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Both Rosica and his “Salt and Light TV” Catholic network in Canada have occasionally been targeted for on-line criticism, especially from conservative and pro-life Catholic organizations.
The Internet, Rosica said, “can be an international weapon of mass destruction, crossing time zones, borders and space.” He also described it as “an immense battleground that needs many field hospitals set up to bind wounds and reconcile warring parties.”
“If we judged our identity based on certain ‘Catholic’ websites and blogs, we would be known as the people who are against everyone and everything!” he said. ” If anything, we should be known as the people who are for something, something positive that can transform lives and engage and impact the culture.”
I actually have a very high opinion of Fr. Roscia and the work that he does at Salt and Light TV — especially his motivations and the inspirations stem from a deep love of the Catholic Faith, the Magisterium, the liturgy of the Church and the rubrics of the Mass.
Of course, there are a good number of Catholics inspired by Pope St. John Paul the Great’s call for “the New Evangelization” that are leading in this effort as well, inspired by the very same motivations — and always in the spirit of fidelity, fidelity, fidelity.
Yet it is disappointing to see the Crux report not dive in to the impact of heterodoxy or — as Archbishop Chaput has urged the Catholic faithful to resist — the infection of secular religions within sacred religion. This would have been helpful to read, though perhaps not helpful to those who seek to color Fr. Rosica’s thoughts.
I do not doubt that Fr. Rosica feels similarly regarding heterodox publications such as National Catholic Reporter and the coterie of arguably politically leftist bureaucrats that seem to have distorted the “social arm” and how this is impacting and confusing the laity. Those looking for the spirit of division and disunity ought to look there first…
Yet the delineation between Catholic “bloggers” asking for fidelity to the teachings of the Catholic faith (Salt and Light TV might even be among them; Church Militant comes to mind as well) and post-contemporary print media is an interesting one.
The post-contemporary print media outlets such as NCR seem putatively active in telling the Catholic faithful to surrender the teachings of the Magisterium on “abortion, gay marriage and birth control” — and women priests, women deaconesses, and all sorts of other so-called theological considerations to meet the demands of the modern age. A real tragedy, because the dissent is so often enveloped in a particular and piercing hatred of the old way of doing things: tradition, fidelity, liturgy. I have never particularly understood this, but it is easily detectable and utterly destructive.
Yet despite these voices, that Pope Francis is continuing in the tradition of his predecessors is a remarkable achievement. Continuing in the tradition of the Second Vatican Council, no less. That others continue to seek to confuse the Church as a parliament, distort the teachings of the Council, or assert that we moderns are somehow more enlightened than our predecessors? Smacks of the phantom heresy…
This is no small charge, but it must be stated again. George Weigel explains:
This new form of Catholicism Lite, a not-so-phantom hash of ideas that poses real problems for the integrity of the Church and its evangelical mission, breathes deeply of two winds that have long blown through American Christianity: the ancient Pelagian wind, with its emphasis on the righteousness of our works and how they will win our salvation; and the Congregationalist wind, with its deep suspicion that Catholic authority is incompatible with American democracy. As for the older Americanist controversy, I think the classic historiographers of U.S. Catholicism were largely right: The “Americanism” of which Leo XIII warned in Testem Benevolentiae was far more a phantom concocted by fevered, ancien-régime European minds than a heresy that threatened Catholic faith in the United States. But the problems that Leo flagged are very much with us over a century later. They are at the root of the internal Catholic culture war that has intensified as religious freedom has come under concerted assault, and as the new Americanists, who form a coherent party in a way that Isaac Hecker and his friends never did, have either denied that assault — or abetted it.
The phantom heresy still haunts the Catholic Church in North America — even today, it refuses to take form, but still patiently whispers, wants, and waits…
Nevertheless, Fr. Rosica is right to condemn the Pharisees of our day. Tone is important, and restoring all things in Christ even more so. (Eph. 1:10) To be — in the words of Fr. Rosica — “unafraid to confront the sins and evils that have marred us” is critically important in the advancement of the New Evangelization…
What remains isn’t to pit one faction against the other — progressive or conservative, as if those distinctions mattered — but to find those who are operating in goodwill; orthodoxy contra heterodoxy, fidelity contra dissent, truth contra mediocrity.
If mercy is predicated on judgment, then Pope Francis’ call for misercordiae is predicated on the existence of sin as it leaves judgment to God the Father.
We are indeed a hospital for sinners, yet neither a museum for saints nor a mass psychiatric ward. The discussion over Catholic “bloggers” or the heterodoxy of the National Catholic Reporter is in itself an expression of Francis’ call for mercy… a charity that when not employed, results in the pedophile/pederast scandals that have marred the moral standing of the Catholic Faith for too long.
Such are the times.
If there is a grand enemy of the modern age, it is the voices within Catholic media that instruct the faithful to wallow in one’s acedia, that asks the faithful to be defined by their sins rather than by their salvation. In that, Fr. Rosica is a great help to those who seek amendment rather than accommodation. Long may he strive for such goals.