The Left seems to win constantly. What would happen if…

At Radical Catholic there is a post about Newark’s Archbp. Myers’ recent letter to his priests about the fact that people in mortal sin shouldn’t receive Communion.

To what point have we finally arrived when a bishop has to send such a memo to his parish priests?  O tempora….

If you go over there, take note of the unhinged goofy musings of Prof. Reid at the Univ. of St. Thomas in my native place, the Twin Cities.  But I digress. Canonist Ed Peters takes Reid apart HERE.

Radical Catholic made a point worthy of discussion:

Perhaps one reason why the progressives always seem to have the upper hand is that the Hegelian dialectic is set up to grind conservative resistance into dust. If the only directional force being exerted is leftward, why be surprised at the continual leftward drift? So, what would happen if we changed things up by proposing something radically conservative – restorationist, even? For example, what would happen if a Cardinal or Bishop at the Synod started proposing that we require penitents to declare their mortal sins publicly before the entire congregation, kneel in the back during the Mass of the Catechumens, and then leave the Church before the start of the Mass of the Faithful? This was a common practice during the early medieval period, after all. If it was good enough for St. Theophilus, it’s good enough for us, right? Maybe then the Church’s present practice would reveal it’s true character: as merciful as possible without overtly condoning sin. Or, conversely, maybe the cilice would make a comeback….


One possible point of consideration is the fact that conservatives and trads seems constantly to be bickering among themselves, fighting over their tiny little wrinkle of ground.  Thus, divided we don’t band together to get done what needs doing.  Divided, we fall.  Instead, what would happen were we to put aside our small differences and work more collaboratively?

A storm is on the horizon and our efforts are not well focused.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. pro_amorem says:

    I am under the impression that with the development of the Sacrament of Penance (which should obviously be more frequented), the priest/bishop is not to give a penance that would reveal the penitent’s sins (i.e. a man comes and confesses murder; the priest can try to convince him to turn himself in, but the assigned penance can’t be ‘turn yourself in’). Am I misinformed here? Or would forcing the penitents to declare their sins publicly, kneel in the back during the Mass of the Catechumens(perhaps in this case the point can be argued that they’re not revealing particular sins but rather only that they are in a state of mortal sin), etc. be a violation of the seal?

  2. Cafea Fruor says:

    Of course, this would require that the faithful would actually know that their sins are mortal, or even that they’re sins at all. That in turn would require the clergy to speak with more clarity and authority instead of passing off swill under the misnomer of “homilies”, which happens all too often.

    You know, minor detail.

  3. gatormom says:

    The problem is that the left only needs to destroy and obviously destruction is just as easy as pie. To maintain something really takes an authority. In this case that authority is the Pope. The reason traditionalists are always bickering is because they are human. The left bicker just as much and they can destroy to their hearts content, all while bickering. This is why Jesus gave us a Pope. Do you think he imagined that we could all collaborate to maintain our Church and keep her safe from destruction? Collaboration, Ha! Not a chance. A single person is in charge or nobody is. That person is Pope Francis. And BTW, I’m sorry but St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI were the persons in charge before Pope Francis and I did NOT see any authority figure cracking down on abuses. I sometimes feel like the people out here commenting just woke up from a 50 year nap. We have had a serious problem in this Church because of Vatican II. I’ll be the jerk that says it, “I wish Vatican II never happened and that all those Bishops just stayed at home.” I wish the same about those Bishops at the Synod. I’d love to beam them all right back to a comfortable couch in their living room. Fini!

  4. acardnal says:

    “Or, conversely, maybe the cilice would make a comeback….”

    The cilice. How many religious, clergy and laity wear one anymore? How many even know of it? In the past, many saints and Popes wore them! Mercy. Tolerance. Calling evil good and good evil. That’s all we hear and read nowadays… not so much about mortification.

    Hard to find a cilice these days. So…put a pebble in your shoe.

  5. anilwang says:

    Back when I was away from the faith and looked into Anglicanism I noticed that the orthodox tended to be divided while the unorthodox were united.

