Sometimes the road to God is long, hard and dark. You hope that God will turn on a light and miraculously illuminate your soul with liberating truth. That is the hope. But sometimes Jesus just turns on the Dark Knight of the Soul. Like St. Teresa of Avila we fall in the mud and yell at God, “If this is how you treat your friends, it’s a wonder you don’t have so many”. At times like this it is when Jesus carries us. Looking back we see one set of footprints in the sand. We need not only prayer, but a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on and no lecturing or empty platitudes. One such person right now undergoing a crisis of faith is the founder of One Peter Five , Steve Skojec. He explains it all in the Skojec File. I found this point in his essay rather interesting.
I have gradually come to realize that if the post-conciliar Church I grew up in isn’t really Catholicism, traditionalism isn’t either. Instead, it is an ideological mask more identifiably in the shape of true Catholicism. It is, in some respects, a long-running Live Action Roleplay — a LARP — in which participants act out what they think Catholicism looked like in “the good old days” while perpetually running down any kind of Catholicism (or Catholic who practices it) that isn’t traditionalism. But it is essentially an affectation; an attempt to reconstruct and live within a historical context that no longer exists. Traditional Catholicism does exist, in the sense that all history exists. The Traditional Catholic liturgy exists not just historically, but even now. But traditionalism, as a “movement,” as an ideological oxbow lake, is a novelty. It’s not a historical reality, because it is merely a reaction to a modern innovation.
Let me try to explain it another way: no matter how many old movies you have in your DVD collection or how often you watch them, you can’t go back to the time and cultural context that forged them. Any attempt in the present to make something like Casablanca or The Manchurian Candidate or [insert your favorite here] will essentially fall short. It will be a reproduction that apes the signature characteristics — dress, décor, modes of speech, vehicles, and so on — of another time. Similary, a Civil War re-enactor’s club may help keep the memory of that history alive, but it doesn’t make that history present. At the end of the day, the actors put away their muzzle loaders, change back into their normal clothes and drive home to their modern dwellings with electricity, indoor plumbing, and internet. Steve Skojec–Against Crippled Religion – The Skojec File (steveskojec.com)
I don’t regularly read SS, because I disagree wholeheartedly with much of what he writes about. BUT some of the things that I have read are very much worth reading, remembering and quoting and sharing. I don’t know if Steve will ever read this blog post, but I would remind Steve that he has written some really good spiritually uplifting stuff. Material that Catholics of all types I think would find well, good and interesting. So here is….
The Wisdom of Steve Skojec
I don’t want to argue with people on this website, but I can’t just let them keep being wrong, either.
Steve Skojec (Aug 18, 2019) Twitter
Steve Skojec Explains His Mission [4-13-16 in comments][replying to a young convert] “Receive the sacraments, frequent the confessional, pray the Rosary and the Auxilium Christianorum, revive little long-lost Catholic traditions, learn all you can.
“When I started this site, it was supposed to be about all of that. But then the gates of hell opened up and everyone talked about how nice that was, how pastoral, how merciful.
“There was a big sword lying on the ground and nobody was picking it up. So I shrugged, and I grabbed it.”
It’s been a while since the Church was viewed by the non-Catholic world as such a central force for good, and so worthy of protecting. But there is nothing to keep it from becoming such again. We need merely to remember our incredible story, and the story of our Savior, and tell it to the world through not just apologetics and essays, but art and music, architecture and film, liturgy and devotion. We have more tools at our disposal to be creators of culture than ever before, and the power of Catholicism lies not merely in the present, but in the past. It lies in the hands not simply of the Church militant, but the Church triumphant. Like any family, we draw strength not only from our works, but from our customs and traditions. We cannot flourish if we do not remain connected to our history.
