I’m nine years a convert to the Catholic Faith, three years a ‘tradvert’, and currently thick as thieves with those Fr Z/Steve Skojec/Taylor Marshall/Cardinal Burke-loving characters who cause you and your readers such grief and distress for the future of the Church in America. The rules of tribal combat would indicate that I should join them in grinding your heart and soul into the dust and doing my level-best to drive you out of the flock once and for all (and I will admit, mea maxima culpa, there are moments when I’ve been sorely tempted to do so)…but there are two big reasons why I’m NOT going to do that:
You intrigue me. �
1) When it comes to a lot of the political controversy that has dogged you over the years, you and I are actually in agreement on several points (though certainly not all):
* I agree that waterboarding is torture and that torture is not an acceptable means of interrogation;
* I agree that the sting tactics used by Live Action and C.MP. are not exactly compatible with traditional Thomistic teaching on lying;
Good! The tragedy of watching conservative Catholics embrace lying for Jesus not only for this but for the Liar-in-Chief has been one of the many things that has broken my heart.
* I agree that free-market capitalism is just as dangerous to souls (and just as anti-Catholic) as socialism or communism;
* I agree that the pro-life movement as a whole has shot itself in the foot – from multiple angles – by focusing so much on abortion/euthanasia laws and court cases without ALSO trying to build an integral, holistic Culture of Life;
It is the greatest failure and most toxic subculture in the Church. The use of the unborn as human shields for all the evils the “prolife” Cult of Trump now passionately defends instead of defending the unborn is a massive scandal and had wreck the witness of both the prolife movement and of so-called “faithful conservative” Catholics.
* and I agree that choosing to bow down and worship the Swamp Creature (as my former prof, Larry Chapp, once called him) as if he were the reincarnation of Constantine was basically the point at which conservative/traditional American Catholics popped their collective cyanide capsules.
2) As vehemently as I might disagree with you on various fine points (and probably some big points) of theology, your works have been a great help to me in recovering a right attitude toward myself and my fellow Catholics – in particular this very sobering piece from InsideCatholic:
I’m glad. All I’ve ever wanted to do is try to serve holy Church as best I can.
Whenever I recognise that I’m letting anger, fear, resentment, et al, get the best of me, reading that article does a lot to help me remember that, far from being the Greatest Catholic of All Time, I am in fact the commander-in-chief of the cowards, shufflers, and snobs.
A GKC ref!
Being that I’m both on the mild end of the autism spectrum and blessed/cursed with a triple helping of Italian-German-Irish cussedness, a healthy dose of humility is basically my life preserver in the storm.
For all of us.
Therefore, instead of joining my unfortunate confreres in ripping you to shreds, I’m going to do something you suggested, which I should have started doing years ago: From henceforth, I shall be including in my daily Rosary the intention of ‘peace of heart, mind, and soul for Mark Shea, and true and lasting peace and healing between himself and the Trad Subculture’.
That is very kind of you. And it may be bearing some fruit already. The Holy Spirit has been urging me to pray “deliver them from evil and bless them with your grace” for my enemies.
I know it doesn’t excuse or make up for the viciousness of my fellow trads, or the cowardice of those who say that ‘not all trads are like that’ without doing anything to effectuate that statement, but I hope it will show there’s at least one reactionary fussbudget out there who’s trying to do the right thing – and I pray it will bear its intended fruit on all counts!
I really, truly appreciate it. On line, I have found genuine love from Trads to be rare as hen’s teeth. Your gracious letter moves me and I am grateful to you for it!
In the meantime, even if the Truly True Catholics have soured you on ever attending a Traditional Latin Mass again, I’d still like to extend an invitation to my parish. There’s at least one person there who’d be happy to see you 🙂
Thank you so much. If I am ever in your town again, I will take you up on that!
God bless you, sir!