In Search of the Sinister and Elusive Neo-Catholic

 
Over the past decade, the mysterious epithet “neo-Catholic” has been tossed around now and then. I first encountered it courtesy of Rev. Joseph O’Leary, the famed “Spirit of Vatican II” combox denizen who seems to have endless amounts of time to troll the net on behalf of gay causes and no time to, like, do his priestly duties. Out-of-touch dullard that I am, I missed Mike Liccione’s attempt to treat with Father O’Leary’s use of the term at the time, but did happen to notice some years ago when Father O’Leary declared one Janice Kraus, a minor celebrity in the convert-hating crowd, to be a neo-Catholic. This baffled me at the time, and I have since run into it now and then, but I have never quite figured out what it means.
 
Here’s my problem: Neo-Catholic appears to be a term that exists in a state of quantum indeterminacy. For Father O’Leary, Kraus (a self-described Traditionalist, cradle Catholic who loathes Evangelical converts) is a neo-Catholic despite the fact that he elsewhere seems to think (like Kraus) that Evangelical converts are a bunch of wet-behind-the-ears know-nothings who have taken it upon themselves to barge into the Church and start telling everybody how to be Really and Truly Catholic™. For Father O’Leary, the problem appears to be that neo-Catholics do not take their cues from guys like Rev. Richard McBrien, and they are opposed to the infinitely malleable “Spirit of Vatican II.” Indeed, their main difficulty (according to Father O’Leary) is that they converted to a pre-conciliar vision of Catholicism and are intractably hostile to the teaching of the Faith as articulated by the Council. Naturally, he regards both Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI as neo-Catholic as well, atavists fighting a rearguard action against the ongoing March of Progress. Not surprisingly, having been exposed to this sort of tommyrot before, I yawned and filed away neo-Catholic as one more swear word hurled at Catholics by liberal dissenters loyal to Vatican III and the pontificate of Pope Buffy Summers I.
 



But recently the term popped up again in other sectors where it was given a rather different definition. Curiosity piqued, when I glanced around on the Web rather more thoroughly than I had when I first encountered it, I discovered the term seems to denote all sorts of things, depending on who is using it.
 
For instance, the first definition I find (from Dictionary.com) tells me that “neo-Catholic” means “of or pertaining to those Anglicans who avowedly prefer the doctrines, rituals, etc., of the Roman Catholic Church to those of the Anglican communion” and was coined in the mid-19th century. That doesn’t seem to bear any relation to Father O’Leary’s definition. Nor does the next one I find: a long list of Google search results seeming to suggest that the term has little to do with converts and everything to do with Third Millennium American politics.
 
Here, for example, is a cluster of Google entries around a somewhat fevered book called The Neo-Catholics: Implementing Christian Nationalism in America, by one Betty Clermont, in which neo-Catholic apparently means “neoconservative Catholic” and has to do not with being a convert particularly, but merely with being an enthusiastic supporter of the neo-con agenda of Bush/Cheney et al. The villains named by Clermont as archetypal neo-Catholics in this reckoning are Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, George Weigel, and Michael Novak, two of whom are cradle Catholics and the third of whom is hardly a convert from Evangelicalism. These particular bogeymen seem to have nothing much to do with theology in Clermont’s mind, but are instead basically seen as liaisons from the GOP, sent to infiltrate the Catholic Church and co-opt it in the service of the “neocon agenda” of creating a right-wing Americanist Church of court prophets docile to the will of Dick Cheney. In this accounting, “neo-Catholic” would seem to have nothing to do with theology except insofar as it can be manipulated to political ends.
 
 
That would all be fine and dandy definitionally speaking, if somebody had not also sent me a link from Wikipedia on the term, which only served to darken the mystery for me even further. Because while it sounds the customary notes of “Catholics with a conservative flavor,” the three examples of archetypal neo-Catholics used in this entry make no sense if you are trying to square them up with the Clermont or O’Leary crowds.
 
They are: Scott Hahn, Jimmy Akin, and Karl Keating, as well as (inexplicably) EWTN. Indeed, coupled with Father O’Leary’s usage, it’s a total muddle. For Father O’Leary, Kraus (loather of all things Hahn/Akin and Keating) is apparently a neo-Cath because of her contempt for Protestants (or perhaps her general conservatism), while Wikipedia tries to pin the label on Hahn, Akin, and Keating for being too Protestantized and papolotrous (if I may coin a term).
 
Mysteriously, the Wiki piece lumps them all in with neocons, too. But Hahn (who opposed the Iraq war and has little enthusiasm for neoconservative ideology) and Keating and Akin (who reject neocon agitprop about the glories of Hiroshima) hardly fit that bill. And Akin’s mysterious “Protestantized” tendencies have yet to become visible to me, particularly in books dedicated to helping stop liturgical abuses like Mass Confusion — unless what is meant here is that Akin (and Keating and Hahn) attempt to present the Faith in ways intelligible to Protestants so that they will, you know, become Catholic and become docile to Holy Church. I always thought that (at risk of being perceived as a Protestantized Bible thumper) the point of the Church was to “go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19), so I fail to see that problem, either — unless, of course, you just don’t want former Protestants in your Church.

So I found that, the more I pondered the term “neo-Catholic,” the more wonderfully malleable it became. I discovered, for instance, that I’m one — at least now and then. But what that meant, I still didn’t know. I don’t exactly fit the bill in terms of enthusiasm for American Nationalism trumping Catholic Faith, so I don’t know how that works with the Clermont crowd. (And I’m not the only one who rejects the notion that being Catholic means “Shut up and vote GOP.”) So I wonder: If I oppose the war and agree with the pope that it did not square with just war teaching, am I a papolotrous neo-Catholic who believes the pope incapable of the tiniest error? Contrarily, if I regard the Ordinary Form as, you know, the Ordinary Form, and fail to be sufficiently bitter about it and contemptibly content with my parish, am I Protestantized neo-Cath? Hard to tell.
 
Was it being a convert that makes you a neo-Catholic? Nope. Keating was always a Catholic. Pat Madrid, too. Yet somehow they are neoCaths, as well. Indeed, Catholic Answers is, I am informed by the Wiki piece, a notable neo-Catholic stronghold, as is Madrid’s “glossy neo-Catholic magazine.” So I ask: What the blazes is “neo” about somebody who was always Catholic? This is particularly puzzling when we get to the case of the born-and-bred Italian-Catholic Mother Angelica, whose EWTN is also a brood of swarming neo-Catholics, according to no less a magisterial authority than Some Guy with a Keyboard and Some Other Guy with a Keyboard Who Agrees with Him.
 
Enmeshed in such baffling confusion, I had almost given up on the attempt to figure out what “neo-Catholic” meant, when some of my readers rode to the rescue and showed me . . . well, not what I was looking for, exactly, but something else illuminating instead.
 
Of which, more next week.

Mark P. Shea

By

Mark P. Shea is the author of Mary, Mother of the Son and other works. He was a senior editor at Catholic Exchange and is a former columnist for Crisis Magazine.

  • Stan Gwizdak

    Well written as usual, Mark. Your usual and predictable allusions to Bush/Cheney notwithstanding. I was earnestly fearful that you would claim that Richard Pearle, Wolfowitz and, of course, Bush/Cheney were all Neo-Catholics, had become advisers to Benedict and were conniving to resurrect the old Papal States, raise armies and commit unjust war.

    That aside, your point is well taken. I really can’t accurately define what a Neo-Catholic is either. I actually thought, offhandedly and without much introspection, that I could. I can’t. It seems to have several connotations and denotations. I will look forward to you next article for more added points on the current hexagon.

    Dominus, miserere nobis.

  • I am not Spartacus

    Pope Benedict XV: AD BEATISSIMI APOSTOLORUM

    The success of every society of men, for whatever purpose it is formed, is bound up with the harmony of the members in the interests of the common cause. Hence We must devote Our earnest endeavours to appease dissension and strife, of whatever character, amongst Catholics, and to prevent new dissensions arising, so that there may be unity of ideas and of action amongst all. The enemies of God and of the Church are perfectly well aware that any internal quarrel amongst Catholics is a real victory for them. Hence it is their usual practice when they see Catholics strongly united, to endeavour by cleverly sowing the seeds of discord, to break up that union. And would that the result had not frequently justified their hopes, to the great detriment of the interests of religion! Hence, therefore, whenever legitimate authority has once given a clear command, let no one transgress that command, because it does not happen to commend itself to him; but let each one subject his own opinion to the authority of him who is his superior, and obey him as a matter of conscience. Again, let no private individual, whether in books or in the press, or in public speeches, take upon himself the position of an authoritative teacher in the Church. All know to whom the teaching authority of the Church has been given by God: he, then, possesses a perfect right to speak as he wishes and when he thinks it opportune. The duty of others is to hearken to him reverently when he speaks and to carry out what he says.

    23. As regards matters in which without harm to faith or discipline – in the absence of any authoritative intervention of the Apostolic See – there is room for divergent opinions, it is clearly the right of everyone to express and defend his own opinion. But in such discussions no expressions should be used which might constitute serious breaches of charity; let each one freely defend his own opinion, but let it be done with due moderation, so that no one should consider himself entitled to affix on those who merely do not agree with his ideas the stigma of disloyalty to faith or to discipline.

    24. It is, moreover, Our will that Catholics should abstain from certain appellations which have recently been brought into use to distinguish one group of Catholics from another. They are to be avoided not only as “profane novelties of words,” out of harmony with both truth and justice, but also because they give rise to great trouble and confusion among Catholics. Such is the nature of Catholicism that it does not admit of more or less, but must be held as a whole or as a whole rejected: “This is the Catholic faith, which unless a man believe faithfully and firmly; he cannot be saved” (Athanas. Creed). There is no need of adding any qualifying terms to the profession of Catholicism: it is quite enough for each one to proclaim “Christian is my name and Catholic my surname,” only let him endeavour to be in reality what he calls himself.

    I don’t remember any subsequent Pope telling us to call our own selves Trad this or Neo that so it might not be a bad idea to adopt this great Pope’s advice.

    To be Catholic, one must maintain the Bonds Of Unity in Worship, Doctrine, and Authority.

    Everything else is politics and open for fights, disagreements, arguments, etc and all the hoo-rah that men like to dispute about and that makes life fun.

    Ever since I first read this Encyclical I have called myself a Christian Catholic and not just because this Pope recommended it.

    It makes perfect sense to me. By calling myself a Christian Catholic, I hope to communicate to others (after they ask me why I call myself that) that I follow Christ in the Universal Church He established.

    And I give praise and glory to our Triune God that He inspired this current great Pope Benedict to resurrect the Extraordinary Rite.

