A revealing test

Bruce Charlton writes

I think this is one litmus test of a functional Christian church – how would, how do, the members including leaders react to one of themselves being ‘martyred’ by political correctness for his clear unambiguous adherence to unpopular/ ‘evil’ church doctrine. Is the instinct to shun ‘bad publicity’ for the institution or to leap to assist and form a spear bristling shield wall?

Would church members rally-round, provide psychological support – would they raise money among themselves to physically sustain a member who lost his liveihood as a consequence of SJW persecution? Would senior leaders of the church get on the phone or visit ASAP to pledge their support?

What a difference that makes! That is certainly what ought to happen in such situations – the ‘hero’/ scapegoat would then know that the people *who mattered* were on his side. This is surely what churches should be doing for their members in these times (and some certainly are): so each Christian knows that it is *us* against the world, not just me against the world.

I’ve always assumed that if I were exposed and denounced by SJWs, even if only and explicitly for my adherence to Catholic moral teachings (not my admittedly heterodox beliefs on racism and immigration), the Church (meaning my parish and diocese, assuming they found out about it) would insist that it is a tolerant, merciful organization that has nothing to do with hateful homophobic bigots like me.  I would not be excommunicated, but Mass attendance would become a socially awkward affair.  I don’t think my parish or diocese is particularly bad, by the way, but my guess is that not one in a thousand would stand up for someone the secular press was saying mean things about.

What do you think?  Am I being pessimistic?  Would the Church be correct to disown me?

21 Responses

  1. […] A revealing test […]

  2. A church should support its members in every adversity, but most especially martyrdom. It prays for them when they are sick and brings them meals when they are confined by pregnancy, so it should rally round when they taking heat for refusing to blaspheme or apostatize. I’m talking about legal aid, and not just tea and sympathy,

  3. My church would rally-round for truth on Catholic moral teachings. They already have a siege mentality being the only TLM in town and shunted off to the city’s ghetto. I don’t know how they would respond to the über mortal sin of racism.

  4. If this helps, I wear a Confederate flag lapel pin and earring to Sunday Mass, and maintain what I hope is a stone-faced hostile glare when forced to exchange the “peace” with Negroes or other Coloreds, whose numbers in my parish seem to be growing every week. The vicar smiles and shakes my hand, pretending he doesn’t notice.

  5. Bonald,

    I don’t see how your views on immigration are heterodox. Or have I forgotten the episodes wherein early popes scolded the emperor to let the Gothic refugees in (recall that they were fleeing the Huns), or when Pope St. Leo I welcomed Atilla and his gang of refugees (looking for a homeland – practically orphans!) to feast off Rome’s bounty?

  6. Yeah, I also don’t see how your views on immigration are heterodox (they are, after all, my views and I’ll sock anyone in the damn jaw who calls me a heretic). Holy Mother Church teaches that we are to “welcome the foreigner,” by which I understand her to mean that we are to treat those we admit in a welcoming manner (and not, as some do, unscrupulously exploit illegals’ labor while denying their wages and threatening to have them deported if they complain), not that we are to literally welcome any random foreigner into our homes with no conditions. That’s just absurd, and after all Holy Mother Church also teaches a thing or two about the rights of workers, the common good, the rule of law, etc., that also cannot be ignored.

    Re: your post, no, the Church would not be correct to disown you for defending the faith, since this would misrepresenting her own faith publicly, which is a grave scandal.

  7. Bonald, would it not be more accurate to describe your views on “race” as “culturalism”? How would you compare a devout, conservative Catholic who happens to be black with a white man who has decided to embrace Islam?

  8. In a sense, this would be more accurate. It is culture and religion that actually interest me, not race per se. However, I’ve emphasized that the two things naturally tend to intertwine in practice.

    A properly functioning culture will be passed down between generations. Hence distinct cultures/religions will properly discourage intermarriage. Hence they will tend to become “races” as the various cultures genetically diverge. If a bunch of whites and blacks genuinely hold the same culture, they’ll naturally interbreed and soon cease to be two different races, which is perfectly fine. If they remain aloof for long, they’ll soon spiritually diverge into distinct cultures, which is also not necessarily bad (except if it means one group or the other having incorrect religious beliefs). When we see persistently distinct races, they’re usually distinct in more than genotype.

