Why aging liberals are so nasty and so frightened

At the UK’s best Catholic weekly, the Catholic Herald, there is an analysis piece by a writer for First Things, Matthew Schmitz. He writes about the angst libs are experiencing, as they cope with the ticking clock: Pope Francis isn’t moving fast enough to realize the iconoclastic agenda and their time is running out. The younger generation doesn’t want their progressive fairyland of discontinuity.

Here’s a sample:

Liberal Catholicism’s unexpected crisis


[L[iberal Catholics whose initial enthusiasm is now curdling into concern, even alarm. Three years after his election, The Tablet has decided that Pope Francis’s reform programme is “rapidly becoming overdue”. Robert Mickens, the veteran Vatican correspondent, writes in the National Catholic Reporter that “many reform-minded Catholics have again become quite worried about the future direction of their Church”. [Micken’s had a spittle-flecked nutty about Card. Sarah the other day at the National Sodomotic Reporter.  Of course what set him off were the Cardinal’s comments about the evil of the demonic gender distortion agenda and homosexuality that is so ripe these days.]

Vito Mancuso, a former priest and protégé of the liberal Italian lion Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, shares their fears. “Two diametrically opposed forces are intensifying within the Catholic Church,” he warns us in a recent interview in La Repubblica. Opposed to the innovators like himself are those who “want to return to the ‘sound tradition,’ something especially prevalent among young priests”. [They know that everything they worked for for so long is about to be dismantled.  And the nastier they get, in their sclerotic positions of power, they more joyously young priests will demolish their Babel towers.]

Mancuso believes that if Francis does not act more decisively, and soon, he risks being no more than “a shooting star”. After his death or retirement, the College of Cardinals could elect a pope who would end the flexible pastoral approach and begin making straightforward affirmations and condemnations. They particularly fear the election of Cardinal Robert Sarah, a man who does not seem much interested in flattering the sensibilities of educated Westerners. He appears in their nightmares with the name Pius XIII.


The first problem is demographic. There are not enough highly committed young liberal Catholics to replace the older generation. Last September, the posh Town and Country Club in St Paul, Minnesota, hosted to a conference with the title “Can Francis change the Church’s approach to sexuality?” Barbara Frey, a human rights lawyer, and Massimo Faggioli, an advocate for the theological education of newspaper columnists, addressed a crowd of 125 attendees. Notwithstanding the spicy topic, the National Catholic Reporter noted that crowd members were “mostly in their 60s, 70s and 80s”.

Though many self-identified Catholics count as liberals, broad trends away from religious attachment and observance have left fewer than ever willing to spend time and energy trying to change the Church. Phyllis Zagano, a professor at Hofstra University and advocate for women deacons, worries that “older Church professionals who adjusted to vernacular liturgies and who incorporate mercy into their understandings of justice are retiring daily” only to be replaced by young conservatives.


Read the whole thing there.

Meanwhile, Fr. Hunwicke, at Mutual Enrichment, comments on why bishops are so frenzied about The Sarah Appeal™.

So those bishops around the world who resent liturgical renewal are getting ever nastier, and turning the screws on their unfortunate clergy … especially the younger ones (you’d think they might be glad to have one or two younger clergy as they shut down their priestless churches by the dozen).

Why? I think they had their minds formed in an age when liturgical texts and habits preceding the 1970s were viewed by some with a deeply and viscerally personal detestation. There are some around who are still motivated by the same obsessive aversions.


Sad, really, that some bishops had (have?) so little confidence in the good sense of their clergy.


Why such silly tantrums? A wise priest trained in psychiatry has diagnosed the problem thus: They associate the Extraordinary Form with what they think of as a repressive and sin-obsessed form of Catholicism from which they were glad to be set free.

In other words, their liturgical passions are still tangled up in their adolescent struggles with their now aged hormones.


To which I should add some points.  I’ve made some of these points before.

First, do not forget liberals are how smug and humorless because they perceive themselves as morally superior to us mere mortals.  This feeds into their small-minded nastiness.

Next, it is sometimes hard to remember when reading liberal crowing about their latest Pyrrhic victory, that younger committed Catholics, certainly seminarians, younger priests and goodly number of bishops, don’t give a tinker’s dam about anything the Fishwrap (aka National Sodomitic Reporter) says.  They don’t share the narrow vision of a still widespread – but rapidly weakening – discontinuity and rupture. Young people have nothing invested in that agenda.  The few that do are exceptions to the rule.  The seminarians I know, if they see the Fishwrap at all, just shake their heads.  Perhaps they smile a little.  The indifference this new generation of priests has concerning the liberal catholic agenda will inevitably have a huge knock-on effect in the parishes they will lead and the classrooms they will teach in.  That terrifies the aging catholic Left.

Moreover, just Fr. Hunwicke has his perspective on liberals in Ol’ Blighty, there is a perspective to be had about liberals in these USA.  On this side of the Pond, self-absorbed Promethean Neopelagian aging-hippie liberals still interpret everything within the Church through the lens they formed during the anti-authoritarian civil-rights and anti-war protest movements. When we (The Forces of Light) try to uphold hierarchy and authority or rubrics or the older form of Mass or obedience to the Magisterium or decorum in liturgy and sacred music (or in the clerical life) an involuntary subconscious switch clicks in their heads. They take your faithful Catholic position of continuity to be an attack themselves and on Vatican II, on … niceness… on bunnies … on the poor… on the Democrat Party…. Vatican II cannot, in their minds, be separated from the protest movements they have idolized until they are actually paradigmatic, iconic, even mythic.

The myth is now itself dying, and they don’t like it one little bit.

The moderation queue is ON.

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