The Death and Resurrection of the Catholic Sense

Those out there who think it is wrong to explain why sacrilege, abomination, and immodesty are, in fact, bad, I have one question: What happened to you?

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Many readers of Crisis Magazine are likely of the opinion that World Youth Day was a total disaster. I believe Peter Kwasniewski’s description of it as “World Profanation Day” was perfectly adequate, and Austin Ruse’s heartfelt telling of his daughter’s traumatic and sorrowful experience at the event pretty much sums it up. 

Not to spend too much time rehashing what happened at that hopefully-soon-abolished event, but if you forgot, aside from the immense opportunity for sacrilege during the open-air liturgy, at one point a priest who is also a techno DJ serenaded the kids with syncopated rhythms that would be most effective in torturing a terrorist at Gitmo if played on repeat.

In any event, it seems pretty obvious to you, dear reader, that this sort of nonsense should be exposed, mocked, and hopefully blotted out from existence, doesn’t it? Well, for some Catholic commentators, those of us who point out that DJ priests and all the other horrific idiocy that was the itinerary for WYD are, in fact, bad, are nothing other than mean and stupid jerks who are causing scandal and being unfair.

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Well, for those out there who think it is wrong to explain why sacrilege, abomination, immodesty, opportunities for fornication with nonsegregated emotionalist events, presentations by James Martin, and a priest playing rave music in front of an altar that looks like a bathtub are, in fact, bad, I have one question: What happened to you?

I mean this honestly. If you are someone throwing rocks at the Catholic commentators pointing out the obvious lunacy of World Youth Day, why are you doing it? Have you completely lost your Catholic sense?

Have you reached the point of intellectual and spiritual absurdity that you would defend a priest playing some of the worst music ever created in human history in front of an altar that looked like it was from a Lego set?

Do you care so little for modesty in dress that you laugh it off as young women dance in tube tops and tank tops to a crowd of Catholic youth? 

Again, I ask: What happened to you?

When did you stop being repulsed by the repulsive? When did sulfur start to smell like incense? When did the cacophony of post-modernist psycho-sexual unmusic become completely acceptable for a priest to play to a crowd of young, hormonal kids who gyrated their hips and smiled?

Has the modern Catholic—or more specifically, the Modernist Catholic—so utterly lost his Catholic sense that he will call a pile of dung “chocolate ice cream” if the USCCB tells him to? Has the modern Catholic—or more specifically, the Modernist Catholic—so utterly lost his Catholic sense that he will call a pile of dung “chocolate ice cream” if the USCCB tells him to?Tweet This

In the past—a place I wish I could visit sometimes—they used to use the expression “offensive to pious ears.” If something was “offensive to pious ears” it was bad, distasteful, and uncatholic. 

There is a lot to unpack in the term “pious ears.” For us, we think of the term pious as referring to something like outward religious devotion or behavior. If so and so goes to daily Mass, we might say “he is very pious.” Or, if someone prays earnestly for the intercession of a certain saint as a habit, we might say “he has a very pious devotion to Saint…”

Of course, using the term this way is perfectly understandable. But the word “pious” means more than it is commonly used for. Thomas Aquinas speaks of piety as a daughter of the virtue of justice and uses the term more like we would use the term “patriotism.” Historically, if something was pious or someone showed the virtue of piety, it would likely be assumed that the term was used in reference to a person giving or God receiving what is due out of justice.

Therefore, it is pious for a man to attend daily Mass—but because God is due worship and not so much because the man looks holy by doing so. So, if something is “offensive to pious ears” this means that what is being said is offensive to God and the person detects this sinful affront to the Divine Majesty.

Apparently, for the neocatholic defender of DJ priests and WYD abominations, there is no such thing as piety anymore, and therefore nothing is offensive to pious ears or other sentiments.

I just finished reading Kwasniewski’s Good Music, Sacred Music, and Silence, and it was a remarkable and illuminating book. In the book, he makes an airtight case against modern music—both Church and secular—and for a return to the pious traditions of sacred and folk music of the past. The book is well researched—to say the least—and it is a complete dismantling of any attempt to justify the use of “praise and worship” or any other type of ridiculous modern music in Church, or in the earbuds of civilized people for that matter.

That being said, I could summarize the book in a sentence or two: the old music was better and holier; the new music is the worst; and basically everything that has happened in the “New Springtime” has been a sad joke, which you would understand if you knew what was “offensive to pious ears.”

Now, if someone has lost their Catholic sense, then their pious ears become tone-deaf, and they become ridiculous as they continue to defend the indefensible. 

But, it’s not all bad.

Recently, I spoke at the Coalition for Canceled Priests Conference in Rosemont, Illinois, alongside speakers such as Eric Sammons, Janet Smith, Jesse Romero, and Peter Kwasniewski. Unlike my fellow presenters, I was never considered the sort of speaker or author that was allowed to play in the sandbox with mainstream Catholics. When I started writing and speaking publicly a few years ago, I realized pretty quickly that I wasn’t going to be able to hide my “rad trad” sensibilities for long; so I figured I may as well get it over with and cancel myself before going through the ordeal of being cancelled by someone else.

What is amazing is that just three or four years ago I never in a million years would have thought I would be sharing the stage with the likes of the aforementioned persons. After all, these were respectable people who no one called a schismatic and who were recommended and supported by official Catholic institutions and clerics. But, at the conference, a common theme emerged when you spoke to each speaker: at a certain point, their conscience told them “enough is enough” and they threw caution to the wind and decided to rub shoulders with the “trads”—if they didn’t become one themselves. 

All of this is to say that the tone-deaf neocatholic, who like Van Gogh cut off his pious ears, is a dying breed, and he is becoming more absurd with each passing day. We have now reached the point where we have to choose between defending World Profanation Day or actually thinking and speaking like Catholics.

It is a pretty simple decision to make. Providentially, as things in the Church get more and more absurd, it is easier and easier for respectable people like Janet Smith to hang out with less respectable ruffians like Kennedy Hall.

As much as the Catholic sense has been immolated on the altar of modernity and stupidity—but I repeat myself—it seems as if it is resurrecting and making a bit of a comeback. Things may be dumber than ever in the Church, but at least we can all say that openly now. Only the most ridiculous of commentators are still defending the clown show. 

[Photo: Eucharistic reservation during the Chartres Pilgrimage]

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