Debate on Taylor Marshall: Sensible Traditionalist or Reactionary?

Debate on Taylor Marshall: Sensible Traditionalist or Reactionary? June 1, 2019

A very articulate and capable Facebook friend started asking me questions on my Facebook page about this presently “raging” controversy. He asked to be anonymous on my blog (for legitimate reasons) and so I am complying with that. His words will be in blue. For necessary background (to properly understand what is being debated), see the papers:

*

David, is this a fair, even if flippant, summary of your view on Vatican II and the subsequent crises?:

“Nothing bad that happened after the Council can be blamed, even the tiniest smidgen, on the Council, because it never committed heresy or error. Only the good events after the Council can possibly be counted as its fruit.”

Okay. Doesn’t that seem to be just as ideologically possessed as the rad trad point of view? Isn’t it unlikely that the documents are really free of all important defects whatsoever, in view of the subsequent state of the Church? I say: the documents never commit error, but owing to some emphases and ambiguities, the heterodox forces of the Church have been able to derive aid and comfort from the Council (unlike, say, Lateran IV, Trent, or Vatican I). One can be loyal and faithful, and still criticize a council. Right?

It comes down to what one believes about ecumenical councils. It’s a matter of faith. Traditionally, Catholics have believed that they are guided by the Holy Spirit. They possess infallible authority if they authoritatively clarify long-held doctrines, in agreement with the pope.

There have always been scoundrels and palace intrigue at every council, because men are sinners. And there has been uproar and confusion after every council, too. If people knew their Church history, they would know this, and the current problems would be put in much better perspective. It’s nothing new. It’s not the end of the Church as we know and love her. St. Paul was struggling with the Corinthian and Galatian churches (even including sexual sin). There is nothing new under the sun. So, for example, Joseph Francis Kelly writes:

This initial ecumenical council foreshadowed elements of many others, one of which was a confused reaction following the council. . . . historically speaking, after councils some participants often have second thoughts about what happened or are surprised at the reaction of others to the council’s work. (The Ecumenical Councils of the Catholic Church: A History, Liturgical Press, 2009, p. 25)

You say heterodox forces didn’t derive comfort from Vatican I? You don’t know your history very well. Have you never heard of the Old Catholics and their rejection of papal infallibility? That was a schism in the Church due to that council. They dissed the council, just as Taylor Marshall is now doing with Vatican II.This is why indefectibility is such a glorious guarantee. It overcomes the attempts of men to wreck things and destroy the faith. Taylor Marshall and people who think as he does can only see evil men, plots, and (supposedly successful) wicked conspiracies. We are looking at it with the eyes of faith, and see a God Who is much bigger than all that, who can turn around even the worst of situations. Chesterton stated: “at least five times in history the Church has gone to the dogs, but in each case, the dog died.”

Vatican II is completely orthodox and a wonderful exposition of the Catholic faith. It’s an ecumenical council. It has the same authority as Trent (Cardinal Ratzinger stated that in The Ratzinger Report, 1985).

One thing Catholics have believed, too, is that doctrine continues to develop and is ever more understood. Vatican II is completely orthodox and a wonderful exposition of the Catholic faith. It’s an ecumenical council. Catholics believe that doctrine continues to develop and is ever more understood. Blessed Cardinal Newman classically explained that in 1845 in his Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine (key in my own conversion in 1990). Vatican II is part of that. This is why we love it or should love it. It is the fully developed Mind of the Church in our time, along with the papal encyclicals of the last 60 years, including St. Paul VI’s heroic Humanae Vitae (1968) and St. John Paul II’s magnificent Evangelium Vitae (1995).

Taylor Marshall seems to have a very stunted, limited understanding of these things. And in my opinion, it’s because he has reverted and digressed back to the ecclesiological pablum of his former Anglicanism.

I came into the Church due to the influence of Cardinal Newman, who explained development of doctrine and why the Anglican Church had fundamentally flawed premises. Taylor seems to have a dim comprehension of that, too, or else he would never be tempted to reject essential Catholic things like reverence for popes and the sublime authority of ecumenical councils, and return to the false and half-baked presuppositions of the Anglican slop.

Dr. Marshall is still a Catholic. That’s why it is such a disgrace and scandal. One could handle such bilge if it wasn’t coming from a professed, canonical Catholic. But he’s not thinking as a Catholic should think. This is my point.

