Toward Defining A Good
Conservative Catholic Blog
Assigning purpose and direction to a conservative Catholic blog.
By Vic Biorseth at Thinking Catholic Strategic Center - http://www.catholicamericanthinker.com
Conservative Catholic Blog might be a bit of a misnomer; however, due to common usage in our contemporary American culture, we all know what we mean when we talk about Conservative Catholics and Liberal Catholics.
Terms like Liberal and Conservative more properly belong to the realm of politics than they do to the realm of correctly held religion. Within Roman Catholicism, a teaching regarding faith or morals is either true, meaning correct, or it is not. It's all very simple, really. Orthodox is the operative term. An orthodox Catholic teaching is one that is widely recognized as being:
- in agreement with the Church’s magisterial teaching,
- in agreement with long-held traditional teaching,
- widely held as correct by leading Church authorities.
The opposite of orthodox is heterodox, or, unorthodox. Which is to say,
- Not in agreement with magisterial teaching;
- Not a long held traditional teaching;
- Not widely held as correct by Church authorities.
In the simplest terms possible, a heterodox teaching is one that is incorrect and untrue. Orthodox Catholicism may be expected to be represented in a conservative Catholic blog, and, heterodox Catholicism may be expected to be represented in a liberal Catholic blog. Following that line of reasoning, a Conservative Catholic, in so much as there is such a thing, would be a Catholic who believes and follows all the words that he professes when he recites the Creed, and who recognizes the authority of Rome in matters of faith and morals. And who stands juxtaposed to the Liberal Catholic, who does not.
So we have a definition for a good conservative Catholic blog, and it’s opposite. For the non-internet oriented, blog is a web-ese transliteration of Web Log; a log, or journal, or, in the most common usage, a dialogue on the website’s topic(s). A participant puts forth an argument, and by doing that invites criticism and/or counter arguments; thus, a dialogue between interested parties.
In the best blog dialogues will be found well thought-out, reasoned arguments, with participants fully prepared to rigorously defend their own points and not afraid to expose any weaknesses in the points of others, while adhering to rules of common civility and manners. In the worst blog dialogues will be found less reasoned arguments that may degenerate into obscenities, insults and ad-hominem attacks aimed at the messenger rather than the message. A good conservative Catholic blog will maintain some editing authority over the site to keep that sort of thing to a minimum, for the good of all participants, and for the good of good gentlemanly and ladylike argument itself.
Representative Government in regards to ecclesial (Church) law might be the foremost topic of contention presented in a conservative Catholic blog. After all, the notions of self-government, the so-called sovereign citizen and principles of Jeffersonian Democracy seem to be the driving factors underlying the Conservative American Blog page, right? However, there is quite a difference between American governance and Church governance. The conservative American blog properly addresses issues pertaining to Civil Law, and thus worldly matters. A good conservative Catholic blog would address Ecclesial Law, and thus spiritual matters. There is too big a difference between them to properly address them both in one place.
Adherence to the Catholic religion – the Creed, the doctrines, the precepts, the liturgy, the tradition - all the rules attendant thereto, provides the disciple with a proper sense of purpose and direction for life. The most important of these are all rules that never change.
Adherence to Civil Law, and to participation in Representative Government and the living American Republic provides the good citizen with the opportunity to contribute to the improvement of his nation, and to meet new challenges in a world that is constantly changing. Just as international relations and other nations change, economies, technologies and industries change, civil law must change, and it is the duty of the participating citizen to do his part to see that all new or changed law is truly representative of the will of the people.
What should be heavily noted on a good conservative Catholic blog is this major difference between Catholicism and the various Protestant denominations that hold periodic major ecclesial conferences or conventions or other events in which the denomination’s ecclesial rules and/or rules regarding faith and morals are changed, added to, or deleted from. The Catholic Church cannot do that sort of thing. The Catholic Church is not, has never been, and will never be any sort of Democracy. It is a pure bureaucracy designed and intended to not change any teaching entrusted to it.
Unlike the great and on-going American experiment, the Church does not seek innovators or inventers or challengers of old “truths” among those men to be elevated to the purple, or to Peter’s chair. What she seeks instead is ultra-conservatism, in the oldest sense of the word; men who will spend their lives protecting the entire Revealed Gospel from the slightest change. The Church teaches that public Revelation ended with the death of the last Apostle, and it has not changed since. Nothing has ever been added to it, subtracted from it, or changed. And so it will remain, until He comes again.
