Matthew Walther beat Antonio Spadaro and Marcelo Figueroa To It

Walther took over Michael B. Dougherty’s space at The Week. Both are trad Roman Catholics but Michael tended to be less sectarian than Walther, who almost two months before Spadaro and Figueroa, authors of the article that condemned U.S. evangelicals and Roman Catholics together for an “ecumenism of hate,” wrote an article about VPOTUS Mike Pence. Walther gave his own reasons — pre-Vatican II inspired — for Roman Catholics not looking to Protestants for help:

Pence has renounced Catholicism. Why on Earth are Catholics asking him to stand for us?

My coreligionists who protest that it doesn’t matter because he is faithful to the right causes are missing the point. To the devout, the only cause that matters is that of Catholic truth, ancient and undefiled. Schism is a mortal sin, one that endangers his immortal soul. Pointing this out is not bigotry or crotchetiness on my part, much less zealotry, in which I am shamefully lacking. I have friends and relations who have left the Church, people I love dearly. I do not subject them to daily harangues about their persistence in schism. But I would also never dream of asking them to hold forth in a public forum on religious questions. Sorry, not sorry.

Pence grew up one of four brothers who served Mass at St. Columba in Columbus, Indiana. The Pence boys were so experienced at the altar that even as college students they would receive phone calls from the rectory inviting them to vest up during their summer vacations. It was while he was an undergraduate at Hanover College that he found himself seeking “a personal relationship with Jesus Christ” (which is admirable, though it should be noted that as far as personal relationships go, literally eating someone is a pretty high bar to clear). According to Father Clement T. Davis, Pence’s mother, Nancy, was despondent when her son left the Catholic Church and became an evangelical Christian.

Pence came of age during a period of crisis in the Church, the years of confusion and experimentation and indifferentism following the Second Vatican Council and the promulgation of the Novus Ordo Mass. Its fruits are everywhere in evidence: empty pews, a decline in vocations to the priesthood, the near-collapse of women’s religious life, people taking Communion every week who have not been to confession in decades, ostensibly catechized adult Catholics who do not realize that the Mass is a sacrifice at which the priest asks the archangel Michael to carry his offering to Christ’s altar in heaven rather than a tawdry historical re-enactment of the Last Supper with breaks for hand-holding and quaint little songs.

These trends are only now beginning to reverse themselves now at the hands of Catholics a generation or two younger than Pence. His story is one that could be told by any number of lapsed conservative Catholics in his age bracket (John Kasich, for example). That is why it was so strange hearing him at the prayer breakfast. He described himself with evident affection as “the son of two devout American Catholics” and noted how proud his mother would have been to see him on that stage. He joked about being “from a mid-sized Catholic family: only six children.” And he spoke almost wistfully of the role that “the hymns and liturgies of the Catholic faith” played in his youth. “I stand before you today as Michael Richard Christopher Pence,” he said, referring to his confirmation under the patronage of St. Christopher. Here my hair stood on end. Intentional or not, this sounded like a tacit acknowledgment of the fact that, despite his willful attempt at separation, he is still one of us.

Though we disagree about many things, I like Pence. He is my kind of politician, a charming, down-to-earth Midwesterner and a fundamentally decent man. Which is why I am praying that the vice president will repent and submit to the pope. I am worried about our vice president’s immortal soul.

Walther is a breath of fresh air among Roman Catholic apologists who rarely have the gumption to say that Protestants are in danger of eternal death. And he’s also refreshing for standing up for a view of Throne and Altar politics that puts the church squarely above the state. I suspect he would even like to bring back the Papal States.

But how you self-identify as such a traditionalist while also noticing that the magisterium steered the church at Vatican II in a different direction, one that makes evangelicals and Roman Catholics together possible, and one that allows Roman Catholics to look to Pence as “orthodox,” is mystifying.

At least Walther is clear that the stakes of pre-Vatican II Roman Catholicism closely aligned salvation and politics.

3 thoughts on “Matthew Walther beat Antonio Spadaro and Marcelo Figueroa To It

  1. I disagree. Why would I be in danger of Hell when I do as Jesus said to do? I work in deliverance, which Jesus said all Christians will do as a sign they are Christians. It was one third (or 2/3, if you include healing) of His ministry. He came to destroy the works of the evil one. I have no time for liberal Christianity because He doesn’t, just as He didn’t for liberal Judaism. I worship as Jesus did, and that’s a command, not wishful thinking of redneck central. When He said it is finished, it was meant for His followers. When He told Mary ALL women are as His mother and sisters, He did not put her up as an idol. Love her, yes, but not to pray to as that’s shameful to her: it is necromancy, to worship or call on the dead. As Jesus is, so I strive to be thru the Holy Spirit. He is love, therefore I must be, not bitter or depressed as so many I see. God is love. I pray His peace on you, bro.


  2. “Which is why I am praying that the vice president will repent and submit to the pope.”

    This sentence made me shudder. Rather than acknowledging that one should submit to God and His established political governing authorities, these RC insist that we have to submit to some earthly spiritual authority. Calling for repentance implies that Pence is doing something wrong by not submitting to the pope (who seems more concerned about placating pagan invaders and the fake news that is global warming than he is about the rampant sexual sins committed by his own priests!). Where in the Bible does it say we have to submit to one man that isn’t Jesus to run the Church? Obviously there is submission to elders/presbyters within your own congregation, but that is radically different. Walther seems to be looking for a political Christian kingdom with the pope as king. I recall that not working out too well in the past.


  3. Pence is now a Protestant Christian. As it is, no doubt the shenanigans the Kennedy Klan (and a great many other politicians) got away with, without any religious authority chastising them helped change him. No allegiance is owed any foreign power except by treaty. Americans bow down to no mortal king, only Christ as king. I can go to a priest/holy father fifty times to confess, but God can still (and will) say NO to forgiving me unless I repent and ask the Holy Spirit to guide me out. For that matter, Jesus said, Physician heal yourself. We’re supposed to take the lead in everything, with God as a guide, not mere men. People remain ignorant because nothing with meat on it is taught by liberal churches.


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