There, but for the Grace of God, go I
By Griff Ruby
Many of us traditional Catholics have already encountered them, perhaps on the Web, or else in literature, correspondance or even in person. Every time we do, we are baffled by them, especially when they pose difficult questions which we may not know precisely the answer to, although we know that there IS an answer. Perhaps we are disgusted by them as well, as rightly we should be. But disgusting as they are, they bear some study, for otherwise what happened to them might happen to us.
They all fell into a trap, and the trap is always the same basic one, namely sin. But this is more than the occasional sin we fall into and promptly confess to our traditional Catholic clergyman, they are overtaken by sin unto apostasy. Their sins have taken them entirely outside the Church. The Bible has terrible things to say about the likes of these; their rescue is very unlikely. For example, "For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentence, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame," (Hebrews 6:4-6).
Again, "For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through licentiousness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error. While they promise liberty, they themselves are are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him he is brought into bondage. For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: 'A dog returns to his own vomit,' and, 'a pig, having washed, returns to wallowing in the mire.'" (2 Peter 2:18-22).
Who am I speaking of? The ex-traditionalists. Those of us who have encountered them know who they are. They walked with us for a time, but were never really of us, and in time their sin found them out. How could anyone who had been in the Novus Ordo, but has since joined tradition, ever leave the glory and spiritual food of the true Mass, Sacraments, teaching, the true Church itself for that matter, to return to the Novus Ordo? While it is easy (and correct) to dismiss all such as rebrobate sinners, deliberate liars and decievers, and clearly of bad faith, and acting in bad faith and with culpable dishonesty, the questions still remain: What happened to them? With what cunning did Satan trick them out of the Kingdom of God? Could the same thing happen to us?
In this essay, I plan a survey of several I personally know about. While I will keep it anonymous as their identities are not relevant to this discussion, those who have encountered any of the ones I have seen fit to discuss here will doubtless know of whom I speak. God has given me insight into their souls, and even the very anatomy of their evil choice. This is nothing supernatural; for "out of the heart's abundance, the mouth speaks," Scripture says, and these villains have all oozed self-betrayal. One has but to read many of their words and put them all together into a cohesive picture to verify the fact that the things I say about them are all true.
Furthermore, in a certain limited sense, I have been there myself. I know what it is to walk away from something I believed to be true, as that is what I did when I left the Jehovah's Witnesses and Watchtower Society. I say a "limited sense" because the Watchtower Society had no real Sacraments and no real contact with God. How fortunate for me that it had not been the real Faith and Church that I had walked out on! But such a departure felt similar. As it was I did subsequently feel spiritually obliged to come to the point that I could actually bring myself to return to the Watchtower Society had they been the real truth. I had been with the Watchtower Society, but I had never been with Christ, though at the time I left it, I honestly thought I had.
If any of the perpetrators I write about want to make the accusation that I am making "character assasination," I need only point out that these "characters" have already "assasinated" their own honesty, integrity, and conscience. The rather serious criminal accusations I make against some of them are real and legally sustainable. They pretend to reject (and encourage others to actually reject) things they know to be true, because it is Truth Himself (Jesus Christ, the Way the Truth, and the Life) whom they are really fighting, and they know it. While their sad cases are valuable as object lessons, these wretched creatures have earned the same degree of contempt as is proper for terrorists who bomb airports and buildings (with people in them) and kidnap tourists.
The Church is not made of perfect people
XH was once a lay coordinator for an SSPX chapel in Chicago, but he had his own ideas about how things should be run. He and several others of the various lay coordinators of said chapel would get together for discssions of various issues pertaining to the running and operation of the chapel, but in time such sessions degenerated into mere "gripe" sessions where their members largely talked mostly about all the things they didn't like about the way the SSPX was running things, or being run. Truth to tell, there were some difficulties stemming from the fact that the Archbishop had just passed away and no one in his organization possessed his organizational skills to the degree he did. Needless to say, some gripes and complaints did emerge, and the chapel soon began following its own policies about such things as what books it would stock in its chapel store, certain financial affairs, and who should be able to use the facilities for what other purposes and so forth.
Now in point of fact, such detail policies would normally be for the owners of the chapel, but the managers could also set such policies, at the direction of the owner. The owner of the chapel was the SSPX and the lay coordinators were the managers. That was the relationship, something one of the managers (XH) forgot. Unilaterally he and the other lay coordinators simply began operating according to their own rules, hoping no one would notice or care. The SSPX for its part was coping with the loss of both Abp. Lefebvre and Bp. De Castro-Meyer, and was also in the process of replacing Fr. Laisney (who took a "hands-off" approach) with Fr. Scott (who took a "hands-on" approach) as District Superior for the district of the United States. Surely, if one obscure small chapel bends the rules a bit, especially where there is so many bigger problems and a major transition going on higher up in the SSPX hierarchy, who's to notice?
As it turned out, Fr. Scott did find out what was going on, and failing to bring the chapel coordinators in line with how he wanted things to be run, he put out the intractible chapel coordinators, even by changing the locks on the chapel to protect it from being plundered by the coordinators, including and especially XH. Perhaps such a preemptive act on Fr. Scott's part could be construed as heavy-handed, but when one hears the litany of "terrible" things Fr. Scott did to XH, one has to wonder what he was reacting to. It is unlikely in the extreme (I admit not absolutely impossible) that anyone would do such things without a reason, but it is even less likely for the sort of person who would do such things without a reason, to be promoted to such a prominent station, and to be allowed to keep it over many years, as Fr. Scott has since gone on to do.
The following can be gleaned from the account provided by XH himself, and also from other sources: Fr. Scott felt that an SSPX bookstore should only carry SSPX-published books, or at least books that had been purchased from the SSPX even if the SSPX had simply purchased them from others. Space was limited and it was important to insure that there would be enough space for all the Angelus Press and Sarto House publications to be displayed or at least readily available in stock, along with any other preferred books. The Chapel coordinators, and especially XH who was treasurer at the time, were investing in various Catholic books from other publishers directly to be stocked in the chapel bookstore, to the extent that SSPX publications were being crowded out. Another thing Fr. Scott felt was that the chapel should only be used for sacred purposes and that secular political meetings, however good the politics of the group, were inappropriate there. XH and the coordinators were allowing chapel facilities to be used by the local chapter of the John Birch Society, and probably other groups as well.
Fr. Scott had directed the coordinators to cease these practices, but they weren't listening, or if they were, they said "sure, whatever you say," and went on doing what they were already doing before, obstinately ignoring the direction given to them. Upon learning what they were doing Fr. Scott acted preemptively as described above. He was too late, and either XH himself or one of the other ousted coordinators had already made off with some vestments, other sacred articles, and some of the chapel funds. Fr. Scott closed the chapel's checking account which which had been being used for various purposes for which it had not been authorized.
