Friday, October 29, 2010

Sympathy with Liberals

I am a creature of the 60s, I've got a lot of sympathy with liberal Catholics, when the Lord God comes walking in the Garden in the cool of the evening fallen Man wants to hide in the shrubbery. When he appears on Sinai, it is terrifying. Always, always man wants to control God, to contain him, to make him smaller than he is.

The Incarnation itself leads immediately to the crucifixion. Man is afraid of the intimacy God demands by becoming Flesh and dwelling amongst us, and instinctively wants rid of him.

Catholicism pure and simple tells us of Divine Intimacy, it speaks of a God who binds himself to Man, who shows himself through the Church herself and through things, people and objects. Liberalism tries to break these bindings. The reality is terrifying; that God comes disguised as bread and wine, through a priest he himself forgives, takes sins away, shares his priesthood, binds couples in himself for life and literally, not figuratively, makes us by adoption what he is by nature, sons of God - truly terrifying!

How difficult is the idea that the Church is his bride, with the implication of becoming "one flesh", difficult too the idea of his Mystical Body, that intimacy! His words too are almost unbearable: "whoever listens to you listens to me", "I will be with you always, even to the end of time". Then there are those words about forgiveness of sins and worst, those to Peter about binding and loosing, not just on Earth but in Heaven itself!

Traditional Catholics say the speak with Divine Authority, they condemn opinions of others as not merely being incorrect but actually heretical. William Oddie blogs about Attacks build up on the ‘Taliban’ and the ‘McCarthyites’ of the Catholic blogosphere. He cites Michael Vorris on the Vortex,  which as a priest "with a pastoral side" and even liberal tendenies, I am not entirely at home with. I don't think it is about the Americanism of all, I think it is a lack of faith, a weakness on my part, a sense that I might be wrong, or maybe it is an unwillingness to really stand up for the faith, recognising that I am in a minority of one most of the time.


videomaker said...

Despite agreeing with some of what he says, I dislike the Voris videos. Setting aside the cheesy American presentation and dodgy hairpiece, there's an underlying question: by what authority does Voris presume to preach? "How... shall they preach, unless they are sent?" Unless I've missed it, his site gives no indication of canonical mission.

Cases of free-wheeling celebrity apologists in the United States (Sungenis, Matatics etc.) who've subsequently strayed into Geocentrism, anti-Semitism, sedevacantism etc. should give us pause. Voris' video on Catholic government (mirror; original removed) didn't do much to inspire confidence in his own judgement.

RJ said...

The essential point, I think, is submission to divinely conferred teaching authority (humanly difficult). By faith we submit to an authority beyond our own. This requires humility. If we don't have that, then we set ourselves up as a substitute or even as judges of the magisterium, and then we fall off the other end of the spectrum into soi-disant traditionalism, defending 'tradition' against the Church. (Liberals are not the only ones with an authority problem).
I suggest that truly traditional Catholics do not speak with divine authority (unless they have a teaching office); they recognise it and submit to it and, where appropriate, share what they have received.
I suppose, though, that sometimes we are the only voice that people will hear - in those circumstances, do we have some kind of authority?
ps The few times I have seen it, I found the Vortex a little simplistic, even if true.

Unknown said...

Until you have experienced the American Catholic Church where do you get the right to criticize? As a born in the UK Catholic living in North America I often wonder how there can be any honest criticism from a part of the Church that has Blair as a catholic convert and do nothing about homosexual masses in London. At least Voris and his lot are ably working for the Church against hypocrisy, cant and lack of catholic teaching by the Church Hierarchy. If you still live in the old Crystal Palace Building please do not throw stones

gurnygob said...

even if the truth is a minority of one it is still the truth

there is a new post up at

shane said...

I have never been a fan of Michael Vorris. I am actually very uncomfortable with the idea of (especially unqualified) lay people giving what effectively amounts to public lectures on the Church's Social Teaching. I was recently going through the (utterly fascinating) Irish government Report on Vocational Organization from 1943 and one of the things that struck me was how extremely qualified and knowledgeable everyone was in their field of expertise who gave evidence to the hearings (chaired by the Bishop of Galway, Michael Brown). Traditionalist Catholics today can come off as unduly arrogant and self-assured when you compare them to ordinary pre-conciliar Catholics.

Dilly said...

"a lack of faith, a weakness on my part"
is humility.

"Traditional Catholics say they speak with Divine Authority".

Some may - but most simply quote Canon Law, The Catechism, or the Pope, to counter appalling things being done in the name of "The Spirit of V2".

Most of us have a wooooooah point when listening to trenchant opinions.

