This comment epitomizes the reasons why I have not wished to be identified with the traditionalists (qualifiy that as you like, “radical traditionalists,” “Catholic reactionaries, etc.; my definition is here.) Unfortunately, the whole effort to extricate ourselves from this mess, has only confirmed the reasons why we wanted to free of the problem in the first place.
The commenter writes:
How do you show that no conspiracy exists? Easy you let people whom the conspiracy theorists (for want of a better term) trust to go in and show that there is no conspiracy,
That really sums it all up. “Conspiracy theorists” is actually the precise term. Innuendo becomes plausible theory, which immediately becomes probable fact and the lack of evidence along with the number of times the innuendo is repeated turns into the “modernist reeducation project of the See of Peter against the unimpeachable Friars of the Immaculate.”
But conspiracy theory is a logical fallacy because as a worldview, a philosophy of history, it takes a lack of evidence itself as evidence. Notably, this happens only when the conspiracy theorist’s view of the way things ought to be is threatened.
Conspiracy theory does not run on fact. Facts are counterproductive to conspiracy theory because they undermine the philosophy. Conspiracy theory burns pure, high-octane gossip and innuendo, first whispered from the shadows by someone who does not want to take responsibility and then broadcast by everyone else on the authority of the Nameless Darkness.
This is what happened with us. Instead of entrusting ourselves to Christ in His Church, certain individuals within the community chose, contrary to their profession in the Church, to put gossip into the hands of ideologues, who, before the they received it already had an agenda against Pope Francis. The reason for that agenda doesn’t matter. The ghosts put ammunition into the hands of Internet guerrillas who acted in a way that is wholly incompatible with religious life.
Conspiracy theory, especially when it is fueled in this way, if not diabolical, is pathological. It may not start out that way. Like scruples, it might just be at first a temptation or a certain proclivity of conscience. But when it is characterized by stubbornness, especially in the face of the authority willed by Christ in His Church, it can turn into a real affliction.
And just like someone with scruples, no amount of explanation, examination, review, rehashing, independent investigation will do, because the problem is not one of evidence or the lack thereof. It is not even fundamentally an intellectual problem. Conspiracy theory is willfulness bubbling up from wanton fear.
There is only one solution to conspiracy theory, just at there is one, and only one, solution to scruples: breaking the will, not satisfying the intellect. In the Church that means supernatural obedience.
Fear of the Church is a horrible thing. There are plenty of things to be afraid of. But this is why we have hope in Christ through His visible Church. That is why Christ said He who hears you hears me. Man is not in charge. Christ is in charge. Either one believes in the providence of God or one does not. There is no place in conspiracy theory for the providence of God.
I am not saying that everything is great in the Church. It is not. But if one thinks that the providence of God is somehow related to how great things are, he is making the same mistake common among so many in the Old Covenant, namely, that God is present only when it seems that way.
All that said we might quote Tolkien more exactly—words which he places on the tongue of Arwen Undómiel, as she speaks of her fate, which was to share the mortality of men.
Aragorn first says to her “I speak no comfort to you, for there is no comfort for such pain within the circles of the world,” and then suggests to her the possibility of her seeking the West. Then there is this exchange between the two of them:
“Nay, dear lord,” she said, “that choice is long over. There is now no ship to bear me hence, and I must indeed abide the Doom of Men, whether I will or nill: the loss and the silence. But I say to you, King of the Númenoreans, not till now have I understood the tale of your people and their fall. As wicked fools I scorned them, but I pity them at last. For if this is indeed, as the Eldar say, the gift of the One to Men, it is bitter to receive.”
“So it seems,” he said. “But let us not be overthrown at the final test, who of old renounced the Shadow and the Ring. In sorrow we must go, but not in despair. Behold! we are not bound forever in the circles of the world, and beyond them is more than memory. . .”
Perhaps Tolkien is echoing Chesterton in “The Ballad of the White Horse,” where Our Lady speaks to the nearly beaten King Alfred:
“I tell you naught for your comfort,
Yea, naught for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher.
“Night shall be thrice night over you,
And heaven an iron cope.
Do you have joy without a cause,
Yea, faith without a hope?”
There are no natural answers to the situation within our Institute—no satisfaction for those who want relief apart from the appointment of Christ. Our only solidarity can be in the Immaculate and Sorrowful Heart of Mary. If not Her, the Friars of the Immaculate have nothing to offer. She is our only excuse to exist, and our only joy and hope.