A High Profile Apostasy

As the dominant star of US prime-time cable news commentators Sean Hannity, announces he is "leaving" the Catholic Church, Church Militant proposes that this makes the crisis in the Church "official", that, with Hannity's public apostasy, the crisis has gone "mainstream". Certainly this high profile defection will bring the crisis in the Church into focus for many people who were otherwise unaware, but is that necessarily a bad thing?

I think this is an important expose of the real issues at play in the Church, not just in the USA, but globally. Most of all, my attention is focused on the prevalent attitude among clergy that unity is more important than truth. This seems to be the overarching approach of the majority of bishops, even when the pope is attacking & contradicting settled Church teaching.

What is particularly interesting is this unity only seems to travel one way. Orthodox clergy have to be silent and progressives can say whatever they like, apparently.

A good example was this interaction I noticed on Twitter yesterday. Fr Lawrence Lew is a well know Dominican priest. He tweeted some beautiful pictures of a Rorate Mass & was attacked by St Peter & Paul's Parish Twitter account from Ilford (a parish in my own diocese of Brentwood).

I was flabbergasted. Firstly because it is so unusual for any of the Parish accounts to get into anything remotely like standing up for anything on social media, but secondly because it struck me that, of all the things you might attack, of all the challenges we face, why would you chose your foe as a Dominican Priest extolling the beauty of liturgy???? On what planet must you live to tweet something like this? It might as well say "I only do horrible liturgy in this parish and my Mass is as good as yours anyway".
How much have you got to be irritated by those beautiful pictures to make a public announcement in the name of your parish about it? The second reading from last Sunday springs to mind: "Do not make complaints against one another, brothers, so as not to be brought to judgement yourselves; the Judge is already to be seen waiting at the gates." And that's not to mention that @SSPPIlford's tweet contains a rather obvious defect of logic: the third sentence essentially contradicts the first two. If every Mass is beautiful (which it is) then it follows that a Rorate Mass would be beautiful. St. Thomas Aquinas knew his syllogisms, like any good Dominican and Father Lawrence made mincemeat of this silly attack.

Obviously this is a very mild example, but it does show, I think, what is going on. There is a shocking arrogance on display from some who have a radical approach to what the Church teaches which is evidentially at odds with what the Church has always taught to the point where what the Church has always taught seems repulsive or offensive to them. What could be problematic about a Dominican sharing pictures of beautiful liturgy when it has been clearly demonstrated time and time again that it is the beauty of our worship that draws people to God (indeed that is the point & purpose of having beautiful Churches and Cathedrals, etc). This is a basic truth, why attack it? One can only conclude that there is some deep seated problem underlying such a criticism and this is exacerbated as the liberal, progressive project in the Church continues to die off at a geometric rate, while orthodoxy, beauty, truth and clarity continue to draw people to it in increasing numbers.

All these things are played out in the Hannity thing in one way or another. Hannity has demonstrated he does not understand or care to try to understand, let alone follow Church teaching. His announcement is like taking some kind of moral high ground, his ego bolstered by the abuse crisis which the Church has failed to address in any meaningful way.

As Voris puts it in this Vortex, we shouldn't be shocked, this is the rotten fruit of the men we have allowed to wreck the Church. They don't believe in what it teaches and seek to modify it on every level. Little wonder then that Hannity has rejected this false impression of what it means to be a Catholic.

This is the bit of this Vortex that really struck home for me:

"Given the near-daily reports now of corruption, it's easy to think of the crisis in terms of these unfolding scandals of homosexual priests abusing teenage boys, or bishops covering them, or Vatican officials ripping off billions, using money for gay lovers, or misdirecting money donated for charity for investments or administrative costs. The scandals show no signs of abating.

But those scandals are only symptoms of the greater crisis — a crisis as Church Militant has been saying for nearly a decade — is of supernatural faith within the hierarchy.

Of course, when you lose your faith, all these horrible, sinful, wicked, evil things are going to happen. And how has that trickled down to the average Catholic, like Hannity in this case?

The lack of faith among the hierarchy has been an issue for decades now, and it would be preposterous to not understand the massive falling away from the Faith this has caused.

The dominant effect of the crisis has been this: the Faith not being transmitted to the laity. And that stands to reason; one of the first principles of philosophy is: You cannot give what you do not have.

So how could a clergy and hierarchy that no longer possessed the Faith themselves transmit it to a laity being besieged by a culture attacking the Church on every side?

At the very moment the laity needed fathers to stand and protect them, these men deserted them. But more than deserting, they also betrayed them by setting in motion the machinery to perpetuate the evil for generations to come.

In addition to just themselves, they also recruited thousands and thousands of other homosexual and faithless men into seminaries. They populated the seminary faculties with gay abusers. They kept orthodox men out of the seminary and ordained active homosexuals to go out into the parishes and corrupt the minds of the faithful.

These wicked men stood in pulpits and worked out their own psychological trauma instead of teaching the Faith, slowly perverting congregations and turning them away from the Faith.

Sean Hannity is responsible for his own choices. No one is saying anything else. But — and it is a big but — his public apostasy has not happened in a vacuum, as it hasn't for tens of millions of other American Catholics who have also left the Church."


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