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No more “conservatives”

Break on through to the Traddie side. You can do it.

This from the Irish Times is another example of how I’m right, have always been right, and always will be frickin right about the meaninglessness of the “conservative/liberal” narrative of the Church since Vatican II. And about the fact that Pope Francis is doing the work of the Lord in helping it, finally, to disintegrate completely.

The Synod was clear that we need to be mindful of those who have begun new relationships and unions, and find sincere and truthful ways of welcoming and including them in the life and worshipping community of the church.”

Asked whether the church had any authority to speak about abortion or the merits of the Eighth Amendment, the Catholic Primate said: “There are many people who feel very strongly about this issue, and I think it’s very important that we hear that, we listen to it.

“Human life is the most fundamental right of all, and certainly we will try to continue to speak about that in a tender way, in a loving way, in a compassionate way.”

Eamon Martin, archbishop of Armagh, Primate of Ireland and opponent of abortion. He’ll “try” to speak about abortion, but not in a mean or unpleasant way, you understand…

“But but but…” I can hear my former colleagues saying, spluttering in startled shock… “I thought he was a conservative!!!”

There. Are. No. Conservatives.

There. Are. No. Conservatives.

[come on, say it with me now… ]

There. Are. No. Conservatives.

Conservatives are a myth, created by the secular media.

They only exist in the newspapers.

The narrative you thought was reality is a lie.

There are no conservatives.

They don’t exist now, and didn’t exist then.

They have never existed.

One of the Big Lies of the post-conciliar period has been the framing of our discussions in terms of “liberals” and “conservatives” (with “Trads” being the perpetual outsiders that no one knows about) and the divvying up of various issues and theological positions between these two imaginary groups. This framework became the standard in the 80s where it was inserted into the Church in the US during the period when Catholics and Evangelical Protestants got together to do “Culture War” stuff in politics.

This is where the idea of a conservative/liberal divide seeped into the Catholic Church – many times brought in by politically conservative Protestants who converted to the Faith and became prominent professional “Catholic apologists” – and it was then perpetuated and solidified by the secular press.

This is also why it is mainly an American phenomenon, with a little spill-over into Canada. It’s not widely known in US Catholic circles, but there really are no “conservatives” of that kind in Britain. None in Italy. As far as I know, none in Germany or Belgium either. Other countries didn’t have the same political realities – there was no Culture War outside North America. So in those countries there are lots of Trads and there’s lots and lots and LOTS of heretics. This “conservative” category between these two just doesn’t exist outside the North American bubble.

The trouble with the terms even when they were useful was that they were moving targets. One could only be a “conservative” or a “liberal” in comparison to someone else. It was a sliding scale, and your position on it depended on where you were standing on the line – or who was standing next to you. So, a guy like archbishop Gomez got called a “conservative” (or sometimes an “archconservative” depending on who was doing the labelling) when he went to Los Angeles to take over for the uber “liberal” heretic Mahoney. And when Gomez would say or do something that was more in the “liberal” line of things, he was either excused or ignored by “conservatives” fearing to lose their spot in the narrative.

But it was the secular newspapers that set the person’s position on the scale. (No one had to worry about where the Trads were on this scale, because there weren’t any in episcopal or political circles… there still aren’t. Sorry, Burke/Schneider partisans, but there aren’t.) You were a “conservative” because a newspaper called you one. And the metric was always the big three: contraception, abortion and homosexuality (nobody ever cared about divorce). This was the only thing the newspapers cared about with regards to the Catholic Church; the beginning and end of Catholic teaching.

When it started, the political nature of the distinctions were often decried by Catholic writers talking about ecclesiastical matters, but nearly everyone used them, if often with a little apologetic disclaimer about the imprecision. The use of political terminology was always excused because it was a set of terms that everyone could readily understand. Which I suppose was true as far as it went.

But this is as far as it went; we’re at the end of it now.