Of course, none of XH's account of events includes any real hint of what he had been doing to provoke such a strong reaction in Fr. Scott. To hear him talk "I was just doing what I was supposed to do, minding the affairs of the chapel, and then suddenly, for no reason at all, Fr. Scott just gets angry and does all these strange things." Yeah, right, uh huh, sure. XH had thought of the chapel as his own little kingdom, but Fr. Scott had to come along and tell him otherwise.
The upshot of all of that conflict was that XH soon after started finding all sorts of "problems" with the SSPX, but clearly his main problem is with Fr. Scott himself. And guess what? He may even have found a thing or two. Surprize, the SSPX is NOT perfect! It has problems, sometimes its priests have been known to fail to act responsibly, or watch their public conduct, or make good decisions. Why, they seem to have almost as much problems as the Church had when She was the same size as the SSPX was at this time. There were nearly 400 priests then and perhaps as many as half a dozen or so out of all the nearly 400 might have actually been bad apples. Stuff like that happens, especially in large organizations. It is unavoidable.
So what is at work in the apostasy of XH? At the bottom is a stance of total unforgiveness towards Fr. Scott personally, and therefore with him all that is allied with him (the SSPX). So the first lesson to be learned is the importance of forgiveness. Sooner or later, some fellow traditional Catholic is bound to arouse our fury and anger, and if we cannot forgive them (where everyone else does) then that puts us on the outs with the traditional Catholic community, who then avoid or even shun us due to our malevolent attitude. We must learn the importance of forgiving even the worst assaults on us, for if we do not forgive, then the Heavenly Father cannot forgive us, and when He does not forgive us (because of our own unforgiveness) we are cut off from His fellowship, and apostasy is the natural result.
I think sometimes that some traditional Catholics fall into the mistake of trying to be such good Catholics they forget to be good Christians. No matter what else we may discover about our Faith and Church, we must never lose sight of the basic, homely message of Christ and of the virtues, and of our obligation to love God and our neighbor.
There is another thing to be learned from the tragic case of XH. I would call it "Catholic perfectionism." Having left the Novus Ordo, we come to tradition and find everything just about exactly as it ought to be. Even the worst and most irresponsible traditional priests would never begin to approach the degree of irresponsibility, callousness, disregard for souls, or disregard for the will of God, as is taken as a matter of course in the Novus Ordo.
Virtually all of of us are where we are because we want to do the right thing, because we know God is watching and we truly want to please Him. But does that mean that traditional Catholic clergy are incapable of making bad decisions, bad judgement calls, or even of taking unfair advantage of the respect they have earned? Does that mean that you can be friends with every traditional Catholic?
Sometimes, we come to tradition expecting that all will be perfect, as indeed the Church (which we traditional Catholics today comprise) is a "Perfect Society," but that never meant that all members of it (nor even of its leadership) are all perfect and sinless. History bears out that the Church, Perfect Society that it is (doctrine), has been able to take advantage of people, exploit them, use them, abuse them, make merchandise of them, condemn the innocent, pardon the reprobate, make molehills into mountains and mountains into molehills, and even sell their own people out to hostile interests. If anything, these problems are at an all-time low, at least inside the real Church, the traditional Catholic community. The one (and only) thing the Church cannot do is deceive us as to what we must do to be saved, which includes not only the doctrines formally taught but also the validity of the Sacraments given. The Church is perfect in its teachings and standards and Sacraments (which are actually the work of the perfect God), not in the extent to which they may be lived up to or performed in accordance with the Divine requirements.
It is truly wonderous just how so few traditional Catholics have had to be confronted with any of that, to the point that on what few occasions it does turn up (and there have been some small handful of cases), it sticks out as something memorably evil. Everything looks so perfect that it jars us if we actually encounter a genuine fault. But we must not be Catholic perfectionists. We are concerned first and foremost with our own spiritual perfection, next that of anyone who answers to us, such as our children, employees, or any other persons over whom we have any kind of authority, and finally with the spiritual perfection of our neighbors (that is everyone else we meet up with) whom we are commanded to "love as we love ourselves."
Finally, there is the "cult" angle to all of this. XH, in his determination to make people believe that the SSPX is the ultimate evil has even attacked them with this charge. There is a whole community of people who make a study of cults, such as that of Rev. Moon, the Hari Krishnas, Divine Light Mission, or David "Moses" berg's Children of God. So skilled in publishing hate as XH become that even some members of this community actually see the SSPX as a cult. Consider a religious group which 1) thinks of its founder as being Divine, 2) attributes the most extraordinary miracles to this founder, 3) hangs on every word of this founder, 4) regards salvation as wholely dependent on one's being approved by its founder, to the extent that being approved by the founder is more important than being a good person, 5) added its own new scriptures to the Bible, and 6) teaches that everyone who dies out of communion with their group's founder will go to Hell. "Cult experts" would all agree that such a religious group is a cult, and yet all I have done is describe Christianity. For indeed we 1) think our Founder, Jesus Christ, is Divine, 2) believe that He worked many extraordinary miracles, 3) hang on each and every word He says, 4) recognise Jesus Christ as the One who will judge us, 5) added the New Testament to the Old, and 6) claim that those who die out of unity with Christ will go to Hell.
In that sense, Christianity and the Catholic Church have always been what these types would have to describe as a cult. Ergo, one must not fear, but actually expect that any part of the Catholic Church which really IS part of it, must similarly appear "cultish," and so the SSPX does. What sets our "cult" of Christianity apart from the others is that the claims Jesus Christ made are true, as demonstrated by His resurrection, seen by many who preferred to die horribly than to deny what they had seen with their own eyes.
Behind all of these problems that XH has with his spiritual condition is pride. Pride causes a person to believe that the sins of the other person are actually bigger and more serious than their own sins, and thus attempts to justify unforgiveness towards others who have wronged them. It is pride which is hurt when one is shown that the other person and not they, are "boss." Pride also claims perfection and refuses to admit the possibility of fault. I have no doubt that XH took pride in how much "better" his church was than other people's, and when he found fault, he then took to thinking himself far better than his church. Finally, it is pride which cannot really believe (however much it may pretend) in a God who is greater than one's self, and who has the right to exact such "cultish" devotion.
