Heroic Catholicism

18 Sep

Catholic by conviction

This, I believe, is one of the greater problems in the Philippine Catholic world. Even church-going, rosary-rattling Catholics are not Catholics by conviction. Yes, they do their civic duty as Catholics by being generous and kind to others, even those of different faiths, and supportive of the local clergy (often times to the point of idolizing them and turning them into rock stars) that they forget the crux of their Catholicism: why be Catholic at all?

All these ‘other’ things, you could do very well outside the confines of the Catholic faith (save for the clergy part). What makes these social justice-themed acts ABSOLUTELY CATHOLIC? We must create this identity that these things we do is primarily because of what the Church teaches. Not just because it makes us feel happy, warm, and fuzzy inside.

We need heroes. Catholic heroes. Identifiable Catholic heroes. Clergy and laypeople.

At present, I follow two “celebrities” in the Traditional Catholic world who clearly have the zeal to protect and defend the faith. Though at times they are in disagreement on some matters, these two are partially responsible for ‘converting’ me into a traditional-leaning Catholic.

First is Fr. Abe Arganiosa of “The Splendor of the Church” (whose site is, at present, hacked and inaccessible therefore I have not linked to his site). He is an apologist who often writes in ALL CAPS (for whatever reason, i don’t know) in his articles and answers the basic and not-so-basic objections against the faith. Sometimes, I have to cringe at his selection of swear words and wonder why he uses them at all. It often reminds me of the leader of Ang Dating Daan, Ely Soriano, who justifies such use sometimes ad absurdum. Still, some of his articles have helped me in my personal apologetics with those who do not share my Catholic faith.

Second is The Pinoy Catholic or TPC for short. TPC is rather my favorite on the web. ‘Suki‘ as we say in Filipino. With his brutally frank commentary, ‘chismis’ along with sometimes humorous and educational posts regarding liturgical abuses (sometimes identified as GULP Alerts), he follows the line along the even more popular Fr. Z on wdtprs.com and Michael Voris of ChurchMilitantTV. The main difference is that TPC remains anonymous to many. Some say that the power of anonymity gives him the courage to viciously call out on erring priests and wanna-be priests on their dissenting (or sometimes heretical) opinions on matters of faith. He doesn’t give them the benefit of the doubt. I’ve read a lot of similar negative comments where these posts appear: “How uncharitable!” “How very un-Christian!” “Very inconsiderate of the person’s feelings!” but have often sided with him on these things. Because of these, I also find myself annoyed often at mass with all the abuse I’m seeing! (Another reason why I prefer TLM).

He writes about it often: how he is indeed not after fame and free meals. That he is just another simple worker in God’s vineyard, so to speak. TPC would be a great poster-boy for traditional Catholics. For HARDCORE FILIPINO CATHOLICS. A great antithesis to the erring rock star clergymen. But… It would be better if he were a celebrity. Because I believe traditional Catholicism needs a face. Traditional Catholics need an identifiable person to invite them actively, as TPC does, into reading more about the rubrics, and tradition, and what the Church says. We need Fr. Z’s and Michael Vorises to follow and see and hear from. I so want to have a Filipino counterpart to these two traditionalists in America but it cannot be me, no matter how much I believed in the need for a poster-boy. I cannot fill the shoes of TPC with his breadth of knowledge and strength in conviction of Catholicism.

Cardinal Tagle, in all honesty, is doing a poor job in this aspect as he espouses a ‘quieter, listening Church’. I personally find this to be, well, lame. In some cases, I will admit, this is a good approach. But seeing the serious lack of catechism and basic knowledge of being Catholic (e.g. The Real Presence) and the rise of ‘freethinking’ in the country, the quiet and listening Church should still arm itself and its members with the proper tools to combat other evils. This is what happens when the Church’s sole focus is on social justice without proper Catholic catechism. It loses its Catholicity. It loses its Catholic identity. It loses its Catholic soul.

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