Debate: Am I a “Neo-Catholic” (Liberal / Progressive, Etc.)?

Debate: Am I a “Neo-Catholic” (Liberal / Progressive, Etc.)? June 11, 2014
Dave Armstrong: selfie (January 2013)


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This exchange occurred on Mr. X’s Facebook page (he was a Facebook friend till now), on 10 June 2014. I would classify X as a radical Catholic reactionary (basically, one who bashes popes, Vatican II, and the Novus Ordo Mass).  He is also a self-professed Feenyite. Michael McKinney is a “traditionalist.”I asked permission to post this because it was a “friends only” thread. I received no answer twice, so I am going ahead and posting it, because my beliefs are being publicly misrepresented.

Mr. X’s words will be in blue; Michael’s in green.

Three asterisks (***) denote a break in the text, because in such exchanges, sub-topics develop (and I try to keep them together). Thus, the next sentence may be a total break in subject matter. I indicate that with the asterisks.

Mr. X said that my naming him in a blog post would affect his job (even though he gives his name on Facebook).  The following exchange about that occurred on my Facebook page:

I think You are guilty of slander of me but hey it is your soul not mine. And if this makes me lose my job so be it huh? Just as long as you get your donations. Nice. Who am I that you would have to do this? Am I really the biggest problem in the Church ?

How does your job come into it?

Well you don’t know what I do for a living do you? 

If you say it affects your job, I will remove your name.

But you don’t care just as long as you make your money! [I make no money at all for a blog post]

I will remove your name. You keep up the personal insults. I actually try to exercise charity towards others.

Thank I would appreciate if you removed my name.

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The Neo-Catholics and their ilk never tire to speak of how evil trads are but not a word of criticism of a pope who celebrate mass with a pro-gay activist. This shows they have traded their Faith for an ideology.

Please define Neo-Catholic. Am I one?

Neo Catholic means a conservative catholic who converted from protestantism or converted from being a liberal catholic. They generally adhere to catholic teaching on divorce, birth control, abortion, and homosexuality. They want to see the Novus Ordo Mass done with reverence and obeying the rubrics (written directions in red on what only to do). They would like once in a while some latin parts sung in the mass like the Gloria and Sanctus. They are big on apologetics defending the catholic understanding of the Bible and the Holy Eucharist.


I don’t see how that is “new” or “neo”. Why the need to attach that prefix to it? And why would it have to be just a convert? Karl Keating and Patrick Madrid are often labeled in this way, but they ain’t converts.

Yes you are. Neo-Catholicism denotes the current of Catholicism that in the form of liturgical (Neo-Ordo), theological, philosophical, and ecclesial progressivism that would not have been viewed favorably by Rome before Vatican II.

Neo-Catholicism is analogous to neoconservatism in the political sphere as distinguished from paleoconservatism,

Catholic traditionalism, which can be likened to political. paleoconservatism. Neo-Catholicism, like neoconservatism in politics, is not simply traditional conservativism, but rather a combination of conservative and liberal elements representing a progressive tendency overall. They are not usually the cause of liberalism but enablers of the liberalism in the Church.

I don’t attach a negative to the term Neo-Catholic. I’m just more Traditionally minded. I didn’t call you a neo Catholic! [Mr. X] did, I just posted my understanding of the definition.

But you have helped [, Michael] clarify how his definition is incoherent.

Mr. X’s definition (going back to Gerry Matatics [who now doesn’t even attend Mass], who coined the term, and Ferrara, who popularized it in The Great Facade) is clearly negative:

. . . a combination of conservative and liberal elements representing a progressive tendency overall. They are not usually the cause of liberalism but enablers of the liberalism in the Church, . . .

This is wholesale lying about what I believe, and is serious calumny. I don’t have any progressive or liberal tendencies at all. You can’t prove that I have any. You have argued [in the past] that development of doctrine is “liberal”; yet Pope St. Pius X expressly defended Cardinal Newman’s orthodoxy. I had my conversion story highlighting Newman published in The Latin Mass magazine.


Was Fr. [John A.] Hardon [S. J.] a neo-Catholic?

I don’t know enough about him.

No, Father Hardon, who was also my mentor, was not neo Catholic.

I would guess Fr. Hardon would have been a Neo-Catholic because he was a Jesuit if I remember correctly. I don’t think it would be possible to be a Jesuit Trad.

He wrote the preface to my book, A Biblical Defense of Catholicism and said my writings were “very Catholic.” How, then, can I be a neo-Catholic?

Fr. Hardon was the catechist for Blessed Mother Teresa and her sisters. Are they neo-Catholics, too? 


Dave do you really want to get into the Newman thing? You usually run away angry.

I don’t get [emotionally] angry; I get disgusted at lies about folks like Newman. Huge difference . . .  

You did last time get angry.

I want to see someone actually rationally defend this neo-Catholic nonsense. Can I get permission to cross-post this exchange?  


I don’t agree.

Don’t agree with what? Why?  
You can’t name one thing I believe or teach that is liberal or against what the magisterium teaches. If you think you can, do it. If you can’t, retract the calumny and misrepresentation of what I believe.

Do I have your permission to cross-post this exchange? Have to ask cuz this is friends only.


I accept V II as a legitimate council, I just prefer to worship in the Trad liturgy. this labeling crap is a waste of time! You either accept Vatican II and the current Pope or you don’t.

You are simply a “traditionalist.” I have no problem with that. I’ve attended Latin Mass for 23 years. 

When you say Latin Mass is it the Novus Ordo or the Traditional Latin Mass?

Novus Ordo.

So you were imply you were a trad but you are not.

