact they know that is much more than that.

Something is wrong with this picture.

New Catholic writes:

we would be more than happy to post a rebuttal of the conferences from a traditional Catholic perspective, in case it is also authored by a traditional priest and is, of course, respectful towards his fellow man of the cloth.

I guess I am not doctrinally pure enough, insofar as I accept Vatican II and don’t believe that it is reasonable or Catholic to drive a wedge in peoples’ minds between Pope Benedict and Pope Francis, because I am quite sure that RC would never think that I was not sufficiently respectful toward Father X.

But not even a link?  Really?  What are they so afraid of over at RC?  Why not just admit that it was a silly mistake to post these conferences and move on?

The answer to that might be that in certain circles (quite honestly, in mine) RC has a reputation for being reactionary and supportive of the kind of initiatives that continue to make traditional Catholics look like a fringe group.  That is what Mark Shea thinks, and he says so, with his real name attached to his opinions.  And for that he is now the epitome of evil and “He Who Must Not Be Named.”  And right in the middle of this storm in the Twitter-cup @Rorate Caeli, they write this:

Of course, the prophet here is Pope Benedict. And yes he is a prophet, but so is Pope Francis.

Talk about myth.  RC has created a Middle Earth where Pope Benedict is Gandalf, Pope Francis is Sauron (or Francis, The Horror) and the Ring is the Novus Ordo.  Yes, everything is ROTTEN, ROTTEN, ROTTEN.  Ninety-five percent of Catholics are nothing but a band of dirty orcs.  The only ones who can save us now are the Hobbits who hide in the shadows from the Freemasons and Modernists and warn us of the evils of the New Mass, the Gnosticism of Tolkien, and the death ray eyes of Mark Shea.

These guys are just too much.

44 thoughts on “Behind the Looking Glass, and It Ain’t Pretty

  1. Pingback: Is Tolkien’s Fantasy Gnostic? | Mary Victrix

  2. Well said, but don’t exhaust yourself: No one gets through to Traditionalists except the two main players they recognize: God and Satan. Unfortunately, they get those two confused and have no idea they aren’t even Christian anymore, let alone (c)Catholic and worse, may well be (publicly!) committing the unforgivable sin through their willfully proud blindness. It’s Tolkien today, it’ll be Grandma tomorrow. It seems to me only prayer for conversion of heart will spell a difference for such as these.

  3. Seems to me that very few Catholics have their eyes and hearts raised high enough.
    We are exhorted by Our Lord ‘do not judge, lest thee be judged’, there is only one judge. So what are Catholics doing? My God.
    We label each other this or that. And each group feels the other is going to hell.
    The sad thing is that no one is taking the time to get to know one another; really know one another. That might elimate the labeling and judging. Its only through charity that we all will be judged! CHARITY!
    Do you not all see Satan’s hand in causing such a division among those who should be united?? (St. John’s gospel)
    RORATE. . I do not know you, but I do know Fr. Angelo. I have known him shy of 10 years. He loves Holy Mother Church. He is a nice priest….not what some of you portrait him to be. He is passionate about defending the Church and and Institute to which he has given his life.

    The answers to the crisis within our beautiful Church is not to attack one another, but to rally, get off our back ends, and work together for solutions to the abuses. I suspect that those who will refuse to follow the promptings of God in their lives are the ones to be prayed for. God’s spirit blows where it will, and we MUST TRUST in Him!!

    I wish you all a blessed feast of Our Lady of Lourdes!
    (“I do not wish you happiness in this life, but in the one to come.”)

    ~ a lover of the Immaculate
    (Marie Bernadette)

  4. I made a monumental blunder in writing our Lady’s words…she said:

    “I do not ‘promise’ you happiness in this life, only in the life to come.”

    Please, Jesus, bless us all with your peace!

  5. Rorate Caeli was wrong to publish Fr. X’s anti-Tolkien screed, and wrong not to publish your refutation of it. That said, the “these guys are making traditionalists look bad” meme is getting old. And I will sign my name to that.

  6. Ave Maria – Jesus is Lord.

    Dear Father Angelo, what you wrote about joy at the end of your post “Is Tolkiens´s Fantasy gnostic” is so sweet, beautiful – and right… So pray for “these guys”, then forget them.

    You know that – It is almost impossible to discuss religion, culture or politics with them, because they do not discuss : they sardonically admonish. Their roughness and lack of courtesy (here towards you) is one more proof that their “traditionalism” is just an ideological window – and weapon. Combating such insanity is vain – you can just drive yourself insane.

    Yes, pray for them and forget them because believe me : they do their “best” to be killjoys.