So when I say that Taylor has become an Anglican, I mean in spirit, in how he thinks about authority; in important presuppositions that are hostile to Catholicism rightly understood. But he is canonically a Catholic. That’s exactly why I refer to these folks as radical Catholic reactionaries.

Dave, I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to reply so thoroughly, and doing so on your blog. I have this to say in response:

1. I agree with all the important, theological points you’ve stated- especially the most important, the indefectibility of the Church.

I mean, maybe the book is really egregious in some way- I didn’t get a pre-order and I haven’t read it. I’m only going by what Marshall says on tnt, including when he talks about his book. I feel like that gives one a decent sense of where he stands on the Church, and it isn’t an Anglican stance, whether “in spirit,” or in any other way.

2. I think it was a bit rash of you to say, “You don’t know your history very well”- though I am no historian, and it is not my specialty. I say this because you seem to have misunderstood what I meant, when I claimed that erroneous movements had derived “aid and comfort” from ambiguities. My point in critiquing the few, but important ambiguities in Vatican II is that heterodox persons (such as those who deny scriptural inerrancy) have been able to seize upon them, to pretend to justify their errors. 

The situation you cite about Vatican I is precisely the opposite of this! The Church clearly taught papal infallibility. Those who disagreed, left. They derived no “aid and comfort” from the words of Vatican I. 

I have no idea what you think I meant by those words, “aid and comfort.” But that should clarify my meaning.

I appreciate your in-depth interaction. Since no defender of Taylor Marshall’s book and thesis (nor he himself) has been willing to come and dialogue about it so far, this is the next best thing, and allows me to clarify several of my arguments (which I love to do!). So I am grateful for your effort and the opportunity afforded therein.

2. Thanks for the helpful clarification. I intended no personal slight. I was just being animated in my rhetorical flourishes, as usual.

What are these “few, but important ambiguities in Vatican II”? It reminds me about arguing over whether Scripture is “perspicuous” [clearly understood] or not. One person claims a passage is; the next is just as insistent that it isn’t (I think of arguing for example, with a Jehovah’s Witness about the divinity of Christ, as I have many times in person and in writing).

I have contended that several hundred biblical passages are quite clear and unambiguous, in favor of distinctive Catholic doctrine, but sure enough, my Protestant friends vehemently tell me it ain’t so!

So in this instance, the Catholic liberals and reactionaries may claim various texts of Vatican II as “ambiguous”: but that notion is as fluid as silly putty and it’s tough to make an ironclad case, so I submit that ambiguity, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, very often, if not always.

3. My original comment is almost entirely a series of direct questions to you, which you haven’t answered. Your reply gives a fine response to radical traditionalism. But my comment wasn’t radically traditionalist, so it misses the point. 

3. Well, my reply was a general, overarching one, that I feel did answer. It comes down to how one interprets the council, according to the subjective elements and difficulties that I have discussed in my #2 above.

But to more directly answer (which I think I already did: just in a more roundabout way): no; I don’t think bad stuff after the council can be blamed on it because I think it teaches truth and does not contain these serious, supposedly “revolutionary” or “anti-traditional” (or heretical?) errors that so many people assume it contains. None of these reactionaries talk about alleged error in any other ecumenical council. It’s always Vatican II.

You seem to think that it is so obvious (or is to a reactionary, if not you yourself) that the council caused all the bad things in the Church because they happened after the council. But as I mentioned in my paper on “Anti-Vatican II Hysteria,” I think that is mostly the basic logical fallacy of post hoc ergo propter hoc (“after this, therefore because of this” / “Since event Y followed event X, event Y must have been caused by event X”).

It remains to be established that Vatican II actually taught specific, terrible errors that the liberal dissidents have taken and run with, and I have yet to see that proven beyond any doubt. In my longest review of the book I took two such arguments to task and showed how they engaged in wholesale distortion of what sure seems to me that the council clearly taught:

1) the controversy over the phrase “subsists in”

and

2) whether it teaches indifferentism as to other religions.

Context was key in both arguments, and that is so often neglected in many arguments attempting to criticize some document wrongly for teaching something it doesn’t teach. Again, I’ve been through it hundreds of times in my debates on countless topics. Generally, there are three reasons why something is wrongly interpreted: context, context, and context.

I especially go through this routine all the time concerning biblical “exegesis” [choke] undertaken by atheists. It’s easy to make various critical claims about either the Bible or the documents of Vatican II; much more difficult to prove it, when there is an informed advocate of either in the house.

