Wednesday, 12 May 2021

The Rad Trads Who Weren’t

OMM takes on another article that claims 'NO good! TLM bad! Church of Nice good! Catholic Church bad!'

From One Mad Mom

These types of articles (ones that Peter Feuerherd is fond of writing) make me sick. It’s nothing but divisive, and like most in the U.S. and in the Church, we’ve had it. We just want to go to Mass for the Sacraments. We don’t want to sit in judgement of every little thing.  Most of us have our preferences and we choose a parish where we are at peace and can focus on God. We don’t want to go to Mass and make it all about us. That’s not what Mass is about. It’s about giving to God. Or, at least, that’s how it should be.

Two very different parishes point to divisions in the church

Is Catholic pluralism fostering hard-rock divisions in the church?

IN THE PEWS PETER FEUERHERD

No, Peter. You and yours would be fostering the divisions.

Two Sunday morning Masses in Charlotte, North Carolina, seen via video posted on each parish website, tell a story.

At St. Peter Catholic Church downtown, a Jesuit community, Mass goes on much like it does in most of the country. Jesuit Father James Shea, the pastor, faces the congregation. A female lector provides a reading. The homily brings in the gospel reading for the day, which describes Jesus healing Peter’s mother-in-law. There’s a lesson there about women’s service, says Shea.

“Our church will be much better off if more women had more authority and more leadership roles,” he says in the homily.”

Peter isn’t the only one fanning the fires of division, so is Fr. Shea. Always stoking the feminist envy instead of just being thankful, especially after COVID, that we are able to have the sacraments at all.  Maybe, just maybe, a little less envy and more thankfulness would go a long way to healing those “rock-hard” divisions Peter talks of?

Ten miles northeast, near the University of North Carolina campus, St. Thomas Aquinas Church offers another kind of liturgy. The vestments and costuming are elaborate, with a few dozen participants near the altar. Everyone serving at Mass is a male cleric, and they are accompanied by male altar servers. The women in the congregation are bedecked with head coverings. Communion is on the tongue, a practice questioned by some during the pandemic.

OK, this is misleading in soooo many ways! I can only assume it’s with the intent to divide. I went to their live stream page. Thomas Aquinas has several Masses, four in the Ordinary Form and one Extraordinary Form. So, I compared them. Guess what, Peter? The Ordinary Form Mass I saw had a woman lector, just like at St. Peter’s, and lo and behold, she wasn’t wearing a head-covering. Probably a lot more without, too, but we can’t tell because the camera doesn’t show much of congregation. And I also saw they only had one altar boy and three priests. You know, the Mass thing is kind of their main job, so it’s nice to actually see priests doing it. The Extraordinary Form Mass on the same day had two altar boys and one priest. Concelebrating is not really a thing in that Mass.

I have no idea which Mass Peter was looking at because, as usual, the liberals never give links. I went to the Masses before Lent since that was the only clue as to which on it was and I found, in the Ordinary Form for the Sunday before Lent a reference to “spiritual weapons for Lent” as mentioned below. https://venue.streamspot.com/366c2a74

As far as “a few dozen participants near the altar” goes, he’s unclear whether he’s talking the congregation or serving in some capacity. I haven’t seen one Mass, including Easter that has near “dozens” serving so I’m guessing he means congregation. Of course, you can only see the first couple of rows, so…

And why anyone would disparage a practice that is a proven feeder for the priesthood is beyond me. Well, I guess it’s not. Girls must be jealous because we tell them they should be. (insert disgusted emoji)

The homily focuses on issues such as preparing “spiritual weapons” for the upcoming season of Lent and decrying a recent Pew study that indicates a minority of Catholics accept the fullness of church teaching on the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

The horrors!!! BTW, I don’t think the priests at St. Thomas Aquinas were decrying the Pew study. Still couldn’t find the homily containing both of these things. I think they were probably lamenting it because it’s true, but probably not because of priests and churches like St. Thomas Aquinas parish.

