Limbaugh said (something to the effect):
"There's no greater prison that a man can put himself in than the desire to be liked."
God works in mysterious ways, no? If there was anything that I needed hear more than that, I wouldn't know.
Over the last few days I know I have lost more than a dozen readers. I've been called a Pharisaical Jew (which I thought was rather anti-Semitic), a Protestant, a "spleen-venting bag of vile" (which was a rather good turn of phrase), a presumptuous fool, a "slander mongering jerk", among other things. I was just told this morning, that I, along with the folks over at Rorate Cæli, have "a disgraceful attitude", and I've gotten the litany from at least a half-dozen people, saying that, not only will they no longer follow this weblog, but they will let everyone know how horrible and terrible of a person I am.
All this for simply pointing out the truth. Someone else left a comment, all in caps, asking how I could be so slanderous as to compare Pope Francis to Father John Corapi. Obviously, that hysterical person missed the point. I wasn't comparing Pope Francis to Father John Corapi, I was comparing him to Father Corapi! I was comparing the people who feel compelled to defend Pope Francis' past policies in regard to traditionalists and the Traditional Latin Mass with those who defended Father Corapi's innocence in the face of overwhelming evidence of misbehavior.
There is an almost "cultish" (and I'm using the word "cult" here in the pejorative sense) in matters of religious personality in the post-Vatican II Church, even on the part of many people who assist at and love the Traditional Latin Mass. The faith goes beyond human reason and understanding, but it never contradicts it. Pointing out the truth is never contrary to the faith, but rather serves it, especially in regards to the august offices of the Church that have been under attack by the Neo-Modernists over the last couple of decades. My criticisms, and I know for a fact, the criticisms coming from New Catholic, and the traditionalists who post in the combox here, are born, not out of hatred or a disgraceful attitude, but a very deep love and adoration for the Office of the Pope and the Throne of St. Peter.
No doubt there are many people who assist at the Traditional Latin Mass who think that I and others must "play nice" and be politically correct in the face of a new Pontificate headed by a man who has been downright uncharitable to traditionalists, and who has demonstrated a certain liturgical disdain for the office immediately following his election. Such harsh criticism might give the Traditional Latin Mass a bad name. That's an opinion, and I've considered it long and hard. However, if we go down that dangerous course, a course of appeasement that allows the vandals to continue to deface the institutions of the Church Militant, we will find ourselves exactly where we were forty years ago, if not worse off. If traditionalists aren't going to question and challenge these things, who will?
In regards to promoting the Traditional Latin Mass one important thing has to be kept in mind in light of our current crisis of faith. There is no better remedy to our present crisis, which is a crisis of faith, than the Traditional Latin Mass, and there is no doubt that folks are better off assisting at the Traditional Latin Mass than the novus ordo. However, the Traditional Latin Mass will come to end. It is not the ultimate teleological principle. At the end of time, when Our Blessed Lord comes in glory, the Mass on earth will cease to be offered. The end cause is not the Traditional Latin Mass. The end cause is Jesus Christ, and He is the ultimate object of both our wills (The Good) and our intellects (The True).
Thus, the purpose of this weblog, to promote the Traditional Latin Mass and traditional Catholicism, is not served by telling convenient lies and obscuring the facts so I can be liked. It is not served by "playing nice" and being politically correct when that means obscuring the truth. If I promote the Traditional Latin Mass and traditional Catholicism by obscuring the truth, even inconvenient truths, then I'm nothing more than a hypocrite and a liar.
An SSPX priest once called me to task for something I wrote here with these words, which had a profound affect on my outlook:
We [SSPX priests and bishops] ask for the freedom to be fully Catholic, both doctrinal and liturgical, in the sense that it was always understood and practiced for centuries before the Council [Vatican II], but what is that freedom worth if we do not, equally, have the freedom to reject what is contrary to it? Is it right for us to say that this over here is true and good, and at the same time remain silent in regards to all those things over there that are opposed to what we know is both true and good? You ask us to live a contradiction.
That's true. In regards to the events of this week, how can I promote on the one hand what I know to be true and good and then on the other hand remain silent to what opposes it? Those who judge me and other traditionalists are asking, no, rather, they are demanding us, to live a contradiction. So to those of you who feel compelled to waste your time spleen venting (I really do like that phrase) in the combox here, I'm fully aware that I will stand before the Judgement Seat of Christ, and my purpose here, and in life, certainly does not include the necessity of being liked by you.
Lastly, I should note that I've had far more positive feedback than negative from the regular readers here at Ars Orandi. I certainly do appreciate the support, and also the understanding for some initial remarks on my part that were, I admit, uncharitable. Please keep me, and other traditionalists who stick their necks out in the new media, in your prayers.
This evening I will offer five extra decades of the Rosary for all those who visit this weblog.