Steve Skojec (words in blue below) is a radical Catholic reactionary, who runs the One Peter Five site. I call folks who believe (and act) like Steve radical Catholic reactionaries, precisely to draw a stark contrast with legitimate traditionalists: which name the reactionaries distort and dishonestly adopt for themselves. They are no more “traditional” (in the Catholic sense of orthodoxy and orthopraxis) than Martin Luther, Hans Kung, or the older Tertullian, who joined in with the Montanists.
Radical Catholic reactionaries think very much like theological liberals (modernists / so-called “progressives”) and Protestants. This is the key to understanding their essence. They pick and choose and select what they like in the Church (what is known as a “cafeteria Catholic”) and trash what they don’t like. It’s all arbitrary and pathetic. Liberals use “ambiguity” to pretend that the Church teaches their garbage. Reactionaries do precisely the same. The reactionary always calls himself a “traditionalist “(just as the racist always denies that he is one), but it doesn’t follow that they are that, and have not gone off the (theological / ecclesiological) deep end.
Recently, Skojec engaged in behavior so absolutely classic and demonstrative of the reactionary mentality and mindset, that I couldn’t resist documenting it. Concrete examples are always great teaching tools. Of course, like all reactionaries, he has been endlessly trashing Pope Francis, and anticipating that his Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, would be the End of the Church as We Know It. I defended it not just once, but twice.
Skojec wrote about Amoris Laetitia, in his Chicken Little response to it (4-8-16):
I’ve heard from another reader today who was summarily banned from the blog of a Catholic “apologist” [me!] for even suggesting — extremely respectfully — that Francis appears to condone adultery in the exhortation. (He does. Paragraph 298).
Of course, he absolutely gutted pastoral application and guidance on the doctrine on sin and marriage to the point that he made them both virtually unrecognizable. . . .
Catholic apologist and colleague Scott Eric Alt did a masterful take-down of this ludicrous outrage, in his article devoted solely to it.
Cardinal Raymond Burke has come out strongly in support of Amoris Laetitia. He is (or was) a great favorite of both the reactionaries and legitimate, mainstream traditionalists. Hence, Skojec wrote of him (on 4-11-16):
Faithful Catholics around the world love Cardinal Burke. And in truth, there is and has been much to love. He is a good and holy man who loves Our Lord and His Church. He has, for a very long time, been one of the few voices of doctrinal sanity in a hierarchy gone mostly off the rails. Our coverage of him in these pages [linked] has, for this reason, been universally positive.
When I learned of Burke’s statement, I predicted that Skojec and his comrades-in-arms would reject him on a dime, as soon as they heard. I wrote (4-11-16) on my friend Scott Eric Alt’s Facebook page, before having any knowledge whatever of Skojec’s actual reaction:
These [reactionary] clowns will turn on Burke just like they did with Pope Benedict: the absolute darling of both trad[itionalist]s and reactionaries, who could do no wrong (till he resigned). Mark my words. It’s inevitable: “The Wicked Novus Ordoists and Bergoglio are so nefarious and all-powerful that even good bishops are now caving. . . “
I know these guys like the back of my hand. 25 years’ experience refuting their errors . . .
With regard to Skojec’s own dissing of Pope Benedict XVI: on 4-8-16, he wrote in a comment on his site, that Pope Benedict “abandoned his post.” This echoes the sentiments of, for example, reactionary Michael Voris, who opined that the Pope Emeritus had exaggerated his illness in order to resign, which was an act of abandonment of his flock (I wrote about and documented that, too).
Back when Pope St. John Paul II was pope, the reactionaries were trashing him up and down. I know. I was there defending the pope, just as I do now with Francis. There is nothing like the perspective of history and experience. In his later years, he was regarded as virtually a senile loose cannon. Now (forgetting the avalanche of calumny that reactionaries sent John Paul the Great’s way), they cynically attempt to use him as an orthodox “good cop” against the supposedly heterodox “bad cop”: Pope Francis.
At 1:17 PM ET on 4-11-16, Skojec tweeted the following (see the screenshot) about Cardinal Burke’s article in National Catholic Register: “This is nothing less than a betrayal from one who should have offered hope. We have been thrown to the wolves.”
In his pathetic post, entitled, “Cardinal Burke’s Exhortation Response Leaves Faithful Wanting” (4-11-16), Skojec waxes ludicrously:
Perhaps most disturbingly, he accuses those who interpret the document as a “radical departure” from the Church’s teaching and practice on marriage and family as the ones guilty of scandal: . . .
For those of us who look to Cardinal Burke as a beacon of hope, this feels like a betrayal, a failure of courage when courage is needed most. My disappointment here can not be overstated. The time for playing clever games with subtle words is in the past.
It’s ridiculous when you think of it in the first place: Skojec and his ilk appear to have viewed Cardinal Burke as possessing more authority than the pope himself: as if his word has more weight. It’s the Holy Father we’re talking about. He is higher than any Cardinal in authority. But reactionaries always latch onto some bishop whom they think supports their view. Examples are legion: Ottaviani / Ratzinger / Lefebvre / Burke / Sarah.
Then they ditch them as soon as they correct some reactionary rotgut. So, Pope Benedict is increasingly in the doghouse with these fools, and now Cardinal Burke is in there with him. These guys are so predictable, as well as boorish, boring, and infantile. This is how I knew exactly how Skojec would react to Cardinal Burke (because I understand the reactionary mentality and thinking, having studied and refuted it for 25 years), called it, and within minutes I was a prophet, where he is concerned.
