Saturday, April 22, 2017

Why The Catholic Blogososphere Wishes Me Into the Cornfield

I am pretty much a pariah in the Catholic blogosphere. I just don't fit in with the rest of the "gang."  I have been condemned on more than one catholic blog.  And it all comes down to a very specific reason.

As I have posted in the past, most catholic blogs could be written by the same person because they all say the same thing. Most Catholic bloggers, it seems, have the philosophy that ever since Vatican II, the world and the Church have been pretty much headed to hell in a handbasket, and right now, Pope Francis and all of his cronies are leading the way to hell. These bloggers tell us that Pope Francis is basically a heretic with all of his "phony" preaching about "mercy".

This is in direct contrast to the Catholic Church which all of these bloggers profess to love. Pope Francis, like Blessed Pope Paul VI, Pope St. Paul II, and Pope Benedict, is merely following the lead of Pope St. John XXIII. This was beautifully expressed in his opening message to the Second Vatican Council, which signaled a major change in the way the Church would be approaching the rest of the world:

In these days, which mark the beginning of this Second Vatican Council, it is more obvious than ever before that the Lord's truth is indeed eternal. Human ideologies change. Successive generations give rise to varying errors, and these often vanish as quickly as they came, like mist before the sun. 
The Church has always opposed these errors, and often condemned them with the utmost severity. Today, however, Christ's Bride prefers the balm of mercy to the arm of severity. She believes that, present needs are best served by explaining more fully the purport of her doctrines, rather than by publishing condemnations.
Pope St. John XXIII continued in this theme of showing not condemnation but the love and mercy of God to the world:
The great desire, therefore, of the Catholic Church in raising aloft at this Council the torch of truth, is to show herself to the world as the loving mother of all mankind; gentle, patient, and full of tenderness and sympathy for her separated children. To the human race oppressed by so many difficulties, she says what Peter once said to the poor man who begged an alms: "Silver and gold I have none; but what I have, that I give thee. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, arise and walk."
In other words it is not corruptible wealth, nor the promise of earthly happiness, that the Church offers the world today, but the gifts of divine grace which, since they raise men up to the dignity of being sons of God, are powerful assistance and support for the living of a more fully human life. She unseals the fountains of her life-giving doctrine, so that men, illumined by the light of Christ, will understand their true nature and dignity and purpose. Everywhere, through her children, she extends the frontiers of Christian love, the most powerful means of eradicating the seeds of discord, the most effective means of promoting concord, peace with justice, and universal brotherhood.

Blessed Pope Paul VI echoed his predecessor in the closing message to the Second Vatican Council:
And what aspect of humanity has this august senate studied? What goal under divine inspiration did it set for itself? It also dwelt upon humanity's ever twofold facet, namely, man's wretchedness and his greatness, his profound weakness—which is undeniable and cannot be cured by himself—and the good that survives in him which is ever marked by a hidden beauty and an invincible serenity.
But one must realize that this council, which exposed itself to human judgment, insisted very much more upon this pleasant side of man, rather than on his unpleasant one. Its attitude was very much and deliberately optimistic. A wave of affection and admiration flowed from the council over the modern world of humanity. Errors were condemned, indeed, because charity demanded this no less than did truth, but for the persons themselves there was only warning, respect and love.
Instead of depressing diagnoses, encouraging remedies; instead of direful prognostics, messages of trust issued from the council to the present-day world. The modern world's values were not only respected but honored, its efforts approved, its aspirations purified and blessed.
Of course, Pope St. John Paul II was the one who brought Divine Mercy to the world, as given to St. Faustina by Jesus Christ Himself.  John Paul II became aware of the message of Divine Mercy from St. Faustina as early as 1940.  He said it was the driving force of his pontificate.

John Paul II is the one who gave us Divine Mercy Sunday.  In his homily on April 30, 2000, the first official Divine Mercy Sunday, this beloved saint said:
It is important then that we accept the whole message that comes to us from the word of God on this Second Sunday of Easter, which from now on throughout the Church will be called "Divine Mercy Sunday". In the various readings, the liturgy seems to indicate the path of mercy which, while re-establishing the relationship of each person with God, also creates new relations of fraternal solidarity among human beings. Christ has taught us that "man not only receives and experiences the mercy of God, but is also called "to practise mercy' towards others: "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy' (Mt 5: 7)" (Dives in misericordia, n. 14). He also showed us the many paths of mercy, which not only forgives sins but reaches out to all human needs. Jesus bent over every kind of human poverty, material and spiritual.

