I get rather tired of this bum rap and so have decided to write a little reply to it, on this Saturday morning. It was again brought up by radical Catholic reactionary Steve Skojec (words in blue, henceforth), on his site, One Vader Five, on 5-26-16:
I do believe, though, that you’ve helped people over the years. I have friends who benefited from you during their conversions before they realized what a self-parody you have become. They find it sad that you’re so far from who they thought you were. So I’ll give you credit for leading people to the faith, at least once upon a time. . . . But at the present moment, you’re doing more harm than good with your name-calling and your absurd denials of the truth in front of your face, and that’s why you’re just not taken seriously by many people now.
I replied to this charge in a paper that basically documented the silliness of Skojec’s opinions in this thread:
Nothing has changed at all: except for Steve and his ilk becoming reactionary fundamentalists. So they falsely think I have changed, because they operate from the perspective of their own pharisaical / legalistic / naysaying heads and souls and hearts. These people that he references, who used to like my work and now do not (and I believe that Steve himself was a Facebook friend at one time), nevertheless cannot deny that I helped them into the Church. They can only deny that I helped them in their “second reactionary [pseudo- / illegitimate] conversion” (as I have recently posted about). The fact that my work keeps having an effect, and (above all) that I continue to rebuke reactionary garbage, which is leading many souls astray, is (rest assured) what is so threatening to Steve. So he feels compelled to lie about myself and my work, in order to try to minimize its impact.
It’s sort of like the relative motion of someone on a train vs. someone standing at the station as the train departs. The guy on the train may think that the person at the station is “moving.” But in fact it is the train that is moving and the other person is standing still. Reactionaries are the guys on the train of reactionaryism, that continues to depart further and further away from the “train station” orthodoxy and mainstream Catholicism, and even mainstream traditional Catholicism (of which I am a big ally, and very close to in many important ways).
Now, on the same thread, reactionary Dale Price has chimed in. Dale has drifted further and further to the ecclesiastical “right” through the years (I once met him: visiting his house with Mark Shea, whom I was driving around the Detroit area, for some talks he was giving), but somehow he has this silly notion in his head that I am the one who has changed, rather than himself:
Count me as one of them who regrets what you’ve turned into, Dave.
I haven’t turned into anything except a Catholic, and that was in 1990. I act exactly the same, I teach exactly the same as I have ever since then. If you don’t like it, you don’t. If you think I am a jerk and Attila the Hun now, then consistently, you should have from the start.
Now I reply further, here and there, with a strong challenge to “put up or shut up”:
My opinions vis-a-vis reactionaryism remain exactly the same as they always have. Back in 1998 I was disputing with Mario Derksen. His reactionary friends at the time insisted that he wouldn’t drift any further off into ecclesiastical wacko-land. Sure enough, he did, precisely as I warned about. He became a sedevacantist (one who denies that there is a valid sitting pope).
In the same period, though I didn’t directly debate Gerry Matatics (I had a 45-minute cordial discussion with him in person once), others like Karl Keating (Gerry worked at Catholic Answers for a short time) were warning that he was headed for very bad territory, and I concurred. Again, shortly thereafter, Gerry became a sedevacantist, too. Recently, he moved even further than that, and holds that there are virtually no valid Masses being celebrated anywhere. There’s nowhere to go from that ultra-extreme position, except to outright atheism or perhaps some form of fringe Protestantism. I suppose both Mario and Gerry could claim (like Steve and Dale) that I am the one who has changed, whereas it is clear that both of them have.
I was opposing the nonsense spouted about Pope St. John Paul II back in the early 2000s (particularly about the “kissing the Koran” incident and the Assisi conferences); now I defend Pope Francis from the avalanche-loads of sheer nonsense written about him.
I was attending Latin Mass (Novus Ordo) back in 1998, just as I still do (have since 1991), and advocated free and wide access of all Catholics to the Tridentine Mass, since my conversion in 1990 (I attended a Tridentine Mass in Windsor, Ontario, across the river from Detroit, shortly after my conversion). Our cluster parish is one of the few in metro Detroit that offers the extraordinary form every week, and I attended it at Midnight Mass last Christmas. I have defended various traditional liturgical practices all along (use of Latin, ad orientem, receiving kneeling on the tongue, traditional music at Mass, traditional architecture, etc.), and continue to do so.
I was opposing big Skojec comrade-in-arms Chris Ferrara and The Remnant back in 2002, when his pathetic attack-book, The Great Facade came out, and I continue to do so today. If someone doubts this, they can consult my critique of The Remnant and debate about the reactionary group, both written in the year 2000 (that’s sixteen years ago, by my math).
