Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Rod Dreher: Pope Francis only confirms my decision to leave the Catholic Church

Colleague Ed Echeverria posted a link to this article on Facebook, not in affirmation of Dreher's fatally flawed decision to leave the Church, but because of his provocative analysis of what is, thus far, the characteristic pattern of post-Vatican II Catholicism, as well as of widely-tauted Pope Francis' regnum in the Holy See of St. Peter.

Rod Dreher, "I’m Still Not Going Back to the Catholic Church" (Time, September 29, 2013).


JM said...

I am afraid the coronation of Pope Francis as the Brown Wrapper pontiff, fixed with the elegant seal provided by the quick canonizations of both the Chief Instigator and Most Charismatic Propagator of Vatican II, insures that "Love" and "The Universal Salvific WIll of God" shall become the all-pervasive themes of Catholic theology to such an extent Universalism and Self-Affirmation will be all but default assumptions.

The irony will be that even as Francis disclaims the Church as a mere NGO, we will be hard-pressed to match the well-intentioned efforts of the Obama Administration, or much differentiate our motivations from those of Spiritual if Secular America's quite noble altruistic bent. After all,those Atheists following their consciences are pursuing holiness just as much as us. And it all jives with the unofficial Development of Doctrine being more than tacitly given official approval.

I am not Spartacus said...

2 John 9: Whosoever revolteth, and continueth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that continueth in the doctrine, the same hath both the Father and the Son.

Unless Mr. Dherer repents and re-Popes he will become all too personally familiar with God's justice.

Besides, all one has to do is read the English Tea Leaves to foresee that Rome's Bishop (who, apparently, does, just barely, see his own self as primus inter pares) intends radical change that will result in a new church that looks eerily similar to his christian cohort, the Photian Schismatic community, which always had the cachet of heretical rot when it was not engaged in repeated bouts of chaotic and convulsive iconoclasm.


The razing of the bastions continues and I fully expect the ideology of Biblicism will be used to justify the unleashing of the revolutionary dogs of war that were held somewhat at bay by the conservatives at V2; the revolutionary rocket that destroyed Tradition.

Watch for the Gelaro-Wearers to cite the New Testament and the then existing structures of the nascent church to justify all radical change (The Protestant Revolutionaries repeatedly used this Biblicism tactic) and to dissolve all Traditional Doctrinal and Ecclesiastical development that the revolutionaries find so binding on their plans for a new church.


The New Theologian’s (Progeny of Modernists) process of phagocytizing protestantism is about to metastisize dramatically which will only increase the intensity of our Inertia Into Indifferentism.

Robert Allen said...

When you love someone, you defend them to the death; as my father used to say, 'My parents right or wrong.' By that standard, Mr. Dreher was never a Catholic in the first place. He reminds me of an unfaithful husband looking post hoc for faults in his wife to rationalize his infidelity.

And for all his learning he fails to understand, like almost all anti=clerics, what the Church Militant is: the Mystical Body of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He thinks he is rejecting membership in a group whose leaders he despises. What he is really doing is pruning himself from the Vine.

JM said...

Pretty harsh appraisals of Dreher. To my mind, the post-Vatican II Church looks close to nothing like Catholicism that preceded it, and it is only a miracle of grace that it has any conversions. If the Pope does not sound Catholic, if the Cardinals and Bishops sounds like de Chardin, if the most popular theologian talks of razing the bastions and the parish priests are gay, and the Bible translation is the NAB with its toxic notes, I can't see where you can righteously blame anyone for saying, "Hey, I tried, but what the Hell. If the Church is this camouflaged, how does God expect ANYONE to see it?" You have to be a historian to appreciate Catholic claims, but any layman can appreciate that others very often believe far more convincingly in grace and sin and supernatural life. I guess stone throwers would forgive a James Martin all (he's a priest!) but toss a Rod Dreher to the dogs. I'd apply the exact reverse policy. If you have read Dreher for any length of time, he is far more Catholic than most Jesuits. Perhaps the Church's gross failures create Invincible Ignorance on the part of the once-convinced. From my experience that is totally believable.

I am not Spartacus said...

Dear Mr. Allen. Kudos on that first paragraph. Well reasoned, insightful, and accurate.

It is also worth noting that the Photian heretics he threw in with have had their own problems with sodomitic crimes and cover-ups; and they specialise in allowing divorce and remarriage, denying original sin, denying the truth of Mary's sinless nature, denying Papal Supremacy as Divinely-Constitued by jesus, etc etc etc

Robert Allen said...


If someone you love is hurting, all the more reason to show loyalty and do what you can by way of healing. And who are you to question the ways of the Almighty? The fact is Dreher went church shopping and, like you, fixated on the sins and errors of its members rather than our Lord's unvarnished proclamation: 'And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.' If he'd been willing to persevere, moreover, he would have found that traditional Catholicism can still be practiced, not to mention that St. Anselm's On the Procession of the Holy Ghost effectively repudiates his religion du jour.

