More dreck at Fishwrap

fishwrapAt Fishwrap (aka the National Schismatic Reporter) there are a couple of dreadful reads.  Shocking, right?

First, Jesuit Thomas Reese wrote (at the horrid RNS), about how more conservative Catholics are now “cafeteria Catholics” because they disagree with Pope Francis.  But there are some problems with his argument.

More Catholic than the pope


Four cardinals (two of whom have recently gone to their eternal reward) criticized the pope publicly in 2016 by issuing what they called a “dubia,” asking the pope to clarify what they considered his straying from the true faith. [No.  They did not criticize the Pope.  They asked, rather humbly, for clarifications of what he really means to teach.] Last month, several dozen theologians accused the pope of spreading heresy.  [No. The Correctio Filialis does not accuse the Pope of spreading heresy.  It states that the Pope has caused confusion through negligence.  That’s not nothing, but it isn’t a direct accusation of here, as Reese falsely claimed.]


These criticisms of Pope Francis put progressive Catholics in an awkward position. Progressives are big fans of Francis, but it would be somewhat hypocritical of them to suddenly become papal absolutists when they clearly had disagreements with Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. On the other hand, conservatives who are now critical of Francis accused progressives of being “cafeteria Catholics” when they disagreed with John Paul or Benedict. [No.  When they disagree with the CHURCH’s teaching, such as on the issue of the ordination of women or contraception, etc.]

All I can say is, “Welcome to the cafeteria.”  [Um… no.  Some of us don’t want to be in the cafeteria at all and we refuse to enter.]

The truth is all Catholics are cafeteria Catholics. [No.  We don’t accept the premise.]  Conservative Catholics were quite willing to ignore John Paul’s and Benedict’s strong statements on justice and peace, [No.  That’s not the case.] and progressive Catholics are happy to ignore Francis’ opposition to women priests.

Disagreeing with the pope was not welcomed during the papacies of John Paul and Benedict. [Does he seriously think that FRANCIS welcomes disagreement?!?] Bishops, priests, theologians, and Catholic publications were expected to unreservedly cheer any statement that came out of Rome. [For those of you who don’t know, Reese was sacked as editor of Jesuit-run America because of its increasing heterodoxy.  He is still grinding his axe.] Priests were silenced, [that’s happening now] seminary professors were removed, and magazine editors were fired if they strayed from the party line. The open debate that occurred during the Second Vatican Council was closed down. [Pure fantasy.] Candidates for the episcopacy were chosen based on loyalty to Rome rather than on intelligence or pastoral abilities. [B as in B. S as in S.  How insulting.]


Enough of that.  All he is trying to do is justify liberal dissent.  We are unconvinced.

wile e coyote knife forkThen there’s the Wile E. Coyote of the catholic Left, Michael Sean Winters.  He has yet another of his customary loooooong rambles, this time about the context of the controversy provoked by Amoris laetitia, as if that hasn’t been rehearsed before.  However, in accord with the old Latin adage, in cauda venenumwhich is one of his usual tactics – the real point came at the very end:

‘Amoris Laetitia’ controversy predates the document itself

[… after some 800 words…]

The latest attack on Amoris Laetitia came in the form of a “filial correction” signed by several dozen professors and former professors, priests and others, most of whom had ties to the community of Catholics devoted to the traditional Latin Mass. [And THAT is his real point.] The document accused the pope of spreading heresies [See above.] and criticized him not only for Amoris Laetitia but also for the largely positive comments he made about Martin Luther on the anniversary of the Reformation.

Take a moment to absorb that last paragraph, and contemplate what Wile E. favors along side of what he attacks.

Moderation queue is ON.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. andyclarag says:

    Fathere Reese…spleen being vented..Not anything new in his hetereodox views. Ignore and pray on. Remember Mary’s Immaculate heart will triumph!

  2. Austin says:

    Pope Francis has been reported as saying, ‘I might go down in history for having split the Catholic church.’

    His followers appear to be embracing that option, enthusiastically trying to drive out traditionalists and conservatives, fomenting schism by claiming that they, the revisionists, alone are the true Catholics.

    Since this effort has every appearance of being coordinated, one wonders to what extent it is being encouraged by a faction in Rome.

    Those faithful to tradition must make the expulsion, if it comes, as difficult as possible. We must insist on every legal right and customary privilege, and keep on celebrating the liturgy and performing works of charity with renewed energy. We can out-last them.

  3. Tony Phillips says:

    Yes, Fr Reese was off the mark about the cafeteria. But look at the positives: he also wrote, ‘We need to understand that people have different viewpoints and that we can learn from one another by having dialogue.’ If the NCR editors move to that place, then there’s progress. After all, NCR is supposed to be a journalistic enterprise, not a personal blog, and they should adher to some journalistic standards.
    As for MSW, yes, he was wrong to characterise requests for clarification as ‘attacks’. But even his tone was tamer.
    My guess is that someone’s called a meeting in the (virtual) NCR staffroom to point out that crudity in articles results in crudity in the comboxes. [I doubt it.] Will it last? Wait and see.