4. The question which you do the most to reply to is: “One can be loyal and faithful and still criticize a council, right?” You note that the Holy Spirit guides the proceedings of councils, despite all the human foibles present. Undoubtedly true. But this does not directly address my question: can one claim there are deficiencies, and perhaps even rather important ones, in the Vatican II documents, while remaining loyal and faithful? 

“Guidance,” as I’m sure you realize, is a term that admits of some ambiguity. The Holy Spirit guides even the prudential governing decisions of the Church- but as we’ve painfully experienced for the past few decades, this is no guarantee of flawless shepherding, to put it mildly. 

I would note that Ratzinger, whom you cited, has been a famous critic of Gaudium et Spes, and occasionally, of some of the other Vatican II documents as well. As Cardinal Avery Dulles notes [link to First Things], he regarded Gaudium et Spes as too naturalistic, too unhistorical, too optimistic about human progress, and paying insufficient attention to sin. Those are serious critiques, and- it seems to me- if Taylor Marshall made them, you would exhibit them as evidence of his radicalism. Forgive me if I’m wrong.

4. You make a good point here, and I don’t deny that there is (or can rightly be) any such thing as ever criticizing a council ever, for any reason (just as I would say about popes: having been wrongly accused many times of allegedly believing the contrary).

The criticisms you mention from Cdl. Ratzinger (though I’d have to look them over in more depth to best answer) appear to be relatively mild ones concerning emphases and degrees. So, his criticism of Gaudium et Spes is described as being “too naturalistic, too unhistorical, too optimistic about human progress, and paying insufficient attention to sin.”

These are all matters of degree and relative emphasis (imagine taking the three too‘s out and seeing how it changes the impact and thrust), and appear to not go after the very essence of the document.

That’s not the spirit in which Taylor Marshall approaches Vatican II. For him it is modernist through and through: by design, in its origin, and in its essence and result. In one of his videos (I should have transcribed it!) he mentioned that it was literally “revolutionary” in several respects (theologically, morally, etc.). This is “totally opposed” language and an assertion that it is heretical species of evolution of dogma, rather than a development of same, as orthodox Catholics (and notably Pope Benedict XVI and his “hermeneutic of continuity”) believe.

Marshall’s trashing is worlds away from saying that “the emphases or how things were put” etc. could have been improved. Yes, that could be said about virtually any human writing that is not inspired by God. But it is vastly different from claiming heresy and deliberate nefarious revolt against Catholic tradition.

That remains to be proven, and Catholics in faith believe that it could not be proven, because God would have protected an ecumenical council from teaching heresy and binding Catholics to it. The reactionaries can’t even prove that Amoris Laetitia clearly teaches heresy or serious moral error, and note that even several papal critics like Phil Lawler, Joseph Shaw, and Ed Feser took a step back and opposed the recent statement accusing the pope of heresy, and asserted that it is not proven that he has done so.

Likewise, with Vatican II. Where is this serious theological heresy in it? You tell me if you believe it may be there or think that reactionaries are able to make honest, plausible arguments for same (even if you disagree with them). I don’t see it.

5. It seems to me that some of your critiques of Marshall are unduly vague and, for that reason, unjust. I hate to use such strident language, as I respect you as a force of reason in the Church. But this is how it looks to me, in this case. For example, you tell people that he is “anti-Vatican II” or “rejects Vatican II.” I don’t believe he has ever characterized his position in this way.

5. He is indeed “anti-Vatican II” in how he describes it, as I have documented in my long critique. I don’t see how anyone could possibly conclude otherwise. He thinks that it was deliberately designed nefariously by modernists for their own anti-traditional ends. This is obvious in his section titles, like “Vatican II — Modernism on Parade” and “Theological Infiltration of Vatican II.” What more do you require? Can you imagine someone saying this about Trent?:

“Council of Trent — Modernism on Parade”

“Theological Infiltration of Trent.”

And then we are to believe that someone who used that terminology would not be seriously questioning Trent as seriously awry and in error? That’s what you are doing, and it doesn’t fly.

Most importantly, so far as I have seen, he has never questioned the validity of the council, and he has certainly not denied papal authority. 

Of course, some rad trads do reject the Council’s authority, in the strict sense- they think the Council is invalid. When you flatly say that Marshall “rejects” Vatican II, you risk giving the impression that he is in their ranks, which is deeply unfair.

