The Wisdom of Catholic Rigorous Vortex

The Wisdom of Catholic Rigorous Vortex August 22, 2020

Just what is the Catholic Rigorous Vortex?

The Rigorous Catholics often declare something sinful where there is no official teaching by the church that certain things are sinful. Examples are Harry Potter and that women who work outside the house and who also wear pants are committing a mortal sin. Despite the attention on non-sinful sins, some really good uplifting spiritual material is written and spoken by The Rigorous Catholics.

The Vortex Catholics deliver what they perceive as the hard-hitting truth. They believe lies and falsehoods are trapped and exposed by this truth. They are ultra-critical of Pope Francis (some catholic news outlets devoting most of their writing to it), The Bishops (especially Bishop Robert Barron) and any Catholic they deem unworthy (Fr. James Martin, Mark Shea, Bishop Dolan) just to name a few), and several developments in church practice and theology since Vatican 2 (especially how terrible the Novus Ordo mass is). Yet within the files of The Vortex Catholics there is some really positive content mixed in with all the negativity.

I lump both of them together as the

Catholic Rigorous Vortex (CRV)

Not all of the CRV are on the same level. Some are more critical and rigorous then others. Some come across as almost uncontroversial save for some statements that ruffle the feathers of other well-meaning non-CRV. Some devotees of certain CRV personalities will love all they say and think. Anyone (especially other Catholics) who criticize them (like I am) are modernist heretics. I honestly believe that some of the material they present may cause doubt in the faithful and the scrupulous catholic. Yet some things they speak of are beneficial and helpful to spiritual growth. A mixed bag of wheat and chaff.

To paraphrase Archbishop Chaput, the Catholic Rigorous Votex

“create(s) division, confusion, and conflict within the Church. Actions of that nature run contrary to Christian tradition. They are sincere, but also destructive.”

Bishop Robert Barron comments on what type of folks they can be.

“There are, to be blunt, a disconcerting number of such people on social media who are trading in hateful, divisive speech, often deeply at odds with the theology of the Church and who are, sadly, having a powerful impact on the people of God.”- –Social Media’s Power to Build and to Destroy

Another name for the Catholic Rigorous Vortex was coined by Dave Armstrong. This article explains about it..
Radical-Catholic-Reactionaries  (RCR)

Even if some of the Catholic Rigorous Vortex are hostile to the pope, Vatican 2, and people not of their tribe, they can still proclaim some truths about Christ and his Church that are worth listening to.

It is true that some of them are preaching Christ out of malice and rivalry; but there are many as well whose intentions are good; some are doing it out of love, knowing that I remain firm in my defense of the gospel. There are others who are proclaiming Christ out of jealousy, not in sincerity but meaning to add to the weight of my chains. But what does it matter? Only that in both ways, whether with false motives or true, Christ is proclaimed, and for that I am happy. Philippians – Chapter 1: 15-18

And so, I decided to find some of these well written articulations of the Catholicism that benefit people of all Catholic Faith Traditions from some of the most vocal voices in the Catholic Rigorous Vortex. These people sometimes show up in the FB news-feed of some of my Catholic friends, groups and pages with various commentary on something they said. Because I post something positive by the CRV does not mean I agree with or endorse everything they say or write.

It means that they are fellow brothers and sisters who are baptized in Christ and who we better learn how to get along with, or we will be in purgatory until we do. We may have to correct them on certain things, but let’s do it out of love. I’m not forgetting the troubling aspects of some of their writings; I’m just focusing on the good as there are plenty of others focusing on the bad.

Because I list someone in the CRV also does not mean I think everything they write is problematic or bad. Some people might be upset that I put people in such a camp to begin with. Some will not a find a problem with anything they write at all.  I do think their are some problems otherwise I wouldn’t have brought it up, but I also want people to not just think of them as problematic people.

I think the writings I have chosen show what they can and have done when they concentrate on sharing Catholic spiritual content instead of constant Catholic bashing of people they find deplorable for one reason or another.

The Wisdom of Catholic Rigorous Vortex

I start off with an author from Crisis Magazine.  He has been ruffling some feathers lately. But its good to remember he’s still a loving father even if you disagree with him on some of his more recent posts.

There was a moment at Appaloosa when the scales from my eyes truly fell. Those same Gothard Sisters were giving a workshop on Celtic dance. My daughters were in the circle, bare feet in the dirt, kicking up dust, holding hands with their partners, people of all ages dancing and watching.

