My friend Steve Skojec tackles an extremely important subject over at his terrific site One Peter Five. This topic is important to me for several reasons, first and foremost in that I have been forced to face these tough questions in my own writing. Doing this even forced me to change a little.
Secondly, this is important to me because I have friends that come down on different sides of this issue and these differences have caused unfortunate division and even acrimony among people who should be linked arm-to-arm in most cases. These include Michael Voris and his apostolate which does great work, the aforementioned One Peter Five, the Remnant (for whom I now contribute articles), and other terrific Catholic writers too numerous to name. I consider them all friends and brother-in-arms during this battle for the soul of the Church against modernism in all its forms and manifestations.
It is because of this that I am doubly pained when friends look upon other friends as enemies. In many ways, I share Michael Voris’ prudential judgements about public criticism of the Pope, that direct criticism of the Pope is prudentially to be generally avoided as it usually not helpful and that if criticism is to be mounted that it is to be done in a narrow and respectful way.
I also realize that in some of my first reactions to the words and actions of this Pope, I did not adhere to that judgment. It was something I came to. But I also know that others take a different prudential view about what to criticize and remark upon. I have made my prudential judgement, but I do not dogmatize it. If others draw the line in different places, as long it is respectful, I do not consider them enemies for it. Moreover, I fundamentally disagree that most of such criticism serves only to weaken the faith of Catholics to drive them toward schism or apostasy. If fair, charitable, and most importantly, true criticism can drive people away from the Church, the problem is larger that any of us can appreciate.
I highly recommend Steve Skojec’s article as something that captures my thinking and prudential judgement on these matters in a way that it likely better than I could have expressed it myself.