I have many affinities with “traditionalists.” I made no false implication. I said I attend Latin Mass, which is true. I take communion on the tongue at an altar rail. We have no EMHCs; no altar girls. It’s a very traditional parish. Our parish cluster offers the Tridentine Mass as well, which I have attended. We just had a new priest ordained. He did his first Mass in my parish building on Sunday (EF).


It’s Mr. X’s definition that is calumnious and incoherent, which is why he isn’t defending it, and I submit, cannot do so rationally.

You have never taken issue with the reforms after Vatican II to my knowledge. 

I have written much about liturgical abuses and liberalism in general: i.e., the pseudo-reforms of the so-called “spirit of the Council”: not it itself, which Pope Benedict XVI strongly supported.

The reforms were wrong not just the psuedo. 

You have attacked Trads on a regular basis 

I don’t attack “traditionalists”; I attack the false opinions of radical Catholic reactionaries.

. . . and now in a slightly underhanded way try to link Matatics, a Sede, to Ferrara, who is a Catholic in good standing. 

I simply noted the etymology of the term, Neo-Catholic. It is what it is. Ferrara, in his 2002 book, noted that Matatics coined the term, that he used throughout the book. It goes no further back in time than that. Since then it has become radical Catholic reactionary boilerplate.

I can’t change the fact of the origin of the term. It was begun by a guy who is no longer even a sedevacantist (he thinks all Masses whatever are invalid), and was picked up by the classical radical Catholic reactionary, Chris Ferrara.

Plus I don’t think Matatics coined the term. I think it came as a term from Anglicanism. [provides a link along these lines]

Ok I apologize. But the term was used in Anglicanism before Matatics used it.

Thank you.

Whether it was used in Anglicanism has no bearing on whether it is a legitimate Catholic term. It’s not. It has no pedigree. If you want to say someone is a theological liberal or modernist, simply say that. Those terms have a pedigree.


Your problem is that you want to lie about what I believe, but then, when asked to prove your assertions, you give us nothing. So it’s a lie based on nothing, and you can provide no substantiation for it. That’s mortal sin!

You cannot say I am in mortal sin, that is beyond your competence. You can say whether it is a serious matter. To be a lie one would have to have the intention to mislead. This is not my intention. I would have thought a well trained apologist would know this.  :-)

The well trained apologist does, of course, know this. I would have thought that two adult Catholics need not discuss the ABCs and that an educated Catholic like yourself knows it is objectively a mortal sin and breaking the Ten Commandments to bear false witness against a brother in Christ, in the Church.

I continue to await the hard evidence of your extraordinary charges against me.


I’m still waiting for your reply to my query:

You can’t name one thing I believe or teach that is liberal or against what the magisterium teaches. If you think you can, do it. If you can’t, retract the calumny and misrepresentation of what I believe.

Waiting for hard evidence that I supposedly believe all these liberal, progressive things; therefore deserve the title, neo-Catholic.


I attended the NO Latin at St. Michaels Abbey in Lake forrest, Very beautiful. I have been attending the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church for the celebration of Mass according to the “Missal promulgated by John XXIII in 1962″ at St Margaret’s of Scotland Oceanside. A slice of Heaven.

Wonderful, Michael! I have been an advocate of freedom to worship at the Tridentine Mass since I became a Catholic in 1990. My position was identical to Pope Benedict’s in 2007, 17 years before he made his proclamation.


This is gonna be a paper on my blog. I asked permission twice. You didn’t reply. I have asked you to prove your assertions against me several times. You refuse. Since you lie about me in this public venue, I have the right to defend myself on my blog.

No you do not have permission. :-)

LOL you call me a liar and I am going to hell and you want a explanation and apology LOL You are a trip dude a real trip…

I didn’t “call you a liar”; I said that you lied. A girl who engages in fornication once is not a slut (that’s an analogy, in case you missed it). I said nothing about hell. I said that lying and bearing false witness is objectively a mortal sin. I said nothing about an apology; I am asking for explanations, and you are persistently refusing. Yet I am a “real trip.”

Dude are smoking something? Yes to lie is to be a liar.
I have the right to defend my name against public calumny. 
You have 437 friends who could potentially read this, and more in the future if it stays up.

So? Don’t worry I am not that popular. But you on the other hand have on other occasions tried to humiliate me publicly. To the point that you had to take down the post. I am sorry, if I question your intentions of taking this thread. 

Exactly. I took down the post (s). That’s charity; that is trying to do the right thing by others, and now you mock me for it? Very good!

Now look at your behavior, by contrast: you make this claim about me: that I am compromised with modernism and an enabler of it. I ask you repeatedly to substantiate the claims, and you refuse. Then when I call that lying about me you bristle at that and go off into rabbit trails, including not grasping the elementary moral / ethical distinction between uttering one lie and being a habitual liar, as a character trait or vice.

Meanwhile the lie is still in play and you won’t grant me the courtesy of providing evidence for this supposed characteristic of mine.

Now you have descended to the level of mere personal insult.

I never made the claim you asked my opinion and I answered. You asked me my opinion and I answered. It is my opinion. I never attacked you personally but you have sought me out to attack me.

I asked if I was a Neo-Catholic, and for you to define it. After seeing your definition, I flatly, vigorously deny that I fit into any part of that definition whatsoever, and asked for proof that I do. I say it is a lie about my beliefs.

Ok fine but it isn’t a lie if I think it is true. Again you need to study more moral theology. It is my opinion.


[in a separate post on his Facebook page] Hey I am famous LOL I am the biggest problem in the Catholic Church. That PROFESSIONAL Apologists has to to write an attack article about me LOL

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