Charlotte, a region of more than 2.5 million people, the home of the Billy Graham Library and Billy Graham Parkway, is a classic booming New South city. It is still overwhelmingly Protestant and evangelical, but Catholic transplants from the North have created their own inroads. The Catholic Diocese of Charlotte encompasses western North Carolina and includes more than 235,000 Catholics. In many ways, the liturgical diversity of the diocese reflects that of the U.S. church as a whole. However, upon closer look at these two parishes—and others like them—it is unclear whether St. Peter and St. Thomas Aquinas are just two examples of the diversity of our faith or reflect growing hard-rock divisions.

A couple things. Peter’s using a 2010 count. The estimate now for the Diocese of Charlotte is 400,000. https://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/article245691790.html

Next, why is “diversity” a problem for Peter as long as everyone is obedient to the Church and to their Bishop? The bishop and Church allow what the bishop and Church allow. Again, most of us don’t care except extremists on either end of the spectrum. I go where I feel like I’m supposed to go, and I assume most of my fellow Catholics do too. For some reason Peter is drawn to the disgruntled and he manages to show, without intending to, the whining only goes one way when it comes to diocesan “diversity.”

“Culture clash”

The two parishes described previously illustrate a tension that is going on across the country between parishes that see themselves as living out the legacy of the Second Vatican Council and those that have become known as rad trads (shorthand for radical traditionalists), a movement that is quietly transforming parishes around the country.

Oh, for heaven’s sake. St. Thomas Aquinas is a diocesan parish. It is allowed and approved by the bishop to have BOTH forms of the Mass, which they do. Deal. They’re at peace with it. Why should this be a problem for any other parish or person who does not attend? And let’s not try to use terms that were coined to essentially describe the SSPX and the SSPV (and that’s just a statement of fact not to pick a fight), to describe a diocesan church. Plus, it’s kind of laughable to think a “rad trad” church would have the Divine Mercy devotion. As you can see here, those like the SSPX frown upon that.  But Peter wouldn’t know that or maybe he does. He’s just an envy monger. It’s quite sad.

A prime example is St. Matthew Catholic Church, another parish in the Diocese of Charlotte, that once boasted a congregation of more than 30,000 and claimed to be the largest Catholic parish in the United States.

It may not be so large at the moment, as the parish reacts both to COVID-19 and a change in parish leadership.

So the drop could be COVID-19 but it’s probably reverence? Oh, OK.

Jane Francisco, a former parishioner at St. Matthew, moved to Charlotte from the Philadelphia area and immediately gravitated to the parish. Led by Msgr. John McSweeney, who retired in 2017, Sunday Mass at St. Matthew routinely filled the 2,000-seat sanctuary, with rollicking music that combined Gregorian chant with contemporary Christian evangelical pop.

The parish was huge, but McSweeney offered a small group for just about everyone. Some 7,000 parish volunteers participated in 103 different ministries. There were small groups for every available interest, from scripture study to social justice ministries to support groups for those who were divorced and remarried.

Rollicking music with chant.  Love to see that. Does it sound something like Mister Mister’s “Kyrie Eleison”? Bahaha! Throw in a little Greek and we’ll call it chant?

“Father McSweeney could make the parish seem small,” says Francisco. However, since McSweeney retired, she says, the parish no longer has that welcoming vibe.

Close the parish down. The vibe is gone. You’d think the incense would help a little. It’s groovy.

One homily earlier this year declared that only Catholics could expect to go to heaven. Another argued that Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez should be made a cardinal for challenging newly elected President Joe Biden’s stance on abortion. The music has a more formalistic tone. While the Mass is still in English, parishioners expect that Latin will be incorporated soon.

What? Catholic stuff in a Catholic parish? NO WAY! That is simply unacceptable.

A similar drama is happening all over the country: In come the smells and bells, out goes an emphasis on inclusion and social justice. Former parishioners may leave for another parish, or even another denomination, but their ranks are often replaced by new parishioners, often from miles away and often wealthy and more likely to give large sums to the church.”

And there’s the crux of it. The “division hockers” don’t seem to think there’s a problem with parishioners who would LEAVE THE CHURCH AND HER SACRAMENTS because something didn’t suit them. Unbelievable.  If people are going to leave the Faith (not just that particular church) over “smells and bells” or even Marty Haugen music (the flip side), they never understood the Faith to begin with. The bishop was right to bring in someone who teaches the Faith.

