For some time now, the comment has been coming from the direction of Pope Francis’s supporters and defenders that papal critics often are converts. For some reason, that seems for them to be a defect. Austen Ivereigh, among others, has now put this argument in the form of an article for Crux: “Pope Francis and the Convert Problem.”
Although Ivereigh first insists that he “loves” converts, he comes out with a sweeping comment about many of the prominent papal critics:
Now it is quite possible that elegant commentators such as Ross Douthat and Matthew [Schmitz]’s boss Rusty Reno (both former Episcopalians), or, at the rougher end, writers such as Carl Orlson (ex-Protestant fundamentalist) and John Henry Westen (ex-atheist), or indeed ex-Anglicans in my own patch such as Daniel Hitchens of the Catholic Herald and Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register in Rome, are all correct in their readings. But it is a lot more likely that their baggage has distorted their hermeneutic, and they are suffering from convert neurosis.
As Ivereigh explains, “[a] neurosis is a pathological or extreme reaction to something that simply doesn’t correspond to reality.” In following this line of argument, the author claims that many converts tend to lack humility in not accepting changes within the Church and in clinging to the Church from before the Second Vatican Council. He also quotes one of his sources as saying many converts “have converted mainly because the Church teaches things that match their ideological outlook.” To sum up his depiction of those “troublesome converts”: they converted in order to have the Church adapt to their own “fixed” views and in order to make sure the Church acts according to their own ideas.
Since I myself am a convert, and since I happen to know some of the journalists here named, I would like to make a short response to this sort of argument.
Notably, one could turn it the other way around. Since converts (and it is not right to call John-Henry Westen that, since he is a cradle Catholic who strayed for a while as a youth) have lived outside the Mystical Body of Christ for much of their lifetime, they soon come to know or at least to glimpse how dark it is outside God’s Grace. They do not take the Catholic Faith for granted, but are deeply grateful for the gift they have received. Most probably, some of them have lived a life not in accordance with the Ten Commandments and have now turned their lives around and have come to see how good God’s laws are for us – even seeing that the Laws of God are acts of love – how conforming to such laws make us truly free. These converts have seen (and experienced) the moral disorder in the world and have recognized the beauty and goodness of a life in accordance with God’s laws – His “manufacturer’s instructions,” as it were.
That is part of the strength shown by these converts now. In this regard, we could include those cradle Catholics who have strayed from the Faith for parts of their lives and have returned. I know that John-Henry Westen, as well as Steve Jalsevac, his colleague and co-founder of LifeSiteNews, both have spoken publicly and gratefully about their reversion. They, too, know how it is to be, by their own choice, outside the Mystical Body of Christ – outside of which, as Hilaire Belloc said, there is only darkness.
We who have seen the difference between such light and dark might be now prone to fight fully with our lives for Christ’s Truth because we are, in a sense, good witnesses for it. It is out of our deep gratitude that we wish to give back to Christ for His forgiveness and love and grace.
Thus, in my eyes, it is those who have sinned and converted who are now sometimes the strongest witnesses for the Faith, especially since Pope Francis likes to be so attentive to the sinner and to those at the margins or “at the outskirts.” I myself lived two thirds of my life “at the outskirts.”
Let us now consider what would happen if we all were not converts to the Catholic Faith, but cradle Catholics. Would this save us from Ivereigh’s (and others’) rebuke for our criticism of Pope Francis?
Would we then not fall into the category – often used by the pope himself – of those “self-righteous” and “pharisaical” Catholics who always “went to Church on Sunday” and who “always kept the Commandments” and thus look down upon the sinner with that “judgmental eye”? Would we thus be more convincing or more trustworthy if we were cradle Catholics?
As we now talk about cradle Catholics, we realize that even this argument about hypocrisy does not hold. Since Steve Skojec himself is “one of those” (cradle Catholics), let me remind our readers that he is one of the most forthright and outspoken authors when it comes to acknowledging (modestly) his own defects and sins. I once said to him that, due to his own humility and openness about his own weaknesses, he certainly does not fall under the category of those “priggish” and “haughty” Catholics who, with contemptuous condescension, look down upon a sinner.
But then, who does that at all?
The cradle Catholics I work with in the defense of Christ’s teaching – here and abroad – are filled with the love of Christ and are apt always to keep the spirit of charity. One of the greatest traditional minds of France, Arnaud de Lassus – a father of seven children and one of the great supporters of the Pilgrimage of Chartres, who was friends with my own husband for decades – was known for his intellectual clarity and human charity toward his opponents. I myself can testify to that attitude and disposition of heart, because when I first met him, I was a “practicing agnostic.” He treated me most kindly and then gave me a Green Scapular. I might someday find out just how many graces I received through his deeds of kindness and truthfulness.