  7. “Gaudium”…at what point did you not understand my message to refrain from the ‘we’ versus ‘they’ mentality?
    “Pray for them and them forget them” ???
    Really? Could you show me where in the bible our Lord teaches us that? What Church document? What Marian apparition??
    Considering that today we remember the Immaculate coming down from heaven to begin her visits with a humble, scholarly ignorant, shepherdess I should wonder why the messages given to her have been forgotten. Or maybe you don’t think them pertinent? Pray the rosary for sinners! And we all belong in that category.

    “He who says he loves God but hates his brother is a liar.” (I believe is 1John)

    The entire world has become ‘the prodigal son’. We want to do things our way, because we know better, (and that includes the backbiting about how to best worship God). We have turned our backs on God and His divine laws, as well as His infinite mercy. WE ARE LIVING IN PIG SLOP NOW!
    God is letting us have our way…until we come to our senses and return the the Father with contrite hearts, a purpose to amend our ways.
    And our Father in heaven IS waiting for us to return to Him…”My son was lost, but now he is found.”

    I half expected to see a homily, or post, on our Lady; and how St. Bernadette was the simple soul so priviledged to have seen the virgin and hear Her say,
    “I am the Immaculate Conception”.

    Part of the FI charism? To spread devotion to the Immaculate?

    Ave Maria!

  8. It’s not a meme, David, it is exactly what is happening. I have been a traditionalist for close to 25 years. Do the math – that’s back when the Archbishop was still alive and leading the movement. These last couple years have some of the most embarrassing I have ever felt as a Catholic traditionalist. Seriously. Holocaust denial, geocentrism, “Lenten Retreat” Caribbean cruises hosted by former Fox reporters who make a living denouncing other so-called professional Catholics, cited favourably by Rorate Caeli. Heck, if Rorate Caeli had been the voice of the average traditionalist back when I first found myself drawn to the Mass of the Ages, I likely would have opted for sedevacantism.

  9. “Gaudium”….I very well may owe you an apology. After reading the Beatitudes, to regain my inner peace, it occurred to me that you were encouraging Father Angelo to find his own peace, after praying for the staff at Rorate.
    My deepest apologies.

    I suppose a point can be made: that putting things in print can be read in more ways than one.

    Mother of all, please fill our hearts with good will, and profound love for God, and our neighbor.

    Ave Maria!

  10. I am surprised: when did Pope Benedict XVI grow in their esteem so as to be called a prophet for this age? I never thought they’d use such language for anyone but Abp. Lefebvre.

    Anyway, you’re right: they do come across as a bunch of scaredy-cats at Rorate: they can’t post under their own names, and they don’t have the guts to let a polite contrary opinion stand in their comment boxes. Life is too short than to waste it on such publications.

  11. Father, I am thoroughly impressed with your “take down” (I think that’s what Mr. Shea called it) piece on the notorious rad trad outfit Rorate Caeli. Yes it was good to defend the orthodoxy of Tolkien, but I can see by your effort that much more was at stake. As one who wrote a Ph.D. dissertation on a different author, I know how much work, how much time, went into this effort–but well worth it nonetheless. Your organization skills are impeccable. I see that you belong to the FFI. This interaction between you and RR–both the substance and tenor of your volley–has clarified for me aspects of the much publicized controversy over the “suppression” of your order, in a way the media could not; this was a look behind the scenes. What lies have been spouted–myths of 200 or more FFI brothers storming Rome asking for the restoration of the old mass, and even asking for a new order to be founded! After encountering your blog, and viewing you as a representative figure of the order, I now see that the whole “traditionalist drift” spin is just a lie, and that the rad trads are making this stuff up–you are clearly a “genuine modernist” (all irony intended). 200 brothers…….oh please–rad trads keep on dreamin! Why this prometheanism–go back to Mekone, Prometheus, and try again!

  12. It’s not a meme, David, it is exactly what is happening.

    Of course there’s some truth to it, that’s why it’s a meme. It’s just tiresome coming from certain quarters. Mark Shea might cry about trad “butthurt” (his vulgarity, his inability to conduct himself like a gentleman, is probably the major reason why he cannot be named), but he is the first to go on the attack when one of his sacred cows is slaughtered (e.g., Scott Hahn, Fr. Barron).

    And somehow we never talk about how Catholic liberal extremists make “Novus Ordo” Catholics look bad.

    But here’s the thing — even if we accept that this person or that makes a certain group of Catholics look bad, then what? Last I checked I don’t have the authority to purge extremists of whatever stripe from the Church.

  13. “The only ones who can save us now are the Hobbits who hide in the shadows from the Freemasons and Modernists and warn us of the evils of the New Mass, the Gnosticism of Tolkien, and the death ray eyes of Mark Shea.”