  • georgie-ann

    i agree that sharing ideas is fun/interesting/stimulating,…

    but it strikes me that when it devolves into limiting/finger-pointing argumentation and restrictive/exclusive perceptions/definitions (other than Church orthodoxy!), it shows that modern man has a tendency to forget his/her smallness and contingency in relationship to a VERY BIG God,…(Lord have mercy on Me, as well as “Them,”…”They” are much more God’s business than mine,…so, maybe i could be content to “mind my own business” when it comes to God’s economy in the human salvation business,…it seems to me that He’s kind of perpetually saying, “Enlarge your tents,…”)

    if God IS the Father of us all, who are we to be so arbitrarily judgmental and exclusive (except, again, as pertaining to church orthodoxy),…maybe He’s saying to us, “Enlarge your hearts,” when He says “Enlarge your tents,”…

  • RK

    I think a useful connotation of “neo-Catholic” is applying it to those Catholics who advocate the Republican neo-conservative war policy. While terrorism is unpleasant, when neo-cons deny American provocation they lie and propagandize for a political agenda. Catholic commentators, like Novak, Weigel, and Neuhaus have misled many Catholics by providing legitimacy to a deceitful and discredited ideology. If someone can come up with a more descriptive term than “neo-Catholic” I’m all ears.

  • Badger

    You’ve been writing a variation of this for the past 3 years. I get the feeling you simply don’t want to find the neo-caths. You again conveniently make O’Leary an authority on the matter although the only people that seem to consider him an authority on the matter are O’Leary, Liccione, and yourself.

  • Rich

    I think a useful connotation of “neo-Catholic” is applying it to those Catholics who advocate the Republican neo-conservative war policy. While terrorism is unpleasant, when neo-cons deny American provocation they lie and propagandize for a political agenda. Catholic commentators, like Novak, Weigel, and Neuhaus have misled many Catholics by providing legitimacy to a deceitful and discredited ideology. If someone can come up with a more descriptive term than “neo-Catholic” I’m all ears.

    This is very well put. This is not to say that there are not psuedo-catholics out there who are damaging the faithful with their own denial of the right to life of the unborn. Deal will inform us any second about more of them, I am sure. Still, I find the term neo catholic less useful than the straight forward “conservative Catholic.”

  • Bryan

    Look, man, I’m part of the cabal and I can definitely say that Mark was read out of the neo-Cath movement long ago. I can’t say why, but the idea I’ve heard floating around out there that it had something to do with his beard is flat-out wrong.

    Although, a goatee might have been more appropriate. Just sayin’.

  • Darcy

    Mark says some good things here, but anyone who has read his blog knows that he throws around labels (and blanket condemnations to go with them) all the time. Mark has done some good work in recent years, particularly on torture, but I don’t think what he writes here is in any way consistent with his own usual methods. If this article is really how he feels, then maybe he should think about taking back all his toxic rhetoric concerning “RadTrads” and others who are unfortunate enough to disagree with him.

  • georgie-ann

    by rights i could have been a cradle Catholic,…but no one consulted my young self, and my fallen-away-parents decided for me that it was not to be,…

    the spiritual searches of my young adulthood led me back in as efficient an amount of time as possible, i suppose, and happily i was baptized Catholic as an adult,…meanwhile, i was exposed to Protestant style teachings, televangelism, etc.,…but it’s simply enough for me to believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and to belong to a church that is solid on the principles of Respect for Life and other wholesome teachings,…but there is even so much more,…what’s not to love?,…

    so does that make me “chopped liver?”…i’m glad that God at least doesn’t seem to think so,…

  • Charles Rouse

    I’m not sure I can define neo-Catholic either, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

    Reading this post has led me to attempt to narrow down the definition some – a difficult task which I began by first attempting to define what it wasn’t. I’m not a true scholar, Catholic or otherwise, so take that into consideration.

    To my mind, neo-Catholics are a synthesis of Catholicism and Conservative Politics. Many, but not all, are converts (and conversely not all converts fall into the neo-Catholic category) and they are pre-dominantly focused on the Church’s apparent conservatism – particularly the pro-life aspects.

    Some born and raised Catholics fall into the category because of their recent (in the pst 25 years or so) adoption of the conservative political cause and their efforts to integrate the two into a single whole.

    From the perspective of the right, there probably seems to be an alternative version of the neo-Catholic coming from the left where in the liberals born out of the sixties and seventies have mis-interpreted Vatican II and attempted to create a ‘liberalistic’ version of Catholicism which integrates their politics and religion into a single whole.

    Logically, this reduces down to define neo-Catholics down to those, frequently converts attempting to reconcile their religion with their politics, and where the two don’t jive, mangling their religion to conform with their politics.

    This is puzzling to those of us who were born and identified as Catholics even before race or ethnicity or anything else, and certainly before choosing our politics. It is admittedly somewhat of a logical quandary that the Church is neither liberal nor conservative, but is simply the Church. We paleo-Catholics understand that it is the responsibility of both the individual and the institution to conform to the Church and not for the Church to conform to external law or any institution.

    To be Catholic first is to be perceived as both a liberal and a conservative and to be perceived as neither and sometimes to be perceived as the enemy to one side, the other, and sometimes both. Neo-Catholics are nothing more than Catholics having trouble understanding this and setting their priorities accordingly.

  • Brian English

    “While terrorism is unpleasant, when neo-cons deny American provocation they lie and propagandize for a political agenda.”

    Don’t you think “unpleasant” is a little strong? After all, since we provoke these attacks, isn’t saying they are unpleasant playing right into the hands of the Bush/Cheney/ Wolfowitz/Perles/Weigel/Novak/Neuhaus Cabal?

  • Christine

    My question is why do we need to coin a term for Catholics who are/were for a war (albeit a war I was against from the beginning – Iraq)?

    I remember that I was in a very small minority when I was hollering, hey what about Just War? Shouldn’t we try everything else before we go out shooting? People die.

    I think it is unfair for people to label a person’s support of sinful behavior or the fact that they were duped by someone who misled them into supporting sinful behavior, as neo anything.

    Most of the people who now point fingers about the war in Iraq were the very people who supported it from it’s inception. I remember putting my head in my hands when I saw the televised vote of support on Capital Hill and when I heard all of the comments from both the right and the left on the airwaves. Until things went awry, both liberals and conservatives were very supportive of the war effort.

    So what does this say about the people who now call others names who supported the war from the beginning? Why did they stop supporting it? Do we know their reasons? Will they even be truthful about it?

    It is very easy now to call those who hung onto their beliefs about the legitimacy of this war longer than others neo-catholics. I just think it is sad and shameful that people do this.

    I remember being one of the only people against the war!!!! It was sad and lonely spot to be in, but it was easy to deduce that we did not exhaust every option before we went to war. I am not a rocket scientist and I figured it out. But it always seemed like I was the only one who did.

    I wish that this neo-catholic moniker would disappear and we would pick ourselves up by the bootstraps as a nation and remember next time we are in a bad situation that war is the final option not the first.

    Let’s forgive each other and move on.

  • RK

    My question is why do we need to coin a term for Catholics who are/were for a war (albeit a war I was against from the beginning – Iraq)?

    I remember that I was in a very small minority when I was hollering, hey what about Just War? Shouldn’t we try everything else before we go out shooting? People die.

    Christine, you are not, nor were you ever, alone in your objection to the travesty we created in Iraq. Many of us, albeit a minority, opposed this war from the beginning.

    I think it is important to continue discussing this war. While some former supporters of it have come to realize that we were lied to by neo-cons Bush & Cheney as well as the assorted Catholic apologists, there remain many (including some commenters here) who hold that the United States did nothing wrong.

    If we did in fact provoke terror against the United States (and I believe we did) we need to come to the painful realization that our government has behaved unjustly. We need to condemn American actions, despite the overwhelming propaganda which influences us to recoil from the notion that America could ever do anything wrong.

    Unless we acknowledge our own faults and failings we will never be able to advocate for true justice and we will continue to invite terrorist acts against us.

  • Brian English

    Christine raises a good point. Go back and look at the votes in the Senate regarding the War. Or better yet, go back to the Clinton Administration, where regime change in Iraq was identified as America’s policy.

    The War in Iraq was a bi-partisan effort. The Democrats only jumped ship after Bush and Rumsfeld failed to properly garrison the country and the insurgency began creating chaos.

    “I only voted for the successful three-week war, not the botched occupation,” is not a valid position to take. Once we went in, we were in for the long-haul.

  • Brian English

    “If we did in fact provoke terror against the United States (and I believe we did) we need to come to the painful realization that our government has behaved unjustly.”

    Absolutely right! If we had not invaded Iraq, 9/11 never would have happened.

  • Christine

    RK,

    I disagree with you on the provocation part. Al Qaeda declared war on us in 1994 and bombed us twice before we went to war in Iraq.

    Modern Islamic beliefs,the Quran as well as the Islamic invasion of Spain and other southern portions of Europe centuries ago also do not support this belief. Madrassas as well as the Middle Eastern mainstream media has espoused violence and hate towards the United states for over 50 years.

    In the Quran Muslim lands are called the house of Islam and all other lands are called the house of war. Their religion calls them to conquer other lands and Islamacize them.

    Because of these reasons listed above and many more, I think that they will be after us to make war no matter what we do. But as they say and we belive, Allah Akbar – yes God is greater, and he will win. I don’t belive that Islam will ultimately be successful because of God’s promise to us, but oh how we will suffer, whether we do anything to them ever again or not.

    If you want a good translation of the Quran, you should go to http://www.jihadwatch.org

  • Christine

    The way we provoked the Islamic world into attacking us is by buying their oil.

    By giving them money and power through the oil market, we gave them money and power to make their dreams of power come to fruition.

    The Quran and their religious doctrine of manifest destiny helped the population in their lands agree with them.

    I don’t think it was our war that made them come after us. It was their sin of pride and power and their belief in an apostacized religion.

    I think we should admit wrongdoing, but also hold others accountable for their sins.

    The US does either one or the other, never both, which makes us seem insane.

  • Ken

    Neo-Catholics are usually so-called conservative Catholics who do not attend the traditional Latin Mass on a regular basis.

    An interesting divide between traditionalists and conservatives (let’s say, readers of The Remnant versus readers of The Wanderer) is that traditionalists are anti-war and not in lock step with Republicans, and conservatives are generally pro-war and extremely devoted to the GOP. But the Mass is more often than not the telling point.

    Pat Buchanan is a prime example of a traditionalist.

    Michael Novak is a prime example of a neo-Catholic.

  • Carl

    Much of name calling are attempts to influence the emotions, attitudes, opinions, and especially for ideological purposes. Name calling when expressed with deliberate consent and in full knowledge is the sin of calumny and slander.

    2285 Scandal takes on a particular gravity by reason of the authority of those who cause it or the weakness of those who are scandalized. It prompted our Lord to utter this curse: “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” Scandal is grave when given by those who by nature or office are obliged to teach and educate others. Jesus reproaches the scribes and Pharisees on this account: he likens them to wolves in sheep’s clothing.

  • RK

    I don’t think it was our war that made them come after us. It was their sin of pride and power and their belief in an apostacized religion.

    Fundamentally, I’m sure there’s much truth in your statement that pride was/is a major factor, as it is in every sin. However, there are surely more proximate causes. Pat Buchanan has an interesting take on this in a current article:

    It was Osama bin Laden himself, in his declaration of war in 1998, published in London, who gave al-Qaeda

  • Jared B.

