Apologies Seem an Appropriate Way to Start Lent

Apologies Seem an Appropriate Way to Start Lent March 6, 2014

So yesterday, as has happened before, I lost my temper with people making excuses for the current bash-fest against a good bishop doing the right thing.  I don’t unsay a word of support for Bishop Olson, nor do I admit in the slightest that the people who are viciously attacking him have a point in using the EF as a weapon of assault on the Council or a tool for blaspheming the OF or an excuse for heaping contempt on almost all of the members of the Body of Christ.  They are, very simply, wrong and need to repent.

But I also need to repent, particularly of my anger and bitterness at them.  Reactionaries are, I will make no bones about it, the single greatest trial I have ever encountered in the ecclesial dimension of my walk as a Catholic (my own sins are the greatest trial of all, of course).  But that is no excuse for indulging the sin of anger.

So: my apologies for choosing anger over love yesterday.  Your prayers for a sinner would be appreciated.  And, for my part, I forgive these people (too many and too anonymous to name them all) for the sake of His sorrowful Passion.  I hope they will do likewise.

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  • AnsonEddy

    Mark: You are a great Catholic writer and do great work for the Kingdom. This is your blog and yours to administrate as you see fit. I’m going to make a suggestion which you are free to do with as you choose: I note that Ms. Scalia has closed comments on her blog (I believe for the duration of Lent), I wonder if it wouldn’t be good to consider doing the same here. It might give all of us an opportunity to reflect on how we behave in your combox during this penitential season.

    • chezami

      Might not be a bad idea. I’ll think about it. I’m about to hit the road for Cincy, but will be back.

      • SteveP

        I would agree with the previous commenter: I do not think comments enabled is leading to that “free and open exchange of ideas” which was the promise of HTML. Your goals for permitting comments may be different.
        Safe travels and good thinking.

      • Pappy

        Mark, you used to observe the practise of ‘fasting’ from blogging in Lent, it might be a good opportunity for you to revive that practise so that you can come back refreshed at Easter.

        • chezami

          Love to, but no can do. Gotta keep bread on the table.

  • Denise

    I agree that bashing a bishop is wrong. On that note, it is not a bad idea to remind folks that they should be respectful. I would like to request that in future is should not be assumed that those traditionalists who are attached to the TLM automatically are suspected of doing wrong, and holding the wrong view. Though traditionalists are not better than other Catholics, they do have a right to tell the truth as they see it. And many don’t agree with what the bishop has done. I hope that you will have read Dr. Dudley’s lecture that has been floating around the internet of late. Though it does criticize the Council, it is quite charitable and does not use rancor of any kind to describe the sad situation in the Church, and especially Europe, today. I would like to ask that you kindly read it, and see for yourself if what Dr. Marshall has said is true.
    God bless.

    • BillyT92679

      Mark is very positive toward traditionalists who are loyal. He is full of piss and vinegar, but he’s right about a lot with the Church.

      I honestly can’t see how someone can legitimately criticize Bishop Olsen at all.

    • chezami

      I make and made no such assumption.

    • Andy

      Though traditionalists are not better than other Catholics, they do have a right to tell the truth as they see it

      Therein lies the problem – the truth as they see it – if they see truth then there is only one way to tell it – and implicit in that is they should be a understanding of other’s seeing and telling the truth as they see it as they demand. However, in my experience they feel that their truth is the only Catholic truth.
      This is not to pick “fight” but it points out to me the reason why there are so many divisions in the church.

      • Denise

        If it is a problem for traditionalists to tell the truth as they see it, then the same should apply to non-traditionalists. Or does a non-traditionlist, then, have more of a right to tell the truth as they see it, and why?

        • BillyT92679

          The truth is the truth regardless of how one sees it. And the lawful interpreters of the truth is Holy Mother Church. Not me, or you.

        • Andy

          I was not singling out traditionalists – I was responding to your phrase that dealt with traditionalists – the fact that there seems to be a disagreement about the truth is an issue – it up to the church to be the appropriate source of the truth – for all of us – not just traditionalists or liberals or whoever.

          • Denise

            It is indeed up to the Church to be the appropriate source for truth for all of us. No argument from me there. Some might say, however, that the Church is not teaching truth as she should, and ought, and has a God-given duty to do. Truth such as….there is such a thing as sin, and not just the sin of being uncharitable. And that there is such a thing as Hell. And judgment. At the moment the tendency of the Church is to teach only God’s mercy. But there is such a thing as God’s justice, and the truths of the Faith have to be balanced with both Mercy and Justice. That’s why trads love the TLM – because it speaks of God’s Justice, but also of Mercy. Both are are needed to be emphasized in order to properly instruct in the Faith.