This is the game that reactionaries always play: each one is his own pope, just as Luther was when he began his rebellion. They are all their own popes. Makes [to be silly for a moment] for a very confusing figuring out what the pope(s) has (have) taught in his (their) latest document. Thus, when the real pope or a bishop they previously liked disagrees with them, they don’t have the slightest hesitation in dismissing and dissing them. It’s almost unimaginable to a devout Catholic mind: the idea of a Catholic immediately rejecting what popes and bishops say, with scarcely a moment’s reflection.
In this case, the Exhortation was rejected even before it came out. Reactionary site Rorate Caeli had an article trashing Pope Francis on literally his first day in office. It turns out to have been spearheaded (the main “source”) by a guy who is a Holocaust revisionist, as I wrote about in my book about Pope Francis.
You see, it has to “play out” exactly as reactionary fantasies dream it up; regardless of the actual reality of the document and the words and thoughts in it. It’s molded (like a wax nose) into whatever the reactionaries fantasize that it should be, according to the cynical, slanderous narrative that these clowns have painstakingly developed throughout the entire papacy of Pope Francis.
Reactionary Hilary White, of The Remnant, and formerly of Lifesite News, is (as an interesting sidenote) considerably more sophisticated than Skojec. She already knew that ol’ Burke wasn’t what he was cracked up to be. So she’s not crying in her beer today like Skojec is; not awash in sea-change disenchantment and falsely perceived Judas-like betrayal. Here is some of her amazing commentary, in her piece, “Burke throws his biggest fans under the bus” (4-11-16):
Burke has never been the great white hope everyone imagines him to be. It was mostly a case of the Catholic conservatives believing the secular press when they called him a “hardliner” and all that. We were desperate for it to be true, but I think they mostly did it because they didn’t have Ratzinger around to call nasty names anymore. The “liberal” paradigm requires a villain, no matter how ridiculous it is in real life.
I am acquainted with Cardinal Burke, at least a little, and honestly folks, he’s a good guy but a company man to the core. . . . he’s not the Guy. He never was. The really hard truth is, there isn’t one. The clericalist impulse in modern churchmen is just too strong. No one is coming to save us.
I realize it’s a hard habit to give up, but we really, really have to stop looking for a superhero to rescue us. We hate the idea that we’re it. We’re the ones stuck with the task of calling it like it is.
That’s odd. Way back on 9 February 2015 (a mere 14 months ago), in an article for Lifesite News, White was almost fawning, wide-eyed, over Cardinal Burke, with gratuitous descriptions such as “one of the leading voices for orthodoxy in the Church” and “Many have looked to Burke for guidance in an increasingly confusing situation” and “one of the leading defenders of the traditional Catholic teaching.” How the mighty have fallen, huh?
Alas, by 24 October 2015 (Remnant article) White had seen the light (she must have undergone yet another of the many vaunted reactionary “conversions”), stating that “the novusordoist ‘good guys’ aren’t ever going to save the Church” and “This or that bishop, whom we had thought was on ‘our’ side turns out, shock! to be really a closeted liberal” and “that goes for every single bishop (and every wannabe) you can name who is supposed to be one of the ‘good guys‘” and “It is Vaticantwoism –including the Novus Ordo Missae — that has to be jettisoned before any correction can be made” and (the clincher):
Until now, we have all fallen into the habit of thinking of the episcopate as falling into two camps, and for what it’s worth, this has more or less been a useful model while examining the Novusordoist regime. The confusion comes in when we realise that this distinction fails to include the fact that they are all in the wrong camp together, and that being in that camp definitively precludes them from being any use at all in fighting the fight we are all in. They will continue to reject the only solution possible: restoration.
I have said it for many years now: Novusordoism. Is. Not. Catholicism.
Trads know this.
Now the rest of the world does too.
Christopher Ferrara from The Remnant was still a true believer in Burke on 12 January 2015, when he wrote (apparently still believing that a stray Catholic here or there could be found in “Novusordoism”):
The good Cardinal is one of the few prelates in the Western church who is publicly defending the truths of the Faith against Francis’s thematic denunciation of “rigid” Catholics . . . he declines to get with the party line of Chairman Bergoglio . . .
As of yet, The Remnant has not weighed in on Cdl. Burke’s betrayal, but almost certainly it will not express agreement and pleasure.
Regarding a related tidbit, Scott Eric Alt stated on my Facebook page: “According to Skojec, I have no readers.” That’s what [reactionary Chris] Ferrara [of The Remnant] said about me, too, when I critiqued his trashing of Pope Francis’ Laudato Si. This shows the reactionary mentality very clearly. They actually think it is supremely important and some kind of “proof” of validity, how many readers one has. But the fact is, I have had plenty of readers: literally many millions going back to my first published article in 1993 and the beginning of my website in 1996. So Ferrara and Skojec use lies to push a fallacious idea: that mere numbers of readers is proof that what one writes is true and edifying.
It reminds me of the whole thing in evangelicalism (back in the 80s when I was among ’em) of the super-church. If you had huge numbers, God was blessing you. Never mind what was being taught. That was irrelevant. Funny that Jesus never left one word of His own. He never wrote a book, didn’t have a website, didn’t even tweet! . . .
I myself have watched Steve Skojec’s progression downhill, through the years — as is the case with many who are now reactionaries: they get worse and worse as time goes on. The devil’s very active in his recruiting efforts (i.e., any falsehood is of the devil, and he loves it). This is why we all have to be vigilant and not hang around contentious, divisive, schismatic people; fanatics, extremists. It’s why I don’t allow them on my sites, if they spew false garbage. We are what we eat: an extremely important maxim to keep in mind . . .
Note: though I usually don’t allow reactionaries on my site, lest they lead people astray, I happily allow those to whom I’ve devoted an article, to defend themselves in my combox. Thus, Hilary White made many comments in reply to my three articles about her [one / two / three].