A Case of Mistaken Identity
"Everybody does it." "It's all right if we're in love." "We can't help ourselves." "I gotta have it." "If I don't he will leave me." "I'm just a born Nympho." "I can't be a real man until I have proved myself by making it with a woman." "People accept me as being a ladies man, so I must live up to the part." All of these statements have several things in common. The most obvious is their common purpose to serve as excuses for sexual misbehaviors. Another thing they have in common is that they are all patently false, or where possibly true (as in the case of whether "he will leave me"), are irrelevant (since "he" will eventually leave anyway, and wouldn't be worth keeping at all in the first place).
Many mistakenly equate the capital sin of Lust with sexual urges. But really, such urges are merely a part of our God given human nature. The sin enters in when we consciouosly decide to deceive ourselves, as for example with the statements quoted above, in order to go ahead with some sexual misbehavior. Since such concious self deception is by far most frequently used for this one purpose, people mistake Lust for the sexual misbehavior itself. But really, any such addiction to sex would really come under the proper category of Gluttony (see below). Lust is those little self-deceptions with which we cloud our own minds and injure our thinking process as an integral part of our willful choice to sin.
But such manner of self-deception (Lust) can also be applied to other things having nothing to do with any sexual misbehaviors. Traditional Catholics (and also many Novus Ordo believers, especially the conservative ones) know all too well the falsity of the excuses for sexual misbehavior, and if anything either do not fall into this sin, or if they do they know it all too well. I do not mean to accuse TJ of being a playboy, a libertine, or of cheating on his wife, or any other sexual misbehavior, since I am aware of none on his part. However I do accuse him of using the same manner of self-deception to excuse his having turned against many of his fellow Catholics for no just or rational reason.
TJ was yet another ardent traditionalist whose articles were often published in a widely available traditional Catholic journal. Many of his articles were quite insightful, and the perceptions conveyed were well expressed. His criticisms were seasoned, mature, and tactfully but clearly presented. But one day, shortly after returning from a visit to Rome, he announced his repudiation of the paper and its staff who had made him one of their regular contributers. With an astonishing lack a gratitude towards the paper and publishers which and who had so long provided him with a platform to air his opinions to a large audience, he turned and attacked those to whom he owes a great deal. He now devotes much space and energy to denouncing what he calls "Integrists" by which he does not mean members of some long extinct sect (which called its members "Integrists," although none of its members ever had any integrity at all) but rather to Catholics of integrity, which is to say any truly practicing Catholics, but most of all those who lovingly had long provided him with a forum to express his views.
In all of his having seemed to walk with us, the seeds of his rebellion from Truth were already alive and well with his soul. Blinded by his own dark and secret passions and desires he could not see the forest for the trees and never could. Jesus once said "Blessed are the pure, for they shall see God," and again, "if your eye is single your whole body will be full of light. There is a whole lesson on purity I would wish to covey, because purity is primarily, but not only, about control of the sexual impulses, and it is some of the less well-known aspects of this virtue which concern us directly here.
When one is pure, one weighs things purely, that is objectively, honestly, and fairly. Matching your thoughts to the realities of the situations is by far more commendable than imposing your view and interpretation on situations, which latter is only contemptible. The person who hires people of their "correct" race or gender (whatever that might be) or political opinion rather than the people who do the job best makes the same sort of mistake. Their passions have blinded them to the Truth, and they cannot see it, despite being surrounded by it continually.
In his error, ignorance, darkness, and confusion, TJ made one fatal mistake which cost him his soul. He mistaked the present Vatican institution for the Catholic Church, and its leader for a true and good pope in every sense of the word. Once one swallows such an absurd claim, all other parts of the Novus Ordo nonsense necessarily follow. This was the mistake at the root of his soul even in his "traditional" days which one day flowered into his subsequent apostasy.
The doctrine of the visibility of the Church is the most gravely misused doctrine in this case. It is instructive to reiterate what that really means, for a defective understanding of this is what could cause us to make the mistake that TJ made. The visibility of the Church means that there would always be a society which is One in belief and Faith, but not necessarily in detailed practice, as for example witness the disciplinary differences between Eastern and Western Catholics, and ideally one in government, but not absolutely necessarily so, as for example during the First Great Western Schism when there were two and then three papal claimants and canonizable saints on all sides. It would be Holy in its beliefs, its Founder, and its influence on society. It would be Catholic in that it would embrace the "whole counsel of God" and do so all the world over, not skipping over, nor becoming beholden to, any particular nation or locality. Rome is after all merely where its highest seat of authority normally resides, but that authority has also resided variously in Jerusalem, Antioch, and Avignon, and as such could be temporarily relocated again. Finally it would be Apostolic in its adherence to the apostolic doctrines and traditions, in its direct continuity of existence with the Church Christ founded, and especially in its bishops all of whom can trace their lawful episcopacy to that of the original twelve apostles, and that it embraces the Church's apostolic mission of working to convert the whole world to Christ, nations and individuals.
Out of laziness, spiritual darkness, or misinformation, many equate the present Vatican institution with that visible Church. That is an admittedly easy mistake to make since up until Vatican II, it was identical to the visible Catholic Church, which it had been for a very long time. Indeed, I think that the vast majority of traditional Catholics suffer from this confusion, and are in need of a paradigm shift. They think of the Vatican institution as though it were still in some way the visible structures of the Church, and then see the present crisis simply in terms of it being taken over by evil villains, or just having some real big problems, or even that it is demon possessed and in need of an exorcist.
Theologically, such a view is untenable. It makes the promises of God contingent upon the good will of certain highly placed men who, should the fancy strike them, could just as easily choose to let Satan be their guide instead of Jesus, teach error and impose false sacraments, in the name of, and with the authority of, the Church, and all this with no resistance from the Heavenly quarter. If it really were still the Church, it would then logically follow that all of its official acts are somehow within the pale and no one needs nor ought to reject any of them. TJ, having made that initial mistake, simply followed the logical implications of his original mistake. Doubtless, someone, perhaps during his visit to Rome, simply pressed the issue and browbeat him into accepting it all.
That is why a paradigm shift is required before someone can be safely and securely rooted in the traditional Faith and Church. The Vatican organization lacks all the requirements for visibility. It is not One but many in belief, "faith" and practice, it is not Holy, it is not Catholic, and it is not Apostolic. After Vatican II, the visible Church hierarchy consisted of those faithful clergy, priests and bishops, who refused to go along with the new religion, but who kept the Catholic religion. Vatican II explicitly shattered the former identity that had long existed between the Vatican institution and the visible Roman Catholic Church, deprived the Vatican of its former status, its leader of universal jurisdiction, and its membership of the guidance and protection by and of the Holy Ghost. At the same time, it granted jurisdiction to any and all bishops out there, regardless of who consecrated, them, or whether they did it with or without consulting the Vatican leader, or whether they answer to him in any way.
