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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Posting Style on SD and CI

As of late, there have been some sincere questions about my conduct and the rationale behind my approach to sedevacantism.

Why am I talking about it all the time? Why don’t I delve into the canon law? Why am I so aggressive and abrasive?

The Foundation of My Opinion is Not Accepted

To start with, let’s imagine someone mentions a news story about abortion. Perhaps a crime with an abortionist occurred, or perhaps there was a gross abuse by the abortionist doc. Maybe there was some sort of unsanitary abuse. Whatever happened in this hypothetical abortion story, someone on a forum makes a thread about it, and we all start talking about it.

Typically, we all talk about the implications of that abortion news story. We talk about what it means. We talk about how things are sliding downhill in our society, or we discuss how the value of life is so compromised, that it seems as if our society will accept anything. What we don’t talk about is why the abortion was wrong technically or how it is wrong morally. We assume it is wrong already, and so we share our opinions about the story. And usually, these opinions are not questioned because we all agree that abortion is wrong.

I try to do this with sedevacantism. In regards to the sedes, I just start sharing my opinion.

If in the last few months, news about sedevacantism has popped up, I just start talking about the implications of why sedevacantism is wrong without ever going into why sedevacantism is wrong or how it violates some law of the Church. Of course, I understand that not everyone agrees with me that sedevacantism is wrong, but I thought that I could just speak of the implications of sedevacantism with the assumption that it was wrong.

I thought that—on an internet forum—my opinion would be a contribution to the forum. I have always thought that members contributing their opinions on a forum is what helps keep the numbers up and keeps topics alive.

Where I have erred is that I thought that there would be a substantial amount of people who would accept me for having this viewpoint—the axiom upon which I base my opinion—and that they would accept my opinion about some sedevacantist issue for what it was. But in reality, I have not been accepted for having these opinions; and of course, the opinions themselves have not been accepted either.

To be honest, I did not see this coming so much at Suscipe Domine, or to so much an extent at Cathinfo.

For these reasons, it seems that I can never air an opinion against sedevacantism without constantly being asked to explain how sedevacantism is wrong. People will not rest with the idea that “Hirsch assumes sedevacantism is wrong, and here is his opinion in that spectrum.”

I have no desire to constantly explain why sedevacantism is wrong, just as no one here wants to explain why abortion is wrong, why homosexuality is wrong, or other presumed wrongs. Folks would think it’s a waste of time, because it’s already assumed. Yet, because I will not explain how I think the theology of sedevacantism is wrong, I am often told I am in over my head or that I lack the proper education to have any kind of opinion in regards to it.

Again, I am not tolerated for having an opinion based on the foundation that “the sedes are wrong” without being told to explain my foundation.

Laramie Always Says He Doesn’t Have Time

I do not have time to explain why sedevacantism is wrong. Just as many posters do not have the time to explain over and over again why abortion is wrong medically, morally, theologically, or historically. I do not have time to explore the documents of Vatican II, the teachings of Vatican I, or to differentiate between opinions of clergy vs infallible teaching on dogma. I do not want to spend hours every day talking about this. I once tried to talk about these things, beginning with Lumen Gentium—but that conversation was filled with so much hate-filled banter, I gave up on it.

I do not have time to start sourcing things. I never said I was a theologist nor an apologist. I don’t know how many times I have to keep saying this. Yet, is a forum member not allowed to have an opinion? Again, most of the people on these forums have opinions on a wide range of topics, and yet they do not hold doctorates in those topics.

So, I am asked: “Why, Laramie, do you have no time to back yourself up, but you have time to spout your opinions?”

My answer: Because typing out an opinion is easier and faster than research and source citation and delving into documents and drawn out apologetical arguments.

It does not take long to type up a blog post. And I’m a fast typist. I can type out a lot of text in minutes. Much of what I type out is in short bursts between tasks. It did not take long at all to type up everything I’ve written so far in this post.

And so, it has been my choice to only voice an opinion through the spectrum of “a man who believes that sedevacantism is schismatic,” rather than to go into heavy detail as to why it is specifically, theologically, morally, or historically. I choose to leave that to other voices. I understand that Bishop Williamson has been explaining why he opposes sedevacantism lately. Others will too, in time. But I prefer to be a guy with a blog on an internet forum with an opinion. I am not claiming to be an apologist.

Laramie, Why Have You Focused on Attacking Sedevacantism So Much?

