And I cherish this pastor because he loves his people enough to teach us the hard lessons, and to compel us past mediocrity and toward the good. Catholic priests of the same mind and orientation as my Orthodox pastor — and I know many of them — are telling me that the Holy Father, by signaling to his American flock that God is love and the rest doesn’t really matter, just made their mission a lot more difficult. But that is no longer my problem.On the contrary Mr. Dreher. You were baptized and confirmed a Catholic. If you do not repent and return to the bosom of Holy Mother Church, you'll find out in the end how very much it's still your problem.
Dreher gets a lot of grief from the Catholic blogosphere. But is his description of the post-conciliar Church off the mark in this latest article from Time? Not at all. I could tell you stories of my RCIA classmates "graduating" into the Church without having any idea of what the Church actually expected of them. I could tell you stories about how the Newman Center at my alma mater seldom broached spiritual topics more serious than Buddhist aromatherapy. I could tell you stories about a seminary faculty that willfully turned a blind eye to rampant sexual activity among the students, and the priests who cracked down not on the wrongdoers but the whistleblowers. I believe it is truly a miracle of God's grace that the Church, as she is now, makes any converts at all. She definitely doesn't make nearly as many as she used to, back when she was supposedly hunkered down in the fortress and only spoke to the world to hurl thunderous anathemas from on high. Somehow, some way, she not only survived but thrived when she did that. By comparison, the results of all this dialogue and reaching out and being open to the world have been less than successful to put it charitably.
And yet I stay. He didn't. Dreher often says that he no longer believes in Rome's claim to primacy or papal infallibility, but his theological reasons for abandoning the Church always read like post-facto rationalizations for what was an emotional decision. When he first announced his apostasy, I remember thinking "And where will you go when you inevitably discover that evil exists within the pale of Orthodoxy Mr. Dreher?"
Even so, I can't condemn Dreher in the same harsh language that other Catholic bloggers sometimes use. The sad truth is that Dreher is more Catholic than some Jesuits. Dreher may be apostate but he has the integrity to not present himself in public as a Catholic in good standing unlike some prominent figures who remain within the Church. Rod's apostasy was an evil act, but God can derive good even from evil.