In our times, the distinction no longer exists, as we can see from the “good conservative” archbishop of Armagh above. Eamon Martin is a “conservative” still to the secular press because he refuses to endorse baby-killing (and euthanasia to a lesser extent). But a bar so low is in fact buried. Take away the secular press narrative and you can see the reality is that he’s an Irish Modernist who is pushing what little scraps and remnants of Catholicism are left in Ireland to follow the pope over the cliff of his Kasperian heresy.

And this is the great contribution of the Francis pontificate. He has made it impossible for even the most determined to continue parroting this outdated, worthless and deceptive media-generated narrative that never had any place in the Church. The false and misleading categories have evaporated.

It was the collaboration of the Catholic intellectual political conservatives (think First Things) that really got the whole liberal/conservative narrative going, and helped to create both categories. While the secular press got to crown a Catholic bishop as “conservative” because he opposed baby-killing, it was the Catholic press that bowed down and swore allegiance. But in both cases, everyone was working off the same rules. The same metric. It was still whether you were or were not on board with the Big Three. Nothing else came into it.

The problem being, of course, that the bar set so low is meaningless, and a man like Eamon Martin, or Gomez or Chaput was called “conservative” with absolutely no consideration of their actual theology. No one noticed that huge swathes of Catholic teaching were simply being memory-holed. By the end of the second Conciliar decade, by, say, 1986, there were too few Catholics who remembered what the “Social reign of Christ the King” was to complain about its disappearance.

So while we were all busy following the lead of the secular press, no one noticed the resurgence of neo-modernism, Americanism, etc. after the Council. ALL THE BISHOPS… ALL. OF. THEM. had adopted and started forcefully endorsing concepts that were totally outside Catholic thought and doctrine. And no one noticed because the only thing anyone was counting was the abortion/contraception/homosexuality stickers. If you got enough of these attached to you, you were a “conservative” and it didn’t matter to anyone that you were in direct opposition to the Faith on any number of matters.

This allowed an entire cohort to use their authority as bishops to force these liberal political issues into the Church as a new Catholic theological orthodoxy. Each time, with an eye on Rome, barely skirting the edges of the Big Three, subtly or unsubtly signalling their covert support for the “liberal” heretical positions favoured by the press and the political class, while steering the Church further away every year from her perennial teachings on everything else.

This has been the big goal since the Council, ultimately to force the Church to drop religion entirely and become a political entity, the “God squad” or the religious office of the leftist political class. The effective takeover of the US episcopacy since 1965, through the machinations of men like Jean Jadot and Cardinal Bernardin and his buddies from the Camarillo mafia, by these religious heretics/political liberals, has led the public to conclude that these liberal political positions are in fact theological Catholic orthodoxy.

Then along comes Francis, who has made it abundantly clear that no further winks or nods are necessary. Those who have long loathed the Catholic Church for its opposition to the Big Three are throwing off their masks. And those who may be “personally orthodox” on the Big Three but who are to their core company men who will never break ranks, even when the entire troop is heading for the cliff, will go over it.

Eamon Martin isn’t going to tell the Irish Times that the Church now supports or allows people to divorce and get married a second time. He’s not going to come right out and say such people should be offered Holy Communion. He’s never going to say that two men living together in a parodic mockery of natural marriage should be called “married”. He’s never going to say that abortion is fine.

But he’s a company man, who is going to use this kind of vague, evasive, essentially political language, terms that can be taken as perfectly orthodox if you squint and assiduously ignore the context, but are in fact obvious signals to Rome that he’s on board, that he’s a good company man who isn’t going to break ranks.

Take a look again at the terms he uses: “those who have begun new relationships and unions…” and so generously offering to listen to the “many” people who “still” “feel strongly” about baby-murder… He’ll “try to continue to speak about it…”

The blatant signalling, using the Francidian term “tender” that appears so regularly in the pope’s own locutions. This little speech might as well be a telegram to the pope, “I’m not going to get in your way.”

