Thursday, December 28, 2023

Dave Armstrong takes off the gloves

And goes full Mark Shea on those who dare suggest Pope Francis has been nothing but orthodox regarding the blessing of people in same sex unions.  You can read the post and all the gracious and humble comments on his facebook page here.

So-Called "Conservative" Catholic Media and "Conservative" American Catholicism Have Gone to Hell ("Big Pulpit" and "Fiducia Supplicans")
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"Big Pulpit" is a website that collects noteworthy Catholic articles and links to them. I've been cited there many times. In yesterday's edition, it featured a section called "Fiducia Supplicans (FS) Scandal" (note how even the *title* is thoroughly slanted and biased), featuring some 40-50 articles: ALL critical of the new document, with the exception of a Catholic Answers' roundtable, which is of mixed opinion (and doesn't include arguably its two best apologists: Tim Staples and Jimmy Akin).
This is an absolute disgrace, and shows that "conservative" Catholic media is now as incompetent and untrustworthy as the mainstream radically secular liberal media. It merely spews one-sided propaganda and slander, where the pope is concerned.
Imagine: a venue that bills itself as "Catholic" and collects Catholic articles, can't bring itself to publish even a SINGLE example of a pure defense of the new document, "Fiducia Supplicans" and a defense of the Holy Father. It's casually assumed that there couldn't *possibly* be such an explanation or take. Not a single one is allowed to be aired in their venue. There aren't two sides; there is supposedly only one: just as in Communist and fascist societies. We now have no free speech in most of the "big" conservative Catholic venues. It's like the old Soviet newspaper, Pravda. I've experienced it myself, in submitting articles that defended Pope Francis.
I'm proud of the fact that the host of my blog, Patheos Catholic -- for all its faults -- , actually allows free speech. I've never had one word of nearly 4,000 articles there censored. I have complete editorial control. I can defend the pope, and I currently have 228 articles posted there that do exactly that. Bravo for true free speech and the exchange of ideas! Catholic365, where I have recently posted some articles, too, also allows this diversity of opinion. So there are still some, thank God.
And this current fashionable skepticism, cynicism, and yes, pseudo-modernism and postmodernism entails -- when all is said and done -- the presupposition that the magisterium can defect from the faith in a matter of faith and morals. It's a denial of the doctrine of papal indefectibility, which was stated in Vatican I in 1870 in the same document where papal infallibility was defined at the highest level of authority. I'll be writing about that again soon, by the way.
The folly of the now-farcical so-called "conservative Catholicism" is manifest to one and all. It has now decided to in effect equate Catholicism with Anglicanism. The Catholic Church (so this mentality would have it) can put out a document that is vastly contradictory to past received tradition. This makes us no different (such folks seem utterly unaware) from Anglicans or any other Protestant denomination that doesn't even *claim* infallibility or indefectibility.
There are very few Catholic apologists who even seem to be aware that the Church and the pope are indefectible and who openly explain and defend those things. I have told you who they are: Pedro Gabriel, the website "Where Peter Is," Michael Lofton, and Tim Staples. My friend, Dr. Robert Fastiggi, a renowned systematic theologian, also defends the pope. As all my readers know, so do I. There are others who don't make it a *habit* of defending the pope. I can certainly understand why, and we apologists have many topics that we have to address. So I won't mention them, but they're out there, and they haven't jumped on the bandwagon.
As in all fascist societies, and now in "conservative" Catholic circles, not only is one single view allowed, but also those who dare to contradict it must be mocked and called names and marginalized. And so those of us who defend Pope Francis are called "popesplainers" (the latest idiotic epithet), "ultramontanists," "papolaters," or "hyperpapalists" or just plain "modernists" or "liberals." And those are just the ones that I can repeat in polite company. I'm proud to be called all these names. Bring it on! You only show yourself to be a fool if you sling these stupid insults around.
I have provided resources of defenses of the pope for those who wish to remain faithful, orthodox Catholics and to avoid the clueless, faith-challenged verbal diarrhea sadly seen almost everywhere today in "conservative" and reactionary Catholic circles. Catholic ecclesiological "conservatives" by and large, now, think no differently than dissident, "progressive" heterodox, theological liberals. I am simply an orthodox Catholic. That's what I have always called myself (if "Catholic" isn't enough).
They pick and choose whatever papal decree they like, and reject at will whatever their subjective opinion dislikes. They make themselves their own popes. They are not a whit different from Martin Luther in this respect. He thought ecumenical councils could err and contradict each other, as well as papal decrees. So do the pope-bashers today (apparently being blissfully aware of the history and the irony). I've studied the history in great depth. It's primarily what made me become a Catholic.
There is also a milder form of pope-bashing or "papal nitpicking", whereby it's admitted that a given document or statement is itself orthodox, BUT it's terrible pastoral guidance, imprudent, unwise, etc. This mentality is also widely used regarding Vatican II. A true Catholic view, I contend, that extends proper deference, reverence and respect towards popes, would be most reluctant to express itself in this way (if it is ever necessary). To do so is to immediately second-guess the pope and the magisterium of the Catholic Church, as if it (and/or the pope) knows less than any Joe Blow Catholic sitting in the pew. It's arrogant and presumptuous in the highest degree. I hate to be so blunt, but for the love of God, just SHUT UP! No good can come from all this dissent and infighting.