    On further research, I realized that this was an inaccurate division. Many orthodox Anglicans tended to be just as “worldly” as the liberal Anglicans, it’s just that the “world” (i.e. regions) which they are a part of tends to be more or less orthodox. So in areas with a lot of Southern Baptists or Muslims, you tend to find a more traditional morality among Anglicans, whereas in secular/liberal parts of the US and Europe, you tend to find more liberal Anglicans. And if the region changed (e.g. due to Western Imperialism), so did the level of orthodoxy. So of course traditionalists would be divided. They were as divided as the regions they belong to. And of course liberals tended to be more united, they were “just like everyone else” and Hollywood culture is a common reference point and export to all parts of the world. The sad thing is that the liberals of one generation became the conservatives of the next, so you tended to see even more divisions of what orthodoxy means and what caused the problem.

    IMO, the solution isn’t to out Hegel the Hegelians, it’s just not to play by the world’s rules at all.

    We have our marching orders from Christ, and as imperfect as it is, we have a Catechism as a common reference point to ground our understanding as we recover what is lost. It’s inexcusable to be divided on this, even if you wish to also have the Catechism of Trent as another reference point. For instance, anyone who reads what the Catechism says about liturgy and compares it to what’s offered at a local parish should see continuity. If there isn’t, work needs to be done to encourage the pastor to get in line. Similarly, if the preaching and catechesis ignores part 3 of the Catechism, work needs to be done here.

  6. Macgawd says:

    The reason the Left seems to constantly win is because conservative-minded people have for generations been engrained with a fear of offending others. That, and the false notion that we mustn’t point out the errors of others, but instead be “tolerant” and seek “common ground” has created fertile ground on which Progressives and SJW’s feed. When a Progressive or SJW feigns offense at something and demands apology, invariably that apology is immediately weaponized and used against their enemies to further their nefarious agenda. Look how fast we have gone from the demand to be “tolerant” of homosexuals, to Princes of the Church teetering on the edge of demanding recognition of homosexual “marriages”? For the SJW, the willingness to compromise is a weakness to be exploited.

    The solution isn’t just to stop retreating, but to attack. We have to stop being afraid of offending. My parish has been blessed with not one, but three young priests who’s weekly homilies pull no punches. This, along with a return to orthodoxy has succeeded in driving off most of the “Spirit of Vatican II” crowd, and filled the church with young families eager for the Truth.

  7. boredoftheworld says:

    Father, as regards the conservatives and traditionalists fighting over their little bits of ground, my five children live on my little wrinkle of ground. I’m watching the Church lose my children to the culture and there’s precious little I can do about it anymore. They’ve reached the age where my opinions are the unrealistic spewings of a dottering old fool.

    Fifteen years ago I asked a priest what I should do when my children grew up to discover that the Church did not support me in what I taught them about the Church herself. He said I should release my fears to God with serene detachment. That was fifteen years ago and now my kids see a Church that is radically different that what they’ve been raised to believe in.

    The problem is that “conservative” answers are no answers at all. I wish that 15 years ago father had said, “FLEE! Their souls are at stake!” I would have moved us to St. Marys, Kansas and had a whole different set of problems to worry about. Parents don’t have time to work out a rapprochement between trad and con because the years fly by faster than you can imagine.

    I hadn’t realized I was quite this angry about the subject, please excuse the spittle.

  8. TNCath says:

    We do seem to be “reaping what we have sown.” “Conservatives and traditionalists” have allowed “the left” (for lack of better terms) to propagate their errors for too long. Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict were wonderful popes who accomplished much during their papacies, but one thing they did NOT do was directly and categorically address the moral, canonical, and liturgical abuses as strictly as they should have through their bishops, who are primarily to blame for the shape our Church is in today because the majority of “the faithful” have no clue about what being “the faithful” means anymore. So, now this lone archbishop comes along and rightly, but seemingly hopelessly, tries to enforce Church teachings, whilst the other 98% of his confreres are either trying to change Church teaching at the Synod or hiding out in their dioceses waiting to see what’s going to happen next so they can “prudently” and “pastorally” respond in a way that makes Rome happy while keeping their people from dropping bucks in the collection basket. The past few months I have become particularly bitter about Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation/abdication because, even if he had stayed in and let Archbishop Ganswein run the day-to-day duties of the papacy, we’d have been in a lot better shape than we are in now with this Synod nonsense and a Jesuitical pope who gives the impression that he isn’t sure what he wants from one day (or one hour) to the next. We are in big trouble as a Church, and I don’t see anything but bad news ahead until there’s a new pope willing to use his Petrine office to crack down on his bishops.

