The ‘Catholic’ Neo-Conservative Seamless Garment

On Friday, June 18, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops approved a motion, by a margin of 166-58, to prepare a document widely anticipated, correctly or not, to address the necessary disposition for the reception of Holy Communion, with commentary concerning public persons in particular. The following week, USCCB President, Archbishop Jose Gomez, issued a statement explaining exactly what this entails:

The doctrine committee of the bishops’ conference will now begin drafting this document and, in the months ahead, the bishops will continue our prayer and discernment through a series of regional meetings and consultations. In November, the bishops will gather to discuss the document draft.

In other words, a full one-quarter of the U.S. bishops think that Communion for public apostates is a non-issue, the rest simply decided to punt the problem by setting in motion a bureaucratic process that amounts to getting ready to get ready.  

On June 21, frequent EWTN commentator and Editor-in-Chief of The Catholic Thing, Robert Royal, wrote an editorial commenting upon the USCCB’s decision: 

Our American bishops have done something brave, even beautiful. And they will face turbulent and ugly days because of it …  But they’ve faced a defining moment square on. Win or lose in the political arena, they deserve our respect and gratitude.

He writes as if the bishops had taken up their croziers, strapped on their mitres and stormed the Great Mosque of Mecca shouting Chirstus Vincit!

Embarrassing? Absolutely. Surprising? Not in the least. There has always been but scant room for intrepid Christian soldiers, men in particular, in the hyper-feminized conciliar counterfeit church, and that includes its embedded media personalities. 

Now, don’t get me wrong, the Novus Ordo community embodies plenty of damn-the-torpedoes style militancy, but nearly all of it resides in the spines of Satan’s minions, as for the sincere and naïve would-be defenders of the faith among them, not so much. 

As such, it’s no wonder that so many, like Robert Royal (and even some wannabe “trads”), are playing the drama queen and behaving as if “our American bishops” are courageously facing a complicated theological and moral dilemma the likes of which Holy Church has never before seen. Royal writes:

The moment is unprecedented. Bishop Liam Cary of Baker, Oregon, had it exactly right: “We’ve never had a situation like this where the executive is a Catholic president opposed to the teaching of the church.” 

Are Cary and Royal truly unaware of JFK’s public repudiation of Catholic doctrine concerning the Kingship of Christ and Church-State relations as delivered in his Address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association in 1960? That’s doubtful. Far more likely is that they are giving Kennedy a pass in light of the fact that Vatican Council II would make JFK’s repudiation its own just five years later, a position that they too fully embrace, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

In any case, the Novus Ordites did have a non-Catholic President approach the table at their version of the Lord’s Supper…

Truth be told, there’s absolutely nothing unprecedented about high-profile, pro-homo, eugenicist politicians shuffling up in the conciliar Communion line with their hands out to receive what a minority of their con freres believe to be Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. What difference does it make whether we’re talking about a demented President of the United States, an alcoholic Speaker of the House, or any number of other defectors from the Catholic faith?

Even so, Royal is determined to paint this as a uniquely critical make-or-break moment in salvation history, and you’ll probably never guess what he and his ilk consider to be the key to getting it right:     

To allow leaders – at the highest levels of government now – who call themselves Catholics to continue to vigorously promote abortion (forget the “personally opposed” of days gone by), homosexuality, and curbs on religious liberty means that what little public influence the Church still retains is on a fast track to oblivion.

Did you see what he did there? He placed offenses against the U.S. Constitution’s version of “religious liberty,” the essence of which was adopted at Vatican Council II, on the same plane as the evils of abortion and homo-deviance, as if these things actually belong in the same category. 

This, my friends, is the “Catholic” neo-conservative seamless garment, a right-of-center version of the original, which was crafted by drawing moral equivalency between the murder of unborn children and a much wider field of “social justice” issues. 

The neo-conservative model is woven on the very same loom, but with “religious liberty” taking the place of social justice, and if you think that Robert Royal is alone in promoting it, you’re mistaken. It’s quickly becoming the default position of every professional conciliar commentator striving for relevancy in an increasingly crowded field.

In a recently co-written article published on The Stream website, for example, Jason Jones and John Zmirak declared war against so-called Catholic “Integralists,” a scary name for people who, for the most part, are guilty only of imagining that the Social Reign of Christ the King didn’t really expire in 1965. [NOTE: This subject deserves, and will soon receive in this space, a more thoroughgoing examination.]