TJ and his ilk worry about a "parallel Church" or an "invisible Church," but that is only smoke and confusion. In the bright light of day, it is abundantly obvious that the present Vatican institution itself is the "schismatic parallel Church" (not actually quite parallel but skewed so as to start where the Church was and gradually drift off into error). Thus it redefined itself back at Vatican II, and thus it has behaved like ever since. The real Catholic Church has simply marched straight ahead, somewhat fragmented from the lack of real universal leadership, and from the confusion and misdirection spread by the redefined Vatican organization, but still plainly visible in its bishops, priests, religious, and attached lay Faithful, once one knows where to look.
It is like the child Jesus, when He was "lost" by His mother and St. Joseph and they had spent three days looking for Him. Was He invisible? Joseph and Mary couldn't see Him. But the rabbis they found Him conversing with, and anyone who had taken Him in during the intervening nights, obviously could see Him. He seemed "invisible" to none less than the sinless Virgin and the saintly foster father, not because he had turned "invisible" like the Invisible Man but merely because even they did not know where to look for Him. So it is with the Church today. His Mystical Body is still visible, but many still do not know where to look for it. The rabbis could see Him, and perhaps among them was a very young Gamaliel, who would later go on to instruct that "If it is of men, then leave it alone and it will come to nothing, but if it is of God you cannot overthrow it and worse, you would be fighting against God."
It seems like it should be so obvious. Even without knowing what it was at Vatican II which achieved and imposed all this, anyone can simply look objectively at the facts and see for themselves that the Vatican institution as an organization has, since Vatican II, failed to act in a number of ways like the Church behaves, and must always behave as God protects it, but that conversely, the traditional Catholic priests and bishops who are keeping the Faith and seeing to its transmission to future generations do act as the Church always has and must.
What could hide something so obvious to someone, or even more amazingly cause one to deny such observations even as they are before them? This gets down to the capital sin of lust, or impurity.
Too often, people associate lust with sexual misbehavior, and to tell the truth that is one of the main expressions of lust. But lust, or impurity, is also about being different from what Jesus blesses, namely the "pure in heart," which one must be in order to "see God." Purity, as demanded of us by our Creator, requires not only that we avoid sexual misbehaviors and impure thoughts, but also that we are first and foremost honest with ourselves. We believe what we believe only because it is true, and not because it is "fashionable" or "popular" or "stark" or "what everyone else seems to believe," or any similar such dishonest motive.
What other motivation might there be to resist seeing where the Church really is? I can think of several. Mere intellectual laziness might be one, but another would be what I call the "safety in numbers" syndrome, which means that it could be quite intimidating to realize that Catholicism is no longer such a big number of people as it was in times of living memory. It is quite sobering and scary to reflect on the fact that there are only a few million Catholics in the whole world, not the hundreds of millions who provided a large number for us to take refuge in. Still another would be the realization of our apostolic duty. So long as we mistake the Vatican institution for the Church, it is easy for us traditional Catholics to sit on the sidelines and complain about how they are not doing their job. To realize that we now, and not they, are the Church, is to be obliged to step out of that comfort zone and accept our apostolic responsibilities to convert the whole world. It also means we may no longer fault them for not carrying out the apostolic mission, as they have been relieved of that responsibility. Their only present duty before God is to become Catholic, ideally corporately if possible, but individually if not corporately possible.
We don't look for the things to "believe" that will impress the "right" people or make us feel good, but only for those things which are clearly and objectively true. We know exactly how much weight to assign to each piece of evidence in support of everything we believe, and neither augment it nor diminish it with prejudice, fear, false idealism, concerns about how "respectible" we are or it is, or anything else. We are careful in all of our evaluations not to add fault where there is only so much actual fault, nor to hide fault where fault indeed has occurred. Most of all we cultivate an all-important sense of proportion.
For "seeing God" is not about having some vision of an old man wearing sandals, sitting on a cloud, and manipulating a bucketfull of thunderbolts. Seeing God is all about seeing God at work in the world today, and in our own personal lives. It is about learning to see Jesus in the person of the poor, the sick, the prisoner, and all other victims of corrupt societies. When Joseph and Mary carried the baby Jesus to the Temple for the Presentation, all the heedless milling crowds saw of them was a young couple with a cute baby. But Anna and Simeon saw their salvation when they saw the Christ Child. That is because they were pure in heart and that is what seeing God is really all about.
When impurity clouds over one's mind, they cannot see where the Church really is, namely in those faithful priests and bishops all around the world who have suffered much to sustain the true Faith and Sacraments and Tradition, but only what certain others want them to see. They only see the false picture presented by the media and repeated again and again like Hitler's "big lie." They think of the Vatican institution as still being the Church, not because it possesses any qualities whatsoever that the Church must always possess, but merely because so many jounalists, prelates, and other prominent and famous people pretend to see it so. After all, "Everybody believes it."
Getting Even by Getting Mad
"If I don't get what I want, I am going to hold my breath!" the spoiled, bratty child exclaims, knowing that its parents will therefore give in to its wishes. The obvious childishness of such a position must not be lost on us as we consider yet another case. There are people who presume on the love of others, even while shouting against them, and they demonstrate this by promising to destroy themselves as a way of getting even with those who don't comply with their wishes. There are those who kill themselves with the thought of "I'll show them; then they'll be sorry!"
Such a condition lives today in the spiritual condition of a certain TP who also was once in the traditional camp, but has left it. He describes himself has having been quite enthusiastic over the growth of the traditional Catholic movement, being at the time a follower attached to the SSPX. But in times since, and through events he refuses to elucidate clearly he appears to have just kind of sort of drifted away. He began trying to find fault, and eventually managed to come across some few. But behind that is a deep and abiding realization that the SSPX most decidedly does wield apostolic authority, and his subsequent rebellion against that authority.
How do I know all this? TP once wrote (to an entire email list, and therefore in public) that when Abp. Lefebvre was consecrating the four bishops, TP was right there shouting "Go Lefebvre, GO! Sock it to them!" In other such emails, he indicated that he had seen his support of the SSPX as a product of hate, envy, and spiritual immaturity. I have no doubt that those were TP's reasons for his involvement, but there is a world of difference between what TP was doing and thinking, versus what Abp. Lefebvre, de Castro-Meyer, the attendant priests and faithful there and then were doing and thinking.