            • chezami

              But this is not so, Denise. Mercy and Justice are not opposites, nor is the Church silent on counter-cultural issues. Why do you think she is perpetually attacked for her teaching on abortion, gay marriage and the pelvic issues? So it is simply false that Trads alone speak the truth and it is often the case (as here) that Trads tell slanderous lies against good people they decide to smear are “modernists”. The love of mercy, please stop dividing the Church into NO semi-Catholics and Trad “Real Catholics”. http://scottericalt.com/why-latin-mass-onlyists-are-destroying-the-latin-mass/

              • Denise

                I don’t understand why you would think that I believe that justice and mercy are opposites. Could you explain?

                • chezami

                  You spoke as though the Church beyond the Tradosphere only talks about Mercy, not Justice. This is patently false. To speak of Mercy one *must* speak of Justice and vice versa and the Church does both.

                  • Denise

                    Thanks for the explanation. But what does Justice mean to you? How would you define it? God’s Justice, I mean.

                    • Bill

                      I would say Natural Law and the Beatitudes and the Ten Commandments and the two greatest Commandments.

                      Denise, the templates are there and the Church binds and loosens as she can. As the Successor of St Peter and the Successors to the Apostles in communion with the Successor of St Peter bind and loosen. You’re asking Mark about his subjective rendering of mercy and justice, but he’s saying just what the Church teaches.

            • guest

              “At the moment the tendency of the Church is to teach only God’s mercy. But there is such a thing as God’s justice, and the truths of the Faith have to be balanced with both Mercy and Justice. ”

              Context. I also thought you were comparing them as opposites.

              • Denise

                Well, I still don’t understand how I was comparing them as opposites. I apologize for being a bit thick here.

            • Andy

              “Some might say, however, that the Church is not teaching truth as she should, and ought, and has a God-given duty to do.”

              You are making the judgment that you say is not what should be done – “It is indeed up to the Church to be the appropriate source for truth for all of us. No argument from me there.” “That’s why trads love the TLM – because it speaks of God’s Justice” – From the Catechism – “Justice is the moral virtue that consists in the constant and firm will to give their due to God and neighbor. Justice toward God is called the “virtue of religion.” Justice toward men disposes one to respect the rights of each and to establish in human relationships the harmony that promotes equity with regard to persons and to the common good. You seem to be applying a different definition of justice then the Catholic Church applies. Mercy is how we respond to suffering – in many ways they are the same – without justice there is no mercy, and without justice mercy seem to her mission.
              Again you seem to placing your definition of terms and ideas with what the church teaches.

  • jarms40

    That is the greatest non-apology apology I’ve ever heard from a non-politician. Your venomous hatred comes from your own sin, not from any concern you have over unjust criticism of a Bishop. There’s nothing righteous about anger born of bigotry, and your mass-characterization of an entire group of people who simply view the faith differently (in rather small ways) than you do. This is how Luther started to go off the rail.

    • >Your venomous hatred comes from your own sin

      And here goes another contribution for the “mass-characterization” of those people who “view the faith differently”.

    • Denise

      I, for one, appreciate that Mark Shea has apologized for his anger and bitterness toward a certain group of trads. Learning how to be tolerant of other’s imperfections isn’t easy. I used to be bothered by “rad trads” too. But we should strive love and care about them as we do anyone else, and to try to understand them. And besides, though I don’t think that Fisher-Moore has necessarily done anything wrong, some trads will use the situation to say unkind things about the bishop involved, just as those in the other camp will use it as an opprtunity to attack tradition and traditionalists. There isn’t only one kind of trad – the kind that is always obedient and NEVER says anyhing that might offend someone else, and never says anything against the Council. Trads come in many different varieties. I would like to see unity among trads, but if that can’t happen, at least we should try to be tolerent of others shortcomings.
      I also happen to attend Blessed Sacrament church in Seattle. I like how reverently Fr. Marcin and Fr. Francis celebrate Mass. They treat Holy Eucharist as it should be treated – as the actual body of Christ – even if many at Blessed Sacrament who receive communion do not treat it as such. But I have to forgive them, though it isn’t easy.

    • BillyT92679

      your post made me literally laugh out loud… I actually LOLd reading it.

      You’re the one who needs to curb the whole venomous hatred here man.

    • chezami

      There’s that mercy and forgiveness I’ve so often seen in Reactionary circles. God bless you, jarms. May you receive the forgiveness you so readily deny other.s

    • guest

      You don’t even see the complete irony of your reply, do you?

  • BHG

    A suggestion: make a list of words that are uncharitable–you know what they are. When you are done with a post, check to see if any of them are there. It’s a flag that you may be going off the deep end. You have good things to say but sometimes your rhetoric can get in your way…In my prayers!

