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Un-knowing what you know


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Years ago, in fact, about 2003, as the culmination of a long period of research (on the religious life) I realized that the rift in the Church was worse than I had been led to believe from what we then categorized as the “conservative” Catholic writers. This was the uncomfortable moment that I “tradded,” and though I’ve never wished I could go back to not knowing what I know, the understanding hasn’t come without a cost. I’m not a Trad because I want to be. I’m a Trad because I can’t ever un-know things I now know.

I had started from a position of believing in the simplistic conservative narrative. It goes something like this: there had been a group of “liberal” prelates at the Council and afterwards who had tried to “hijack” the conciliar documents and the subsequent acts for their own purposes. This had met with quite a lot of success and things had been pretty bad until the 80s and 90s, particularly with the bad bishops under Paul VI. But then the “conservative” pope John Paul II thwarted them, “cleaning up” seminaries and appointing (mostly) “conservative” new bishops. The attempt to hijack the Barque had, in the main, failed and things were returning slowly to the natural course of the Church. There were lots of signs that this younger “conservative” movement – particularly among seminarians – was the future. New(ish) Catholic colleges were consciously self-identifying as “Ex corde ecclesiae” colleges; parishes and some whole dioceses were getting rid of the bongos and retiring the guitars and puppets and balloons in the Mass… it was all slowly returning to normal.

It sounds great. Good guys win. The trouble is that it wasn’t true. The foundation of “normal,” that is, of “orthodoxy,” was in fact a false floor. The reality of the Church was that under that false floor there was a vast edifice, a lost Church, that had been buried and nearly forgotten, and about which it was strictly forbidden to talk. Moreover, that false floor was movable.

The research I was doing was for a book that would have worked within this narrative to demonstrate that a big part of the “JPII revival” was happening in the religious life. There were, it was held, new “conservative” communities of nuns being founded that were attracting large numbers of vocations. These, so the story went, were all working against the big catastrophe that happened in the 60s that saw the almost complete collapse of the active religious life. Things like habits, prayer in common, Eucharistic adoration and a unified apostolate of teaching or nursing, were all the rage.

But it was when I looked more closely at these communities, that is, went to visit them, that this happy, fluffy-bunny narrative stopped matching the increasingly insidious and alarming reality. It’s a long story that I’ll save for another time, but suffice to say that my experiences in the pro-life movement in Canada, the US and Britain and my personal research into these “new conservative religious communities” made me understand that things were much, much… MUCH worse than I had previously been lead to believe.

It came to a head in 2003 when I went to visit a community of sisters in the northern US who have made quite a splash in the media and are supposed to be a bastion of this burgeoning new conservative US Catholic Church. What I found there… well… let’s just say that I didn’t stay for the whole long weekend, but got straight back onto a bus for Toronto the next day.

I went to see a priest I knew – who had been trying to tell me that my search was going to be in vain – and told him what I had found. He was sympathetic but asked me, “Hilary, what did you expect to find?” I told him what I had expected and to my surprise, he laughed. “You don’t imagine you’re a conservative, do you?” I was taken aback, and said something to the effect of, “What else is there to be?” He said, “You have told me that you can’t support the argument that everything is fine under John Paul II, that the Church is getting back on course. This visit has confirmed that what you have been suspecting all along is actually true. Hilary, I’m sorry to have to tell you; you’re not a conservative. You’re a Traditionalist.”

I literally didn’t know what he was talking about. He emailed me later with some things to look up on the internet and a few book recommendations. I’m a pretty quick study, and it quickly became clear that this position – the most despised and persecuted within the Church, as it turns out – is the only one that fits all the observable facts. I was quite depressed by this revelation, mainly because it meant that I was (again!) not going to be an easy fit in any of the institutions of the Church.

But it was inescapable: there was and is a vast cleavage in the Catholic Church that amounted to a de facto schism. A new and false religion was being produced, like the toxins from a bacterial infection that sickens the body, inside all the institutions of the Church, and hardly anyone had noticed. It was a hidden schism that had been nesting within the Catholic institution entirely uncorrected, since the close of Vatican II. Neo-modernism had succeeded in replacing authentic Catholic teaching to the point where to hold the doctrines of the Faith in certain areas and profess them out loud was enough to have you ostracized from this “conservative Catholic revival”. The New Modernism had, in fact, become the new conservatism.