In particular, Lefebvre had no thought whatsoever of "sock"-ing it to "them," (presumably the Vatican leadership), but only of the survival of the Church into the future. "Operation Survival," he called it at the time. He was doing a difficult and painful duty, knowing full well the martyrdom that was to follow, but keenly aware that it was his sacred duty to preserve the Church in a valid and lawful episcopal succession and also provide for a continuance of his priestly order.
But TP did. This is a clear manifestation of the capital sin of envy and spite. The whole motive for TP's involvement with the traditional Faith had not been one of actually believing it, but one of "So there! See what I can do to myself, and then you'll be sorry!" Throughout his entire sojourn with the Catholics, TP had seen the Vatican as lawful holders of authority, and he was rebelling against them.
Only as the truth of the apostolic authority of the traditional bishops finally began to sink in to his darkened intellect did he then begin seeking and finding fault with the SSPX, and now he continues his spite and envy by denouncing the SSPX (and all other traditional Catholics, it would seem). He has merely gone from "sock"-ing it to the Vatican leadership back in 1988 to "sock"-ing it to the SSPX.
Even though he was with the SSPX for the wrong reasons, God could still have infiltrated His Grace and Peace into the darkened soul of TP, but TP would have none of it. He sounds like one calling for help, but when anyone comes along to help he snaps at them like a fearful little dog. His sole interest in life is to stir up trouble. He used to join traditional Catholic email lists so as to criticize the faithful clergy and explain away the Papal teachings to which all traditional Catholics hold, but having utterly lost the fair, open, and honest debate over such things that such a forum affords, and being booted off altogether for bad manners after losing the debates, has since taken to sulking in his own vanity site and from there trying to lash out at those to whom he lost debates. One or another of them could, and maybe should, press charges, were TP worth taking seriously at all. Truly a most dramatic case of a sore loser, eaten up from within with the capital sin of envy.
So this takes us to the root of our adherence to the Church. Do we adhere to it because we know it to be true, or because we feel we can hurt somebody or make them sorry? Where there was one, there may be others, waiting to follow the same path from the light of the true Faith and Church back into the darkness and confusion of the Novus Ordo. Are we where we are for love and obedience to our Creator, or out of envy?
Faith for sale
QW also had a short sojorn with the traditional Catholics, this time for about three years. It made him feel "special" to be a member of the Catholic "elite," and soon he aquired the desire for all the more honors and prestige. Beginning to fancy himself as some sort of "expert" in Canon Law (all he appears to have actually done is obtain a 1983 edition and skim through it hastily looking for prooftexts), he soon realized that he could go from being the big frog in what still seemed like a rather small pond of the SSPX, to being an even bigger frog in what seems like a much bigger pond, the Novus Ordo.
Everywhere he went on the net or otherwise, he always insisted on being known as some sort of expert in Canon Law, and he would go out of his way to drop quotes from it in order to impress people. Having "seen what there is to see" at the Catholic Church and apparently not being at all impressed with the splendor of the Truth which had surrounded him exactly as a spoon is unable to taste the delicious food it carries, he promptly returned to the Novus Ordo and began concocting his first edition of a paper on why the SSPX is to be considered schismatic and excommunicated.
Needless to say, this gained him much favor with the Novus Ordo on account of their feud against the Church. Without a degree or even an education, he continued calling himself a Canonist, and for some years everyone just went along with that. It didn't matter that he couldn't form a cogent argument for his case, the outcome was what they wanted to hear, namely that the SSPX was schismatic and excommunicated (despite the patently obvious fact that they are neither).
Only a very few people began pressing him for some credentials, and of course having none, he proceeded to go out and procure some. He traveled far and wide, all around the world seeking some school to recognize his "work" and award him a degree in Canon Law on the basis of it, so that he could put the letters after his name and point to a school he got them at.
Finally, he found his "school" in a dying, fading, and about to be closed down school in Canada who, for money and for his help in defeating the Church, agreed to give him the degree, after less than six months of some token class attendance and a slight (but mostly cosmetic) refurbishment of his paper, which they agreed to recognise as a "thesis," and they granted him a degree in Canon Law. That school right then lost whatever credibility they had gained in previous years by allowing themselves to be used by QW as a diploma mill. For that is all that his degree is actually worth. But now he has it, and can flash it to anyone who challenges him, "I'm a degreed and approved Canonist, see this? How dare you disagree with me, you who have no such degree!"
For anyone who is curious, his paper (I will not dignify it with the title of "thesis" since I most certainly do believe in academic standards), boils down to the untenable claim that what the book (Code of Canon Law) says is entirely immaterial; it means whatever the "lawgiver" (Bp. Wojtyla most probably) wishes it to mean, even though the meaning or interpretation assigned to it may be explicitly contradicted by the text of the book itself. What this really does, and what QW has failed to think through, as anyone attempting to obtain a valid degree from a valid and accreditable academic institution would be obliged to explain, is render the book entirely superfluous, and let the entire profession of Canon Law come to naught. In his worldview, there is no Law, only the whim of the "lawgiver."
Now, with letters after his name, he is flying high selling for profit copies of his paper, and raking in the fame and cash on the lecture circuit as many Novus Ordo villains find his authoritative sounding denunciations useful to their cause against the Church. His venom circulates far and wide, and it is only a matter of time before his name becomes a household word. Already, an awful lot of people, including people you would not expect, have heard of him.
It shouldn't be hard to see what capital sin owns QW, namely coveteousness. For all his life he has coveted fame and honors, and at last he found his shortcut to all of that. What about us? Fame and honors for any of us Catholics would seem to go a long way to help spread the cause, as humans see things, but as God sees it, they only feed the ego of the person obtaining them. That is why Jesus came at an obscure time in an obscure place, and passed much of His brief and obscure life out of public view, and then only in a small corner of the earth, rather than in some other era where He could have gone on international television.
It is out there, in the deep pockets of the earth, where the work of God is being done, one soul at a time, and with great suffering and sacrifice and prayers behind the conversion of each one. There are no shortcuts in the Kingdom of God, least of all fame, power, and money. Our fame is with God, and that is enough for us. Many who will be considered great in the Kingdom of Heaven will be those who were virtually unknown in this life.
Though many of these sorts of villains masquerade as conservative Novus Ordo believers, spiritually speaking they are as removed from the typical sincere (but misled) conservative Novus Ordo believers as darkness is from light. The typical Novus Ordo believer is often quite united to the soul of the Church, even though they are outside its visible body (unlike the liberals who can't even be considered as being united to the soul of the Church, by and large) and nothing I say in this document is meant to impugn their misplaced sincerity, but the sorts I have written about here know better, and think nothing of deceiving even the elect if possible.