Others of those cradle Catholic colleagues of mine have undergone tragedies in life. They have suffered losses, endured injustices, and also sometimes fell.
That is what makes us all human. We are but weak beings who need God’s abundant help, His truth and His supernatural grace. He helps each of us to work his individual salvation, and He asks us to help others work out their own salvation.
As Father John Hardon, S. J., used to say to my husband, “we will be finally judged by our acts of practical charity, by how many people we helped get to heaven.” It is this spirit that guides us. And in this sense, the injustices thrown at us disproportionately, seemingly in a desperate attempt to find some argument to undermine our sincere work, will only help us further on our path. Let us then offer up these humiliations for the conversion of sinners, for the good of the Church – and for the greater glory of God.
Dr. Maike Hickson, born and raised in Germany, studied History and French Literature at the University of Hannover and lived for several years in Switzerland where she wrote her doctoral dissertation. She is married to Dr. Robert Hickson, and they have been blessed with two beautiful children. She is a happy housewife who likes to write articles when time permits.
Her articles have appeared in American and European journals such as Catholicism.org, LifeSiteNews, The Wanderer, Culture Wars, Catholic Family News, Christian Order, Apropos, and Zeit-Fragen.
So true. As a cradle Catholic who grew up post Vatican 2 and attended Catholic school run by nuns who wore miniskirts and was made to listen to the entire album side of “In a Gadda Davi Da” in religion class, being well educated in the gospel of “the Mush and the Gush”, all I carried away from that was “God is Love.” My teenage hormones led me to believe that was the kind of love espoused by hippies. I never rejected Catholic teaching because I didn’t know it, but the emotional wounds I carry testify to “the wages of sin is death.” While living with my boyfriend, I piously attended daily Mass and regularly went to Confession and Communion with a clear deformed conscience that was woefully ignorant. When Pope St John Paul 2 put out the Catechism, that rocked my world. Friends in the prolife movement also shared the true teachings on marriage with me. We will know the truth and the truth will set us free! The garbage being foisted on the Church by the liberals stinks like it did back in the 60’s. I get so angry at their false compassion. It is not merciful to leave folks wallowing in sin. Our Lady of Fatima, please pray for us.
You echo the same exact sentiments of a good number of us who went the way of the modernist Church for a time after Vatican ll. We were stupid enough and/ or blind enough to buy into the ‘everybody goes to heaven, the devil isn’t real and there is no such thing as real ‘sin’ false theology they were so confidently proclaiming from the pulpit. Some of us were blessed to have our eyes opened through the death of soul that sin wages. God in His Divine Mercy allowed us to sink to the depths of despair and ruin, which was a ‘Divine’ slap on the head wielding enough power to turn us around. How can we thank Our Precious Lord enough for the miracle of ‘reconversion’ ? Or the Blessed Mother for her intervention? I don’t think it’s possible. The ‘vehicle’ of grace used in my case was her Rosary that a friend recommended I begin praying again. Miracle upon miracle after that. Never underestimate the power of The Rosary.
My story is almost identical to yours. I was going to Mass and Confession and Communion and not realizing the gravity of my sins. Even now when I confess them they are brushed off by the priest as if they meant nothing. Our Lady of the Rosary brought me back to Her Son and gave me the grace to see my sins and that I need to pray and sacrifice and do penance for them.
The Holy Rosary is a powerful prayer.
My husband and I have a similar story also, compounded by the fact that I had a close aunt who was/is a liberal nun and an uncle who was a liberal priest and left to marry. I came back to my Faith when I decided to begin homeschooling. My husband and I went back to Confession after having been away for 15 years and began to learn our Faith for the first time while teaching it to our son through a Traditional Catholic home school course. It made us sad and angry to realize just how much we were robbed, but eternally grateful that God’s grace brought us to it then. So, now when we see all the bad things going on in the Church we want to stand up and defend Her!
Thank you Maike.
I’m a convert but I don’t take too seriously the criticism of this character.
You are dead right in turning the coin over to see the other side, because convert or cradler, it doesn’t matter. The issue for this guy and others of his ilk isn’t, in the end, about benighted converts, it’s about attacking those who love, affirm and trust our Lord Jesus and who defend the perennial Magesterium of the Church that He gave us.
Thus, either entering the Church on one’s “eighth day” or at any time later, such folks are going to be in the crosshairs of people like this Ivereigh guy.
Maybe that’s why the priest that led me to the Church gave me both a warning and an order wrapped up in one:
“Once you enter the Church, you are a Catholic, and don’t let anyone tell you differently”.
