Rethinking Obedience in an Age of Resistance

The idea of “resisting” makes a lot of Catholics understandably nervous. We are, of course, brought up to be loyal sons of the Church. But there have always been exceptions, and we definitely live in an exceptional time.

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending and covering The Remnant’s Catholic Identity Conference (CIC), and it was spectacular. 

The theme of this year’s event largely focused on how to resist a globalist push in the world and, sadly, in the Church. On Saturday, John-Henry Westen of LifeSiteNews appeared alongside Remnant editor Michael Matt and his co-organizer of the event, Eric Frankovitch, where all three declared resistance to Pope Francis, insofar as the pope has promulgated error or scandal.

Westen went through a litany of errors and scandals that have come to light under the current pontificate. And I must admit, to hear them all listed in a row was quite startling. Of course, I knew what they were, but it is one thing to digest the problems every so often but quite another to have all the poison shoved down your throat in a single dose.

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At any rate, the point of the declaration was to express that faithful Catholics are prepared to stand firm in the Faith, even if it loses them favor in the eyes of the institutions, whether they be ecclesial or civil.

Now, the idea of “resisting” makes a lot of people nervous, and I understand why. We are, of course, brought up to be loyal sons of the Church, and therefore we endeavour to give filial obedience to the whims of our pastors and bishops out of love for the hierarchical nature of the Church. Generally speaking, if we do what our pastors tell us, this has historically been overall pretty good. But there have always been exceptions, and we definitely live in an exceptional time.

With respect to those who believe that we are finally in a time where disobedience or resistance to an ecclesial command could be justified, I would suggest that we have been in this situation for decades.

Yes, it is easy to say that we “must resist!” after a demoness idol is paraded about the Vatican. But it is quite another thing to look at the trajectory of the Church in a tumultuous age like the ’70s and ’80s and act on the fateful words of Paul VI when he admitted to the “smoke of Satan” having entered the Church and that the Church was in a fit of “self-destruction.”

There were faithful Catholics who could read the Pachamama on the wall long ago and knew that the hour to resist unlawful commands from their superiors had already come just as Woodstock was ending. Priests were maligned for not giving into the “French Revolution in the Church,” many of them thrown out on their rear ends because they couldn’t catch the spirit of the New Springtime.   

Paul VI is said to have wept as he signed away the vows of thousands of professed religious, many of them nuns, as they threw off their religious garments in order to cut their hair and throw on some Birkenstocks.

Freemasons selected bishops, and Malachi Martin’s seeming fever-dreams became so obviously true that to impute satanic activity on members of the hierarchy is now as mundane as saying the sun rises in the east.

Countless Catholics left the faith for Pentecostal revivals in Latin America, following yet another “surprise of the Holy Spirit.” And all of this was part of the “New Evangelization” which evangelized the world into a post-Catholic dumpster fire.

There were many who resisted, none more than a certain Archbishop born in Tourcoing, France, but it is still dangerous to share affections for him in mixed company.

So, now we find ourselves in a moment where it is not just the “rad trads”—that fringe group of Catholics who have held fast to their rosaries and their Raccoltas—who are willing to take things up a notch.

You see, we implicitly understand now that we may have to lay ourselves at the mercy of a juridical penalty from a bishop, or even a pope, in order to be able to lay ourselves at the foot of the Cross in good conscience.

I am no theologian—thank goodness!—thus I tend not to over complicate things.

I know in my gut what is right and wrong, and I do not need to read the flowery language of a report on the synod of synodality to understand what is justified in my Catholic sense. Some may retort to such sentiment that appealing to personal judgment is no different than when Luther decided he knew best on how to interpret the Bible and Tradition.

No, Luther’s conscience told him to ignore centuries of tradition and dogma, whereas the conscience of a traditionally-minded Catholic does the opposite. If traditionally-minded Catholics are ignoring anything, it is the Lutheran-styled mindset of a hierarchy that has acted more like Luther with their destructive reforms than anything.

In this age of destruction—largely self-inflicted—we must be prepared to “disobey” if we are to “resist.” However, an act of disobedience is also an act of obedience by definition, just as the opposite is true.

If I decide to obey the good angel on my shoulder, then I disobey the bad one on the other. If I rightfully decide to disobey the unjust command or declaration of a bishop, then I must be obeying a higher law.

We should not be surprised or scandalized that we might find ourselves in this situation of resistance and the rethinking of obedience. The Holy Ghost made sure we would be prepared through Sacred Scripture.

We know that an inferior, like the Apostle Paul, can resist the pope, as he did when he resisted Peter “to his face.” I might add that he resisted Peter merely because he “seemed to indicate a wish to compel the pagan converts to become Jews and accept circumcision and the Jewish law.” I think we are well beyond the point where it seems like a pope or bishop is compelling us to accept things that are non-doctrinal or scandalous to the Faith.

In addition, we are told that we must “obey God rather than men” if we come to an impasse where this is the only option. It should be remembered that this famous line is uttered in a chapter of Acts where the apostles are thrown into prison for not obeying the high priest…

None of this is to say that you or I possess a special illumination from the Holy Ghost that is verified by signs and wonders…but that is exactly the point.

None of the surprises of the post-conciliar era have been accompanied by special miracles of conversion, healing, and a mass exodus from demon-worship to true worship. If anything, the opposite is true.

Thus, no matter the personal cost—even if we come off as disobedient—we must be prepared to obey God over man, and, as St. Paul wrote, we must reaffirm: “brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught.”

[Photo Credit: Vatican Media]

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