  9. mrshopey says:

    On the one hand, sins are made public via public sources eg Facebook, etc. They are even bragged upon. So you run the risk, for some generations, of liking to make their sin public. A man, like bragging, that he had x amount affairs, etc. Then you also run the risk of criminal charges if someone were to say they embezzled money, etc.
    We were not meant to know good and evil. We cannot handle evil, sin, very well and I always thought that the seal of the confessional, which would be gone if it were public, was the perfect place. I also thought the priest was in a way protected from the evil (provided he isn’t in the state of mortal sin and open to evil influences.).
    I think public confessions are good but only in some instances not for the common person.
    I also don’t want to know everyone’s sin UNLESS it is to say how God’s mercy is working. I liked the way saints accuse themselves but in a general way so your imagination is not provoked.
    My weak thoughts on it.

  10. Priam1184 says:

    First of all I am happy that Archbishop Myers sent that letter. It is a tiny step in the right direction that an American bishop is actually even bringing this subject up with his priests, considering that for my entire life no bishop anywhere, especially in Washington D.C., Boston, New York, Chicago, or San Francisco has wanted to touch that subject with a ten meter cattle prod.

    If you want to propose something radically Catholic Father then try this: OBEDIENCE. Obedience to the pope and to your bishop and to the magisterium, even and especially if you don’t happen to like the current pope, your current bishop, or some part of the magisterium. OBEDIENCE. The world has been stuck in this terrible maelstrom of rebellion and self destruction since 1789; obedience to the Will of God is what will save us, and nothing else.

  11. Bthompson says:

    I would not go as far as public declaration of sins.

    However, I would be ALL IN on the idea of dismissing everyone who will not be receiving Communion (infants and young children excluded for obvious practical reasons) after the Liturgy of the Word.

  12. majuscule says:

    Hard to find a cilice these days.

    How do we know what’s under that cassock?

  13. Southern Catholic says:

    Father is right, the “right” is not going to win because of the constant infighting. The “right” will also lose because they never control the narrative. The “left” is masters this strategy. Notice how all arguments go back to the child abuse or some other perceived crime that happened in the Church’s history.

  14. gatormom says:

    Maybe I am being dense but I was assuming that the author was being a bit facetious mentioning that we should have the catechumins announce their mortal sins. I thought his point was not only should we not make things worse in our Church but we should be fixing things that have gone horribly wrong. Like EVERYONE goes to communion and 3 people go to confession. Yup, 2 other people and I, in the entire Church, commit any sins AT ALL. If we could just get rid of me and those other two we’d probably have a little slice of Heaven right here on Earth. And yeah, I am trying to raise Catholic Catholics too and my son NEVER thinks that he has any sins to confess. Nope, he is perfect, no need for confession. I’d love to say this is immaturity but according to our Pope, who the heck am I to judge? Nothing is a mortal sin, everything is venial and we are just cleansed of our venial sins through Communion, so nice. And hey, if sodomy is not a mortal sin there ain’t any mortal sins. Please! I’m with you boredoftheworld. I sound like some one man cult crazy person trying to teach my children the basics of our Catholic faith. I don’t care if the Pope wants to commit every mortal sin ever known to man as long as he puts on his darned uniform and comes out to give a Mom some back up here. Do we have a Church here or what?! Please excuse my spittle as well.

  15. Imrahil says:

    Dear Bthompson,

    even such as find that there’s a weekday Mass and decide to hear it, just having had a cup of coffee before?

  16. TimG says:

    How about we start with clear and concise direction from top mgmt?

  17. Imrahil says:

    Dear gatormom,

    to go to Holy Communion without having Confessed before, you need not be free of all sin whatsoever. You merely need to be free of mortal sin from the time of the last Confession onwards. In a faithful Catholic of all the usual characters, the totally conscienceless excepted if they exist, who does not live in one of these irregular situations, that’s the normal state of affairs. (Note: I say normal, in both an ontological and a statistical sense, but that does not mean that mortal sin would not enter at all; alas, it usually does sometimes.)