That question has been asked of me a few times. Larry said this to me yesterday:

C'mon, Pope Francis is calling a Protestant layman his "brother Bishop" and is basically giving aid and assent to the enemies of the Church. Meanwhile, his "peace and love" isn't extended to Trad Catholics who are trying to live the Faith.

Yes, I agree. Pope Francis has been doing a lot of damage to Catholic Tradition and the image of the Church. But these things are obvious. It is obvious that the world is awash in sin. It is obvious that the governments are about to collapse and that chaos is coming. It is obvious we are about to become persecuted and martyred and all sorts of horrible things.

I feel it is too easy for me to always talk about these obvious things.

Why have I discussed sedevacantism so much lately? Because it seems to me to be a hidden problem. A hidden and potential problem. If I am right about sedevacantism—if sedevacantism is truly wrong—then that means the implications I’ve been discussing over at my blog are correct, and that in a few generations, we will have a whole new schism, an entirely new wing of attack against the Church. This alarms me.

We already have Talmudic Judaism, Islam, Eastern Orthodoxy, 500-year old Protestantism, and New Wave Freemasonic Universalism. But if I am right, and if sedevacantism is wrong, then this can blow up into something potentially dreadful. We don’t need another wing of people attacking the Church, do we?

All my life, I have witnessed what happens when problems are allowed to linger and fester. I have seen problems graduate from an embryonic harmless stage into a catastrophic end result. It’s happened in politics, in our media, in our culture. If sedevacantism is wrong, then we will have a brand new parallel church that will challenge the actual Church, and it will be harder for actual laity to tell the difference between the two, and very very difficult to convert anyone into the Catholic Faith.

If I am right, and sedevacantism is wrong, then the Devil has been using the art of division this entire time to muddle up the Church and create new and complicated problems.

If all of this is true, then shouldn’t we do something? Shouldn’t we be vocal and unapologetic about how wrong this is? Shouldn’t we nail this phenomenon early? Won’t it be bad if we just let a schism linger and sit for a long time, slowly drawing in converts, until ten or twenty years down the line, we have a real problem? Do we have to wait a few decades, and then when we see that there is a parallel church, we all sit there and scratch our heads, saying: “Gosh? How did it get to be this way?”

Doesn’t anyone besides me who thinks sedevacantism is the wrong path want to do the right thing and try to head this off at the pass? Doesn’t anyone want to say in the future: “I was there in the beginning—years ago—trying to fight this”?

Larry, you told me:

you're complaining about the people who are reacting to a blazing fire instead of those who not only started the blaze, but are pouring kerosene and gasoline on it.

But I would argue that I am complaining about people who are reacting to the fire by mistakenly pouring kerosene and gas on it.

Yes, this pope is muddling things up. But, in my opinion, the sedevacantist movement is doing even more to muddle things up.

Larry, you also said:

It's just troubling to me that you seem more bothered by someone who is Catholic in every way but(for fairly obvious reasons) believes something is terribly wrong at the top than you are by those who are making people come to these conclusions in the first place.

It seems to me that the first Protestants were also seeming Catholic in every way. Again, liberal modernism is an obvious opponent to good Catholics everywhere. But we all know this. I feel that something hidden and devious is embedding itself among laity with sedevacantism. I don't want something to slip past me like this. I do not want to see a sudden parallel church in a few decades with Catholics asking themselves, "Where did this come from?"

Further division is the last thing the Catholic Church needs in these times of trouble.

- - - -

A few other points have been brought to my attention that I need to try to clear up.

You Take Pot Shots at Sedevacantists

No I do not.

I do not call Joe “deluded,” or Willie a “mistaken fool.” I don’t tell Brandon “you are going to Hell.” I do not tell Devin, “Hey! Devin! You have whored yourself off to a fake church, and you are a heretic!”

Instead, I have tried to stick with discussing sedevacantism as an idea. And when I say something against sedevacantists or those who sympathize with sedes, I am addressing everyone collectively, but not individually. I have been doing my best not to malign any individual person.

However, as I’ve stated before, I’ve gotten a lot of nasty quips and jabs coming my way, and I have occasionally responded to those particular individuals.

I find it hypocritical that I'm always being accused of taking pot shots at sedes, when threads of discussion like this tend to pop up, and no one besides me objects.

I wish to put those bad interactions behind us and make up with these people. But I think I was mistaken to think that will happen. I think I've made permanent enemies of some folks because of where I stand.

I have been expressing my opinion about sedevacantism and trying to help explore the implications of sedevacantism through the assumption that it is wrong.