In my collection of writings from others, "Pope Francis Defended: Resources for Confused Folks," I provide (currently) 317 articles. I have seven articles up so far, that defend the new document and the pope. I will add more as I find out about them. Here they are:
311. “Despite everything, always blessed” [blessings for homosexuals] (Mike Lewis, Where Peter Is, 12-18-23)
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312. Catechism on the New Gay Blessings Document (by a “very holy priest” & Michael Lofton, Reason & Theology, 12-19-23)
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313. Demystifying ‘Fiducia Supplicans’: Answering 7 Frequently Asked Questions [blessings for homosexuals] (Pedro Gabriel, The City & the World, 12-20-23)
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314. If Social Media Was Around in Christ’s Day [satire] (anon. priest, Reason & Theology, 12-20-23)
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315. Blessings: A pastoral development anchored in tradition (Rocco Buttiglione, Vatican News, 12-20-23)
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316. Does The Catholic Church Now Allow Same-Sex Unions? (Fr. Pablo Migone, Labyrinthine Mind, 12-21-23)
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317. Cardinal Fern├índez: Same-sex blessing ‘does not validate or justify anything’ (Edgar Beltran, The Pillar, 12-23-23)
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If you want to actually read a different opinion from the one-note tune propaganda, groupthink, and assumed "self-evident truths" of the pope-bashers, these articles will allow you to do so. If you want to remain a truly "traditional" faith-filled Catholic (which includes belief in papal and ecclesial indefectibility) they'll help you quite a bit, I think. If you're brave enough to be a nonconformist in the present fascist, death-of-critical-thinking, "no one can disagree" intellectually and spiritually toxic atmosphere, here is your chance.
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If I didn't have such a sunny, optimistic temperament by nature, and a very strong, God-given faith, I would be in deep despair over what has happened to orthodox Catholics (I'd be crying all day long, and feeling like Jeremiah did). I can't -- and don't -- think about it too much or for very long. It's too disturbing. It's the devil's victory. He has divided and conquered because we're so stupid and blind and ignorant of doctrinal development and history and Catholic teachings alike.
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Orthodox Catholicism (i.e., the group of those who *actually* accept -- or *claim* to accept all that the Church teaches) is now a laughingstock, and we are making pathetic fools of ourselves --ruining any good witness for evangelism that we have. We're self-destructing. My own job is made much more difficult now because of all this idiotic nonsense and lack of faith going on. But I will continue. That you can depend on. By mostly ignoring this garbage, I can better continue the work that God called me to.
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Yes, I know I said I was done talking about this stuff. I intend to keep to that policy, but I also said there might be exceptions on occasion. I posted about the communion of saints today (doing my "regular" work), and then I received notice of Big Pulpit in my mail and saw this surreal fascism that they have adopted as regards the pope, and I just HAD to speak out against it. I couldn't possibly not address such an indefensible outrage (especially since it seems so few others are protesting).
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So this constitutes my own "jeremiad" on the topic. A jeremiad is not an argument; it's an impassioned "prophetic" proclamation. It's "screaming bloody murder" and warning folks of spiritual danger. I'm not angry (in the raging, furious, intemperate sense). I'm not out-of-control. Don't even try to make that charge. You don't get it if you think that, and have very little familiarity with me as a person. I'm cool as a cucumber, as I always am. But I'm passionate. I'm very upset about what is happening to the Church (mostly in America). And so I "loudly" condemn it in this post.
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The arguments and rational defenses are in the seven articles I noted in the OP. I also have many sustained arguments regarding papal indefectibility on my Papacy web page, if you want to better understand that, so that you can believe it and not reject it, as is massively happening today.
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So take note. I will discuss this topic in *this* thread, but that's it. Please don't bring it up in this venue, or in PMs. If you know of a good pro-pope, pro-magisterium article, please let me know in a PM and I'll add it to the collection. Someone notified me of one today (#317 above).
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My contribution to this controversy will be to continue collecting positive, *truly* traditional Catholic articles.
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Now, I usually don't provide links in posts because that kills them in the feed (no one sees them). But I think this post will generate enough interest, to be able to avoid that. So here it is:
I'll also provide a link to the collection of my own articles in the combox.
Please like and share this post, if you agree. Spread the word. Thanks. Relatively few read my material. You can help make it possible for many more to do so, if you think what I expressed here is important. So please like, share, and comment (actual civil, charitable discussion). If you troll, you'll be deleted, and if you persist, you'll be blocked.