In their article, Jones and Zmirak place their adversaries on a virtual witness stand to field a series of questions, the answers to which, the interrogators seem certain, will result in their self-incrimination:

So we ask them: Do you reject the religious liberty endorsed by the Second Vatican Council as not applying to non-Catholic Christians? Do you regard the American founding as fatally tainted by “liberalism”? Are Anthony Kennedy, the ACLU, and Planned Parenthood correct in reading our Constitution as endorsing both legal abortion and the whole LGBT agenda? … Do you expect Protestants or anyone else to protect your own religious liberty if you have no respect for theirs?

Is it just by chance that “legal abortion” and the “LGBT agenda” are sandwiched between passive-aggressive pleas in defense of “religious liberty” Vatican II style? 

Of course not, Jones and Zmirak are merely prancing about the page in their neo-con seamless garment, convinced beyond all doubt that long-held, authentic Catholic doctrine concerning the matter of Church-State relations has always been wrong, and it is the Council’s notion of religious freedom that is the real key to upholding the common good of society. 

And then there’s the grandfather of American Catholic neo-conservatism, George Weigel, who in an October 2020 interview said:

…the abortion issue, the question of the nature of marriage, other issues where personal lifestyle choices bear on other people’s convictions—have made religious freedom and the full exercise of religious freedom a serious question in American public life … I have long believed that the issue of the right to life of all is utterly fundamental to forming conscience, and I believe that the defense of religious freedom for all is equally fundamental.

So, there you have it, defending the conciliar version of religious freedom is equally as fundamental for the common good as upholding the sanctity of marriage and the right to life. 

Don’t gloss over what this means in practice; it means that the true religion as held without error by the Holy Catholic Church alone must be treated as if it is of no more value to society than the demonic musings of the Muslims, the Hindus and the Wiccans, etc., to say nothing of outright Satanists.

As stunningly anti-Catholic as the examples already provided truly are, when it comes to demonstrating conciliar street cred, no one models the neo-con seamless garment quite so well as Bill Donohue, the boisterous, handsomely compensated Founder of the Catholic League, who declared in May of 2020: 

In their world [international left-wing organizations], every time religious liberty clashes with abortion rights or the LGBT agenda, the former must bow to the latter … The fact is that religious liberty has long been recognized throughout the world as a foundational right. Therefore, it should never be put on the same moral or legal plane with reproductive or sexual rights. To do so is to devalue religious liberty.     

Get that? Donohue – unlike little leaguers by comparison Royal, Jones, Zmirak and Weigel – isn’t content with merely treating infractions against religious liberty as if they are on par with the evils of abortion and homo-deviance, no, he evidently thinks that religious liberty is even more sacrosanct than life itself!  

If only such men had even a drop of sensus Catholicus between them they’d realize that the Council’s treatment of religious liberty isn’t the remedy for a godless society, it’s a key ingredient for one. 

In his USCCB commentary, Royal went on to report:

… sixty members of Congress (among them abortion stalwarts such as Rosa De Lauro and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) signed a joint letter to the bishops, on Congressional stationery, presuming to instruct them on Catholic teaching. 

Royal’s instincts appear correct in recognizing that those who occupy positions of power in the government have not the authority to dictate to the Church, but what he and his cohorts fail to grasp is that the Vatican II Declaration on Religious Freedom effectively states otherwise:  

This Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. This freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits. 

The council further declares that the right to religious freedom has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person as this dignity is known through the revealed word of God and by reason itself. This right of the human person to religious freedom is to be recognized in the constitutional law whereby society is governed and thus it is to become a civil right … 

In consequence, the right to this immunity continues to exist even in those who do not live up to their obligation of seeking the truth and adhering to it and the exercise of this right is not to be impeded, provided that just public order be observed. (Dignitatis Humanae 2)

The Council, addressing rulers of State, is essentially saying:

Religious freedom should be written into your constitutions as a civil right, however, you may impede this right and force your citizens to act in a manner contrary to their own beliefs, within due limits, if doing so is deemed necessary for the establishment or maintenance of just public order.

If you’re struggling to grasp this point, reread the citation from Vatican II above more carefully, and then ask yourself:

Who, according to this conciliar decree, is empowered to determine what constitutes “due limits” and “just public order” vis-à-vis matters religious? [HINT: It’s certainly not Christ the King and His Holy Catholic Church.]

It’s none other than leaders of State! 

So, when a group of legislators, themselves “Vatican II Catholics,” presume to instruct the Church as to their sense for the demands of just public order – whether it be with regard to legal access to abortion, a contraception mandate, or special accommodations for homo-deviants – as if it is well within their purview to do so, it’s not exactly a mystery where they got that idea. The bigger question is why anyone familiar with the conciliar program would imagine that the antidote can be found in that very same place. 

May it please the Lord to remove the scales from the eyes of those who, with blind allegiance to the Second Vatican Council and the counterfeit church that it established, proudly don the neo-conservative seamless garment.