By Catholic Apologist Dave Armstrong (8-8-13)
Lately there has been a big stink about an article by radical Catholic reactionary Hilary White, at LifeSiteNews.com, in which she ran down the pope (which is what radical Catholic reactionaries do, by nature). It has been noted that her affinities and biases were made clear in her article for the notorious RadCathR rag, The Remnant, entitled, "Revenge of the Neo-Cats" (23 Nov. 2011).
Origins of terms (particularly ones meant to be denigrating) are important. They tell a lot about what is in the head of those using them. They also often reveal things that even those using the terms are seemingly unaware of.
I found it interesting that in perusing the above article, Hilary White couldn't even do her research and correctly identify who it was who coined the ridiculous term, Neo-Catholic. She states:
It was first coined in a 2002 book called The Great Façade: Vatican II and the Regime of Novelty, by Christopher Ferrara and Thomas E. Woods Jr.
Now, she must have some basis for believing this, one presumes. It can't be from the book itself, since it states clearly in its footnote 6 on p. 10:
This term was first suggested by the renowned Presbyterian convert Gerald Christian Matatics, who is now a Catholic traditionalist. Mr. Matatics, while still a Protestant, was a careful observer of the phenomenon of "neo-evangelicalism," by which the more traditional Protestants underwent a process of liberalization that he was aghast to see in the Catholic Church after his conversion.
Thus, it is ironic that my copy of this book was given to me by Matatics himself, when we met and talked for a good hour one day, after I attended one of his lectures, given to literally about seven people.
In passing, it's fascinating to note that the book employs a far more radical usage of Neo-Catholic than White does in her article: much closer to being simply a thoroughgoing theological modernist, or liberal, or progressive. To illustrate with just one example, drawn from the same page as the footnote above:
. . . willingness of this group to accept the introduction of novelties affecting virtually every aspect of the Faith as it is lived and practiced by Catholics in the pews, even if those novelties patently lack any continuity with ecclesiastical tradition and are palpably offensive to the sensus catholicus.
The other thing to note about the book is that co-author Thomas Woods, Jr. now distances himself from it, and from Ferrara. He wants to be taken seriously as a serious historian, so to be associated with the relentless patent nonsense in that book is rather contrary to that worthy goal. He eventually woke up to that reality, whereas Ferrara, undaunted, continues dishing out foolishness in this regard, just as he has, lo these many years.
But I'd like to go back to the actual originator of Neo-Catholic, Gerry Matatics. As Catholic apologist Karl Keating recently noted, this illustrious person, whom Ferrara described in 2002 as "a Catholic traditionalist" became, a few years after that, a sedevacantist (literally, "the seat is vacant"), meaning, a person who thinks that there is no pope at the present time. Sadly, his descent into Theological Kookiness didn't even end there. Keating noted a report by Matatics from May 2014, detailing what he now believes. In Matatics' own words:
. . . the inconsistencies of even "traditionalist" forms of counterfeit Catholicism . . . do not completely adhere to the perennial principles of the Catholic Faith. (That of course resulted in my coming to see, by God's grace, that in fidelity to such Catholic principles I could no longer morally attend, not only such FSSP "Masses," but as well the Masses offered by the SSPX or similar clergy, or even those offered by unauthorized "sedevacantist" clergy of the SSPV, CMRI, et al).
See the trajectory there? He started out by doubting Vatican II and the Novus Ordo Mass, and being a champion of the Tridentine Mass, but in due course came to believe that there is no pope at all. At length, he decided that no priestly ordinations whatever are valid, so that there is no Mass at all, anywhere. That's an odd conclusion to arrive at, from one who was originally part of a movement that strongly advocated the Tridentine Mass. Now he is perpetually in mortal sin and can scarcely be described as a Catholic at all, let alone a "traditionalist" one. Perhaps "Neo-Atheism" will be his next step (with the obligatory halfway house of ultra-liberal Anglicanism). And this is the guy who coined Neo-Catholic (and who helped his friend Scott Hahn become a Catholic in the mid-80s). How the mighty have fallen . . .
This is what can happen when one adopts false premises. Matatics is simply more internally consistent than many other radical Catholic reactionaries. He followed the line of faith-challenged skepticism to its logical diabolical end: no Mass at all anywhere in the world (or if there was one somewhere, one would hardly be able to identify it).
I thought my readers might be interested in knowing a bit about the spiritual journey of Gerry Matatics: the person who actually coined Neo-Catholic, contrary to Hilary White's false claims as to where the term originated.
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