The sad part isn't what he writes.  The sad part is that it was entirely predictable.  As I said, when people either swing to the Left or defend parts of it, they must:

1. Do that which they once condemned, and
2. Use block, delete, and ban to shut down having to deal with dissenting views, and 
3. Assume worst motives through calumny, accusation, name calling and other childish tricks

I've said a thousand times that these things are hardly unique to the Left.  But they are almost universal among those who must defend anything from the Left.  It's worth noting that, on the whole, these reprobate outlets and individuals like those at Big Pulpit are pretty much the same as they've been for the last several decades.  What has changed is, well, those who are trying to keep next to decidedly leftwing issues and ideologies.  

That Dave once condemned such tactics when it came to attacking Catholics who supported Trump or - and this is rich - back in the day, those who had problems with Pope France, just proves #1. We won't even discuss the laughable whining about Free Speech given his propensity for blocking or banning people who dare challenge him on his pet issues.  Again, it's always disappointing to watch someone become what they once mocked or condemned.  

Not surprisingly, I notice Orthodox Christians are having a field day with this.  Because they see it for what it is.  This is where the Catholic assurance that the Church will never teach error and that no Pope can change Church teaching hits the rock of reality.  All we can do is either be honest, or do, well, what Dave has done, and that's just a long, multi-paragraph version of 'because their mamas wear army boots and dress them funny.'  Again, sad but predictable.  

32 comments:

  1. I've been waiting for one of the Popesplainers to step forward and defend Francis's latest outrage. Dave Armstrong has stepped up to the plate, and has struck out! He refuses to deal honestly with the issue, and attacks the messagers, instead of dealing with the real concerns of troubled Catholics. Instead, he accuses people like us of being our own magisterium, deciding on our own, what the Catholic faith will be.

    The way Dave talks at us reminds me of someone who's in a cult. I was in a cult 40 years ago, and I remember what that mindset was like. Your thinking was rigid, you would not allow any criticism of your beliefs, you didn't question your leaders, and you wouldn't allow any outside information to come into your thoughts. Dave claims we're "fascist", but the way he has treated people who have dared to disagree with him shows he's the fascist. BTW, the cult I was in was founded by Herbert W Armstrong.