There is a little more to the seeking of fame and honors. The fact is that none of the villains and destroyed souls I have written about so far, nor the next, really believe in the Novus Ordo. They don't believe it any more than I do, and possibly even less, being around it all the more. But, they each and all have found in the Novus Ordo a convenient and eager ally willing to carry their spite and venom far and wide, and give them all the recognition they could never get as real Catholics. The Novus Ordo, for its part, while not really granting any real status to these owing to their glaring scholastic dishonesty, nevertheless have frequently pointed questioning souls to the likes of these so as to decieve them back into the Novus Ordo. For these, and especially for QW, eternal dishonor is a small price to pay for such great fame and prestige now.
Buying into the negativity
ZN started as an ordinary Novus Ordo attender in England who first got involved with the SSPX. He had somehow learned (whether this is what he was taught or merely his interpretations of what he was hearing from the Catholics) that the Novus Ordo was evil, and to be utterly shunned. He did this, having convenient refuge in an SSPX chapel, and receiving true and authentic Catholic Sacraments for the first time.
That should have been enough, but ZN was spiritually restless. He was angry with the Novus Ordo for taking away the Faith and Mass, and wanted nothing to do with them. While the Novus Ordo certainly merits some real anger, or righteous indignation to be more precise, this is not what is expected of us saints. "Vengence is Mine; I shall repay," says the Lord. Our anger accomplishes nothing. Despite his being surrounded by the fulfillment of the promises of Christ, all he saw was how truly bad and evil the Novus Ordo really was, and how much he hated them. Needless to say, his hatred of the Novus Ordo made him altogether uninterested in the Indult, even if it had been available in his area.
He soon fell in with a small cotorie of friends who discussed the doctrinal issues at length. In time, they came to have a problem with the SSPX on the one hand calling Bp. Wojtyla "Pope" while on the other disobeying him in a systematic and ongoing fashion. Having rejected the Novus Ordo, the only direction for he and his friends to go was towards the sedevacantists. So now, besides the Novus Ordo, ZN now also hated the SSPX because of what seemed to him an inconsistent or compromising position.
Even in this, God had provided him with a parish life, this time with a sedevacantist priest ordained by someone from the Thuc line. And once again, ZN failed to soak in the Graces flowing all around him from the true and Catholic Sacraments. If anything, it was only all the harder for him to receive God's Grace since he now had two bogies to hate, the Novus Ordo and the SSPX.
He and his friends then began arguing over the various sedevacantist opinions and episcopal lines, and seeking some position or group which was truly untainted. They argued and discussed over absolute sedevacantism over Materialiter-Formaliter sedevacantism, the various Thuc lines, some through men ordained by Old Catholics, and others, many others, through the questionable Palmar de Troya lines, the Mendez line (if they heard of it), and the various criticisms each have leveled against the other.
In time, he soon rejected the Thuc line as tainted because of some regrettable consecrations (despite his "few good men"), the Mendez line (which may not have been known as yet), this and that remaining independent priest for some disagreeable opinion about something or other, or for ever having said a Novus Ordo "Mass" (out of a sadly misplaced obedience which they have since repented of), or any of a variety of other causes, and soon found himself to be what is often called a home-aloner.
No clergyman could meet his now impossibly high standards for a totally "untainted" clergyman from whom alone ZN felt he could obtain valid, lawful, and nonscandalous Sacraments. This one lacked the true Faith, that one holiness, another, faculties, and etc. In his own words, "we ended up with having a collection of arguments, documents, and quotations, all intolerantly proclaimed (does he mean that the Catholic Popes who proclaimed these arguments, documents, and quotations were being intolerant? Sounds like a Novus Ordo position to me), but no Church, no sacraments, no magisterium, no authority, no certainty and no Pope."
His anger had cut him off from all the Church and isolated him from any and every Divinely provided means of spiritual support. He couldn't turn to the Novus Ordo for even what limited value they might have possessed, because they had abandoned the Faith. He couldn't turn to the SSPX because its ordinations and consecrations were supposedly all illegal and without faculties. He couldn't turn to the Thuc priests and bishops because of the scandalous and grave mistakes Thuc had made in some of his consecrations, and again because of their apparent lack of faculties, he couldn't turn to some independent priest, ordained by the Church, consistantly faithful, and eventually put out of his "diocese" merely for being faithful, because of some personality flaw in the priest, and so it went.
What all of this really represents is what happens when one uncritically accepts all criticisms of traditional Catholic clergymen, orders, and societies. A person is very close to succumbing to this spiritual malady if they do the same, except with regard to some particular clergyman or order to whom they are attached, and sadly there always seem to be some less-than-saintly traditional clergymen who are willing to go along with them in this, or worse, even foster such an attitude themselves, thinking that by doing this they will take away more members from their fellow priests.
All of this is what it means to be consumed by the capital sin of anger. Having made this sad spiritual journey with his coterie of friends gained during his sojourn with the SSPX, he at last had to part company with the two who had travelled this path with him this far when he disagreed with one, then the other, and all became enemies to each other. From such a state, even the Novus Ordo could represent something of an improvement, and having hit the dead end, that was the only place left for him to go.
He now uncritically accepts everything going on in the Novus Ordo, makes a token acknowlegement of the "crisis of grave proportions," but aids and abets with his presence and support those who propegate and spread and deepen that "crisis of grave proportions." Unlike the other villains in this article, ZN has no known presence on the net, nor engages in any "apostolate." This writer would not be the least bit surprized to find ZN a Buddhist by now.
It may sound like ZN has overcome his besitting capital sin of anger, but actually anger can also take the form of indifference as well as vehement and virulent opposition. It is good that we use our critical faculties carefully, taking into consideration all reports, but then doing the work of investigating them. The vast majority of accusations against traditional Catholic clergymen do not hold up under scrutiny, but there have been some very few cases where an allegedly "traditional" clergyman was not really what he at first presented himself to be, and a few more where despite the best intention and general soundness of the advice, failed to have the advice work out as it should.
Finally, when we cut ourself off from some portion of the Church, be it the Indult community, the SSPX, the sedevacantists, or any other valid and lawful Catholic clergyman, group, and people, we truly place ourselves in a schismatic condition, "refusing communion with (some of) those in subjection to the Catholic Pontiffs." It is that "I have judged you a heretic/schismatic/infidel/apostate and will have nothing to do with you, but I will shun you; you go your way, I'll go mine" attitude which is the real essence of schism. It is those who put up walls and barriers and who promote isolation from any fellow Catholics of the One true Church, who commit the sin and crime of schism.
