Sunday, June 04, 2006

Who killed Bing Crosby? Who's dismissing Mel Gibson?

Over on the Kansas City Catholic blog, there's a nice little post on Bing Crosby. You ought to read it. Naturally, though, I've got to take issue with something in it, and so I'm taking issue with his dismissal of Mel Gibson with the implication that he isn't a "true Roman Catholic." Actually, I'm grateful to Wolftracker for the opportunity to climb back up on my soapbox about the shabby treatment newfangled orthodox Catholics give to traditionalists.

Now, now. . . I wouldn't write Mel Gibson off so quickly. He's in an irregular situation, to be sure. But then, if such an irregular situation is to be excusable anywhere in North America, it's got to be in southern California, where God is visiting upon those people His righteous anger in the persons of Roger Mahoney and Tod Brown:

The most evident mark of God’s anger and the most terrible castigation He can inflict upon the world are manifested when He permits His people to fall into the hands of clergy who are priests more in name than in deed, priests who practice the cruelty of ravening wolves rather than the charity and affection of devoted shepherds....

When God permits such things, it is a very positive proof that He is thoroughly angry with His people, and is visiting His most dreadful anger upon them. That is why He cries unceasingly to Christians, "Return, O ye revolting children...and I will give you pastors according to My own heart" (Jer. 3, 14:15). Thus, irregularities in the lives of priests constitute a scourge visited upon the people in consequence of sin.

--Saint John Eudes, The Priest: His Dignity and Obligations, (P. J. Kenedy & Sons, New York, 1947) pp. 9-10.
(I'll use any excuse to post that quotation).

Anyways, Mel Gibson should be, until proven otherwise by his denial of the legitimacy of the current Supreme Pontiff or other manifest statement which is and always has been irreconcilable with membership in Holy Mother Church, regarded as a "true Roman Catholic," albeit one in an unfortunate situation which is NOT entirely of his own making. I would guess I'd be more comfortable--and spiritually safer--assisting at a Mass by Fr. Somerville or whomever says Mass at the Gibson family chapel in Malibu these days than I would at Fr. Tran's ideal Mass at St. Mary's by the Sea or in a pew next to Warren Beatty at Our Lady of Malibu.

For two reasons, we must be tolerant and understanding of those traditionalists who are outside the ordinary boundaries of the Church, because we live in an extraordinary time.

The last reason first, because it's the simpler of the two—it's only through coming to understand who they are and why they stand where they do that we "regulars" can engage them justly and charitably and help them back into a regular situation.

And the first reason, last, because it's more complicated: They find themselves on a rocky path not because they sought it, but because the episcopal servants of Holy Mother Church themselves forced them off the highway. And yet, I would guess a lower percentage of them have turned back on the journey of sanctification than those of the "go-along, get-along" variety who shuffled for a time behind the false (but more often, just hapless) shepherds.

Oh but it's disobedience!!! There's nothing worse than disobedience!!! We can tolerate all manner of liturgical dancing and pontifical Koran-kissing and LA Religous-Ed Conferencing, but we can't tolerate ANY traditionalist disobedience!!!

Really? We must recognize that obedience, while it is a Christian virtue, is not the only virtue, and that to emphasize the disobedience of the Mel Gibsons of the world to the point that it seems to negate all other virtues and their own sound professions of faith is to commit a heresy. As Chesterton so aptly observed nearly a century ago (and I reread recently, but, God help me, I can't find it right now), it's useful to think of a heresy is not so much a falsehood, but an incomplete truth. It is the exaltation of one aspect of the faith over all others. To make obedience, in and of itself, particularly without reference to the commander or the substance of the command, without reference to the state of the commanded or the circumstances in which a command is given, the sole criterion by which we determine whether one is Catholic or not, is to commit a heresy.

This is not to be taken as a blanket apologia for all irregular traditionalists; I lack the knowledge, the experience and the standing to make such a thing. However, it is a renewed call for the smug, cock-sure, and arrogant neo-Catholics of the world, from the Catholic Answers crowd and Pete Vere to certain members of my own family (a group from which I exclude Wolftracker), to splash some cold water on their faces and reevaluate the situation before they find themselves at judgment day answering to Our Lord for their part in prolonging the divisions within the Church and, ultimately, prolonging the larger evils in the Church that our irregular brethren will be such great allies in battling.