You should try to characterize his view in such terms, that he himself would recognize it as his own position. Then your argument will matter, since it could not then be dismissed as a straw man.

Put in those legal terms, probably not, but that is the game that reactionaries almost always play (a thing I have noted for over twenty years). Pressed, they will always say, “of course it is a valid council” or “no, we’re not denying that the New Mass is a real Mass.” But then they’ll turn around and trash them mercilessly.

What good is even a “valid” council if its teachings are relentlessly pilloried and mocked and made the subject of endless debates as to their utility and goodness or lack thereof? We know he’s not SSPX or sedevacantist. That’s precisely my point. It’s the extreme quasi-schismatic mentality that I categorize as its own entity, as “radical Catholic reactionaries.”

I don’t know what it means to be an Anglican “in spirit,” but not be an Anglican in fact. If one’s spirit is Anglican, then one is Anglican. You allege that Marshall’s understanding of Church authority is defective. But without citation- without examples- we are only left with this vague characterization, which I suppose we are just supposed to trust. If you have given this case elsewhere, I apologize, but I haven’t seen it. 

Every heresy or schism has a spirit that already preceded it and brought it about, as the underlying presupposition. This is the principle of the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus said that if we lust in our hearts, we’ve already committed adultery, or what Jesus was getting at when He stated, “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure produces evil; for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Lk 6:45, RSV).

Marshall is exhibiting the quasi-schismatic spirit that can quite possibly lead to actual schism in due course. His journey ain’t over yet. We don’t know how much more extreme he may yet get. If he eventually goes sedevacantist, you will remember who warned about it first.

The Pharisees held to the letter of the law, but of course they took ti to extremes and missed the spirit. Hence, Jesus mocked them over being concerned with “tithing mint and cumin” and missing the “weightier elements.” That s precisely the spirit here. And the same is done with popes as well.

You are helping to prove the point I just made. This analysis is not merely a legal / canonical one, but one that looks at presuppositions and how they work out in the end; the logical reduction. I explained this above. In this instance, it is trashing of ecumenical councils and popes, as if he has the authority or even knowledge to do so.

Thus he does exactly what many of us would do as evangelical Protestants: sit there and criticize all this “Catholic” stuff that we knew little about. I’m supposed to sit here and seriously entertain (without uproarious laughter) his ludicrous videos where he analyzes, for example, Pope Benedict’s recent letter line by line and virtually mocks and dismisses it as if it were a C- minus grade term paper from a sophomore in college?

Really? He, with all of 13 years’ experience as a Catholic, in effect, lecturing one of the greatest theologians in the last century, as if he were an idiot and a fool? And we’re supposed to accept with the utmost seriousness an idiotic statement about Pope Benedict like the following?:

The longer I’m Catholic, the longer I’m removed from Pope Benedict XVI’s pontificate, the more I worry, . . . I’m concerned about this, that Benedict — that Ratzinger’s — appreciation and affection for “tradition” [gestures with hands: “quotation marks”] or traditionalism, is more aesthetic, that is, it’s more into the beauty and the sentiment than it is the actual doctrine / dogma.” (“Pope Benedict’s Resignation: An Analysis” [2-13-19], starting at 7:37 through to 8:08)

So, sure, he thinks Francis and Benedict were valid popes, but in the sense of my critique, that is irrelevant, because if this is considered having pious Catholic respect and deference for popes (and councils), then I’d love to see what rejection of them looks like. If I thought this tripe and these outrages were what Catholicism was about, I would have never converted in a million years. I would have thought it was the most ridiculous, contemptible thing in the world for a professed pious, orthodox Catholic (not a flaming liberal) to approach both popes and councils like that. I had ten times more reverence and respect as a Protestant for both things than he is exhibiting.

The example of that, which I always mention, was when Pope St. John Paul II visited Detroit in 1987 (three years before my conversion). I should have gone to see him downtown, but I hate crowds and didn’t. I’ve regretted it ever since. But we heard that he was leaving by plane, and the airport isn’t far from us, so we thought we could identify the plane he was on. My wife and I stood there with the utmost reverence, looking up at the plane, thinking, with considerable awe, “the pope is on that plane!”

Contrast that with how Catholic Taylor Marshall approaches popes: lecturing them like children; literally pontificating, as if he is the pope. There is a reason that a frequent description of reactionaries is that they think they are more Catholic than the pope. They literally do! They think like Protestants: who have often been described in Catholic apologetics as “every man being his own pope.” And it has never been more apparent than in this book.

