Sunday, September 30, 2012

Catholic Register Editor post Anti-trad article on Facebook

Hello Everyone, 

Wow I actually have the motivation to blog on something! Skimming my blogposts for the usual morning read, I found a new entry by a blogger Vox Cantoris on an editor of the Catholic Register, a diocesan newspaper for the Archdiocese of Toronto. It seems like a case of hypocrisy or being two-faced. I decided to look at this and I'll give a take on it. 

So first, what is the inflammatory posting that started this whole mess? It comes from Michael Swan's Facebook page. He made it public so anyone can view this for now (till he chooses to delete his posting if he wants to cover his tracks). Here's the post:

The item of interest is the Friday posting with the NCR article on Veiling
The text in the posting is as follows: "It's not surprising that traditional Catholics who prefer their nuns in habits and priests in cassocks would want to get in on the dress-up fun. And I understand the power of a nonverbal message sent through clothing. It's why police officers wear uniforms, gang members wear colors and Packer fans wear cheeseheads."

Since there's an NCR article attached, I must see the context of his post. Turns out that this is a paragraph from the NCR article here: The "wonderful" author of the article has lovely gems on the practice of veiling like this:

"... But some of these enthusiastic would-be veil wearers don't seem to see the contradiction in "getting up the courage" to wear a veil as an in-your-face expression of submission and humility. A few even noted how great a veil is for "blocking out distractions" at Mass, as if fellow worshipers are an annoyance during private me-and-God time ....``

``.... Even wedding veils, part of the princess bridal attire that many American girls dream of, have their roots in patriarchy. In an arranged marriage, a husband unveiled his wife to symbolize his taking possession of his wife (from her father), and the veil became a symbol of virginity and purity, as well as submission to her new spouse ....``

``.... Unfortunately, most traditionalists calling for a return to veil wearing believe in complementarity, that women and men's differences complement one another. This justifies separate roles, usually men as leaders and women as followers, thus the emphasis on submission, humility and modesty as virtues for women.``

So, after a full read of the original article, I can only conclude that the author takes a very pessimistic and feminist slant towards veiling, and even mocks valid and POSITIVE reasons for veiling. And not everybody on that site that is commenting is in agreement with her. In fact they are fighting back at the liberalism of that paper. If you read Fr. Z`s blog, you`ll know the NCReporter is also called `the fishwrap` as it stinks with liberal heterodoxy with known liberals on staff as John Allen Jr. and Sr. Joan Chittister (a pantsuit nun) that has been covered extensively by Fr. Z. 

So having sought the original source, I turn my attention to the first to bark on the bandwagon, TH2. While I have left a positive comment on that article as a nice "silver lining," I cannot advocate this blogger as I find him critical to the point of being a nusiance, even for this young Trad. To me, constantly reading TH2's posts will put one in a spirit of anti-charity and a hate of all things Vatican II. I used to be like that and I don't want to go back there. Also I dislike his literary style of his posts, it comes off like a tabloid rag vs. well informed analysis, e.g. Fr. Zuhlsdorf. 

What is most useful in analysis is this paragraph: ".... What is the purpose of doing that - especially that particular quotation - except to send a message of his dislike for the return to reverent liturgy and its concomitants? Why share a link to an article, minus a qualifier, where we find phrases like "veiled patriarchy""get in on the dress-up fun", "enthusiastic would-be veil wearers""an in-your-face expression of submission", unless he agrees. That's fine, and he's certainly free to post whatever preference on FB. Contrarily, I see mantillas at Mass as a most excellent thing. It confers that distinctive Catholic dignity and mystery to a woman. Also, it is symbolic of that extra and special amount of privacy which is the natural right of a woman...." 

TH2 does have a point. If you didn't support that position, or you are trying to uphold a "standard" of sorts, you don't be a hypocrite and post this stuff for anyone and everyone to see. At the very least if Michael Swan wants to lead a "double life", then he should keep his Facebook Private and only his liberal friends will see his stuff online, but at least professionally he can have some sort of decorum and uphold the standards of his Diocesan newspaper. Now, if Michael Swan does not care and it doesn't matter to him what he posts in the paper, than well at least he's being honest about his Church political stance.

Then I look to Vox's posting to see his commentary. He's actually got it right in this occasion. This is the simplest way to say what should be done in this matter:
"I am not going to debate here the merits of a woman veiling. It was up until the new Code of Canon Law necessary, it is now not required. However, should a woman veil herself that is her choice and it is not my business, nor is it Mr. Swan's business to insult any woman for doing so. How you or I express our piety and spirituality within the context of our faith is between the individual and our loving God."

