By Father Kevin M. Cusick
“Often times the obsessed, scrupulous, self-appointed, nostalgia-hankering virtual guardians of faith or of liturgical practices are very disturbed, broken and angry individuals, who never found a platform or pulpit in real life and so resort to the Internet and become trolling pontiffs and holy executioners!” Fr Thomas Rosica said recently in comments delivered to the Brooklyn Diocesan observance of World Communications Day.
How do you move product? By convincing others you have what they need. And if no one needs what you are trying to sell you have to create a need. This I think is the clue to understanding the shameful behavior of self-promoting clerics like Fr James Martin, SJ and Father Rosica. These and others repeatedly speak on Twitter, their blogs and in publications about nameless enemies of mercy and love without naming any names. They create straw men with the sole purpose of promoting themselves and their tired agendas of rupture and denial of the norms of tradition.
No doubt they are reacting to a critical reception of their own comments, but rather than take on their interlocutors by name or individually they issue general “fatwas” in public fora as fodder for their paid speechifying. Rosica and Martin are both notorious for blocking any critics on social networks rather than respond meaningfully to any challenges or critique.
Fr Rosica is serving as a headline act on the Catholic speaking circuit lately, promoted by bishops as an expert on the Year of Mercy and other things Vatican. He fails to satisfy his own criteria however, delivering as he does a negative message in his blanket condemnation of unnamed others who are guilty as charged by him.
The days of rule by committee or “subject matter experts” such as Rosica or Martin are over. The advent of the internet with an abundance of information available at the fingertips of anyone who can gain access anywhere and the subsequent growth of social networks allowing like-minded individuals to find each other and influence opinion has changed all that.
The boom market for the new and innovative in the intervening years since the conclusion of Vatican II all began with the Masonic committee headed by Annibale Bugnini, later exiled to Turkey in punishment that came too late to save the Church from incredible and lasting damage. Bugnini’s committee, ostensibly created for the well-sounding intention of ecumenical relations, became the tail that wagged the dog, hijacking Vatican II not to serve the Faith of those already Catholic but to turn things Catholic into something acceptable for those who self-identify as rejecting the Catholic Faith.
The Masonic subterfuge of Bugnini perpetrated error and disobedience that would not be possible today with the internet and social networks that derailed a similar attempts at coups de etats by means of committee in the run-up to the Synod on the Family. The outrageous attempt at normalization of homosexual activity and marital simulation between two men or two women was perpetrated by the change agents of today such as Bishop Forte at the preparatory synods, but eventually frustrated through an outing of his methods by the alert internet guardians bemoaned by Rosica.
The on-line story delivered by Crux informs us that “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.”
So what? This storyline is proferred as if Rosica and his network should never subject to any criticism at all and that, therefore, those who offer any critique are always wrong to do so. I am not sure who is supposed to believe this fiction but don’t count me among them. Rosica’s tirade leaves him appearing merely thin-skinned and feeling entitled.
According to the Crux story,
“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.’”
And on and on he goes, dramatically, endlessly and vaguely critizing anyone and everyone who has ever dared to question his personal spin on Pope Francis, the Year of Mercy or anything else Catholic. It all leaves me feeling as if I’ve been subjected to one long self-promotion disguised as self-righteous ranting. Exactly the thing he condemns in others. Shameful reactionary whining in lieu of authentic debate or reasoned conversation serves only to perpetuate the situation Rosica professes to oppose.
A fool is born every minute as PT Barnum sagely observed. Certainly charlatans and carpet baggers will continue to prosper as they attempt to get by on their wits. Catholics who choose to be informed of the Faith can now do so. Don’t expect them to put their light under a bushel basket or fail to be salt of the earth after they have made the effort to know the truth. The unparalleled access offered by the internet means that anyone who is engaged, the small and the great, must expect to be confronted by those who disagree.
The very name of Father Rosica’s network reminds us that our agenda must be that of Christ. Whether one’s importance is obvious such as in the case of Fr Rosica, now also serving as English-language advisor for Vatican Communications, or whether one is merely a simple soul with access to the internet forum, all are called to know the truth and be thus set free. The call to be “Salt & Light” is for all, to include those who produce journalism and those who are asked to benefit by it. The exchange of ideas made possible by the internet is a great equalizer not to be resented but from which all may benefit for the sake of truth and Faith.
Thank you for reading and praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever.
Join me on pilgrimage in Italy September 1-9, 2016, to Rome for the canonization of Mother Teresa, Assisi, Florence and Venice. Visit proximotravel.com on the web and type “Maryland” in Search and then click on “Father Kevin M. C.” to find and sign up for our group. Or email me atmcitl.blogspot.com for further info.