Thirteen years is a long time and since then, particularly in the last three years, the false categories of this simplistic “conservative/liberal” narrative are rapidly becoming obsolete. The contradictions are finally becoming inescapable to a vast swathe of Catholics. And it didn’t start with Francis. John Paul II pushed along its long decline when he approved the use of female servers at Mass, and a great many of these “conservatives” in the Church (including Cardinal Ambrozic of Toronto btw,) who had been loudly calling for restoration of the norm were suddenly undermined by their darling “conservative” pope.

This blow to the carefully constructed public image of John Paul II as the “conservative” icon (thanks in large part to George Weigel’s bizarre pre-humous canonization) was a severe dent in their entire worldview and could not be encompassed. They took the only solution they could, and simply redefined orthodoxy to include whatever theological or disciplinary novelty a pope was willing to install. Papolatry or Papal Positivism, as we’ve started to call it, was born. The person of the pope, the man himself, became the new orthodoxy, a kind of semi-divine oracle who brings us either the old or the new doctrine, as the mood strikes, straight from the mouth of the “Spirit” whispering in his ear. “Altar girls” were fine, just fine, and anyone who continued to call for their abolition were extremists. Reactionaries! Rad Trads! Schismatics! etc…

The conservative capitulation in the altar girls battle was where most of the antipathy of the new conservatives towards Traditionalists began and that continues to escalate – with the brief Benedictine respite – to this day. A guilty conscience, I guess.

But slowly, the ground on which these “neoCatholics” stand was being chipped away, until the only metric left to them has been the Church’s teaching on sexual morality. As long as the pope continues to defend and uphold these, the narrative tells them, it doesn’t matter how many Korans he kisses. All that stuff is open to debate. Sex, marriage and babies is the bottom line. Except that this bottom line has been drawn in chalk on the false floor. And Francis has begun to erase it. The “conservative Catholic” position had been safe in this demarcation zone, at least until Amoris Laetitia.

Something that insular Americans often don’t know is that the “neoconservative” phenomenon, “culture warriors” as they used to be called, both Catholic and Protestant, is nearly exclusively limited to the United States. There are no “conservative Catholics” in England. Or in Italy. It is a product of the coalition in the ’80s between evangelicals and Catholics in the political pro-life movement – with all the inherent limitations thereof. It is a force that is nearly spent in American politics, as it is in the Church.

(Ironically, perhaps, hooking Catholic orthodoxy exclusively to the Church’s teaching on sexual morality has meant that they have taken precisely the line of the mainstream media: Catholicism is all about the “pelvic issues”. Neither a Catholic neoconservative nor the religion editor of the NYT has ever heard of the Social Reign of Christ the King. This large blank space where the Catholic religion used to be, is why the novusordo-apologists continue to say that they “like traditionalists” but only as long as they are the kind that personally prefer the Old Mass. Those other ones, the ones always going on about the Syllabus of Errors, are labelled “radical Catholic reactionaries,” because we challenge an entire paradigm. The good kind of traditionalist are the ones Francis was talking about, this mythological group of people who just happen to be “addicted” to a prior aesthetic. We Bad Rad Trads prefer to live in a whole different Church, that vast buried ruined edifice that no one is supposed to know about.)

It took a long time, a lot of reading, a lot of talking and thinking and visiting and learning to understand all this, but when I did, it was like being pulled out of the Matrix. The entire universe of Catholicism was, in reality, nothing at all like what I had thought. I realized that not only had I, somehow, come to a perspective in which all the puzzling pieces fit together to form a coherent, though horrifying, big picture, but that without this perspective it was going to be nearly impossible to convince anyone else. How do you tell people that things are, indeed, much worse than even their darkest imaginings and, more importantly, aren’t getting better? I figured we were going to need an act of God for that. (You can see where this is going, right?)

There are a lot of Trad-converts who would certainly rather not know what we know. It is damned uncomfortable, and it meant too that a great many doors were going to be closed to me forever – particularly vocational doors, which was very hard to bear. But that simply was where the evidence led. There was no way around it. Only the Real counts, even if it means you can’t ever, ever have the one thing you’ve wanted all your life. Even if it means you’re going to be going in a direction in life, and for the rest of your life, that you never, ever would have chosen for yourself. But it is why I and my Traditionalist friends are able to understand what is going on now.