Pope Benedict XVI echoed the words of his friend and predecessor, John Paul II;
Indeed, mercy is the central nucleus of the Gospel message; it is the very name of God, the Face with which he revealed himself in the Old Covenant and fully in Jesus Christ, the incarnation of creative and redemptive Love. May this merciful love also shine on the face of the Church and show itself through the sacraments, in particular that of Reconciliation, and in works of charity, both communitarian and individual. May all that the Church says and does manifest the mercy God feels for man, and therefore for us. When the Church has to recall an unrecognized truth or a betrayed good, she always does so impelled by merciful love, so that men and women may have life and have it abundantly (cf. Jn 10:10). From Divine Mercy, which brings peace to hearts, genuine peace flows into the world, peace between different peoples, cultures and religions. — Regina Caeli message on Divine Mercy Sunday, March 30, 2008.

And certainly no one has preached the message of mercy more forcefully than Pope Francis, who gave the Church and the world an entire year devoted to Divine Mercy.  As the Holy Father told us:
Let the Church always be a place of mercy and hope, where everyone is welcomed, loved and forgiven.

But the catholic blogosphere would seem to reject all of these calls for mercy.  The catholic blogosphere believes that true mercy is telling people all of their sins, demanding that sinners repent and change, and then, feeling that their job is done, these "good catholics" just walk away, leaving people on their own to sink or swim.  Far too many catholic bloggers feel that Pope Francis' call to walk with sinners, to show compassion and mercy as opposed to condemnation, is a false mercy that will only lead to hell.

This is where I knock heads with much of the catholic blogosphere.  This became quite evident this past week when Mary Ann Kreitzer of LesFemmes-The Truth attacked me on my last post about the cause of the crisis in the Church.  You can read Mary Ann's post HERE.

Mary Ann and anyone else certainly has every right to disagree with me.  A civil disagreement can often lead to greater clarity on both sides.  But Mary Ann called me out in a very cowardly, i.e., typical catholic blogosphere, manner.  She never named me, she never linked to my post, she never quoted anything directly from my post.  This was obviously not done to hide my identity as those commenting on her blog knew she was talking about me, as one person commented:
I knew exactly to whom you referred. Yes indeed, that post was rather insipid and betrayed a lack of reading comprehension with regards to the Good Thief. One brave fellow tried to talk some sense, but she cut him off saying he was "looking for an argument". In other words, she had no decent answer for his questions.
Why did Mary Ann go to the trouble of condemning me but yet refuse to identify me, link to my post, or give specific quotes?  She certainly has linked to many other posts and websites in the past with which she has had disagreement and which she has condemned.  Why won't she link to mine?  I will let the reader answer that question.

In her post, Mary Ann went on a rant with one ad hominem attack after another. She started out in a very condescending, snarky manner:
I occasionally visit the blog of a silly Catholic woman just to see which orthodox members of the faithful she is attacking at the moment.   She means well, I'm sure and says she goes to daily Mass. I have no reason to doubt her word. I'm sure she considers herself orthodox, but that doesn't prevent her cheerleading for the latest Francis outrage and condemning clergy and laity who dare to call him on things (like St. Paul called out St. Peter).
Don't you find it amazing that someone who calls herself Catholic attacks me for supporting the Pope?  This is the level the catholic blogosphere is at - they consider anyone who supports the Holy Father to be an enemy of the Church!!  Amazing. And they justify it by comparing themselves to St. Paul.  I remind them that St. Paul never condemned the first Holy Father of being a heretic, of wanting to destroy the Church and leading people to hell.  I can only wonder what these catholic bloggers will say when they stand before Jesus Christ and try to defend their position.

Mary Ann then gives her summary of my post:
Her latest diatribe involves why Catholics are falling away from the Church today compared to the vibrant Church of yesterday before Vatican II. Lo and behold, the filled churches of yesteryear were not due to the reverence of the Mass or the piety of the people, or the inspiring preaching and sacred music. No, they were filled to the brim out of...get ready for this....
Priests and nuns were tyrants. The Church was MEAN! People were afraid to go to Confession afraid that Father would berate them in the confessional. And in this atmosphere of terror, the pews were filled to overflowing, churches had multiple priests in addition to their pastors, and four and five Masses were scheduled every Sunday.
Are you scratching your head? I am.
And if she's correct, why in this era of mercy and compassion and pastoral luv, are the churches empty? She quotes extensively from Pope Francis, but never explains that little anomaly.
Mary Ann then goes on to give a glowing story of her childhood in which every priest and nun she ever knew was a veritable saint, filled with compassion and mercy.  And I don't doubt her story for one second.  Of course there were wonderful nuns and priests in the Church 50 and 60 years ago.  I remember my own second grade teacher, Sister Stellan, in 1962.  She was one of the most wonderful teachers I ever had, and taught me to love Jesus Christ and the Church.