    Well written and so true Father!

    The Freemasons are running the world (UN; EUROPEAN UNION; INTERNATIONAL PLANNED PARENTHOOD ETC:, most individual governments are working for the multinationals and all these international bodies no longer their own countries))(and probably the Church too – INSTITUTION (not the Mystical Body) , the New Mass was designed by a mason (see list Pecorelli) and does not honour God..and has most definitely a heretical “drift” ….as we can see quite easily and commonly by the variations and manipulations that it undergoes depending on the subjective mind of the priest and the circling liturgists who are “celebrating” at the time. Truly Catholic it is NOT – and you don’t need 10 degrees in theology to understand that…( Tolkien hated it as he wasn’t a Gnostic) and I don’t know about the “death ray eyes” of Mr. Shea…but his brand of Catholicism is not attractive to me new- age Catholicism I would call it with a definite “spiteful drift” . I would say – kind of like yours Father – who seized the opportunity once again to attack Rorate Caeli – the bane of your existence on the internet – at least that’s how it comes over…

    But you just couldn’t wait, could you Father?

    Barbara

  14. Thanks folks for all the kind words and encouragement.

    David,

    I guess it depends on where one stands relative to the traditionalist divide and where that divide truly lies along spectrum of potential positions. Barbara would consider Mark Shea a New Ager, which is a pretty good marker for where she stands, which seems to me a quite extreme (not to mention slanderous) but one not altogether untypical of the traditionalism represented by RC.

    And somehow we never talk about how Catholic liberal extremists make “Novus Ordo” Catholics look bad.

    Really? That seems to largely what traditionalists talk about, and what very many of the minority of Catholics who actually care about the Church talk about quite frequently. In fact, I have found myself to be considered “doctrinally impure” by both trads and non-trads because I am not living in suspicion of everything Vatican II, and because I am not disappointed in Pope Francis. And even among most people of this crowd I would not be considered a “liberal extremist,” though I am sure Barbara thinks differently. I assume that you are not suggesting that Mark Shea, Scott Hahn and Fr. Barron are liberal extremists.

    No, it is my opinion that within the subculture that actual practicing Catholics have become, traditionalism has shown itself to be largely a fringe, albeit a growing one. Thankfully, though, there is a shift, and many people and ideas on the left, which were once a part of the mainstream are now seen as liberal extremists. There are still many problems, to say the least, but I would say that Barbara has done my argument a welcome service by speaking so eloquently for that small but growing fringe.

    And there is, in my opinion, a significant portion of that fringe that is simply impervious to criticism. I would like to mention, however the notable exceptions—hopefully a growing group of Catholics—who are open to the same standards of criticism that they are ever prepared to deliver to the rest of the Church.

  15. Father.

    Thank you.

    Allow me just to add the following: this is the last time I will ever visit this page. In fact, I did not even recall its existence, and only came to the first post because it appeared in our stats.

    This, mind you, is not because we are “impervious to criticism”. Not at all, we love criticism because it makes us grow and improve, and become better Catholics. No: it’s just because I have a modicum of love for my own spiritual health. It is a reason to avoid both those who are dominated by vulgarity and uncouthness, and their groupies, and those motivated by their own issues born of what one might deem symbolic (not real, but painfully symbolic) parricide. While it is an age-old element of great tragedy, it truly must be a terrible sentiment with odious results to one’s soul and well-being.

    Best regards, and I hope we’ll one day meet in better circumstances in heaven.

    NC

  16. Bravo!
    Every Catholic is called to be a spiritual living stone to help build Holy Mother Church… instead I witness demolition of it within this venue! No fraternal charity.

    Our Lord says, “If you do not become like children you will not enter into the gates of heaven.” ……HE did not mean frustrated infants and bullies!

    Our Lord said, “If you love Me keep my commandments. “…..5th commandment ~ “thou shalt not kill”…not limited to physical death! Those of you hiding under the cloak of truth and yet lack all humility and charity are wolves in sheep’s clothing leading the sheep astray! RORATE…you all stink of Jansenism!
    (or maybe Pharisee works for you)
    I’m repulsed by the comments I see by your own ‘groupies’.

    “And HE went around doing good.”

  17. @Rorate Caeli (@RorateCaeli) on February 12, 2014 at 6:05 am

    I guess that is supposed to go along with these:

    I forgive you NC.

    • I ask commenters that might want to defend me to just let it go. I don’t need to be defended. I am not afraid of the truth, and so I am certainly not afraid of lies either, or of those who act rashly without knowing the facts.