By way of comparison, the Church Of England bases its existence, its very founding on a change to a Revealed Doctrine, that being, the ecclesial rule regarding divorce and remarriage. King Henry VIII wanted to be able to divorce and remarry, the Church denied permission, and that is the whole, sole reason for the very existence of the Church Of England. That’s it.
And, that happens to be a major topic of contention between the conservative Catholic blog and the liberal Catholic blog. Lots and lots of American bishops and their priests will avoid the subject, change the subject, and studiously pretend not to see as thundering herds of remarried divorcees come forward to the Communion rail every Sunday. You are much more likely to hear public words on this topic raised on a conservative Catholic blog than in any contemporary official Catholic teaching institution in America (with very few exceptions.) The teaching has never changed. Those who remarry after divorce, without any official Church declaration of nullity, and without living a life of, essentially, celibacy, commit grave sin, and should not come forward for Communion. But that’s not something most of our American bishops want to highlight, or even discuss in public. They prefer to speak of inclusiveness.
Catholicism equates to Communism is the claim of Leftist Catholics, and they quote Scripture to prove it. Their strongest argument can be found in Acts of the Apostles 4 and 5. So let’s look at Acts 4:32-37; 5:1-10:
 Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had everything in common.  And with great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.  There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of what was sold  and laid it at the apostles' feet; and distribution was made to each as any had need.  Thus Joseph who was surnamed by the apostles Barnabas (which means, Son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus,  sold a field which belonged to him, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet.
 But a man named Anani'as with his wife Sapphi'ra sold a piece of property,  and with his wife's knowledge he kept back some of the proceeds, and brought only a part and laid it at the apostles' feet.  But Peter said, "Anani'as, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back part of the proceeds of the land?  While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? How is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God."  When Anani'as heard these words, he fell down and died. And great fear came upon all who heard of it.  The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him.  After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened.  And Peter said to her, "Tell me whether you sold the land for so much." And she said, "Yes, for so much."  But Peter said to her, "How is it that you have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? Hark, the feet of those that have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out."  Immediately she fell down at his feet and died. When the young men came in they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband.
So what is the conservative Catholic blog to make of this? We know that the Luke, the author, could not have read Marx, so, was Marx a closet Christian? The proper response from a conservative Catholic blog would be neither. It would appear from these passages that the Apostles lived a perfect “Communist” life denying property rights. This would seem to present a serious obstacle to the natural law regarding Private Property rights, which are reinforced by “Thou shalt not steal.” That’s the view of the liberal Catholic blog, so what does the typical conservative Catholic blog say on this?
Well, the conservative Catholic blog might point out that Peter condemned anani’as and his wife for one thing only, that being, willful deception regarding the sale price. He was bound under no obligation to turn over all of the proceeds, or even to turn over any of them. It was a voluntary thing; this was a form of willful Evangelical Poverty. It finds its expression today in religious orders under vows of obedience, chastity and poverty, in monasteries and convents around the world. A conservative Catholic blog should recommend a reading of the full book of the Acts of the Apostles, which would show the many instances of Christians holding wealth and property. They were members of the Church, but not Apostles, and not necessarily Evangelists, or members sent on a mission or given an ecclesial ministry. And a conservative Catholic blog should point out that it was never obligatory for Christians to turn over private property to the Apostles.
Early Church generosity was spontaneous and not imposed by any precept. In the various Churches, the wealthy contributed, to the degree necessary, unspecified amounts to be managed by the Apostles for the benefit of the poor. The wealthy remained wealthy, and they remained in the Church.
St. Thomas placed it all in proper perspective. Neither religious life nor the ‘communism’ of the early Christians constitutes a serious obstacle to the legitimacy of private property. For the objection to have any value, the community of goods realized in the primitive Church would have had to have been imposed upon all of the faithful, and religious life would have to be a precept, and not merely a counsel. The perfection of the evangelical counsel does not make illicit a different practice that conforms to natural law.
St. Thomas (Sed Contra, II-II, quest. 66, art. 2; also Summa Contra Gentiles, bk. 3:II, chap. 127, 8) supports this argument. Saint Thomas recalls the heresy of the Apostolici mentioned by St. Augustine (“De Haeresibus,” no. 40, in P. L., vol. 42, col. 32): ‘The Apostolici,’ writes St. Augustine, ‘assumed that name with an extreme arrogance, because they refused from their communion married persons and those who possessed property, such as both monks and clerics who in considerable number are to be found in the Catholic Church. But the Apostolici are heretics precisely because, separating themselves from the Church, they consider condemned those who make use of these goods, of which they deprive themselves.’ St. Thomas:
“’The heresy of the Apostolici does not lie in taking the vows of chastity and poverty: monks and numerous clerics do the same. But the error lies in wanting to impose the same discipline on all the faithful under pain of condemnation.’ And St. Thomas concludes: ‘It is, therefore, an error to say that it is not permitted for a man to possess property.’