  4. iamlucky13 says:

    “The truth is all Catholics are cafeteria Catholics. Conservative Catholics were quite willing to ignore John Paul’s and Benedict’s strong statements on justice and peace, [No. That’s not the case.] and progressive Catholics are happy to ignore Francis’ opposition to women priests.”

    I’m getting really sick of blanket accusations like this, regardless of where they come from and what the topic is. Dialogue is broken in modern society, perhaps especially so in the US.

    Although I’ve encountered a rare couple of them online, I don’t personally know any Catholics who have spoken against St. John Paul II’s and Pope Benedict’s statements on justice and peace, but I do know quite a few strongly devoted to giving of their time and earnings to help those in need and stop injustices.

    Among the Catholics I know who I would describe or suspect they would describe themselves as liberal or progressive, advocating for female ordination is also rare.

    Fr. Reese is contributing to the polarization of dialogue, not countering it. [Indeed.]

  5. lovethatpope says:

    So Winters is saying that because the idea of communion for the divorced and remarried has always been controversial, it’s not a genuine concern? What is he trying to say?

  6. jaykay says:

    Why do these people always seem to start their “arguments” with the erection of complete strawmen… Oops…strawpersons, which only serves to invalidate the rest? Such as it is, anyway. It’s like the wail of the spoiled brat who on being corrected, however mildly, screams: “oooh, you HAATE me”. The stamping of small, over-indulged, feet is what’s most characteristic of all this, at the least suspicion they won’t get their own way. Which they’ve been getting for the past 50+ years.

  7. JabbaPapa says:

    Fishwrap : On the other hand, conservatives who are now critical of Francis accused progressives of being “cafeteria Catholics” when they disagreed with John Paul or Benedict


    Café catholics are those who approach religion and the Church casually, attending Mass occasionally and only if it should happen to suit them and their more important social schedules, and who treat Church teaching like a smörgasbord breakfast menu that they can choose from according to their own tastes and preferences.

    To be a cafeteria catholic is to engage in both Modernism and Relativism, and to ignore all of one’s Church duties and most of Church teaching, all the while claiming to be a “catholic” regardless of how frequently they “personally disagree with” the Church over this or that trendy political issue making the headlines these days.

  8. Charles E Flynn says:

    People are regarded as “cafeteria” whatevers when they refuse to regard some of the food offerings as legitimate food. Nobody is accused of being a “cafeteria” whatever as a result of their refusal to explore the garbage.

  9. jflare says:

    “The open debate that occurred during the Second Vatican Council was closed down.”

    Well, that’s true enough in a backhanded way. In my lifetime, I don’t recall much open debate regarding the merits or demerits of newer “expressions” of Catholic faith. Certainly I grew up thinking that traditional Catholics were old, archaic, and rigid. Medieval and ignorant too. Ironically, precisely the “moderns” clarion call to live my faith ever more fully compelled me to pursue traditional Catholic ideas and identity. I could only “go with the Spirit” for so long before those “new” ways of celebrating Catholic faith became more and more contradictory amongst and betwixt themselves. Precisely the “moderns” intent to be “relevant” drove me away from them because they never seemed at all relevant to any actual living person.
    Modern ideas usually fail for me because they wind up treating me as a composite of moderately stereotyped traits. Not a man, but a caricature.
    We need Catholic faith, not culturally sensitive blather.

  10. Pingback: PopeWatch: Cafeteria Catholics – The American Catholic

  11. jaykay says:

    “The open debate that occurred during the Second Vatican Council was closed down. [Pure fantasy.]”

    You said it, Faddah. V2 was a totally stage- managed production – as was recognised by Wiltgen, himself a liberal, as far back as 1967 in “The Rhine flows into the Tiber”. Not to mention the work of the late, great, Michael Davies… and many others who have documented the rigidly authoritarian debacle that it truly was. Ask Cdl. Ottaviani about how “open debate” happened to him – an old, faithful servant literally humiliated. Truly, these people live in a fantasy universe. But a damn vicious one, fundamentally.

    I’d recommend a recent book by H.J. Sire: “Phoenix rising from the ashes”. It’s actually referenced in Peter Kwasniewski’s latest book, which is where I came across it and was encouraged to access it… Kindle version. Sobering reading, yet not without hope. And we all know where that hope is coming from.

  12. jaykay says:

    Umm… it’s actually “Phoenix from the ashes…” by H.J.A. Sire, published in 2015, so lots of… ah… “water” under the bridge since then, much of it again from the Rhine, so to speak. This is the “Z” link, to Amazon. I wouldn’t have known about it except for the reference, right up front, in fact, in Peter Kwasniewski’s new book. I do recommend it.

  13. Pingback: THVRSDAY CATHOLICA EDITION | Big Pulpit

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