True ecumenism, to say nothing of charity or the Unity of the Church, morally demands of us first and foremost to recognize our fellow Catholic in anyone who upholds the full and traditional Faith, and the goodwill of those who are sincerely trying. But even those who are doctrinally outside the pale, the East Orthodox, the followers of Fr. Feeney, the Old Catholics, the Protestants, the Jews and Moslems, we are not to shun. We cannot of course participate in their heresies or their heretically motivated acts, but in such endeavors as are consistant with Catholic faith and practice we may encourage them in good works, admonish their error in a friendly and tactful way where there is any reasonable chance of our admonishions being heard and accepted, and labor to bring them, one soul at a time, into the Church. There is after all a true ecumenism which is consistant with Catholic teachings, a spiritual "good neighbor" policy, if you will, which the false ecumenism of the Vatican II church has merely counterfeited.
If Bp. Wojtyla, at Assisi in 1986, had invited the exact same list of guests, but instead of doing what he did by allowing them to worship their respective gods (demons), he were to have lead them all in the Rosary, or in the Stations of the Cross, or even a recititation of the Our Father, and then just left it at that, it would have been perfectly in accord with Catholic faith and practice, a truly commendable thing. If he were to say Mass for them he couldn't give them Communion of course, since for non-Catholics, the "Catholic" thing to do is not to receive until one is oneself received into the Church. Feed the hungry, fight abortion, work to bring God back into the schools and oppose the homosexual agenda, and we archtraditionalist Catholics may join in with impunity. But rob a bank or spread heresies, and you do that utterly without our help or cooperation, and indeed even our criticism and opposition. Pray the Rosary, and we will be happy to pray it with you, but pray to your heathen gods, or in irreverent ways which God never wanted, and we cannot have anything to do with that.
Those who have not actually walked among us:
The first five destroyed souls I have showcased here have all walked with us and then went out from among us. But in more recent times, others have joined their cause as useful idiots, by all evidences without the least understanding of what it is they criticize. The following two cases are and have always been merely on the outside looking in, and as such speak of what they know nothing about. Strangely, there may actually be more hope for these than for the first five, on account of there having not ever really allowed the light and truth of God to enter their souls, unlike the first five who have seen that light, tasted the Heavenly gift, and then formally repudiated it. I will focus on only two of this sort, though there have been others.
Too lazy to seek out the truth?
Growing up with little religious training from which he drifted away in adolescence EB eventually embraced the Protestant Evangelical faith, and after some further years of being "in" but not taking it very seriously he finally decided to take it seriously, and proceeded to involve himself with Christian apologetics. While not in the ordinary course of things a lazy person, since apologetics requires a great deal of reading and outreach, one finds in his life a curious motif of spiritual sloth.
Had he not happened to meet any "Catholics" who were serious about their commitment and knocking themselves out in the various ministries or "apostolates," and who clearly impressed him, it is quite obvious that EB would have been content to remain a Protestant all his life, and doubtless would have been active in it, and eventually perhaps becoming a Protestant minister some day.
But there came a time when he came to be surrounded by "Catholics" (actually Catholic-at-heart conservative Novus Ordo believers) who actually knew some real Catholic history and doctrine and who were able to answer his many questions and objections to the Catholic Faith in general. In the presence of their living example, EB began to see the value of Catholicism in general, and even began doing some serious reading and thinking. From the way he describes it, it is fairly clear that God was surrounding him with people who could defend the historic claims of Catholicism, and who were sincerely doing their best to live up to it to the extent they understood it.
His reading was obviously important too, especially his reading of Cardinal Newman's treatise on the Development of Doctrine which certainly elimitated the Protestant claims against the Church, and which also provides a good understanding of the difference between development of doctrine and corruption of doctrine. A fine read, and one which I also recommend. Finally, his personal acquaintance with the famous catechist John Hardon (whose catechism I have also read and respect) provided him with a tremendous encouragement to enter what he sincerely at the time regarded as the Catholic Church.
It isn't clear when EB first encounted a traditional Catholic, but rather than recognize the fullness of the Catholic Faith traditional Catholicism stands for to be the next step, he clearly refused to take an honest interest in learning about it. Instead, he merely saw the first traditional Catholic he encountered as just yet another yahoo out there to be glibly dismissed. And the same for the others he obviously has encountered since.
To be fair to EB, one must admit that while most traditional Catholcis are keenly aware of the facts of the present problems, namely the discrepency between the infallible and historic magisterium of the Church as taught throughout the centuries, and what the present Vatican institution has become, extremely few really have any real understanding of what it is that happened, or how things could get to be the way they are, in the context of God's promises to His Church. Furthermore, many traditional Catholics are not high learned professors (though I do know of some), but merely simple people of the earth, or "down to earth," as some say. They have not gone to Universities and had their head filled with vainglorious notions of acquiring any great prestige or fame, but instead endeavor merely to live out some humble private life, making an honest living, feeding his family, and saving his soul.
The rather simple, and sometimes uncouth manner in which such down to earth people talk obviously failed to impress EB, who basically dismisses them as a bunch of uneducated hicks. Another factor is that it is clear that EB only knows traditional Catholics from the medium of the internet. He has never met one in person, let alone enough of them in a constant and ongoing situation, which would permit him to see in their lives even more of the attractive quality he saw in the sincere conservative Novus Ordo believers that surrounded him just prior to his decision to become serious about Catholicism.
Although I do not claim to know where EB lives, the statistical likyhood is that there is a traditional Catholic chapel somewhere within 50 miles of where he lives, and had he but roused himself to go and see it, see the true Catholic Mass with all of its mystery and Divine contact which cannot be expressed in words but must be experienced to be known, see the ordinary wholesome people who have been spiritually nourished by this Mass and who bring their large and growing families, meet with the priest and discuss in person at length the questions he has about the traditional Catholic Faith, and finally see the attached school and the respectfullness, devoutness, and dramatic innocence of its pupils.
But EB has never done that. He only knows of traditional Catholics from reading emails anonymously sent to him from across the country, and that has been enough for him. What holds him back? One thing only, and that is the capital sin of sloth. EB has become comfortable in his Novus Ordo church, even while seeing (at least to the extent conservative Novus Ordo believers normally see, anyway) the damage being done all around him.
As a Protestant, he may have never heard about the sin of sloth. So God reached out with the only people available, not all the way Catholic, but close enough to pull EB in a vaguely Catholic direction, and persuasive enough to bring not only EB himself, but even some of his friends. As a Novus Ordo believer, but a conservative one at that, I think it is reasonably likely that he has finally learned of the sin of sloth, and therefore cannot be excused for practicing it now, nor can he expect God to do the same thing again without at least some effort and initiative of his own.