Some church insiders argue this is nothing new, merely liturgical pluralism in action, a necessary counterreaction to folk guitar and tambourines, a reclaiming of the riches of church music and chant. They are also quick to note that the rad trad parishes are often filled with young, large families, replacing aging Baby Boomers who came of age during Vatican II but whose vision of church renewal, they say, has largely passed.

Rad trads fill social media insisting that they are instigating a cultural renaissance. It’s about offering a worship haven removed from a coarsened culture, proponents say.

Again with the “rad trad” moniker? Again, these are all diocesan Churches. The diocese is booming and vocations are up so what is the problem.  According to the website of St. Matthew’s, the last one named, it doesn’t even have an Extraordinary form of the Mass, either. You can’t even throw “trad” at that one, much less “rad trad.” For heaven’s sake, it even has a Life Teen Mass. Peter is telling some pretty darn tall tales to try to slam the Diocese of Charlotte.

However, not everyone feels that the changes are beneficial. Father John Hoover, a priest of the Diocese of Charlotte who lives in a contemplative community in Mount Holly, North Carolina, says that post-Vatican II Catholics in the Diocese of Charlotte often feel like spiritual orphans, left adrift as parishes transform themselves into traditionalist models. The region is known for parish shopping as Catholics seek out amenable spiritual and religious communities.

Oh-ho! Can we talk about Fr. Hoover? He says Mass in an autobody shop on Sundays for a bunch of people who sound very similar to Peter.  I’ve already covered that here. In fact, Peter probably just got paid to re-write the same article he’s already written. He’s on a mission!

At St. Gabriel Catholic Church, a parish just to the south of Charlotte, the church’s Just Life group, a chapter of a social justice advocacy organization which attracted interest from around the area, was disbanded by the pastor for not being Catholic enough during one of these transitions. “We didn’t know what that means,” says Francisco, a former member of the group. 

Not Catholic enough? How about not Catholic at all? Feel free to peruse their (or rather, his) site and tell me where the Catholicism is. In fact, I’ll toss in his Twitter page. In later posts, he’s really into pitching his dating advice, but go back a few years. Not Catholic and, in fact, sometimes anti-Catholic or just plain stupid.
https://thejustlife.org/
https://twitter.com/ProfKamm

In response, Francisco and other Diocese of Charlotte parishioners formed a chapter of Voice of the Faithful, which grew out of the sex abuse scandals in the early part of the century in the Archdiocese of Boston and is dedicated to changing the church from within, particularly in the areas of scandal response, financial accountability, and lay input into parish and diocesan decisions.

Of course they did.

Others feel like the new rad trad parishes are less open to lay ministries of any kind.” Well, again, no “rad trad” parishes there, but please do look at the parish websites. I tripped over quite a few ministries and groups working with soup kitchens, etc.

Don and Janet Garbison were parishioners at St. Matthew for 24 years, and they describe a parish that was alive with lay ministries. St. Matthew was once known as a model parish, able to pull together tens of thousands of parishioners and make them work as one. Now, they say, projects are consigned to either clergy or parish staff and lay input is no longer considered.

Don Garbison once toured the country visiting parishes attempting to emulate the success of St. Matthew, including St. Monica Catholic Church in Santa Monica, California. “Nobody is asking for that anymore,” he says.

Oh, heck no!  If St. Monica’s is your example, I’m glad the bishop put someone new in there. Big doesn’t mean faithful. Two very different things. Haven’t checked in with St. Monica’s in awhile but last time was, I think, their Mother’s Day Mass in 2016 after Prince (the musician) died. Woman gave homily and the Communion hymn was “I Would Die 4 You.” Sadly, not joking. I’d love to say that’s outrageous for them, but it’s not.

Don sounds like his pet whatever was taken outside and shot because it was sick. Take a look at St. Matthew’s bulletin for projects going on the last week. They’ve got a lot of outreach going on. 

One more thing that Peter Feuerherd and the Garbisons fail to mention? The last pastor’s credible abuse of minors. Did you notice they skipped from Msgr. McSweeney to the smells and bells guys? Probably still had that vibe under Fr. Patrick Hoare. Miss him, too?

