The Tablet, the favourite read of that malign spirit that describe itselves without any consciouse irony as "liberal" - this august publication used to be known affectionately by Catholics as "The Pill"; today, few can be bothered even to insult it. At the moment they are churning out hysterical articles suggesting that Rome is in meltdown owing to the overdue lifting of the contested excommunications on the SSPX.
If a former Muslim held the Koran in contempt and believed Mohammad was a false prophet, he would cease, if he had a scrap of personal integrity, to claim to be a Muslim. Yet former Catholics, who have long abandoned the faith of the Church in favour of the godless secular creed of the present-day North Atlantic civilisations, insist on continuing to describe themselves as Catholics, or more specifically, liberal Catholics.
It is difficult to understand the raison d’être of this seemingly bizarre humbug. Nevertheless, “Liberal Catholic” remains the label of choice of those who, too drunk on their own ignorance and pride to notice that they staggered into the wrong church, insist on continuing to live parasitic like on the Body of Christ. The Tablet serves this constituency - it should come as no surprise therefore to any informed Catholic that it is the favourite read of many of the hirelings who currently occupy English sees.
In so far as a lapsed Catholic who becomes a liberal Catholic can be said to have returned to the faith (which is self-evidently problematic), the Tablet’s current editor returned to the Catholic faith, having been through the Landings program at Ealing Abbey. Landings is a twelve step program designed in the United States for sensitive, middle-class lapsed Catholics of the sort to be found in the Ealing Abbey parish. As a "program", it's a vague and somewhat belated recognition that all is not well with the Catholic Church. Within seven years of her return, Catherine Pepinster was the Tablet's editor.
What separates Catholicism from all other “isms” is that the Church was founded by God in person when He walked the earth for the explicit purpose of carrying on His mission of sanctifying, ruling and teaching until the end of time. In order to be able to fulfil this assignment the Church has been given the charism of infallibility. Where it otherwise there could be no moral obligation to either embrace Catholicism or remain a Catholic, for the Church would have no more inherent right to claim our allegiance to her teachings than a drunk slumped on a bar stool putting the world to rights. Because the Church has been divinely commissioned, disagreeing with what she clearly and firmly teaches is not an option; indeed, it is not even an option merely to agree with what she teaches, one must simply and without reservations assent to it. J.R.R Tolkien summed it up when he wrote, "Catholicism is not a set of opinions to which one subscribes, but a reality to which one submits."
Strangely, Liberals “Catholics” never dispute such doctrines as the Trinity or the Incarnation. This is decidedly odd, for if the Church is not infallible, she is just as capable, and indeed if anything more likely, to be wrong about the Trinity and the Incarnation as she is about contraception. This oddity is explained by the fact that all liberal heresies have their epicentre about 6” below the belt buckle. This is not as bizarre as it would at first seem, because what they have done is simply swap the doctrines of the Faith for the various articles of blind faith of the present godless secular culture, a culture self-evidently preoccupied with sex.
Liberal “Catholics” appear to be aware in some obscure way of the irrationality in their creed and are consequently forced to resort to all sorts of painful mental gymnastics and self-deception to paper over the cracks. They are prone, for example, to clichés such as “moving with the times”. Quite why a Church that is the guardian of sacred truths revealed by God would want to dump those truths for the latest fashions of the godless is never of course explained. Indeed, if all Catholics have to do is embrace the latest moral fads of modern secularists, why on earth do we need a Church in the first place - especially one that judged by the liberal yardstick is promoting multiply grave errors?
Another obviously transparent trick is to pretend to perceive some sort of dichotomy between love and truth. One can only assume that when Christ said, “I am the way, the truth and the life,” He was being unloving! To tell a sodomite the truth that indulging in buggery is a short one-way ticket to hell is a loving thing to do. To leave him in ignorance to perish in his depravity is neither loving nor just; on the contrary, it is cruelly irresponsible.
“Christ was not a rigid rule follower” is yet another red herring liberal “Catholics” routinely trot out. But this is not exactly true, Christ was scrupulous in keeping the commandments and the just demands of the Jewish religious establishment, and encouraged others to be equally observant. What he objected to was the burden of the minutia of man-made rules and endless embellishments that had been laid over these just obligations by the Pharisees and others.
Yet another liberal decoy is to try and pass off their dissent from the clear and settled teachings of the Church as mere “squabbles among Catholics”. No well instructed Catholic could possibly be taken in by such patently deceitful gobbledygook, and it is doubtful to be honest that many liberals are so cerebrally challenged that they actually fully succeed in conning themselves with this line.
When public speaking at Catholic gatherings, the body language of liberal “Catholics” is very illuminating. They often appear uncomfortable with their own answers, and will give this away by involuntarily dropping their voices. They are also inclined to waffle and to lack clarity in responding to questions. This is not dishonesty; it arises from the genuine confusion and dialectic contradictions at the heart of their creed, rather than from any conscious intent to be evasive.
Catherine Pepinster has a MA in philosophy and religion from Heythrop College, London University. Nevertheless, she is clearly a lady who has only the vaguest grasp of Catholic doctrine (if she has any at all) and who holds heretical opinions on many serious issues of faith. She is a personable woman and honest according to her own confused lights and is young enough to learn, but it is not obvious where the motivation to do so will come from.