Conservative Catholics are slowly abandoning the Faith

The topic of wifely obedience used to be one in which conservative Catholics held the traditional view. A wife should be subordinate, obedience, and submissive to her husband. This is not the worldly version of each of those words, but the Christian version. Still, the husband is the leader of the family, and in the marriage, he is the head of his wife. Therefore, he does have a leadership role even just between the two of them, and then of course if there are children, he leads the whole family. And this inequality of roles, not of persons, would have been the case even if mankind had not fallen (as St. Thomas teaches).

This difference in roles within marriage is the clear teaching of Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, of the Saints and of the Magisterium (e.g. Casti Connubii). And conservative Catholics used to maintain this teaching, in contradiction to liberals.

But as the last few decades have passed, popular conservative Catholic leaders have slowly moved the goalpost of conservatism toward the liberal end of the filed. They have gradually accepted one error after another, errors formerly found only among liberals: justifying contraception in various ways, undermining Church teaching on intrinsically evil acts, justifying grave sexual sins, and accepting one teaching of sinful secular society after another.

This process has occurred for a number of reasons. First, priests and theologians have not taken their proper roles in teaching the faithful. Corruption among theologians is rampant. Many of these theologians have been accepted by conservatives, perhaps because they reached out to the faithful in popular books, in talks, and on the internet, or perhaps because they impressed the faithful with personality and charisma, rather than with sound theology. Conservative Catholics began to choose for themselves teachers who would justify grave sin.

Theology of the body is partly to blame for this process of decay. By mentioning the term “theology of the body” and the name “John Paul II”, conservatives are able to reject the traditional teaching of the Church, without any theological argument. The true theology of the body of Pope Saint John Paul II is one theological and philosophical argument after another. The false version, promoted by every ignorant Catholic who was willing to abandon truth in order to obtain fame, merely asserts one error after another. The only argument is the phrase “theology of the body” and the name of the holy Pope. In this way, they are like the Nicolaitans, who asserted grave errors on sexual ethics by using the name of one of the first deacons, Nicolas.

Theology of the body should teach the basic principles of ethics, should teach sexual ethics, and should defend the teaching of the Church on wifely submission and many other related topics of marriage and family. But it does not. Rather, it has become a vehicle to transport grave errors from sinful secular society into the conservative wing of the Church.

Gradually, the conservative teachers with the most prominence became those with the least faithfulness, but the most personal appeal. And they have been leading the faithful astray for many years. Then Pope Francis was elected. Before his election, conservative Catholics had already usurped the Magisterium, believing the majority opinion within the conservative Catholic subculture, rather than Church teaching. And so, when a liberal Pope was elected, they quickly became his opposition. Why should they obey him, or learn from him, when they are a magisterium unto themselves?

But God is putting conservative Catholics to the test, to see if they really are as faithful as they claim. They are not. They have no love for truth. They have chosen for themselves teachers of grave error. They have promoted a distorted version of Catholicism via the internet. They do not even bother presenting a theological argument for any of their positions. Instead, they simply explain what the supposedly correct point of view is, and their listeners accept it without regard for Tradition, Scripture, Magisterium.

Scripture itself has been abandoned by conservatives. They explain away or ignore whatever they dislike in the Bible. They no longer accept the dogma of total inspiration and total inerrancy. They have become a Bible unto themselves.

A case in point is found in a recent post by Dr. Ed Peters — one of very many examples of abandoning Church teaching and substituting one’s own ideas. There, he rejects the dogma of direct and immediate primacy of jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiff over each and all the faithful. He claims that the Pope can teach, by his own authority, infallibly — but not non-infallibly. Supposedly, when the Pope wishes to teach a non-infallible teaching, he is unable unless the Bishops also teach the same idea. Since Popes usually do not teach infallibly, this permits Peters to reject any teaching of any Pope he dislikes, with few exceptions. It is an utter rebellion against papal authority. And his article on the subject is a public declaration of heresy and schism.

What happened next? Nothing. Robert Fastiggi objected to Peters’ position. So did I. I could not find anyone else who even noticed this extreme heresy and this public schismatic act. Conservative Catholics like Peters, since he hits conservative talking points, from time to time, in his blog. And that is all they care about. “Tell us what we want to hear, and we will pretend you are holy, wise, and faithful.” That is their attitude.

Jimmy Akin is another example of this problem. Over the years, he has taught abject heresy on transubstantiation, confessing in kind and number, salvation, intrinsically evil acts, contraception, baptism, along with many lesser errors. His writings in Catholicism are highly incompetent. He has nothing more than a high school diploma and some time in a Protestant seminary. But he entertains, and he hits the conservative talking points.

And there are other examples, of course. Any Catholic who tells conservatives what they wish to hear quickly rises to prominence. And by this process of sinful conservatives choosing unfaithful teachers, they have gradually rejected dogma, doctrine, and sound theology.

It has reached the point where popular conservative Catholic leaders can openly teach heresy and openly commit schism, with no backlash from their conservative readers and listeners. They can’t distinguish heresy from doctrine, or they don’t care to distinguish the one from the other.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian

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6 Responses to Conservative Catholics are slowly abandoning the Faith

  1. Michael says:

    I think one of the difficulties for a lay catholic is trying to determine theological truth from a blogger’s opinion. The Catechism of the Catholic Church helps and provides a basic understanding of the faith, but it doesn’t always go into great detail for which you need a deeper theological foundation. People like Jimmy Akin appeal to a great number of Catholics because he tells them what they want to hear, but also because he explains it in terms easy to understand. It’s very easy to sway people when the root topic is difficult to understand in and of itself.