It is the reason, for instance, we can read this fulsome praise of Amoris Laetitia and Pope Francis by Fr. Frank Pavone (one of the neo-conservatives’ heroes) and not be shocked, not surprised (though faintly nauseated, admittedly…)

…Amoris Laetitia is a timely and loving exhortation for families towards genuine charity that begins within the nuclear family. It can be described as a new road-map for a culture that has taken a sad and tragic detour.”

This is, of course, very precisely a recitation of the neoconservative Catholic narrative that rests on two important points: the pope is always and can only be the champion of orthodoxy no matter what he says or does, and the first, last and middle-bit concern of Catholics is always and only on the pelvic issues. Nothing else, including the pope’s habitual blasphemies against Christ, the Holy Spirit and the Church, is important.

The plain fact that Francis has, as the somewhat more savvy Voice of the Family has said, gravely undermined the Church’s teaching on the family seems not to be of any moment whatever. Only the narrative matters.

Yes, there’s a paragraph in AL, 83, that opposes abortion. But this includes a patently false assertion that Catholics are obliged to oppose the death penalty.

And it is preceded by this:

“37. We have long thought that simply by stressing doctrinal, bioethical and moral issues, without encouraging openness to grace, we were providing sufficient support to families, strengthening the marriage bond and giving meaning to marital life.”

… a blatant insult not only to the pro-life people who have carried on the battle against abortion for all these decades, but to John Paul II, the hero of the American conservative pro-lifers, whose pontificate (with the back-up of Cardinal Ratzinger in the CDF) was very much the source of the Catholic pro-lifer’s focus on “doctrinal, bioethical and moral issues”. It’s a dig, a typically Franciscan dig, veiled and self-congratulatory, against the life work of someone like Fr. Pavone. Another typical Franciscan straw man and false dichotomy; setting up a focus on “doctrinal, bioethical and moral issues” as somehow being opposed to “openness to grace”.

The neoconservative narrative, however, is going to be facing a lot more of the stuff it can’t encompass, when even the advanced Stockholm Syndrome of people like Frank Pavone is going to be stretched to its limits.

Here’s a fun little story about Cardinal Muller, the increasingly marginalized head of the CDF, who has written a book and wanted to present it in Madrid.

In August last year, Francis appointed Carlos Osoro Sierra as the new Archbishop of Madrid, a choice that was touted by the press as a “new direction” for the Spanish episcopate. Osoro is known for reciting Francisims, including his desire for a “Church that goes out” instead of being “self-absorbed…” Etc. (If anyone can tell me what this blither actually means, either to them in their brains or objectively, let me know…) He is seen as an about-face for the see of Madrid from his Ratzingerian predecessor.

Fast-foward to Thursday, and that same Archbishop Osoro has denounced the book and the head of the CDF because they are “against the pope.”

The difficulty, you see, is that Cardinal Muller has said in his book that “Mercy never means a waiver of the commandments of God,” a simple fact and a forthright expression of basic catechism. Hardly what you would need a PhD for, or a Cardinal or a head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. But it’s “against the pope,” according to one of Francis’ own hand-picked favourites.

Giuseppe Nardi tells us that the book is about the current situation in the Church. Muller was scheduled to present it this week at the Catholic University of San Dámaso, but the archbishop stopped it. Infovaticana reports that the Archbishop said he wanted “nothing to do with a book against the pope”. The presentation has been moved to a university owned by the Legionaries of Christ.

The facade of unity, one that irritated me for years because of its obvious falsity, is finally falling irrevocably into ruins. Cardinal Muller is hardly being theologically controversial when he says that God’s mercy and His law are not opposed. But to do so, to state this simple truth of the Catholic faith, is now not only controversial, it is anathema. Because it is “against the pope.

The fact that the pope is against the Faith is irrelevant. Cardinal Muller has been loudly defending these basic catechetical truths from Francis’ own subordinates, Marx and his merry band of simoniac heretics in Germany, who have just as loudly declared that they will go into schism if need be to get what they want. And what has Francis done? He has made Cardinal Marx a trusted member of his inner circle, made sure that he gets the spotlight at the Synods – called at the behest of the German bishops.