“It used to be our opinions mattered. They listened. Most of the time they treated us like we were important. Today they don’t know who we are,” Don says. People have left, he says, in part because of COVID-19 restrictions, in part in reaction to the changes.

Janet Garbison is a convert. Fifty years ago, she felt the excitement generated by Vatican II. Now she speaks forlornly of a church that used to invite lay participation but is now, she says, dominated by clericalism.

“If it wasn’t for Vatican II I would not be a Catholic. It has been tremendous for me. I bought into Vatican II,” she says. But now, she says, “it’s totally changed. It’s not what Vatican II spoke of.”

Janet’s a prime example of what’s wrong in the Church. You’re Catholic because you believe in the doctrines of the Church. You believe in the Sacraments, the Real Presence and you can’t live without them. You don’t become Catholic simply because you want lay participation in the liturgy.

“Men of nobility”

Father Hoover believes that one reason for this shift is seminary recruitment and education. Pastoral leadership, says Hoover, should emerge from parish life rather than being imposed from outside.

A pastor is not “outside” the family. Literally means “father.” That would be the head of the family.

Hoover describes a diocesan clergy racked with divisions between those formed in a post-Vatican II consciousness, mostly older, and younger rad trad priests.

 Peter “You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means” Feuerherd is declaring “rad trad” priests celebrate the Ordinary Form of the Mass. This is so misleading but give him an “A” for effort in trying to make them sound as sinister as possible.

Bishop Peter Jugis of Charlotte rarely talks to the media and did not respond to inquiries for this article. But Hoover, who is 76, says the bishop welcomes rad trad new pastors, sometimes from dioceses outside of Charlotte. They provide the steady stream of clergy necessary to minister in Charlotte, which is grappling with a growing number of Catholics and a declining number of clergy.

Oh, don’t worry Peter. The diocese has had to build a whole new seminary to house all of their seminarians which, again, is probably why the bishop is appointing guys with a focus on the Faith and God to be pastors. This is also why those pastors are relying heavily on altar BOYS (because everyone knows and studies show that’s where the vocations usually start). People should start being thrilled or they’ll be fewer places to receive the Sacraments and attend Mass. Bishop Jurgis has got it right. My diocese has had to close more and more churches due to lack of staffing. The changes made in our diocese and in our local seminary have boosted vocations, but we have yet to get to those ordinations. Bishop Jurgis has started reaping the rewards. His seminary is booming.

“Seminaries are a big part of the problem,” says Hoover. “They are institutional, cold, and ineffective,” and, he says, expensive to run. He suggests they be dismantled in favor of an apprentice system, much like the system in the church before the Council of Trent established a seminary training system featuring institutions often spiritually and physically apart from the rest of the community.

This is where Fr. Hoover doesn’t understand it. Vocations don’t start in the seminary. They start in the local parish, and the “apprentice” system he should be promoting are altar boys, but Peter and his ilk think them sexist. Fr. Hoover’s idea of letting Fr. Hoovers form the next generation? No thanks.

Bishop Jugis has put extensive diocesan resources into a new junior seminary to train and welcome this new generation of priests. The focus, according to a diocesan appeal, is to create “men of nobility.”

A pattern has emerged: More young men are entering intent on creating a pre-Vatican II style of priesthood they may have read about but never personally experienced.

You’ve just spent 10 pages knocking the supposed “pre-Vatican II” young priests in your diocese. Your new seminarians have been exposed to them and many other good priests which is why the Diocese of Charlotte has seminarians most don’t. If “pre-Vatican II style of priesthood” means one devoted to the Faith, the Sacraments and the salvation of souls, bring it on. Definitely been lacking.

Jesuit Father James Martin, popular spiritual writer and editor-at-large for America magazine, also notes how some U.S. seminaries have taken a lurch rightward in recent years. A pattern has emerged: More young men are entering intent on creating a pre-Vatican II style of priesthood they may have read about but never personally experienced. Some gravitate to the online world of Catholic conservative websites, a kind of parallel magisterium led by writers and preachers from Church Militant, Lifesite News, and EWTN.

