This is the latest stuff I have found that has come about as a result of my interactions with a radical Catholic reactionary (RadCathR) (Part One / Part Two). One "Leo" commented on this person's blog under his latest paper, and I followed his profile to his blog, only to discover that he was railing against me over there. It's fascinating that he says some nice things about yours truly in the first person's combox, once one considers what he says about me on his own blog (see below). Leo's words will be in blue. My interspersed comments will be in black and bracketed.
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No doubt about it, Armstrong has some excellent apologetics works, probably some of the best on the web, but one finds occasionally that temptation of his to become judge, jury, and executioner when it comes to deciding theological and/or canonical censures and personal judgements in some of his works.
I think some of it lacks, a great deal, charity in some cases, especially in regard to those who disagree with him, most notably with Protestants, . . . But I think, more than logic, charity and good Christian example do more to convert them and prove their polemics wrong than anything else, . . .
(15 May 2008)
On his own blog he isn't nearly so moderate and sensible in tone. His post is called Ax Grinding and Novus Ordo "Apologists" (no date given, but it was posted around 10 May 2008, as shown by the current subject matter and the date of the two comments (later deleted)). Here we go!:
Novus ordos consider anyone who thinks the way Catholics did a hundred years ago as an apostate [maybe it's more profound than this?], . . .
[utterly false in my case, and I am one of these whom he calls a "Novus Ordo" or "NO"]
NO's don't generally take into consideration the fact that there is a crisis in the Church . . .
[utterly false in my case; to the contrary, I have always held, following my mentor Fr. John A. Hardon. S.J., that modernism is the greatest crisis in the history of the Church. Man, the generalizations are pretty bad, if they supposedly typify "NO's", cuz they don't typify me at all]
. . . and that perhaps there might be some merit in someone's criticism of the NO's inability to sense it, . . .
[obviously untrue in my case. The disagreement comes not as to whether there is a crisis, but on its origins and solutions to the mess]
strange for an ecumenical NO, how fast the warm and fuzzy feeling wears off when you start talking about Trads.
[I approach RadCathRism just as I do any other error, according to the Church: charitable, yet not mincing any words where falsehood is concerned. I'm an equal opportunity criticizer. They don't like to be told they are in error anymore than anyone else. This is part and parcel in apologetics: we become mighty unpopular when we defend one position over against another. You can't avoid stepping on some toes and raining on some folks' parades when you do that. For every truth there is an opposite falsehood. I wish it could be otherwise, but that ain't in the cards. So let the insults roll . . . Jesus said, "Woe to you, when all men speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets" -- Lk 6:26: RSV. We shall shortly see that Leo is almost infinitely more uncharitable towards myself and "NO's" than I have ever been toward RadCathRs]
Apparently, kissing the koran is perfectly Catholic to Mr. [Mark] Shea. We can go tell people not to convert, and we're not heretics or schismatics, but, if we do the opposite, then we are.
[Huh??!! I can't say that I follow this reasoning. I'm sure Mark has been made aware of hundreds of conversions that have partially come about due to his work, as have I. I've seen many people mention his books as influences on their journey. So this is a factual error, as well as plain silly. It is my life's work to bring about more conversions to the Catholic Church and to educate people as to our true teachings. Of all the things that an apologist could be criticized for, this has to be one of the wackiest I've seen. The only RadCathRs I call heretics or schismatics are those in SSPX (schismatics) and sedevacantists (schismatics and heretics) ]
Do these gentlemen, novus ordo apologists, seriously believe that there is no scandal coming from Rome? Do they seriously believe that there is no merit to any criticism of that scandal? Or any honest reaction to it? No, they do not.
[Yes . . . yes. One can quibble with some decisions and strategies, but "scandal"? No.]
Amongst them, one might note that they are the first ones to say that not everything is all black and white, but when it comes to traditionalism, it suddenly goes that way, either you're ok with V2 ecumenism or you are a schismatic.
[that's funny. I've never said that. This is why I specifically use the term quasi-schismatic. I don't call anyone a schismatic unless they formally cut ties to the Catholic Church. But there are plenty of warning signs before that happens, and that is what I critique, so as to warn people not to take that fatal step]
Oftentimes novus ordo critics don't really care to find out what people are actually saying, it's the motive to make some sort of cynical remark concerning someone or something, disregarding the facts, as liberals do. [link]
[Like I'm doing right now; quoting many of Leo's words . . . ]
The problem is that professed Catholics are not showing any charity to each other . . .