    As for your son, maybe he needs to be told (in less technical terms than that) that venial sins are valid matter for Confession. Even if he has mortal sins… Having to see oneself as a mortal sinner is an awful thing; now I’d be all for enduring that – if our Lord had not provided an easier way. But He has: as long as the sin is Confessed and repented-of, by way of fear if need be, there is no particular need to inquire whether it was mortal.

    As a matter of fact, the so-called Confession-of-devotion (of venial sins) is painfully necessary for the occasional mortal sinner to hide behind. If your son thinks, as maybe he does from what you describe, that Confession is not for the venial sinners, of course he’d shy away from it.

    (In my case, what prompted me to do a Confession after long absence was the fact that you’d absolutely need it for an indulgence.)

  18. acardnal says:

    majuscule, I was referring to finding one to purchase; I hope some are wearing them underneath their cassock. Some celibate members of Opus Dei wear one sometimes. HERE It was reported that Pope St. John Paul II did, too, to speak of recent Popes and I think I read that Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, also. A number of spiritual directors I’m aware of don’t suggest using them any more.

  19. TimG says:

    As I ask for clear direction from the top, I see that our friends over at Rorate Caeli remind us that it has been in the plan for 2 years to devolve the leadership to the bishops for some time….this has the inevitable result of confusion and more shifting to the Left (presumably as far Left as they want to go!)

  20. Chuck3030 says:

    A pun in Dr. Peters’ post?
    “More than once—need I say it?—Church history has been sprinkled with the blood of Catholics martyred because they would not accept a ‘wedding’ that was plainly forbidden by the law of God. Is the price they paid in their day so unthinkable among us in ours?”

  21. gatormom says:

    Dear Imrahil,

    I really appreciate your response. I’m sure that it was very good but I don’t know what the Hell your talking about and that kinda goes to my point. When my Grandfather was a boy and the priest saw him out on the street, he said, “Hop in this car young man, you did not show up for confession.” That priest knew that my Grandfather needed to go to confession because he was a boy, duh. I think that Father Z says it as clearly as anyone could. GO TO CONFESSION. If you want people to stop judging others all you need do is hand them a really thorough examination of conscience; that is humbling.

  22. Benedict Joseph says:

    Once I read that Father Damien on Molokai was denied private confession for a number of years because the law prevented any non-leper from disembarking from ship to go to the island. As a result, St. Damien would row out and loudly proclaim his sins to the priest on the ship, and all would hear. Frightening in a certain respect, and entirely liberating in another. What humility. And we deny our secret faults even to ourselves, and our public faults we treat as some sort of victimhood, or a virtue and a badge of honor.

  23. TomG says:

    Benedict Joseph: You speak of course of *Saint* Damien of Molokai.

  24. TomG says:

    And after “a number of years” it is my understanding that St. Damien became a leper himself. Talk about the smell of the sheep.

  25. Imrahil says:

    Dear gatormom,

    thanks for the courtesies.

    “You have not shown up for confession” – so the others have, apparently. How many of those others, nowadays, have showed up for confession so that one single boy, by not doing so, gives enough of a problematic sign for a priest to fetch him personally?

    I notice, also that he didn’t say “you need”, but “you didn’t show up”; certainly Confession (in not altogether unsensibly short intervals) is always profitable, and, morally speaking, necessary, for boys and others, but that doesn’t mean there’s always been mortal sin.

    That said, there might be some reason why the – untrue, but perceived – feeling that “we don’t have to go to Confession anymore” was greeted as as much of a liberation. You can do too much of good.

    I might also wonder whether that was about Easter Confession, or some additional Confession.

  26. Bthompson says:

    Re: Imrahil

    That is a really good point I totally did not consider in my sweeping generalization (forgive my impulsive side).

    Okay, let’s amend my position to dismissing all those impeded in the External Forum from receiving Holy Communion (Non-Catholic Non-Orthodox, in a canon 915 situation, formally excommunicated, those not yet initiated).

