From the archives: The Hilary Thesis from 2014; the closing of the “conservative” middle ground
It was at least 15 years ago that I started noticing through my research and lobbying work that the “sides are lining up”. I had many discussions with colleagues about it, and we speculated with some trepidation on what the conflict would look like when that process of division was complete.
I submit we are coming to the end now of that preparatory phase, that was greatly accelerated by the current pontificate.
A blog post from Orwell’s Picnic
Saturday, March 08, 2014
I say this because I was, through most of the John Paul II pontificate, a thoroughgoing neo-conservative who thought that if we only did what the pope says, we’ll be fine. I saw the battle lines clearly drawn between The World – secularism, relativism, media-ism, feminism, even Marxism – and the Church, with the pope as the heroic figure leading us in the war. And let me tell you, it was a MIGHTY nice and appealing way to see the world. I knew that there were bad bishops and bad priests, but this was because there had been infiltrations at the national levels. I knew the war had entered the Church, but maintained the belief that the pope (and mostly by extension “the Vatican” he led,) was the place to look to for the answers.
And life was good. The world made sense. Then I started looking a little more deeply, and oh dear… oh deary me!
The thing that pushed me into being a clearly self-identified Traditionalist, and to recognising the difference between a Trad and a neo-con, was the presence of just too many logical contradictions, and too many places where the conservatives either didn’t know about or were desperate to explain away the portions of the Faith that have been dropped (mysteriously?) since the council.
All that being said, I can’t help but think, again, that in his own painful way, Pope Francis is doing something for the Church that another “conservative” pontificate could not have done. He is making it very, very difficult to maintain that comfortable conservative middle ground. There are a lot of “conservatives” who are being forced to go to increasing lengths to try to maintain their position. This is a good thing. I believe that their position is the fence, and the fence is pointy and impossible to sit on forever. It’s actually a good thing to get shoved off, for them and for the rest of us.
We have seen a lot of people, including a lot of priests, watching the goings on in Rome and starting to definitively pick sides. We’ve had a lot of indications that more people every day are realising that their position has been untenable, unsustainable.
The thing that makes me feel there is growing urgency for the conservatives to give up what I consider to be an untenable middle ground, is that as we go along, the “highest authorities in the Church” are putting more and more of the Faith down that post-conciliar memory hole. This is more or less what I mean when I say that Pope Francis, through his words and actions, and more importantly in his silences and inactions, is “closing the conservative middle ground”.
Read the rest,
and hold fast.