    I have not seen it used synonymously with neo-Catholic, but one term that does cover quite a few of the alleged neo-Catholics is Evangelical Catholic. As John Allen Jr. has described it http://bit.ly/7QREK0 one doesn’t need to be a former Evangelical Protestant or a convert, and can include neocon Republicans and their political opposition alike. I’d say Akin, Keating, Weigel, Hahn, Madrid, Steve Wood and many other Catholic radio personalities, and Shea himself are good examples of this trend or ‘way’ of being Catholic.

    What makes this term different and better than neo-Cath, pop-Catholic or rad-trad is that as it’s currently being used, it isn’t interchangeable with “truly true Catholic” or “not really as Catholic as me”. It’s more like describing someone as a third-order Franciscan, a Thomist, or an avid reader of the Spanish Mystics…one of those many ‘ways’ of being Catholic that have their highs and lows in history but never become synonymous with “really just “Catholicism,” no more and no less”, and are indisputably compatible with one another and even mix-able.

    Evangelical Catholics, if there truly are such things and if they include the sorts I listed, also share the honor of being reviled by Spirit of Vatican III and rad-trad types alike, and for pretty much the same reasons that they give them the label neo-Cath; only with the advantage of having some objective boundaries in definition, in terms of a Catholic’s ‘enthusiasms’ if not concrete beliefs or practices.

  • Christine

    Osama Bin Laden declared war on the US in 1994. He changes his stories all of the time to suit his mood.

    I don’t think that this is a reliable indicator or completely true. Needless to say that I do not think we are completely not to blame, but I think that given the history and the reality of Islam, we were never safe and will never be.

    Pundits either want to blame the US only for what is happing or blame the Islamic world. It probably has to do with both.

    Please don’t, however underestimate that to lie to infidels in order to gain the upper hand is written to be a praisworthy trait in the Quran. Don’t expect the truth from Mr. Bin Laden or other entities who fight us because we are infidels. Know your enemies.

  • Rob H.

    I remember that I was in a very small minority when I was hollering, hey what about Just War? Shouldn’t we try everything else before we go out shooting? People die.

    Christine,
    A very small minority, true, but not insignificant. Pope John Paul II, Cardinal Ratzinger, and many other Vatican officials spoke out constantly against the war. Too bad our “watchdog” media here in the U.S. didn’t give those voices the coverage they deserved.

  • RK

    Don’t expect the truth from Mr. Bin Laden or other entities who fight us because we are infidels. Know your enemies.

    Christine,

    I think you’re quite right that we should know our enemies.

    Whether bin Laden is a nice guy or not, his goal of luring the United States into a series of expensive and unwinnable wars has proven to be successful. Bloody terrorist attacks create chaos in the west and result in overreaction at a huge cost to the United States.

    Thanks,

    RK

  • Christine

    Carl,

    You are right about the name calling. I am glad that you posted the CCC about it.

    Maybe if people are sinning or if they are leading others to scandal, we should identify the sin and call them on it.

    If we don’t agree on politics (outside of those items deemed important by the Holy Catholic Church, natch) we should have a healthy debate.

    As Catholics, we should not reduce ourselves to name callers.

  • georgie-ann

    i’m not much of a “groupie” when it comes to religion or politics,…i do not “need” to identify with another’s “way” of worshipping or voting to confirm my own identity and “connection” in these matters,…actually, i really dislike mixing religion and politics,…and i like religion a whole lot more than i like politics!,…so, i guess i’m “chopped liver,”…well, “whatever,”…

    (-: good luck to us,…all worldliness (self-interest, selfishness, pride and hatred) is guilty of sin before God,…so, how do you pretend to mix these present worldly conditions successfully with God, as if they are somehow working together?,…

  • Brian English

    “Pat Buchanan has an interesting take on this in a current article:”

    Why does it not surprise me that you are a Pat Buchanan fan? Are you one of those Paleo-Catholics who also believes FDR and Churchill were primarily responsible for WWII?

    “Neo-Catholics like Brian English refuse to consider U.S. culpability in creating these wars.”

    What did we do to deserve the first World Trade Center attack? What about the Cole? What about 9/11? Specifics please, not evasions.

    Bin Laden has a whole list of things the US has done, including not signing the Kyoto Treaty, that have provoked him. Do you just agree with the four Buchanan lists or do you think there are additional justifications for the attacks?

  • D.B.

    Does the fact that I celebrate Christendom’s victory at Lepanto and view the Crusades as a Just War make me a “Neo-Catholic”? Or just one of those cranky “Rad Trads?”

  • Mark

    “Third, U.S. support for Israel

  • jacobus

    What did we do to deserve the first World Trade Center attack? What about the Cole? What about 9/11? Specifics please, not evasions.

    Well, we broke up the Ottoman Empire into arbitrary states and then supported various dictators and Shahs, stationed troops in their lands, invaded their countries, supported a non-Arab state (Israel) where there had been Arab or Turk rulers previously. That probably deserves the opprobrium of the Islamic world and even though terrorist attacks are indefensible, they’re certainly understandable in that light.

    Needless to say that I do not think we are completely not to blame, but I think that given the history and the reality of Islam, we were never safe and will never be.

    Oddly enough, Arab, Pontic, Armenian, Ionian, Assyrian, Coptic, Syriac, and Persian Christians were a lot better off under the Ottoman Empire than they have been in the past 100 years since the West has been messing around in the Levant and Middle East.

    Everyone would be much better off if we stopped.

  • Tom

    To Mark and other similar minded in search of the sinister and elusive neo-Catholic: Look in the mirror.

  • Brian English

    “Well, we broke up the Ottoman Empire into arbitrary states and then supported various dictators and Shahs, stationed troops in their lands, invaded their countries, supported a non-Arab state (Israel) where there had been Arab or Turk rulers previously. That probably deserves the opprobrium of the Islamic world and even though terrorist attacks are indefensible, they’re certainly understandable in that light.”

    The British were the primary architects of the carve-up of the Ottoman Empire, which, by the way, led to the creation of Saudi Arabia in the first place. Why all the attacks on the US?

    We stationed troops in Saudi Arabia to keep Saddam from rolling over that country after he was done with Kuwait. We did not invade Afghanistan or Iraq until after 9/11. What other invasions are you talking about? All of the Muslims we protected in the Balkans seemed to want us there, so that cannot be what caused the problem.

    As far as Israel goes, the Arabs only arrived there in the 7th century (and lost the region for most of the 12th century), so the area has not always been ruled by Arabs or Turks. Pursuant to your way of thinking, the Muslims are entitled to get Spain back (which is actually another one of Osama’s demands).

    Nothing you mentioned above deserves the opprobrium of the Islamic World. Nothing you mentioned makes the terrorist attacks understandable.

  • Christine

    Jacobus,

    I don’t think that living under Sharia law would be good for anyone involved.

    I also don’t like the idea of dhimmitude, and since this is a part of the Quran, I doubt that being treated this way by the Muslims in Spain was very fun at all. This is an excerpt of the Quran:

    “On the day of payment {of the jizya} they {the dhimmi} shall be assembled in a public place like the suq {place of commerce}. They should be standing there waiting in the lowest and dirtiest place. The acting officials representing the Law shall be placed above them and shall adopt a threatening attitude so that it seems to them, as well as to others, that our object is to degrade them by pretending to take their possessions. They will realize that we are doing them a favor in accepting from them the jizya and letting them go free. “

  • RK

    “Third, U.S. support for Israel

  • ben

    I think Jared B. has one of the most thoughtful responses in all of the long discussions I’ve seen dealing with these issues in the past several months.

    I agree, Neo-Catholic is a sneering way of saying Evangelical Catholic. Just as Rad-Trad is a sneering way of saying Traditionalist Catholic.

  • Michael

    This quote summarizes the distinction rather well.

    Neo-Catholics are usually so-called conservative Catholics who do not attend the traditional Latin Mass on a regular basis.

    An interesting divide between traditionalists and conservatives (let’s say, readers of The Remnant versus readers of The Wanderer) is that traditionalists are anti-war and not in lock step with Republicans, and conservatives are generally pro-war and extremely devoted to the GOP. But the Mass is more often than not the telling point.

    Pat Buchanan is a prime example of a traditionalist.

    Michael Novak is a prime example of a neo-Catholic.

    It also helps to explain why so many traditionalists read Mark’s blog and so often get stung when Mark somewhat carelessly tosses the pejorative ‘rad-trad’ at any ‘traditionalist’ with whom he is taking issue at the moment.

    What it does not really explain is why Mark is so darn sensitive about the label, neo-catholic.

  • Michael

    What did we do to deserve the first World Trade Center attack?

    When police attempt to understand why a crime was committed one thing they search for is motive. In the world of police work it is possible to seek to understand a motive without presuming that doing so gives it moral sanction, surely. To acknowledge that Islamists may have legitimate grievances against the United States is not the same thing as justifying an act of mass murder.

  • Christine

    To acknowledge that Islamists may have legitimate grievances against the United States is not the same thing as justifying an act of mass murder.

    AMEN!

  • I am not Spartacus

    What did we do to deserve the first World Trade Center attack? What about the Cole? What about 9/11? Specifics please, not evasions.

    Slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them, and confine them, and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush” (Sura 9.5).

    “Those that make war against Allah and His apostle and spread disorder in the land shall be slain or crucified or have their hands and feet cut off on alternate sides, or be banished from the land. They shall be held up to shame in this world and sternly punished in the hereafter.” (Sura 5.33)

    “O believers, take not Jews and Christians as friends; they are friends of each other. Whoso of you makes them his friends is one of them. Allah guides not the people of the evildoers.” (Sura 5.51)

    “Allah revealed His will to the angels, saying: ‘I shall be with you. Give courage to the believers. I shall cast terror into the hearts of the infidels. Strike off their heads, strike off the very tips of their fingers!’ That was because they defied Allah and His apostle. He that defies Allah and his apostle shall be sternly punished by Allah.” (Sura 8.12-13)

    “In order that Allah may separate the pure from the impure, put all the impure ones [i.e. non-Muslims] one on top of another in a heap and cast them into hell. They will have been the ones to have lost.” (Sura 8.37)

    “And fight them until there is no more fitnah (disbelief and polytheism, i.e. worshipping others besides Allah) and the religion (worship) will all be for Allah alone (in the whole world). But if they cease (worshipping others besides Allah) then certainly, Allah is All-Seer of what they do.” (Sura 8.39).

    “Muster against them [i.e. non-Muslims] all the men and cavalry at your command, so that you may strike terror into the enemy of Allah and your enemy, and others besides them who are unknown to you but known to Allah.” (Sura 8.60)

    “O Prophet, urge on the believers to fight. If there be twenty of you, patient men, they will overcome two hundred; if there be a hundred of you, they will overcome a thousand unbelievers, for they are a people who understand not.” (Sura 8.65)

    “It is not for any Prophet to have prisoners until he make wide slaughter in the land.” (Sura 8.67).

