Emphasis on the wrong syllable

By Dr. Jeff Mirus (bio - articles - email) | Nov 03, 2014

Every time a son or daughter of the Church criticizes a priest’s contradiction of Church teaching from the pulpit, for example, or rejects a self-proclaimed Catholic politician who supports abortion, “liberal” Catholics rally around and emphasize that such persons are wonderfully concerned for the poor and respectful of the ideas of others.

And every time a son or daughter of the Church criticizes the rejection of the ordinary form of the Mass, for example, or the invalidity of sacrament administered by an SSPX priest [before this problem was resolved in 2016-2017], “conservative” Catholics rally around and emphasize that such persons are staunchly opposed to secularism and love to kneel.

What good does it do to emphasize the virtues of those who are injuring the Church, leading souls astray, and jeopardizing their own salvation when it is not their virtues but precisely their vices that are at issue?

This sort of special pleading is always possible. But it has to stop. When warned against a murderer, say, or a child predator, only a fool responds by insisting that the person is deeply devoted to his mother, and possesses an engaging smile.

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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  • Posted by: John J Plick - Nov. 04, 2014 9:39 AM ET USA

    A wise balance. We tend to cooperate poorly with leadership. Jesus gave us an example when he modeled "discipleship" for us submitting to being baptized in the Jordan.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 04, 2014 8:16 AM ET USA

    Re my own preference for the extraordinary form, a priest of the FSSP counseled me against having ill feelings for the ordinary form of the Mass. He insisted that both forms are valid, and when I tried to argue that the ordinary form didn't have the necessary rubrics, didn't even look like a proper Mass, he illustrated it to me thusly: by the time Jesus was nailed to the cross, He didn't look like Himself either, but of course He was still The Word.

  • Posted by: fenton1015153 - Nov. 03, 2014 6:51 PM ET USA

    A good Catholic has a right to expect solid support for church teachings especially from the pulpit. They should complain to the Bishop after they complain to the offending party. If the Bishop does not correct this problem then they should complain up the hierarchical ladder. We need to leave behind useless adjectives like conservative or liberal. They divide rather than unite. I would use Catholic without the modifier.