Skip to comments.[Catholic Caucus] The Escalating War Against Orthodox Catholicism
Posted on 02/02/2018 5:32:08 PM PST by ebb tide
When it was announced last year that Fr. James Martin, SJ, was being brought in as a consultor to the Vaticans communications team, reactions were predictably on a spectrum ranging from deeply perplexed to blood-vessel bursting outrage. Known for his role as editor-at-large for the far-left Catholic rag America Magazine as well as his boundary-pushing views on the Church and homosexuality, Fr. Martin is the kind of name that gets an instant reaction when brought up in any conversation. And among orthodox Catholics, its decidedly not a positive one.
Fr. Martin became the second high-profile Jesuit to join the Vaticans propaganda arm, joining papal mouthpiece and editor of La Civiltà Cattolica (LCC), Fr. Antonio 2 + 2 = 5 Spadaro. Together, the two wayward spiritual sons of St. Ignatius have a media audience of some 60,000 souls baked right in, just based on print circulation. Online, America and LCC are globally ranked #25,181 and #838,795 respectively by Alexa.com. This means Americas footprint is far larger in the digital age, but LCCs status as a 150-year-old Jesuit publication with direct oversight from the Vaticans Secretariat of State gives it a unique prestige.
Still, since hes joined the team, Fr. Martins role seemed fairly subdued. While Fr. Spadaro made a bit of a name for himself going after the popes enemies online (joined by Fr. Thomas Rosica of Salt & Light TV, papal biographer Austen Ivereigh of Crux, and Villanova theology professor Massimo Faggioli), Martin has continued to wage a one-man media war to promote his own books, his own causes, and his own unique vision for a decidedly different Church than any the popes and saints of old would have recognized. And with a gigantic social media audience (174,000 Twitter followers; 561,848 Facebook fans), he has the clout to move opinions.
But hes been getting a lot of pushback.
Recently, a parish in New Jersey canceled a talk by Fr. James Martin after Catholic group Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) got over 12,000 signatures on a petition to pull the plug.
Fr. Martin was, to say the least, not happy. Not content to simply accept that faithful Catholics didnt want to hear his heterodox message, he called for a war against those ragged few out there still fighting in defense of the authentic teachings of the Church:
As John Zmirak wrote in response to Martins comments at The Stream:
Have you got that? Bishops should step in and condemn lay Catholics who criticize Fr. Martin. Or else theyre complicit in giving in to hate. Catholics should face public condemnation by their bishops if they dare to disagree with Martins new, Caesar-friendly stance on same-sex sin.
Think of Martins position as a special advisor to the Vatican. Of his friendly relations with many bishops. Of his long list of media buddies. (He worked with Martin Scorcese on the movie Silence, and appears on Stephen Colberts show.) Dont be surprised if he finds some takers. Hes doubtless hoping to see compliant bishops condemn groups like TFP. He hopes theyll ban them from churches, denounce them in Church newspapers, as if they were indeed some kind of hate group.
Zmirak also made another important point about the rhetoric Martin uses:
When faithful Catholics speak out against him, he accuses them of hate speech, which in some places is borderline illegal. He casts the organizations that criticize his stance as extremists, even alt-right. Hes trying to smear orthodox Christians with the dung-soaked brush of disgraceful racism.
As someone who has been subject to such accusations myself, I can attest to the fact that these labels are applied without the slightest concern for the truth or the damage done.
Just days after Fr. Martins comments, Joseph Bernstein, Senior Tech Reporter for Buzzfeed, published a piece on Fr. John Zuhlsdorf known to the Catholic blogosphere as Fr. Z that was anything but flattering. Meet the Blogger Priest Firing Red Pills At the Vatican, reads the headline. Fr. Zs critics say hes an alt-right priest. He says theyre snowflakes who should toughen up. His surprising rise to prominence shows that in 2018, even the longest-lasting institution in the Western world isnt immune to the strains of the social internet.
Notice the language. Alt-right priest. Just the kind of label Zmirak was talking about. And who showed up in the article to comment on Fr. Z? The man himself, Fr. James Martin. Martin had previously had another speech cancelled this time at Catholic University in part because of a post Fr. Z had written drawing his readers attention to it.
For me the saddest thing about Father Zs blog is how cruel it is, Martin told BuzzFeed News. Its astonishing to me that a priest could traffic in such cruelty and hatred.
Fr. Z told BuzzFeed News that it was not his intention to sic the Zedheads as he affectionately calls his readers on Martin, and added that though he did not think it was appropriate for Martin to speak, he, too, had been disinvited from similar engagements for his views.
I dont whine about it though, said Fr. Z. This isnt bean bag.
The zinger from Fr. Z might be a cheering moment for Fr. Martins critics, but with characterizations like the sometimes shockingly antagonistic attitude of Fr. Z and his ilk toward the Vatican and liberal culture has invited comparisons to the alt-right, the overall piece is little more than instant wish-fulfillment for Fr. Martin.
The attack on faithful Catholicism is nothing new, but it seems to have taken on a new and dangerous edge. Weve seen the culture at both Christendom College and Franciscan University both seen as seedbeds of authentic Catholicism come under fire from progressive Catholic bloggers in the past month after alleged mishandling of accusations of sexual misconduct. Voices critical of the current Vatican regime have suffered reprisals, from the retributive actions taken against some academics and priests who have signed the various theological critiques of Amoris Laetitia to the unjust firing of Josef Seifert for publishing articles questioning that same document to the attacks on the dubia cardinals and the Kazakhstani bishops. It seems that suppressing orthodoxy is becoming trendy. And it isnt going to stop. I received an inquiry from a journalist several days ago about our financial records here at 1P5 a clear indication that if they can find something to use against us, they will. I cant imagine were alone in that.
