By Grey Piccolo
From the opening moments of the diocese of Fresno's Religious Education Congress, "Moved by Grace," the rehabilitation of the originally slated LGBT agenda befouled the environs. The devils were in the walls. Where sexual dysfunction was not being explicitly lauded or normalized, general theological error abounded.
The keynote speaker, Brother Silas Henderson, gave an address highlighting just what being moved by grace entails. It was, of course, as insipid as it was blasphemous, which meant that it delighted all the post-menopausal, progressive ex-nuns in the audience.
Apparently, notwithstanding the sacramental font of grace which enjoyed a mention or two, being moved by grace more truly involves conceiving neo-pagan precepts such as "God is everything"— the heresy of pantheism — and "God is neither male nor female" — too many simultaneous heresies to enumerate. Also, grace makes great sinners amenable to God, even unremoved from and obstinate within their grave sin, I gathered from Br. Silas's subtexting.
But at least the keynote address referenced a crappy secular novel, not Scripture or Tradition, to cover all its heretical ground — so that was fun. Quoting the lesbian-prostitute Shug from The Color Purple, who allegedly "has a very Catholic imagination," Br. Silas explained the basics of what he called "the god of surprises."
Basically, the now-popular concept of theological surprise constitutes the anti-Gospel, imputing uncertainty where the Gospel expresses certainty (e.g. unchanging issues of faith and morals) and vice versa (e.g. the "easy" assurance of Heaven). Where the Gospel calls us to observe the plain objectivity of morality, the new anti-Gospel of surprise throws it into radical questioning and neverending reinterpretation.
I'm guessing that Br. Silas scratches his head when and if he ever reads Our Lord extolling moral forthrightness in Matthew 5: 37: "Let your yes mean yes and your no mean no; anything more comes from the evil one."
After all, where is the whimsy in speaking and acting plainly? Where is the enthralling surprise? Where is the space left for sexual license?
In sum, young Br. Silas explained (as quixotically as any priest from the '70s) that grace "moves everything," by which I'm convinced he meant to specify the bowels. Indeed, the gastrointestinal seemed to be the address' only effectively targeted human capacity. At any rate, the banalities of the keynote address certainly did not appeal to the human intellect.
Next, at the Congress liturgy — and I invoke the concept of liturgy in only the loosest sense — the celebrant sermonized about being "moved by grace" in a similarly desultory equipoise. He continued rehabilitating the ethos of the '70s, just where Br. Silas left off, abusing the concept of grace like some writ of diplomatic immunity from sin.
While the day's short gospel reading, Luke 11:27–28, ought to have been a refreshing recollection recalling moral simplicity — "Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey" — he said almost nothing whatsoever to that effect. It was instead all grace and happy surprises.
Instead, he deepened the exegetical confusion with the faintest, quasi-orthodox hint of a suggestion that grace may often be rejected by hardhearted sinners committed to their slavecraft. Yet, as quickly as the priest insinuated it, he dropped it and went back to his squishy universalist implications.
In sum, Church Militant's well-fought preclusion of the LGBT program at the 2018 Fresno Congress left a subtle yet intelligible cipher at the event. The explicit presence of the agenda was unsubtly, unartfully abstracted at the last moment, but with dozens of its shades stalking the halls in its place.
It may not come as shocking news, but in the wider configuration of the Church universal, the progressive agenda cannot be — without a Nicaea-like ideological showdown — stopped in its tracks at this point, save small moral victories. I am more convinced of this than ever. It may be stymied, but not shut down; it can be delayed but not rebuffed permanently — not until the hierarchy deigns to excise the homoheresy and its progeny in their entirety.
The confusion and discord sown by the homoheresy were its authors' aim, after all — what Communist agents Yuri Bezmenov and Bella Dodd called "ideological subversion." The only way to fight ideological subversion is to clearly articulate its evils, starting with the undaunted expression of the vileness of the homosexualist agenda inside and outside the Church. Thankfully, Church Militant has been on the cutting edge of this counteroffensive. Pray for our Church and for the deliverance of these darkling days.