This “conservative” is a man who will never, EVER confront Jorge Bergoglio on his manifest and manifold heresies, his habitual blasphemies, his lies, his hatred for and aggression against the Faith and the faithful. Eamon Martin will follow the rest right over the cliff, to prove what a good company man he is.

His orthodoxy, such as it is, is meaningless. This is the final result of “conservative” novusordoism.



24 thoughts on “No more “conservatives””

  1. Gerard Brady says:

    The Archbishop of Armagh is no different from all his brother bishops in his adherence to men rather than to principle. Bishop Leahy of Limerick has just finished overseeing a diocesan synod in his diocese (the first in 50 years) which is due to further the designs of Pope Francis for a synodal Church which is no more than the logical extension of the Vatican Two revolution. To read the draft Pastoral Plan just issued is to understand just how radically un-Catholic the hollowed out Church in Ireland will be in 10 years time. In the diocese I live in all the local parish priests (nary a curate to be seen) are in their seventies and eighties. They are way past retirement age but everybody knows there will be nobody following them and the aforementioned synod is merely laying out in a concrete manner what plan will be followed when most of the priests have retired. The plan states as an objective to “develop and support lay leadership in liturgies and the celebration of sacraments (e.g. lay led liturgies of the Word with Holy Communion, homilies, baptisms, funerals, ‘occasion’ liturgies, etc.)” and this to begin in 2017! The only way to survive as a Catholic for the foreseeable future will be to find a community of some kind which will enable the support of a religious life as undoubtedly this can no longer be found in local parishes. Either the Benedict option (ie your one) or latching on to a traditional order. I moved countries in order to do this but I have no regrets and recommend it.

  2. Maria says:

    Okay! Thank you. I thought that there might be a resource out there already that you would know about. Thanks for the Hildebrand tip and the others.

  3. Janet Wilkie says:

    To Maria: Yes, there is a book on just this topic, from a Catholic publishing house, I believe. I have it somewhere, but it is buried in boxes and would take me days to find. If focuses on women in the middle ages, and is written from a Catholic perspective. Maybe on an old Sheed and Ward list? I do not remember. Good hunting.

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  6. RodH says:

    In the CC, all the prelates are “orthodox”. They just don’t speak like they believe it.

    Effeminacy rules.

  7. Gerard Brady says:

    Another useful work is Regine Pernoud’s “Women in the Days of the Cathedrals”.

  8. johnhenry says:

    I guess what it comes down to is that either you’re an orthodox Catholic or you”re not a Catholic at all. You can be liberal on issues (pro-immigration) not touching upon faith and morals and still be a Catholic, just as you can be a conservative “Catholic” on other issues (anti-women’s emancipation) without being a genuine (i.e. orthodox) one at all. Hope this makes sense.

  9. louiseyvette says:

    “And the metric was always the big three: contraception, abortion and homosexuality (nobody ever cared about divorce). ”

    Yep. Sad, but true.

  10. Michael Dowd says:

    Yes, yes you are so correct Hilary. And it makes the Podesta “subversion” of the Catholic Church rather redundant and pathetically naive. The clergy is “shocked, shocked” that such a thing is happening. Funny stuff.

  11. Lynne says:

    By the way, back in 2013 (that seems so long ago), I ordered some CDs from the Catholic Identity Conference at which Professor John Rao spoke. His topic that year was “Global Confusion and the Coming Catholic Resurgence”.

    Dr. Rao believes we are on the cusp of a Catholic resurgence, even if events will have to get worse before they get better. It was an encouraging talk, reminding us to look at the present crisis within the context of a larger history. We are now living out the results of what he calls the “independence principle”; that is, man declaring himself independent from both society and from the supernatural. Among a number of other points, Dr. Rao explained that there has been the temptation of Catholics for more than 150 years to allow the massive modern confusion to overwhelm them, wherein they end up fighting the battle on the enemy’s terms, and even try to ‘baptize’ some of the modern confusion to make it “Catholic”. There are other Catholics who will fight only this or that aspect of the modern revolution, and fail to combat its totality. Things are coming to a head in many areas, and the cold and brutal result will serve as a good. For anything that forces us to a renewed sense of reality cannot but be pro-Catholic.