    I am not sure how to phrase this in a single term (maybe “unable” rather than “impeded”): but those who have not fasted, those who have a physical ailment that would prevent Communion (e.g. a celiac where there is no low-gluten hosts or chalice offered), a member of an Orthodox Church who chooses not to receive for ecclesiastical reasons, people participating in a huge mass where there may not be enough hosts or time, etc. should stay and be encouraged to make a Spiritual Communion.

    Those who know themselves impeded for some reason known them themselves alone (I.e. know they are not in a state of grace) should depart at the hypothetical dismissal, but we could not force them.

    The big values I like about this proposal is that:
    1. I want to end the practice of having to bless droves of people at my masses (I know as celebrant I could forbid it, but getting obedience is another matter; plus I am not the pastor and so there are some practical issues), and thus eliminate the psychological feeling that it is somehow analogous or even “almost as good” as Communion.
    2. A dismissal would highlight that living in a state of sin or rebellion against God and His Church is not some sort of “ritual impurity” that one can tolerate in one’s life, but instead that such things in and of themselves truly alienate one from God and the Church. Just as Holy Communion is a foretaste of Heaven, being put out of the wedding feast might serve as a foretaste of perdition that could be used as a wakeup call.

  27. Mike says:

    A calm, mild-mannered, orthodox priest of my acquaintance astounded me in casual conversation a while ago with the information that Pope Paul VI wore a hair shirt.

  28. LarryW2LJ says:

    Huzzah, to Archbishop Myers!

    That article in The Record was a typical hit piece full of Progressive liberal emotional trash. Talk about a fainting couch! “The Catholic Church is going to fall to pieces if it adheres to Catholic doctrine – update at 11!”

    Tired of the histrionics. Really tired. We need more good men with spines.

    And speaking of what Popes JPII and Benedict could do or could not have done. Look at what happened with Summorum Pontificum – Papa Benedict came right out, in black and white, with what he wanted to happen. In most places, it was ignored (if not sneered at). It seems direct orders don’t work too well with this lot. All you can do is sow the seeds as JPII and Benmedict did for a new, younger crop of orthodox priests who will someday become stalwart bishops – replacing this crowd as they die out.

    Time is the healer of all wounds.

  29. Supertradmum says:

    Father, your point of trads fighting among themselves is a theme earlier this week on my blog. I am so fed up with trads fighting over what really in the long run is not there domain of argument.

    Recently, I heard trads state loud and clear that is it a mortal sin to attend a NO Mass, and that it is invalid. This same group, involving more than one family, also refuse to call John Paul II and John XXIII saints.

    Disobedience and pride is a sin of all men and women, not just liberals.

    To continually harp on minutae of liturgy also creates unnecessary dissession among trads, another problem heard recently. These critics are all much younger than myself, in their early 50s and late 40s, as well as a few in their late 30s. They insist on wanting ONLY the 1962 Mass and not other forms of the TLM, and if they cannot find a church which does not “do”the liturgy exactly to their own desires and ideas, they murmur and complain.

    Sigh… can we defeat the enemy with such infighting?

  30. MGL says:

    In politics, the left always wins because the left is, at base, a machine for seizing and retaining power. Political conservatives are often befuddled and outraged by the left’s habit of suddenly championing causes they had previously reviled, or reviling causes they had previously championed. They call this behavior hypocrisy but it is nothing of the sort, since the left’s highest principle is power simpliciter. They will say and do whatever it takes to win, regardless of the underlying principles at stake.

    By the same token, conservatives tend to be interested primarily in principles, with power as a secondary goal. (I speak here of ordinary “grassroots” conservatives rather than the venal and useless “conservative” political parties they are stuck with.) As a result, conservatives tend to regard the hows and whys of political action as overridingly important, and would rather lose than surrender their principles.

    We see much the same forces at work in ecclesial matters (but more so, since the underlying principles are so firmly established). Liberal catholics, for instance, have suddenly become fervent ulramontanists after decades of deriding papal authority, because they perceive (probably correctly) that they have the pope onside with their efforts to undermine Church teaching. If the next pope is firmly orthodox (may it please God) they will immediately switch back to their old ways. They will spare no means, however underhanded or dishonest, to achieve their goals.
    Orthodox Catholics, by contrast, are constrained to act in an open and honest fashion, because they actually believe in the eternal consequences of their actions.