  18. I love Audio Sancto, generally agree with everything I hear there, for themost part, but I couldn’t stay with the Tolkien take. But I can let them have their opinion. Why can’t y’all?

  19. Georgette,

    Please read my original post regarding Father X’s take on Tolkien. I acknowledge the legitimacy of a wide range of opinions, including that of Father X. I just disagree with him, and in a way which in my opinion was far more balanced and fair than his treatment of Tolkien.

    There are different issues involved in this post.

  20. Fr. Angelo,

    I assume that you are not suggesting that Mark Shea, Scott Hahn and Fr. Barron are liberal extremists.

    Of course not. I’m simply pointing out Shea attributes “butthurt” to traditionalists as if he himself had never experienced it and made it public on his blog. His reaction to New Oxford Review’s scholarly criticism of Scott Hahn (N.B.: not that I think everything NOR publishes is scholarly, nor do I agree with all of their criticisms) is a prime example. Yes, trads take offense at real and perceived slights. No, that problem is unique to trads.

  21. Father, you should be grateful you can still spew your hatred for traditional Catholics since, after the work of a few, the FI have been silenced and decimated. Hope that silver was worth it.

  22. When I discuss with so-called modernists, I never feel the danger that I feel when I discuss with so-called traditionalists. Danger to my soul, to my heart, to my body.

    It’s a very particular and subtle feeling, which is perhaps only personal to myself – and maybe I should examine it more deeply.

    The modernists are just a danger to my nerves.

  23. Pingback: War in the Bubble | Mary Victrix

  24. David:

    Today’s generation of traditionalists have become extremely thin-skinned. And whiny. The butthurt over Mark Shea using the expression “butthurt”?! Reminds me of outrage in the Middle East when certain cartoons were published.

    RC uses the royal “we” to express typical Euroweenie disdain at uncouth Americans (of which I am not), the obvious catty insinuation (since it would behoove NC and his [her?] ilk to speak plainly like real men) being that the continent of Robespierre, Marx and Hitler is far more civilized than in the rest of the world.

    Good grief. Going back a couple decades I recall at least a few alcohol-fuelled and “salty” late night conversations with Michael Davies. If he had known then how sensitive the generation that followed him today had become to criticism, or to coarse language, he likely would have opted to remain Anglican.

    For my part, I likely would have opted for sedevacantism. I may disagree with Fr. Anthony Cekada in asserting the validity of the post-conciliar Popes, but at least he is pleasant to be around. Somehow he manages to argue passionately for the traditional Roman liturgy without referencing geocentrism, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the Sound of Music, or Mark Shea . And criticism is something he takes as a man, unlike the daughters of Trent who have infected the movement with their silk soutanes and glimmering French cuffs.

    As for Rorate Caeli’s last comment suggesting he/she/it is above the gutter of the current exchange, the arrogance underlying such a claim is the reason why comparisons between neo-traditionalism and Jansenism never grow cliche. Rorate’s was a perfect demonstration of the piety of angels coupled with the pride of devils.

  25. Wow — I have been away for awhile and perhaps it was a good thing. Forgive me for my simple-minded approach to all of this. I honestly can’t be bothered to get into all the details because it’s too depressing. Why do we insist on splitting hairs? Why do we get caught in the ‘us and them’ wars when we should all be on the same team? I always felt that our Catholic Church allowed for differences. For instance, no one in the Church (Holy See) insists that we should pray the rosary. Those of us who have come to a great love of Our Lady will WANT to and know that it is wise to. But, those who have not are not sinning!!! So it is with all of this stuff discussed. It’s like the battles of ‘to veil or not to veil’ …some who veil think those who don’t are EVIL. Nonsense. To homeschool or not to homeschool…. some who homeschool will imply that those who don’t are EVIL and wont let their kids around the other kids. On and on it goes. It’s living due to fear, I think. I don’t see Christ in it one single bit. Everyone is well-intentioned but wants to find some box that completely defines all aspects of a ‘good’ Catholic’s life. If you’re not fully in that box, then you’re not embracing the Faith the right way. There are many acceptable and orthodox boxes that are all inside of the venn diagram called the Catholic Church. When we start censoring Tolkien masterpieces, I shutter to think what will be left to read at the end of the day. I wonder who, at the end of the day, will be considered an acceptable Catholic. Dear God, save us from ourselves PLEASE.

  26. Hi, Jen! 🙂

    St. Faustina’s diary is also on the forbidden list…because two popes suppressed its reading long ago. The claim is that they are being obedient to Holy Mother Church. The hypocrisy is that JPII, a post VII pope, not only endorses the diary but canonized the woman who wrote it. He placed the practice of Divine Mercy Sunday in the liturgical readings, and they will not read the diary, or practice the devotion! They are missing opportunities to receive bountiful graces, God’s infinite mercy, because of their narrow minded views.
    Their eyes are not raised high enough, or hearts opened wide enough to see God’s divine plan in all events.
    Seen in the light of scripture I see some enjoying power over weak minded/ignorant souls who are afraid to think with the mind of God.
    God enlighten our minds.