If Muller is “against the pope,” it is because the pope is against the Faith. The schism that we have been pretending did not exist, is finally becoming so evident, so many are falling into the gulf and hitting the rocky bottom, that it can no longer be wished away. Neo-Catholics are going to have to either revamp their ideology to conform with the new Franciscan paradigm – which will be fine, since their ideology is simply “the pope,” – or if they have retained a shred of Catholicity, they are going to have to start facing some uncomfortable facts about the condition of the Church. The middle ground on which they have been standing, rooted, since the 80s, is gone.


70 thoughts on “Un-knowing what you know”

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  3. Hilary White says:



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  6. Elizabeth says:

    Evangeline: That Saint was Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. Only no one wanted to listen to him…

  7. Pingback: Steve Skojec, Out of the Rabbit Hole – W OBRONIE TRADYCJI I WIARY
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  9. Pingback: Hillary White: “A ne-ști ceea ce știi” – Resurrexit sicut dixit
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  11. Casey Smith says:

    Not sure if you saw my earlier comment… I’m new to Dsiqus so I’m not sure how this all works, but is your email address posted somewhere on your profile, or is there someway I can message you through the site?

  12. TheWhiteLilyBlog says:

    It gave me a heart attack!

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  15. Casey Smith says:

    Sure! What’s your address?

  16. St. Bernadette says:

    Right, Christendom touts +Loverde as a “friend of the college”, hence no Sunday TLM on campus. Another ‘friend’ of the college is George Weigel…need I say more?
    As for the dress code, it has declined in the two years we have been familiar with it, mostly for the girls because they are allowed to wear pants and that has deteriorated rapidly to them wearing leggings and skin tight pants. Not modest at all!
    I fear for the future of Christendom, as the very strong neo-catholic presence predominates and papalotry is quite rampant.
    Perhaps the new bishop will be so liberal that he simply won’t care about Tradition, and won’t be an active enemy of it like the present one. We can always hope!

  17. James Bascom says:

    Brilliant article. The ultimate source of this modern crisis goes back much farther than even the 20th century. It’s name is “Revolution” and it began with the Renaissance and Protestantism, and was described very well by Plinio Correa de Oliveira in his book “Revolution and Counter-Revolution.”

  18. Fred martinez says:

    Thanks for your balance.

  19. Hilary White says:

    This, fortunately, was not the only kind of story one can find about the carmelites. The cloistered orders on the whole fared much better than the actives (which have been nearly eradicated). There are a few cloistered communities that went wiggy in this way, but there are many who consciously retained their traditions, and even some who responded to Perfectae Caritatis by, as the document said, going back to their original charisms and returning to a more seriously devoted way of life. I know that the Carmelites in particular did better, on the whole, than other orders (particularly Benedictines who have become almost entirely corrupted in the English speaking world, though there are some outstanding holdouts in Italy, Germany and France.)

    I think possibly this tendency to survive is part of the nature of contemplative life. The communities, esp. the Carmelites, tend to be smaller communities, so it was easier to oppose any radical changes, and the numbers of vocations were usually quite small. They came in one at a time, rather than in “classes” as in the teaching orders. Also, a woman seeking out a cloistered Carmelite community really isn’t usually going to be interested in a place that has abandoned its charism and traditions.

    The real difficulty now, I think, and one that might be possible to resolve, is the adoption of the NO rites. Novusordoism is like a corrosive or a solvent. It will, if applied steadily and long enough, eventually erode away the Faith. But such is the nature of contemplative life that this process is greatly slowed down, and in some cases even seems to have been almost eliminated. The older nuns in these communities will often look at you quite blankly when you say that you prefer to consider only communities that have retained the old rite, but the younger ones will often understand quite well.