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    1. The odd thing about Dave, his change is centered almost entirely around Pope Francis and Vatican II. He' still rather conservative, and is highly skeptical about the Left overall. And for the longest time, he was against such rhetoric against people who voted for Trump, or criticized Pope Francis. Not that he was a big critic of the pope, but those who waded in and attacked anyone who dared even think of not celebrating him, Dave was quick to criticize that approach. But I can still remember the post, when he said he had a 'Eureka!' moment, realized the pope was right to abolish the death penalty, and that was that. Suddenly Dave became everything he had criticized and then some. At least where Pope Francis, and later Vatican II, were concerned. Now he's worse than what he criticized, and will not even engage at this point beyond a few canned responses, links to a million - sometimes irrelevant - former posts, before breaking away with strings of accusations and projection. As I've said, that alone says there is something wrong with his views, and you can’t help but believe he knows it.

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  2. I'll agree with Ann Barnhardt here: Francis is not now, and has never been Pope.

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    1. Oh, I think he's the Pope, he just refuses to act like one.

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    2. If he wasn't pope, I don't think it would be as bad as it is. He is the pope, and that's the problem.

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  3. Well, that's the last time I pay any attention to Dave Armstrong. Never thought he was that bright anyway. Like a lot of apologists, he is good at memorizing standard spiels and reciting them on cue. Thinking? Not so much. ----- G. Poulin

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    1. I think he's bright, he's just gone off the rails. He was always a bit grumpy at times, but personalities and all. His straight out of looney land levels that we're seeing have emerged since he jumped on the Francis Fan Club.

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  4. Once again he proves the applicability of the “TL;DA” abbreviation.

    It’s not a jeremiad, either. I will kindly call it a tantrum, but hissy fit also works.

    And the irony of demanding every outlet publish viewpoints that agree with his….That is a wee bit authoritarian, isn’t it, Dave?

    It is noteworthy that nowhere in his tantrum does Dave acknowledge the actions of the Ukrainian and Melkite Catholic Churches, nor those of Latin bishops in places like Africa and Hungary. Indeed, only his opinion and those whose align with his are orthodox. QED.

    Anyway, may Dave continue to enjoy comfort in his intellectual bubble, if not success in trying to batter down consciences with his hectoring loggorhea.

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    1. I thought of you when I read this post, Dale. Figured you'd have strong words on it. ;)

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    2. Having studied his writings, met him in person and then been blocked by him, I do have a few thoughts, yes...

      He's a genuinely smart man, but the phrase "quantity has a quality all its own" most emphatically does not apply to writing. And to say he's touchy and carries grudges is a bit of an understatement.

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    3. One of the things that jumped out at me was that he went off on people not publishing views he agrees with - as he has become more flagrant about banning people who disagree with him on these pet issues. That falls under 'do as I say, not as I do.'

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  5. And yes, the Orthodox are having an online field day and even their ecumenically-minded bishops (e.g., Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev) are reacting with horror.

    But when you're one of the Pope's Perpetual Shoe Shine Boys, you might be a bit too busy cleaning off the most recent crap he's kicked up with his humble non-red shoes to notice.

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  6. "To do so is to immediately second-guess the pope and the magisterium of the Catholic Church, as if it (and/or the pope) knows less than any Joe Blow Catholic sitting in the pew."

    Also, "...and we apologists have many topics that we have to address."

    Who is Dave Armstrong other than "any Joe Blow Catholic sitting in the pew"?

    And who gave these people the right to consider themselves "apologists"? Do they have official sanction from the Catholic Church or something?

    Rather, aren't they merely laymen with opinions, whose opinions hold no more weight than any other Catholic who holds opinions?

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    1. That was the stranger part of his post. He acted like he holds some sacred office of authority, burdened with having to bestow the wisdom of the ages on the hoi polloi. For all Dave has been over the years, it's never been this bad.