    “Fight those who believe not in Allah and the Last Day and do not forbid what Allah and His Messenger have forbidden — such men as practice not the religion of truth, being of those who have been given the Book [i.e. Jews and Christians] — until they pay the tribute out of hand and have been humbled.” (Sura 9.29)

    “If you do not go to war, He will punish you sternly, and will replace you by other men.” (Sura 9.39)

    “Prophet, make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites, and deal harshly with them. Hell shall be their home: an evil fate.” (Sura 9.73)

    “They [i.e. faithful Muslims] will fight for the cause of Allah, they will slay and be slain.” (Sura 9.111)

    “O believers, fight the unbelievers who are near to you, and let them find in you a harshness, and know that Allah is with the godfearing.” (Sura 9.123)

    “When We resolve to raze a city, We first give warning to those of its people who live in comfort. If they persist in sin, judgement is irrevocably passed, and We destroy it utterly.” (Sura 17.16) (Folks forget that Bin Laden gave this warning to America)

    “We have destroyed many a sinful nation and replaced them by other men. And when they felt Our Might they took to their heels and fled. They were told: ‘Do not run away. Return to your comforts and to your dwellings. You shall be questioned all.’ ‘Woe betide us, we have done wrong’ was their reply. And this they kept repeating until We mowed them down and put out their light.” (Sura 21.11-15)

    “When you meet the unbelievers in the battlefield strike off their heads and, when you have laid them low, bind your captives firmly. Then grant them their freedom or take a ransom from them, until war shall lay down her burdens.” (Sura 47.4)

    “Mohammed is Allah’s apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another.” (Sura 48.29)

    “May the hands of Abu Lahab [Mohammed’s uncle, who had refused to embrace Islam] perish! Nothing shall his wealth and gains avail him. He shall be burnt in a flaming fire, and his wife, laden with firewood, shall have a rope of fiber around her neck!” (Sura 111.1-5)

    Of course it is a propaganda windfall to Jihad recruiters that we invaded and occupied what Islam claims as their holy land, but long before America was a twinkle in Christopher Columbus’ eyes, Islam was attacking and killing innocent Christians and Jews.

    Even IF America left the ME and stopped all support of Israel, Islam would still seek to wipe it out (Mr. Ron Paul hasn’t quite gotten up to speed on the truth about Islam).

  • Michael

    Of course it is a propaganda windfall to Jihad recruiters that we invaded and occupied what Islam claims as their holy land, but long before America was a twinkle in Christopher Columbus’ eyes, Islam was attacking and killing innocent Christians and Jews.

    Even IF America left the ME and stopped all support of Israel, Islam would still seek to wipe it out (Mr. Ron Paul hasn’t quite gotten up to speed on the truth about Islam).

    Just as Islam is an intractable foe of Christianity, the secular West is not its defender either. Our government is fighting in the ME neither to defend Christendom nor to end the Islamist threat in its home. Just as the elites in Europe have opened their continent’s doors to a massive influx of Muslims our elites do not see Islam as a particular threat to their privileged way of life.

  • JamesD

    Neo Catholic is a term of convenience. It came about because Traditionalists did not know what to call Catholics who accept communion in the hand, communion while standing, altar girls, girls and women in the sanctuary, women not covering their heads, Catholics making lame excuses for Koran kissing and taking part in prayers with demon worshipers at Assisi. It is tempting to call them “liberals”, but that term already means “heretics” who support gay priests, married priests, divorce, contraception, etc…

    So we came up with the term Neo-Catholic. They are the “new” Catholics that have sprung up after the disaster of Vatican II and the novus ordo. They are new in that if they were transferred back in time and presented their “new” beliefs to Pope St. Pius X (or any Pope, for that matter) they would be condemned as heretics.

  • Carlist

    Mark;

    If you’re really serious about the emergence of the term “Neo-Catholic” and the context from which it arose, I advise you read “The Great Facade” a take on the post Conciliar Church by Chris Ferrara and your fellow “Inside Catholic” contributor, Thomas Woods.

    Basically Neo-Catholics share the foreign policy outlook of their Neo-Conservative financial and social benefactors and congregate around and constitute the staffs of outlets such as “First Things” There seems to be a tension within their ranks as whether to follow Rome or the Upper West Side of Manhattan, especially regarding the Mideast.

    On a more spiritual level, Neo-Cats seem to believe that Pentecost took place and doctrine proceeded from 1965 rather than 33 A.D.

    Their “gut enthusiasm” revolves around the DeLubacs, Congars and Balthasaars rather than Garrigou-Lagrange or Tanquerey. As to Papacies, the less said about any Pius the better!

    Their liturgical leanings follow the same direction with a definite affinity for low Church Protestant “wannabe” services rather than the more doctrinally precise TLM.

    Traditional Catholics are to be held at arms length!

    The Neo-Cat shares with the Neo-Con another trait i.e. a desire to “dialogue” with those on their left but give the steel fist treatment to those who disagree with their postitions from the right, whether religious or political.

    While they will engage in polite debate with the “National Catholic Reporter”, publications such as “The Remnant” “Catholic Family News” or “New Oxford Review” are consigned to Gehenna.

    At bottom, Neo-Catholicism has shown itself to be a flavor rather than a creed!

    Let’s dub it: “Modernism Light”!

  • Christine

    National Catholic Reporter? Really? I am just a babe in the woods then, trying to do the right thing by following the tenants of the Catholic Faith. The NCR drives me bonkers with how far they go out of their way to scandalize the faithful.

    All you trads, liberals, neo-caths, catholic lights just get me confused.

  • Penguins Fan

    Ahhh, nothing like a Mark Shea post to get people at each others’ throats here at Inside Catholic.

    The back and forth in threads like this one have made me strongly consider to quit commenting about anything I read on the ‘net, but I could not resist this time.

    Mark Shea enjoys poking those he disagrees with, which can be just about anyone, although he seems to have more contempt for anyone who is conservative.

    All of the whining about the Iraq War is a waste of time because it’s water under the bridge. Justified or not…and I did believe Saddam Hussein had supplies of chemical weapons…Hussein is dead and gone and the Ba’ath Party and its rule of terror over the Iraqi people is over. Due to shoddy oversight, the Iraqi Catholics have paid and continue to pay a terrible price in the aftermath and neither Bush nor Cheney nor the State Department nor the USCCB were concerned about their fate.

    The Democrat Party wants to give amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants from Latin America – and the USCCB supports this – but they say nothing about the plight of Iraqi Catholics – or any other Catholics in the Middle East.

    To expect Obama and his minions to care anymore than Bush did is lunacy.

    Much of the whining about the Iraq War misses a point. The West has been at war with Islam since the seventh century. In the past, brave people, among them kings, queens, knights, soldiers, sailors, priests and bishops knew that they were at war with Islam and waged the battle. Spain fought for nearly 780 years to free itself from Islam. There was the Battle of Lepanto and the Battle of Vienna.

    By the way, God bless Poland. King Jan Sobieski led the Hussars to smash the Muslim Turks at Vieenna in 1683 and at the Miracle of the Vistula in 1920, the recently re-established Republic of Poland defeated the invading Soviet Army and put a halt (for the time being) to Communism.

    For all the complaining about Bush, in the earliest part of his first term, he wanted nothing to do with the Middle East. Tony Blair wanted Bush to intervene in “peace negotiations” between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs. Bush said that they needed to settle things themselves and wanted better relations with Latin America.

    Bin Laden and al Qaeda put an end to that.

  • Carlist

    Penguin:

    Great post but I would add one other fact to your assertion that Saddam probably had chem weapons. If he did guess who was holding the receipts?

    We backed his attack on Iran. Iraq used mustard gas during the conflict while the Iranians used nerve gas.

  • AVC

    This is what gets published on Inside Catholic these days? What, is business that slow? Mark Shea feels insulted about something, and he has to take his gripe from his personal blog to a more public forum? Really? Is he getting paid for this?

  • D.B.

    I am Spartacus.

    Dear God, when did we become so weak and worthy of contempt?

    When did we become such cowards?

  • Rob H.

    Even IF America left the ME and stopped all support of Israel, Islam would still seek to wipe it out (Mr. Ron Paul hasn’t quite gotten up to speed on the truth about Islam).

    That may be true about Islam, but Dr. Paul was clearly ahead of the curve regarding the unintended consequences of U.S. foreign policy.

    Policy toward Iraq is

  • Penguins Fan

    Carlist, Saddam got many of his chemical weapons from the US. I know of the pic with Saddam & Rumsfeld. Yes, the US backed Iraq against Iran. I’m sure it was done reluctantly, but done nonetheless. Saddam was a recipient of USSR materiel, too, and let’s not forget the UN Oil for Food program that served to enrich Saddam, Gerhard Schroeder, Chirac and Putin.

    With all the arguments about neo-Catholic, Rad Trad, etc., the Internet has given rise to so many Catholic blogs and websites and invariably, people cannot discuss things calmly. Look at how quickly any post about politics erupts here.

  • Magnus

    Carlist uses neo-caths in the old sense of people who love De Lubac and other Vatican II figures and detest figures such as Pius IX, Pius X and Pius XII.

    Actually that might suggest a good definition of neo-caths in the new sense (of right wing Catholic bloggers and “stunch apologists”, ranging from the woodenly rational Sacramentum Vitae to the antisemitic Rorate Coeli): people who dislike Vatican II ideas and personalities or who know nothing about them, but who cannot have enough of the Piuses.

    Is Mark Shea a neocath in the latter sense? Does he want to be? Being against torture is such a basic requirement of being a decent human being that it can hardly count as making you a non-neocath. Well National Catholic Register, like The Wanderer, is one of those extreme conservative Catholic organs that hope for a new influx of blood from the neocaths.

  • Magnus

    From Rorate Caeli blog:
    Wednesday, January 13, 2010

    Pope Benedict will be at the Rome synagogue on January 17, date of the annual Day of Dialogue with Judaism established by the Italian bishops. (They have not yet made it a holyday of obligation to attend such events, but one might ask, what is stopping them?) We are likely to hear in the media that the date commemorates the day in 1793 when the Rome ghetto was preserved from a pogrom by fire, by a sudden rainstorm. We are not likely to hear the details of that day, for which history books must be consulted…
    By January 17, 1793, the French Revolution was in full swing, with martyrs already executed and many exiled French clerics living in Rome and recounting what they knew of the situation… Many Romans were fed up with the arrogant provocations of the French, and on January 13 they decided they would not put up with it any longer. Some Frenchmen doing their usual thing in a Roman thoroughfare were set upon by a mob and one was killed… And due to the centuries-old vicious circle of provocations, economic struggle and governmental restrictions on the Jews, the populace naturally suspected the Roman Jews of being a fifth column in league with revolutionary France… The papal police forces surrounded the ghetto and began conducting searches for evidence of such collaboration. It was providential for the Jews that they were there, because when a crowd began to light and feed a fire at one of the ghetto

  • Charles Miller

    Neo-caths, neo-cons, NCR, Donald Rumsfeld, sharia law…
    Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!
    Wow, how did this thing deteriorate so badly, so rapidly.

    Mark Shea writes wonderful spiritual reflections, but he seems to have a couple of sore spots: torture and people who don’t like converts to Catholicism.

    Without taking any sort of position on either of those two issues, may I suggest an allegorical teaching from my life?