    This also explains why both political conservatives and orthodox Catholics spend so much of their energy on internecine disputes: having a deep and abiding interest in principles, they are very much concerned with how those principles work themselves out into action. In the case of the synod, one group believes in working within the established structures to achieve their goals, even if the structures are weighted against them (most Synod Fathers are clearly within this group); others, noting that the structures are corrupt, advocate more radical measures such as a walkout.

  31. Moral_Hazard says:

    My father went to confession after a 30-40 year hiatus. It took the grace of God (foremost), the prospect of death, and years of nagging a cajoling on my part and it was amazing for him. There are lots of people out there who desperately need the sacrament and while I suspect Fr. Z’s public pennance / self-mortification comments are tongue-in-cheek, let’s not make it more difficult than necessary. What is necessary is steady preaching from our pastors and priests on the necessity of the sacrament for an authentic Catholic life. My parish’s priests continually advocate regular confession, something which (coupled with the grace of God) caused me to go after a 20 year hiatus.

  32. Mike says:

    Having had not much more than the average (criminally pathetic) level of post-V2 catechesis, I needed a jolt and some added coaxing to come back after a series of near approaches to what Mother Angelica, with wry accuracy, calls the “electric church” (every time you go, you get a shock). Even then, I was on kind of shaky ground, especially after a “progressive” Catholic would casually let fly some venom about, say, Pope Benedict or a traditional hymn or devotion.

    By means of such contretemps — and my own frequently bumptious rejoinders — I was and am provided an invaluable lesson: conversion of heart is a process, and must take place every day, every hour.

    That is what, I suspect, many of us are learning from our current situation. The still-small number of faithful who are shaking off the detritus of a half-century’s infernal silliness is increasing. Even better, the number of faithful reared in homes that have been cleansed of that silliness will increase too. But especially in the early stages of reaffirmation of faith, the pull of relativism and antinomianism will remain strong. It must be continually resisted through prayer, frequent examination of conscience, and frequent recourse to the Sacraments. At least in my case, that pull has diminished over time with the growth of my faith uncluttered by trendy bromides or outright lies.

    There is no comparison between our awkward conservatism and the Left. The Left, at its demonic core, is a destructive force that seeks to wreck the Church by any means, chiefly by denigrating objective Truth which it fears and hates. We stand no chance against it except to surrender totally to Our Lord Who is just and merciful and will not abandon those who seek Him in simplicity of heart. A bit of jostling among ourselves need not be fatal (God forbid!) to any soul so long as we maintain charity, humility, and abandonment to Providence.

  33. iPadre says:

    Yes, totally agree. It’s time for all the bickering to STOP! Like the back and forth over the SSPX. I could give a darn weather they are in schism or not, that is not for me to say. But we can all pray for this situation to become regularized. How about more priests making the step of going ad orientem. The problem is that most conservatives/ traditionalists have the fear factor. “What if I get in trouble for what I do?” If you believe something is right and true, “Just do it!” Yes, prepare people first, but we waste so much time doing nothing. Looking good. Rearranging the furniture as we sink.

  34. Tantum Ergo says:

    Getting back to the article, the “Hegelian dialectic” redounds to the result of the clash of liberal /vs orthodox religious practices. The synthesis of the clash results in a final product resembling an unhappy marriage of both proposals, each having been whittled down for the sake of the “greater good” of a final working model. Fr. Z’s proposal of confessions of penitents resembling town criers at Mass is a drastic proposal, but perhaps not drastic enough to right our Barque listing so hard to port. Our side needs a BIG jolt. Maybe the suggestion (with serious looks on our faces, of course) of bringing back the stake for heresy!? New Oxford Review’s gear shop sells barbecue aprons, bumper stickers, etc. emblazoned with “I’d Rather be Roasting Heretics.” Maybe we could rattle some cages and have a little fun at the same time!

  35. PA mom says:

    The whole concept of Trad is to reinstate things as they were. They immediately start to lose the arguments as it is always made clear that the things they want in a certain old way were once the “new way” making it nearly impossible to argue that a particular old way should be the only way, but not the other old ways.