“This response is of use a fortiori for the problem presented by the perfection of evangelical poverty. Religious life, be it in a monastery provided with an income or in a community living from alms, is a life of counsel, not of precept, and it cannot be imposed on everyone. Moreover, even from the point of view of the perfection of the spiritual life, St. Thomas shows that the evangelical counsel of poverty most absolutely does not prevent the rich from sanctifying themselves amidst riches: ‘Great was the virtue of Abraham, who, possessing great riches, nonetheless knew how to keep his heart free from love for his riches. . . .’
So the good conservative Catholic blog needs to affirm the record that Catholicism and Communism are most certainly not compatible. Marxism addresses the purely worldly state, denying even the existence of God, and seeks to enforce social and economic “sameness” upon the whole population, even against their will. Marxism (Communism) is a notion that flies in the face of a free man making a free will decision.
Inclusiveness Vs Exclusiveness or Divisiveness is the clarion call from the Catholic Left. The conservative Catholic blog needs to present this as a black and white issue. Inclusiveness for its own sake is the reason for the drop in Church attendance and the decline of the Church in America. The conservative Catholic blog recognizes that the whole Artificial Contraception issue is one in which Church teaching has never wavered, yet American bishops and priests look away from the issue in the interest of inclusiveness. And the numbers drop. The conservative Catholic blog recognizes that the whole homosexual mainstreaming movement, spearheaded by Homo-Nazism, is one in which Church teaching has never wavered, yet American bishops and priests look away from the issue in the interest of inclusiveness.
The biggest inclusiveness issue the conservative Catholic blog needs to hit on involves language, especially in liturgy. Any blog that doesn’t hit on modification of Holy Scripture merely for the sake of the advance of Femi-Nazism is certainly not a conservative Catholic blog.
Innovation Vs Tradition, most especially in liturgy and in liturgical music, is a high ranking conservative Catholic blog issue. This is where the most lapsed Catholics are produced. MOST American bishops cry, “we have no young people; our congregations are aging; attendance is declining.”
Go to any current authorized Tridentine Latin Mass and just look around. You will see, predominantly, young people. Young couples with lots of little ones in tow. A nearly full church, filled, mostly, with people far to young to be pre-Vatican II Catholics. Ladies with their heads covered; men in full suits. And a few older guys and gals, like us.
You will only hear about this sort of thing in a conservative Catholic blog. There is a hunger for the ancient liturgy out there. Young people are thirsting for it. They travel significant distances just to be able to participate in it.
Coming in a close second to the Old Mass is the New (Novus Ordo) Mass when offered entirely in Latin, as is done at the 9:30 AM Sunday Mass at Assumption Grotto in Detroit. Many who think they hate the new liturgy might, in my opinion, absolutely love it when they see it done properly. Personally, I like it better than the Old Tridentine Mass, maybe because I’ve attended the Novus Ordo Mass for so many decades now that I’ve grown comfortable with it, and now it’s a little harder for me to follow the Old one.
Declining Priest Numbers is the reason given for the closing of all the older traditional parishes. A good conservative Catholic blog will point to the conservative, i.e., orthodox, dioceses of Arlington, Lincoln, Peoria, Wichita, Bridgeport, Omaha, Atlanta and Rockford, and tell you to look around. What you will see is lots of priests, and lots of seminarians. All the declining dioceses and archdioceses in America teach wishy-washy, inclusive, heterodoxy and pretend it’s Catholicism. They strive to remove distinctions between clerics and lay people, and they succeed at that, and in declining numbers of seminarians. Why be a priest? What’s the difference?
And it’s exactly the same with the religious orders. There might be two or three in the whole nation that might remain in existence twenty years from now. The ones the avoid extinction will be the ones that are different from the rest of us lay people. The better conservative Catholic blog will point out the fact that all of the rapidly declining orders of professed religious
- do not wear any habit or religious garb;
- do not live in community;
- do not follow any discernable order;
- are not discernable from any lay person;
- have an average age in the seventies or eighties;
- have a youngest member age in the late sixties;
and are obviously cruising straight into extinction and oblivion. What they all have in common is heterodoxy in a time when the rest of the Catholic world is crying out for orthodoxy. But they are too blind to see it.
Get in the game. Find yourself a good conservative Catholic blog to participate in, or create your own. The Catholic world is at a turning point. I believe we have a whole lot more orthodoxy in our future.
Pray for the Church.
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