The tragedy of schizophrenic theology…
Another Theological Train Wreck from The Remnant
Dr. Jason Morgan is a university professor in Japan and author of numerous articles that have appeared in various journals and papers over the years.
Since 2018, he has been writing for the recognize-and-resist flagship publication The Remnant. One of his first posts was about Sedevacantism, to which we responded here:
One of his most recent contributions is a scathing denouncement of the Vatican II Sect, to which he, quite appropriately, gives the Orwellian term “Newchurch”:
- “The Tragedy of Newchurch” (The Remnant)
This write-up is actually quite tragic itself, especially considering that the author believes himself to be a faithful traditional Roman Catholic and his position to be expressive of orthodox Catholicism. In actual fact, however, it is a massive theological train wreck, as we will see shortly. Aside from that, some of its argumentation is simply peculiar and appears contrived.
For example, Morgan begins by lauding San Francisco’s Archlayman Salvatore Cordileone for “a most admirable pro-life record” on abortion, but then rips into him for being “pro-choice” when it comes to the Holy Mass.
Archbishop Cordileone’s stances are not just confusing, they are contradictory. On the one hand, the archbishop is not pro-choice. He teaches, rightly, that there is no “choice” involved in the lives of innocent children. There is no array of options to include killing a child. “Pro-choice” masks a horror, and His Excellency refuses to compromise on this fundamental point—there is no “pro-choice Catholic” position on abortion. On the other hand, however, Archbishop Cordileone is pro-choice. There are two Masses, and choice between them must be affirmed. It is forbidden to say that A is not B.
Either/or here, both/and there. Huh? Catholics, Archbishop Cordileone insists, must be pro-choice about the liturgy. There is a “pro-choice Catholic” position on the Sacrifice of the Mass, but there is not such a position on child sacrifice.
(Jason Morgan, “The Tragedy of Newchurch”, The Remnant, Feb. 10, 2022)
Apparently the author was trying too hard to establish an incongruence in Cordileone’s actions because being “pro-choice about the liturgy” is a truly bizarre accusation to level against a Novus Ordo bishop. Which of Francis’ underlings around the world is a bishop in the Roman rite and does not affirm the legitimacy of the Novus Ordo Missae (“New Mass”) of Paul VI? That is indeed a problem, but is it really something to single out the “Archbishop” of San Francisco for?
From 2007-2021, weren’t the semi-trads lauding precisely this liturgical choice as the great “freedom” bestowed upon them by their beloved “Pope” Benedict XVI in the motu proprio letter Summorum Pontificum? And now that Francis has just struck it down and begun to gradually reduce the choice to only one (namely, the Novus Ordo worship service), now Cordileone is to be faulted for “permitting” the Novus Ordo? Does this make any sense?
To be clear: It is perfectly fine (and important) to criticize the “New Mass” for being a Modernist-Protestant meal service, just as it is right and just to criticize the entire Vatican II Church for being a diabolical counterfeit of the Catholic Church — but it does not make much sense to single out an individual Novus Ordo bishop and then blast him for being “pro choice” liturgically for not rejecting the liturgical directives promulgated by the man he believes to be the Sovereign Pontiff.
It seems that Morgan was simply looking for a way to make Mr. Cordileone look inconsistent when in fact he is being quite consistent within the parameters of his religion: He acts on the Novus Ordo teaching against abortion, and he acts on the Novus Ordo teaching about accepting the liturgical decrees of the Roman Pontiff. One can criticize Cordileone for not seeing the errors of Vatican II and the post-conciliar magisterium, but one can’t say he’s being inconsistent by not just saying Francis is the Pope but also acting like it.
Alas, Morgan is just getting started. As his article continues, the theological train wreck becomes evident. Take a look at this:
In this twisted heap of illogic we can see the tragedy of Newchurch. The contradictions and confusion are not incidental to Newchurch. They are inherent in it. There is no way to be pro-life and Newchurch. For Newchurch is, at heart, a humanistic, man-made institution founded on relativism and compromise. Modernism is Newchurch’s identity. Newchurch is antithetical to the singularity of Christ’s Cross. Newchurch is legion, is pro-choice to its very core. Those who want to remain Catholic will have to find their way out of Newchurch at some point. There is no future in Newchurch, only steadily deepening chaos, despite the best efforts of good men like Archbishop Cordileone.
