The Church has been a trying time for many of us, especially with the Francis Papacy. Every off the cuff statement and interview he does with reporters can lead to a new fiasco, and another round of Satan's bile being thrown at the Holy Father by Radicals Misrepresenting Traditionalists of all people.
Sadly, even the more centralist "orthodox" people, are committing slander and calumny and sin, all in the name of religious purity and in being the Church's self-appointed liturgical and moral police officers. In reality, these "I'm with Stupid" (I.W.S.) Catholics, to coin the phrase, from blogger David Wanat at "If I Might Interject," are committing the same sins and violation of the 2nd Commandment, like their Radical Traditionalist brethen, despite not being Latin Mass afficionados. Their "sacred cow"/idols might not be the Latin Mass/liturgy, but it could be something like abortion, euthanasia, homosexual issues, women's issues, etc. They defend the issue in a manner so zealously with the writings of the Church, they become modern day Pharisees, often involving the slagging and contempt of Pope Francis. Their language is passive-aggressive, and the underlying meaning of it is truly hatred and disgust for the Holy Father.
However, the Holy Father is not the only target of their moral and/or liturgical purism. They target anyone who attacks their rigorist standards of what they think the Church "teaches" as its authority and final words on matters. I myself have been attacked online and in person, and even stalked at a parish, for daring to fight against these people's demands and desires.
Unfortunately, their actions have consequences, spiritually and mentally, on their audiences, such as despair, inordinate anger, etc. and they are accessories to the sins of their affected audience. One good veteran and Catholic family man has been afflicted, and he needs our support.
A good blogger I have admired throughout the years since I've entered the fray, Mark Shea of Catholic Patheos web portal, a convert to the Church, has written numerous books, and produced numerous articles and work for North America's leading Catholic apologetics apostolate, Catholic Answers. In his spare time, he blogs at "Catholic and Enjoying It!", though he did recently break from the blog for personal reasons. Now he's back in action, though someone, a good friend, decided to employ proper fraternal correction of him, as it seems Mark, to this friend, has gone past his usual defining snarkiness that makes Mark a fun Catholic blogger to read.
Personally, I haven't met Mark in Person. I do hope he comes to Canada again, to my Archdiocese of Toronto, where one day I will meet him. However, I have had some correspondence with him, being in a similar "blogger's circle" as it were (kinda like the analogy of cliques in high school lunch rooms) and despite the low popularity and power that my Servimus Blog yields, Mark has been kind and gracious enough to link to my blog a couple of times for when I've poured out my soul and stated things of importance.
The post where this happened, and Mark's reply, is here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markshea/2016/07/an-honest-and-heartfelt-exchange-with-a-friend-who-feels-that-ive-changed.html.
Mark decides to open up about this heart to heart discussion, revealing what has happened to him spiritually over the years. One of the biggest things spiritually that has happened is some despair, laced with disillusionment into thinking that the readers he was once evangelizing to, have revealed their true and darkest sides to him. Some of this also revolves around the Francis Papacy and this current 2016 election in the United States of America, with Catholics, surprisingly, defending narcissist :
"The past 15 years have been one long slow disillusionment which went into high gear with the election of Francis and the poisonous reaction of that whole subculture against him ... I’ve watched for *years* while the people who once were eager to hear the gospel have morphed into a people eager to battle the Church every time she says something they don’t like, who use the lamest sophistries to do it, and who consistently use the unborn as human shields and fig leaves for that project.... Times this by literally thousands of encounters. It grinds you down. You lose patience and you lose hope. These are the people you took to be the faithful remnant of the Church and it turns out they are consistently fighting the Church and regard the Magisterium as a threat–especially Francis. Meanwhile, I regard him as a gift and am heartsick at the warfare–open and naked, as well as subterranean and passive (like a tree burning at the roots)–that comes from one sector of the Church and one only: the people I trusted as “faithful Catholics”..."