My thoughts as well coming from a cradle catholic but you wrote far better than I
What Ivereigh really has a problem with is people who are too Catholic. Many converts come into the Church because they have done the intellectual work that led them to the Truths of the Catholic Church and so they can more easily see when something isn’t right compared to many cradle Catholics who are content being Catholic, but don’t necessarily understand their faith that well.
Were Cardinals Burke, Brandmuller, Caraffa and Meisner converts to the faith or cradle Catholics? I think these faithful men have been far more of a “problem” for Francis than any of the converts in blogland or the media.
I know many faithful converts and I know many unfaithful converts. I know many faithful cradle Catholics and many unfaithful cradle Catholics. What Ivereigh is trying to do is play the old “divide and conquer” game by crassly appealing to a differnece he sees in some people who disagree with him. What he really has a problem with is people who believe the 6th Commandment permits of no exceptions whether they be converts or cradle Catholics i.e. anybody who disagrees with him.
“All heresy begins below the belt” runs one old adage, and men who think with their gonads will always rally to a cause which they think will justify their sin.
While Ivereigh believes that Francis is doing a good job demolishing the 6th Commandment he will be his undying fan. When/if Francis wakes up to the fact that he cannot change the Commandments, Ivereigh will become one of his problems.
That last paragraph is a bulls eye. A hole in one. Out of the park.
I will keep it effortlessly in my quiver. Brilliant! Thank you.
Great observation on great article!
There was, despite the denial, a deliberate abolition of genuine catechesis in the late sixties. I was there as a student and later as an educator attempting to contribute a solution to the deliberately confected “crisis” in religious education.
The reason for the abolition of catechesis was to eradicate a knowledgeable and faithful laity who were formed by and loyal to Catholicism, in order to generate a facsimile entity with the name Catholicism — but Catholic in name only. That entity is here, but, here too are adult converts who entered into the faith drawn by the Holy Spirit, cherishing the knowledge and devotion received as adults once transmitted to Catholic youth.
Converts are a lethal inconvenience to the confection whipped up by those for whom Ivereigh serves as shill. Captain Kangaroo clerics aren’t going to silence these faithful disciples, nor are they going to bed down in Francis’s field hospital, which in reality is nothing more than a day care center for the invincibly ignorant and those who intend to keep them that way.
These converts are adult Catholics willing to do shoulder the responsibility, do the work, incumbent upon adult Christians. They aren’t silenced by a fraudulent appeal to papal authority wielded in the pursuit of aberrance.
They know their faith. They aren’t willing naïves.
God has blessed his Church with these gifted men and women.
I cherish them.
You have hit on the main issue where cradle Catholics have been sorely betrayed by the Church – bad, corrupt and infidelious catechesis. Generations have been lost to the Faith because of it and it is a testimony to the power of the Holy Ghost that so many still hold the true faith despite the rubbish they have been fed by men who were supposed to be their shepherds.
One advantage that many converts have is that they don’t have to unlearn Sister Sweatpant’s slop before they attempt to get the true faith into their heads.
Thank you so much, Dear Maike! What a beautiful testimony. And as I know you, I know you speak from the abundance of your beautiful and grateful Catholic heart.
Mr. Ivereigh’s comment, “their baggage has distorted their hermeneutic” reminds me of something. Now what was it…?
Oh yes! It was a bumper sticker I saw the other day bedecking an eco-friendly car, right next to another one that read, “My Karma Ran Over My Dogma.”
There was a National Catholic Reporter sitting on the dashboard, next to a empty box of Vegan’s Delite™ tofu.
Ew, bad nourishment both physical and spiritual.
A gentle defense, a reminder needed by some that defenders of the faith don’t “think they’re perfect, and despise others.”
I am a revert. 20 years in the church (from the cradle). 5 years 1/2 in the church, 1/2 fundamentalist/southern baptist. 18 years apostatized from the church as a southern baptist/non-denominational/pentecostal/etc. Returned to the church fully in 2016. Thankful and grateful to be home.
Welcome home! All of Heaven rejoices at your coming!
“Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.” —- Socrates
Why do we care if they attack us? “If the World hates you, know that it hated Me first”
With all that has been written about Ivereigh’s article, it has now become increasingly clear that the guy is an idiot not by luck but by will.
The illogic, stupid conclusions abound and he persists.
The saddest thing about all that is if only he were a convert, he’d be able to piece together sensible thought.
There is still time to convert to the Catholic faith Mr Ivereigh. That is what Christ is asking all of us. Dare you follow Him?