Newchurch may seem to be comedy, with its “clown masses” and its bumbling, ad lib theologizing carried out in front of airplane bathrooms. But the truth is that Newchurch is horrible tragedy. It thwarts the good that men would do. Take Archbishop Cordileone. What His Excellency seems not to realize is that his efforts are undermined by the very institution he represents. Not the Catholic Church. Newchurch. The Novus Ordo cabal. Archbishop Cordileone is not pro-choice on abortion. Amen to that. But he is—has to be—pro-choice on the Mass. For Newchurch was born pro-choice. It was born in schism, rupture, chaos, duplicity, misdirection.
Think about how Newchurch was born—in bifurcation. After the bait-and-switch of the Second Vatican Council, Newchurch leaders went to extraordinary lengths to argue that they had not done what they had plainly pulled off. “Everything is just as before,” we were told. But then why the need for a years-long gathering of bishops and “observers,” including Protestants? Newchurch is the Vatican II sham-show, on repeat forever. The Catholic faithful have been asked for nearly sixty years now to suspend disbelief and to pretend that the Novus Ordo, the New Coke version of the real thing, is the equivalent (somehow) of the actual Mass.
Newchurch cannot have just one liturgy for just this reason: Newchurch is mockery, a mock-up of Catholicism. It can never preach Christ and Him Crucified, because that would be an insult to Newchurch’s god and Satan’s: “diversity.” When Archbishop Cordileone instituted a monthly Traditional Latin Mass at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption in San Francisco, shortly after Pope Francis issued his motu proprio Traditionis custodes attacking the same Mass, the archbishop couched his decision in plurality and choice. “The Mass is a miracle in any form,” His Excellency wrote.
Christ comes to us in the flesh under the appearance of Bread and Wine. Unity under Christ is what matters. Therefore the Traditional Latin Mass will continue to be available here in the Archdiocese of San Francisco and provided in response to the legitimate needs and desires of the faithful.
This sounds like a very Catholic response to the actions of a very anti-Catholic pope. But it is not. It is pure Newchurch.
The relativism of the Vatican is not a sidebar to Vatican II. Relativism is the solvent by which, the Modernists who did the bidding of Satan at the Council hoped, the Church would be dissolved. This relativism, as Benedict intuited, has spawned monsters, most hideous of all Pope Francis. There are many governments and other institutions around the world which are persecuting Christians. The Vatican is the most egregious of them all. The Vatican persecutes Christians in all dioceses, everyone who wishes to attend the real Mass. Under the sway of Newchurch, the Vatican must do this. It has no choice. Because it professes nothing but choice. Because the Vatican hates most that which it professes to, but cannot, control: the Body of Christ. That is real “unity under Christ.” The Vatican rejects it.
The Church, and the Flesh and Blood on the altars, are the same. In declaring itself arbiter of the latter—in setting up a false “mass” in place of the real Mass, and passing that fake mass off as a continuation of the real one—the Vatican exiled itself from the Church. To “reform” the Mass is not to reform it, but to deny it. To deny the Mass is to send oneself into the darkness of exile. That exiled camp of lost souls is Newchurch.
I have often said that Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen was probably speaking of Newchurch when he prophesied that the antichrist would set up an ape of Holy Mother Church. Newchurch is this ape, I think. It is also a fetish, a stand-in for the real Church. …
Francis may be the antichrist. …
If Newchurch were to turn around and rediscover what it abandoned, it would stop being Newchurch. That is the promise. But as long as Newchurch is Newchurch, it will continue to destroy whatever good things good men try to do.
That is the tragedy of Newchurch.
(Jason Morgan, “The Tragedy of Newchurch”, The Remnant, Feb. 10, 2022; underlining added.)
That is a lot of information. To make it more digestible, let’s summarize the most important points. According to Jason Morgan, “Newchurch”….
- is inherently contradictory
- is a humanistic, man-made institution
- has a Modernist identity
- thwarts or destroys the good that men would do
- is not the Catholic Church
- was born in schism, rupture, chaos, duplicity, misdirection, bifurcation
- is a sham
- is a mockery, a mock-up of Catholicism
- has “diversity” as its god, just like Satan
- compels the Vatican to persecute Christians
- has set up a false “mass” in place of the true Mass
- is an exiled camp of lost souls
- may be the ape of the Catholic Church
- is a stand-in for the real Church
- has a pope that may be the Antichrist
We can add to that another brief description given by the same author in an article published on Oct. 2, 2020, in which he explains that “Newchurch, the faux Catholic Church headed by Pope Francis, is not a religious organization at all.”
Touché! Do we not practically all agree with this? Has Morgan not given a very apt description of the infernal Modernist counterchurch that on this blog we call the “Novus Ordo Sect”, “Vatican II Sect”, or similar names?
