I have argued before that the friend-enemy distinction is an irreducible and legitimate distinction for Catholics. That is, to recognize someone as an enemy of the Church is not the same as calling him a heretic or accusing him of personal sin. This is why we are perfectly correct to distinguish the gay rights movement, an enemy working to persecute the Church and entice our children to apostasy, from the mass of humans indulging in unnatural sexual acts (homosexuality, masturbation, contraception, or whatever–they’re all morally equivalent) but not demanding the Church either change her teaching to accommodate their vices or be destroyed. This is why we are correct to direct our hostility toward the Kasperites who are collaborating with our mortal enemy, Liberalism, toward the destruction of the Church while remaining friendly with the Mormons who, by our standards, aren’t even monotheists but nevertheless wish us well. To recognize the enemy is to recognize that the Church is, as a human organization, vulnerable. It can be destroyed, and if it was, all the spiritual goods of the Church would disappear with it. The Church is at war with Liberalism, her mortal foe who might destroy her and will destroy her if it can. War is the moment of ultimate social clarity. Faced with the live possibility of the destruction of the Church, there arises within the Catholic soul an urgent will to collective survival. The prerogative to survive, to rebuff attack, overrides every consideration except absolute moral prohibitions. Fastidious concern for Canon Law would be madness, an abdication of responsibility, when survival in the face of the Liberal enemy is at stake.
Some commenters at the Orthosphere think themselves too moral for the ideas of political philosopher Carl Schmitt because of his association with German National Socialism. The men and nations who actually fought the actual Nazis, on the other hand, were fortunately “Nazi” enough in their thinking to understand the friend-enemy distinction. Imagine if World War II had been run like today’s Catholic Church. Suppose Churchill, Stalin, Roosevelt, General Eisenhower, etc. were prone to tremendously demoralizing off-the-cuff interviews where they hinted that major surrenders were on the way and encouraged everyone to meditate on the injustices of Versailles and the legitimate aspirations of the Japanese Empire, and maybe to send an apology or two toward our aggrieved adversaries. Disgruntled soldiers could console themselves by remembering that what their leaders say to journalists is not official Allied/Soviet/American/British policy and should be ignored. Suppose they took it farther. Suppose one of our brave wartime leaders, Joe Stalin say (because Russia of all the Allied powers faced the most existential threat, making it the best analogy for the Church), announced that he had become a Nazi and would henceforth work for the subjugation of the Slavic race. It would be insane to care that he only said this in an off-the-cuff interview to journalists rather than in any official capacity. The proper thing would be for the communist party to remove him in a prompt and orderly way, but every Russian down to the lowliest private should stop obeying him immediately, even regarding orders not obviously treasonous. The reason is not because the leader has proven himself wrong or immoral, but by the more urgent fact that he has revealed himself as an enemy. Loyalty to Russia would most certainly not mean desperately pretending that the traitor is not a traitor, of delusionally reading Nazi-convert-Stalin in the Leninist tradition.
The Sedevacantists have concentrated on the level of doctrine. Is it established that the pope is a heretic? Does he automatically cease to be pope if he is? I will not address this question. The Sedevacantist might be wrong doctrinally, but he is right practically. For Pope Francis to claim that Catholics should apologize to sodomites for marginalizing them (that is, for promoting a heteronormative social order) is like Stalin doing a Nazi salute. He’s actually throwing punches for the other side. Put to the side whether he is a heretic, whether he is personally sinning by his outrageous non-binding statements, whether he is in fact pope. Has he not exposed himself as being on the enemy’s side? What obedience could we possibly owe to an enemy?
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