    Growing up in the city of Detroit, I was beaten by thugs of one race, beaten by thugs of another, and had a couple weird experiences in Boy Scouts (I won’t elaborate, that’s not the story). As far as the thugs are concerned, I have come to see that thugs are God’s creatures, and I cannot change them, only forgive them and experience the incredible freedom that forgiveness allows me. For a better example, one of my sons has joined me in the ranks of Eagle Scout, rather than my embarking on a legal campaign against them or a public platform of scandalizing them. He is certainly a better young adult for the experience.

    Mark, you do such a delightful job over at CE with your reflections, I wonder if it might be better…

  • Jeff Childers

    Pope Buffy? In that case, Mark, you’ve left me no choice but to become a dissenting liberal loyal to Vatican III. Here I stand, I can do no other!

    Oh, and “according to no less a magisterial authority than Some Guy with a Keyboard and Some Other Guy with a Keyboard Who Agrees with Him.” That alone made this article worth twice the price!

  • Brian English

    “Does the fact that I celebrate Christendom’s victory at Lepanto and view the Crusades as a Just War make me a “Neo-Catholic”? Or just one of those cranky “Rad Trads?”

    I prefer “Saint Pope Pius V/Urban II-Catholic” myself.

  • Austin

    I tend to be “Conservative” about most things, but I have noticed a tendency of some “Rad-trads” to be downright reactionary. Even Pius XII is too “Liberal” for them. e.g. I am against ordaining women, but I am in favor of selective ordination of married deacons on a case by case basis. Does this make me a “Liberal?” Not really, as the Church is doing this already anyway.

    I have noticed that some converts, God bless them, do often jump in and try to tell us cradle Catholics how we should be worshiping, not really always understanding some of the nuances and history of the Church, that the Church is not the Army and while having to believe doctrinal items, we do have some latitude in other areas.

    I think we need to focus on what is important and not get hung up on trivia and making everyone a clone.

  • I am not Spartacus

    I agree with most of what Mr. Paul says and he was correct about Iraq, and many,many,other things.

    And he is correct to, repeatedly, condemn the 1953 CIA overthrow of Iran’s Democratically elected President, Mohammed Mossadeq, and the installation of a vicious dictator, The Shah.

    And I will still support and vote for Mr. Paul as President but his understanding of history does not appear to include the facts and the reality of Islam.

    Islam seeks to wipe-out Israel and, without even addressing that reality, Mr. Paul’s position is to cut Israel loose of forein aid and to let it take care of itself.

    And so I think he is wrong about Israel.

    Can we simply withdraw all support and stand by while Islam wipes Israel out?

    We may not like all, or even most, of what Israel does but I do not see how America can just let it be destroyed by Islam.

    Islam is the mortal enemy of Jews and Christians.

  • I am not Spartacus

    Apostolic Tradition and ecclesial traditions

    83 The Tradition here in question comes from the apostles and hands on what they received from Jesus’ teaching and example and what they learned from the Holy Spirit. The first generation of Christians did not yet have a written New Testament, and the New Testament itself demonstrates the process of living Tradition.

    Tradition is to be distinguished from the various theological, disciplinary, liturgical or devotional traditions, born in the local churches over time. These are the particular forms, adapted to different places and times, in which the great Tradition is expressed. In the light of Tradition, these traditions can be retained, modified or even abandoned under the guidance of the Church’s Magisterium.

    It is hard to see how those who call themselves “Trads” are not trying to usurp Magisterial Authority in defining what does and does not constitute Tradition.

    IOW, Trads are liberals of the right in their practice of private judgment.

    Errors of Luther condemned by Pope Leo X in 1520

    A way has been made for us for weakening the authority of councils, and for freely contradicting their actions, and judging their decrees, and boldly confessing whatever seems true, whether it has been approved or disapproved by any council whatsoever

    I love arguing – about almost everything – but taking on and condemning the Living Magisterium, as so many soi disant “trads” do is, for me, the error of private judgment practiced by the liberals on the right.

  • Brian English

    “Whether bin Laden is a nice guy or not, his goal of luring the United States into a series of expensive and unwinnable wars has proven to be successful.”

    I am glad to see you acknowledge that there is at least some question as to whether Osama is a nice guy, but do you actually believe that was his goal? The overthrow of the Taliban and the destruction of al Qaeda’s presence in Afghanistan were all part of his master plan? Fiendishly clever!

    And I hate to break this to you, but, despite the bungling of the Bush Administration, the war in Iraq has been won. The war in Afghanistan (which I believe even Mark Shea thought was necessary) will be won as well if we ackonwledge that a stable Afghanistan is not going to look like a stable Iraq.

  • Brian English

    “Well, we broke up the Ottoman Empire into arbitrary states and then supported various dictators and Shahs, stationed troops in their lands,….”

    We also supported, in an attempt to prevent the spread of Communism, dictators in Central and South America, as well as in Southeast Asia. However, we have yet to hear of any Nicaraguans, Argentinians, or Vietnamese flying airplanes into buildings. Why do you think that is?

  • Christine

    Hi Everyone,

    I am sorry that I stirred the pot when I brought up the war. I was just trying to make the point that the word Catholocism has little to do with politics, unless we are giving to Caesar what is God’s.

    I erroneously believed that this was what was meant by the word neo-catholic, that it was someone reducing themselves to name-calling and besmirching the reputation of a fellow Catholic who has different political beliefs than those which they themselves hold. I believed that the word was a way to describe a Catholic who had neo-con political leanings.

    IF THIS IS THE CASE, TO CALL A PERSON THIS IS WRONG AND CONTRARY TO OUR BELIEFS AS CATHOLICS

    Let’s stop calling oursleves or any other Catholic anything more than “Catholic”. Catholic means “Universal” and we are protestantizing ourselves when we attempt to break up the universality of the Church. In other words, when we differentiate ourselves or our brothers in Christ, we lead ourselves open to the potential of scandalizing others

    I am not saying that everyone who gives themselves another moniker besides Catholic is leading others to scandal. That is not for me to decide, but the potentialis there.

  • Brian English

    “All you trads, liberals, neo-caths, catholic lights just get me confused.”

    I think the definition of Neo-Catholic that is being arrived at here is one that views an individual’s Catholicism as being defined by the individual’s view on the War in Iraq. That is why Michael Novak, George Weigel and Father Neuhaus (the riff-raff Mark objects to being lumped in with) are regarded as the leading figures in that “movement.”

    There are several problems with attempting to define Catholics based on that single issue:

    1) The opposition of Cardinal Ratzinger and JPII to the War was their personal opinion, not Church Doctrine. Cardinal Ratzinger was explicit on this point — Catholics were allowed to disagree about whether the War was justified.

    2) Despite the Cardinal’s statements, various Catholics (you know who you are) have taken it upon themselves to condemn those who supported the War as being Republican Party lackeys, who are just as bad as Catholics who support abortion.

    3) That assertion has had two significant impacts: (1) it reinforces the contention by Catholics for Obama types that abortion is just one issue among many that can be considered in casting votes; and (2) it has led some Catholics to decide that, since the Republicans are just as bad as the Democrats, they could waste their votes on candidates like Ron Paul and Chuck Baldwin.

    4) The resulting electoral misfortune suffered by the Republicans would not be a serious issue except for the fact that the most important issue facing the Church in this country is abortion.

    5) Until Roe v. Wade is overturned, abortion can only be restricted at the fringes (parental consent, waiting periods, etc.). The only way Roe v. Wade will be overturned is if Original Intent judges get appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. That will never happen while the Democrats control the White House and Senate. Bash away at the Republicans for botching the garrisoning of Iraq and their violations of their own principles through out-of-control spending, but they are the only party that will try to appoint Original Intent judges to the Court.

  • georgie-ann

    just as there is “mystery” in the experience of God and the Church (Catholic), i believe there is also mystery in the playing out of events on the world stage,…man proposes, God disposes,…

    nothing is so cut & dried, so mechanistically predictable, that 2 + 2 will always = 4 in world events,…not only does man have hidden agendas and hidden motives, and behind-the-scenes activities of those “accountable to no one” forcing compromising behaviors, but the Prince of the Power of the Air (satan & cohorts) is all over and co-mingled with this stuff, infusing national, religious, economic and ethnic policies with bitter rivalries and hatreds via its “powers and principalities”,…we’re not talking here about a “fair fight” or a trustworthy sensible discussion to resolve issues,…

    it’s at least obvious (or should be) that the hate-filled, violent side of muslim philosophy is totally anathema with our God, or a God of Love,…this begins to suggest that there is most definitely the danger and potential of a satanically influenced and distorted religion-thing going on here,…& fighting fair with satan & his crowd is really neither possible nor necessary,…

    as God led the Israelites into the Promised Land, He instructed that the current inhabitants ALL be destroyed, lest they remain and become as “thorns and pricks” to the Israelites,…

    at this point in time, with so many cataclysmic style weapons and arsenals at the ready, any kind of “attack” anywhere is certainly a very sobering thought to be as carefully considered and restrained as possible,…the world scene challenge now is much bigger than “the sum of our fallible human parts,”…

    i don’t think a reasonable man can really feel pride of “knowing” what is the right or just or strategic “thing to do,” or “way to proceed” in this hour,…whether we wax strong “with God on our side,” or wimp out in “peaceful” appeasement tactics, buy time, or interfere, directly or indirectly, we need to hope and believe and do our best to ascertain that God IS with us,…

    soul-searching, prayer, self-examination–personal & national–is all in order, but in this heated-up climate of intense antagonisms and zealotry, it’s very difficult to assume anything or take any position for granted,…

    we do need to trust that “underneath are the everlasting arms,” and do our best to follow a leading from God,…confidence and trust are good, but we may also become foolhardy,…fear of acting wrongly, or fear of the enemy, can cause us to “pull back” and “give ground” when that is not advisable either,…

    in this hour, i think God is having a bigger hand in orchestrating events than we may realize,…i would strongly doubt that He views Osama bin Laden or Sadam Hussein as friends of His,…but there often can be a little truth mixed in with a big lie,…we don’t have to let such possibly legitimate considerations be ignored, or derail sensible policies,…

    i can only stand back and pray, while trusting God, that if we listen and examine carefully, honestly and bravely, with sincerity and humility, that we will be made able to “play our best hand” in this most undesirable worldly scenario,…with God’s help,…

    2 Chronicles 7:14
    “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

  • Mark P. Shea

    I think the definition of Neo-Catholic that is being arrived at here is one that views an individual’s Catholicism as being defined by the individual’s view on the War in Iraq.

    Um, no. In fact, I don’t think you could have misread me more badly if you’d tried. Recall: *I* don’t used the term “neo-Catholic”. Others do. I’m trying to figure out what the heck it means. To be sure, the Clermont crowd seem to gauge everything by Iraq, but I don’t. Nor do a large number of contributors to this very thread, who don’t Iraq in view at all when bandying the term about.

  • Michael

    The resulting electoral misfortune suffered by the Republicans would not be a serious issue except for the fact that the most important issue facing the Church in this country is abortion.

