***This letter written nearly three years ago.***
An Open Letter to Catholic Dissidents...
First off, I wish you greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. True to Pauline form, I will try to get to my points as quickly as possible. My name is Marco Mastro however I write under a pen name or nickname of Optimusmastro. My style especially with regards to apologetics, comes off sometimes as being rather aggressive and not quite pastoral. I will give you a backround as to where I come from...
I grew up the only child of two parents. They raised me in the Faith, the best way they knew how and still to this day provide me with prayerful support and wise counsel. I went to Catholic elementary school and high school before going to junior college (cegep in Quebec) and subsuquently university. I graduated with a degree in political science and a minor in religious studies. Since university, I have worked in the field of marketing while moonlighting at a gym. It was during my time as a student where my Faith started to mature and according to some 'radicallize.'
If I must, I will chalk my spiritual growth up to the idea of Divine providence. You see, being in political science allowed me to open the door towards an interest in philosophy. My minor however especially during my first semester, polluted my faith and enabled me to lose whatever belief system I had left. This goes to show, that as a teenager, my interest in the Church was to serve as a showpiece to my parents. While I still considered myself 'catholic,' it could be said that I espoused many of the current liberal trends that you as dissidents currently hold as dogma. (ordination of women, gay marriage, eco-spirirtuality..etc). In retrospect, I guess that's why today, I find myself so vehementely opposed to it. Within the religious studies course, my exposure to Catholicism came from such sources as Fr. Richard McBrien, Fr. Hans Kung, various commentaries on the 'Spirit' of the second Vatican council, (Yet we NEVER read the actual Council!) and of course anyone who would advance what the progressives would call 'contemporary' Catholicism. Needless to say, I thought I was going to be the next member of the Jesus Seminar! Forget the opinions of John Paul II,...I had Marcus Borg to decree my version of infallibility!
During this time I would frequent a bookstore in downtown Montreal that sold theological studies. While buying 'On being Christian' by Hans Kung,..I noticed a young priest. I thought to myself, this guy is too young to be a priest and I think I'm gonna engage him in dialogue. Y'know, I felt the need to enlighten this poor guy that it was Paul who founded Christianity and the historical Jesus was a much different person than the 'Christ of Faith.' Yeah,..to say it didn't go as planned would be an understatement. Keep in mind, that through high school, I participated in wrestling, martial arts and hockey. In other words, I was no stranger to confrontation, yet this priest listened to me as I cut my 'promo' and then delivered the most vicious intellectual asskicking I had ever been exposed to. (I was actually drained after he apologetically beat the theological crap out of me!) This priest and I exchanged numbers and are friends to this day. I had never heard of Scott Hahn, Karl Keating, Claude Tremontent, or Father John Corapi(my favorite!!!) In addition to this, I started delving into philosophy especially since I had through my political science degree already been exposed to Descarte, and Immanual Kant. The sad thing was, I had never been exposed to Thomas Aquinas...I thought it was just the name of a school that my cousins in the States went to. It was recommended that I start with Aristotle,..and the rest is history. It took me one year to read the Summa Theologica, and since then, I have read many works by people such as Jacques Maritain and Peter Kreeft.
My return to orthodoxy has caused many even in my own parish to label me 'conservative,' 'rigid'(that one's my favorite!) and medieval. My response is that I'm just Catholic. Since Catholicism is objective, it is neither liberal or conservative, left or right, it just 'is.' Consequently I feel the need to show what I've found and try as best I can to give intellectual assent to the dogmas of the Church.
My letter to you today is to ask what exactly is your mission in the Church? Are you trying to undermine Her authority? What is the point of preaching a pluralistic tolerance of all faiths (which is a good thing,..but not at the expense of Truth!) while campagning against the Motu Propio concerning the Extraordinary Form of Mass? Have you actually read the Second Vatican Council's sixteen documents? Why do you always preach ecumenism when authentic Truth is not your focal point for discussion? Why do you claim to advocate Social Justice, yet at the same time practise a deafening silence when it comes to the defense of the unborn? Would not Social Justice begin with the most innocent of lives? Why do you insist on dialogue and discourse when the Magisterium issues a ruling forbidding something? If you are a priest, and you don't believe in the Real Presence, why did you get ordained? You willingly gave up a family for what exactly? Finally, why do you remain in the Church?
Look, these are but a few questions, but in the spirit of discourse, I would like you to consider them, if you would like to contact me, you can do at my blog,..Confessions of a Thirty Something Cybertronian
Addendum: This was an article written nearly three years ago. As of this writing, my Parish has a solid priest, my 'favorite' Fr Corapi is apparently seeking refuge in the Bermuda Triangle under his Blacksheepdog persona,.(pray for him) and that young priest is now a Bishop. God works in mysterious ways,..By the way, I'll be meeting with the vocations director of Archdiocese of Montreal,..Time to write my letter to the Archbishop. I'll always be a cybertronian, but will now prepare to commence as a seminarian God willing...
Sacred Heart of Jesus,........Have mercy on us.