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    2. Dave, he's s legend in his own mind.

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  7. Yikes! This line: "There are very few Catholic apologists who even seem to be aware that the Church and the pope are *indefectible*..." Um...yeah... So the Church is never in need of reform and the Pope is always perfect?
    I don't really know who this guy is, other than a vague recognition of his name, but I definitely think he is one of these "professional" Catholics who might be better off not writing as much. I mean, how can take any argument he may make seriously if that's how he behaves online? I give people grace... we all make mistakes and even need to vent, but prudence seems to dictate not venting like this on social media, maybe?? That's pretty public.
    Anyway, I think there's a whole point being missed by him, and that is your average "Joe Blow Catholic" isn't reading what he's writing anyway, or most anything else on the matter. But they are probably seeing what the rest of the media is running with, which is scandalous to the eyes of the faithful and permission to sin in the eyes of those not. And, quite frankly, it's a letter not needed to be written for what it purports to say...so then it begs the question why did anything have to be said at all?

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    1. From the earliest days, Dave could be at times a big grumpy in his debates. But personalities and all. I can be snarky sometimes. The stunning thing about Dave is the speed with which he does things he once condemned, and embraces the tactics that are so common among those who defend parts of the Left. The content of what he wrote is about par for the course. After all, he has to know the reality of the situation, but for reasons I don't know, he can't allow himself to openly admit it. That often makes for toxic rhetoric and poor standards for discourse. But you're right, the Media had a field day with this. Though much reporting has actually been rather measured, the headlines have told the world that the Catholic Church is finally getting its act together and abandoning that stupid Christian stuff once and for all.

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  8. "Indefectibility" is correct when applied to the Church--it simply means it won't fail entirely. And if he means that the papacy as an office will not fail entirely, sure. But the question of a heretical pontiff is still a live issue.

    The bigger point to me is that if you have to spend a decade spilling countless thousands of words and are required construct a complex, multi-step hair-splitting schematic to prove that any particular pope is always, definitely, yessir! 100 percent orthodox, the problem *just* might not be that of the faithful who are muttering in concern.

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    1. The ironic thing? This sort of thinking plays into Protestant talking points about what Catholics think regarding the pope. I doubt most fundamentalists would have imagined accusing Catholics of what Dave and other Pope Francis defenders have become.

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    2. Patheos does not, in fact, allow a free and open discussion. The number of Catholic sites that do was never very large and has been diminishing in recent years. Generally speaking , the editor of a site will appoint himself Grand Inquisitor and proceed to excommunicate any heretic who dares to disagree with him. If the number of heretics gets too large, he will shut down the comments section altogether. ----- G. Poulin

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    3. Armstrong does not refer to the papacy as indefectible, but to the Pope himself, and that is flat out wrong/heretical. Ironic, isn't it, that a guy accusing others of errors regarding doctrine is himself egregiously in error, but it does reveal the problem of having a dangerously false view which sees any Pope as indefectible.

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  9. Patheos's is an ecumenical site. Yeah, there has been Catholic sites on it, but over the years, I've noticed that the Catholic sites that are most numerous are what I would call liberal. Those sites that tend to be orthodox don't seem to stay long. Your site Dave was only there for a very short time, as was Fr. Longnecker's.

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  10. DP,

    "Pope's Perpetual Shoe Shine Boys"

    That was good!

    Dave,

    I looked over his list and read some of the citations and it looks to be someone citing *anyone* who hasn't been critical of the Pope, but just explaining theological points regarding the documents emanating from this Papacy.

    Furthermore, you'll notice, that the overwhelming majority of the so-called "conservative" media was actually defending Pope Francis and the many utterings that came out of the Vatican, be they orthodox or heterodox. Then you see a steep drop-off around 2017 or so of less "popesplaining" (for lack of a better term), and almost no "conservative" media explaining or supporting the Pope's position. What you do see is "conservative" media explaining the many theological, philosophical, and traditional explanations behind said documents. Basically, inconsequential articles that don't defend or promote anything from Pope Francis.