My point in my comments is not to defend traditionalism, as I am no traditionalist. It is only to defend the possibility of noting defects in the conciliar documents without becoming a radical traditionalist, as Benedict XVI has critiqued them, and also to defend the name of a man, Taylor Marshall, who- while a traditionalist-is being subjected to attacks so vague (pope-bashing, council-bashing, conspiratorialism) they are impossible to defend against. 

To make my own vague critique against your view: the Church is not a totalitarian society, pressing us against its steely cold bosom, demanding conformity and praise for every jot and tittle of the popes’ writings and of conciliar documents. 

To which I’m sure you would reply: “Of course.” And so, you see how utterly pointless such vague attacks are. They bring heat, but not light.

I don’t have a clue why you think my critique is so “vague” when I have carefully laid out a 7000-word argument in my initial critique of his book (have you even read that?). It provides tons of examples. This was its very point: mainly to document how far off the rails he has gone.

I agree that conspiratorial thinking and pope-bashing are bad. But what is the difference between criticizing a pope and “bashing” a pope?

I dealt with this at length in my article, “Are Pope-Critics Evil? Reply to Karl Keating”. I also have a category of “papal nitpicker”: where I place Karl himself.

Taylor Marshall is never angry or hateful towards the holy father, or anyone else. He maintains his calm and good humor.

That is absolutely irrelevant to my critique. But I would say that this is all the more dangerous, because people observe this calm, cool, collected guy in his videos (comes off as friendly and charming) and so they accept what he says. And what he is saying is poison.

He does not immediately believe critiques of the pope, and he resists the worst attacks against the modern popes (the wacky theories that they were freemasons, etc.).

Right. He only believes that, for example, Pope St. Paul VI was a practicing sodomite, with an ongoing Italian actor lover. Now, he’d probably say, to cover himself, “I merely mentioned this rumor, I didn’t endorse it. But why mention it at all? As I wrote in my long critique:

The “Paul VI was a sodomite” conspiracy theory has been bandied about in many reactionary books and websites. By including it, Dr. Marshall “proves” to the reactionaries that he is definitely one of them. It takes a lot of hubris and chutzpah, indeed, to accuse a pope who is a saint — the very one who wrote the magnificently heroic, tradition-affirming Humanae Vitae at that — , of ongoing sodomy with a secret lover. To even mention such filth is a disgrace and an outrage.

So you say he has not asserted that popes were outright freemasons. But he plays the typical reactionary game of going right up to the edge. Thus he asserts about three popes:

Bugnini was the chief architect of the Novus Ordo Mass, published in 1969 and 1970, and we shall thoroughly cover his influence over Pius XII and Paul VI in the pages to come. Suffice it here to state that Bugnini was an infiltrated priest and a Freemason.

Pope Paul VI’s eager enthusiasm for ecumenism is rooted in this document [Nostra aetate] that presupposes that false religions can and do lift the soul to “perfect liberation,” “supreme illumination,” and “submission to His inscrutable decrees.” . . . his thinking conformed to Freemasonic goals . . .

[T]he Freemasons sought to create (beginning in the mid-1800s) a climate among youth, seminarians, and young priests who grew up breathing the air of ecumenism, indifference to religious disagreements, and a mission for world brotherhood. John Paul II is the first pope who moved freely in these ideals . . .

That’s virtually what we call “a distinction without a difference. For what difference does it make if a guy isn’t a freemason himself, but goes along with all of their “ideals” and “goals” like a puppet? That’s what Pope Taylor I states regarding three popes.

He does not think that the Council was run by freemasons, or even that the freemasons do all that much in the world today. Say what you will about his account, but it is no more “conspiratorial “ about freemasonry than St. Maximilian was,

I think I just proved otherwise. I take him at his word.

and it is not “conspiratorial” about Vatican II, in the way radical traditionalists often are.

If this is simply saying he doesn’t deny its technical legal validity, I know that. It’s irrelevant to my critique. Radical Catholic reactionaries virtually never deny the validity of Vatican II or the New Mass or of popes since 1958. That’s for SSPX and sedevacantists to do.

This all sets him apart from radical traditionalists! He does not share their spirit. But your critique does not note these nuances- so far as I have seen- and thereby tosses him in with company he does not deserve.