  2. Dora says:

    Today’s Catholic men intentionally put their wives in charge; that’s how they were raised. This has been going on ever since I was a child in the 60s, it is simply all they know. After decades away, I finally returned to the Church, and was struck by the fact I could not really find a “man’s man.” No surprise, they can probably smell a gay priest a mile away. When they see women running the parish council, women surrounding father at Mass, basically a feminized Church, they run for the hills or to the Evangelicals. Many men just stay home and they PUT THEIR WIVES IN CHARGE of their children’s spiritual life.

  3. liberal end of the filed
    field

  4. Mark P. says:

    Ron, you say, “But God is putting conservative Catholics to the test, to see if they really are as faithful as they claim. They are not. They have no love for truth.” It seems that modernists and liberal Catholics lost faith quite a long time ago, and out of pride have tried to fashion a Church that just goes along with the modern world. And although conservatives may indeed have many faults as you claim, it is not due as much to sheer lack of faith as it is to conservatives feeling they have to pick up the slack of a clergy and Church which overall appears disinterested in actually teaching and practicing the faith. So I would claim that liberals and modernists try to change Church teaching out of both pride and malice, whereas conservatives may unwittingly put out errant teachings perhaps out of pride, but with the intentions of trying to correct what they see as a severe lack of instruction from the Church itself.

    Next, I think any Catholic, “liberal” or “conservative” (it is unfortunate that we need to divide Catholic into political labels) can accept the fact they are “tested” through normal human temptations such as greed, lust, pride, envy, etc. But it is hard for any Catholic to swallow the notion that God would test the faithful through evil men in a corrupt Church. This reduces the Church to a type of sadistic test, a roller coaster ride where the faithful are asked to hold on for dear life while scandals, confusions, corruptions, divisions, and heresies are swirling around every day. I mean, with what has come to light in the last several weeks, who could really blame a Catholic for leaving the Church? Especially after what had transpired in the early 2000s. A Catholic leaves the faith today, disillusioned by the scandals. Then he dies and is turned away from Heaven with St. Peter telling him, “sorry, you should have just waited until it got better!”

    Obviously this situation can improve only with much prayer and many actual changes. But it may soon reach a point of requiring direct supernatural intervention.

  5. Marco says:

    As i said in the other topic, i believe that Mulieris Dignitatem, expecially chapter 24, can shine a light on this difficult subject.

    Emphasis mine.

    “The author of the Letter to the Ephesians sees no contradiction between an exhortation formulated in this way and the words: “Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife” (5:22-23). The author knows that this way of speaking, so profoundly rooted in the customs and religious tradition OF THE TIME, is to be understood and carried out in a NEW WAY: as a “mutual subjection out of reverence for Christ” (cf. Eph 5:21). This is especially true because the husband is called the “head” of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church; he is so in order to give “himself up for her” (Eph 5:25), and giving himself up for her means giving up even his own life. However, whereas in the relationship between Christ and the Church the subjection is only on the part of the Church, in the relationship between husband and wife the “subjection” IS NOT ONE-SIDED BUT MUTUAL.

    In relation to the “old” this is evidently something “new”: it is an innovation of the Gospel. We find various passages in which the apostolic writings express this innovation, even though they also communicate what is “old”: what is rooted in the religious tradition of Israel, in its way of understanding and explaining the sacred texts, as for example the second chapter of the Book of Genesis.[49]

    The apostolic letters are addressed to people living in an environment marked by that same traditional way of thinking and acting. The “innovation” of Christ is a fact: it constitutes the unambiguous content of the evangelical message and is the result of the Redemption. However, the awareness that in marriage there is mutual “subjection of the spouses out of reverence for Christ”, and NOT JUST THAT OF THE WIFE TO THE HUSBAND, must gradually establish itself in hearts, consciences, behaviour and customs. This is a call which from that time onwards, does not cease to challenge succeeding generations; it is a call which people have to accept ever anew. Saint Paul not only wrote: “In Christ Jesus… there is no more man or woman”, but also wrote: “There is no more slave or freeman”. Yet how many generations were needed for such a principle to be realized in the history of humanity through the abolition of slavery! And what is one to say of the many forms of slavery to which individuals and peoples are subjected, which have not yet disappeared from history?

    But the challenge presented by the “ethos” of the Redemption is clear and definitive. ALL THE REASONS IN FAVOUR OF THE “SUBJECTION” OF WOMAN TO MAN MUST BE UNDERSTOOD IN THE SENSE OF A “MUTUAL SUBJECTION” OF BOTH “OUT OF REVERENCE FOR CHRIST”.

    http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/apost_letters/1988/documents/hf_jp-ii_apl_19880815_mulieris-dignitatem.html

    It seems to me that the most conservative interpretation of those words is not mandatory. Otherwise Saint John Paul II wouldn’t have written Mulieris Dignitatem (or it would have been phrased in a different way) and the Catechism itself would use different words.

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