Wednesday, September 9, 2015


Before I post the very good article by Father Dwight Longnecker below on authentic Catholic dissent, I forgot to report about what was going on outside the Basilica Cathedral of Saint Augustine yesterday in the midst of their 450th anniversary.

There were fundamentalist Protestant Christians with signs directly in front of the Cathedral-Basilica telling us poor Roman Catholics that God will save us, not our sacraments, that Jesus is the one intercessor before God not his mother and that all we had to do was to accept Jesus Christ to be saved, we can't do it as Catholics though.

I found it sad that these Christians (probably Calvinists) felt compelled to hurl stones at the good Catholics of Saint Augustine on such a wonderful day. But alas, they have the right to do so and I am grateful to live in a country where free speech is allowed, unless, of course, one calls out fire in a crowded church. But it might be the preacher doing it as a means to scare the hell out of people, but I digress.

Here is Father Dwight Longnecker's fabulous article on authentic Catholic dissent and chiding Catholic fundamentalists in their crude antipathy towards Pope Francis:

Is "Conservative Dissent" Brewing Inside the Vatican?

Is Burke the Baddie?
Is Burke the Baddie?
This article from the Washington Post gives a typical progressive slant on Catholic news.
The headline suggests that “Conservative Dissent is Brewing Inside the Vatican.” Ho  hum.
You can guess the tired narrative: Pope Francis is the great reformer who wants to clean up the corrupt Vatican Bank, open communion to divorced and re-married people, lift the ban on artificial contraception, give the nod to abortion, make way for women priests and green light same sex marriage.
Except of course that he’s spoken out clearly against all those things.
Nevertheless, he’s a subtle worker don’t you know, and he’s moving things along slowly but surely. Here a clever liberal appointment and there a back room deal. Here a little wink and nudge to journalists and there a promotion of one of his liberal buddies and a demotion of one the bad guys. In other words, the Vatican is working just like Washington DC and any powerful organization–it’s a network of crafty cardinals, manipulative monsignors and corrupt curial officials.
Of course there will always be politicking in any organization and the Vatican is no exception. Furthermore, there will alway be disagreement and dissent within an organization.
Is there “dissent” amongst some conservative American Catholics? There is certainly some genuine ugliness rumbling in a few extreme traditionalist blogs, but must we take seriously flat earth bloggers who rant about the pope being a communist antiChrist, modernist, Jew loving, infiltrator who is ushering in the New World Order of Illuminati/Freemasons? Probbly not.
Are there grumbles amongst conservatives about the detail? Sure. Are there concerns that the church is drifting away from her true priorities? Sure. Are conservatives fighting for their viewpoint? Is there opposition? Sure.
That’s reality.
What is remarkable about the article, however, is where the writer identifies the “dissent”
He doesn’t actually find that many dissenters, so of course he names Cardinal Burke (that was easy) and a few other prelates. He mentions conservative websites and blogs and that’s about it.
What he misses completely is that these conservative voices are not the ones dissenting at all. If they were dissenting they would be protesting against Catholic teaching. They’re not. They’re simply upholding the faith once delivered to the saints.
Surely it’s Cardinal Kasper and the progressives who are being sneaky with the secret synod they held a few months ago to try to promote their progressive causes.

Brewing Inside the Vatican?

It’s the progressives who manipulated the procedures in the first round of the synod last Autumn. It was the progressives who tried to stop a book defending true church teaching from getting into the hands of synod participants. It’s the progressives who tried to marginalize the Africans (who are virtually all traditionalist in their views on the family) It was the progressives who suggested that the Africans weren’t worth listening to.
There is no conservative dissent in the Vatican. “Dissent” is rebellion against orthodox Catholic beliefs and against the status quo and the establishment. To suggest that the conservatives are “dissenting” is to assume that the progressives’ position is what Bruce Caitlyn Jenner calls “the new normal.”
The progressive position is not “the new normal” it’s the old abnormal. “Abnormal” is actually a good word for the dissenting position because the dissenter (which is another name for heretic) is always trying to promote a half  truth, and a half truth is more abnormal than either the truth in all its splendor or an outright lie.
In Catholic terms one who dissents from the fullness of Catholic truth is mixing lies with truth. They’re selling watered down wine, and that’s abnormal.
People should get it straight. Conservative Catholics aren’t dissenting from anything.
We’re loyal to the pope, loyal to the church and loyal to the faith once delivered to the saints.
It’s the progressives who dissent, and their dissent is indecent.