    He spoke of the Great Clarification that was coming… It’s here?!

  12. Andrew Dunn says:

    Janet, I think the time we had to endure the Novus Ordo without alternative has been a blessing in disguise. For without this exposure, we would have a hard time articulating to our Novus Ordo Catholics (and potential converts) the exact reasons why the TLM is different and superior. I came into the Church a little over ten years ago from the episcopal congregation and honestly, aside from the Real Presence and feminists dressing up as priests, there’s no difference between an episcopal service and the Novus Ordo Mass. Personally, I hate not being able to go to daily Mass anymore but I simply can’t. The Novus Ordo is not a true Catholic Sacrifice of the Mass and I don’t want anything to do with it. Praise God that I am able to attend the TLM on Sunday.

  13. Hilary White says:

    This is a large and complex topic and really not at all suitable for a quick response in a blog comment box. I would recommend that you and your daughter get in touch with Dr. Alice Hildebrand, or at least read her work on Catholicism and women. This is the kind of research that needs full attention and some effort. I would examine women’s legal status in the ancient world, the Roman Empire of the first two centuries, particularly, and contrast early medieval Christian law with regards to women.

  14. Fuquaysteve says:

    Did you get a chance to read Esolens article in Crisis? If so what did you think?

  15. Maria says:

    Hilary! Thank you for your work and prayers. I hope you don’t mind my writing to you, but I think you might be able to answer my questions quickly. You also seem like a friend since I turn to you so often in my week.

    Could you please point me in the right direction for getting information on the following:

    How Catholicism elevated women. How the role of women was suppressed during the reformation (or when was it suppressed). How the women’s right to vote movement was related to the abortion movement in Canada in particular.

    Anything helpful off the top of your head would be highly appreciated.

    Thank you,

    A Busy homeschool, mom who has top get back to math and latin, but wants her teenaged daughter’s shrewd observation about the Famous Five of Canada to become a well informed opinion rather than a based on gut instinct.

  16. Hilary White says:

    Diarmuid the Hutt is not someone worthy of attention from anyone.

  17. Mark Chaplain says:

    Other recent feckin modernist blarney from Diarmuid Martin of Dublin: “Let me say something about which I feel strongly: do not allow ourselves to be become entangled in trying to produce definitions of the family. Family is such a transcultural value that it cannot be defined simply.”

  18. Aaron Traas says:

    No one had to worry about where the Trads were on this scale, because there weren’t any in episcopal or political circles… there still aren’t. Sorry, Burke/Schneider partisans, but there aren’t.

    Yeah… Francis has really outed Burke as spineless. Schneider is a bit better, but he’s still silent when it counts. I used to believe otherwise prior to this pontificate. It was easy to appear traddy under Benedict; there were no repercussions and the “brick by brick” narrative gave lots of trad-friendly bishops cover. The spinelessness of the episcopacy as a whole is a bigger source of despair for me than Francis himself. If there were even a few that were railing against him in a real way, that would be a sign that the gates of hell weren’t prevailing.

    But these are the leaders we deserve. I know it’s partially my fault for living a life of sin, presumption, and decadence. I suck at fasting and praying. Yet I’m more fortunate than most — I have access to truly faithful priests who celebrate a truly beautiful mass. I have no excuses for my behavior.

  19. Lynne says:

    “So while we were all busy following the lead of the secular press, no one noticed the resurgence of neo-modernism, Americanism, etc. after the Council. ALL THE BISHOPS… ALL. OF. THEM. had adopted and started forcefully endorsing concepts that were totally outside Catholic thought and doctrine.”