    Interesting theory but the facts do not support it. The fraction of votes that went to third party candidates in the last federal election was lower than it had been in recent memory. There is no evidence of a mass defection of conservatives to either the Constitution or Libertarian parties. What did happen was a large percentage of young people, including young Catholics, voted for the younger and more charismatic candidate whom they had convinced themselves would bring about real change in this nation’s conduct of war and torture policies. The Republican party ran a dismal candidate with an inept campaign against a Democrat who should have been easily beatable. Don’t blame the outcome of the last elections on trads or neo-caths. It won’t stick.

  • Rob H.

    1) The opposition of Cardinal Ratzinger and JPII to the War was their personal opinion, not Church Doctrine. Cardinal Ratzinger was explicit on this point — Catholics were allowed to disagree about whether the War was justified.

    Yes, he was

  • Magnus

    From the Athanasius Contra Mundum blog:

    August 08, 2006
    lauberd said…
    All moral authority originates in the divine person of Christ and not the person of man. The Judaism of the western world throught the gnostic cabbala cult of the defied man of the jews is the cause of the fall of the Catholic monarchy of the papacy and all other catholic and protestant monarchies. The Jews are trying to create a world wide labor republic according to them in which annointed Jew leaders with messiah like qualities will bring social justice. Get rid of the Jews. Get rid of their cult of man and being a member of the Jew collective. Materialism is the God of the Jews and now our God not Christ. All the Marian apparitions are to warn about the Jews and the faith required to overcome their pagan atheism.

    The Blog Editors present themselves as follows:

    I am yet another backwards, narrow minded, Traditional Catholic with degrees in Theology and Philosophy. I live in Post Falls, ID and teach Latin part time, where I live with my wife and infant son, praying for the restoration of the Church and for the world to acknowledge Jesus Christ as King. View Profile
    My other writings
    My essay in the New Oxford Review for April 2006
    December 2005 on the Church in China for the Mission
    October 2005 on Jihad in the Mission
    Boniface

    Phillip is a graduate of Ave Maria University (2005) and holds a BA degree in European History. He is currently pursuing Secondary Teaching Certification at Madonna University in Livonia, MI. and is employed as a full time Director of Religious Education and Youth Director at a parish in the Diocese of Lansing. Phillip is age 28, married for seven years with three children, ages 6, 3 and 1. He is founder and operator of the popular Catholic blog Unam Sanctam Catholicam.

    As far as we can tell, everything we say on doctrine is in accord with what has always and everywhere been taught and required for belief by the Catholic Church.

    Secondly, we are lay theologians and commentators, and as such have no authority. Are opinions must be weighed by what the Church has always and everywhere believed.

    “Only until all schismatics and Protestants profess the Catholic Creed with conviction, when all Jews voluntarily ask for Holy Baptism

  • Austin

    I voted for Ron Paul and I don’t consider it a wasted vote. I could not vote for Obama or McCain. Perhaps Obama is worse than McCain but I am sick of voting for the “Lesser of two evils.”

  • Brian English

    Michael:

    I guess you missed the polls that showed over 50% of Catholics voted for Obama. They were all certainly not young, misguided kids.

    Your approach also doesn’t take into account those who, based on the “both parties are equally bad” concept, just stayed home.

    “Don’t blame the outcome of the last elections on trads or neo-caths. It won’t stick.”

    I was not blaming either one of those groups. If I had to give the group a name, and since we are labeling people on the basis of their foreign policy views, I would call them Paleo-Catholics, since their views are similar to those of the Paleo-Conservatives.

  • Christine

    By the way many people have tried to re-direct the comments (as well as my original comment on the war, btw), people just want to talk about the war. They just used this thread to do so.

    However, if you do indeed use the word trad to define yourself or call others names instead of just “Catholic”, this thread should be a wake-up call as to how devisive this name-calling (even of yourself) can be to the faithful.

    You might crack up here, Mark, but I don’t know if you use these descriptives because I generally dismiss these types of addendums to “Catholics” as either puff-uppery by the one using it to describe his/herself or name calling when used to describe someone else.

    There are probably many more people out there just like me. We are all just Catholics.

  • I am not Spartacus

    ..it has led some Catholics to decide that, since the Republicans are just as bad as the Democrats, they could waste their votes on candidates like Ron Paul and Chuck Baldwin.

    I think that Christians are wasting their votes on Republicans who always fail to deliver on their promises and who, when they did have control of all three branches of govt, did not stop abortion or vote to end the SCOTUS ability to hear abortion cases.

    Republicans and Democrats love abortion as an issue. It is an issue that riles-up their bases and fills their coffers and it will remain legal even if literally every single Senator and HOR member is a Republican at the same time there is a Republican President.

    While searching for the facts about Republican Party support for the legalisation of abortion, I came across this from a Protestant,Pastor Matt Trewhella:

    1.) The 1973 Roe v. Wade decision was given to us a by a majority of Republican-appointed justices. Six of the seven justices which voted in support of Roe v. Wade were appointed by Republican presidents.

    2.) Roe v. Wade has been upheld and legalized abortion maintained by a majority of Republican-appointed Supreme Court justices for the last 36 years. Since the Roe. v. Wade decision, Republican-appointed justices have always been in the majority by a margin of at least 7-2. Currently, 7 of the 9 justices are Republican-appointed.

    3.) The 2003 Lawrence v. Texas case which decriminalized sodomy was given to us by a majority of Republican-appointed justices. Four of the six justices which voted in support of decriminalizing sodomy were appointed by Republican presidents.

    4.) Remember also, it was a Republican-appointed majority Court which banned school prayer in the 1962 Engle v. Vitale case, and which opened the floodgates of pornography in the 1973 Miller v. California case.

    So, go ahead Christians, keep wasting your votes on Republicans and keep sending them your money because electing Republicans is the only way to end abortion and restore morality to America.

  • Rich

    Wasn’t it sort of nice when there were just two kinds of Catholics: Regular Catholics and Cafeteria Catholics?

    Oh for the days of old…

    Gotta get back to the Cafeteria. Carry on.

  • Brian English

    I should have been more specific that the “here” I was referring to was the thread in general. Your article itself indicates there is a lot of confusion about who the term “Neo-Catholic” refers to.

    My comments were primarily directed at RK’s post (the third one in the thread specifically), which was enthusiastically endorsed by Rich, and posts by Charles Rouse and Ken.

    However, in the article, following your description of Clermont’s book and identifying her Neo-Catholic villains, you do say:

    “That would all be fine and dandy definitionally speaking, if somebody had not also sent me a link from Wikipedia on the term, which only served to darken the mystery for me even further. Because while it sounds the customary notes of “Catholics with a conservative flavor,” the three examples of archetypal neo-Catholics used in this entry make no sense if you are trying to square them up with the Clermont or O’Leary crowds.

    They are: Scott Hahn, Jimmy Akin, and Karl Keating, as well as (inexplicably) EWTN.”

    You appear to be saying here that it is “fine and dandy” to define Novak, Weigel and Neuhaus as Neo-Catholics; just don’t apply that to Hahn, Akin, Keating, and EWTN. Am I misunderstanding you?

  • Rich

    That’s a nice set of facts you have there. I have pointed these same thing out here and there over time to some friends for quite a while now. It is nice that they are all here in one compact form.

    Thanks.

  • Brian English

    “Agreed. We should not condemn Catholics for having a different opinion on the war. However, despite the Cardinal

  • Brian English

    “I think that Christians are wasting their votes on Republicans who always fail to deliver on their promises and who, when they did have control of all three branches of govt, did not stop abortion or vote to end the SCOTUS ability to hear abortion cases.”

    Ron Paul’s Right to Life Act had one minor problem — it was, and is, blatantly unconstitutional.

    Congress cannot pass a law saying SCOTUS cannot hear abortion cases. What would stop a Congress from passing a law saying First Amendment cases could not be heard? Until Roe is overturned, Paul is just grandstanding.

    “2.) Roe v. Wade has been upheld and legalized abortion maintained by a majority of Republican-appointed Supreme Court justices for the last 36 years. Since the Roe. v. Wade decision, Republican-appointed justices have always been in the majority by a margin of at least 7-2. Currently, 7 of the 9 justices are Republican-appointed.”

    Actually, it is six of nine. Scalia, Roberts, Alito and Thomas are solid Original Intent judges. Stevens was appointed by Ford back in 1975, when the Republicans were actually the party more in favor of abortion.

    Kennedy has been a disaster, but he actually proves my point. Robert Bork was originally nominated by Reagan, but, with Ted Kennedy leading the charge, Bork’s nomination was defeated.

    If there had been more Republican Senators, and Bork had been confirmed, the Casey case in 1992 would have come out differently. If Roe had not been overturned by Casey, at the very least it would have been substantially weakened. It is ironic that Bork, who was an atheist until 2003, coule have been the key to reversing Roe, while Catholic Kennedy continued the national disgrace.

    Obama will probably get at least one more nomination. If you thought Sonia Sotomayor was bad, wait until you get a look at Elena Kagan.

  • JamesD

    A Neo Con has absolutely nothing to do with a Neo Catholic, except that the first word is “Neo” and the second starts with “C”, hence the confusion. In fact many democrats who voted for Obama are Neo Catholics, and certainly not Neo conservative.

    NeoCatholic is the term Trads developed to describe modernist Catholics who don’t realize Vatican II was a non-binding, fallible, pastoral council, and who accept novelty in their liturgy (novus ordo). However these people probably oppose gay marriage, divorce, abortion, and contraception (not so sure about the last). So calling them “liberals” is problematic. So we chose the term “NeoCatholic” which literally means the New Catholics.

    A good example of a NeoCatholic would be someone in the 80’s who vehemently opposed altar girls, and labeled anyone favoring the use of altar girls as liberals or even heretics, who now defend it because the Pope allows it. That would be typical neoCatholic behaviour.

  • Christine

    If what you explain is correct about Neo-Catholics, wouldn’t they just be people docile and obedient to the Pontiff? People who believe that the Pontiff understands certain issues better than they?

    Could it be that after the Pope approved something, that these individuals read the explanation the Pope offered regarding whatever issue it was, prayed, pondered, and then decided that it was the right thing?

    If this is the definition. I am a neo-Catholic, which I would rather believe is a practicing and faithful Catholic.

    If I wanted to be against the Pope, wouldn’t I be just like any other Protestant? Like Martin Luther or Henry VIII?

    Sadly, it seems to come down to name-calling those people disagree with instead of obedience to St. Peter and his Church.

  • Mark P. Shea

    You appear to be saying here that it is “fine and dandy” to define Novak, Weigel and Neuhaus as Neo-Catholics; just don’t apply that to Hahn, Akin, Keating, and EWTN. Am I misunderstanding you?

    Yes. My point, recall, is that I’m gtrying to get at the *definition* of “neo-Catholic”. What is “fine and dandy” is that the term have a real coherent definition. It could be “member of neocon cabal”. It could be “pizza worshipping hedonist”. It could be “blue eyed Catholics over six foot two”. Just so long as the definition stays put, it is *definitionally speaking” fine and dandy.

    The problem is, the term means anything and everything, including (but not limited to) “neoconservative” and “not neoconservative”.