So, “many have converted mainly because the Church teaches things that match their [own] ideological outlook.” Is it mere “ideology” or; is it Truth? If it is the latter, it is truly remarkable, if not miraculous that, while they were completely separated from the Church, and presumably living in total ignorance of Catholic truth, they began to discern some of those things that are only to be found in the Deposit of Faith.
But if Ivereigh is correct, and their conversion is grounded only in a kind of intellectual and philosophical exercise, then once they become painfully aware that the Catholic Church is increasingly taking positions that are in conflict with their own personal ideology, the attrition rate among converts would be substantial. No doubt there are those who become disillusioned and disaffected. But I doubt if they are anything approaching a majority. Indeed, it is probably fair to say that the majority of converts, thanks be to God, have a far greater and more mature understanding of the problems besetting the Church during this particular period in her history than the great majority of cradle Catholics. And that includes the majority of regular Mass attendees.
I am personally thankful for those many converts, including those who frequently post on 1P5, who continue to illuminate my own path. They; you; can indeed greatly assist the rest of us in making sense of things in these troubled times. Not least because you explain what it was that brought you into the Church, and this can serve to remind us of certain things which we may have long forgotten. And in these times of rampant confusion, it is all too easy to forget!
Mr. Ivereigh has had his bum handed to him by many able writers over the last few days, with this article being a wonderful example. May he tremble when next he decides to publish something so plainly ridiculous.
Hmmm, bum on a silver platter….
“Would we then not fall into the category – often used by the pope himself – of those “self-righteous” and “pharisaical” Catholics who always “went to Church on Sunday” and who “always kept the Commandments” and thus look down upon the sinner with that “judgmental eye”?”
A very astute observation, but that is precisely point of this whole article, isn’t it? This isn’t really about converts or cradle catholics at all but about psychological warfare.
Ivereigh and co. feel threatened by what they perceive as growing opposition to the Francis agenda and so they’ve resolved to throw a wrench in our cogs.
They know that our past experiences shaped who we us into who we are today and they’re leveraging that against us by making converts feel inferior and feel the need to justify themselves and by making cradles and reverts feel guilty about themselves, all in one swoop.
“A house divided…” by forcing us to start bringing these “classes” into the foreground of the discussion Ivereigh has accomplished his goal and now just has to wait for resentment to creep in leading to disarray (or so they hope for).
Speaking of psychological pathologies, ironically enough, we have textbook case of Narcissims here, notice how quick they are to project themselves unto others when they say “have converted mainly because the Church teaches things that match their ideological outlook.”
I am a cradle Catholic and some of the stuff coming from Rome and this pontificate makes my blood boil.
At Vatican II an attempt was made to protestantize the Church so as to make it attractive to Protestants and, in the UK in particular, to Anglicans. It proved a monumental failure in attracting converts. Instead, again particularly in the UK, we have had the spectacle of Anglicans and their clergy being converted to Catholicism because they were attracted by its orthodoxy. Where I live in Sussex we have several priests who have come over from the Anglicans and my goodness are they orthodox. You only have to look at the Ordinariate to see what I mean.
Those like, Austen Ivereigh, who are imbued with the ‘spirit of Vatican II’ (which has little to do with what Vatican II eventually came up with) just cannot come to terms with this scenario so we have sillier and sillier articles from him. I must say I burst out with laughter every time I come across his latest buffoonery.
criticizing converts when ….. “Vatican II an attempt was made to protestantize the Church so as to make it attractive to Protestants”
So he clearly missed his calling as a comedian. Except that he’s not funny, just rather pathetic.
Very good Maike. It is not so much that Pope Francis has a “Convert Problem.” but rather that he has a Catholic problem, i.e., Pope Francis is a Catholic in name only or a Protestant. He quite simply doesn’t like Catholics who take their faith seriously and he attracts writers like Austen who carry water for him.
Perhaps the Pope really has a “convert” problem – he has yet to do it :-0
At the end of his “Crux” piece, Mr. Ivereigh writes:
“Conversion is an act of humility…This doesn’t mean agreeing with everything a pope says or does…But it does mean respecting the office founded by Jesus Christ, and trusting that the Holy Spirit guides its current occupant.”
I’m reminded of the time, late seventies, I was scheduled to meet with the pastor of a parish I was new to. When I got to the rectory, he was going into overtime with a couple he was apparently counseling on their upcoming wedding.
The walls were thin and I immediately moved out of earshot of the conversation; but not before overhearing this priest tell them: “Now, when I pronounce you man and wife, tomorrow, nothing is going to change…”
I immediately thought: how can he say that? Has the Church stopped teaching that the Sacrament of Matrimony confers special graces that strengthen a couple in the trials they’ll face in their marriage?