I could go through a whole host of things, but there is no need: the record is clear, and my papers and books are out there for all to see. So my challenge to Dale and Steve is this: prove that I have “changed” by actually demonstrating it from the record. Put your money where your mouth is. There are still papers on my website today from the late 90s and early 2000s, about reactionaryism; for example:
Radical Catholic Reactionaries vs. an Optimistic Faith (vs. Mario Derksen) [1-21-01]
If that isn’t sufficient to locate areas where I have supposedly made a sea change in the intervening decade-and-a-half, here are old links to my web page on “traditionalism” (I meant by that in those days, the extreme positions I now call radical Catholic reactionaryism; the reactionaries have called themselves “traditionalists” all along and still do today), from Internet Archive:
The Donatists and Novatianists Live: “Traditionalist” and Schis | matic Catholics (web page from my old original “erasmus” website: this capture from 12-12-05)
The oldest archived date of the same web page is from 11-28-99, from Internet Archive. Readers can see me making the same sorts of arguments there: opposing The Remnant and SSPX (as I do today), defending the pope (as I do today), defending ecumenism (as I do today), and Vatican II (as I do today). Nothing whatever has changed.
Thus, I challenge Steve or Dale or anyone else with the courage of their convictions to prove and actually document (what a novelty!) that I have undergone a remarkable metamorphosis from this time, 16 1/2 years ago. I’ve provided you the resources. Have at it; or look even more foolish than you already do, when called on your gratuitous whoppers. Your choice . . .
If I have blocked you for trolling and violation of rules at Patheos or on Facebook (just as The Remnant has totally blocked me), you can send your replies to my e-mail address: apologistdave [at] gmail [dot] com, or simply reply in the referenced thread at One Vader Five. All of your replies (i.e., if someone actually takes up my challenge) will be posted on my site (with, of course, my further replies). So you can have your full say on my site (and I appreciate being able to “speak” and respond to accusations at One Vader Five, too).
Skojec then replied with an ultra-insulting and condescending hit-piece in the same thread on his site, complete with the obligatory potshots at converts and apologetics and idiotic (utterly predictable) assertion of supposed ultramontanism and virtual “papolatry”:
Personally, I’ve found you ridiculous from the moment I first ran into you. You’re a modern day, post-conciliar Don Quixote, all bravado and sword swinging, invariably picking the wrong targets. . . .
But here you are, sword as dull as ever, energy for a thousand battles, none of them worthwhile. . . .
It’s a thing, I think, with Protestant converts. They don’t have sola scriptura anymore, so they resort to papal positivism as their one and only guide. . . .
You could be a part of the solution if you want, but only if you stop making it about you and start making it about the truth. . . .
I feel bad for you, I really do. Someone was calling you the Napoleon Dynamite of Catholic Apologetics, but really, you’re the Uncle Rico. . . .
I predicted this response on my Facebook page over four hours before you made it. I wrote:
These guys are great at slinging around false accusations. Now we’ll see if they can back it up. My prediction: they will fail abysmally if they try, but most likely, won’t even attempt it, and will simply up the insults. Mark my words . . .
One again, you make me a prophet. You bought Dale’s (and someone else’s) lies about my supposedly having changed, and regurgitated them. But, fair enough, you admit that now. The onus is on Dale, then, to document this supposed sea-change in me.
And I predict he will act precisely as I noted above, too. You opted for insults; he will almost certainly choose the route of more insults, too, or (less embarrassingly), simply ignore the challenge, thus proving that the charges never amounted to anything in the first place, having no actual evidence to back them up.
I also wrote on Facebook today:
Skojec was mocking my apostolate, saying it was doing more harm than good. Since I have the fruit to show that I have been following my calling from God, I felt compelled to reply, because he was basically attacking the notion of laboring to bring more people into the fold (i.e., Catholic evangelism), which I’ve been doing for 25 years.
When folks start calling good evil, I am duty-bound to respond, as an apologist and faithful Catholic.
You see? This is exactly what I’m talking about. It’s all about you. All hubris, all the time.. . .
Get over yourself, Dave. You’re not even a little deal. And you are doing more harm than good.
Hogwash. You can’t even read words correctly if a person disagrees with you. I predicted that you wouldn’t be able to prove that I changed (your initial lie) and would opt purely for personal insults instead, and that’s exactly what happened.
Now you are lying about all that and creating a huge 50-story straw man with more insults about my supposed gigantic ego and hubris. No one (who is not already in your reactionary clique) is fooled by such bilge. That’s why I spend little time replying to it. It’s self-refuting and I am delighted to reprint it on my web page.
I knew you would do it because it is standard playbook reactionary behavior and also because you have acted in precisely this fashion with another critic of yours, Scott Eric Alt.
And, as I was saying to my wife at dinner, why should I expect fair treatment from a guy who regularly trashes the Holy Father, Holy Mother Church, and Vatican II? Of course I will be in your doghouse, too. So it’s all absolutely predictable. I called it and I was dead-on, and I will be about Dale Price, too, unless he has the intellectual honesty to admit that his charge against me was groundless from the start.
May God abundantly bless you, Steve. I think you’re better than your theology and that you will crawl out of this hole you have fallen into, in due course. But it looks like you will have to learn the hard way.