The problem, indeed the tragedy, is that Jason Morgan is not a sedevacantist, which throws a theological monkey wrench into it all. In spite of his most recent write-up, in which he presents himself a bit more “pro-choice” on the Pope question, he believes that Francis is the Pope of the Catholic Church and therefore the Vicar of Christ, visible head of the Kingdom of God on earth. Consequently, Morgan believes that this diabolical heap of heresy, blasphemy, and sacrilege which he calls “Newchurch” and (rightly) denounces so vociferously, is, in his theology, still somehow the Mystical Body of Christ! That is why he can write: “If Newchurch were to turn around and rediscover what it abandoned, it would stop being Newchurch. That is the promise.” (Promise? There was a promise made to this hell church?)
On the face of it, then, Morgan and The Remnant‘s editor Michael J. Matt are preaching the ever-so-convenient but theologically-disastrous “defected church” thesis. Deny it directly though they might, these people maintain in actual fact that the Roman Catholic Church has defected, has gone off the rails, and it is traditionalists’ job now to right the ship again. How is that compatible with the teaching of Pope Pius XII on the Catholic Church?
Just as at the first moment of the Incarnation the Son of the Eternal Father adorned with the fullness of the Holy Spirit the human nature which was substantially united to Him, that it might be a fitting instrument of the Divinity in the sanguinary work of the Redemption, so at the hour of His precious death He willed that His Church should be enriched with the abundant gifts of the Paraclete in order that in dispensing the divine fruits of the Redemption she migt be, for the Incarnate Word, a powerful instrument that would never fail. For both the juridical mission of the Church, and the power to teach, govern and administer the Sacraments, derive their supernatural efficacy and force of the building up of the body of Christ from the fact that Jesus Christ, hanging on the Cross, opened up to His Church the fountain of those divine gifts, which prevent her from ever teaching false doctrine and enable her to rule them for the salvation of their souls through divinely enlightened pastors and to bestow on them an abundance of heavenly graces.
(Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Mystici Corporis, n. 31; underlining added.)
There just isn’t a whole lot of room here for that “humanistic, man-made institution” that is Modernist in identity and whose head may be the Antichrist. We have argued this in some greater detail in our post against Eric Sammons’ recent book Deadly Indifference:
Surely, if challenged on this directly, Morgan and Matt would insist on some kind of contrived explanation according to which the Catholic Church emerges uncontaminated from “Newchurch”, but that would necessarily rest on make-believe theology. You simply can’t have it both ways: on the one hand, have your Catholic Church complete with a valid Pope, bishops, magisterium, and sacraments; but then on the other hand, identify it as a diabolical counterchurch that requires permanent resistance due to the great evil it teaches and legislates, to the eternal detriment of souls under its sway.
And yet, that is the impossible squaring of the circle the semi-trads at The Remnant and similar recognize-and-resist publications are constantly trying to pull off. That is why every time enough people start putting two and two together and conclude (from their very own articles!) that an institution that is the infernal ape of the Catholic Church can’t at the same time be the spotless Bride of Christ, and therefore it is high time to exit that apostatical institution, Michael Matt comes out with guns blazing against any attempts to leave the (suddenly re-emerged) “Catholic Church”:
Yes, Christ’s Mystical Body hangs on the Cross again. And the very sincere question is this: What are we going to do? Abandon Him? Leave the Church?
Here at The Remnant, we speak out day after day against the shepherds who have fled for fear of the wolves. We cry out to them, begging their return. We admonish them for their cowardice. But this is because we are the sheep, and we know the awful reality of being without shepherds.
Still, ours is not a call to leave the Church and it never can be, and it never will be. Our fathers in the Faith watched Christ die on the Cross, and then went on to build his Church … not abandon it.
We cannot abandon the Catholic Church because of one bad pope or one thousand bad bishops.
Where would we go? We may be scandalized by her now, but this was not always the case.
She is our mother, and she gave us everything we are and everything we’ll ever be. She has given us the chance to spend eternity with God.
Keep the Faith, friends, and let the fear of God transform you and your families into the army of God that will restore the world at the moment and the time when He sees fit.
Until then, we will never leave the Bride of Christ, we will never cut and run, we will be with her always, until we die or until the world itself is no more.
(Michael Matt, “The Scandal of the Cross: Why I Will Never Leave the Catholic Church”, The Remnant, Apr. 3, 2021; italics given.)
Later that same year, The Remnant published the following in little video promo blurbs:
In this RTV Short, Michael Matt explains why he has never (and will never) leave the Church.
The Church has always been subject to the betrayal of evil men within her walls, and today is no different. But this is beside the point, Michael argues. Truth is truth regardless of how well placed the men are who attempt to bury it.