  20. Mary Fran says:

    I find this VERY interesting. Back in the late 60’s I was thinking about the Carmelites. Visited them in Wheeling, WV. Traditional habits to the floor, grills in the speak room with spikes on them, turns, cloistered and all the rest. A religious vocation was not in the future for me, but I kept in contact with these nuns over the next 40 years and was alarmed with what I saw happening in their community. Their habits shortened. They quit wearing the regular veil and all the white stuff around their faces (not sure what to call it). They started coming out of the enclosure to celebrate Mass with the congregation, even did the readings (not the Gospel). No more turn; you could talk with them face-to-face. My good friend even came out to eat breakfast with us when we went to visit. She drove me into town to show me a place that my family would be interested in. I have thanked God many times that I never entered there, but got married instead. The changes would have been entirely too painful, not at all what I had expected from the Carmelites. I don’t think there was ever any deliberate choice to damage the order, but damaged it was. The entire order split in two and they chose the wrong split.

    I have discovered since then, that when they all grew too old to remain in their monastery, another group of Carmelites came from the mid west and reestablished the old rules—enclosure, turn, traditional habits. So, good news followed my friends.

  21. Joe_NS says:

    The problem started long before Vatican II. The problem began with the ascendancy in Protestantism of the so-called social gospel around 1900. It required approximately half a century for social-gospel Christianity to destroy the Episcopalian church; though a bit longer was needed to stifle Methodists, Presbyterians, and Lutherans.

    Now it’s the turn of the Roman Catholic Church. Political activism, always of a left-wing sort, has become the highest ideal of Christianity. The corporal works of mercy have displaced the Decalogue and the Creeds as the criteria of faith and relevance.

    Naturally the sophisms of a Jesuit were necessary to demonstrate that the long-gone confessionals are to be replaced by voting booths.

    Per Thomas Hobbes: Leviathan hath triumphed.

  22. Rob, Portland says:

    The collapse of Catholicism is why I embraced the Orthodox Faith. I wish we lived in better times for the Roman Catholic Church. Sadly, we are not; I think the RCC will never be restored to her former glory. The moral collapse of Western society seemingly mirrors that of the Roman See.

    Wonderful read; it’s all a dramatic tragedy.

  23. Patricia Gallagher says:

    >>Would a saint convoke the ridiculous spectacle at Assisi? Or kiss the Koran?<<

    We imperfect human beings, subject to Original Sin and lifelong concupiscence, sin much along the road to sainthood.

    The Days of Prayer called by Popes St. John Paul II (1986, 1993) and Benedict XVI (2011) did much to reinforce the plague of religious indifferentism, for sure, and the picture of a pope kissing the Koran shocks me. However, I wouldn't yank JPII's halo on those criteria. Neither pontiff offered these devotionals or gestures as expressions of infallible teaching.

  24. Patricia Gallagher says:

    “We need divine intervention OR, a saint or two for leadership.”
    I nominate the aptly-named Athanasius Schneider, Bishop of Astana in Kazakhstan.

  25. Patricia Gallagher says:

    I appreciate beyond telling all the complicated ground that has been plowed by so many, like Hilary and Steve over at 1Pet5 and others, so that I could so quickly get my bearings.

    (Plus, being immersed in these blogs, and all the bookmarks they are generating in my browser, it’s becoming much easier to stick to my diet. HOURS go by that thoughts of sugar, fat, and cocoa barely intrude.)

  26. Deacon_Augustine says:

    I am fairly certain that he was hospitalized at the time, and elements in the curia took advantage of that. He could have reversed it when he got out of course, but he failed to act.

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  31. St. Christopher says:

    “Manny” we certainly need to pray for a great new bishop appointment for Arlington, But, B. Loverde was no prize (especially after Bishop Keating). But, we can expect that Francis will appoint someone liberal and someone deeply committed to the “NewChurch” that the Pope is seeking to create. This is a tragedy, so we need to ask the Holy Ghost to bend the Pope towards Tradition, and appoint someone that is fully faithful and a servant of the Church as it has always been (not counting the last 50 years). The Arlington Diocese is an important one, due to its proximity to Washington, DC, and due to its wealth (which will only increase in coming years). But, God will do as He wills, which we must support (as what has happened so far makes little sense in many ways). Perhaps we will have more pain. However, we must fight any attempts to limit the TLM or Tradition, if a new bishop seeks to roll them back.

  32. Hilary White says:

    I know that, of course, but didn’t have time to write a 500 page edifice. There are other people with that kind of attention span.

