About a month ago, Michael Brendan Dougherty posted a much admired article at "The Week" censuring Catholics for "becoming party apparatchiks." In today's distorted celebrity culture, he notes that Catholics "tend to treat the pope as their 'party leader,' and to treat 'the world' as an opposing party." This contemporary mindset is flawed, for it tempts the faithful to rally behind the leader at any cost:
Party membership and church membership are not alike at all. Party bids its members to spin, minimize, and explain away supposed contradictions between one party leader and the next, to hide deviations by party leaders from the party platform. Because party members cannot know the outcome of the next election, crimes, oversight, or simple mismanagement by the party leader are treated as much less serious offenses to the cause than the scandal that would come from admitting or publicizing them in the sight of the opposing party.The reflex to defend the leader at any cost is psychologically and spiritually dangerous:
Catholics conditioned by the last 50 years of life in the church are totally unprepared for the eventuality of the pope or a papally approved Synod (i.e., a governing council) issuing a "policy" that flatly contradicts church teaching. For many of them, many good men, it will just be a new party line. Or perhaps, more insanely, they will claim, in an Orwellian turn, that the new policy was always the church's real policy.Dougherty's article is well worth reading in its entirety for its insight into the current "Catholic Party" mentality that adheres to Bergoglio even as he sets into motion policies that will do away with the last remnants of orthodoxy in the Vatican Establishment. However, the piece unwittingly sounds a warning to Traddies, who in their partisan defense of this or that sede tribal chieftain, are blind to their radioactive masters' greed, arbitrary decision-making, invented doctrines, prejudices, ignorance, mind-control schemes, and ill will. They behave like the fanatical followers of Hillary Clinton, who, as party loyalists first, willfully ignore the scandals of Travelgate, the Whitewater controversy, Filegate, the Bosnian-sniper-fire tall tale, the Benghazi massacre, and so on and so on.
Traddies often ask in exasperation how citizens can be so blind as to support political hacks whose public record would consign them to oblivion if we inhabited a virtuous country. Yet they, too, thoughtlessly prop up equally reproachable cult leaders. It's not as though the truth about sede bosses lies hidden. It's been either made public or can effortlessly be learned by asking around. In many cases, the party faithful of Tradistan have heard all the stories -- and they know they're true. Nonetheless, these bewitched folks close their eyes and keep on funding the sede Svengalis in spite of the evidence. A classic example are those degenerate zealots who witnessed the repulsive SGG School scandal and yet remained at the cult center, choosing cardboard personalities over Catholic principles.
Such blindness is a dereliction of a Catholic's duty to the faith. Personalities are not the faith, nor do they represent it. They do not possess immunity from error or from criticism when they do err. More importantly, no Catholic needs, even in these dire times, personalities to retain their faith, which comes from God, not from some malformed huckster with a dubious pedigree. If Bergie and the grasping sede mountebanks flew away together to Neverland to re-unite with the other lost boys who weren't clever enough to stay put in their prams, you'd still possess the faith as pristine as ever. (In fact, it would be stronger, for you wouldn't have to fear losing it because of the head honcho's hypocrisy.)
Embracing the cult of a leader's personality -- whether you live in Pyongyang, Washington, Rome, or a pinprick of a town on the map of Ohio -- is the default setting of a lazy, diseased, and terrified mind incapable of demanding that self-appointed bosses conform to what is objectively right. It's a mind that refuses to think critically lest it be unsettled by howling contradictions. As manifested among the Novus Ordites and Traddies, the mental disorder makes vulnerable Catholics confuse a one-dimensional cartoon character for the substance of divine faith. Most reprehensible of all, the confusion prevents the mentally fragile from fulfilling their obligation to condemn unworthy leaders who offend religion. As Dougherty counsels:
Sometimes, the duty of a faithful Catholic is not just to rebuke and correct those in authority in the church like St. Catherine of Siena, but to throw rotting cabbage at them, or make them miserable, as we once did, with the connivance of worldly authorities, during the deadlocked papal election in Viterbo.If you aspire to be a traditional Catholic of any stripe, you must first refuse to join the Catholic Party. Insist you belong to the Catholic Church, albeit you can't quite see her clearly nowadays. Do your duty: This time, instead of lobbing putrid veggies at crackpot pontiffs playing fast and loose with doctrine or at self-mythologizing, under-educated clerical entrepreneurs playing fast and loose with the laity's generosity, make them all miserable by denying these third-raters all the cash and material resources they must have to complete their squalid agendas.
You'll preserve the faith as surely as did the great saints who knew better than to put their trust in mere men -- especially vipers like these so deserving of the Catholic community's scorn.