Thursday, April 16, 2009

The martyrdom of Dave Armstrong, R.I.P.

[Dave Armstrong] I've long noted the fundamentalist - "traditionalist" kinship. "Trads" often think like either fundy Protestants or liberal Catholics…And he was using your same principle of extreme separationism, that unites your mentality (in THAT respect) with fundamentalist and anti-Catholic Protestants.

There’s some truth to this statement. For there is a certain level of affinity, of shared values and common concerns, between religious conservatives with varying religious affiliations.

Why does Armstrong act as if that’s a damning observation, or a damning association?

Conservatives recognize the voice of fellow conservatives. There’s a degree of family resemblance. In some important respects they have more in common with each other than with liberal counterparts in their own theological tradition.

Both White and Doe have been using Ben Douglass left and right as a pawn in order to make fun of Catholics and throw out silly and groundless criticisms.

He's using you as a "useful idiot." The sooner you see this the better.

You certainly are being used as one by both White and Doe. They love to pick out a Catholic who may disagree with another Catholic on one thing or another (generally "traditionalists," which is why they continue to this day to talk about Gerry Matatics, even though he is no longer even a Catholic), as if this has anything whatever to do with doctrinal, magisterial unity that we have and they don't have.

You're free to have your own opinions, of course, but you should object (in their venues) to their cynical use of you in this fashion. They're trying to pit us against each other and do a version of "good cop bad cop." Can't you see this? Is it not blatantly obvious?

i) It’s true that Protestant epologists like me will play one Catholic off against another. I don’t know why Armstrong is so incensed by that fact. After all, Catholics constantly play one Protestant off against another (the “scandal” of denominationalism).

ii) Moreover, we didn’t create these divisions. These are preexisting divisions within Catholicism. Indeed, that’s on display in the study Bible to which Armstrong contributed his “inserts.”

iii) Furthermore, it’s inconsistent of Armstrong to treat this as a purely cynical ploy. While we do exploit these divisions for apologetic purposes, Armstrong also admitted (in the form of an accusation) that “trads” and “fundies” think alike in certain respects.

So it’s not as if we’re merely using the “trads” as a wedge. By his own reckoning, “trads” and “fundies” are, to some degree, genuine cobelligerents.

Your own argument can be thrown back against you, too, in any event, by nothing how you are participating on an anti-Catholic blog: whose owner thinks neither you nor I are Christians: that we belong to a false and heretical church, are not regenerate, and don't believe in the saving gospel of Jesus Christ.

You aid and abet his purposes and send mixed messages to his readers by providing comfort to Doe's attempts to lie about me and about the Church.The falsehoods, misrepresentations and outright lies on Doe's blog are certainly at least as harmful than some stray footnotes in the NAB that few probably read anyway. So how can you justify your appearance there, agreeing with those who are enemies of the Church? You're not even there disagreeing with them. You're there agreeing, based on what I think is fallacious and misguided reasoning, over against your friend and an orthodox Catholic. And that is unethical and causes scandal. You're participating directly in that by not recognizing how they are using you (complete with pathetic fawning admiration and compliments towards you, for their agenda-driven purposes), and not speaking out against it. Hopefully you will now. In the meantime, you are aiding the falsehoods that that blog is devoted to promulgating.

There are two basic problems with this tirade:

i) Armstrong is falling back on the Mafia code of silence. It’s your duty, always and everywhere, to present a solid front to the world.

This mindset has been the undoing of many secular and religious institutions. For fear of scandal, we must conceal the awful truth.

And, of course, the ironic consequence of his mindset is that, not only does the underlying scandal eventually leak out, but the cover-up becomes the cause of additional scandal.

ii) The other problem is that, in his irrepressible egotism, he turns this into a dastardly deed of personal betrayal. So it’s no longer about loyalty to the truth of God; rather, it’s about loyalty to the person of dear old Dave. His response is laden with bitter envy and resentment.

Given his deep-seated suspicions, I’d advise dear old Dave to take some elementary precautions. He should begin wearing a suit of armor so that he can shield himself from all of the two-faced friends turned foes who lie in wait around every corner to stab him in the back. I trust that he already inspects the closet and checks under the bed before turning out the light. Even then it must be hard to fall asleep as he contemplates all the treasonous “friends” who are plotting against him.

Given the sinister alliance between “trads” and “fundies,” he should hire a private eye to do background checks on his butcher, baker, and grocer. As an added precaution, he should also retain the services of a food taster just in case the cashier swaps out the good mushrooms for bad mushrooms while Armstrong is momentarily distracted by a staged diversion.

When you’re as monumentally important as dear old Dave, you can never be too careful. Danger lurks where you least suspect it. Never let your guard down!

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