I wrestled with his words for some time before I realized that what this priest was telling them was: yes, the graces are there. But if the couple are not trained and are not prepared to cooperate with those graces, the graces might as well not even be there.
I have no doubt that the Holy Spirit was present at the last conclave—and present in a special way. I have serious doubts, though, as to how many of the voting Cardinals availed themselves of His graces. It seems that a number of ungodly notions have trained far too many of them away from cooperating with grace.
Francis is our Pope; but I suggest that, due to a lack of holy attentiveness on the part of too many of the Cardinals, it’s possible the Spirit has allowed this Pope to be elected precisely to be a scourge that would awaken the spiritually indolent.
In any case, no matter how the situation is cast—something ain’t right.
I think Ivereigh is trying to divide and conquer the Pope’s critics. Drive a wedge through the resistance and get us fighting with each other. Like Democrat race baiting.
Yes, good observation.
Quite the act of desperation, too, as more and more apparent is the heresy he and others promote over the perennial magesterium of the Church.
There’s a spilt alright.
‘Cept it’s not between converts and cradle Catholics. it’s between Catholics and Protestants within the Church, and this Pope and his homo-heretical allies are making that clearer and clearer every day.
“it’s between Catholics and Protestants within the Church”………absolutely! That’s the real split!
Well if that’s what he’s going for, he’s failing miserably. I’ve seen more solidarity on this issue than anything else in quite a while.
Yeah, But it won’t work. We’re nowhere near as stupid as he thinks. Also, I think he wants to smear any and all of us, cradle ~Catholics and otherwise, any way he can, so the rest of the world thinks we’re extremists. We’ve got news for Mr Ivereigh. We don’t care what the World thinks. Only Almighty God.
Thanks to Maike for the cogent article. When I first read Ivereigh’s article the other day, it struck me that ALL of the apostles and early disciples were converts to the Faith, and most of them died as martyrs, clinging rigidly one supposes to the truths that Jesus Christ handed on to them. Their persecutors were clinging rigidly to something other than the truth. Tenacity simply implies commitment, nothing more. Flexibility is usually, but not always, a sign of weakness. The point is never what is rigid or flexible, what is old or what is new, but what is TRUE. The marxists and their sympathizers would have it differently, and they would be mistaken.
Indeed, thus making all of them a scourge in the eyes of this Pope who condemns conversion.
Thank you so much for that observation. It is a clear position of Marxism to pit one class against another in this case converts against cradle Catholics.
“Tenacity simply implies commitment, nothing more.” This also explains why some Muslims are happy to give their lives for their perverted cause. They are tenacious but wrong. Good luck saying that at the next BBQ!
“Now it is quite possible that elegant commentators such as Ross Douthat and Matthew’s boss Rusty Reno (both former Episcopalians), or, at the rougher end, writers such as Carl Orlson (ex-Protestant fundamentalist) and John Henry Westen (ex-atheist), or indeed ex-Anglicans in my own patch such as Daniel Hitchens of the Catholic Herald and Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register in Rome, are all correct in their readings.”
Yes, Mr Ivereigh, it is both possible and actual. Your ad hominem attacks, on the other hand, do nothing to address the substance of their arguments.
Aah you expect far too much from the small thinking capacity of Ivereigh. I wonder if he even understands what an argument is.
The Great Cmmission of our Lord: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Matt 28:19.
The whole point of our Christian life is to make converts. The Catholic Faith is dead that does not evangelize and bring in new life.
I think it’s “convenient” for his argument that Ivereigh is talking about cradle Catholics in the present time, rather than some decades ago… considering that all cradle Catholics under the age of about 60 have basically lived their entire lives (past the “age of reason”) in a Church that has been heavily influenced — or perhaps one should say saturated — by the “Spirit of Vatican II”… I seriously question whether what Ivereigh says now about cradle Catholics would have held up in the 1960’s and 1970’s. I’m afraid that the faithful cradle Catholics were simply the first casualties of this war, and now it is up to the converts to bring in the reinforcements…
What poppycock from Invereigh! You don’t agree with my warped view of Catholicism. . . You must have a pathology. Where have I heard that before? Signed, cradle Catholic
“Cradle Catholic” to me is synonymous in many instances for “Social Catholics”; here for the party but not for the teachings. One of the best comments I ever heard from a priest is that nobody is born Catholic, we may be baptized at birth but we must, at some point, become converts to Christ instead of our own self-will. This explains the 50% of “Catholics” using contraception, and all the rest of the secular mess — there is a big difference between just showing up and actually practicing your faith in your daily life. And it is the people who read the Catechism, the Bible, the Church Fathers, the lives of the Saints, who know how badly the truth of our faith is being warped and deformed under the current pontificate.