Steve Skojec Our Unchangeable Faith: Catholicism as a Cultural Force (January 7, 2014) Catholic Vote
The gratuitous nature of goodness is the message of Santa Claus – that we are here through no merit of our own and live lives filled with breathtaking beauty and undeserved blessings. These things are true, even if there are no such things as flying reindeer to deliver them by sleigh, or a workshop full of elves somewhere above the arctic circle busily crafting them for our enjoyment. The truth is, there are better things even than these – nine choirs of flying angels bearing God’s gifts, and an eternal kingdom full of saints drawn from the lowliest places of the earth, praying for our salvation somewhere above the heavens.
Steve Skojec The Ethics of Jolly Old Elfland (November 30, 2018)
To a child, magic is not at all an outlandish thing. They live every day in a world of endless possibilities. Around any corner, there might be a fire-breathing dragon; under every bed or in the dark corners of any closet, a horrible lurking monster. The living room sofas and their scattered pillows are merely islands of safety amidst a sea of molten lava. Fairies are no doubt real if you stay up late and go out deep enough into the woods to catch one. Countless hours are spent discussing amongst themselves just which three things they’ll wish for when they finally come across an ancient, genie-filled lamp.
Steve Skojec The Ethics of Jolly Old Elfland (November 30, 2018)
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked up at the stars in the night sky and wondered, what if…
And really, I think that the larger reason why science fiction has endured for me as a lifelong passion is that it embodies the one thing that makes stories utterly compelling: the thrill, and often the fear, of the unknown. Not knowing what’s out there, how dangerous it is, how inevitable it is, is an utterly terrifying concept that is uniquely exciting.
It’s like standing outside in a particularly powerful storm and wondering just how much destructive power it will bring to bear.
Steve Skojec SciFi & The Thrill of the Unknown in Storytelling (Jul 24, 2019) steveskojec.com
The Church teaches that the four principle ends of Mass are adoration, thanksgiving, petition, and satisfaction, but there is an ancillary benefit to attending Mass. Seeing what happens at the Mass, reading the Gospel, listening to the homily, reciting the creed, witnessing the consecration, and comprehending the sacred dimension through which all these things transpire is fundamentally pedagogical. Almost everything you really need to know about being a Catholic and attaining eternal salvation can be obtained from regular Mass attendance.– Steve Skojec Bad Liturgy Is Not A Victimless Crime. Just Ask Jimmy Fallon. (February 22, 2014) CatholicVote
It is the cross which roots us in history, it is the cross which intersects the present and the past. The Tradition of the Church is not just the Incarnation, but the Passion, a redemptive sacrifice which is unchanging and yet made present anew with the dawning of each day. It infuses us, it grounds us, it propels us. And the world still needs its message: that “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
That man, no matter how fallen, can be redeemed.
Steve Skojec Our Unchangeable Faith: Catholicism as a Cultural Force (January 7, 2014) CatholicVote
Some of the most striking supernatural lessons are learned in the most ordinary ways. God infused things like the coffee bean, the grape, and the grain of wheat with a hidden nature that can only be experienced through something formulaic, even rigid. Whether roasting and brewing coffee, fermenting wine, or baking bread, man acts as a sort of priest over nature as he carefully oversees their transformation. Thus, if he is properly disposed, he will have an insight into the supernatural role of the ordained priest who consecrates bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Our Lord, thereby allowing us to experience and to adore His hidden nature.
God imbues a sacramental order into the things of this world to help us grasp these higher concepts. God infused the world with order and beauty and goodness, and the paradigmatic expression of these attributes in created things takes place every time a Mass is said inside a church. We know from our kitchens, tables, vineyards, bakeries, art studios, and writer’s desks that all truly good things are to be prepared with care. Once this is accomplished, they are then to be savored and protected and enjoyed.
It is therefore only fitting that we thank God both after meals and after Mass. Maybe even after coffee.