I have not been expressing my opinion about particular sedevacantists.

You Constantly Ridicule Sedes and Their Position

Again, I have not been attacking individuals.

But if I see sedevacantism as incorrect and wrong, am I not to disparage it? Do we not disparage something we see as wrong? Do we not come down against modernism? Homosexuality? Radical Feminism? We do. We come down on these ideas because we believe them to be wrong.

So therefore, if I have the opinion that sedevacantism is wrong, I am not supposed to come down on it?

Am I supposed to just keep quiet and let what I believe is wrong just pass on by in front of me?

Also, I do not constantly do this. I do my best to refrain from talking about sedevacantism on the forums, actually. But it just seems to crop up a lot lately, and I have opinions on it when it comes up in a current incident—such as the latest Michael Voris video. And, in fact, Bishop Williamson has even been talking a lot about sedevacantism.

And what about the sedes? Sedes continue to ridicule regular Catholics constantly. They are always calling the “conciliar Church” names and talking filth against the pope's legitimacy. Do I have a right to complain about how they constantly ridicule my pope—the man I consider to be the Vicar of Christ?

Am I supposed to just smile at them, wave, and say “Oh, I understand you!”

I am told to recognize them as my fellow Catholics. But if they are wrong, are they truly my fellow Catholics? Or—if I am right and sedevacantism is wrong—aren’t they now in a state of schism?

Laramie, Your Posts Lack Substance

Okay. There are plentiful examples of light posts on these forums. From smiley faces to posts consisting of one sentence.

Am I held to a different standard?

Here are some examples:

Trentcath has been reading Luke 16 and is getting his contingency plans together. -greg 

or another:

Hirschavacantism: the belief that sedevacantism is in any intellectually honest way comparable to feminism.  -tmw89

Is there any substance in this sour bit of sarcasm:

John XXIII and John Paul II are in Heaven, so shut up.

These are just examples of light back and forth between members. Yet, I am the one being held to account for having no substance in my posts.

All I simply have to say about this subject is that there is a double standard here if I am being scorned for having no substance in my posts.

Laramie, You Should Remember These Rules

Rule #5 at Suscipe Domine was brought to my attention lately in regards to how I’ve talked about sedevacantism:

5) "Trad-bashing" is not permitted. While raising concerns or making comments about various currents in the Traditional Catholic community is allowed, unfair accusations about individuals or groups who are sincerely trying to practice the Faith is forbidden. Likewise, insinuating that certain trads or groups of trads are not really Catholic will not be tolerated.

In regards to sedevacantism, I thought that I was raising a concern about a current in the Traditional Catholic community.

I thought I was making valid comments about this current in the Traditional Catholic community.

I thought that opening the possibility that sedevacantism was wrong and possibly schismatic was a fair accusation to consider.

I have not initiated any attacks on individuals or groups who are trying to practice the faith. I have responded to rude people, though.

As for insinuating that certain trads or groups of trads are not really Catholic…well, you got me there. Because if sedevacantism is wrong, and Pope Francis is truly our pope who was validly elected at Conclave in 2013, then that means there’s a lot of people here who’ve been mistaken.

And, I suppose, if anyone here believes that sedevacantism is the wrong path and that it leads away from the Church, then they are going against this final clause in Rule #5.

And, I further suppose that if believing sedevacantism is the wrong path and less Catholic than Catholic—then that means that Suscipe Domine does not tolerate people who maintain fealty to the pope and consider sedevacantism to be wrong. This clause would mean that there is a certain type of opinion not welcome here. This clause would also mean that sedevacantism is welcome at Suscipe Domine, but skepticism of sedevacantism is not welcome. And ultimately, that would make Suscipe Domine a pro-sedevacantist forum.

As I reflect on this final clause of Rule #5, I am left speechless. It occurs to me that—because I believe that the sedevacantist position is wrong—I can be banned from Suscipe Domine at any time. This, in spite of the fact that I am a practicing Catholic who attends the Latin rite and feels oppressed by the current pontiff. It sort of boggles my mind in a way.

So, moderators, if you need an excuse, I've laid it out for you, I guess.

- - - -

Well, anyway. I've done my best to lay out why I've been the way I've been lately. I've tried to explain where I’ve been coming from as honestly as possible. I think there's been some misunderstanding, but I hope that this somehow clarifies things. I don’t know how this post will be received. But I can only do what I can do.

(This post was originally composed as a response to Larry.)

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