For me it’s “raised Catholic” which tends to segue into “nominal Catholic.”
Maybe converts are the way they are because they know what it is like to not have the truth of the Catholic Faith, and resent that truth being obscured by Pope Francis’ behavior.
I am a convert. I discovered the truth of the Catholic Faith when I was 19 years old, and the Faith has been my life ever since.
I do not want a pope to pander to the false religion I left as a child, or the secularism I left when I went off to college. I love the Catholic Faith. It’s been my life since I was 19 years old, and the pope who was already an old man back then should love it so much more.
The pope must proclaim the truth of the Catholic Faith- which it alone completely possesses- not water it down or obscure its perfect and beautiful truth. If a would-be convert does not discover the truth and beauty of Catholicism in this life because the Catholic who encounters them chooses instead to water things down to “meet them where they are,” I’d hate to be that Catholic on judgment day.
Am I the only one that loathes that term “cradle catholics”? It popped up as far as I know about 13 years ago. I first started hearing that thrown around amongst the EWTN crowd. I was baptised as a baby a Catholic, that just makes me a Catholic. I’m not a “conservative Catholic”, not a “trad catholic”, not a novus ordo catholic, not a “cradle catholic”. I’m just Catholic, that’s it, as is anyone else who believes in the faith and what the Church teaches.
I’ve been using “cradle Catholic” since as long as I can remember, and I’m in my late 20s.
You should think twice about using it, there are only Catholics (those who believe in and are obedient to all the Church has traditionally taught) and those that don’t. Anything else is just attempting to create divisions within the one universal Church.
Have you no compunction at all?
The Church teaches—as Christ Himself taught—that only those who are baptized may enter Heaven. So what about the good thief crucified next to Our Lord? What Mass did he attend? Yet he was told “Today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”
The Church recognizes baptism by blood and the baptism of desire—not just baptism by water. It is insufficient to claim that only those who “believe in and are obedient to all the Church has traditionally taught” are true Catholics.
Anyone who desires the fullness of Christ is an implicit member of the “true” Catholic Church, however faulty his knowledge.
You should think twice before presuming to adjudicate who amongst your neighbors is faithful to Him. St. John of the Cross believed that there is not one of us, no matter how holy, who can know at any given moment how much of God’s wrath he deserves.
Those outside the one, visible Body of Christ, which is the Catholic Church–and by virtue of their baptism and through their invincible ignorance are saved in death–is the exception. Not the rule.
When you change the distinction of the exception into the rule, then the exception becomes the rule.
It is supposed to be the exception, granted. But if you’re going to tell me that those priests who began—out of obedience to their bishops, who, in turn, out of obedience to Rome authorized—praying the Novus Ordo, were or are complicit in the undermining of the faith then I suggest you’re way off base.
When Bishop da Silva and Canon Oliveira told Sister Lucy, in 1943, that if she “wanted” she had official permission to reveal the Secret that Our Lady had told her to wait until 1960 to reveal—she instead begged them to order her to do so. She knew that in obedience—in all things but sin—lay her peace before God and before Our Lady.
The only alternative to obedience to their superiors with regards to the New Mass would have been wholesale mutiny. No one would have known who to believe or to follow. Do you call that preferable, or less confusing to the faithful?
“Do you really think you could stand fast before the winds that would blow then? Yes, I give the Devil benefit of law for my own safety sake.” -Thomas More
Disobedience, too, should be the exception not the rule.
Stay on topic. I didn’t say a word or even hint about the Novus Ordo.
First off, there is a thing called false obedience. You cannot be forced to sin or do something that would undermine the faith of others, which is precisely what the Novus Ordo has done to an entire generation of Catholics. We know it by its fruit.
First of all, since the initial comment of my own, to which you decided to reply, was itself directed to John Burroughs and was, in fact, in reference to the Novus Ordo—if you chose to use it as a bridge to address some peripheral matter, then it is you who are off topic.
Which is fine; I do it all the time. Just own up to it.
Second of all, I’m well aware of false obedience and addressed the matter above.
Third, how fortuitous that you managed to slyly, though disingenuously, bring up the Novus Ordo after all—though it was already suggested by your allusion to the “Visible” Church.
As far as the fruits you mention, I suggest that there are far greater and far more numerous causes than the NO—lack of true obedience being one of them. Those bishops and priests who dissented, and continue to dissent, from “Humanae Vitae” have worked far more destruction.
Whew. In context of what I specifically quoted, it was referring to your comment of those outside the Body of Christ, by mere virtue of their baptism, are saved.
