From a priest…
I have a bilingual parish and I refuse to accept the idea that the two communities must be separate. For that reason, I’ve tried to introduce the basics in Latin so we can have communal celebrations. The push back from the older Anglos is really interesting. Then it occurred to me that the post Vatican II crowd was engaged in the cancel culture long before 2020. They tried their best to cancel the longtime liturgical history of the Church and were quite successful at it.
My question is: What is the Church’s role in creating the cancel culture. I just offer that as a morsel for thought.
That is a really good question. Of course I must at the top introduce the usual caveats about how complicated things are, how many and varying factors could be in play, how fraught with blah blah bleg beh blup de blup blah blah.
The Catholic Church has for centuries been a titanic force for either stability or for change. A lot of times the force for change has been slow and carsic, fading into the background and reemerging. However, the Church has been more obvious as a force for stability in the face of massive movements of change. Over history there have been pretty sharp conflicts between the Church and “the world”. When the Church stood firm in the face of the world whims, there was a productive and fruitful exchange and inculturation that flowed both ways.
However, the Church by and large abandoned her resistance role. Modernism was on the rise and there was an overarching, overly optimistic view of man, which is why many of the documents of Vatican II seem to have an predominantly anthropocentric core. The seminaries and leadership in the Church were being systematically infiltrated by different groups who desired to instrumentalize the Church’s structure for their own ends (Communists, homosexuals, Masons).
We saw a tipping point the other day. The 60s were a tipping point. In these United States we had various forces at work that shaped the minds and world-views of the very Anglo seasoned-Catholics who are pushing back against your attempts to foster unity. What’s with that?
Liberals of a certain age were formed in those halcyon days of revolt against authority, the anti-war movement, a slurry of lies about the “spirit” of Vatican II sweeping through the Church. This cocktail of influences changed the chemistry of their brains, such that when they now hear a call for Latin, see a cassock, or catch a whiff of tradition, a circuit in their heads blows, the fog and static begin, and they rise against the priest who is just trying to bring some Catholicism in.
And consider the cultural impact that the wholesale abandonment by the Church of tradition – often with savage vituperation against those who resisted. “If Catholics can change their Mass and stop the fish on Friday thing…. then anything can change!” That was disorienting and, frankly, scandalous.
So, did the Church teach others how to engage in cancel culture?
It is more the case that experts in cancel culture infiltrated the Church and used the Church for their ends.
Cancel culture is the classic weapon of the Left. Note well the rise of what I call the New Red Guards in the Church today. Their tactics are nearly the same as those used during the Cultural Revolution. They are entirely without ethics or decency. They are relentless and focused.
I’m afraid that the primary impulse in leaders of the Church today is so deeply shaped by the Left – they don’t even realize it in many cases – that it is hardly a surprise that those same leaders engage in cancel culture themselves.
“Gotta stomp out tradition! No! NO! We have to form new committees! We have to have a pamphlet printed! We must craft a slogan! But… NO TRADITION!”
“Why? Look! It works where it is tried! For example, over here…”
“Shut up!”, they’ll explain.