Dialogue on My Criticism of Reactionary Taylor Marshall

Dialogue on My Criticism of Reactionary Taylor Marshall May 31, 2019

This occurred on my Facebook page. Dave Kjeldgaard is a longtime Facebook friend. The discussion is occuring within the backdrop of my two critical articles from yesterday: Reactionary Infiltration of Taylor Marshall’s Book, Infiltration  and Anti-Vatican II Hysteria in Taylor Marshall’s Book Fan Club.  Dave’s words will be in blue.


I still think he is a solid Catholic who is human who makes mistakes, who is highly concerned with the state of the Church and remains an outstanding teacher.

It’s hard to see someone we respect start teaching goofy, wacky things . . . He’s not an outstanding teacher if he is leading people astray by lying about popes and crapping all over ecumenical councils of Holy Mother Church. That’s not orthodox Catholicism. It’s no better than the liberal dissidents like Hans Kung et al.

Dave, curious if you ever tried to reach out to him? Your criticism of Taylor Marshall seems like it’s personal. Name calling, mind reading, etc. Makes me think there is an underlying issue you have with him.

I’m responding publicly to public materials. I could try to send an e-mail, etc., but almost certainly nothing would come of it. I know how these things work. I’ve been through it a hundred times. I’m perfectly willing to talk with anyone. It takes two.

I’ve already heard reports from people with whom he was friendly, and it is now tense and distant. His likely response is indicated by already having blocked me from his Twitter. I have no personal issues at all, as I stated in my paper: none whatsoever. Zero, zilch. This is about defense of Holy Mother Church against calumnies.

You like him, and so you can’t see these things right now. You “don’t have eyes to see”: as the Bible says. You have to get beyond that. If something is wrong and contrary to the Church, you (and anyone else who is his “fan”) ought to oppose it, and not put man’s opinions and traditions of men against sacred tradition, protected by the Holy Spirit. Don’t be led astray. The Church is our Guide.

Lots of mind reading there. I don’t confuse his teaching from NSTI and his podcasts. I don’t agree with his opinion on B16 retirement, and some others. Your criticism of him seems like a hit piece in my opinion. Kind of Mark Shea-ish.

Glad to hear you disagree with him on some things. Start refuting my critique, if it is so bad. Give me some content (i.e., theology, ecclesiology). Just sitting there attacking me accomplishes nothing. All I’ve done is to critique the theological opinions he is rendering: all public ones.

The only “responses” I have received so far were two personal attacks from Taylor followers on my blog. One disparaged me as a “hippy” modernist from Detroit who used to be a Methodist. LOL Another was far more personally insulting and ridiculous. Really? And Taylor used to be an Anglican.

Yeah, we’re converts! He came in in 2006 and now wants to lecture popes and dismiss ecumenical councils. I was received in 1991 by Servant of God Fr. John A Hardon, SJ (of absolutely impeccable orthodoxy; he was the catechist for St. Teresa of Calcutta’s Missionaries of Charity), who warmly endorsed my first book three years later.

Go ask him if he’d want to do a dialogue with me. You’ll see what happens. I would be absolutely delighted to be wrong in my prediction.

We live in an age today where every criticism of ideas is immediately collapsed into a supposed personal attack. It’s the influence of postmodernist subjective mush. Now, assuredly a lot of personal attacks do take place online. But my critique of Taylor Marshall’s errors is not an example of that.

So you consider my comments to be an attack? Certainly not my intention.

“Your criticism of him seems like a hit piece in my opinion. Kind of Mark Shea-ish.”

You haven’t rendered even one constructive criticism of my many arguments. Feel free to do so!

That’s because I don’t have any criticisms of your argument. Just questioning your approach and tone.

Fair enough. And I respond by saying that my “tone” (whatever it is) about a fellow lay apologist is infinitely less harsh and objectionable than his against Holy Mother Church, an ecumenical council, three saint-popes, the Holy Mass (ordinary form), etc.: where all Catholics ought to be deferential and respectful.

I think he will respond charitably, respectfully, admit where he is wrong, and make corrections where necessary.

Great. I look forward to that. We’ll see how open he is to dialogue and possible correction. It’s one thing preaching to the adoring choir; quite another, dealing with a substantive critique from someone who is trained in his field to offer one.

“preaching to the adoring choir “: is that not directly out of the Mark Shea playbook? Geesh.

Not at all. “preaching to the choir” is a well-known proverb. “Adoring” is not out of line, seeing that we now have 776 customer reviews on Amazon, for a book that has been out exactly eight days. Have you ever seen such a thing before? I haven’t.

Phil Lawler’s similar pope-bashing book (Lost Shepherd) has been out for 15 months and it has 63 reviews. Ross Douthat’s similar book (To Change the Church) has been out almost exactly a year and it has 56. Even famous and Internet-savvy Karl Keating could muster up only 19 reviews for his Francis Feud: also out for a year now. But Taylor Marshall has 776 in eight days.

89% of ’em are 5 stars, 10% are 4 stars, exactly seven are three stars (0.9%), There are no one-star and two-star reviews. If that is not an “adoring” / “preaching to the choir” scenario, I don’t know what is.

It’s largely the same on his Twitter page and You Tube video comboxes: a bunch of cheerleading clones. That’s why I called him a “pied piper.” Yes, it’s sarcastic humor. But it clearly fits.

This is part of the danger of becoming a big celebrity in Catholic circles. Critical thought is thrown out the window, and a person in that situation only — or almost always — talks to people who agree with them. It’s extremely dangerous spiritually and theologically.

I’m the opposite. I am constantly in dialogue with folks who disagree with me. I’m not in a bubble with only a fan club. I’m constantly insulted; my income is a pitiful pittance . . . I’m in very little danger of these sorts of things.


Photo credit: 3dman_eu (11-11-11) [PixabayPixabay License]


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