A Short Reply to Countdown to the Kingdom

Countdown to the Kingdom (CTTK) has responded to the news concerning the Bishop of Amos, Québec’s recent letter on Fr. Michel Rodrigue.

Quite frankly, I have little wherewithal to respond to CTTK in any great length. I shall, then, keep my post here short.

CTTK’s post is in reply to Dr. Mark Miravalle’s own reproduction of the news over at Mother of All Peoples web site. Notice how CTTK is not actually responding to the Bishop of Amos. It’s responding to Miravalle. This fact is most curious because Miravalle is entirely incidental to the development in Rodrigue’s case with the Bishop’s letter. The letter itself should be CTTK’s focus.

I cannot help but wonder if CTTK is targeting my old college professor? If so, why?

Next, CTTK argues Miravalle (by this point, a straw man?) over the word “disallowance:”

Within the space of this short headline, two errors are being promoted:1) that Fr. Michel’s messages have been “disallowed,” [1] and 2) That this “disallowance” (which appears nowhere within the body of the letter itself) comes from Fr. Michel’s Bishop.

In the footnote, CTTK says the following:

Despite the Open Letter’s own subject line, the content of the letter itself contains no actual disallowance — i.e. no condemnation — of Fr. Michel’s messages.

In other words, CTTK’s position is this: there is no specific formula of condemnation (“disallowance”) of Fr. Rodrigue’s messages in the Bishop’s letter. Therefore, we can continue as before with Fr. Rodrigue.

Concerning the claim that a “disavowal” is not in the body of the letter, let’s take a closer look at the letter.

The Bishop of Amos does use the word “disavowal” in the body of the text. It is found in the body of the Bishop’s French text (page 2, third paragraph from the bottom). The French word is “désaveu,” denial, rejection, disavowal:

The word was translated differently in the English translation of the letter (“disallowance”/”disavowal”). Here in this paragraph, the Bishop is indicating that there has already been a disavowing in the letter. The question, then, is where can it be found?

Notice that the paragraph with this phrase “To this disavowal…etc.” followed a citation to a previously unpublished letter to Fr. Rodrigue from the Bishop dated to April 21, 2020. In this new letter, the Bishop of Amos unequivocally stated, “I want to make it clear that I absolutely disagree with the prophecies [from] you on the aforementioned site….”

That certainly sounds like a disavowing to me, even if not in forma specifica.

One can therefore safely conclude that, by the present letter of September 3, 2020, the Bishop of Amos:

  1. disagrees with Rodrigue’s alleged prophecies;
  2. is now making public the fact of his “absolute” (absolument) disagreement;
  3. is disassociating himself and his Diocese from the alleged messages and prophecies of Fr. Rodrigue;
  4. Fr. Rodrigue now has little to do with the Diocese of Amos.

The “disavowal” was given voice in the paragraph cited from the letter of April 21. It was not in forma specifica and it is upon this fact that CTTK wishes to “hang its hat.” Such a claim, however, is beyond sophistry, it’s ludicrous.

If memory serves, during its promotion of Fr. Rodrigue, CTTK played-up the association of Fr. Rodrigue with the Diocese of Amos. Now CTTK wishes to downplay the same Diocese when it makes negative statements about Fr. Rodrigue. Curious.

-Kevin Symonds

Correction (9-9-20): O’Connor may not have written the CTTK post. I have updated my post accordingly and revised a few finer points.

He Who Defines the Terms Wins the Debate: A Response to John Gehring

On September 2, Commonweal published an article by Gehring entitled Who’s a ‘Fake’ Catholic?[1] The article itself discusses the “faith” of the Democrat Presidential nominee, Joseph R. Biden. Gehring’s central point is that recent (and, by extension, not so recent) questions surrounding the “faith” of Joe Biden are not “fair.” The tagline for the article is explicit: “It’s fair to challenge Biden on his positions, but not to question his faith.”

While reading the article, I noticed a glaring omission: there is no definition of the word “faith.” An old adage states that “he who defines the terms wins the debate.” Thus, for Gehring to omit the definition of “faith” is a glaring oversight as it is a necessary component to the discussion.

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Taylor Marshall a Donatist Heretic?

After my review of Dr. Taylor Marshall’s book Infiltration, it is not surprising for me to say that I have grave reservations about the direction of Marshall’s career since August, 2016.

This morning was one such moment when my eyebrows perked right up and my eyes about bulged out of my head.

Within the past 24 hours, Marshall “tweeted” the following on his Twitter feed:

Cropped image here:

Marshall says, “Catholics don’t seek to receive ANY sacraments from valid priests who are formal heretics.”

I found this comment to be very disturbing, as did a number of other people who commented underneath this tweet.

The problem is this: Marshall’s tweet is a bit vague and he leaves himself open to accusations of being a Donatist.

Donatism is a heresy from the early Church, one that basically stated that Sacraments celebrated by heretical priests/bishops were not valid. Marshall’s present tweet does not explicitly state this, but he does encourage Catholics (indirectly) not to receive Sacraments from “valid priests” who are formal heretics.

The fact of the matter is that, presuming the intent to do as the Church intends is still present, the Sacraments performed by such clergy are still valid (ex opere operato). Marshall’s tweet, then, tends to undermine this aspect of Catholic doctrine.

Marshall’s declaration, however, is more about exhorting Catholics to avoid exposing themselves to error (the question of the validity of the sacraments aside). Ok, fine, I get that, but the problem is how incautiously worded Marshall’s declaration is. As one commentator wrote to Marshall, “What you say in some level can be sound prudential advice but it can also be perceived as Donatism. Why are you saying this particularly? As Saint Thomas would do, please define your terms.”

For my part, I wish to say the following to Taylor Marshall:

Marshall, you need to rein it in. You’re falling into stridency and that stride is going to send you off the deep end. If you don’t perform a serious self-evaluation and seek healthy spiritual counsel, you are going to fall off that edge.