He repeats the same canard in every article and trots out James Martin, SJ almost as often. Maybe he should be asking why they aren’t seeking the groovy, great vibes priesthood? Maybe they’re looking for something, well, with a little more Catholicism?

“It is an important story in the church that nearly everyone is missing: A wave of priests formed in this way who will, in a few years, become pastors, often at odds with what their parishioners have appreciated at parishes that have welcomed their participation,” says Martin.

Would. You. Please. Stop.  Those who are at odds listen to the likes of James Martin, SJ and Peter. They cheer on division. All must be united in liberal dissent and reject authentic Catholicism!

“In many cases I have heard of newly ordained priests simply disbanding parish councils, removing women from roles of leadership, renovating liturgical settings, and upending the entire life of the parish, all without consultation from their parishioners. It leads to feelings of betrayal, isolation, and anger and often makes some of the most active Catholics leave their parishes,” he says.

Because they’ve been taught to be little narcissists by people like you, Fr. Martin?

“The purpose of the parish”

Chase Jackson is a 26-year-old Catholic convert who is married and a father of two. He regularly attends the Tridentine Mass at Our Lady of Grace Church in Greensboro, part of the Diocese of Charlotte, and says there is an intensity of faith he experiences at the traditional Mass community.

“I feel like everyone going there has strong faith. They believe in what the church teaches and in making it a priority in their lives,” he says.

The preaching, he says, defends church teaching, particularly on issues such as abortion. There is little effort to be deferential to those who might disagree, and that’s a good thing, believes Jackson.

“Being like a real father, calling you to something higher—it makes you evaluate what you need to change,” he says about the preaching at his parish. “It’s a real faith, not wanting to hold back.”

The ancient liturgical rites, he believes, convey a simple message: “God is present. This is serious, this is sacred.” For him, small symbols convey that message, such as altar rails and kneeling at communion.

A-MEN!

Pope Francis, says Jackson, remains a contentious concern among traditionalists. Many are concerned that he is too willing to accommodate modern culture. He points to the pope’s famous question—“Who am I to judge?”—a response to a question about homosexuality, as sowing confusion.

“A good Father would be willing to say that there is a right way to live and a wrong way to live,” says Jackson.”

Here’s a wee bit of paraphrasing. Hey, Chase, feel free to let me know how you feel about it. First, do you consider yourself a “rad trad”? I’m pretty sure you and I have the same definition.

While some, like Jackson, find comfort and meaning in the certainty of the rad trad movement, others feel befuddled by the change. For this latter group of Catholics, an integral part of belonging to a parish is lay involvement in social justice and other parish ministries, and they are unsure how to navigate belonging in a parish community without these opportunities.

Again, if the Eucharist and the Sacraments aren’t your primary focus, you will be lost, my friend.

At St. John Fisher Chapel University Parish in Auburn Hills, Michigan, a part of the Archdiocese of Detroit, new parish leadership resulted in some 150 parishioners leaving the church, according to 70-year-old John Smyntek, a parishioner who went through the exit.

“What was an active parish ministry outreach to Central America and to local food charities has been disbanded. The contract of the former music director, a woman married to another woman, was not renewed. Homilies focus on damnation.”

…and a thousand more people joined the parish after? Let’s be honest, again. The music director who was publicly known to have married her “partner” was fired by the diocese. It wasn’t the pastor, who knew about it and didn’t fire her. Now Smyntek is piling on the new pastor. And did we really have to go all the way to Michigan to pile on the Diocese of Charlotte?

“I prefer something more hopeful,” says Smyntek. He acknowledges there is a small cohort of younger people—the parish is affiliated with the campus ministry of nearby Oakland University—that revels in the assertion of a counterculture Catholicism, complete with elaborate rituals.

Elaborate rituals like, say, a Mass lasting longer than 40 minutes? LOL!

While some, like Jackson, find comfort and meaning in the certainty of the rad trad movement, others feel befuddled by the change.

“It doesn’t appeal to me. I don’t understand it. I did it in high school,” says Smyntek.”

And it’s all about you, isn’t it, John?  Anyone remember Christ? Anyone at all?

