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Friday, October 31, 2014

Karl, Karl, Karl Featured

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Karl Keating Karl Keating

A reply to Karl Keating’s latest attempt to discredit The Remnant, with an explanation of certain basic literary devices

Karl Keating has been paying a lot of attention to The Remnant of late. A lot of attention. Far too much, I would say. His attention has become so minuscule that one would think he is daily parsing its pages, even line by line, in search of a “gotcha” he can publish as evidence that one must not take seriously a traditional Catholic journal of forty years’ standing he is obviously taking quite seriously indeed. What is to account for Keating’s fixation on this newspaper? I have a suggestion. It has to do with what one can only call The Situation with Pope Francis, which is becoming stranger and more alarming by the day. Let me explain.

By The Situation I mean, first and foremost, the unprecedented debacle of a “Synod on the Family” that was shaping up as a frontal attack on the family as expressed in the Synod’s disgraceful midterm report, which the Synod ultimately rejected root and branch, but only after the “revolt” of the conservative Synod Fathers who refused to be railroaded by Francis and his handpicked Synod controllers. Cardinal Burke has rightly noted that there is  “a very serious responsibility to try to correct as quickly and as effectively as possible the scandal caused by the midterm report.” In reply, Francis has said in essence: nothing doing. He has ordered the midterm report to be published and distributed to the world’s bishops in preparation for Synod II, as if Synod I had not rejected it completely.

Then there are the almost weekly whoppers in the Pope’s off-the-cuff sermons—far too many even to summarize here. For example,


What they [the sedevacantists] have failed to understand is that the judgment of heresy is not left to individual Catholics in the pew, but to the Church, which is why John of St. Thomas said: “be he [the Pope] ever so manifestly heretical according to private judgment, he remains as far as we are concerned a member of the Church and consequently its head. Judgment is required by the Church. It is only then that he ceases to be Pope as far as we are concerned.

Finally, I note that Keating—the classic Man Without an Argument—even descends to denigrating the memory of the Editor’s father while pitting the late father against his son:

Most of the columns by “Megaera Erinyes” have a similar tone and similar premises, and they are mirrored by other articles in “The Remnant,” which has become so off-the-wall that its founder, the late Walter Matt, likely would have disowned what it has become. (He published some nonsense but nothing as mean-spirited and obtuse as what “Megaera Erinyes” writes.) [emphasis mine]

Putting aside Keating’s usual reliance on lazy characterizations instead of substantiated claims (“a similar tone,” “similar premises,” “mirrored by other articles,” “off-the-wall”), consider just how despicable this tactic is. Keating specializes in low blows, but here he outdoes himself: insulting Michael Matt’s father as a publisher of nonsense only to declare that Michael’s work is so much worse that even his nonsense-publishing father would disown it. Keating makes a shyster lawyer look like a paragon of noble discourse. I knew Walter Matt well enough to know that were he here today to speak in his son’s defense he would say that he is proud of what Michael is doing to carry on the Matt family’s 150-year-long Catholic journalistic tradition: telling the truth without reserve, while endeavoring to provide thoughtful and provocative commentary meant for people who know how to reason and understand the use of literary devices. Apologize, Karl, or forfeit whatever is left of your credibility as a Catholic writer.

Having, as usual, failed sustain his petty complaint against the traditionalist position in general and The Remnant in particular, Keating huffs that Megaera’s article is “mean-spirited and obtuse.” Neither adjective applies to the article in question, which is clearly the work of a very gifted writer as anyone who practices the craft of writing can see. But both adjectives apply in spades to Keating’s neurotic nitpicking of The Remnant while the Church faces a new stage in the post-conciliar crisis exemplified by the just-concluded Synod of Francis. As Cardinal Burke has so courageously stated: “the very fact that these matters were being discussed and questioned by the presidents of the conferences of bishops, by the heads of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia, and by other special appointees of the Holy Father to the synod caused a tremendous confusion and could even induce the faithful into error with regard to the teaching about marriage and other teachings.”

It is high time for Keating to join serious Catholic commentators around the world in focusing on something a bit more pressing than who said what in The Remnant: the increasingly troubling words and deeds of the Pope who engineered a totally unnecessary and very nearly disastrous Synod. Meanwhile, give The Remnant a break, will you, Karl? Find something else with which to distract yourself. Sharpen some pencils. Straighten out your desk. Or perhaps you could engage in the activity you like to tell your readers about: take a hike.

Last modified on Friday, October 31, 2014
Christopher A. Ferrara

Christopher A. Ferrara: President and lead counsel for the American Catholic Lawyers Inc., Mr. Ferrara has been at the forefront of the legal defense of pro-lifers for the better part of a quarter century. Having served with the legal team for high profile victims of the culture of death such as Terri Schiavo, he has long since distinguished him a premier civil rights Catholic lawyer.  Mr. Ferrara has been a lead columnist for The Remnant since 2000 and has authored several books published by The Remnant Press, including the bestseller The Great Façade. Together with his children and wife, Wendy, he lives in Richmond, Virginia.