I only brought up the Novus Ordo because you referenced it in your response to mine, which was entirely on the subject of baptism and extra ecclesiam nulla salus. There was no slyness or disingenuity.
Have it your way.
Noticed that too tall order, he jumps around making comparisons to things that don’t apply or were never mentioned.
Neither one of you reads very carefully. Nor do you even quote yourselves very accurately.
You suggest that I claimed you mentioned validity when I did no such thing. You said that the NO is illicit: “… an unauthorized celebration of a sacrament that nevertheless has effect.”
I merely said that being illicit doesn’t make it invalid. Where the intention is to receive the Eucharistic Christ, there is no sin on the part of the faithful in going to an illicit Mass.
tallorder informs me that one “cannot be forced to sin or do something that would undermine the faith”—blithely overlooking the fact that I had explicitly written of “obedience to superiors—in all things but sin…”
tallorder believes that undermining the faith of others “is precisely what the Novus Ordo has done to an entire generation of Catholics.”
That is a prudential judgment which which I simply but wholeheartedly disagree. That it might be a contributing factor for some people is possible.
But there are far too many others factors at work—like the breakdown of “unit cohesion” in the chain of obedience occasioned by the mutinous rejection of “Humanae Vitae.”
Wow. The light just went on…It sure does amaze me how slow I am to catch on.
Neither one of you has had the least interest in coming to a common understanding on anything, even from the start.
It’s not just that you’re not interested in anything I’ve presented; you
couldn’t give a rat’s farthing about enabling anyone to understand
your own position.
In fact, I see no evidence that either of you is motivated by so much as a jot of compassion, empathy or Christian charity for your fellow man.
No substantive exchanges; just dogmatic platitudes.
It’s all about picking at the seams; positioning yourselves and condescending to the unsuspecting. Again, I’m nonplussed, but unscathed.
If either of you is representative of the kind of Catholicism one is likely to encounter at a traditional Latin Mass parish, I wouldn’t waste my time even if I had the access.
All I see is a couple of really nasty actors. Well, have at it.
I just revisited and saw your reply and also saw tallorder’s reply and realized I don’t have to reply to you since tallorder has already taken you out behind the theological woodshed.
I’m not in a position to grant anyone anything. The Church, though—just as Our Lord Himself—has always been far more merciful than you suppose.
You seem pretty willing to cast the first stone? Are you so sure you hold and teach all that the Catholic Church teaches?
St. Francis de Sales quotes St. Jerome “The Scriptures consist not in the reading but in the understanding:” and goes on himself to say “that is, faith is not in the knowing of the words, but in understanding the sense.”
Again, are you so sure that you not only know all that the Church teaches, but that you understand all that the Church teaches?
I’m not. Don’t imagine I ever will be. But I trust the Lord knows my heart. As He does everyone’s.
Do you can be a cafeteria Catholic, deny one of the truths of the faith, die unrepentent and still make it to heaven? That’s some interesting theology you have there HLaM
Blithering incoherence is an even more interesting style of exegesis. Best of luck.
Oh my bad, since you’re in the apex of your wisdom in your late twenties and have been using it as long as you can remember, keep doing so, never mind that it means nothing and divides and/or attempts to put yourself at some higher level than the Catholic who just converted.
The British Mr. Ivereigh is standing on very shaky ground, given how Christianity of all kinds is nearly dead in England and Europe, the English population has been reduced to drunken decadence, the indigenous European population is collapsing due to birth control and abortion, and high Muslim immigration, terrorist and sex grooming gangs are causing havoc and ruining lives all over.
Frankly, as a convert to Catholicism, with many years teaching adult cradle Catholics in my large suburban US area, I’d say the vast majority are incredibly ignorant of their actual Faith, though hungry and receptive when you give them the real thing. But the fact is most of them have no real prayer life, no real experience of Christ, live very worldly lives and rarely darken the door of a confessional, even though showing up and receiving the Eucharist on Sundays. They are cultural Catholics like cultural Jews, more like an ethnic group going through the motions of ethnicity than actually engaging in what is, in fact, a deeply transformational spirituality – about which they no nothing at all, and their pastors, in my experience, know next to nothing if anything at all.
It’s the cradles who are on fire, know the faith, have a prayer life – because we actually studied and got to know the Faith well on our way into the Church, it’s why we decided to become Catholic. If the snobby hypocrite Mr. Ivereigh doesn’t like it, he can stuff it where the sun don’t shine. Or better yet, work to shore up dying Catholicism in England and Europe, and stem the tide of Muslims bringing fear, rape and terrorism with them. Until then, he has NO moral authority to preach to anyone!
