Fr. Angelo Mary Geiger…

Fr. Angelo Mary Geiger… March 31, 2014

on why bishop-bashing is wrong.

I agree with him in part: the orgy of bishop-bashing by Reactionaries who all seem to imagine they are Catherine of Siena Redivivus has become ridiculous. On the other hand, I think that, as our bishops have demonstrated on multiple occasions, when a bishop is engaged in criminal behavior it is not only a right, but a positive duty of the faithful to call him out publicly.

The thing is, Reactionary hysterics treat almost everything as though it is a wilful sin and a crime on the part of “the bishops” (that wonderful amorphous gestalt scapegoat for all Reactionary rage about everything). Fr. Angelo (and, by the way, Reactionary hysterics) are quite right that Michael Voris is being inconsistent in his adamant insistence on refusing to treat the pope with the radical lack of charity that Reactionaries demand in their hatred of the grave sins of faith, hope, and love.

The thing is, I take that inconsistency as a hopeful sign. It means the Mr. Voris recognizes that such Reactionary lack of charity to the Holy Father and such embrace of despair, hopelessness, and malice are wrong. My hope is that he will work backward from this fundamental apprehension of truth and apply the same standards to the other people he so often treats uncharitably in his attack videos–that he will consider the possibility that “the bishops” are not the monsters he makes them out to be, that people like Karl Keating and Jimmy Akin and Fr. Robert Barron are not the corrupt stooges of “the Church of Nice” he has taught his audience to defame them as, that people who receive communion in the hand are not tainted with heresy as he suggests they are, that the Knights of Columbus are not the Enemy.

Reactionaries, in contrast, attack Voris for not being sufficiently despairing, hopeless, and malicious and want him to extend his bad treatment of the 99% of the Church they already loathe and despise to the Pope as well. They think the resolution to the inconsistency is to despise the pope too. I think the resolution to the inconsistency is to treat the Church’s members with the same charity Mr. Voris extends to the Pope.

And that, by the way, includes Reactionaries who–as loathesome, Pharisaic, prideful, anti-semitic, self-pitying, and repellent as their behavior often is–and as much as they would love to see a vile “neo-Catholic” like me kicked out of the Church–remain members of the Body of Christ who are welcome at the Table they would deny to me and most of the rest of the Church. You can pick your friends, but you are stuck with you family. That’s life inside the herd of cats that is the Catholic Church.

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