“It is something heard about all over the nation, says Donna Doucette, executive director of Voice of the Faithful, based in Massachusetts.

“We hear this often. New bishops come in and toss out multiple lay-led initiatives and lay leaders, replace Vatican II pastors with less-experienced traditionalists and with conservative religious order priests, and support the more rabid extremist pastors,” she says.”

Alright. Let’s talk about Voice of the Faithful for the kiddies unaware. First, I find it adorbs that they link to this very article from Peter on their Facebook page. Next, they’re just like every other liberal group. They use the horrible, awful abuse scandal to promote their liberal agenda:

https://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/deaconsbench/2008/06/Voice-of-the-Faithful-weighs-in-on-women-priests.html

https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=7303

https://www.futurechurchnews.org/article/futurechurch-association-of-u-s-catholic-priests-voice-of-the-faithful-and-others-address-womens-status-in-the-catholic-church

Tensions rose during the 2020 election cycle as some rad trad priests preached regularly from the pulpits about what they said was the Catholic imperative to reelect Donald Trump, says Doucette.

Can you name one? I saw many homilies on not being able to vote for Biden but missed the “you must vote for Trump” one.

But for Jackson, the radical traditionalist movement is being unfairly maligned. He, for one, has no desire to deny others the post-Vatican II Mass if they want that. “We are being seen as the oppressor,” he says. “But it’s not to belittle or kick anyone. It’s a way to get everyone out of the cultural mess.”

By contrast, St. Gabriel’s Francisco says that it isn’t enough for rad trads and more progressive Catholics to stay in their own separate parish bubbles. She is determined to encourage a church that is more inclusive, inclined toward addressing issues of social injustice, and welcoming to all.

And there you have it. Anyone who buys the Church’s teachings hook line and sinker must drop all of that. They can’t possibly address social issues too.

“I am 76 years old,” she says. “And I am going to die fighting.”

Fighting what? Yes, maybe realizing you’re going to die would be a good thing to help you focus on the Faith rather than yourself. 

CONTRA GENTILES - BOOK THREE: PROVIDENCE -Chapter 52 THAT NO CREATED SUBSTANCE CAN, BY ITS OWN NATURAL POWER, ATTAIN THE VISION OF GOD IN HIS ESSENCE

[1] However, it is not possible for any created substance, by its own power, to be able to attain this manner of divine vision.

[2] Indeed, a lower nature cannot acquire that which is proper to a higher nature except through the action of the higher nature to which the property belongs. For instance, water cannot be hot except through the action of fire. Now, to see God through His divine essence is proper to the divine nature, for it is the special prerogative of any agent to perform its operation through its own form. So, no intellectual substance can see God through His divine essence unless God is the agent of this operation.

[3] Again, the form proper to any being does not come to be in another being unless the first being is the agent of this event, for an agent makes something like itself by communicating its form to another thing. Now, it is impossible to see the substance of God unless the divine essence itself is the form whereby the intellect understands, as we have proved. Therefore, it is not possible for a created substance to attain this vision, except through divine action.

[4] Besides, if any two factors are to be mutually united, so that one of them is formal and the other material, their union must be completed through action coming from the side of the formal factor, and not through the action of the one that is material. In fact, form is the principle of action, while matter is the principle of passion. For the created intellect to see God’s substance, then, the divine essence itself must be joined as an intelligible form to the intellect, as we have proved. Therefore, it is not possible for the attainment of this vision to be accomplished by a created intellect except through divine action.

[5] Furthermore, “that which is of itself is the cause of that which is through another being.” But the divine intellect sees the divine substance through itself, for the divine intellect is the divine essence itself whereby the substance of God is seen, as was proved in Book One [45]. However, the created intellect sees the divine substance through the essence of God, as through something other than itself. Therefore, this vision cannot come to the created intellect except through God’s action.

[6] Moreover, whatever exceeds the limitations of a nature cannot accrue to it except through the action of another being. For instance, water does not tend upward unless it is moved by something else. Now, seeing God’s substance transcends the limitations of every created nature; indeed, it is proper for each created intellectual nature to understand according to the manner of its own substance. But divine substance cannot be understood in this way, as we showed above. Therefore, the attainment by a created intellect to the vision of divine substance is not possible except through the action of God, Who transcends all creatures.

