Last night, I finished a short book by Dr. Peter Kwasniewski called True Obedience in the Church. Dr. Kwasniewski is seen in the above picture with myself and others at a recent Conference hosted by the Coalition for Canceled Priests. The Coalition was founded by Fr. John Lovell and Craig Holuj. Their conference was titled Finding Hope in the Desert, and it was just that: An encouraging conference to understand true obedience to Apostolic Catholicism when so many in the hierarchy have proved themselves not only heretics, but also apostates. To any enemies scouring the back-page of my blog, don’t worry, I offered no public sacraments there in Wisconsin, even though I’m in good standing as I wrote in a recent Life Update called Priests in Good Standing.
The title of today’s blog post comes from a sentence found in Dr. Kwasniewski’s above-linked book: “A repudiation of our Catholic liturgical patrimony is tantamount to disobedience to God. And we will be obedient to God through our ‘disobedience’ to the revolutionaries.” That is a much more sophisticated way of saying what I have said before: “In Star Wars, a rebel fleet bucking an evil empire is an obedient team.”
Notice that a “canceled priest” is different from “a criminal priest,” à la the picture directly above. To join Fr. Lovell and Fr. DuVall’s “canceled priests,” a cleric must be highly-vetted to make sure he was removed for being too orthodox, not a criminal. Yes, we are forced to wonder why criminals still have so much advance in the Catholic Church when orthodox priests are sidelined even twenty years after the Boston Globe’s Spotlight revelations of child-molesting priests and also twenty years after Michael Rose wrote his NYT-best-selling book Good Bye Good Men about seminaries rife with predatory homosexuality. I entered seminary in the early 2000s. I had heard about that book by Rose, but I chose to ignore it since I was assured those dark-days were long gone.
I was misinformed. The hierarchy is still full of slimy clergy in good standing while good priests get suspended or semi-suspended for holding to very basic orthodox issues. (Yes, the latter group are sinners, too, but hopefully never committing those four sins crying for vengeance.) Dr. Kwasniewski compares the current vanguard of orthodox priests “on-the-shelf” to certain other sidelined-folks in Church history:
For example, St. Athanasius the Great was officially excommunicated but did not hesitate to carry on with his work nonetheless, and many priests who remained faithful amid the extinction of the Catholic hierarchy in Elizabethan England exercised their ministry in violation of ordinary canonical norms, even over multiple generations. When a building is burning down, one tries to put out the fire and rescue victims with any means at hand, rather than waiting until the fire-brigade arrives—especially if one knows from bitter experience that the fire chief is absent from his post, or sleeping, or intoxicated, or convinced that fires are beneficial, and most of the firemen are bumblers whose methods don’t work, or, worse, are paid by soboteurs to spray gasoline on the fire.—True Obedience in the Church, p. 57.
If none of the people at the featured image of this blog post fit into the “Spirit of Francis” like Cupich and McCarrick, we are all to happy to be Jedi “rebels” found unworthy of an Evil Empire. Again, in the words of Dr. K., “We will be obedient to God through our ‘disobedience’ to the revolutionaries.” His words are, of course, reminiscent of St. Peter saying, “We must obey God rather than men.”—Acts 5:29 or St. Thomas More declaring, “I do not care if I have against me all the bishops. I have with me the saints and all the doctors of the Church.”
We are all sinners, to be sure, but some of us believe the Faith can not change.