Friday, February 7, 2014

I'll take the bait

It used to be that Mark Shea would only post red faced, eye popping, neck bulging, spittle flecked invective against what he calls Reactionaries every few months or so. Since Pope Francis was elected, he does so about every two or three days:
Here’s the governing paradigm: Reactionaries hate evangelism. It explains everything from Michael Voris’ constant attacks on Fr. Barron, EWTN, and Catholic Answers to Rorate Coeli’s stupid attack on Tolkien (who has, the critics claim notwithstanding, been a powerful force for evangelism as any number of converts will tell you) to the intense loathing for Francis’ evangelical witness to this. If anything presents the threat of calling riff raff and rabble into Fortress Katolicus, the unfailing instinct of the Reactionary is to attack it.
Because Reactionaries hate evangelism.
Given that Reactionaries (read Traditional Catholics) generally believe in a stricter interpretation of "Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus," Shea is basically accusing them of wishing that non-Catholics go to hell. This is what the Church once called calumny, but there's no talking down Shea once his mind is made up.

Here's the real paradigm: you can accept the happy talk that this is the New Springtime of the Church and that the New Evangelization is proceeding apace; or you can believe your lying eyes which say that the Church is continuing to hemorrhage membership in the West and that our leadership appears to be without a clue how to stop it. Traditionalists wish all men to acknowledge the Kingship of our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ and be converted to the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Watering down the Faith for the sake of making converts generally does not make converts and scandalizes the Faithful. Theoretically, one could make a convert by telling him that the Church doesn't really uphold its condemnation of, say, artificial contraception and that it's going to change any day now. That would be doing a disservice to him and it would scandalize any right-thinking Catholic.

It'd be one thing if we actually were in a golden age of missionary fervor and determined practice of the spiritual life. But everyone knows that we're not. Less than a third of American Catholics attend Mass every Sunday. Only about half believe in the Real Presence. It's indisputable that Catholic practice plummeted after the Second Vatican Council. Correlation alone does not prove causation but it's a pretty big clue.

Trads wish to see the Church strong and confident again as she once was in the days of our grandfathers. She was actually much more effective at making converts back when she was what Shea would undoubtedly condemn as Reactionary. If Trads really hated evangelism and making converts, a more effective strategy to destroy those efforts would be to go full speed ahead on making the Church more like the liberal mainline Protestant churches.

1 comment:

  1. It seems like Shea (who is knowledgable about the faith) is acting like traddies should shut up, since after all Shea found his way to Catholicism during the V2 days by lots of careful reading of the Church fathers and research etc. However, everyone is not Mark Shea. Most people aren't going to put the time in, so the best way to attract those who deep down really want the truth is by giving it straight, no dilution. I'm also of the opinion that he spends far too much time online so all he sees is the echo chambers of his circle vs that of the pesky trads with the most extreme things being presented as the status quo. But blogging is how he makes what he calls a living or something, right?
    To be fair, my man Zmirak's post about illiberal Catholicism seems to be aimed at a similarly small (though vocal) group. I notice he took a break from facebook. Doesn't look like Shea's gonna do the same any time soon.