[7] Thus, it is said: “The grace of God is life everlasting” (Rom. 6:23). In fact, we have shown that man’s happiness, which is called life everlasting, consists in this divine vision, and we are said to attain it by God’s grace alone, because such a vision exceeds all the capacity of a creature and it is not possible to reach it without divine assistance. Now, when such things happen to a creature, they are attributed to God’s grace. And the Lord says: “I will manifest Myself to him” (John 14:21).

Next - CONTRA GENTILES - BOOK THREE: PROVIDENCE -
Chapter 53 THAT THE CREATED INTELLECT NEEDS AN INFLUX OF DIVINE LIGHT IN ORDER TO SEE GOD THROUGH HIS ESSENCE

The Tightening Noose of Diversity Ideology

Father issues another warning on the looming threat of 'woke', Left-wing totalitarianism.

From Crisis

By Fr John A. Perricone

Attention to one’s duties to state in life prevents normal Catholics from keeping track of the latest depredations of cancel culture. That is as it should be. Staring at the societal collapse only leaves one’s soul depleted, while engendering a sterile rage. Reliable sources such as this one should be sufficient in fulfilling one’s obligation to be informed, preventing either a surfeit of grim news or a dangerous naiveté, unbecoming of the Catholic citizen.

For those with their mind on better things, a small incident might have escaped them. In a recent hearing in the United States Senate on the vote of some of Mr. Biden’s nominees, Senators Tammy Duckworth (D., Illinois.) and Mazie Hirono (D., Hawaii) threatened to hold them up. They would vote only “diversity candidates.” They were disconcerted by the paucity of Asian Americans on Mr. Biden’s list. After assurances that more officials of the desired background would be coming, they withdrew their threat. In the words of a prominent political journal, “In other words, the senators said they were prepared to engage in racial (and other forms of) discrimination in order to extort more discrimination.” Exactly.

America has become a willing hostage to a new despotism: diversity parading as equality. It strangles society because it not only erases equality but undermines true diversity. Equality assumes that each member of society is allowed to rise to the level of their own excellence, a potential deeply knit into man made in imago et similitudo Dei. Diversity is the blessed result, a multi-textured loveliness which results when equality moves as it should. Let a polity surrender equality for cruel facsimiles, then despotism reigns, excellence dies, diversity is discarded, and unity crumbles under the jackboot of injustice.

Despotism, because when man is deprived of his freedom to prosper according to God’s designs, then he must submit to other men in place of God. Man’s usurpation of God is always hellish.
Excellence dies, the outcome when man turns his gaze away from the interior springs of his own worth and makes exterior characteristics his summum bonum.

True diversity is discarded, when man is driven to obsess on superficial traits rather than the richness lying in the metaphysical endowments of human nature.

Unity crumbles, for it can only flourish where truth reigns, making itself visible in man’s natural potencies. Impeding these is the most savage injustice.

Consequences of this unraveling of civic order is a daily spectacle of Ideological Diversity. America has witnessed this as every one of its once-reliable institutions fall like dominoes to the reigning ideology of diversity: The Fortune 500, entertainment, journalism, education, government, law, and even the field of sports. Decent Americans cannot but feel as though the walls of ideology are closing in, leaving them gasping for the pure air of right reason. The Wall Street Journal of December 2, 2020 reported: “Nasdaq Inc. is pushing to require the thousands of companies listed on its stock exchange to include women, racial minorities and LGBTQ+ individuals on their boards, in what would be one of the most forceful moves yet to bring diversity to US corporations…requiring listed companies to have at least one woman on their boards, in addition to a director who is a racial minority or one who self-identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer.” Huxley could not have done better. His Brave New World was tame compared to this surreal wonderland.

Aside from the corrosive presence of Diversity Ideology in Nasdaq’s decision, something more disturbing shows itself. Notice the nonchalant omission of even a passing nod to any objective moral norms. An acknowledged howl of rage at moral norms would be welcome, rather than smug indifference. A point has been reached where even attacks upon moral norms are unnecessary, since they have faded into the ether of irrelevance.