    I disagree, Abp Lefebvre did not. He came out of retirement to found an order of priests so that Catholicism as it had been practiced for centuries before wouldn’t be lost.

    “But it was the secular newspapers that set the person’s position on the scale. (No one had to worry about where the Trads were on this scale, because there weren’t any in episcopal or political circles… there still aren’t. Sorry, Burke/Schneider partisans, but there aren’t.) ”


  20. Bosco49 says:

    Well written, Hilary. This desperate state of affairs calls to mind two particular passages from Holy Scripture:

    “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold, nor hot. I would thou wert cold, or hot. But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold, not hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth.” Revelation 3:15-16

    “No man can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one, and love the other: or he will sustain the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” Matthew 6:24

  21. Peter says:

    This is depressing but the only analysis that fits all the evidence. What do you think is going to happen if there are no orthodox Catholics in the clergy?

  22. Rory Donnellan says:

    How about pseudo-conservatives for the less liberated neoCatholics – who never managed to conserve anything? We can only hope and pray that such misguided pseudoconservatives will be honest enough to recognise the charade, stop dabbling in left-right shenanigans and find their true home at the traditiional Latin Mass.

  23. Tradman says:

    My bishop is a vacuous company man. A managerial expert. I’ve toyed with the idea of trying to rouse whatever latent Catholicism he still possesses in the form of a letter urging him to not follow the lead of the Pope with respect to Amoris Laetitiea. I expect it to be a wasted effort, but I’ll do it anyways if it won’t do any harm. That’s the question though. Will a letter like this “trigger” him, or whoever reads the letters for him, and only make matters worse? Right now he appears to be hoping he won’t have to make a choice.

  24. Janet Wilkie says:

    I’m reading Christopher Ferrara’s The Great Facade. What bothers me most is how I was lied to. Stay away from those Latin Mass Traditionalists, they are schismatic.

    So, being a faithful Catholic, I stayed away, read nothing they wrote, and was horrified that a friend sometimes went to SSPX Mass.

    And in consequence, suffered miserably for forty-odd years as a conservative Catholic convert, alienated and marginalized in my heretical parishes, trying to stay afloat in a tsunami of liberalism. It was hard.

    I clung to The Wanderer (would absolutely never admit to my priest that I read it for fear of being exiled to Siberia), and First Things, which showed me that there actually was an orthodox Catholic intellectual world out there somewhere. Only now to find that I had been lied and lied to. Vatican II was not doctrinal. Trads were not schismatic. But without The Wanderer and First Things, I would have had nothing at all.

    And my numb response to the new Mass, which is the only one I knew, was not about me after all. When I go to the Latin Mass, I really pray. Even though I don’t have a clue what the priest is saying, and am nearly always on the wrong page in the missalette.

    There are no conservative clergy. There certainly are and were conservative Catholics. When I read Trads writing about how comfy we are…forty years in the desert, living on manna alone. The women in my old parish who hated me because I called out the neo-nun they brought in to teach us holistic ecological prayer. The priest who says behind your back that you can be “too orthodox” – well, he said he was orthodox, anyway. Fighting with the Indian Jesuit summer subs over the historical truth of Scripture in Bible study class. Trying, hopelessly, to get the priest to do something about the giant statue of Satan directly across from the church in the village parking lot. And on and on.

    There may be no conservative Catholic clergy. But there are conservative Catholic laypeople. I was one. It was pure suffering. Being a Trad is much easier. You can stop waiting for people who aren’t going to fix it, to fix it. You know where you are.

    I spoke with a fiercely loyal Opus Dei woman the other day. “The Pope supports the NO, and so do I!” She finally admitted that she closes her eyes during Mass, and makes her thanksgiving after Communion out in her car afterwards because of the singing during Communion.

    I do agree with you, Hilary. Pope Francis is a gift. The gift of clarity.

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