    Pax!

  27. Today’s generation of traditionalists have become extremely thin-skinned. And whiny. The butthurt over Mark Shea using the expression “butthurt”?!

    That’s just one example of Shea’s vulgarity, but my point wasn’t that traditionalists don’t get “butthurt” but that one should be able to recognize one’s own butthurt, and perhaps not be so quick to condemn when others engage in similar behavior. Again, when NOR published an article critical of Dr. Hahn (as I mentioned above), Shea was offended and expressed as much in a vulgar way even though he didn’t even read the article in question. Dr. Hahn, on the other hand, read it and took it like a man.

    As far as Fr. Cekada is concerned, he certainly did not take criticism over his horrific Schiavo opinion like a man. No, instead he doubled down and attacked his opponents personally.

  28. David,

    I am not sure what you actually mean about the “butthurt” of Mark Shea in regard to the NOR affair with Scott Hahn. Is this what you are referring to? I don’t get it. Whatever you might think about his complaints, he doesn’t walk off with the football. And I don’t see his behavior as passive aggressive. Sarcastic, yes. Hurt, yes. Why wouldn’t he be?

    And Mark does not smack of the elitism found many times among traditionalists. And I don’t think it is a problem among the non-trads, generally. Of course, you are free to disagree, but I think it is a blindness that more traditionalists do not see the problem.

    The standard of evidence used by trads seems to get reduced because what they have to say is in the service of “Tradition,” and is being conducted, not by the vulgar mob who are so coarse as to use the word “butthurt,” but by the cultured and refined gentlemen, who quote Latin and who can follow the Old Mass and understand ins and outs of the old calendar.

    They “know” the Masons, and Modernists (some would even mention the Jews) are behind everything. They already know that in their hear of hearts, so they can arrive at certain conclusions so much easier than the rest of us. They can size up a situation presto and pump out a paranoid end of the old rite scenario and then refuse to answer objections. It was the Masons, rebels and progressives, they say, who have “destroyed” the FI, because, of course they know this and have proved it by evidence. Right?

    No David. It is not the same thing.

    I have complained about RC and Audio Sancto, because they just don’t take responsibility for their actions. New Catholic throws his bombs and then says “I consider the matter closed,” or “Have a nice life” or “your bad for my spiritual life.” While RC still had comments open, I saw them at times respond to unfavorable comments that they did even let through moderation! And there is not a single person at Audio Sancto–not one person involved in the project–that will put their real name on any of their product.

    I don’t care what their explanation is. They are not accountable. The don’t take responsibility and they don’t think they owe it to anyone because they are doing the work of God: preserving Tradition against the rotten world that doesn’t deserve the remnant Church.

    Mark Shea does not do this kind of garbage.

    I say these things, because I have been involved. I have been on the inside.

    So I am told that I hate the old mass and traditionalists and that the things I identify are not characteristic of the movement. Just an idiosyncrasy of the few. So be it. Full steam ahead and damn the iceburgs.

    BTW, NOR’s work on the Register/Rose debacle as well as the Holy Spirit/Kolbe issue was a good example of shoddy work, even if they made some good points. With the priest in Rhode Island whose reputation was at stake because of the Rose book, they treated him like a convicted criminal on appeal. And with the treatment of St. Maximilian (it was not just Scott Hahn) I know they had an letter to the editor from a qualified mariologist (the foremost Kolbean expert in America if not the world) that they refused to publish it.

    Like I said, as far as I can see, Mark Shea did not refuse to engage on the matter or to answer his critics.

  29. I am not sure what you actually mean about the “butthurt” of Mark Shea in regard to the NOR affair with Scott Hahn. Is this what you are referring to?

    No, Fr. Angelo, I wasn’t even aware of that exchange. I was referring to NOR’s publication of an article that criticized Scott Hahn’s theology in a detatched, scholarly way (“Scott Hahn’s Novelties”), after which Mark Shea ripped into them for attacking a “brother in Christ” and called the article (which he had not read) “destructive, bomb-throwing s—“. That is the very definition of “butthurt”.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t think ordinary, run of the mill Catholics have issues with pride or elitism that seem to plague some traditionalists. But what of it? They have their own problems. I would never claim that traditional Catholic and mainstream Catholic communities suffer from the same issues. I have personally witnessed slander and gossip do irreparable harm to one man’s reputation and nearly destroy that of another (a priest). That probably would not have happened in a mainstream parish. But again, mainstream parishes have their own problems. It is pointless to list them. But one does get weary of hearing from mainstream Catholics about the awful people who travel in traditional circles. It leads one to believe that the former are incapable of introspection.