    Conservatives ARE conservative. Trying not to impose themselves, or their preferences, on others. Embarrassed to be pushy, demanding, one track minded. Qualities which are helpful towards winning.

    How can these groups win more often? I think that we need to be willing to embarrass ourselves more, at carefully chosen moments (see, I have already probably lost because I don’t want to do it all the time?).

  36. Aquinas Gal says:

    The Left does not always win–maybe here, but certainly not in eternity. And ultimately that’s all that counts.

  37. Augustin57 says:

    I believe the terms “conservative” and “liberal” have no real place with regard to things of Christ or His Mystical Body, the Church. The Truth does not admit of conservative or liberal. Those terms were created around the time of the French Revolution and are political terms. The truth just “is.”

    That being said, I believe I understand what we mean when we refer to someone in the Church as “conservative” or “liberal.” It has to do with the truth. “Conservatives” believe that we have received the fullness of Divine Revelation from Christ, through the Apostles and their successors, the bishops. Conservatives do not claim the right to correct Christ.

    Those who claim to be “liberal” believe that truth is relative and everything is up for grabs, if we just demonstrated in the streets, protested, organized, etc., and forced those to whom Christ gave His authority to change His message. They march to the drumbeat of “the world” while not realizing that the world in which we live now is violently opposed to the values of Christ.

    Truth and real Freedom can never be separated. And the Church should never try to accommodate itself to the world, but the world should try to accommodate itself to the Church, because to do so will accommodate the world to Christ!

  38. mysticalrose says:

    Honestly, I do not believe that “we” can win this fight, unless “we” are Bishops/clergy. The left has won for the last 50 years, because the left has been in charge, if not of the papacy (at least considering JPII and BXVI — though John XXIII, Paul VI, and JPI certainly tended progressive), certainly of high posts in the curia and elsewhere. I know that we are all universally guilty because of the Fall and our own individual, actual sins, but I often wonder what precisely those of us born after VII did to deserve such a scourge.

    Also, I am broken up by boredwiththeworld’s comment: as a mother, this is my greatest fear. My husband and I can do everything we can to instill the true faith in our children, but what can we do when the Church herself rebels against this faith? It is hard not to despair.

  39. Kathleen10 says:

    Where are all these trads arguing? I never hear them. I’m surrounded by cultural liberals, and right now the only thing they would criticize you for is for your refusal to be a libertine, or if, far worse, you criticized someone else for being a libertine.
    If our Cardinals and Bishops/Priests, swung the pendulum to the right, might it balance out somewhere in the middle? Maybe.
    The only likely way for the church to right herself is for an the pope to assert church teaching and doctrine clearly, strongly, boldly, and then, the critical part…NOT BACK DOWN. They would be hit hard. We heard a young seminarian a few months ago do the unthinkable in our area, defend traditional marriage and mention homosexuality in an unfavorable light. People got up and walked out of the Holy Mass and there was apparently number thanks but also complaints. He apologized two weeks later, sucked all the hope out of our souls, and made us wish he had never opened his mouth. Better to say nothing than to give a weak defense and then shrivel up like a deflated balloon when you get blowback. What on earth happened to all the men that used to inhabit our planet? Are we all driven by polls, popular opinion, and the media? It has to be fear, the fear of the retribution that must come from higher up the food chain. The Bishops.
    So none of this can improve, IMHO, until we have a Holy Father who actually likes and appreciates the Gospel, unadulterated, straight up, and hard identity, and will defend, promote, and insist on it from all the diocese in the entire world, until the horn blows, the clouds open, and Jesus returns in all His glory. (That sounds wonderful. I’m so sick of what is going on. I hope it happens today!)

  40. jeff says:

    I have noticed that a lot of conservatives will, for eg, make fun of Michael Voris. (Ok maybe one or two jokes about his hair cut…) No I’m not saying he has to be your cup of tea, but he’s on our side! He’s fighting OUR fight. Unless you can do a better job than him KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT.

    In these times we can’t afford to be picky with whom we align ourselves with. The left got where they are today by making alliances of convenience. We CANNOT AFFORD NOT to do the same.