In EB's spiritual laziness, Cardinal Newman's treatise on the development of doctrine has became his excuse for justifying every current Vatican institution abberation officially promulgated. Maybe some he can explain, but in others he has clearly taken it in directions Newman never intended nor would tolerate. When unable to do this he simply falls back on the basic slothful assumption that "if it is officially promulgated by the Vatican, it must be OK," with an implied but never stated nor hinted "even though I cannot see how."
Really, sloth has been the main culprit against the traditional Faith and Church, since it requires a fairly highly motivated person to drive over a hundred miles each way to go to Church (as I do) and take all the assaults and false accusations as are hurled at us by those enemies of the Faith. It is sloth which allows a person to enter the traditional camp on the basis of the words of the traditionalist writers without taking the time to check out and read for themselves the primary sources of Papal Bulls and Encyclicals, the documents of the Councils, and the approved Catechisms. Merely taking someone's word for what these things contain opens one up to merely taking what someone from the Novus Ordo might also say about what they contain.
It is all too easy to give up, often even before making that first pilgrimmage to the Church. It is also easy to neglect good spiritual reading but merely let such good books lie unopened and gathering dust like the family Bible on the coffee table, if one even bothers to procure the books at all. And that, like all capital sins, can lead to spiritual death. Will EB perhaps someday rouse himself from his comfort zone and make a serious investigation of the facts and the truth? It is in my prayers that he does, for he is obviously very intelligent and could be a real asset to the Church, if only he could find it and join it.
Salacious pleasures in bulk
In the 1980's NK founded a magazine which was originally was intended to point out the present evils and publish a Catholic (actually conservative Novus Ordo) response and perspective on various current events. Despite its Novus Ordo connections, this magazine often featured many worthwhile articles regarding abortion, prayer in schools, reverence in worship, and so forth. The traditional Catholic cause was long entirely ignored on the pages of his magazine, as it ought to be so long as one refuses to familiarize one's self with it.
Over time, however, the articles most frequently chosen for publication, some written by NK and others not, began dwelling long and hard on the indescretions, especially sexual indescretions, of the Novus Ordo clergy. Furthermore, the articles got more and more detailed regarding these indescretions, almost seeming to fixate more on these indescretions than on the moral lesson one can draw from such horrible examples.
Through all this NK continued ignoring traditional Catholics while not seeming at all far removed from them morally and theologically, as he attacked certain villains on the left, and his readership swelled to large proportions. For a while it seemed that dwelling on the salacious details of the crimes of Novus Ordo clergymen, especially liberal Novus Ordo clergymen, did much to expand sales.
But as the salacious spiritual junk food articles came to be only all the more lacking of any real spiritual content, the tide began to turn, the subscriptions to his magazine ceased to increase, stopped, and then began slowly falling off. Not appraising the situation properly, NK simply turned up the heat as still more salacious content displaced much of what little content was left.
It was at this point that some dishonest hack writer submitted a most scathing article critical of the SSPX. After so long attacking those on the left, he now had embarked on attacking those on the right. It is not clear to this writer whether NK solicited that story so as to stave off criticism for being too right wing, or if the publication of that story has been rationalized only subsequently by his claims to be only "moderate" and not right wing after all.
In any event, the story was a real doozy, the sort Hollywood would love to get its hands on for its salacious and spicy accounts. It cast the SSPX as all-powerful villains who control whole cities, brainwash children, worship Hitler, and kill off opponants. Needless to say, were any of that true, the secular arm of the law would have long since stepped in and shut them down.
To his credit, NK did publish some letters written by prominent SSPX priests who responded to clear the air and put the facts straight. But of course a little controversy only makes for all the more salacious interest. Everyone loves a good fight or a noisy argument. To have presented only those responses (and fabrications) which support the hack's story would have deprived his magazine of that particular aspect, and also revealed his bias.
The SSPX controversy created only a slight increase in subscriptions, which soon fell off again, continued to decline all the more rapidly, and within five years the magazine ceased publication and NK has completely dropped out of sight.
It shouldn't be too hard to see that the capital sin of NK was gluttony. Not necessarily for food, as people commonly think of gluttony, but for salacious stories and sensationalism. A person can get addicted to this sort of stuff, and NK was at the very least catering to such an addiction in his readers. But eventually, even the appeal of some specific sensationalism wears off as those who are addicted to it progress on to more jaded tastes. The Elmer Gantry story can only be retold so many times, after all.
The spiritual lesson to draw from this is to avoid any addiction to any earthly thing, anything but God Himself in fact. It is the sin of gluttony be it an addiction to food, smoking, alcohol, drugs, sexual release, and also to sensationalistic portrayals of sex and violence. Most traditional Catholics know to avoid such vices, but the vice of enjoying the reading or viewing of accounts of clergymen doing absurd, evil, or otherwise scandalous things, could readily develop into an addiction similar to that of NK (or his readership), and which injures faith and can even bring people out of the Church, or prevent them from entering.
As one can see now, this little menagerie of villains and "useful idiots" is actually a lesson in the seven capital sins. I most certainly do see this group of seven opposers of the Truth as personifications of the seven capital sins, as that is what each have succumbed to. It is a warning, not so much against individuals, as it is a warning against sin itself. Just because we traditional Catholics have and hold the true Faith and Church does not mean that we are above the danger of sin. If we let sin into our lives, and if we don't confess it and resolve to overcome it, the same terrible thing that has happened to the likes of these could happen to us.
One could have instead portrayed those who succumb to any of the capital sins as going to Hell and burning there forever, but these days too many people's view of Hell has become so farcical and cartoonish as to give them a false impression. Hell was never about being punished for holding nobly to some ideal as if it were to be some protracted martyrdom. Some entertain an image of themselves calmly and quietly accepting their miserable outcome with their dignity intact. But Hell is not about that. No. Hell is about a descent into madness, lunacy.
The first five miserable cases I have written about here have all "committed intellectual, moral, and spiritual suicide, and taken leave of their senses," and there they presently remain, and the last two hapless useful idiots have been intellectually dishonest with themselves as their predominent sin holds sway. Hell is not about having something unbelievably hideous happen to one, but of one becoming oneself something unbelievably hideous. Pictures from the Disney film Pinnochio come to mind, where Pinochio's "friend" Lampwick turns into a jackass and Pinnochio himself acquires the ears and tail of a jackass. Hell is about one's becoming the sorts of "jackasses" I have showcased above. And there, but for the Grace of God (which we must seek through the true Sacraments, teaching, and Church), go I and all the rest of us. Let us keep on our guard.
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