  30. David,

    Mark Shea may be angry, sarcastic and crass at times, but he does not go into a pout with the none-communicative, I’ve-just-been-spanked attitude of a child. That is butthurt. Sort of like this:

    It is a reason to avoid both those who are dominated by vulgarity and uncouthness, and their groupies, and those motivated by their own issues born of what one might deem symbolic (not real, but painfully symbolic) parricide. While it is an age-old element of great tragedy, it truly must be a terrible sentiment with odious results to one’s soul and well-being.

    You say that my identification of a general problem among traditionalists is merely a tired “meme,” suggesting that it is a narrative I am simply repeating because it carries symbolic cultural value that distracts from problems on the other side.

    I write about what I know. It is not hard to find critics of liberalism and the trads do more than their share of hammering conservatives. But how many people do you know that have lived within the traditional movement and critique it, with the same severity that trads put on the rest of the Church? The moment one steps out of ranks he becomes a traitor. Or should I say a “Judas”? (Or how about, “rebel,” “modernist,” “progressive,” “evil” and the ever so cultured and high-brow “parricide.”)

    Incapable of introspection? When was the last time RC, or more specifically, New Catholic, apologized for anything? They can hardly take responsibility for anything over there, let alone apologize. On the other hand, try googling “Mark Shea apologizes.” Different story.

    So yes, there is a lot of hurtful garbage on the Internet and no particular quarter has a monopoly on it. But that was never the point of this post.

    I notice that RC has just posted on Roberto de Mattei’s booting from his gig on Radio Maria, demonstrating, according to them how intolerant “new Church” is.

    So Radio Maria now owes de Mattei a platform? I mean de Mattei is a big boy who has made his own choices, among which include his encouragement of the members of my Institute to disobey the decree establishing the Apostolic Commission, and referring to the Commissioner’s requirement that we formally accept Vatican II and the New Mass “a modernist vow.” So now that he continues to make himself more and more radioactive by his own choice, it is everyone else’s fault that they no longer want to be associated with him. This is classic trad behavior.

    And watch the tads incite the rabble to accuse Radio Maria of damaging the reputation of de Mattei. But who was it that publicized the exchange? Who was it that did everything in their power to make sure that the whole event was as public as possible? Radio Maria? No. De Mattei’s Lepanto Foundation and Rorate Caeli. Classic. Classic. Classic. It is everybody else’s fault. Perhaps “butthurt” is not the most appropriate word. How about “adolescent.”

    Remember Jerry Matatics and his crash and burn with Catholic Answers and ETWN that occurred largely because he started giving conferences in which he publically announced that he had doubts about the validity of the New Mass. It was ETWN’s fault that they no longer wanted to be associated with him? That is what he thought. I am genuinely sorry that a good family man was having a hard time making a living. But the blaming other people for his choices does not wash.

    It is precisely the elitist bent that, in my opinion, makes these people think that they are persecuted and treated unjustly when others who disagree them hold them accountable for what they say and do. Another large factor, I believe, is the conspiratorial view of history that finds a lack of evidence to be proof enough of hidden nefarious activity. You have people who think they belong to the remnant few and have the key to understanding all history. They end up using one standard of judgment for themselves and expect an altogether more demanding one from everyone else.

    But the “trads look bad” “meme” is “tiresome coming from certain quarters”? You mean coming from people who are willing to talk about the problems within traditionalism. I am sorry you’re tired of it. There are quite a lot of things I am tired of from the traditionalist quarter that does nothing but bag on the rest of the Church. I know your pain.

    Even so, let them have their platform. And don’t expect me to go away anytime soon with my tired, old “meme.” But no worries. From my little canyon in the far reaches of the blogosphere in which I post rarely, mine is a distant voice that shouldn’t bother anyone.

  31. David:

    NOR was trolling with the Scott Hahn article. Plain and simple. That is just what NOR does.

    They did the same with Michael O’Brien, Pete Vere and other Canadians who tried to warn the U.S. about same-sex marriage – a battle Canadians fought (and lost) much earlier than Americans. NOR attacked, mocked and made fun of Catholic pro-life activists in Canada for warning Americans, when these Canadians were on the front-lines of the battle to defend the traditional definition of marriage.

    I know NOR is based in the San Francisco area. Makes me wonder who their friends were.