  33. Manny says:

    Yes, the impending replacement of Bishop Loverde has been worry. I figure I’d move out to Front Royal, a terrible bishop would be named to succeed +Loverde who would eventually name a pastor that would ruin St John the Baptist.

  34. St. Christopher says:

    Father Fasano, who is pastor there, is a great priest. He was pastor at St. Catherine of Siena in Great Falls, and is a riveting speaker. Curiously, Christendom College, which is a conservative, but Novus Ordo, college, not Traditional, advertises its proximity to St. John the Baptist for those wishing the TLM. Why is that? Why isn’t this “traditional” Catholic college even Traditional, at all? (Although they have separate boy-girl dorms and a dress code.) Why, this takes us back to Bishop Loverde!! Perhaps whomever Pope Francis designates as Loverde’s successor will seek to have the college become more Traditional (ha, ha, ha — sorry, I lost it there for a moment).

  35. Hilary White says:

    I’m on the third chapter, and it’s surprisingly good. Not the usual plodding pedantry one is used to from the Trad self-publishers.

  36. Ademar of Ohio says:


    Your journey to the Truth about the state of the Church, Miss White, runs parallel to my own. Thank you so much for both sharing as well as the clarity with which you articulate the big picture! It’s heartening to have a spiritual sister!

    Regarding your sadness at not being able to live out your true vocation because of the state of the Church,
    I can only tell you to take heart: I’m convinced (Crazy talk alert!!!) that the many saints’ prophecies about the world in our age being dramatically chastised and purified thereby, as articulated in Yves DuPont’s book, “Catholic Prophecy — The Coming Chastisement,” will be coming to fulfillment shortly. You, myself and others like us, who are late forties through the fifties (I’m 53.) — old enough to have seen the rapid degeneration of things from a relatively healthier state, yet young enough to be mentally coherent — are called to carry the Faith and Catholic civilization into the post-Chastisement era, where there will be plenty of rebuilding of the Catholic order necessary in a world where the survivors will be hungering for and open to Our Lord and a society ordered to the teachings of His true Church.

    Christ is risen!!

  37. Way of the Cross says:

    I’m a young trad male in my early 20s. I grew up in a secular household. Converted to a strong Novus Ordo faith in April 2014 and started going to the Latin Mass in May 2015.

    I thank God for the internet because that’s how I did my studying and eventually found the Latin Mass and the Traditionalist movement. Something I noticed in my young Catholic peers was this obsession about JP2. I tried to get into too, but I just couldn’t. Like you, I felt something was amiss. His Theology of the Body seemed awkward and strangely sex obsessed like our culture but in a pseudo-chastity kind of way. I slowly started learning about JP2 and my suspicions were confirmed: he was a nice pope but not necessarily a pope that I respected. I have a very strong personality and I need some power in one’s words to earn my respect. I got that from Pope Leo XIII and Pope Pius X, but not JP2.

    Pray for us young people, we’re confused. We don’t need theology of the body musings, we need prayers and some honesty about what’s happening.

  38. St. Christopher says:

    St. John The Beloved (McLean).

    Great place, although the architecture is simply awful, dated, in-the-round. But Masses there are wonderful. TLM every SUN at Noon and MON evening.

  39. Mr. X says:

    But to cite Lenin (the follower of the other Marx, but I suspect Cardinal Marx likes this Marx, too), “What is to be done?”

  40. Manny says:

    ” …or to one in particular where all Traditional priests ultimately go.”

    I’m in Arlington. Which parish is this?

  41. faustinaagatha says:

    You’ve articulated my unease. I was coming in that during the same time period. There was the disjunct between what the Catholic apologists were saying and what I was seeing in the parishes. I was dishonest with myself getting caught up in it all instead of really testing what some of these folks were saying.

  42. Barbara says:

    Thanks for the laugh, MairinT! “I was out of town when they said it was ok.” That’s ok then.

  43. Barbara says:

    But one does not propose a schism. It happens or it does not. Be patient, it’s coming.