  • RK

    “Whether bin Laden is a nice guy or not, his goal of luring the United States into a series of expensive and unwinnable wars has proven to be successful.”

    I am glad to see you acknowledge that there is at least some question as to whether Osama is a nice guy, but do you actually believe that was his goal?

    Of course. I can choose to either believe him or you and I choose him. Your interpretation is, as far as I can tell, an opinion; his has been proven. Bin Laden forewarned us about his plan. He would lure the US and the west into a series of incredibly demanding and very expensive wars to undermine and gradually bankrupt the US economy, which he said was where America was particularly vulnerable.

    If you can show me that your track record is as good as his I may choose to consider your position a little more seriously.

  • Mark

    “The problem is, the term (neo-Catholic) means anything and everything, including (but not limited to) “neoconservative” and “not neoconservative”.” – Mark Shea

    To muddy the water a little more, Obama’s escalation of the war in Afghanistan has rendered the term “neoconservative” almost meaningless.

  • georgie-ann

    it occurs to me that Neo-C(whatever) politicians have the bent/talent/inclination to distort religion to serve their own political aims, rather than the other way around,…are they thinking that they are a little bit too much “like God” themselves?,…

    i’m always very uncomfortable with this now, having seen the mis-represented results of their enacted policies and deeds,…

    it’s too bad,…but we see what it is,…and it should not be confused with “pure religion,”…why give it a religious name at all?,…too often it seems like religious “pretense,”…an “expedient facade,”…

    & so, “what else is new?”…

  • Pope Leo XIII

    Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray: and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

    Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have mercy on us.
    Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have mercy on us.
    Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have mercy on us.

  • I am not Spartacus

    Congress cannot pass a law saying SCOTUS cannot hear abortion cases.

    +++++++ begin quote+++++++++++++++

    Article III
    Section 1.

    The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behaviour, and shall, at stated times, receive for their services, a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.
    Section 2.

    The judicial power shall extend to all cases, in law and equity, arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made, or which shall be made, under their authority;–to all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls;–to all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction;–to controversies to which the United States shall be a party;–to controversies between two or more states;–between a state and citizens of another state;–between citizens of different states;–between citizens of the same state claiming lands under grants of different states, and between a state, or the citizens thereof, and foreign states, citizens or subjects.

    In all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and those in which a state shall be party, the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction. In all the other cases before mentioned, the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such exceptions, and under such regulations as the Congress shall make.

    The trial of all crimes, except in cases of impeachment, shall be by jury; and such trial shall be held in the state where the said crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any state, the trial shall be at such place or places as the Congress may by law have directed.
    Section 3.

    Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

    The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted.

    ++++++++++++++ end quote +++++++++++++++

    Those who vote Republican are rewarding liars. There is a reason The Stupid Party deserves that name.

    The Republicans owned the Gov. Lock, Stock, and Barrel and yet they did little to stop abortion because it is much more valuable to them as an issue.

    They could have taken abortion cases away from The SCOTUS and the Pres, or the Legislative Branch, could have declared that Roe – Wade was an Unconstitutional decision.

    The Evil Party and The Stupid Party keep succeeding each other in power because voters reward their lies by wasting their votes.

  • RK

    Scalia, Roberts, Alito and Thomas are solid Original Intent judges.

    Stare decisis trumps original intent. Pro-lifers hang on to the illusion that these justices could/would overturn Roe. Alito and Roberts were vetted by the Senate Judiciary Committee. When it was clear to Specter and company that they wouldn’t rock the boat regarding Roe they went to the full Senate for rubber stamp approval. When the rubber hits the road Scalia and Thomas are no different–Roe is established law for them too. Trust me, SCOTUS is an empty hope for pro-lifers.

  • Michael

    Stare decisis trumps original intent. Pro-lifers hang on to the illusion that these justices could/would overturn Roe.

    There is one, maybe two votes on the SCOTUS as currently constituted that would overturn Roe. That is it and that is as good as it will ever get. Short of a human life amendment to the Constitution, the ONLY means available to vacate Roe v. Wade is for Congress to pass a resolution declaring that human life begins at conception and removing the Supreme Court’s authority for appellate review for that issue. That is it. There is nothing else that could possibly work.

    The principle of Stare Decisis has locked in that bad decision. It is considered settled law, even by Roberts and Alito.

    What does the above have to do with the definition of Neo-Catholic?

  • Brian English

    “He would lure the US and the west into a series of incredibly demanding and very expensive wars to undermine and gradually bankrupt the US economy, which he said was where America was particularly vulnerable.”

    Osama never expected us to go into Afghanistan after him. Remember the whole “weak horse” concept? He and his friends expected a couple of cruise missles and that would be it.

    As far as Iraq goes, you actually believe he expected the US to invade Iraq back when 9/11 was being planned? Or do you think Osama and the Neo-Cons entered into a conspiracy to arrange all of that?

  • JamesD

    Or, the Pope could have made a bad decision, a decision that discourages boys from wanting to become altar “boys”, because then you get to be with a bunch of girls wearing a dress. So then a source for seminarians dries up.

    And so Trads declare it was a big screw up that needs to be repealed. Neo Catholics instead start contradicting what they said in the 80s, believing that the Pope is always infallible.

    Yes, you are a Neo Catholic, as in “New”. If you went back before Vat. II and told the Popes that girls should be altar girls, you probably would have been put under interdict and labeled a modernist. The term Neo-Catholic is not meant as an insult, it is descriptive. I am a Trad. That is descriptive.

  • Pammie

    Since this has turned from a discussion of “neoCath” to neocon politics here is a link some might find useful. It is a C-Span interview with an ex-CIA man. He might possibly know of info that Mr. English et al do not have access to.
    http://tinyurl.com/yfa66lv -if anyone is interested.

  • Brian English

    “The Republicans owned the Gov. Lock, Stock, and Barrel and yet they did little to stop abortion because it is much more valuable to them as an issue.

    They could have taken abortion cases away from The SCOTUS and the Pres, or the Legislative Branch, could have declared that Roe – Wade was an Unconstitutional decision.”

    Abortion is a Constitutional right. Only the judiciary can reverse that. The Executive and Legislative Branch have no power to declare a Supreme Court decision unconstitutional.

    “Stare decisis trumps original intent.”

    Wrong. Stare decisis is a discretionary rule that courts can, and do, ignore. Original Intent is a method for interpteting the Constitution that doesn’t make up rights out of thin air.

    “Trust me, SCOTUS is an empty hope for pro-lifers.”

    No thanks. I prefer not to give up. Get a few more Original Intent judges on the Court and we will see if it is an empty hope.

    “Short of a human life amendment to the Constitution, the ONLY means available to vacate Roe v. Wade is for Congress to pass a resolution declaring that human life begins at conception and removing the Supreme Court’s authority for appellate review for that issue. That is it. There is nothing else that could possibly work.”

    Roe v. Wade established a CONSTITUTIONAL right to abortion. A congressional RESOLUTION does not trump that. Article III, Section 2, of the Constitution gives jurisdiction to the U.S. Supreme Court for all cases arising under the Constitution. You would need to amend Article III to take abortion cases away from the Court. If you cannot get a fifth vote on the Court to overturn Roe, what do you think your chances are of getting the Constitution amended?

  • Christine

    Granted, I do believe that altar service aids in vocations to the priesthood. I also prefer to have classical music at mass, gregorian chant in Latin, I like to kneel at the rail to receive communion in the mouth. I find comfort in all of these things and I love them as gifts from God to lift up my spirit. He owes me nothing and yet He gives so much.

    The Holy Mass, however, is not about me, it is about GOD.

    Although I have these preferences and I absolutely dread going to the guitar mass at my local parish resplendant with altar girls, I see the families there, worshipping our Lord in the Holy Mass, and I trust that I cannot read the hearts of men or understand what is best for the body of Christ, the Church. I have seen good fruits come from this guitar mass I dread to attend. Our Parish is full of teens and young adults on fire for the Lord.

    I have to trust in the Vicar of Christ regarding these issues and I take comfort with this.

    There again, Neo-Catholic seems to stands for obedient catholic. The type of Catholic who has preferences, but defers to the Pope for guidance and clarification.

  • Christine
  • Pauli

    Remember the Neo-Coke stuff back in ’85 and how badly it bombed? And it wasn’t because we Traditional Cokers didn’t understand the “Spirit of Neo-Coke”, it was just that it tasted like crap.

  • Christine

    Is Coca Cola a company established by Jesus Christ Himself?

    Was the Office of CEO for this Company picked by Christ, who said, “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:1smilies/cool.gif.

    I would still go to Mass if the only Mass I could attend was the one with the female altar servers, the stupid kumbaya music, and the flimsy sermon about nothing, if I could be with Jesus in the Holy Eucharist…

    Jesus waits for us even in these types of Masses.

    We go to Mass because of God’s commandment to keep the Sabbath Holy.

    We go to Mass because at the last supper, Jesus said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes. -1 Corinthians 11:23-28

  • JamesD

    Christine, you are being defensive. This article was about what this term means. It is not about who is right and who is wrong. I have provided the definition.

    If you are content to put up with the guitars and altar girls, that’s fine. That’s what neo Catholics do. That is why we developed the term. I am sure you are strongly pro-life, are against gay “marriage”, and don’t practice contraception. That is why we don’t call you an heretic or liberal.

    At the same time, don’t get in the way of Trads who are deep into this fight. These same Trads are currently in exclusive meetings with the Vatican correcting Vatican II by the way. In six months we will see the outcome.

  • Christine

    I’ll accept being labeled as defensive…

    If you’ll accept being a name caller…

    It doesn’t feel very good to have a label affixed to you because of either my obedience to the Pope or to your willingness to try to make changes within the Church through the proper channels. Both are laudable efforts.

    I thing it is great that people are petitioning the Pope about these things.

    However…

    Nobody likes being called names, especially when they are used derogatorily, which they often are. If it makes you feel superior to others because you like to call faithful people names. That is your issue with God. I personally try very hard (albeit sometimes unsccessfully) to avoid that sin.

    This is why I never use the term “liberal” Catholic. If a person is against what the Church teaches, I talk to them about the behavior. I don’t use the term “liberal” or “cafeteria”, because it is counterproductive, and in some cases, wrong.

    God Bless.