I remember reading a book given to my uncle in school in the 1930s in which an irascible priest "goes off on one" about women getting jobs in factories where they are mixing with men...and making it impossible to get enough good quality servants. I can understand there being a reaction against this - but it goes too far when it reduces God, in the way you have said in the 1st paragraph

I'm not interested in a priest's politics, I'm interested in his priestliness.

Teresa said...

I am relieved to know I am not alone in my confusion. I am not entirely comfortable with the extremism of the liberals or the traditionalists. However I would like proper Catholic teaching in Catholic schools. (That's not too much to ask of Ooona Stannard and the CES is it?)

Jacobi said...

you raise profound issues which ultimately none of us understand, hence the need for Faith

Remember that the terms "Taliban" and so on tell us more about the user than the subjects.
It could be that these "Taliban" extremists are but mainstream - or, as I prefer it, orthodox Catholics?

The problem is that while turmoil and dissent has swept the Church during the last 45 years we "mainstreamers" have been encouraged to keep quiet and be nice - with disastrous results.

This now has to change.

The issue after all is about Truth which resides in the Holy Catholic Church and we should not forget that orthodox Catholics constitute the Church Militant with the duty to preserve and teach the Truth as revealed by Christ,the Apostles, Tradition and the Magisterium.

And don't be too disturbed by Tradionalists' preoccupation with heresy. It does threaten the Church today, (ref.Aidan Nichols), as it probably always has done and will do.

Mike Cliffson said...

I could join the "I'm not a fan of Voris " club too.It's the style.But go to telegraph blogs for campaign ads , usa, - read up, some candidates superb, some incubents vile, but the ads are the same, and then compare:
I'm glad Voris is doing it.The bishops could do it better. A few are.But they'd never use this particular audiovisual idiom -or would they?

pelerin said...

Mike Cliffson says 'It's the style' he dislikes of the Voris videos. Exactly - to us British the style is reminiscent of the American Protestant tele evangelists we saw occasionally on tv and who sometimes turned out to be very dodgy individuals indeed. And why flash up some of the words - it is all so forced.

I am not against dramatic presentation of the Faith - I do enjoy watching Archbishop Sheen on YouTube! - but the chap in the dodgy hairpiece is just too much! And as someone asks - what are his credentials?

PS I was surprised to see the word verification for this (which is usually random letters) was 'Messes' French for 'Masses'!)

johnf said...

This morning in my inbox there was an email from the Cardinal Newman Society reporting a certain Fr Charles Curran and a Fr Thomas Reese orchestrating a pre election assault on the Catholic Churches pro life efforts. Then we have the notorious Fr McBrien of Notre Dame who seems to be a latter day Martin Luther.

So I have got no problem with what Michael Voris is doing. Yes he is sometimes a bit cringy but he is not heterodox. His presentation skills are excellent. Sure, he's uncompromising, but where has pandering to the liberal elite got us in the last 40 years?

As a "brer rabbit Catholic - lying low and sayin' nuffin'", I rather admire him.

I agree with Mike.

Sadie Vacantist said...

Are people hostile to Voris because he is American?

The American blogs I have come across where anger is found have nothing to do with the Catholic Church. It is mainly the blogs of whites wanting their "country back".

The concern anti-American Europeans will have is if these white elements succeed in seeking representation in exchange for taxation. This could well happen if America descends into total economic chaos.

Where will that leave Europe? Americans are getting sick of fighting our wars and defending our borders only to be trash talked by Europeans.

Independent said...

johnf - Since when did Luther approve of abortion? or disbelieve in the Resurrection, the Atonement, the Incarnation, the Divinity of Christ? I would suspect you would have a lot more in common with Luther than with Hans Kung.

RJ said...

I don't think Michael Voris is completely unqualified: he has an STB, which I understand is a pontifical first degree in theology. That doesn't give him a licence to teach theology. I'm not sure what relationship Real Catholic tv has with any bishop or bishops.
Just reflecting on the role of the laity: we do need to be well informed so that we can give an account of our faith ('Always be ready to give an account of the hope that is in you' 1 Peter 3:15). I would have thought we also have a role in developing the understanding of the faith, so not entirely passive. There has to be some room for lay initiatives too -maybe even TV channels, as long as they are prepared to work with those in a position of legitimate authority.

johnf said...


Point taken.

Far worse than Luther who at least had the courage to go his own way. McBrien seems to more keen on destroying from within, all the while supported by a professorship at Notre Dame

Anonymous said...

Wisely Samuel was told to say, "Speak, Lord, your servant is listening" in obedience to His, "Who hears you, hears me."
It's not complicated. Thank you, Father, I enjoyed reading your "Sympathy with Liberals". The Faith that provoked, brought to fruition such wisdom is edifying. God keep you blessed always!

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