Monday, July 13, 2015

I want loyalty, you son of a bitch

It sounds counter-intuitive given the nature of my writings on this blog, but in real life I often get along better with Protestants and Godless heathens than I do my fellow Catholics. Protestants and Godless heathens for the most part operate according to their stated principles. I'll ruthlessly skewer their falsehoods and errors, but in person I'll treat them the way they treat me. In fact, they're often interested to hear that I was in the seminary for a time and they'll ask me lots of questions about why Catholics do this or that. I enjoy these teaching moments. You never know on this side of the veil how deeply you may affect someone by laying down the truth.

It's disloyal Catholics who make me see red. As Boniface put it so well, compromise is planning to fail:
Since the infamous gay marriage ruling of June 26th, 2015, I have noticed a very troubling trend in the Catholic world. I'm not sure what to call it exactly, but I think I will say it is a sort of "tactical accommodation." What is this tactical accommodation? It is a degree of measured accommodation to homosexuality that, while stopping short of actually affirming it, allows a certain amount of legitimacy of some of the points of the homo-fascist crowd, thus giving the appearance of compromise to one side while maintaining fidelity to Catholic teaching on the other. I believe the purpose of this accommodation is to save some face with the other side.

In practice, this looks something like, "I believe in traditional marriage, but I also believe that conservative Catholics have generally failed at loving homosexual adequately." 

Or perhaps, "I know we should not encourage people to define themselves by their sins, but Christians should not be so dismissive of the concept of homosexual identity."

Or another favorite, "The Church's teaching has not changed; but at the same time, I think the Church needs to more fully utilize the unique gifts and that homosexuals can bring."

And so on.
It's as if the Supreme Court ruling is being used as an occasion for self-reflection; not a reflection on the corrupt morals of the world or the need for a stronger defense of Church teaching, mind you, but an occasion to reflect on how we can be more accommodating to homosexuality. 
Another good post from Bonald continues the point: 
This blog does more preliminary work than that.  While the great theologians have been thinking about how to raise people to the heights of charity and mystical illumination, they haven’t noticed that the masses have lost even the basic natural attitudes that make for a mediocre Catholic.  I have in mind three preliminaries in particular.  The first is a sense of the sacred, the spirit of reverence, coupled to a sense of God’s revelation in the given meanings of the world.  The second is a horror of nihilism, so that a man fears meaninglessness more than he craves license.  The last is basic tribal loyalty to the Church and her members throughout the ages.  The theologians scorn these attitudes because they are after all natural; one finds analogous or even identical things in any vital religion.  But without them, any spiritual quest is bound to begin in pride and end in apostasy.  Time and again, I’ve seen men of much greater virtue and much greater love of Jesus fall into error for lack of a visceral repulsion to blasphemy and disloyalty.
Heresy implies a degree of faith and knowledge about the faith. You cannot be a formal heretic unless you obstinately persist in rejecting the known truth (it doesn't matter if you disagree that the truth is, in fact, true.) Many Catholics do not rise to the level of formal heresy because they lack even the most basic knowledge of what the Church teaches. Muslims are willing to die for their false religion, whereas most American Catholics are reluctant to suffer mild unpopularity or minor inconveniences.

Our Blessed Lord said that the chaff will grow alongside the wheat until the harvest time. That doesn't mean we should entrust known chaff with responsibilities in teaching the faith or having the charge of souls. I've no doubt that as the years go by, many baptized Catholics will happily get their brothers and sisters socially ostracized or fired from their jobs for opposing same-sex marriage. All the while, other Catholics will plead that the bad worldlings will leave us alone if only we're more sweet and winsome and lovable.

I think a better solution would be to reestablish the culture of mediocre Catholicism. Not that we should aim for mediocrity, but as Bonald says we lack the basic attitudes that make it possible. It's going to be hard work - we have to undo 50 years of Vatican II happy talk - but we must reintroduce men to that visceral hatred of blasphemy and disloyalty.


  1. Well said. And I've noticed the same thing- I can't stand hypocrisy, which means I tend to get along better with those who don't claim to be Catholic.

  2. "So all error clearly formulated in Christian society is, as it were, surrounded by an atmosphere of the same error, but less dense, more rarefied and tempered. Arianism had its SemiArianism, Pelagianism its SemiPelagianism, Lutheranism has its SemiLutheranism, which is nothing else than Catholic Liberalism. This is what the Syllabus terms modern Liberalism, that is, Liberalism without the boldness of its unvarnished first principles and stripped of the horrors of its last consequences; it is the Liberalism of those who are still unwilling not to appear to be Catholics or at least not to believe themselves Catholics. Liberalism is the baneful twilight of the truth beginning to be obscured in their intelligence, or heresy which has not yet taken complete possession."

    - Felix Sarda y Salvany

  3. Get along better with Protestants and pagans than Catholics?

    That's because the Catholics should know better, and when they don't it is that much more infuriating.