    • Linebyline

      Hey, that’s a good idea! If only it were as easy to recognize my own buzzwords and catchphrases as it is to recognize Mark’s. I’ll definitely give that a shot. Thanks!

  • Newp Ort

    Might ring a little more true if you didn’t star your apology with I’m still right and you need to repent.

    • Bill

      No, he’s apologizing for tone. Not content. He’s got nothing to apologize for there.

  • Linebyline

    I don’t know if this will help you, but I’ve found it helpful. From a post by Leah Libresco:

    No one was going to believe those claims were true if no one replied to them. I made this mistake a couple of times, and I don’t want to see our often productive discussions derailed because everyone thinks it’s most urgent to reply to the craziest person in the thread. It’s a lot better to respond to the sanest person you disagree with and work your way up from there as time and blood pressure permits.

    from Ok, Let’s Put Our Heads Between Our Knees and Take a Few Deep Breaths

    Obviously there’s a risk of taking this too far by ignoring people who disagree with you, but I think there’s something to be gained by not responding to those who clearly don’t want to listen.

    I think some folks are just baiting you, trying to get you mad enough at them to say something mean and stupid that they can point to the next time they need to play the victim card. That’s not everyone, of course, but there are some trolls in the mix. Welcome to the Internet.

    • Charlotte

      This falls under the category of “don’t get into a pissing contest with a skunk. Even if you win, it’s not worth the stink.” You’ll save yourself a lot of misery. (And before anybody throws a hissy, I’m NOT calling TLM lovers skunks. The principle is general, not particular.) (And why does spell check not recognize “hissy?”)

  • margaret1910

    I am glad you are taking consideration of your tone. I commented on the last post, and I still think that what I said is rational, if not correct. I believe that Bishop Olson saw that this particular group (not the students) were beginning to worship the Mass..not to worship God through the Mass. Therefore, he saw a danger to souls..in that they may see the EF as an idol.. He could be wrong, but I see the same danger from what I have read.

  • antigon

    It’s Stu’s fault, for taking a sabbatical.

  • tj.nelson

    This is why I have so much respect for you. God bless you!

  • Eerie de Veré

    To put it bluntly, Mark? I am not sure where you care coming from stating your comments were harsh or filled with contempt.

    What you wrote was quite mild compared to what I have been hearing over the past week from moderate trads and traditionalists who promote the EF in complete fidelity with the Church. Especially those like myself with teenaged children who were giving serious thought to FMC on the strength of its former reputation under loyal trads like Dr. Taylor Marshall.

    I have rarely seen trads this angry. And not the reactionary ones either who spend all their time online voicing their butthurt. This is one of the few times I have actually seen moderate and faithful gladtrads completely lose it. Not against the Bishop either. But against the reactionaries who have reportedly taken over the college and are messing with our children’s faith and academic future.

    The reactionaries have ignited the anger of the moderate majority within the indult. Keep in mind the bishop tried to handle this quietly, the reactionaries made it public, but Dr Taylor Marshall touched a nerve among a silent majority of traditionalist by voicing their concerns. In fact, they are angrier than they were last summer when Catholic Answers ran its two shows on radical traditionalism (even though Catholic Answers made it clear at the time that faithful trads were not the target of the two shows).

    Most trads with who I have been in touch do not care whether or not the bishop’s actions were valid canonically. There is a sense–one I share–that the bishop needed to act. And even if this was overturned canonically at a higher level many of us still would not send our kids to FMC without a big change in faculty and direction, along with public assurances the college will not teach material denigrating the Novus Ordo, the post-conciliar ecclesiastical hierarchy, or the Second Vatican Council.

    What I find most interesting though is the present desperation among high-profile defenders of FMC’s current direction. The all seem to be in internal damage-control mode. I suspect they recognize that their gambit against the bishop has backfired among the silent majority of faithful trads, many of who are making alternate arrangements for their children’s post-secondary education and are demanding the bishop carry out a full investigation of what is going on a the college.

    The bishop is basically in a no-win situation with traditionalists right now. If pushes hard, he will draw more anger from the reactionaries. On the other hand, if he backs down without resolving the issue, he will face angry responses from faithful trads concerned for their children’s spiritual and educational welfare.

  • Eerie de Veré

    P.S. Mark – Another question that faithful trads are thinking about right now, that perhaps we should throw out to our Catholic brothers and sisters who follow the OF – What is the link between the college and Fisher More Academy? Does the academy (I believe grades 8 to 12) share the same ideological leanings as those alleged at the college? If so, what are some alternative options for faithful trads with high-school children?