Why do I agree when clearly he isn't the nicest kid on the block in the Catholic Blogosphere (with obvious enemies?) Well here's why: (1) He states the Church's written documentation on it, or rather the change in the Church's laws on this matter. It's always necessary with Church matters to reference the official documents of the Magisterium and Church Law on any matter first. (2) Exactly as said, it is a woman's choice to veil now that it is not mandated by Church law. And it is not right for anyone, clergy or layman, to mock another's validly acceptable and not canonically or liturgically banned practices. To do so is just as harmful as a traditional Catholic calling a Charismatic Catholic a heretic because they approach prayer differently. I am not endorsing Charismatic Catholicism, but hey it is validly accepted in the Church and has not been condemmned by any Pontifical council or the Popes yet, so fine, let it be. My take: If it isn't banned by the Catechism, Canon Law, the Magisterium or the Popes, it's ok to do, though valid enlightened discussion for or against the practice should be allowed. It's a "t"radition, not TRADITION. And if it`s that freaky, only a small subset of the population will love it, most will avoid or hate it. (3) There are bigger things to threaten clergy and laypeople who don't tow the line about, like that pedophile  that Vox was talking about in Ottawa`s St. Joseph who has magically disappeared from their registry. 

Now, look, if you want to write a letter like Vox did, be my guest. However this is not worth my time, in my opinion, to harp over. In addition, Swan posted the article in line with his liberal stance on his personal Facebook page, where Facebook is a public domain. If he did that in the Register, that's a different kettle of fish that possibly Cardinal Collins could step into mediate and readers can blast his ass on. 

My summary two cents: Michael Swan shouldn't be a hypocrite. Either he goes out guns ablazing and makes his stance known in the Register, or he should keep his personal sentiments that are offensive to others of the Catholic community to himself on his Facebook page IN PRIVATE STATUS NOT OPEN TO PUBLIC VIEWING, and be professional as editor in chief of the Catholic Register. In fact, some people have two Facebook profiles attached to their account: One that acts like a professional resume/portfolio/business card etc. that is public and for managers to see as the new trend is for management to scan potential job applicants' social networks; the second is their personal one for friends and family and contains more of their "racier" or "private" photos, videos, posts, etc. Perhaps he should do the same. 



  1. Well, here's my take, for what it's worth. I grew up always veiling or having my head covered in church and never thought much about it. So did all the women in the churches I went to. And then in the past couple years, all of a sudden there is a lot of pressure on women to do this exact same thing, and the reasons given for it usually hover somewhere weirdly between "oh, but women are precious and therefore HAVE to cover their heads" and "women should cover their heads as a sign of submission to men." Yes, there are people who make that claim. So I think the practice has gotten a bit tainted. Not saying I agree with the original article, but it's not surprising to me that someone, coming from the outside, would have that reaction.I also have a hard time understanding why this is such a huge fixation for some trad men. Again, it does look like it's about control, and not respect for the Blessed Sacrament.

  2. Replies
    1. I'd bet $50 and a can of Cheez Whiz that after you've super-sleuthed on things like ...
      - outing that pedophile at St Joes with their Rainbow sanctuary
      - more than once critically looking at Michael swan's work in past and present
      - whatever you've said with the CCCB and certain posts on the archdiocese of Toronto

      there's somebody who is a little miffed. Not to mention you've likely gotten some "hits" by those parties in your stats.

  3. I care deeply about this issue for several reasons:

    1) I'm a RC and live in Southern Ontario (D. Hamilton)
    2) My wife has just decided to wear an head covering to Mass. Not the proper altar veil, but rather the sash that is more traditional in Mexico - she's Mexican. (Fortunately for her, she doesn't notice or care about what other people think!)

    Michael Swan's reposting of such trash bothers me. It worries me that our "Register" is going to end up like the other one ...

    However, I looked at the letter Vox Cantoris sent to the Register and the Archdiocese. I disagree with his tone and his approach, and I would not consider associating myself with his actions. He turns a concern and disapproval into a personal attack on the Cardinal (Archbishop Collins); what on earth do the pictures of the Cardinal wearing an Leafs jersey have to do with altar veils? Nothing. The only thing this does accomplishes is a 100% guarantee that he will find no sympathy.

    Focus on the issue; altar veils and Michael Swan. Don't draw other issues into it and attack the authority that may be able to help your cause!

    If we want to get anywhere with promoting these things, we have to use some sense. We have to show humility.

    "The archdiocese newspaper's editor posted something against altar veils, so I'm going to get even by sending out a picture of the Archbishop dressed in leaf's jersey! There! That'll show you!"

    Very immature. Very counterproductive.

    Again, I care about this cause; I want my wife to be able to wear her head covering without the scorn of others - especially authorities. But I fear this will hurt our cause more than anything.