Strangely, I think we can take this as a positive sign. It means that while we may be outnumbered, were winning or at least heavily influencing the war for public perception. Nobody bothers to attack someone who doesnt pose a threat.
Nevertheless, I ask your prayers for all the men and women who are out there courageously standing up for the truth against unscrupulous opposition. The people looking for ways to discredit their critics dont let the 8th Commandment get in their way. And as anyone who has ever been dragged through the mud knows, it isnt a pleasant experience.
All you ever need to know about Pope Francis is that he agreed to allow the communist Chinese government to appoint Catholic bishops in China.
I wonder if Obama used his weaponized intelligence agencies to engineer Benedict’s removal and Bergoglio’s election.
I wouldn’t put it past him.
When we do find out, I think it'll be a shocker. Remember that the Soviets perfected drugs in their psychiatric prisons that degrade psychological independence.
And --- am I paranoid? --- I find is disturbing that Pope Benedict is never seen without his private secretary (manager? handler?) Georg Gänswein, Prefect of the Papal Household --- the one who promoted the surely invalid idea that there is now an expanded "Petrine Ministry" with one active, and one contemplative "member".
This has probably been his worst and cruelest act yet. Hes an evil, evil little person but he and his lefty gay backers think hes the Second Coming.
Im not saying this because Im a traddie, and in fact I cant stand reading about people who boast about being traddies. Sorry, but all we are is Catholics, some orthodox according to the old standards, some orthodox according to VII standards, most completely indifferent and doing whatever happens in their parish, and some completely unorthodox because theyre following a power-crazed leftist fool from Argentina who doesnt even get along well with Argentinians and has never even dared to go back there since the Germans engineered his takeover of the Vatican.
Actually, I was banned from P15 because I criticized traddie fixations (on stupid stuff like headscarves for women and their idealization of 1950s American Catholicism...which gave us VII). We have to quit worrying about a fantasy time and cute old practices and defend the Faith without defining ourselves as some little special band of better people. Were all sinners and were all going to die and we are all trusting in Our Lord that death will be but a moment and all our questions will be resolved in His presence.
Destroying the suffering Chinese Church has been Francis worst act yet, but I am sick because I see no protests.
Stick to the Faith and God will sort it out.
There is a war. And the Fake Pope has allied himself with the secular hedonists who have always aimed at the destruction of the Church.
Yes, that’s paranoid, and also incorrect.
I freely admit it’s my grieving mind at work, scrabbling through possible explanations for the present ecclesial chaos. I have no “inside baseball” connections.
Don’t worry, Ganswein has worked for Ratzinger for many years and is a good guy. When Pope Benedict gave his resignation, Ganswein looked stricken, a tear came down from the corner if his eye. Also, gosh, do we have to say this nowadays? He’s totally straight.
I won't do that again.
No problem! For some people who have only seen info on him from recent years, he could seem like a mysterious figure in the background!
All this, while Francis dismantles his legacy --- the legacy Benedict created shoulder to shoulder with JP the Great! Veritatis Splendor, Familiaris Consortio and the Catechism, dipped in solvent and dissolving before our eyes.
And Fr. Ganswein's hypothesis about Francis and Benedict having a "shared Petrine ministry" --- with two men being called Holy Father, two men wearing the papal vestments, two men making the Vatican their home --- how do you parse that, canonically, let alone theologically?
And now Francis is poised to canonize Paul 6, while gearing up the equivocation machine to blenderize Humanae Vitae!
What you say is true, but the mistake people make is putting all these facts together, adding generalized ideas like “NWO” and stringing them into a big conspiracy theory. It always seems like an evil plot in retrospect.
one assumption that’s false is Bergoglio replacing Benedict like some well-manuevered secret machine. First, it was not a Jesuit scheme. Bergoglio was considered sort of a bumbling goof in the Order until JP made him Cardinal, and the Jesuits did not dream of one of their own becoming pope. The small group that came up with idea to elect Bergoglio were non-religious, older, liberal Cardinals.
When we are 90 it may seem completely reasonable and even advisable to retire! Benedict has a great theological mind (many say the greatest in a century) and the “work” he does besides prayer is almost always connected to papers, scholars, students, Schulkreis, Balthasar Institute, etc.
That is perfectly normal and fitting for him, probably seemed very wise way to help the Church in his old age. This idea people have of him chained in a dungeon against his will is absurd!
The best way to have peace of mind about Benedict’s decision is accept his explanation at face value. He was not “forced out” by internal people. If he did feel any pressure, other than age, to give up the active papacy, it was for the good of the Church due to international situations. Since none of us can possibly confirm all those details, isn’t wise to trust Benedict?
Hard to believe though it may be, we may be better off due to Benedict’s agonizing choice. He did not anticipate Bergoglio, it was not decided until the Conclave (although obviously plans to get his “type” on the Throne were gaining ground for years).
Benedict did not retire to give us Bergoglio, that was outcome of hundreds of factors (many not even on a blog)! Maybe after a century of brilliant popes, we got a regular guy, due to God’s plan, and suddenly we are stunned by some precarious directions of the hierarchy. I knew a priest who said, “Only the laity can save the Church.” We must not let Bergoglio get us down, he is not nearly as big as he seems.
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