Steve Skojec: The Rubrics of Coffee (September 16, 2010) Crisis
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)
Of those who are willing to speak to the world through culture and the arts, it must be conceded that their message is often the last thing the world needs to hear. That’s why it’s so important for the faithful to once again inspire and create culture, not only in an explicitly religious sense, but through the wider lens of the Catholic worldview. This is the worldview that encompasses both sinners and saints, that professes belief in a God made Man who ate with tax collectors and prostitutes, and died on a cross. Catholicism encompasses the breadth of human experience, from the height of ecstasy to the darkness of death. We have something to say because our Faith does not find hope in the notion of sinless man, but in the recognition of fallen man redeemed.
Steve Skojec, The Well-Sheltered Catholic, May 5, 2012 Crisis
Last night, I complained (on social media; where else?) about how we published a fantastic, moving, uplifting story about an incredible saint — St. Marianne Cope — who took the awful lives of lepers and turned them into something full of beauty and wonder, but that it only had 27 shares.
Meanwhile, my snarky post about Cardinal Wuerl getting millions of dollars in retirement hit 500 shares right out of the gate.
Now, my complaining seemed to have done some good for once. The St. Marianne Cope piece now has over 220 shares and counting, whereas the Wuerl piece is stuck right where it was.
But it had me up last night thinking about all of this stuff. About the fact that since I started trying to do a lot more St. Marianne Cope-type pieces and fewer Wuerl-type pieces, traffic on this website has dropped faster than Gavin Newsome’s approval rating. Whereas in 2018, at the height of all the Vigano revelations, we were getting somewhere between 25-30K pageviews a day, lately, we’re at fewer than 10K. In fact, we haven’t broken the 10K barrier in the past 30 days. Not even once. There could be several reasons for this, but traffic metrics over time tend to be a semi-reliable indicator about whether the content you’re producing is what your audience wants to consume.
In theory, we want to know about the good stuff. The stuff that’s positive and motivating and helps us to live better, more virtuous lives. The stuff that helps us to be inspired to make changes in the right direction.
But the minute someone drops a nasty, negative, outrageous story in front of us, we swarm like flies.
–Steve Skojec, Negativity is a Drug, And We’re Hooked (March 5, 2021) OnePeterFive
But if Lucas’ theology is a jumbled mess, the Protestant Christian influences on his thinking remain at the core of his work — and those influences are ultimately derived from the Catholic Christian culture that gave rise to them. It’s a sad thing to contemplate when a work of fiction all-but-supplants something as spiritually and historically significant as Christendom. But it also presents an opportunity: if a universally-loved phenomenon exists that crosses cultural and ideological boundaries, and draws heavily upon the very themes of good and evil, nobility, chivalry, and virtue that were once a fundamental part of the Christian West, it may actually represent a starting point for evangelization. I know it sounds crazy, but where an atheist will argue passionately with me about belief and doctrine, he is far more likely to agree with me about Star Wars canon. He is comfortable within the confines of a made up system of belief and history in exactly the way he is not in a real one. But there are elements of truth in the stories, elements that can be developed and expounded upon. Steve Skojec, Star Wars: Catholic Ethos, Universal Appeal – OnePeterFive
To Read More about Steve Skojec and One Peter Five check out these other posts.
[In what’s bound to shake the Catholic blogosphere to its foundations, OnePeterFive founder and executive director Steve Skojec announced this morning he is moving his popular site to the Patheos Catholic Portal.
“After months of careful deliberation, I have accepted an offer extended by Sam Rocha, editor of Patheos Catholic, to have 1Peter5 hosted at the world’s largest religious website. I am excited about expanding 1P5’s reach. I look forward to joining his well-established team of talented writers. I’m humbled that my little ol’ blog is considered worthy to be published along side such luminaries as The Divine Wedgie, Jappers and Janglers, and Daffey Thoughts.
“I’m sure many of my readers will be surprised by this move,” he continued, “but they’re ultra-faithful followers, totally dedicated to my cause, and they will continue to read me. You will read 1Peter5.”-Catholic Conspiracy