    Dave is a "nice" guy, but he is getting caught up in the minutia of words. He is doing what the late Fr. Neuhaus did, defending clergy despite overwhelming negative evidence of said cleric because he is a cleric. Dave wants to defend the Church, but we are all human and make mistakes.

    I will say that his use of "indefectible" is over the top.

    Let's pray he doesn't follow the Mark Shea rout or lose his faith completely like Rod Dreher or Steve Skojec.

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    1. Tito, you're correct about the "conservative" media being very defensive about Pope Francis. They tried their best to explain Francis's statements and remarks, but one by one, they realized his actions and statements couldn't be rationalized by Catholic traditions. They wrote articles and books explaining why they have stopped defending him. And they were attac ked by the knee-jerk Popesplainers and the Pope's allies for daring to tell the truth about Francis. Their stands costs them friendships and sometimes their jobs and positions.

      Unless he has an awakening, I think he'll go full Mark Shea. He's a fanatic who won't change his mind, and won't change the subject He refuses to see the evidence about Francis's treachery that's in plain sight to any honest mind. Like a member of a cult, he must defend his leader, no matter how twisted and wrong his words and actions are. I was a cult member fourty years ago, and I saw this type of foolishness all the time in it, especially in the last three years I was in it. I never dreamed I would ever see it in the Catholic Church. Sad, really sad.

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  11. Who is Dave Armstrong? Never heard of him. Should I have?

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  12. Dave's article is spot on. Sadly, most of the far right does not even realize how out of touch they are with the vast majority of Catholics, let alone the world in general. His Holiness enjoys approval ratings among CATHOLICS ranging from the high 70s to high 80s. Less than one half of one percent of PRACTICING Catholics attend the old fashioned form of Mass. A majority of American Catholics outright approve of same gender marriages - not just blessings. No one would ever know any of this if their only new source were the Register. While it's true popularity contests are not everything when it comes to theology, over time, the opinions of the majority tend to win out. That's what is happening now whether or not the small subset of American Catholics who no longer even try to mask their hatred of His Holiness like it, or not.

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    1. Yeah, that's what we want, to be "in touch with the world". Jesus said that the world would hate us for contradicting it. Jesus said that anyone who loves the world hates God. But one would have to be a Christian to understand that. Pagans can't make any sense of it.

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    2. The "world" at the time of Jesus was virulently homophobic, racist and misogynist. Maybe that's the world He was referring to.

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    3. John, if you really believe that Jesus was only referring to the “world” of His own time, then the “time” for His message is far past. And then why should anyone bother with Catholicism at all today? Genuine question...

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    4. john at 1:37

      The classical world 2000 years ago was neither homophobic nor racist. It was certainly misogynist. So you had the correct answer to one out of three questions.

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    5. I wonder how popular His Holiness would be among Catholics if they knew how protective of rapists and corrupt moneygrubbers he is. Any thoughts on the holiness of his treatment of, say, Rupnik's victims, john? His solicitude for Zanchetta and "Don Mercedes"? Becciu and Maradiaga? Sleaze calls out to sleaze, it seems

      At heart, he's the biggest clericalist there is.

      But he *is* wildly popular. And that apparently covers a multitude of sins in some people's books.

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    6. The first problem is, how is he spot on? There are a variety of viewpoints about this declaration. And from those who support it. Some insist nothing has changed. I see Mark Shea has cheered Fr. Martin's observation that this is a major change! Which is it? And these disagreements are from those who support Pope Francis and the declaration. First warning sign by my lights.

      Second, if you believe religion is a nebulous thing to be changed according to the whims of the day, then no doubt you have reason to rejoice. Not a few people look at where these changes are leading, and have led, and conclude if we must change the Christian Faith to conform to the whims of the age, it can't be this age at least. Most, because of that, conclude our Faith isn't supposed to conform to the spirit of the latest age at all. Count me in on that group.

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