But that does not change the fact that many people suffered under church leadership, as can be seen in the horrific priest sex scandal throughout the world.  And much of this occurred during that golden period of which Mary Ann spoke.  We have as just one example German boy's schools connected to a choir directed by Father Georg Ratzinger, the brother of Pope Benedict XVI.  Father Ratzinger was director of the choir from 1964 to 1994.  There was rampant physical and sexual abuse at these schools, which you can read about HERE.  Father Ratzinger did admit he physically abused the boys, and in a 2010 interview, he apologized to all those boys he hit.  Father Ratzinger claims he did not know anything about the sexual abuse.

The article states:
Ulrich Weber, a lawyer commissioned by the choir to look into accusations of beatings, torture and sexual abuse, presented his initial findings, based on more than 140 interviews, roughly half of them with victims, and an examination of archives. Mr. Weber estimated that from 1953 to 1992, every third student at a school attached to the choir suffered some kind of physical abuse. He said the mistreatment at institutions linked to the Domspatzen included at least 40 cases of sexual violence.
This is just one example of probably thousands that can be given.  The Church herself never lost her way.  The Church always had the Mercy of Jesus Christ.  But many in the Church did lose their way, and the people suffered, producing not love, but great fear.

I stand by my original post, Mary Ann's condemnation notwithstanding.

Mary Ann continued on her attacks against me:
In addition to being a Francis worshiper [don't ya love it?] she regularly posts critical blogs about anyone who dares to criticize the clergy. In the same breath she will lay into Cardinal Burke, Bishop Schneider or any other priest with whom she disagrees. She had plenty of criticism for the four cardinals of the dubia who were off the rails in her opinion. So much for not criticizing the clergy. As for Michael Voris, well, he no doubt will have the right side seat in hell next to Lucifer himself. Meanwhile, she gushes over the ear-tickling faux mercy of Francis.
It should be noted that Mary Ann has appeared on at least one of Voris' programs and has written for his website. However, she did have some words of criticism a year or so ago when he dared to come out and accuse the SSPX of being in schism, as can be see HERE. Voris's constant condemnation of Church hierarchy was never a problem for Mary Ann, but speaking against the SSPX was too much for Mary Ann to bear. But of course, Mary Ann feels completely justfied in condemning me for disagreeing with any of the Church hierarchy. 

My disagreements with Bishop Schneider and Cardinal Burke, of course, have to do with the critical and condemning ways in which these prelates refer to Pope Francis and the dangerous effect it can have on the laity. That is what drives Mary Ann crazy.  Like Michael Voris, Mary Ann calls out priests and bishops all the time on her blog, but she doesn't see her condemnation of me as any kind of double standard or hypocrisy.

And I must point out Mary Ann's last sentence regarding the "ear-tickling faux mercy of Pope Francis."  Seems to me that Mary Ann must feel the same way about all of the popes since Pope St. John XXIII, since they have all preached the same thing.  

Next from Mary Ann:
I tried to engage with her a bit to show the double standard she practices, but she is deaf to reason. Every now and then, she pops up in my com box to warn me how worried she is for the state of my soul. I don't post her comments any more. And I never link or comment on her blog. If I thought she would listen, I might, but the only voice she hears is her own.
Mary Ann does not seem to have a good memory.  It was always I who engaged her.  Despite my disagreements with her, I actually had a lot of respect for Mary Ann.  She is a mother of five and grandmother of many.  She has been married many years and worked in the pro life movement for many years.  She seems to have done a lot of good things in her life.  I was sincerely confused that someone could seem to be such a devout Catholic yet have such radical views against the hierarchy of the Church.  She finally got tired of me and basically banned me from her blog.  Now she writes posts against me and still won't let me say anything in my own defense.