I couldn’t disagree more. I’m the one who coined the term “radical Catholic reactionary” after having dealt with them for 16 years, at the time I coined it (in 2013). Moreover, I discovered yesterday that Marshall himself in 2013 gave a definition of “radical traditionalist” that is virtually identical to my definition for “radical Catholic reactionary”: which was my suggested replacement term for the troublesome “radtrad.” Here’s how he defined it:

“the outright denial of Vatican II as a valid council,” “disdain for Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis,” and “the belief that Latin Mass Catholics are ‘A Team’ and Novus Ordo Catholics are ‘B Team.’”

Now, it’s true that he doesn’t deny the validity of Vatican II, but he is trashing it as thoroughly modernist, so the denial may come in due course. But this is very close. Therefore, by his own stated definition, he is very much in the camp of the radical Catholic reactionaries. I defined the term (having coined it) in a paper dated 12-3-12:

a rigorist, divisive group completely separate from mainstream “traditionalism” that continually, vociferously, and vitriolically (as a marked characteristic or defining trait) bashes and trashes popes, Vatican II, the New Mass, and ecumenism (the “big four”): going as far as they can go without technically crossing over the canonical line of schism. In effect, they become their own popes: exercising private judgment in an unsavory fashion, much as (quite ironically) Catholic liberals do, and as Luther and Calvin did when they rebelled against the Church. They can’t live and let live. They must assume a condescending “superior-subordinate” orientation.

That fits Taylor Marshall to a tee. You can continue to believe that he is some sort of “moderate” and “respectable” traditionalist all you like. His words amply prove otherwise.

And we’re starting to see a reaction now among sensible and credentialed folks like Fr. Dwight Longenecker and Dr. Jeffrey Mirus (both big fans of my work, as they have stated, by the way), protesting his dangerous and absurd conspiracy-mongering book.

Dave, those are good replies. I thought I had read all of your responses to Taylor Marshall, but I had forgotten to finish reading this particular post- obviously a very important one. You are right that the accusation that Paul VI committed sodomy is a horrid calumny. I wasn’t aware Marshall had ever made this claim. Nor, from the (many) episodes of tnt I’ve watched, did I ever encounter the offensively aggressive language about Vatican II that you cite from his book. At times, in his videos, he was a little more flippant than I would like- but video blogging with one’s friend lends itself to levity, so I thought it excusable. But what you have written does demand a reevaluation of Taylor Marshall’s credibility as a spiritual guide. 

I still think you and I would disagree on where the golden mean lies when it comes to being critical of councils and popes (and to me, this is our most important disagreement, as it isn’t simply about judging a particular man, but about our stance towards the hierarchy). But you’ve persuaded me that Marshall is further from that mean than I thought he was.

Thanks for the very stimulating discussion. I enjoyed it (great way to spend a yucky, rainy afternoon), and am very grateful for the opportunity to explain my point of view in detail. One can never do that enough, because misunderstandings always arise.

Yeah, we might differ on where the line is between respectful criticism of pope and council and crossing a line into blameworthy bashing, but that’s an honest disagreement I have no objection to and respect. As you said, Pope Benedict himself has done so, and we know he is pro-Vatican II, if anyone ever was.

The bashing here and among reactionaries generally speaking goes so far beyond that, and it’s quite clear and evident. Hence, you now basically agree with me after I laid out the case regarding Taylor Marshall in detail. And you did because it was so clear. Sodomite saint-popes? Ecumenical councils that are essentially modernist and anti-traditional to their core? It contradicts the very notion of a council that is protected by the Holy Spirit. One would have to categorize it alongside the notorious “Robber Council” of 449. And it’s a joke and ridiculous to think that about Vatican II.

Those things are unacceptable, and for any Catholic to make such charges (with scarcely even attempted proof and only gossipy third- and fourth-hand stories of reputed conspiracies) is unspeakably scandalous and outrageous.

Taylor has spiraled downward from legitimate traditionalism to reactionary extremism. This is what so often happens. People don’t stay in one place once they start going down this road. Now he wants to take many thousands of Catholic readers with him. May God open his eyes! He’s in a very spiritually dangerous place, to put it very mildly. I only wish the best for him. I write these things for his sake, as well as for his readers and current admirers (and for my own readers).

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Photo credit: The “Pied Piper  of Hamelin”: illustration by Kate Greenaway (1846-1901) [public domain / Wikimedia Commons]

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