And I thought this: The darkness cannot enter here. The darkness cannot find an opening here. All here is the good, the true and the beautiful. All here is light, light that cannot be overcome, light that will eventually and inevitably overcome the darkness that surrounds us. That is the good, the true and the beautiful.-
Austin Ruse, Okay, Now I Get the Good, the True and the Beautiful (September 9, 2016) Crisis Magazine

The former Catholic Answers host still makes some content worth looking at over at Coffin Nation.  He is such a likable and cool guy, seriously, I may disagree with the direction he has gone in recent years but he is still highly entertaining and his material can be very edifying.

Let’s face it. Catholicism is weird. This is true for ignorant outsiders and for dissenting insiders. Like the Hebrews of old, Catholics are a peculiar people, a people set apart (Deuteronomy 14:2; Psalm 4:3; 1 Peter 2:9).That a man who grew up in Nazareth is the God of the universe and that He founded a Church (after suffering torture and death and rising from the dead) and gave her sacraments and the gift of infallibility – is by definition, weird.

See, once you accept the weird label, things get easier and become clearer.

Here’s my question: are these supernatural realities any weirder than some of the natural ones discovered by modern physics? The natural world around us features plenty of weirdness. What would be much stranger is if the teachings of the Church God founded were less weird than the world He made.
-Patrick Coffin, Catholicism is Weird (May 24, 2017) National Catholic Register

Here is a guy that is all over the Traditional Catholic circuit including One Peter Five. 

Catholics, however, think and act differently about time. We find ourselves in the unfolding of the liturgy’s temporal and sanctoral cycle; we situate our lives upon a calendar that precedes and supersedes the civil calendar, and opens onto eternity.

The passage from life to death and death to life, a passage of which we never cease to be reminded by the cycle of seasons and the two off-rhythm calendars we live by, does not, fundamentally, leave the Christian melancholy.

He sees himself as a “work in progress,” even as is the entire cosmos, and the Church in those of her members who are living in time. Our reality is not all at once, like a “fact,” but a reality that God is shaping as He leads it towards Himself.
Peter Kwasniewski, At the End of One Year and the Start of Another: Stability within the Cycle Monday, December 31, 2018, New Liturgical Movement

Time Zone Globe - Free photo on Pixabay

One Peter Five Author, Former Co-host with Taylor Marshall

The 3:10 to Yuma argument. In a word, God’s existence is more or less required by

a) the beauty and

b) the coherence of this film’s commanding moral realism.

Both elements countervail upon the powerful forces of Modernist moral mediocrity burnished in most every other film I’ve ever seen. 3:10 to Yuma is moral realism at its very finest. In this Christian morality tale, even the term (“moral realism”) has its definition polished up and reinvigorated, after three or four centuries of ill—even opposite—popular usage.

Conceptually distinct from Kreeft’s aesthetic Bach argument and the standard moral argument for God, is a combination of the two: the argument expressing the natural beauty of morality.
Timothy Gordon, The “3:10 to Yuma” Proof of God Strange Notions

One of the most vocal voices in the Pro-life movement. A speaker at the National Republican Convention.

“My God is in the business of miracles. And my God does not want anyone to suffer in hell. He wants all of his children to come to him—yes, even those of us “monsters” that are in or have been in the abortion industry. Hate comes from hell. Mercy comes from Christ. When we have hate in our hearts, our spirits are damaged. Be careful with your words. Not only are you a living witness of Christ and his truth, but you could put your own soul at risk. “Any one who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him” (1 John 3:15). When we hate, we are no better than those who kill.”
Abby Johnson― The Walls Are Talking: Former Abortion Clinic Workers Tell Their Stories (2016) Ignatius Press


Dr. Marshall’s  older writing is still chock full of good Catholic theology with no conspiracy theories.

I love writing theology and philosophy, but my heart is in fiction. Our Lord, for the most part, did not give us bullet point lists of the systematic theology. Instead, He told fictional parables to illustrate profound theological principles. Stories are the most powerful theological medium, so long as they aren’t overly preachy or obvious.

The danger with “Catholic fiction” is that it feels overtly Catholic or preachy. Solid fiction always sneaks up on you.
-Dr. Taylor Marshall, Sword and Serpent: An Interview with Dr. Taylor Marshall (January 7, 2015) Catholic Exchange

The Editor of The Remnant

This will be the fourth Christmas since my father passed away. I suppose everyone misses deceased family members most this time of year; I know I do. My father loved Christmas! I sometimes wonder, in fact, what impact his larger-than-life celebrations of the birth of Christ had on the faith of his nine children, each of whom continues to practice the old Faith to this day.