Calvin of Hippo said...

RE: Probably Calvinists. Nah, Presbyterians do not stoop to such tacky public behavior. It was probably evangelicals of some stripe, who essentially have no theology at all. Although, all protestant denominations (with the exception of Anglicans) owe some debt to Calvin, he cannot be blamed for their totally depraved behavior.

Lefebvrian said...

This article makes a good point that the ultramontanists among us would do well to internalize for the battles ahead: We must remain faithful to the Church's teaching. If the pope himself is not doing so, he is the one dissenting, not the faithful who point out his errors.

Unknown said...

Father, Calvinists believe people are damned or saved solely by God, thus they have no reason to tell other people to accept Jesus.

Calvin, even Anglicans owe part of their theology to J. Calvin (see articles 10 and 14 of the 39 Articles.) Part of the Elizabethan Religious Settlement's 'via media' was a middle-ground theology between Geneva and Wittenberg. I'd even go so far as to say Anglicanism is slightly more Reformed than Lutheran. Definitely, the late 16th and early 17th century Anglican writers had a more Reformed theology (but combined with a High Church liturgy--certainly more High Church than anything found in the Protestant world; Elizabeth I's personal preference came into play there)

Later, the Anglicans fell into Arminianism, which is, in my opinion, the most detestable heresy to ever exist.

(Note, I exclude the US Episcopal Church from the word 'Anglicanism'. I'm fairly certain the ECUSA holds to a sort of ritualistic nihilism.)

Calvin of Hippo said...

Flavius, you are correct, but few vestiges of Calvinism remain in the Episcopal or Anglican churches.

Anonymous said...

I don't see how anyone intellectually can embrace Fundamentalism. I mean, the idea that the Bible is the sole source of authority and Christian teaching---well, if that were the case, then why do we have thousands of denominations, each claiming the Bible is their sole source of faith though with many interpretations? And there was no Bible for hundreds of years in the early Church, which proves the Church preceded the Bible, not the other way around. Furthermore, the phrase "born again" is abused in fundamentalist Protestantism to mean repentance, even though (as the Eastern Orthodox point out) the Bible's use of the term connects it with baptism. Like John 3:5---"unless one is born of water and the spirit, one cannot enter the kingdom of God." As pointed out in the Orthodox Church, 455 Questions and Answers book (Stanley Harakas, 1980s), "When Protestants use the term 'born again' to mean repentance, they in effect make baptism of no significance. That is an abuse of the Biblical phrase." (I would think Catholic doctrine on that matter would be identical to the Orthodox.)

Father's encounter with these misled Christians (Fundamentalists) reminds us that "northern" Florida is "southern" (in culture) and "southern" Florida is northern!

Calvin of Hippo said...

You are correct, Anonymous..."born again" has long been misused by protestants to mean a "personal encounter with Jesus Christ..." subjectivity, in other words. Protestants view baptism as less important than this "encounter," which is often highly emotional and dramatic. Few protestant denominations view baptism as necessary for salvation, and those that do are often ambivalent about it. Protestants often use 1 Corinthians 1:17 as their reason for diminishing the importance of Baptism...there Paul, in the context of chastising the Corinthians for identifying their baptism as unique because performed by one or other of the apostles, says, "I came not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel." They have it right that belief and the hearing of the Word is primary, but obedience is the inescapable witness of belief.

Unknown said...

I don't think the CofE and ECUSA are even remotely related at this point. Just recently, the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church just barely defeated a motion to 'create a task force “to study and facilitate church-wide dialogue concerning the practice of inviting all persons, baptized and unbaptized, to receive Holy Communion.”'

Like I said, ritualistic nihilism.

Calvin of Hippo said...

Flavius, let the good times roll, baby!!

Anonymous said...

Pope Francis just overdosed on "mercy." But who am I to judge?


John Nolan said...


Fundamentalists were those Protestants who criticized modernist interpretations of Scripture which started appearing in the 1880s. They insisted on a number of 'fundamental' truths and were not obscurantist flat-earthers; many of them were biblical scholars of high repute.

Of course liberal modernists (as is their wont) believed that they and they alone were right and used the term 'fundamentalist' as an epithet to damn those who disagreed with them, and the pejorative connotation has stuck.

Have you noticed that nowadays in all walks of life (including religion) it is the liberals who are intolerant and the conservatives who are tolerant?