Heartbreaking indeed! This is exactly like the betrayal of Judas Iscariot at the Passion of Jesus Christ, who turned his back on the Lord and turned him over to be crucified. Mark here is like Mary, sadly watching his Son be mocked, tortured, hurt, and rejected and abandoned by the people who were once his closest friends and allies. Surely, haven't you had a moment in your life, even in your childhood, when a friend you once had, dumped you because he say, found someone else they thought was better, or joined a clique and embraced their "lifestyle" to the point it had to exclude you cause you are against their new "friends?" That here, is exactly what Mark Shea is experiencing.
The hypocrisy and sins of the I.W.S. crowds and their self-serving need for hearing they are the Holy Remnant of Jesus' "TRUE" Church, and not the modernist one passing for it today, is the high source of frustration for Mark's writing and correspondence in the hopes at evangelizing, and counselling the (willfully) ignorant:
" ... I find myself in the bizarre position of meeting Lefties who are genuinely interested in hearing what the Church has to say, all while having to explain to Righties that this does not make me ritually unclean for consorting with them in order to evangelize them .... They now seek a Fortress in which to remain safe from a world they fear while Francis has left the Fortress, flung open the door and is proclaim the joy of the gospel to the very people the subculture would pour boiling oil on before they let them into the Church. It’s not merely that they think he evangelizes badly. It that they want him to stop evangelizing lest riff raff get in and make life complicated .... I no longer felt as though I had an audience who wanted to hear the Church’s teaching in fullness. They wanted to hear me tell them they are awesome and righteous and the Remnant of the Faithful and they wanted to hear me tell them liberals and CINOs are the enemy, including Francis. "
And because Mark Shea refused to fall off the narrow path on the right side of the road to the gate of heaven, the very people who enjoyed his blog, have become his worst enemies, just like the Jewish people from Palm Sunday, whom by Good Friday were now his hecklers and detractors.
The prideful and wicked RMTs and I.W.S., rarely admit to their sins and when they do, still do it in a prideful manner with the utmost unrepentance and mockery of their opponents. Mark, in a humble, true, mea culpa, has admitted that he has allowed such worries of the world, the flesh, and the Devil, affect him spiritually and in his writing, as correctly pointed out by the concerned friend:
"It has affected my writing, I know. I have felt more and more blocked and frustrated. More and more aware of how profoundly out of step I am with my peers. And no small part of that is due to the fact that there are deep mental and social “structures of sin”, as the Church calls them, that most on the right are completely unaware of. That’s why they see Francis as a threat and it is excruciatingly difficult for them to understand what he means on even the simplest points .... None of this is to try to justify my sins of anger. They are real and I keep going back to the sacrament for them (just went again today). It’s more to say, “Have mercy on me, a sinner.” I don’t *like* myself very much these days. I wish I was a better man, but I’m just not. I keep praying for daylight and trusting that it will come. I think I got a piece of it yesterday and so will explore in that direction.
If there is anything I can say, it's that Mark deserves our prayers and support. People who are more devout in their faith, should not be dividing their Brother and Sisters of Christ to ruin and sin. They should not be hurting and re-crucifying our Lord, yet they do. Even the best of our apologists and defenders, like Mark, are being hurt and wounded by these new allies and actors of the Devil's works. AND THEY TRULY DON'T DESERVE IT. NO ONE DESERVED TO BE HATED IN THIS WAY.
Friends, I am happy that Mark does his service. I empathize with him. Despite his recent slump, he is truly one of the best faces out there for our Faith, warts and all, who is genuinely acting out his Faith.
Mark, let it be known that there still a few genuine "Orthodox," Traditionalist, even Latin Mass loving (ok, maybe just ONE or Two of us), Catholics who know you are practicing the truth of Jesus and have not fallen to the demons of your accusers. We care, and support you, and will continue to do so. You DO have online friends, and you can count me as one of them.
Friends, and true Catholics, please Give Mark your support and a shout, and your prayers.
Deo Gratias, and Pax Tibi Christi, Julian Barkin.