  44. Evangeline1031 says:

    As someone asked, what now. You wrote a great article here, and we have had to come to our own realizations of “how bad it is”. It is amazing to realize what we did not know even three years ago. Now we know. It always comes down to numbers, how many in this camp, how many in that camp. If there were only two cardinals who were heretics or modernists or whatever, that’s one thing, but if it’s 80% or whatever, it’s a serious problem. Now we see how it is. Never mind being unwilling to be a martyr and be grilled or torn apart, our current crop won’t even put a dip in their careers for Christ. Or the church. Or us. A sorry lot, predominantly, with notable exceptions.
    We need divine intervention OR, a saint or two for leadership. We can’t figure a way out of this, there’s no analysis possible that is going to make this go away, or tell us what to do now.
    Thus far, nobody is on the scene. May God send us the saint or saints we need.

  45. Thomas J. Ryan says:

    One of your best columns, I just wish it made me laugh like so many of the others.

  46. Stephen Lowe says:

    On the to read list after ‘The Great Facade’…I am looking forward to it, thank you for the suggestion.

  47. Stephen Lowe says:

    On its way to me as I write this…thank you for sharing your observations and suggestions. They help get me out of the funk that descends whenever I think about the Church…

  48. Daniel Auer says:

    I have had an icecream headache for three years

  49. Jim M. says:

    Yeah. Just had one of those exchanges on Facebook. So if I object to the protestantization of Catholicism since Vatican II then I’m somehow both “Sola Traditio” and protestant for not being
    completely in line with the program, but I cannot be expected to
    understand since it’s all “mystery” anyways so I also shouldn’t bother
    with the difference between an ecumenical council which has dogmatic
    canons and Vatican II which has none. The guy left me wondering what the
    point of catechesis and dogma was anyways if it’s all just “mystery”.
    If it’s completely incomprehensible, then why bother getting the words
    right? He seemed to think the only thing that really matters is the
    Petrine office and what the bishops are saying this week.

  50. SAF says:

    *waves from same diocese* Even if he didn’t intend rudeness, he should have given a more thorough answer. Of course he remembers what happened to our previous Vocations Director… Any young man here interested in traditional formation should speak directly with one of the priests who celebrate the traditional Mass every Sunday. I know they’d be happy to give good advice.
    While we wait for a new Bishop assignment, I join you in prayer!

  51. Nicholas Landholdt says:

    Best book on usury I know is Usury in Christendom: The Mortal Sin that Was and Now Is Not. My congressional campaign for economic freedom is about getting rid of the Federal Reserve and IRS.

  52. GW says:

    Great; now I need a drink.

  53. Hilary White says:

    I would recommend either having a drink or not having a drink, but not believing that one can at the same time and in the same way both have and not have a drink.

  54. Hilary White says:

    Since I get so many requests for information on this, I will probably write more about it at length soon. But for now the short form is that all the orders and communities that deliberately adhered to the Novus Ordo in the Mass and the Office, no matter how “conservative” they may have thought themselves, were riddled through with neomodernism. In some cases this seemed to be simply an accident, a product of invincible ignorance and bad influences and it was obvious that their intention was always the best possible one; to be as faithful to Christ and His Church as they possibly could be. In these cases I think the purity of their intentions will lead them in the right direction. In other cases, the heresy had become more conscious, and had taken the form of a conscious and deliberate rejection of Tradition in favour of the New Paradigm. This, unfortunately, occurred more often in the communities that emphasized intellectual work. The Abbess of a Benedictine house I visited in Italy about 18 months ago, with the thought of giving it another go, told me straight up that they had taken the conscious decision in the 80s to adopt the Novus Ordo in order to try to force it into a traditional mold in the hopes that they could devise a methodology by which it could eventually entirely wipe out the traditional form. In these places, perhaps surprisingly, the numbers of sisters and vocations would give a strong impression of health. But in every case that I investigated personally, neomodernism was rampant as a strong undercurrent. More than this I’m not willing to say publicly right now. But if anyone is interested in religious life, or has a child thinking about it, I do invite you to email me privately. I did visit a great many communities in the early 00s.

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  57. Hilary White says:

    Why don’t you send me an email.

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  60. Hilary White says:

    Let’s be clear here. I’m not “proposing a schism”. I’m insisting that before anything can be done to heal the Church the schism that has existed within the institution of the Church must be openly recognised. Without a clear diagnosis, no physician can do anything. But no one, no believing Catholic, is mad enough to imagine that a deliberately created schism could be in any way helpful.

