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The founder of Gab, Andrew Torba (a really good guy and astute observer of the culture), has noted that a major contributing factor to the decay of the culture is what he terms "comfortable Christianity." It's a good point. The essence of it is that many adherents of Christianity have simply become comfortable — too comfortable — and allowed the culture to decay. Agreed.
But let's shift this analysis to the Catholic world and take a deep dive into the arena of "comfortable Catholicism." Too many of the moneyed class, the establishment class, the university class and the media class of Catholics have simply grown comfortable in their establishment acceptance. But the real danger is that they don't really accomplish anything near what they tell themselves they do.
Take, for example, the faculty at "conservative" Catholic universities. Do they accomplish some good? Sure — but anywhere near as much as they think they do? Not a prayer. Why? Because it's one thing to stand in front of a classroom full of young minds and light up their intellects with Aquinas and philosophy and so forth. It's an entirely different thing to send them out into a Church whose hierarchy is corrupt doctrinally, financially, morally and liturgically.
And what's worse — because it's nearly impossible to be a faculty member at a Catholic university and not become ensconced in the establishment — is that you never really talk about it with your students. Heck, many are so ensconced in it, they don't even know it or will admit it. It's either naivete or a deliberate unwillingness to rock the boat so as not to disturb their comfort.
Imagine a faculty person, let's say at the recent shindig in Dallas thrown for Bp. Burns, walking up to him and not just bringing up the topic, but actually challenging him to his face about the issue of sacrilegious Holy Communion by Catholic politicians (like Biden) and Burns' unwillingness to denounce it. Or would anyone at the cocktail party have asked him to issue a statement denouncing James Martin's heresy on homosexuality?
James Martin has a very wide reach on social media, even penetrating into the circles of some of the students sitting right in front of these faculty members every day. Why shouldn't Bp. Burns be challenged to issue a statement against Martin's heresy? Why wouldn't Bp. Burns or any other bishop in America just do that automatically without being challenged?
The answer to that is obvious. They too are comfortable. In fact, it's the bishops who have set the tone of comfort that lay establishment-types have fallen into. The problem with comfort is that it's enticing. People build their lives around it, and, in order to maintain those lives, they know to keep their mouths shut.
We don't even need anyone at a cocktail party to tell us that these topics are never brought up, at least not in a confrontational way. Comfort cannot brook confrontation. They do not mix. You don't go to a cocktail party where polite discussion about golf handicaps and other social niceties are the du jour discussion and then suddenly switch gears to the uncomfortable topic of homosexual men in the priesthood and the severe harm they have inflicted on the Church — and, most importantly, the bishops' weak response to it (and, in some cases, the acceptance and embracing of it).
Do Bp. Burns and all the others really agree with James Martin's doublespeak about homosexual individuals being "wonderfully made" that way by God? We certainly hope not, but we have no idea because nothing is said about it. The Catholic Church is the Bride of Christ, the mystical body of Christ. It is Jesus Christ in time and space, and when a member of the ordained attacks a truth of this Church and distorts it so horribly, why should a bishop even have to be told or challenged to step forward and defend the Church?
It's pathetic. Every summer, James Martin talks to thousands of young Catholics at Jesuit high schools around the nation, spreading his poison that God created men and women deliberately with an inclination to this sin. That's his whole argument behind the stupid and evil propaganda that "you are wonderfully made."
He blasts his spiritual filth out onto social media, senior clergy in the Church support it, souls are put at risk of eternal damnation and not a peep about it from bishops. Does the cocktail-Catholic crowd bring up this — or anything like it — to Burns or any other bishops they like to mingle with? Does the annual Napa Institute posh gathering broach these "uncomfortable" topics? Or does it all stay safe and non-offensive — all high-minded and lofty and philosophical in that theological "safe space" where we can all agree on evil in the big picture, knock back a second drink, postulate on some other academic platitude and then all retire for the evening thinking how Catholic we've all been?
But the reality is this: Not a blessed thing is accomplished because the conversation is never allowed to turn uncomfortable. The bishop won't let it, and those hosting the cocktails don't want it to, lest they fall from favor with their duplicitous bishop buddy. If they did challenge him to do his job and purge the filth from the Church — you know, actually use the crook of his bishop's staff to beat off the wolves — well, there's no telling the degree to which such a guest would then be ostracized.
"Oh goodness, Peter. We don't speak in such a manner to the bishop. It's not cricket. He's doing his best in some very difficult circumstances, you must understand." To which we answer, "Bull pucky!" What he's doing his best at is protecting his comfort — not protecting souls.
But this is the danger of becoming comfortable — the laity. They will not provide the necessary spiritual backup the bishops need or a strong challenge for them to create an environment where their children's souls are protected. What happens instead is that an ecclesiastical echo chamber is created — especially at these social gatherings — where everyone fawns over His Excellency and kisses his ring so they can keep favor.
So in the dark recesses of their minds, they come to blot out the actual spiritual dangers and then rationalize to themselves that they are very much engaged in the spiritual battle and advancing of Catholicism. But they aren't — not even close. It just looks that way. And most importantly for the comfortable class, they get away with feeling like they are. A successor of the Apostles enjoys their company and comes to their home with their guests — so all must be good.
But where is the call to bring the violations of Canon 915 to an end? It's been going on for decades. Where is the call to denounce homosexuality and that agenda in the midst of the Church? Where is the call for anything authentically Catholic in the real world — not in the ivory towers?
It is a self-deception to think you are being a faithful Catholic because you draw a paycheck from the Church and hobnob with a bishop. You are not faithful if you do not straight-up address the evils within the Church that damn souls to Hell. Saint Paul threatens the Corinthians with their damnation for sacrilegious Holy Communion. Yet this has become commonplace in the Church. Are you seriously telling me that the "comfortable Catholic" crowd doesn't think that's a topic for discussion when the bishop drops by for a drink?
How about St. Paul warning that homosexual acts lead to damnation? That's not something worth chatting about over the shrimp cocktail? The response by the comfortable set to being criticized is almost never interior reflection but rather to lash out and protect their comfort — killing the messenger who dares shine the light on their complicity.
And be sure of this: It is complicity to not warn a successor of the Apostles of his own complicity in the evils of the day — a complicity evidenced by his silence.
Does the cocktail crowd really think all is so good with the Church that they can never be challenged? That they are somehow beyond reproach because, after all, they get paid by the Church and have the bishop over? Please.
You're either self-delusional or naively complicit. But whichever it is, it is to protect your comfort — a comfort that will be taken away from you in the not-too-distant future. Your silence in refusing to confront those responsible for the evil in the Church by their own silence will not go unpunished. It all contributes to a culture that's growing increasingly hostile to what you claim to believe but don't love enough to protect, even at the sacrifice of your comfort.
You'll wonder in a few years, when your children or grandchildren are supportive of gay unions and socialist policies, what went wrong. You are what went wrong. Chat about that over the next plate of hors d'oeuvres. For all the degrees and learning, this very simple lesson seems to have totally escaped you.