Vir Speluncae Catholicus said...

That post was 100% Mudgerrific!

Anonymous said...

You said, "to certain members of my own family (a group from which I exclude Wolftracker)."

None of us knew that wolftracker was in your family, prior to this statment. But it seems a little harsh to cast him out of your family just because you disagree a bit on Mel Gibson's status with Rome.

Anonymous said...

Mel does not believe in the Pope. He has had arguements with Tim Staples over this, FYI.

JimC said...

Great quote from St. John Eudes. I first saw it in THE ENDLESS KNOT by William Biersach. If you are unaware of this catechetical mystery story you should get a copy at Its sequel THE DARKNESS DID NOT is also quite catechetical. The bonus is they are good reads on top of the rock solid Catholicism.

Too bad never heard Bill and Sir Charles Coulombe's talk on Sedevacatism - It's wishful thinking.

Curmudgeon said...

Haven't heard of Tim Staples. Does he have anything to do with Paris Hilton?


No, Tim Staples is, like Jimmy Akin, a regular talker on Catholic Answers Live, heard in KC on KEXS-1090-AM in evening drive time. Tim is he one promoting his "Jimmy Swaggart Made Me Catholic" product.

Curmudgeon said...

Oh? I guess I recognize Tim Staples' name, although I'm not inclined to take anything from Catholic Answers at face value.

It is my understanding that Gibson, unlike his father, had not made any comment regarding the legitimacy of the post-conciliar Popes (although I wouldn't be surprised if he said something about their imprudence or infidelity, which is a different matter). I knew there was a row over whether the Holy See would get an advance copy of the Passion, but attributed that to justifiable concern over the enemies of Christ within the curia.

But what does all this have to do with Paris Hilton?

Terry said...

Every time I've seen that statement about Staples and Gibson arguing about whether the Chair of Peter is vacant, someone else asked to see a link or some other substantiation that the debate took place. I've yet to see it provided.

Can you provide one anonymous? A charge as damaging as that could be considered calumny.

Anonymous said...

Curmudgeon, just out of curiosity, what is your beef with Catholic Answers?

Of note: Catholic Answers is based in Southern California, as is Paris Hilton.

Curmudgeon said...

Quoth anon:

Of note: Catholic Answers is based in Southern California, as is Paris Hilton.

I'm sure there would be something to that...a conspiracy of sorts...except that of course Mel Gibson is based in Southern California as well, and I'm not sure how he would be implicated...or would avoid implication.

For a complete showing of all my gripes about Catholic Answers, use the search feature in the blogger toolbar above. My specific complaint related to this post is that they marginalize traditionalists, ignore the facts and circumstances of the present situation, and fill people's heads with things that will make it more difficult for a reconciliation to come about. I have other issues, too. They uncritically help the Trautman contingency of bishops promote all manner of things which have degraded the liturgy and the Church. Case in point was yesterday during a "game show" segment when one of their questions emphasized that the norm for Holy Communion in the US was standing. Now, to our sorrow that's true, but that's not the point--they're emphasizing it and promoting it for the bishops. In that manner they're fellow-travellers of the progressives. They discourage people who have legitimate complaints against clergy who are disregarding their rights from pursuing those rights. Mrs. Curmudgeon listened earlier this week to one of them tell a caller who was enduring a flagrant liturgical abuse to, basically, suck it up. They're smug. They have a prot-fundamentalist mode of presenting things.

Did I mention they're smug?

Curmudgeon said...

Not that I can ride anyone too hard about calumny...but yeah, I'd like to actually see or hear what was said by by Gibson in that regard. All the Catholic Answers stuff is archived. Find it for us and tell us where it is (Date, show, and approximate time into the program).

Alison said...

Remember the fight that Catholic Answers had with with Gerry Matatics. The founder was mean but we all thought that it was because he was an attorney.