(Michael Matt, “CATHOLIC FOREVER: Why Francis will never run me out of my Church”, The Remnant, Nov. 20, 2021)
So even if we wanted to leave the Church (which we do not!), that would not help the situation, since there would then be even less opposition from within. We must stay on in order to expose and oppose these infiltrators. And with God’s help, that’s exactly what we intend to do.
(Michael Matt, “Michael Matt calls for ecumenical coalition to resist Francis”, The Remnant, Dec. 21, 2021)
It is quite evident, then, that “Newchurch” is identical to the Catholic Church in the mind of the editor of The Remnant.
After showing you how loathsome and evil Newchurch is, the same newspaper cries foul when you decide you want nothing to do with it and head for the exit. Then, all of a sudden, you are “abandoning” Christ on the Cross; you are deserting your “Mother”, the Ark of Salvation!
Who can take this kind of insane theology seriously? This is supposed to be “traditional Catholicism”?
Nor will it work to introduce some kind of wedge between a defected “institutional church” and a faithful “real church” that recognizes the defected shepherds as genuine but has removed itself from their guidance. As Pope Pius XII taught:
There can … be no real opposition or conflict between the invisible mission of the Holy Spirit and the juridical commission of Ruler and Teacher received from Christ, since they mutually complement and perfect each other — as do the body and soul in man — and proceed from our one Redeemer who not only said as He breathed on the Apostles “Receive ye the Holy Spirit” [Jn 22:22], but also clearly commanded: “As the Father hath sent me, I also send you” [Jn 22:21]; and again: “He that heareth you heareth me” [Lk 10:16].
(Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Mystici Corporis, n. 65; underlining added.)
It is a common tactic to try to smooth over the defected church thesis by painting it, as Matt does above, as the “Passion of the Mystical Body” — but that is a blasphemously false analogy.
There is indeed a genuine Mystical Passion of the Church, and there can be no doubt we are witnessing it right now, but that Passion cannot consist of making the Immaculate Bride of Christ into the Whore of Babylon:
- On that “Passion of the Church” Argument: Deflating a Misused Analogy
- The Papacy and the Passion of the Church
- Sedevacantism and Calvary: Response to “Cor Mariae”
- The True and the False Passion of the Church
- The Pope and the Antichrist: The Great Apostasy Foretold
In short: Just as Christ Himself was persecuted and suffered during His Passion, so during the Church’s Passion, it is the Vicar of Christ who is persecuted and suffers — it cannot be the case that the Vicar of Christ is the persecutor causing all the suffering!
Perhaps after almost nine years of Francis the semi-trads have become so numb to reality that they cannot recognize theological absurdity even when it stares them in the face. Decades of “recognizing and resisting” must surely leave their mark on souls. But to Catholic eyes, to minds steeped in the actual traditional Catholic teaching about the Church, Morgan’s lines are absolutely horrifying and clearly do not proceed from an intellect formed in real Catholicism.
By way of conclusion, we must observe that, like the Newchurch he so rightly scolds, Jason Morgan’s position too makes a mockery of Catholicism and the Church’s ecclesiology, albeit in a different way.
Of course we sedevacantists recognize that one will run into some sort of theological difficulty no matter what position one takes. Let us be clear, therefore: Our criticism of Dr. Morgan’s position is not that it does not have all the answers but that it embraces answers that are clearly false because they are ruled out by the very traditional Catholicism he is trying to defend.
What we must do, evidently, is affirm what we can know to be true, denounce what we can know to be false, and charitably leave doubtful things to being resolved in the future. In other words, we must at all times profess the unadulterated true Catholic Faith from before the whole Newchurch circus started, affirm as clearly false that which is impossible — and leave to mystery that which we cannot explain. The following presentation makes the case for exactly that:
St. Paul calls the persecution against the Mystical Body the “mystery of iniquity” (2 Thess 2:7), so we should not be surprised if we find ourselves to be dealing with perplexing problems in some fashion. Mystery can be accepted by a Catholic, because it leaves a way open for eventual answers; contradiction cannot be accepted, because contradictions are false and therefore a dead end:
Years ago The Remnant began floating what was possibly meant as a conciliatory idea to accommodate sedevacantists, but it was an olive branch impossible to accept: the idea that it “doesn’t matter” if Francis is the Pope. People who offer such a “solution” simply have not understood the Catholic doctrine on the Papacy, or even bothered to read about it; for, if there is one thing worse than saying that the abominable Modernist Jorge Bergoglio is the Vicar of Christ, it is saying that it doesn’t matter if he is:
And so The Remnant continues to do what it has done for a long time: peddle in Catholicism-free theology.
Morgan’s “Tragedy of Newchurch” is simply one of the most recent illustrations of it.
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