Having searched many years for “a” church that possessed the fullness of Truth, it was with great joy that I discovered “THE” Church that Christ founded. I believed the Catholic Church was established by Our Lord, but once I entered in I had to begin another search. Where is this fullness of Truth still taught within this Church? I know where that Truth is and that it’s greatest enemies are those who try to distort it – within the Church.
I think these enemies of the Church are extra hateful towards us because we prove that Bergoglio’s claim that it is a sin to proselytize is a lie from the pit of Hell. And we defend it because Truth is worth defending at all costs, especially when you’ve hungered for it so long. I know what a tremendous grace it was to discover Jesus Christ after having lived as a pagan, and I know HOW MUCH GREATER it is to have the gift of His Church, the priesthood and the Sacraments to help me.
Was St. Paul suffering from ‘convert neurosis’ when he opposed Peter to his face? Or was it a lack of ‘convert neurosis’ (whatever that is) that freed St. Catherine of Sienna to tell the dear Holy Father, whom she loved so much, to get his act together as pope?
Thank God for Mr. Ivereigh’s thoughts – they have allowed ALL members of the Church Militant the opportunity to cherish more fully the wonder of being ordain by Divine Providence to be a member of the Mystical Body of Christ. Truly, he has in his attempts to divide and conquer inadvertently thrown light on the mystery of Divine Predilection!
Speaking of Mr. Ivereigh’s argumentation tactics…
I’ve noticed other positioning tactics amongst commenters to this site—especially from those who are fervent proponents of the “traditional Latin Mass.” I’ve decided to call it the “Gnostic gambit.”
Someone will swoop down on a commenter—usually a newer one—and tell him something like:
You, my friend (always hale fellow, well met) are sadly mistaken. Everything you know is wrong. But I have the inside dope. Just read these 19 books
I’m recommending and learn how correct I am and how incorrect you are. I invite you to verify me.
It’s a tactic one is very familiar with when it comes from the political left. It has been unexpected, disorienting and aggravating coming from those who consider themselves religiously orthodox.
I was especially nonplussed by the person who told me that all I needed to know was that a particular formulation of the doctrine of the Trinity, used by Benedict XVI, was different from that of Thomas Aquinas. Thomas is, of course, the Common Doctor of the Church and I strongly favor Thomistic formulations. But there are 34 other Doctors whose manner of expression are also valid.
Meanwhile as I was attempting to defend Benedict’s right to personal speculation, there was a kibitzer flitting about like a raven, worrying “Isn’t this a
problem? Isn’t this a problem? Isn’t t his a problem?”
Even were such tactics not dishonest, they are condescending, pompous and arrogant.
So when I start quoting Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark lyrics, or a line from James Joyce, it means my BS meter is on overload. At which point, I’d rather be down some heartworn highway watching the fireflies and headed for some finger-picking, than engaging in nitpicking the Novus Ordo’s putative snares.
Nice flowery language. I’ll put it to you simply with no 19 books to read: the Novus Ordo is illicit, always has been always will be. Quo Primum is the law of the Church and can never be changed.
Illicit is not invalid. If there is any sin involved it falls solely on those who have authorized the saying of the Novus Ordo.
The suggestion that Catholics who attend the NO are somehow less faithful than those who attend the Latin Mass is thoroughly outrageous.
I’ll mention it again…Fairbanks is the last remaining missionary diocese in the US, stretching over an area two and a half times the size of Texas; fewer than 20 priests serve some 47 parishes half of which are not even on a road system and some are on the road system only in the summer. We are blessed to have the Mass and the Eucharist and Confession at all.
I’ll stack the faithfulness of those members of the Body—living in bush villages, who are lucky if they see a priest every couple of months—against any man or woman you care to name. You attack those faithful, you attack Christ.
By the way, nothing at all flowery about Townes or Guy; and Joyce…?
Did I mention validity? Look again in my post and see if I did. But since you brought it up..
The novus ordo mass can never and will never be licit and is only valid when the correct, form, matter, intention, and validly ordained priest are present.
We can play this game, back and forth, ad infinitum: Did I claim you mentioned validity? Look again in my post and see if I did. You said the NO is illicit. I said illicit doesn’t mean invalid.
Now you claim that it’s also invalid.
Have it your way.
The only one playing games is you, licit and valid are not the same thing Mr topic changer. The new mass is not lawful and you can’t for one second argue that it is, you can obfuscate, bring up a bunch of other crap, it’s still illicit. Period, end of story. Thankfully in 2017 nearly everyone in the western world at least has access to a licit traditional mass in Latin.
“You’d better take off your homburg, cause your overcoat is too long.”
Whenever one of these guys starts throwing around the “neurosis” tag , you know you are dealing with some one suffering from “left-osis.”