In the midst of the post-conciliar neo-Modernist invasion of the Church, why did an organization that calls itself Catholic Answers devote two hours of expensive radio time on May 31 to a live talk show attacking, not Modernism, but “radical traditionalists”? Why did the hosts of this show, Tim Staples and Patrick Coffin, dwell on a few Catholic adherents of the Society of Saint Pius X who (allegedly) lost their faith, while ignoring the “silent apostasy” that plagues the entire Western world—and this a half-century after the Council that was supposed to have made the faith more accessible to the masses? Why have Staples and Coffin planned another two hours of traditionalist bashing on August 12? And why has Catholic Answers devoted not one minute of its live radio show to the grave threat a resurgent Modernism poses to the souls of Catholics, who continue to apostatize by the millions under its influence? The answer to these questions, in a word, is this: neo-Catholicism, a kind of well-mannered second cousin to Modernism. Inveterate Remnant readers will know what I mean by the term, but for newcomers to this controversy a bit of background is in order.
What is a Neo-Catholic?
In The Great Façade (Remnant Press: 2002), my co-author and I introduced the term “neo-Catholic” to signify a constituency quite unknown in the Catholic Church before Vatican II. The term suggests a parallel to the “neo-conservative” of politics, whose “conservatism” involves the conservation of a liberalized status quo that is actually an ever-widening break with the “paleo-conservatism” (traditionalism) of the past. In a manner akin to neo-conservatives who look down their noses at paleo-conservatives, neo-Catholics disdain Roman Catholic traditionalists because they have continued to be what neo-Catholics themselves once were, and what all their ancestors were for centuries before—that is, Catholics who believe and practice the unreconstructed faith of their fathers from the liturgy, to the catechism, to the rites of the sacraments.
Since the Council we have witnessed, for the first time in the Church’s bimillenial history, the emergence of a strain of Catholic “neo-conservatism”—hence neo-Catholicism—characterized by a staunch defense of unprecedented ecclesial novelties the Popes before the Council would have viewed with utter horror. Among other novelties comprising the liberalized ecclesial status quo of the post-conciliar epoch, the neo-Catholic defends the new vernacular liturgy (including the appalling spectacle of altar girls, approved by “John Paul the Great”), the new “ecumenism,” which has all but de-missionized the Church, and the new “dialogue,” which has reduced the perennial preaching of the Gospel with the authority of Christ Himself to a vacuous “discussion-ism” that avoids any open proclamation of the imperatives of divine revelation, especially the claims of Christ on nations as well as individuals.
If there is a spectrum, I am somewhere between a neo-Catholic and a traditionalist. In some ways, the characterization of neo-Catholics is as stereotypical as that of the “mad trads,” frankly. Many who might be comfortable with the Ordinary Form of the Mass are not Modernists.