  • grace

    Christine…The Popes used the term “Modernists” for all the abuse and liberalism that leads to sin.It seems to me that Catholics today have lost their zeal for everything authentic and Traditional. The Bishops and Pastors are to blame.
    We are not teaching the youth Tradition.Modernism currently rules but it wasn’t always that way. Which is why the Lord is restoring His Church today.
    How easy is it for the average Catholic today to even find a Traditional Mass? Not very.
    God Bless our Pope for his 2007 Motu Proprio. Yet, many Bishops and Pastors are still rejecting Tradition and are disobedient. Many faithful Catholics are just ignorant when it comes to the Latin Mass because of forty years of growing comfortable with the errors of the Modern Liturgy, a liturgy that is completely foreign to the one that the majority of our great Saints and Popes worshipped and adored our Lord with.
    For example, before we receive Holy Communion, the priest says in Latin,”May the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ preserve your soul unto life eternal. Amen.” Isn’t that a beautiful prayer instead of just,”The Body of Christ”? There are many, many more prayers which are not in today’s modern Mass. As Catholics, we have the fullness of the faith in all ways. Our Holy Traditional Mass was never meant to be abandoned.
    Besides the laity not running all around the altar, only the Priest would touch the Chalice and Body of Christ. It is special, extraordinary, our Holy Mass.
    Go see how receiving Holy Communion in the hand leaves behind many particles. And if we truely believe that Jesus is one of those particles, why on earth would we want to abuse our God and be so careless? Yet most Catholics today are taught to receive in the hand. This abuse can be seen at the youtube channel: “koelbe 1019”.
    So are we proud of our Catholic Traditions and eager to stop all of these modern abuses? Or have we just accepted the errors? If we really believe in the Presence of Jesus in the Consecrated Host, we will refuse to receive in the hand.
    Do we consider the Encyclicals and writings of former Popes who spoke out against Modernism. They believed and taught that liberalism is a sin, causing even more sins.
    Christine, do you realise Jesus is being abused in these Masses and the youth are being robbed of their Catholic Tradition, possibly adding years to their time in Purgatory. Yes, Jesus is there, but why must we keep abusing Him?(Though most likely it will be the Bishops and Pastors who will be held accountable for not correcting the abuses and for incorrectly instructing the youth.)
    Neo-catholics are modernists who see nothing wrong with altar girls, communion in the hand, and music that is not sacred music. They think it is alright to have the Traditional Mass,and they will even say they love it and will go to it once in awhile as long as they do not have to commit to it, promote it or zealously help it advance.
    Martyrs and Saints were zealous{ RADICAL TRADITIONALISTS }often seen as fanatics.

  • Christine

    Martyrs and saints were also obedient to the Vicars of Christ and even their Priests and Bishops when they didn’t agree

  • Mark P. Shea

    Christine, you are being defensive.

    Probably has something to do with the fact that you are being aggressive and obnoxious.

  • grace

    Exactly, Christine. The Office of Peter has been showing by example the Holy reverence required at the Holy Mass and the Pope has asked for each Pastor to make available, to all Catholics, The Traditional Mass, especially when it has been requested by anyone.But it doesn’t even have to be requested. Unfortunately, we know that Pastors are not being obedient and the Pope’s request is not happening. Many Pastors and their parishioners are just not following the directive from the Pope. Yes,…Obedience IS required.
    I agree. Name calling is not helpful. Modernism is not name calling. It is just a description of what most Catholics are today.And modernism is a sin.
    I am speaking about the Liturgy not individual people.

  • JamesD

    Being called obnoxious by Mark Shea, what irony. Didn’t you write “Thoughts on the Motu Proprio ***Mania***”, wherein you referred to Trads opposed to liturgical abuse “hypochondriacs”?

    Aggressive, yes I was. I want Catholics who defended the Church against altar girls, but who now claim it is ok, to think long and hard. I want Catholics to think that there were many councils that are still binding, which are not “non-binding”, “pastoral”, and “fallible”. I want Catholics like Christine to think long and hard about whether putting up with the Mass she describes, with guitars and an infestation of altar girls, if that is “obeying” the Pope.

    And Christine, it is time we call “Catholics” who support divorce, contraception, or homosexual “marriage” heretics, because that is what they are.

    In closing, you wanted to know what is meant by the term “neo Catholic”. I told you. Now you know.

  • I am not Spartacus

    The Executive and Legislative Branch have no power to declare a Supreme Court decision unconstitutional.

    Of course they do and the claim only The SCOTUS can decide if an action/law is constitutional or not is not in the Constitution

  • I am not Spartacus

    Roe v. Wade established a CONSTITUTIONAL right to abortion. A congressional RESOLUTION does not trump that.

    One of the most popular myths – lie actually – is that The SCOTUS decides what is and isn’t Constitutional and that neither The Executive or Legislative Branch has similar power.

    Were that true, then there is no such thing as separate and equal branches of govt.

    There are MANY reasons why this myth enjoys such popularity but that it is a myth is undeniable.

    BOTH The Executive Branch and Legislative Branch have the power to declare an action/law Unconstitutional.

    It is equally undeniable that neither Branch has the will – for many reasons

  • Mark P. Shea

    “Thoughts on the Motu Proprio ***Mania***”, wherein you referred to Trads opposed to liturgical abuse “hypochondriacs”?

    Yes. I used the term “Mania” in the sense of “Beatlemania”: that is, as a popular excitment, not as form of mental illness. It was meant in whimsy. But, as you demonstrate, whimsy is not a strong suit for many Traditionalists.

    As to hypochondria, I do think that many Traditionalists relish liturgical abuse since it gives them a reason to cherish the sins of anger, bitterness, and pride to which that subculture is especially prone. Because of this many seem to me to see such abuse, not only when it is quite obviously there, but also when it quite obviously isn’t. That’s why they speak so hatefully of people like Hahn, Keating, Akin and Madrid, who do not, in the slightest, promote liturigcal abuse.

    And it’s why you speak so hatefully to Christine, who obviously has no desire to commit liturgical abuse.

    It’s a good thing I know Traditionalists in real life who actually display the virtues and beauties of the Faith that is celebrated in the glory of the Extraordinary Form. If I had to rely on the sulphurous bitterness, spite, contempt, pride and rage that so typically characterizes online Traditionalism, I would not touch it with a barge pole. You guys are, far and away, the greatest enemies of Benedict’s efforts at reform in the world.

  • georgie-ann

    i think i’m beginning to see what you’re all getting at here,…

    i’ve always considered myself to be in comparative “kindergarten” with respect to cradle catholics & (i now see) “rad-trads,”…

    it seems as if there is so much to learn and so much taken for granted/expected by those who were effectively programmed into the extensive catholic religious thought compendiums long ago,…

    pardon me, if i’ve had to be “simplistic” of necessity, while accepting the essentials of the Catholic faith–enough so to become an assimilated adult convert,…

    i’ve spent decades rather quietly on the sidelines, observing the opinionated fixity of traditionalists, hearing the cries and complaints of disaffected/liberalized moderns, enduring the scorn of scandalized protestants for accepting the saints as significant helpers in our walk before God and man (and the devil & his mess), and, quite frankly, on and on,…

    strangely,…i have been shocked/hurt to find very significant and alarming “evil” in the lives of some of those traditionalists, whose very teachings helped encourage me to follow the path to conversion,…i have found very noticeable compassion and helpfulness in some of the very disaffected modern liberals who haven’t yet found their way back into practicing communion and regular church attendance,…the saints have proved themselves to me over and over, but i’m grateful for all the sincere bible studies that i’ve shared with the protestants in the past,…(!!!)

    for me, it becomes part of a larger mystery of God’s work-in-process among us,…i couldn’t be happier, personally, than to have the beautiful focus of Catholic Communion available to me, in a dependable and comparatively staid, solid, traditional catholic setting, with 24-hour adoration available, a monthly Latin mass, and other good things,…i have no need to wander, searching for more,…

    i certainly understand how compelling personal preferences can be,…and i wouldn’t deny anyone the right to express their position, taking into consideration what is permitted by the church,…but, having found human “bad” mixed in with the good, and human good mixed in with the “bad,” i prefer to take a realistic, but kinder/more understanding approach,…leaving some of the “sorting out” to God,…

    as Mark is saying,…Pride really is a sin,…it was, in fact, the one attributed to satan,…even in a legitimate occasion of needing/desiring some corrections to church situations that might have become “off,” couldn’t we at least try to avoid that unchristian and detrimental attitude?,…

    there should be more to our relationship with God than a “divine right” to be prideful,…i think peace, at least, trumps that,…and dare we even mention love?,…

  • grace

    Where are these many Traditionalists who cherish their anger, rage , hate, spite,….and who cherish liturgical abuse?
    Just another example of the way out there and negative comments by Mark Shea.
    All this proves is that Mark has a very good imagination.This is how he makes his bread and butter.
    I would like to read these online comments of bitter Traditionalists because I am not aware of any, especially “cherishing abuse and anger”.
    Once again you insist on putting down people. “They are the biggest enemies of Benedict’s efforts in reform in the world”. A very slanderous statement from your well developed imagination.

  • Mark P. Shea

    http://tiny.cc/prBVu

    I rest my case.

  • I am not Spartacus

    Pauli

    Fr. Calvin Goodwin. Chapel of The Immaculate Conception, Portland, Maine. Indult. Newsletter Publisher,

    Is that you?

  • georgie-ann

    i checked out Mark’s link,…i’m now fairly speechless,…i’ve never seen anything like that!,…didn’t even know it existed,…the pervasive negativity is very “telling,” however,…and quite uninspiring,…

  • I am not Spartacus

    You posted a link to sedes and claimed it was representative of traditionalists

    Question 2:
    “Why do you put the word ‘Pope’ in quotes when referring to John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI”?

    Answer: Because there is more or less sufficient evidence that none of these claimants to the papal throne were/are in fact true Catholic Popes. This is most manifestly evident in the cases of Paul VI (1963-7smilies/cool.gif, John Paul II (1978-2005), and Benedict XVI (2005-present), and less so in the cases of John XXIII (1958-63) and John Paul I (197smilies/cool.gif. While this page is not the place to demonstrate that these men were not Catholics but heretics or even apostates, we occasionally link to articles demonstrating this at the News & Archive page, which also lists many news stories that demonstrate over and over again that these “Popes” were/are not true Popes but usurpers, Antipopes, who did not / do not hold the Catholic Faith but hate(ed) and destroy(ed) it.

  • georgie-ann

    will someone PLEASE explain (to ignorant me) what this (horrible) stuff is all about?,…it reminds me of the negative “chick” literature, to be honest, in tone,…but i’m no expert on any of that either,…just in avoiding it,…God bless you & thank you,…g

  • I am not Spartacus

    In trying to rest-his-case about nasty traditionalists, Mr. Shea posted a link to a site that appears to be edited by
    sedevacantists.

    It’s best just to ignore all the folderol smilies/smiley.gif

  • Christine

    Hi JohnD,

    Mark Shea called me obnoxious and agressive. Not you.

    Oh yeah, and defensive because you called me a neo-catholic.

    I was defensive because as Mark himself writes in this article, the words “neo-catholic” are used as an epithet.

    I have never encountered anyone who used neo-catholic to describe themself, only others.

    Funny how that works.

    I will not write anymore, and I wasn’t going to write this, but I did not want to add to the confusion. I will not comment on the newer article.

  • Mark P. Shea

    Mark Shea called me obnoxious and agressive. Not you.

    Christine:

    I was referring to JamesD, not you. Sorry my note was not clear.

  • Christine

    Apology accepted Mark [smiley=happy]

    JohnD, you are still my brother in Christ.

  • Christine

    Mark, please feel free to have the Administrator delete this.

    I sang this to my husband over the weekend and he thought I was a genius (well maybe just completely mental – he loves to encourage my wackiness), and he isn’t even Catholic. Please sing to “Stuck in the Middle with You”.

    I can

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