For those who are interested, they can read the rest of Mary Ann's post on their own.  I won't bother to comment on it except that she makes the same old tired arguments that can found on most other catholic blogs.  She condemns my arguments with this statement:
People are falling away from the faith because they don't know Jesus, they don't love Him and they don't want to serve Him. We don't fix that problem by telling them adultery, fornication, and sodomy are no problemo, so go forth and, by the way, feel free to commit sacrilege against the Blessed Sacrament.
One last thought: holy fear is a good thing. If we won't do God's will out of love, the best motivation; fear of hell can at least prevent us from committing the sins that will lead us there. "Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." (Proverbs 9:10)
If Mary Ann had actually quoted from my post or gave a link so other people could read it, then all would know what a lie this statement is.  Nothing I wrote even comes close to suggesting this.  This is actually what I wrote:
The stereotypical answers given above - bad catechesis, bad liturgy, weak sermons, communion in the hand - none of these make any difference in the life of who who truly loves God. Are these things important? Absolutely they are. But obedience, learning the faith, devout participation at Mass are not the cause of conversion but the result of it. We are saved only through the Cross of Jesus Christ, which brings us to acknowledgement and repentance of our sin. Physical actions - no matter how outwardly reverent - and intellectual understanding of the faith - even if we can recite the Catechism and the Bible by memory - will not convert a single soul.

Acknowledgement and repentance of our sins and the loving, merciful and forgiving response of Our Lord is the only path to conversion.

Why do we have bad liturgy? Because the people do not recognize they are in the presence of their Creator and Savior. Why are they unaware of the reality of the Mass? Because they don't know they are sinners in need of a Savior. Why do people leave the Church? Because they don't know they NEED the Church.

Why do we have bad priests? Because they do not recognize their sinfulness and have no fear of God. They know their religion. They spent years in seminary learning their religion. But they don't know who they are!
That is a far cry from the "summary" given by Mary Ann.

I did send a comment to Mary Ann, which of course she didn't post.  Here is my unposted comment:
I know you are going to refuse to post my comment because you want to condemn me and not let anyone read my post in context. The theme of my post is what drives people to true faith? What is it that all saints have in common? My argument is recognition of our sinful selves and receiving the great mercy and forgiveness of Our Lord which is the only thing that can wash away our sins. That was the driving force in all the lives of the saints, and it must be what motivates us if we wish to join them. Why did Mary Magdalene love Jesus so much? Because she knew she was a sinner and then experienced the love and forgiveness of Jesus. Why did the Good Thief on the cross repent? Because he experienced the great love of Jesus Christ.

What is your motivation, Mary Anne? Why do you follow Jesus Christ? Or at least say that you follow him. It is hard to tell with your hateful posts such as this one. You condemn me in this post without letting anyone read what I actually wrote and then you refuse to let me defend myself. What are you afraid of?

I am old enough to know what I am talking about when I say many lived in fear in the Church and that is what drove them, not love of God. Now that the Church no longer rules by fear, people have walked away because they do not have love motivating them. Of course there were many good and wonderful religious and clerics all through Church history, but as I pointed out in my post, Ireland is a prime example of how cruel Church authority has been and the terrible consequences of that cruelty.

I will leave you to continue your posts condemning the Holy Father as a heretic. And thank you for putting me in such good company.
Mary Ann addressed my unposted comment with her own comment:
To the author of the column that inspired this post --
You are right. I will not post your comment and I will not send anyone to your blog. You do not engage in Socratic argument. [Huh?  What does that have to do with anything?]  You pontificate and dismiss and attack anyone who disagrees with you.
I tried to have rational discussions with you originally and learned it was pointless. In fact, it generally resulted in an ad hominem attacks. I will not make that mistake again.

There is nothing "hateful" in this post; it is simply a refutation of what I considered a slanderous attack on the Church of my youth and the wonderful clergy and religious who formed me in the faith.
I must address one last issue, which is actually from someone who commented on Mary Ann's post, and praised her for it.  That person is Terry Nelson of Abbey-Roads.   Although I often disagree with Terry, he is one catholic blogger who always seemed sane and truly searching for truth.  He and I have known each other through our blogs for several years now.  I often commented on his blog and he has been here as well.

However, he came out swinging against me on Mary Ann's blog.  He was the first to comment:
Good post. At first I wondered who you were writing about, then I figured it out.
I think her post is as divisive as by those she regards as her opponents. I think that's a huge mistake and a distraction, and only widens the chasm and deepens the division. It's an error to consider Cardinal Burke as a foe or an enemy. Personally I love cardinal Burke and the Pope. I believe things will work out - because the Holy Spirit guides the Church.
 . . .
I like what you have to say however - and totally agree with it:
Terry gave his own take on Mary Ann's posts with his own views, which basically mirrored hers, and she thanked him for it.  Terry liked his own comment so much he posted it on his blog [HERE] (Terry has since deleted this blog post) for others to comment.  Like Mary Ann, he refused to link to my post so that others could actually read what I had written.  However, to his credit, unlike Mary Ann, he did allow me to comment.

