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Saturday, March 11, 2017

Who’s Lying Now? A Fake New World

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Why can’t we figure out what is really going on? We have heard, since the last American general election, the term “fake news” being thrown around, that we can’t trust what we’re reading and hearing. It has been a huge success at creating fear and distrust, division and contention, as it was intended. We start to wonder if we can even trust our own eyes. We wonder what is going on in the Vatican and the world, and are at such a point of confusion and self-doubt that we feel we can no longer know up from down. 

For many, it has the result of driving us away from public engagement altogether. If nothing you read or see on TV can be trusted – if we get conflicting and contradictory messages even from the pope – isn’t it time to just retreat? To give up trying to figure it out, and build a private enclave where we don’t have to think about it anymore?

On January 12th I authored a short blog post entitled, “Resisting Papal Errors: Another Historical Precedent for Cardinal Burke.”  In it I recounted a little known tale of the Archbishop of Paris, Christophe de Beaumont, resisting the tragic 1773 brief of Pope Clement XIV suppressing the Jesuits. The post apparently hit a nerve, stoking the ire of the sedevacantist website Novus Ordo Watch.  So much so that the site published an almost 5,600 word tome condemning my piece entitled, “Resisting the Pope? “The Remnant” and the Suppression of the Jesuits.

The author, presumably Mario Derksen, attempts to point out various supposed flaws in my Remnant blog post; a post consisting primarily of quotations from two Catholic historians. The blog post was written not as an exhaustive research paper, but in order to make the historical letter of resistance from Archbishop Beaumont to Pope Clement XIV, which even Mr. Derksen admits is authentic, more widely known to Catholics.  

As it turns out, Abp. Beaumont’s letter of resistance was far more objectionable to Mr. Derksen than it was to Pope Clement XIV. This is evident as Mr. Derksen used 5,600 more words than the late pope to respond to it. Although I don’t normally make a habit of acknowledging such erroneous rebuttals, I believe in this case responding to some of the more outlandish claims in his piece might be beneficial to any confused readers.

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