Father Martin: Will No One Rid Me of Those Meddlesome Catholics?
by Christopher A. Ferrara
September 19, 2017
The arrogant and annoyingly prissy Father James Martin, SJ, a relentless promoter of sexual deviancy within the Church, must have thought it was nothing but clear sailing ahead for his subversive agenda, it being assisted by high-ranking members of the hierarchy, such as the cardinals who have praised his efforts. Now, however, Martin is having a hissy fit as his many friends rush to his defense following the cancellation of his speech at the prestigious Theological College of Catholic University of America due to “increasing negative feedback from various social media sites…”
That is, the lay members of the Church militant, using the means of social communication precisely as Vatican II suggested — this being the vaunted “age of the laity” — have made their voices heard. And those voices speak as one: Martin is an enemy of the Faith who should be treated as such; he should be denied a forum by any institution that calls itself Catholic.
To quote the conciliar document Inter Mirifica:
“The laity, too, who have something to do with the use of these media, should endeavor to bear witness to Christ, first of all by carrying out their individual duties or office expertly and with an apostolic spirit, and, further, by being of direct help in the pastoral activity of the Church – to the best of their ability –through their technical, economic, cultural and artistic talents.”
That is exactly what faithful Catholics have done via the blogosphere and websites such as this one: bear witness to Christ against the heretical filth Martin promotes with a sickly smile.
But wait a minute, say Martin’s friends. We can’t allow this “age of the laity” thing to go too far. One of them — ironically a layman — has just demanded “obedience” to the hierarchy in defense of Martin, ominously calling for Martin’s lay Catholic opposition to be silenced. In an appalling piece published by the loony liberal La Croix, one Massimo Faggioli — whose name could be translated loosely as “full of beans” — harrumphs “Many people were shocked when Theological College in Washington recently cancelled a lecture by Fr James Martin SJ… because of ‘increasing negative feedback from various social media sites’ related to the priest’s newest book on the Church and gay Catholics…” Horror of horrors, Faggioli frets, “this was the third time that the Jesuit was disinvited from giving a previously arranged lecture.”
With dreary predictability, Faggioli deploys the liberal demagogue’s Big Bertha: hate! You’re a hater! In one sense this is true: faithful Catholics hate error against the Faith and oppose its dissemination under Catholic auspices. But Faggioli, like any demagogue, wants to reduce the issue to personalities. The Catholics who oppose Martin’s subversion of Church teaching are bad people at whom everyone must obediently boo and hiss — without, of course, any consideration of the merits of what they are saying.
Accordingly, Faggioli unleashes a torrent of empty pejoratives at Martin’s critics: “a campaign of hatred and personal attacks,” “vitriol,” “verbal violence to intimidate individual Catholics,” “a Catholic cyber-militia,” “cyber militants,” who are “part of the ‘age of anger’ from which the Catholic Church is not immune,” “fringe groups,” “theological extremism,” “the language of hatred and new channels of intimidation,” “virulent reaction,” “verbally violent propagandists.”
Not a single quotation is provided to support these characterizations of Father Martin’s Catholic opposition. Small wonder, for the criticisms levelled at this ecclesial subversive do nothing more than cite and defend the teaching of the Church, including that of John Paul II and Benedict XVI.
Ah, says Faggioli, therein lies the origin of this terrifying “Catholic cyber-militia”! As he explains, apparently in all seriousness, the lay opposition to Martin “is the result of more than thirty years of episcopal appointments under John Paul II and Benedict XVI, which recast the US episcopate in the image of the ‘cultural warrior.’ These small groups – active mostly in cyberspace, but also with an impact on the real life of the Church – have felt affirmed and encouraged by the kind of American Church politics shaped in the United States and enforced by the Vatican.”
But all of that has changed with the election of Pope Francis, Faggioli assures us. “Since then,” he writes, “the landscape of the institutional Church in the United States has slowly begun to change.” Slowly is putting it mildly. This pontificate is an earthquake that “threatens to topple the entire edifice of Catholic moral teaching,” to quote Professor Josef Siefert, a member of the dreaded “cyber-militia” who was punished for speaking the truth by removal from a philosophy chair in the very institute he helped found.
With the advent of Francis, the time has come to obey Rome and the bishops — meaning the bishops who are Martin’s defenders — by disregarding the teaching of Francis’ predecessors and siding with Father Martin. That, hilariously enough, is what Faggioli demands:
“There used to be only one doctrinal watchdog. It was in Rome. But local bishops and superiors of religious orders back then could sometimes stand up and defend their priest (as was the case of liberation theology).
“This system of institutional control over orthodoxy has now become more complicated…. Those who are calling the shots now are not the pope, the Roman Curia or the cardinals and bishops. Neither are they the religious orders, theologians or Catholic universities.
“Those who appear to be in charge on sensitive issues today are the verbally violent propagandists on Catholic social media…. This is yet another case of the hierarchy’s loss of control over the institutional Church in the last half a century. ... [W]e see the exercise of greater freedom by new Catholic movements, of which the Catholic cyber-militias are a particular subset.”
Enough of the “age of the laity”! It is time to bring down the iron fist of Rome on these meddlesome Catholics! Stoking the fears of his audience, Faggioli suggests that these uppity Catholics are part of the same “ethos” as “the neo-Nazi and white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia,” which clearly must be seen as ideologically linked to “this latest campaign against Fr James Martin.” Worse, these Catholics are — can you believe it? — liturgical traditionalists, who object to “the ‘reform of the liturgical reform,’” and “use extremist language of hatred in the defense of Catholic orthodoxy.” Again, not a single probative quotation is provided. But what need is there for evidence? We all know these are bad people.
Summing up this dire state of affairs, Faggioli laments that despite the best efforts of Francis to promote the “institutional Catholic Church that is trying to change,” it appears that we “now live in a ‘post-post-Vatican II Catholicism’” in which “the Catholic cyberspace has become the new magisterial police and this frightens the institutional Church. Catholic social media is the new Holy Office, but with little or none of the theological and cultural qualifications that the old Holy Office possessed.” This development, he opines, has created an “ecclesiology of Catholic social media that has completely bypassed, not only the way the Catholic Church has worked for centuries but also the way it is supposed to work today.”
This is not the way the Church is supposed to work! Lay people are not permitted to express their views in defense of the Church teaching that Francis is trying to change! They must be stopped, and Rome must stop them! There must be order in the Church!
Faggioli’s piece is at once ridiculous and encouraging. Ridiculous because it demands discipline to enforce indiscipline and the imposition of heterodoxy in the name of orthodoxy. But also encouraging, because if the influence of militant Catholic laity is as great as Faggioli thinks, we may be witnessing the very thing that brought about the end of the Arian crisis of the 4th century: the indispensable role of the lay faithful in preserving the Faith in eclipse. As Cardinal Newman famously observed of that time:
“[T]he body of the episcopate was unfaithful to its commission, while the body of the laity was faithful to its baptism… [A]t one time the Pope, at other times the patriarchal, metropolitan, and other great sees, at other times general councils, said what they should not have said, or did what obscured and compromised revealed truth; while, on the other hand, it was the Christian people who, under Providence, were the ecclesiastical strength of Athanasius, Hilary, Eusebius of Vercellæ, and other great solitary confessors, who would have failed without them.”
May Our Lady of Fatima intercede for us in defense of Her Church against the enemies who attack the Faith from within while the laity strive to defend it.