He believed that, just as Advent— the “mini-Lent”—was to be kept well, with plenty of spiritual and corporal works of mercy, so too should Christmas be fêted with all the merrymaking and gusto a Catholic family can muster He knew that children are not born theologians who can grasp the intricacies of the great mysteries of Faith at an early age. The Faith needed to be lovingly spoon-fed to them, and so the childlike customs of Christmas were for him tailor-made to instill love for the Faith before children were old enough to even begin to understand it.
Michael J. Matt  Waiting for the Christ Child Daughters of Mary, Mother of Israel’s Hope Advent/Christmas Newsletter 2019

Benelux community celebrated Christmas time

National Director of Priests for Life

The Eucharist is a sacrament of faith. The Consecrated Host looks no different after the consecration than before. It looks, smells, feels, and tastes like bread Christians are used to looking beyond appearances. The baby in the manger does not look like God; nor for that matter does the man on the cross. Yet by faith we know He is no mere man.

The Bible does not have a particular glow setting it off from other books, nor does it levitate above the shelf. Yet by faith we know it is uniquely the Word of God. The Eucharist seems to be bread and wine, and yet by faith we say, “My Lord and My God!” as we kneel in adoration.
Fr.Frank Pavone, The Eucharist and our Pro-life Commitment (June 3, 2018) Catholic Online


I understand why so many like this priest.

“The only way to lead a truly free life is in virtue. Because in virtue, all of the lower faculties are subordinated and they don’t affect our judgment and therefore they don’t hack away at our freedom. True freedom consists in self-discipline, in interior self-control, . . . – Fr. Chad Rippenger

“Stop sinning. Because every time you sin, you wound yourself. Not only spiritually, but psychologically. Every single time you sin you’re messing up your psychological faculties so you just have to stop it.”
Fr. Chad Rippenger


You can respect someone who can admit their wrong.

Fr. Martin, I know you are aware of my work, as for years I’ve called out the pattern of ambiguity, confusion, and error that I believe you deliberately embrace relative to the Church’s teaching on homosexuality. I’ll never waver in challenging that pattern, now or in future. But I ask your forgiveness for those times I’ve written about your work in ways that you found personally wounding and for any lack of charity or respect I’ve shown you in past. Perhaps you and I could one day “reason together” about such things, as brothers in Christ. I’d gladly do so cordially and charitably in private. I pledge that in future I’ll assiduously avoid similar pitfalls.

Let us all work together to “write the good fight” with both truth and charity, and in a way that lets us finish the race knowing we’ve led others to the same glorious finish that is our deepest aspiration.
Deacon Jim Russell Writing the Good Fight (February 17, 2020 ) Crisis 

Editor-in-chief of

Even in Egypt, the Holy Family would have heard of the suffering ‘they’ had caused with Herod’s decree of killing all the children under two in the hunt to kill baby Jesus.

How then did Joseph and Mary in the midst of all these sufferings experience joy?

It is simple faith. They believed, with a faith with no doubt whatsoever, that God loved them. They knew the truth that God loved them more than any other ever could. A constant, faithful, ardent and true love which never fails and is more present in hardship than any other time. They relied on this love, they lived in this love, they lived for this love.
John-Henry Westen Christmas is actually about losing friends and family (Dec 24, 2013) Lifesite News

A unique priest indeed.

Also, and this is important for our equilibrium on the heaving deck of Peter’s storm tossed Barque, of all the possible universes God could have created, He created this one and not some other. He knew every one of us before the creation of the cosmos, and He called us from nothingness into existence in this particular universe at this particular time according to His unfathomable plan.

We have a role to play in God’s economy of salvation. We have to trust that we are exactly when and where God wants us to be. If we have been born into troubling times, then we are precisely where we are to play our role. We are in the right place and the right time. Trust in God’s divine providence. He knows what he is doing.

And I will remind you that we weren’t promised a bed of roses when we were baptized. We who are Christ’s disciples will all drink at least some drops of the chalice He drank on Calvary. It is our task to be faithful, brave and persevere.
-Fr. John Zuhlsdorf ASK FATHER: “I’m seriously considering adopting some form of sedevacantism” (January 7, 2019) Fr. Z’s Blog

For more voices in the Catholic Rigors Vortex you can read about Steve Skojec and One Peter Five in…

What Patheos and One  Peter Five have in Common.

I do believe that those of us who have been drawn to the majesty and solemnity of the ancient liturgy have a pearl of great price that should make us excited to be Catholic, and to share the goodness we’ve found with others. We should be happy at Mass, friendly to our fellow parishioners, welcoming to those who are new, and understanding to those who don’t yet see why we make so much effort to be a part of something so outside the norm.

