The mechanics of fear, the silent majority, and the difference between fortitude and courage

Fr. Hunwicke has a post today, in the aftermath of the Correctio, about the origin and mechanics of fear and its paralyzing effect on even the most orthodox clergy. HERE.  It starts out with him quoting a comment from a previous post from a diocesan priest:

“There is another territory to be heard; the diocesan clergy, and I can testify to the fear out there. I feel it myself; … I entered the diocesan priesthood from Lutheranism … my decision to sign may come with danger … Unfortunately, we live in times of great venality and danger for those who just express simple orthodoxy. Going this next step is necessary but fraught with peril. Cosmas and Damian, Cyprian and Justina, pray for our courage.”

On the one hand, I get it. The fear is not unfounded at all. On the other hand, I don’t really get it. Being a layman, maybe empathy isn’t possible in this case. But it seems to me that if care of souls is your primary job function, don’t you have a moral obligation to extend every advantage possible to aid these souls in their journey? This is a situation that requires going beyond fortitude and into courage. I will explain the difference in a moment.
This also applies to academics and all those whose income/title/occupation depends on not stirring the pot, nearly all of them apparently sitting around in terrified silence. Okay so the Correctio is up to 147 signatures. Knock me over with a feather. I’m sorry, but if you are an actual Catholic in a visible role within the Church in some function, and you believe that Bergoglio is pope, you better get your name on this thing pronto. If you want something to really fear, know that God is watching you sit there and do nothing.
Bishops and Cardinals, same goes for you. Are there not even a dozen of you? If you believe Bergoglio is pope, get your own Correctio drawn up and issue it with whatever authority you may or may not have. Do something.
Which brings me back to the Saint Louis Catholic poll, wherein 72% of the readership confessed to believing Benedict is pope. It’s one thing to vote in an anonymous poll, quite another to put your name on it. But we have another problem – none of those hundreds of people can sign/support the Correctio, because the Correctio addresses Bergoglio as true pope and AL as a legitimate magisterial document, neither of which we believe to be true. We need our own Declaratio, spelling out the well-defined argument for Benedict’s failed abdication, by reason of Substantial Error, as foreseen by Canon 188. Then we need people way above sub-layman Mark Docherty to sign it. Hundreds and hundreds of clergy, academics, and professionals in official Church positions and the media. I know, it’s oh so hard, but this is the task God has chosen for you, so get cracking.
Now back to fortitude and courage.
Fortitude is about patiently bearing hardship through strength. It’s about endurance, resilience, steadfastness. It may or may not involve taking positive action, and it can be demonstrated even in the absence of fear. The root is “fortis”, which means strength.
Courage goes beyond fortitude. Courage is about taking positive action amid risk and fear. In fact, in order for courage to be demonstrated, the element of of fear must be present. Courage is about valor, bravery, nerve. The root is “cor” which means heart. It goes to the heart. That’s why a synonym for courageous is “lion hearted”.
If you have souls in your care, no matter your ecclesial rank, you have a solemn duty here. If your name has a bunch of letters after it, you have a duty. If you have any kind of standing or platform, you have a duty. Here is a pious exercise: Review the facts of the failed partial abdication. Confirm yourself in the obvious meaning of what Benedict attempted, and according to Ganswein, that he believes he pulled off. Read Canon 188 and ask yourself, if attempting to change the intrinsic nature of the papacy does NOT rise to the level of Substantial Error, then what on earth ever could? Then go into a church and sit in one of the first rows. Look up and stare at your crucified Lord and Savior and say,
“I don’t care.”
“I don’t care that your bride is being raped. I don’t care that souls are being lost. I don’t care that the Church you founded has a false pope as its visible head. I want to keep it a secret, because it’s embarrassing. I more fear the revenge of men than I fear the fires of Hell. And so I choose silence. I choose comfort. I choose…cowardice.”
It’s time for some courage, boys and girls. It would also be great if you could pray for the Holy Ghost to deliver some courage to Pope Benedict, still reigning.

5 thoughts on “The mechanics of fear, the silent majority, and the difference between fortitude and courage”

  1. Retired Bishop Gracida signed the correction, but recently wrote a column indicating that he thought Benedict’s resignation was doubtful, or Francis’ election doubtful because of the St. G. Mafia.

  2. If you have come to the conclusion that Bergoglio is anti-pope, I can understand the position of not signing it. However, if you are doubtful about his standing, I think you can still sign it (or the petition in support) in good conscience. As you say, his standing as Pope based upon a failed abdication and his propagation of heresy are two separate questions.

  3. More or less daily invoke a panoply of saints – in particular Peter, a Pope who also recovered from a serious error – that Benedict be granted the Grace, wisdom, strength & courage to reassume his papal obligations. And alas have been unable to sign any of the petitions supporting the generally superb Correctio, for the reasons you explain.

  4. I read an interesting take on this subject by an online priest: He pointed out that yes, fear of loosing position and income is a fear that rears its ugly head, but the MAIN fear of a faithful priest is the vulnerable position he would put his flock in if the worst happened and he was sent of to a Siberian re-indoctrination camp. His duty is to lead and protect his flock at all costs. If he is punished for his ‘crime’ of standing for Christ, the Church is in such a (dare I say) deplorable and even diabolical state that no doubt the wolves would gather and his flock would be sitting ducks. ‘Strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter.’ So……the ‘fear’ he says, has not only selfish elements, but he indeed fears for his flock. The same reason that the VERY FEW good Bishops INSIDE the Vatican are walking a tightrope. If they should be discharged, the only ones left to run the show are the wolves. Frankly it’s a fear I hadn’t given much thought to……but now I do. We tend to think that the fear is only a selfish fear, but that isn’t the entire picture, and in fact this priest says that it is not the main fear at least with MANY….the main fear is leaving his flock to the wolves, and how in the world he would protect them.

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