  41. ChesterFrank says:

    You don’t have to bring back the cilice, but bringing back the traditional confessional would be an improvement. In looking at your winning versus loosing question, I can observe the number of people at Mass that are younger than Vatican 2. Those younger than that council typically make up less than 2% of the total number of people at the Masses I attend. I don’t know if that indicates success for the liberals or for the traditionalists.

  42. excalibur says:

    It is the same in politics, which is why America has moved so far left since the 1960’s.

  43. lmgilbert says:

    acardnal, here you go:

    They have a fine line of cilices, hairshirts and disciplines, too. The perfect place to do your Christmas shopping for the penitentially inclined on your list.

    The fact that they are still in business after five years that I know of would seem to indicate that there is a lot more penance going on than one might have thought.

  44. Matt Robare says:

    “Thus, divided we don’t band together to get done what needs doing. Divided, we fall. Instead, what would happen were we to put aside our small differences and work more collaboratively?”

    I’m reminded of a different Burke, who said “When bad men combine, the good must associate, else they will fall one by one: an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.”

  45. pj_houston says:

    Over at Unam Sanctam Catholicam, Boniface wrote about this very subject of the failed conservative strategy, and why libruls are always winning:

  46. jjoy says:

    ChesterFrank: the people younger than V2 are all at the traditional Latin Mass.

  47. sjmeinhofer says:

    Another problem is that orthodox Catholics are assaulted by all sides. If you defend the celebration of Christmas, the “real Christians” will say it’s a pagan cult. The agnostics and atheists will say you are imposing your religion on them. Liberals will decry the feast as commercialized and materialistic. They take worthwhile arguments in extremis to corner Catholics to defend impossible scenarios. Plus think of their philosophy of history. For them Christianity died with Christ on the Cross. Fundamentalists think they rediscovered Pentecost after 1500 years of silence. The Left blames the Catholic Church for every crime of the past 2000 years. The best weapon is really clarifying history for them. Liberals are shamefully and woefully ignorant of history beyond Wikipedia and the black legends. Never, ever accept their historic claims. Shed any sense of false humility and be a bit triumphalist. After all, Christendom formed the nation states that the entire world turns to when it needs help. What did leftist atheists gift to the world? The concentration camp.

  48. tominrichmond says:

    I think a restoration of this ancient practice would be in line with the stated justification of many oddities in the new rite, i.e., “the early Church did it this way, we’re going back to the liturgical simplicity that existed before all the medieval excesses!” When I hear this excuse I often wonder if it means we can restore the Church’s ancient penitential disciplines!

  49. juventutemDC says:

    Juventutem DC can attest to having witnessed self-described conservatives and traditionalists argue over every pet peeve and personal preference. It is tiring and counter-productive. In fact, we have witnessed conservatives and traditionalists who enjoy being victimized–it gives them a romanticized big guy versus little guy struggle. (How are those who go to the EF, have the tools of the ancient tradition, the logic of Summorum, and the whole Communion of Saints on their side, the underdogs? Seems like the deck is stacked in our favor!) Anyway, it appears to vindicate their loneliness.

    We think that a robust implementation of Summorum Pontificum high and low, far and wide, is the answer. Expose more young adults and young priests to the logic of Summorum, whether it is on campuses, in parish young adults groups, or the like. Also, a drive to restore tradition should be founded in a realization that the EF belongs to the entire Church; it is not a treasure a select few, to be hidden away from others.

    Also when the liberals, whether it is the aging plainclothes nun who runs the parish liturgy committee or the bishop himself, tell you not to go to Mass or not to pray (which is essentially what they propose), one needs to have an articulate response ready. One should not cower, run away and then argue amongst other traditionalists about the proper ribbon width for an altar Missal.

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  50. Cosmos says:

    I think the reasons they bicker is because they don’t really think the stuff they disagree about is small potatoes.

  51. acardnal says:

    lmgilbert, thanks! Common sense should have told me to look for one in the U.K. ….home of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” Now if I can just find a medieval rack. . . . LOL!

  52. ofHippo says:

    The other side wants it more than we do- their unholy alliance is showing us up. We’ll fight over the opening of an envelope…….Let’s get this already people!

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