  61. Hilary White says:

    A sacrilegious Mass said by a heretic priest is NOT needed. Sacrilege. Not needed.

  62. Hilary White says:

    Have understood it for some years now. What remains obscure is how to make others understand it.

    As for novels, thanks, but really I’ve got my own reading to do.

  63. Hilary White says:

    If I had wanted to relate them in detail I would have.

  64. Brian Evans says:

    This story resonated with me, its nice to hear it and be less likely to question my sanity. I converted only a year ago, on a whim, into the novus ordo. No catechesis. A few months in I started to dig and dug my way to traditionalism. Early on I read Fr Louis Villa’s dossier’s on the post-vatican II Pope’s and something clicked or registered, and I started weeping and crying out “no, no, no. this cannot be the reality” to God. But it is the reality I the world I live in now one I never could have imagined. Luckily, you have to see a light to live in a world this dark.

  65. MairinT says:

    You are one of many Hilary…just one thing…perhaps you can verify: I understood from waaay back that Pope JP ll was out of Rome when the women on the altar thing and girl altar boys was announced as permissible. I also understood that the announcement was made from an official Vatican ‘authorizing’ level and it could not be undone (ex Cathedra or something….). Maybe someone else knows more about that. God Bless you Hilary.

  66. Casey Smith says:

    If it’s not too personal to ask… What were some of the problems you saw in the “supposedly conservative” religious orders? What was so bad that you didn’t stay the whole weekend in the 2003 visit?

  67. Pearl of York says:

    I’ve moved so beyond First Things and the New Oxford Review. How I wish the New Oxford Review would call out the bishop of Rome. Their’s will be a slow agonising death if they do not.

    Thank you Hilary. Your observations above are spot on. We must work tirelessly to bring our brothers and sisters to Tradition.

  68. Pearl of York says:

    I could never be inspired by JPII. Something was amiss. When Benedict ascended, I was electrified because suddenly there were exclamations in St Peter’s square that “at last, an end to syncretism!” I had to look that one up, me a mainstream zombified Catholic. I was hungry for truth and read everything on Benedict that I could get my hands on. I was slowly awakening to Tradition. I learned about the SSPX and recognised they were Catholic in the way people were when I was a little child. I became increasingly repelled by the shenanigans at my local Novus Ordo parish. The internet is a gift from God to awaken the slumbering to the tragedy of the Church post VII. I pray I live to see the abolition of the Novus Ordo.

  69. julienorvan says:

    So true there no middle ground any longer…. but didn’t Jesus say something to that effect? You are either for me or against me!

  70. Vox Cantoris says:

    Brilliant and true. All of it!

  71. Linda Clerkin says:

    The observable facts.
    The observable facts.
    That’s what did it for me.

  72. D. Morgan says:

    Is this why Pope Francis is reaching out to the SSPX? Is his motive to somehow destroy the resistance? I put nothing past this man.

  73. Fr Ken Bolin says:

    Thank you for writing this. I hadn’t seen things laid out that clearly and succinctly before. Truly, thank you. Coming to Catholicism from Anglicanism was coming to 2000 years of history and Tradition, not 50 years’ worth. Yet, all that seems to be pushed is the last 50 years. It’s quite sad, but I find myself becoming more and more the “dirty-word” Traditionalist over time.

  74. TheWhiteLilyBlog says:

    Not just JPII! Benedict too!

  75. thetimman says:

    100% true in every respect. Your journey mirrors my own. Your analysis of the situation is sadly all too true. Thanks.

  76. Netmilsmom says:

    It’s so hard to read because it’s true. The truth hurts.
    People are hostile when I tell them of my misgivings about JPII. How his sainthood should have been looked at through the lens of history.
    I lived it and was horrified by some of that Papacy. But I’m the problem, not the Papacy in people’s minds.

  77. Hilary White says:

    get it anyway. It’s one of the things that lays it all out in detail.

  78. Stephen Lowe says:

    Wow..quite a heartfelt summation…I was going to get Chris Ferrera’s book ” The Great Facade” but I think you covered it… Do not fret i still will get and read it…In this wonderful age, power supercedes The Truth and the faith. The nonsense in Spain is indicative and predictive.

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