  9. Bonald,,
    “Culture/religion” works for parochial religions such as Hinduism or Judism or Shinto but is entirely misleading for univeralist religions such as Christianity, Islam and Buddhism.
    Marriage takes place within a community i.e. a culture. Religion is only there incidentally.

  10. @ Terrance: a couple of days early for April 1st.

    “Yea, that totally showed them. “

  11. Terrence Allen: your FBI badge is showing.

  12. The Church ought to support Christians over non-Christians. That much seems a given to me, at least in the case you imply. Obviously if a Christian is accused of murder, that isn’t necessarily the case, but being accused of heresies against insanity? Yeah, the priest is a failure if he does not support you.

    All professions have been infected in the Modern World. We should not expect that ‘Brahmins’ of the official variety will not sell us out. Such is actually to be anticipated and headed off.

  13. Regarding Charlton’s writings, would you say you are a Bad Guy Catholic like Belloc or a Good Guy Catholic like Chesterton?


  14. The test is when some church member is accused by the mass media, governmnet agencies, powerful coroprations etc of ***ism or ***ophobia or some Hate Crime for stating or acting on Christian principles – and therefore ‘everybody’ believes this is true.

    What is required from church leadership and membership in such circumstances is rapid, unconditional and practical help – on the *assumption* that such accusations are (almost certainly – and therefore it should be assumed) false and/ or irrelevant.

  15. Interesting. I seem to be a perfect case of the Bad Guy Catholic–someone for whom none of it comes easily, someone motivated a lot by tribal loyalty and the appeal of a logical system.

  16. To the notion that “Bellocism is, for me, that Catholicism of a man who is not naturally ‘a good man'”, I would reply that nobody is naturally a good man, and to suggest otherwise is Pellagianism.

    On another note, IMO that whole blog post could have been a lot shorter if Bruce had simply written “I don’t like Rorate Caeli nor the people who read it”.

  17. @Peasant – That’s ridiculous, obviously you’re building a strawman here. Of course he is aware that we all have sinful tendencies, but just as Bonald so frequently mentions there are group differences and individual differences, with some tending more one way or the other naturally.

  18. About 10 years ago when I “believed” in a vague agnosticism/atheism I started grow extremely bitter and selfish. Perhaps enough to be labeled a sociopath, because I think it’s the logic conclusion – no?

    I’ve slowly crawled out of that hole the last couple years. I think understanding the fundamental role of our relationship towards God being one of love is most important – but I see a place for the strong, hard rules for those belligerent, cold, and indifferent to those possibilities.

    Isn’t that exactly what our Act of Contrition states? You should try to be good, even if you’re so ignorant and dumb that love wont motivate you towards there.

    “O, my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you. I detest all my sins because of your just punishment, but most of all because they offend you, my God, who are all-good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Your grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin.”

  19. “Good man” was an infelicitous choice of words, but it is certainly true that some men are much less disposed to religious sentiment than others. If genetic dispositions really did determine our religious beliefs, I would probably have been an atheist. Perhaps I would have been a pagan. Christianity certainly doesn’t fit my native temperament. This may well color my writing.

  20. @George,

    To your first comment, I can only shrug – taking Bruce’s words in a strict and legalistic sense and talking about heresy seemed the best way to a reply to a jeremiad against Catholics (ostensibly such as Belloc) who argue in a legalistic manner and call Protestant bodies heretical. I probably used more snark than necessary, so if Bruce is reading this, mea culpa.

    To your second comment, I would say that the “strong, hard rules” are there for the benefit of the man who loves God a great deal just as much as they are there for the man who loves Him only a little. Keeping the honest man honest, to borrow a phrase. I would also say that a relationship with God of love where there are also rules that He has laid down is very fitting for a religion that dares to call Him “Father”.


    I think this is largely a matter of perspective. The Christian faith as expressed in the historic Roman Mass has a temperament which is largely that of Roman paganism, though without the undertone of despair and loneliness (you may have read some of Fr. Hunwicke’s posts to this effect). I think you can find strong strains of Christian thought and prayer expressing the temperament of each of the three cultures whose languages were used on our Lord’s cross.

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