We seem to be seeing an unprecedented unraveling of human nature itself. In a little-known 1946 essay by C.S. Lewis, Modern Man and His Categories of Thought, he notes that the original hearers of the message of the Gospel had—in common with the Church—a belief of the supernatural, a fear of divine judgment and an awareness “that the world had once been better than it now was. The Jewish doctrine of the Fall, the Stoic conception of the Golden Age, and the common Pagan reverence for heroes, ancestors, and ancient lawgivers, were in this respect more or less agreed.”

Such common assumptions are no longer in place, and so Lewis believed that the Christian apologist met more resistance from modern man and woman than did the apostles from their audience. Lewis concludes with typical bravura, “I sometimes wonder whether we shall not have to re-convert men to real Paganism as a preliminary to converting them to Christianity. If they were Stoics, Orphics, Mithraists, or (better still) peasants worshipping the Earth, our task might be easier.” Now you can understand Nasdaq. And the unquenchable thirst for diversity.

A modicum of allowance can be made for secular society. After all, they know no better. But such allowance cannot be made for those in the Church who should. Many of them giddily spread the gospel of Diversity Ideology. They are even undeserving of Lenin’s obloquy, “useful idiots.” Perhaps Churchill’s stinging rebuke fits them better, “sheep in sheep’s clothing.” Only a few months ago, a prominent American prelate returning from a Roman visit was asked by a reporter about the agenda for his Archdiocese. He excitedly replied, “To promote diversity.” Wouldn’t Lenin be pleased? And Churchill would howl. The Church should be in the forefront of protecting human dignity, not degrading it. George Orwell was correct when he wrote, “We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.”

What is the obvious? Human dignity is only achieved when man is allowed to reach for the highest excellence that conforms to God’s plan. Permitting every man that opportunity is the mark of the just society. Since excellences will vary upon native born abilities, there will be differences of accomplishment and reward. The natural placements in society result from that free pursuit of excellence. This is the definition of true diversity. Since a decent people will not resent excellence rising to the fore, they will exalt in another’s just accomplishments.

This is what Cicero meant in his De Offciis. Though he employs the word “property,” he was referring to the deeper endowment of the achievements of human persons in their freedom to pursue excellence: “The chief purpose of the establishment of states and constitutional orders was that individual property rights might be secured.… For as I said above, it is the peculiar function of state and city to guarantee to every man the free and undisturbed control of his own property.” Introduction of any other standard but excellence is the belittling of the human person, whether that be race, religion, age, gender, or disability.

Out of this agreeable true diversity emerges a marvelous unity, e pluribus unum. It is not racial or sexual identity that represents diversity, it is the invitation to every human person to excel. Ideological Diversity is the demise of true diversity. Since it is ideology and not truth, it sows disunity, resentment, and implacable hatreds. Obvious to every American eye today are the consequences of Diversity Ideology: distortions of justice and law, a massive corruption of education, and a descent into tribalism, reducing men into a primitive lust for power, filling the vacuum left by the disinterest with truth. Seething resentments bubble over into violence, irreparable divisions, interpersonal strife, and the death of friendship. As Aristotle clearly reminds us in the Politics, it is φιλία (friendship or friendliness) which is the glue of the state.

But ultimately all of these lessons can only be learned from the Church because they are supernatural truths perfecting natural reason. Tis’ a thousand pities that many of the Church’s leaders look to secular ideology rather than sacred truths. The Catholic people beg for bread and receive only the stones of political platitudes. As Robert Reilly recently wrote, “Politics cannot meet the demands of the human soul, for it cannot achieve perfect justice…one must look beyond politics for the spiritual fulfillment for which man hungers…. Socrates showed that any attempt to fulfill the soul’s ultimate desire through politics—by trying to achieve perfect justice here—would transform the state into a totalitarian enterprise.”

Woke diversity is like the creeping overgrowth of a jungle, and the jungle is Hobbes’ “war of all against all.” Decent men must see how it threatens Judeo-Christian civilization as we have known it, to say nothing of our beloved Republic. Tarrying in confronting it is simply not an option. In Shakespeare’s words, “The readiness is all.”