[Yes, I can see that . . . ]
Mr. Shea is treating his former colleague as if he had the plague, or were some enemy to be attacked, and where is there any apologetics to reach out to either him or those who believe like him? None... they're enemies, why would we ever try to understand them?
[Mark is not always as charitable as he could be; I agree. I have criticized him myself in this regard. But I don't see any particularly higher standard presently, in how Leo is treating those who disagree with him. You can't pull someone out of the mud, or be an example of "clean," when you're right down there in the mud, too, and slinging it around]
. . . dissent from Vatican II theology represents schism and dissidence, it is apostasy to reject it and schism to prefer the traditional theology to it, criticism of V2 theology is heresy.
[no; it's just plain wrongheaded, self-defeating, and foolish. And Pope Benedict XVI has explained why:
It must be stated that Vatican II is upheld by the same authority as Vatican I and the Council of Trent, namely, the Pope and the College of Bishops in communion with him, and that also with regard to its contents, Vatican II is in the strictest continuity with both previous councils and incorporates their texts word for word in decisive points . . .These and more are some of the threads running throughout novus ordo apologetics, and they are by no means friendly towards the eternal traditions of the Church.
Whoever accepts Vatican II, as it has clearly expressed and understood itself, at the same time accepts the whole binding tradition of the Catholic Church, particularly also the two previous councils . . . It is likewise impossible to decide in favor of Trent and Vatican I but against Vatican II. Whoever denies Vatican II denies the authority that upholds the other two councils and thereby detaches them from their foundation. And this applies to the so-called 'traditionalism,' also in its extreme forms. Every partisan choice destroys the whole (the very history of the Church) which can exist only as an indivisible unity.
To defend the true tradition of the Church today means to defend the Council. It is our fault if we have at times provided a pretext (to the 'right' and 'left' alike) to view Vatican II as a 'break' and an abandonment of the tradition. There is, instead, a continuity that allows neither a return to the past nor a flight forward, neither anachronistic longings nor unjustified impatience. We must remain faithful to the today of the Church, not the yesterday or tomorrow. And this today of the Church is the documents of Vatican II, without reservations that amputate them and without arbitrariness that distorts them . . .
I see no future for a position that, out of principle, stubbornly renounces Vatican II. In fact in itself it is an illogical position. The point of departure for this tendency is, in fact, the strictest fidelity to the teaching particularly of Pius IX and Pius X and, still more fundamentally, of Vatican I and its definition of papal primacy. But why only popes up to Pius XII and not beyond? Is perhaps obedience to the Holy See divisible according to years or according to the nearness of a teaching to one's own already-established convictions?
(The Ratzinger Report, San Francisco: Ignatius, 1985, 28-29, 31) ]
[Really? I guess that's why I spend all day, working for relative peanuts, defending them]
So, we're similar to Liberals!
[in some ways, yes; most notably, in picking and choosing what one wants to believe in Church teaching: the "cafeteria Catholic" mentality]
These guys are sooo far in outerspace, they think the moderate centre is "liberal"!
[I think traditional Catholic doctrine, as documented in Denzinger, Ott, Trent, VI, VII, and the Catechism, is the standard of orthodoxy]
We're Protestant, because we honestly recognize and criticize the neo-Protestantism of the Novus ordo.
[no; you have some resemblances to Protestantism; particularly in how you exercise private judgment, just as they do; but of course it is fine for you to call us advocates of "neo-Protestantism". We're not allowed to dare criticize you]
They're soooo nice to eastern schismatics and Protestants and all ecumenical with them, calling them separated brothers and all, but they quickly come out with the name-calling when it comes to a traditionalist, oh, we're schismatics, or apostates, or heretics because we believe like Rome did a century ago, I wonder who apostatized then?
[again, for the thousandth time: I have called no RadCathR any of these three names unless they formally espouse a heresy or enter into schism, according to canon law. Gerry Matatics is an example. He is no longer a Catholic; not because I say so, but because according to canon law he has excommunicated himself, and because he himself says he is no longer in communion with Rome, and says ridiculous, wacko stuff]
How hypocritical is this attitude amongst NO "apologists".
[only if we're caricatured and our positions poorly understood, as in your case]
Mr. Armstrong says we're "extremists", and calls Bob Sungenis, a moderate "moderate", an extremist traditionalist!