Tawser said...

I'll never understand bloggers who loathe Vatican II, despise the Novus Ordo, and consider the post-conciliar popes all but modernists, but then condemn someone for leaving the Church. Most of us don't have the strength to cope with the cognitive dissonance of having one church in our heads (the "true" church) and another all around us.

JM said...


I find your rhetoric as confoundingly detacheded as that of the Holy Father. "Fixated on sins and errors"? Hardly. How about "tarred and feathered" with them, since I could be fixated on the Beattitudes, Mother Theresa and 1-2-3 Jell-O, and yet the Lousy Mess that is the modern Church would still get all over me.

When you love someone, you defend them to the death, if you are a saint aided by grace. If you are all too human, you can easily give up hope. If my wife played the harlot like Hosea's, I am not sure I could measure up and toe the line as he was called to do. And if she was abusing my kids... what do you think? While I think your sentiment is well intentioned, your attitude betrays a detachment from the shrill nature of the crisis. Ironically, what I maintain is actually something akin to Francis' "Who Am I Too Judge?" when it comes to obviously devout souls that are flummoxed by a Church that does not seem to believe what She claims, and whose official representatives are busy seducing altar boys and denying key doctrines. Sure, that does not change the Church's divine nature. But it certainly does make understandable the laments and confusion and casualties. In the same sense, I don't approve of homosexuality, but if someone's confessor tells them to "Go For It," I am much for understanding of their sinful state. And if you're not, we simply operate on different levels.

Dreher did NOT go church shopping, if you read his story. He clung to the Church with all his strength until the repeated revelations of clerics lying, raping, and denying the faith demoralized him to the point he could not see the truth amidst the filth and he lost his grip. As he was drowning, he managed to grab onto the dingy that is the Orthodox Church, and I thank God for its role in that narrative. He came to disbelieve due to the dazzling performance of Church officials. His faith in the Church as necessary for salvation was killed by the Church. So there is no willful disbelief or knowledgable forsaking of the faith: in his mind the Church is not necessary for salvation.

What I take exception to is your "He was never Catholic in the first place!" Oh, you reader of hearts. As for your metaphor, JESUS is the vine. The Church is his visible body. If others are separated brethren, they are still attached to the life source, they are just not inside the household. The have the fire, but outside of the fireplace. Nonsense? Perhaps. But if so, you are up in arms over nonsense preached steadfastly by the last four popes, which makes your heavy breathing on behalf if their institutional Church itself rather nonsensical.

All said, I'd probably agree with most of your theology, but not with your "How Dare You Affront the Church!" attitude. I think it is what has led to the"My Pope Right or Left" liberal ultramontanism which has brought the Church to its current crisis.

Robert Allen said...


It's something like this: 'Yes your wife is a disloyal spendthrift who couldn't cook a decent meal to save her life. But, no, you shouldn't divorce her, that would be a mortal sin.' Where is the dissonance in 'Those who persevere to the end shall be saved'?

Robert Allen said...

And to the extent that there is dissonance and scandal in the Church, how can you be so sure that they are not part of the crosses the Lord intends us to carry?

I am not Spartacus said...

Dear Tawser. Have you tried Cabernet and Vivaldi; I find that helps.

As to the content of your comment, I do not find it defensible that Dreher became a Traitor and, now from the safety of a neutral country, lobs ordinance at the militants who did not become Traitors.

When has the world ever given two cents worth of notice about that crummy schism and when does the media ever attack it?

It is as militant and as threatening to the world and the media as Grenada was a threat to America

(Way to take-out that threat, Dutch. Don't forget, the 30th Anniversary of Operation Urgent Fury is upcoming Oct 25. I'm going to get drunk, stage a mock invasion of my local Par Three Golf Course, and pretend-capture a local illegal immigrant while he is raking the bunkers).

During Viet Nam it was easy to be a traitor and to wear camouflage jackets, smoke dope, and engage in agit-prop against Uncle Sam while living in Vancouver, British Columbia but I had much more respect for Cassius Clay who put his ass on the line in refusing the Draft.

Robert Allen said...

One more thing. There are charges I might level against my brother that I wouldn't abide coming out of anyone else's mouth. Likewise, I can carry on all I want about the aspects of V2 that I find distressing. But I don't want to hear it from some heretic/schismatic/atheist whose intent isn't reform of the HMC, but her destruction.

JM said...

Guffaw. Dreher goes as far to say he wishes the Church well. He does not want her destruction. Can't say that for many who stay within. Again, because the Church's sinfulness leads people to doubt her veracity does not meant hey are foresaking what they know to be true. It means the church is so scandalous that it is making itself an undue stumbling block. Sure, it happens a lot. And it is always a shame. I'd rather be in a foxhole with Dreher than most of the theology Department at Boston College, all of whom would get a pat on the pat from most Catholics. Strange times make for strange bedfellows, and a former catholic is not necessarily an enemy. Especially when, as in this instance, he has clearer vision than the cadre of professional Catholics doing pretzels explaining what the Pope meant to say, what Vatican II meant to say, etc. I've said this before and been brow-beaten for it: if God cannot get Catholics to reform the Church, he'll use outsiders. And when the Pope thinks the biggest problem today is old folks being lonely, I think it sounds like God may use outsiders.