Condemnations, judgments, specious arguments, and morose dispositions do no favors for our cause, or its future. We’ve got something great going on, and it’s about time we acted like it.
Steve Skojec They Will Know We Are Traddies by Our Love (October 4, 2010)

Some more 1P5 voices mixed with Patheos are found in A Taste of First Peter Five and Patheos Catholic


Where Peter there is, there is the Church – even if a given Peter does need assistance or even correction – it shouldn’t be going on in the secular press and certainly shouldn’t be going almost as sport among Catholics.

Pray for the Holy Father, instead of sniping at him OR distorting and using him.
– Michael Voris: It always comes back to the Pope (3/13/14) Church Militant

Church Militant’s Better Doppelganger


And just a few more voices to add to this post, which brings this up to 18 people, including CRV 2 most popular bishops…

In my view—and Benedict XVI has written very well about this—there can be no opposition between the Ordinary Form and the Extraordinary Form. I believe that it is important to keep alive the so-called Extraordinary Form of the Mass to maintain a stronger link with Tradition. I also celebrate many Holy Masses in the Ordinary Form, and it is not a problem for me, but I adhere strongly to the vision that Benedict XVI expressed in his Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum. I think that it is a very good thing for the Church to celebrate the Rite of the Mass in its two forms.

Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH CARDINAL RAYMOND BURKE (2) — Faith And Tradition (December 21, 2017)

When I received my First Holy Communion, there was a group of children, and the priest arranged everything in a very beautiful way. With a candle in hand, we went through the Communion rail to the high altar, to the highest step, and there we received Holy Communion from the high altar, kneeling, as the deacon kneels on the top step: there I received my First Holy Communion. It was so beautiful for me—and unforgettable.

My mother and the priest gave us a beautiful instruction. They said, “You will receive your Savior and God in this little Host. And He is living there.” And this I remember: “He is living. Be careful, He is living, and this is your Lord!” Since then, it has always been so for me: He is living there! I thought, when I received the Lord, He is living and He is entering into me. For me, the Host is so holy because there is my God, as both my mother and the priest had told me.
Bishop Athanasius Schneider -Christus Vincit: Christ’s Triumph Over the Darkness of the Age (2019)

Begging the reader’s pardon for being so personal, I begin with an odd confession, one that I hope will be fully justified sociologically and theologically in the lines that follow: I don’t identify as a white man.

No, I don’t mean that I identify as a black, brown, red, or yellow man, either; I mean I don’t think of myself as white. I think of myself first as a Catholic, a member of the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, and only secondarily — by way of ancestry, of blood and DNA — as a European (a genuine Euro-mutt: French, Spanish, and German, with a dash of Polish).

In light of my first identity, this latter is comparatively trivial. I emphasize comparatively because it is not utterly inconsequential. I love my parents, and my grandparents, and I rather like having their genetic matter as part of the material side of my hylomorphic composite. But what makes that ancestry trivial in comparison is that it comes from nature, whereas being Christ’s is a matter of super-nature. It is by supernatural adoption, not flesh and blood, that we are “born of God” (Cf. Jn. 1:13, 1 Jn. 3:9, 1 Jn. 4:7).
BROTHER ANDRÉ MARIE Racist Ideology and the Blood that Really Matters  December 11, 2019

“The Blessed Mother, bearer of the Logos Incarnate, had brought the logos to the warring, disillusioned, and defeated tribes of Mexico and had created out of this warring diversity one nation with a Messianic mission. Mexico was the “cosmic race.” Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared as a mestiza, the mixture of European and Native American races.

She was the cosmic symbol of the race mixing which the English had feared since the moment they had set foot on the soil of the New World. She was the symbol of Mexican identity. She was the symbol of Catholic race-mixing and the antithesis of England’s (and later) America’s and (still later) Germany’s short-lived ideology of racial superiority.”
E. Michael Jones, Ethnos Needs Logos: Why I Spent Three Days in Guadalajara Trying to Persuade David Duke to Become a Catholic (2015)

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4 responses to “The Wisdom of Catholic Rigorous Vortex”

  1. Wow, another excellent article on finding the good in others. The writing is great, but if nothing else, surely God must be pleased with this act of humility. May we always be able to find the good in our neighbors, even if we strongly disagree.

  2. I really enjoyed the article and the new term RVC. Only one suggestion. The word rigorous ought to be replaced with the word over-scrupulous. They ought to be called Over-scrupulous Vortex Catholics, as “rigorous” might” be considered as a traditionalist badge of honor.

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