[I think he has extreme and untrue positions, yes. Challenged to show where he denied any Catholic doctrine, I showed last night how he ditches God's omniscience and immutability. That is heresy. But even so I didn't call him a heretic. He's a Catholic. I said (at the end of the paper) he seems to be confused and guilty of poor logic, and doesn't intend to deny what the logic of his position leads him to in fact deny]
Bob Sungenis will do backflips to defend the NO and also labels trads as "extremists", and Bob, good ole Bob, is an extremist himself! Armstrong is so dizzy he can't tell the right from the left if he thinks that we're similar to the liberals, or that Bob Sungenis is an extremist.
[a guy who thinks God can change His mind and who thinks the earth doesn't rotate sure is an extremist in those regards. And that is only the beginning of the man's errors]
Let's get this all straight here. A "liberal" is a leftist. A "traditionalist" is considered an extreme "rightist", but they're alike according to Armstrong... that's like saying a monarchist is similar to an anarchist!
[You know; it might help you in the future to at least have a rudimentary comprehension of the position you are attempting to critique. I'd love to hear you repeat my position back to me, or, better yet, defend my position in a debate, as debate club members are required to do. You appear to not have a clue as to what I believe]
I think Mr. Armstrong needs to stop and catch his bearings.
[I think you need to calm down, take a deep breath, and read my positions (twice or three times) before you make a fool of yourself again, as you are now doing]
. . . it seems that no matter which side you take, if you oppose V2, you're a non-Catholic.
[Right. Now, having stated this asinine conclusion, why don't you prove it for a change, with documentation from my writing? The only persons I've stated were no longer Catholics, are sedevacantists like Matatics and Mario Derksen, which is what canon law says]
Armstrong and Shea habitually condescend almost anyone who disagrees with them, be it a Catholic or a Protestant, that is when it's a Catholic anyways, they tend to be a little nicer with "separated brethren".
[More nonsense. I guess this is why the anti-Catholics absolutely despise me, and why ecumenical Protestants send me letters by the score telling me I am charitable towards them. It is all in the eye of the beholder, according to the position they hold. I get along fine with anyone who can talk reasonably about things]
They see traditionalism as some sort of non-Catholic religion and anyone who becomes a trad is an apostate.
[another lie. Note how this is a direct claim made about myself and Mark Shea. Leo can't prove this. I challenge him to do so in any case other than with sedevacantists (where I am firmly backed by canon law). I don't even say that a formal schismatic is necessarily a heretic or apostate]
This leaves us with several questions: if Traditional Catholicism of nowadays is apostasy, then what was Pius XII? An Apostate?
[since this is not my position in the first place, I have no dilemma to resolve]
What's the real Catholic religion then?, the new ecumenism of Vatican II, is it a new religion?
[no; it's consistently developed traditional and orthodox Catholicism]
Or was the Catholic Church wrong all this time?
[nope; Holy Mother Church is infallible and indefectible, and I vigorously defend her as such]
Does this signify to us that a new evangelism has been conceived, and the world is now being re-evangelized in this new gospel of Vatican II? Are these apologists, the new apologists of a new theology?
[nope; same gospel and theology as we received from the apostles . . . ]
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The comments offer more of the same. See, e.g., the first one. Then Leo wants to put in his $00.02 again, in his comment, dated 10 May 2008 (I cite the whole thing):
Thanks for the interest and comments, the sad fact is most people don't want the truth, it's simply too inconvenient. People don't add things up because they're afraid of what they might have to admit, or believe, it might be something they don't like or perhaps don't agree with, and so they refuse to put two and two together, they go on in their deceptions because it's what they want. As the scriptures tell us, the people have been given over to a reprobate mind because they have recieved not the love of truth.
The truth does not govern their lives, honesty and goodwill do not prevail, and that's why there is so much deception and and such little willingness to see beyond it, because the deception is convenient, it's comfortable. This is the case with Armstrong and Shea, they don't like the truth, and they capitalize on furthering deceptions, they make money from it, so they're actually in business to avoid or ridicule the crisis in the Church.
You know, I've been working on a piece about Vatican II and modernism, as the bulletin on the right says, and one of the main ecumenical themes was that "the Church must recognize her shortcomings and failures", which is totally bogus, the Church is pure and always will be, but Shea and Armstrong accept this spirit of V2, but they're not in the habit of admitting the failures and errors of Vatican II. I think for these men to be truly consistent and honest, they should adopt the theology they pretend loyalty to, and practice it. He can't say trads will go to hell because the theology of his church says we all go to heaven, JP2's universal incarnation theology and that response from Syracuse, NY diocese demonstrate that. It's bad will to impugne [sic] the truth, and that's what many do today, they won't have it.