DILETTANTE DISSIDENTS … & BISHOPS
As the ‘cult of change’ merry-go-round continued to variously shock, perplex, dismay and, in a perverse sort of way, even amuse the parish, it was the priests reluctance to answer intellectually sound criticism that finally raised questions about their integrity.
The Benalla faithful quickly discovered the futility of pointing out to the Team that its secularized version of Catholicism was a mere wish devoid of all credible evidence, that it had no foundation in the New Testament or in patristic literature, that the saints neither lived it nor held it, that Vatican II, canon law and numerous papal statements ruled it out. If the priests reacted to such statements at all, it was usually a pejorative labeling of parishioners “views,” even though what had been presented were hard facts, not views at all. Alternatively, the gnostic war-cry — “you don’t understand” — was duly invoked.
To the orthodox, such evasion, either by silence or by a refusal to come to terms with a critique, did not support the idea of a love for truth. They simply could not comprehend why Catholic priests would not renounce ideas that were shown to be without foundation.
This particular manifestation of the Team’s ideological baggage was, in fact, consonant with that deep-seated fear of exposure experienced by all newchurch dilettantes who have substituted Trendomania for serious theological study. In a trenchant criticism of dissenting clergy, Pope St. Pius X explained that the root-cause of this slovenly scholarship is an arrogance steeped in pride:
It is pride which fills the Modernists with that self-assurance by which they consider themselves and pose as the rule for all. It is pride that puffs them up … and which, lest they should seem as other men, leads them to devise novelties even of the most absurd kind. It is pride which rouses in them the spirit of disobedience and causes them to demand a compromise between authority and liberty. It is owing to their pride that they seek to be reformers of others while they forget to reform themselves.’
Is the saint too harsh in his judgement? Not according to a former newchurch priest with whom I spoke at length about life on the other side of the clerical “fence”. Among other things, it was Pius X’s insightful, no-nonsense expose of Modernism that enlightened and guided him on a demanding journey into the Catholic priesthood he had never known. The following summary of his experience not only confirms in every respect our analysis of the Team Ministry purview, it demonstrates that only intellectual honesty in co-operation with God’s grace can demolish the mental ‘brick-wall’of Modernism.