I really did not expect that from Terry.  I felt completely betrayed by him.  He knows me well enough that he should have the backbone to come to me directly if he has any problem with my posts.  And then to put his comment on his own blog without any link to my own was truly a slap in the face.  His argument is that he doesn't want to get involved in arguments between other people.  To quote his statement to me, " I wasn't linking to either of you because I'm not getting into your argument."   Well, Terry, once you commented you were involved.  You had taken sides in the "argument" and it was to support Mary Ann's skewed post. Playing the innocent just doesn't work in this case.

Sorry, catholic blogosphere, but God willing, I will continue to blog.  I will also gratefully continue to be a pariah in the catholic blogosphere.


  1. Please accept my apologies, I am sorry. I was out of place and it wasn't necessary for me to make my comment or to post about it on my blog. It won't happen again.

    1. Now, of course, you have gone too far In the other direction. Terry, you are free to have and express any opinion. I certainly do not have to tell you that you can disagree with me or anyone else. My problem was the hit and run tactics that were used. I felt like I was sucker punched by both Mary Ann and you. To totally misrepresent my words and then dismiss me without actually allowing me to give my side of the issues is just wrong.

      But this is what I have come to expect of the Internet in general and the Catholic blogosphere in particular.

    2. Terry, I cannot believe you took your blog post down. You obviously felt strongly when you posted it, Trust me. I will never again comment on your blog or mention you here. You have my word.

    3. Terry, this is something I have been meaning to come back to. When I subscribe to most bloggers (save rare exceptions for surveying the Latin Mass scene, including some of the most vile poisoners of the Church, the Radicals Misrepresening Traditonalists, herein RMTs) I purposely pick them based on their anti-RMT stance and behaviour in NOT acting like those poisoners. Having caught wind of this I've examined the evidence and made my call.

      MAK was superiors asinine and commit many an act of Satan in her calumny and slander, of which our Pope Francis has called acts of the Devil or his work. Being infallible I'm siding with the Pope. While your comment was not as vitriolic as her entire post, and you did have a valid point, you've clearly sided with a nasty RMT who isn't truly loving Christ as his Church.

      I also side with CIB on the Burke statement. Plain and simple, he is combatative, arrogant, and the final straw that showed his true colours is when he dis his Dubia of the 4 (5) cardinals and it says "we mean no harm" but is clearly a poor, disarming tactic to dissuade readers of their attack on the Pope. He is an absolutely poor example of Traditonalism, in that he is now a hypocrite, and in my opinion, one step away from falling off the barque of Peter into schism. While I still think Pope Francis is a Politician, I now have no sympathy left for ++Burke and hope he never becomes Pope. Not to mention Terry, didn't you once wrote about the poor example he was showing as a "Traditonalist?"

      My final take on this matter: Thankfulky the majority of your posts are "Gladtrad" as it were, and while I hope that over time, CIB sees your takedown of the post as reparation for your acts, you are on watch and if I see you ever become a co-conspirator (even via commentary) again with any Radical Traditonalist, I will stop following you as a blogger. NO to RMTs and elitist Catholicism!!!

    4. Julian, do you know who Dave Armstrong is? He uses the term "radical Catholic reactionary."

    5. Of course I do. Compared to the rest of the lot he's a bonifide and genuine article who doesn't go all bat crazy when social justice/politics becomes the sacred cow of others. He's also done this job full time, not riding on the coat tails of a professional organization and has been not only cited but constantly praised by other senior apologists such as Larl Keating of Catholic Answers, even to this day on Facebook. hopefully your question was genuine and not a leading/rhetorical one to set me and/or Dave Armstrong up for defamation or slander.

    6. Christopher Stuart doesn't play those games.

    7. Thanks for the clarification CIB. Sorry to say it, but like you I'm also a blog pariah and seeing what I have it's made me lose trust online and unsure anymore of who has honest intentions or is a troll/radical out there.

    8. Mr. Barkin, what do you have to say about Michael Voris? Do you think he is THAT much of a danger to the Christian faithful?

  2. Catholic in Brooklyn, do you have an opinion of Cardinal Gerhard Muller? How about Cardinal Robert Sarah?

    1. I am actually getting ready to do a post on Cardinal Sarah. You will see my answer in that post.

      I don't have an opinion on Cardinal Muller, except that I know most trads/conservatives hate him.

  3. Catholic in Brooklyn, you might want to check out Dave Armstrong's book "Reflections of Radical Catholic Reactionaries." It's only $2.99 via Kindle.

    1. I just downloaded a sample and it looks fascinating. Thank you so much! I will let you know how I like it after reading it.

  4. CIB, he deleted the comment. I can't make a judgement call to reject him unless I see what he wrote.

    1. Never mind. Saw his comment at the RMT's blog.


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