  32. Yes, Fr. Cekada’s opinion on the Terri Schiavo case was way off. And I told him that personally. However, at least Fr. Cekada had the courage to stand up and take responsibility for his position like a man, unlike Rorate Caeli and other whiny butthurt contemporary neo-traditionalists with their drive-by hits on others who then cry when the least bit of criticism is turned their way.

    I am glad you guys were not around to lead us in the early years of the traditionalist resistance. Had that been the case, sedevacantism would have emerged as the dominant traditionalist faction.

  33. NOR was trolling with the Scott Hahn article. Plain and simple. That is just what NOR does.

    I don’t agree.

    They did the same with Michael O’Brien, Pete Vere and other Canadians who tried to warn the U.S. about same-sex marriage

    One thing has nothing to do with the other as those aren’t the grounds on which Dr. Hahn was criticized.

    However, at least Fr. Cekada had the courage to stand up and take responsibility for his position like a man

    So calling one’s opponents ignorant or “pompous”, saying that they have no right to pronounce on the issue because they’re not priests, is “standing up and take responsibility like a man”? Please — I would rather that someone not debate an issue at all than engage in ad hominems.

    I am glad you guys were not around to lead us in the early years of the traditionalist resistance.

    Which guys are those that you’re referring to as “you guys”? I assume I’m one of them, but what group are you putting me in? Butthurt neo-trads?

  34. Mark Shea may be angry, sarcastic and crass at times, but he does not go into a pout with the none-communicative, I’ve-just-been-spanked attitude of a child.

    True, rather than back away, he doubles down on his attacks. I’m not sure why the latter is superior to the former.

    You say that my identification of a general problem among traditionalists is merely a tired “meme,” suggesting that it is a narrative I am simply repeating because it carries symbolic cultural value that distracts from problems on the other side.

    First, I deny that it is a general problem. Second, I’m sure you have your reasons for repeating the “narrative,” but overall, yes, I do believe that it distracts from very real problems that the Church is facing. For example, attacking “reactionary Catholics” is much easier than trying to harmonize religious freedom as understood today with the past teaching of the Church up to and including Dignitatis Humanae.

    Incapable of introspection? When was the last time RC, or more specifically, New Catholic, apologized for anything? They can hardly take responsibility for anything over there, let alone apologize. On the other hand, try googling “Mark Shea apologizes.” Different story.

    Isn’t that a bit of a tu quoque? I never claimed that trads in general or RC in particular were good at introspection. And yes, Shea does often apologize — for being nasty, not for being wrong. Introspection isn’t just about realizing when one might have been uncharitable. Also, when one googles “Mark Shea apologizes,” one finds results like the following:

    Apologies and a prayer request are in order. First the apology: I shouldn’t have posted the snide remark about Trad heads exploding become Francis was nice to a single mother it was out of line.

    Your prayers would be appreciated. I’m wrestling with tthe basic fact that I can’t stand most of the Trads I’ve met.

    [snarky comments from Shea about traditionalists follow]

    That’s supposed to be an apology? If RC published an “apology” like that, their critics would be apoplectic — and, I might add, rightly so.

    For the record, I don’t think Radio Maria owes de Mattei anything, just as I don’t think that EWTN or Catholic Answers owes Gerry Matatics anything (whether de Mattei can be aptly compared to Matatics is another question entirely). I am not sure, however, that your description of the vow imposed upon the FFI by the Apostolic Commissioner is entirely accurate — one can accept the New Mass without accepting that it is “an authentic expression of the liturgical tradition” and it’s the latter that’s being required of candidates for Orders. It presupposes a reductionist understanding of what “the liturgical tradition” is. If we say that “tradition” is what is handed down and received, then it is clear that the New Mass is not part of the liturgical tradition. “Valid” and “traditional” are two completely different things. Even “good” or “authentic” and “traditional” are not synonymous.

  35. David,

    Regarding my tu quoque:

    Fair enough, but you do the same thing with your meme argument. We both agree that there are problems on both sides and neither can be neglected. We come from different perspectives and tend to give more weight to opposites sides.

    But my perspective is this: the trads have made themselves the police of the whole Church, particularly the magisterium, not just by conscientious objection, but by public denunciations that go all the way to the top. I hold them to a corresponding standard for that reason. And yes, I think that they are particularly blind as a rule, not to just the double standard, but to the fact that they think their cause exempts them, or ought to exempt them from accountability.

    Regarding the so-called “vow”:

    First off de Mattei calls it a “modernist vow.” Both terms are inaccurate, unless 1) the new Mass is modernist; 2) one may call a formal expression of assent a “vow.”

