What a Disciplined Church Looks Like

Orthodox Presbyterians left the PCUSA because practice did not match theology, especially when theology did not change but practice did. Turns out Pius X who opposed modernism was a model for Orthodox Presbyterians (sort of). Boniface explains:

Pius X was not content to simply speak the truth; he put his convictions into practice by taking positive action against Modernism. Pascendi decrees that Modernists be deposed from teaching positions. If they are clerics, their bishops are to place them in the most obscure of offices where they can cause little trouble. Their books are to be censured. The Oath Against Modernism is instituted. Anti-Modernists are promoted while it is made known that no Modernist has any future possibility of promotion (if only that had remained true!). SO vigorous was his assault that the Modernists and progressives complained about his heavy hand.

In short, Pius X never thought merely stating the truth was sufficient; he needed to use the power at his disposal to see it pushed through.

What could conservative bishops do, or have done, that they have not?

Vigorously punish heresy in their own dioceses. Keep strict watch on the activities of certain priests and suspend, dismiss or defrock those who clearly dissent from Church teaching.

Preach the truth boldly, including explicit condemnations of particular groups or ideologies, even condemning heterodox teachers or priests by name when necessary. Go beyond the typical non-offensive, wishy-washy bishop-speak.

Use the resources of a diocese to publish actual informative and instructional materials, not the sort of nonsense most dioceses put out.

Actually issue liturgical directives to promote tradition. The contemporary Church documents offer considerable leeway in how liturgy can be done; the upside of this is that the bishop is given the final call on all of these options. A bishop could easily say, “No guitars and drums at any diocesan Mass”, or mandate sacred chant, or compel every parish to offer at least a monthly Traditional Latin Mass. Novus Ordo Masses must at least incorporate Latin and be said ad orientam.

Dismiss lay persons or members of subversive religious orders from their diocesan committees.

Actually use the tool of excommunication against dissident theologians and dissenting Catholic politicians.

Use resources of the diocese for meaningful ( I stress meaningful) social activism. Example: One priest told me there used to be a scummy motel near his parish that was frequented by prostitutes. He raised some money, bought the motel, and had it torn down. What if the millions raised by our diocesan appeals were used for such uses?

Organize at the regional level and use their weight to push through appointments within the USCCB or elsewhere that were favorable to them while simultaneously using their influence to keep out liberal appointments.

Host guest-speakers friendly to tradition and forbid those who are not.

Forbid Catholic schools and hospitals from engaging in activities harmful to the Catholic faith and actually back up these directives with the appropriate force.

Fire all Catholic school teachers who are in immoral relationships.

Actually celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass and require all seminarians to know it and be comfortable with Latin.

Publicly censure books and films hostile or dangerous to the Catholic faith.

Mandate traditional arrangements in the architecture of sanctuaries and churches; stipulate that no parish has the right to undertake any renovations unless personally approved by him.

Promote priests who cooperate with this agenda and punish those who don’t.

In short, never, never miss an opportunity to promote tradition and actively punish and repress liberalism. Speak the truth boldly but also use the weight of the office to silence, retard, dismiss or dispirit the liberal opposition.

Conservative Protestants who object to contemporary Roman Catholicism are not applying an artificial or alien standard. Protestants who convert to Roman Catholicism were likely never clear about the dangers of modernism or what its chief characteristics were. Modernists didn’t change doctrine. They came along side the world and felt its pain. Real conservatives (Protestant and Roman Catholic) did more than shrug.

Meanwhile, Bryan and the Jasons have been awfully quiet in their call amidst papal visits and convening cardinals. The most recent items are from May and April 2015, and November 2014. Timeless.

One thought on “What a Disciplined Church Looks Like

  1. If NCR can, why not the Vatican?

    Various sites are reporting that Mark Shea has been fired from National Catholic Register. Go here to read the first site, Eponymous Flower, that I believe reported it. I have not yet seen anything from National Catholic Register, although Shea no longer appears among their bloggers.

    Last month Stephen Herreid at The Stream demonstrated why no Catholic publication, except for the National Catholic Reporter, should wish to continue to publish the writings of Mark Shea:

    Last month, blogger John Paul Shimek published a piece at the National Catholic Register in which he roundly insulted and dismissed conservative Catholics. The piece was removed* and replaced with a note telling readers the blog had bypassed editorial review and “did not reflect the Register’s editorial views.”

    I was glad the Register took Shimek’s piece down, but Shimek isn’t the only Register writer who seems to lack impulse control when it comes to insulting pro-lifers and conservative Catholics. This is perplexing precisely because the Register is one of the more reliably orthodox Catholic publications.

    Consider the views of Mark Shea and Simcha Fisher, two of the Register’s most prominent writers. Shea and Fisher are very active on Facebook and Twitter, where they share their work and interact publicly with their readers. All of the quotations below are taken either from their blogs on Catholic websites, or from their public social media feeds.


    Shea is hostile to conservatives, but especially to pro-lifers. Lately he has found a new way to insult them: lumping them in with the most unscrupulous supporters of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump:

    A man who will not answer the question of whether he paid for abortions for his sexual conquests. An adulterer with credible rape charges against him, including one from a thirteen year old girl. That is what the prolife movement now stands for and is committed to defend. [emphasis added]

    Of course there are countless godly men and women still working tirelessly within the GOP, and many of them are stern critics of Mr. Trump themselves. But Shea is no mere Trump critic. Consider what he writes about pro-life conservatives in general:

    “What the GOP — and above all conservative “prolife” Christians both Protestant and Catholics — still orgasmically [sic] support. They *love* torture! Love it! And they wonder why the prolife movement is dying in the US.”

    “And once again, we see the continuous message of American Movement Conservatism: Poor people are scum. Nothing is more important here than that poor people be punished. Nothing. *This* is one of the *real* core values of the right. And if the families they long to throw out of their jobs are thereby placed under intense pressure to abort their children by the poverty the “prolife” conservative *longs* to afflict them with, well too bad. Money, not unborn human life, is the *real* treasure.”

    “The popularity of Ted Cruz is Reason #92943792837 I call for the surgical removal of the parasite called American Conservatism that has attached itself like a lamprey to a large percentage of American Catholicism.”

    “Very rarely do I encounter conservative prolife Christians who actually believe that human life is sacred from conception to natural death. The overwhelming majority support unjust war, torture, maintenance of our gun violence regime, the death penalty (and fighting the Church to maintain even though it guarantees that innocents will be executed), xenophobia, apologetics for the nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (which the Church calls a “crime against man and God”), grinding the faces of the poor, denial of health care to the poor, and (as the popularity of Donald Trump illustrates) overt racism. The habit of “prolife” people is to battle the Church on some or all of these issues and to appeal to abortion as the rationale for doing so. “We should be focusing on abortion!” they say. But in reality, they spend all their time and energy fighting the Church, not focusing on abortion.” (Emphasis added)


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