It seems some people want to shoot the messenger instead of addressing the underlying problems.
Every now and then we read on social media about a Catholic lapsing from the practice of the Faith, or apostatizing—transferring allegiance to some grouping not in communion with the Holy See. This is always a tragedy. As St. Peter said to Christ when some disciples left Him because of His teaching on the Eucharist, “Thou hast the message of eternal life” (John 6:68).
There are many reasons why people leave, and it is something which has happened on a truly apocalyptic scale in recent decades, starting in the 1970s, in Europe and North America. It is depressingly predictable that many Catholic commentators display very little curiosity about why it has been happening, until they think they have found a way to use it as a stick to beat an opponent. This is what happened to Eric Sammons on Twitter/X when he shared the content of an email he had received by someone who had left for the Orthodox Church.
Not only do many of Sammons’s respondents show no compassion for the man in question, or understanding of the factors which influenced his decision, but they contrive to blame Sammons, and the Traditional movement in general, for what happened. Their argument seems to go like this: the guy complains about poor liturgy; therefore, the people who recognize that liturgy is indeed often poor and want to improve it must have influenced him into thinking that liturgy is important enough to leave the Church over. The same goes for his other complaints: effeminacy, the lack of “challenge,” the impression that even some priests don’t believe in the Real Presence, and so on. If we address these concerns by trying to improve things, we are part of the problem because we are admitting that some aspects of Church life could be improved.
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