Anonymous Bosch said...

You may be right, JM. God may use outsiders.

Christ's promises to be "with you" (i.e., with the Church) until the close of the age does not mean that priests and bishops and popes cannot lose the faith.

God has shown Himself marvelously resourceful in preserving the light from dying out when it appeared to be dying out among the Hebrews of the Old Covenant. He simply passed on the torch to the Gentile converts and founders of the Church.

The "Church" means "those called out." Christ has promised never to forsake "those called out." But who's next? Who will take up the torch when AmChurch and the Vatican let it fall?

Robert Allen said...

I guess the notion of apostolic succession doesn't resonate with some folks around here. As for discerning spirits, JM, you seem to be doing a bit of it yourself vouching for Mr. Dreher's level of commitment during his crisis of faith. So since MY call for loyalty has gone for naught, I'm left with no choice but to quote our Lord: 'I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one-I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.'

Tawser said...

I am not Spartacus, Traitor to what? If it is possible to be more Catholic than the pope, and you clearly believe that you are more Catholic than all the popes of my lifetime, then of what possible use is the pope?

Anonymous Bosch said...


Is it possible to be "more Catholic than the Pope"? Absolutely. Certainly it was so in the case of Honorius, who was roundly condemned for his heretical opinions by later popes and councils.

If this is so, it might make a particular pope useless, like Honorius (at least on his heretical opinions), but it certainly wouldn't make the papacy useless, since the judgments of popes and bishops and any Catholic are tied to a Sacred Tradition of doctrines and dogmas infallibly defined by popes as well as councils.

JM said...


Apostolic succession does resonate with me, but just as in Israel God chose at times to bypass his priests and use pagans, he might bypass his apostles and use... yikes, Protestants. As for quoting Scripture, I am all for it. In fact, I'd play devil's advocate and ask why that particular passage might not just be fulfilled by the project Evangelicals and Catholics Together. I know that sentiment shan't be popular here!

Seriously, I can't completely vouch for Dreher, obviously, so won't. But I have followed his chronicles, and and admit, obviously, to being sympathetic based on my own frustrations. That said, I have nothing but respect for your loyalty to the Church, and hope I can follow in suit. My apology for letting the com box game get the best of me. Regards!

Robert Allen said...


Use pagans for what? Our priests can do something essential for salvation, because of apostolic succession, of which no Protestant is capable, viz., consecrate the Host: 'Unless you eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of Man you shall not have life within you.'

Regards to you too, sir. Except for this one issue we seem to be on the same side.

I am not Spartacus said...

Traitor to what? If it is possible to be more Catholic than the pope, and you clearly believe that you are more Catholic than all the popes of my lifetime, then of what possible use is the pope?

Dear Tawser. A traitor to the Faith.

What is more dangerous to the Faith- a man whose knowledge and surety of Faith is relatively impregnable to papal novelties (more Catholic than the Pope)


modern Popes humbler than Jesus?

Modern Popes, with their faux humility in soliciting the approval of their enemies, refused to wear the Triregnum signifing they are Father to Kings and Princes, Ruler of the world, and Vicar of Christ.

No, they are not humble; they are men who could never seriously consider they are Fathers to Kings and Princes (what if those kids disobey?) and as for ruling over their enemies? Please...They wanted friendship and brotherhood with their enemy; and the Vicar of Christ? Come on, that truth has been completely dissolved by the Universal Solvent, Ecumenism.

I have no power or authority; Popes have it but largely refuse to use it.

Jesus was radically humble to the point where He let His enemies crown Him - and, as Saint Bernard taught,in their ignorance they really were Crowning Him King; and he endured exquisite pain in accepting his crowning.

Our Popes are not humble; they are willful - their will will be done.

They were not even humble enough to accept a physically painless crowning because the psychological pain threatening them - mockery and derision - could not be overcome by such men who are far too sympatico with humanism.

Dear Tawser. You are attacking one who has no power or authority to do one damn thing in the Church and who has no power or authority over you; that is, you choose the safest targets possible, don't you?

I am not Spartacus said...

Dear JM Jesus is not about to create an opposition to His Catholic Church for given His promises that would have to mean He is Satan,, the Father of lies, not Jesus.

It is the case that modern Popes have Passed on Tradition rather than having Passed On Tradition but His Church, although recapitulating His Passion and Suffering,will never die before the end of time and its spectacular resurrection will be a wonder to behold - just when everybody thinks it is dead - and leave man with no excuses not to know it is the Church of Christ.