    The inability to accept such a provision is no different from the refusal to of the SSPX to sign the doctrinal preamble. As RC just let us know, Archbishop Müller has recently stated that while the door to the Society is still open there are no hidden entrances. The Society makes the same distinction you do: valid but not traditional.

    If there are friars who cannot formally express their conviction that the Novus Ordo is an authentic part of the liturgical tradition, then that shows how far we have gone down a road which we simply were not on when I professed my vows. For the Holy See to make this part of the basis of the restoration of fraternal communion is not unreasonable.

    But for de Mattei to call it a “Modernist vow” is not only misrepresentation, it is also incendiary and damaging to the efforts of the Holy See, which is actually, believe it or not, the only competent authority to resolve this issue.

  36. David Smith wrote:

    “For example, attacking ‘reactionary Catholics’ is much easier than trying to harmonize religious freedom as understood today with the past teaching of the Church up to and including Dignitatis Humanae.”

    I am guessing from this comment you are probably American. Nothing wrong with Americans, I have a couple in my family. However, I notice they often do not look beyond their borders. This is especially the case among American neo-traddies on this particular issue.

    Over in France there is a traditional Benedictine monastery called Ste. Madeleine du Barroux. There you will find a very respected traditional Catholic Benedictine monk and theologian named Dom Basile Valuet. In fact, he was ordained by Archbishop Lefebvre before the split between his monastery and the SSPX in 1988 over the episcopal consecrations. Fr. Basile has written and published a six-volume doctoral thesis on Vatican II and Religious Liberty in which he harmonizes the two using Patristics, Medieval Scholastics and two millenia of papal writings. Dom Basile began his doctrinal dissertation trying to prove a rupture between Vatican II and Catholic Tradition, but changed positions after the strength of his research showed the two easily harmonized. The introduction was written by a theologian you may have heard of, namely, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger.

    If six volumes of scholarly French is too dense for you, you are still in luck! Because Dom Basile and Le Barroux traditional Benedictine monastery have published a one-volume summary of the thesis for non-academic audiences.

    To answer your other question, only you know if you are among the butthurt neo-trads. However, Rorate Caeli should definitely be included among that crowd.

    You know, about once every decade those trads who tend toward the butthurt end of the traddy spectrum go through a massive sedevacantist cull. The last one I believe was about 2005 to 2006. That was the one that finally claimed Matatics, Drolesky, Dersken, the Cain’s and several others. Normally I find myself saddened by these culls, but butthurt neotrads have grown so silly and butthurt over Tolkien and geocentrism that the next sede cull cannot come too soon.

  37. “This, mind you, is not because we are “impervious to criticism”. Not at all, we love criticism because it makes us grow and improve, and become better Catholics”

    Is this humor or sarcasm? Speaking as one who has been “rebutted” in the com boxes without my posts being published, and as one who has received personal, derogatory and threatening emails from New Catholic and Adfero, for some reason I am still amazed that they pretend to occupy the high road. RC is purely agenda driven. Their dishonesty is breathtaking.

    The day is coming when they will create an excuse that will be acceptable enough to their gnostic conspiracy clique that they will schism. I hope the pope makes it a feast day.

  38. Can’t we just all admit that New Catholic and Mark Shea are equally ridiculous, and should have their blogs taken away from them? Whatever Catholic subculture you decide to call that, I will gladly join the ranks of.

    “What kind of Catholic are you?”

    “Oh, I’m a New-Catholic-And-Mark-Shea-Shouldn’t-Be-Allowed-To-Keep-Their-Blogs Catholic.”

    “Wonderful! Its nice to meet a reasonable Catholic who can act like an adult!”

    Whose with me?

  39. Anonymous @ February 18, 2014 at 1:42 am:

    That is quite brave of you to call for the stripping of people’s Catholic blogging rights from the safety your own hidden niche in the blogosphere.

    I am not going to pretend that sarcasm and vitriol and virtues, but neither am I going to deny that they have both been present in true saints, such as St. Jerome who was known for his bad temper.

    For example he wrote to Helvidius:

    I have become rhetorical, and have disported myself a little like a platform orator. You compelled me, Helvidius; for, brightly as the Gospel shines at the present day, you will have it that equal glory attaches to virginity and to the marriage state. And because I think that, finding the truth too strong for you, you will turn to disparaging my life and abusing my character (it is the way of weak women to talk tittle-tattle in corners when they have been put down by their masters), I shall anticipate you. I assure you that I shall regard your railing as a high distinction, since the same lips that assail me have disparaged Mary, and I, a servant of the Lord, am favoured with the same canine eloquence as His mother.

    So while I believe that, like you, New Catholic fights like a girl, I won’t anytime soon be calling for his removal from the blogosphere.

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