Mark Citadel put up a great article over at his site.
By way of commenting generally, both upon it and some of the issues that arose in the comments, I would say that, insofar as Reactionary politics is subject to ideological manipulation and human failing, of course it is subject to the teaching authority of the Church. If some Reactionaries were to start saying that anything but Monarchy is heresy, for example, this would be a bridge too far; yet there are Magisterial reasons for preferring it.
Indeed, that is the point. The teaching authority has given us some very clear precepts on social matters, and on Liberalism; in addition to its genesis in the traditional outlook more broadly, the Reaction is largely the result of adherence to this Magisterial teaching – meaning that opposition to an authentically Magisterial Reaction is certainly illegitimate, regardless of the supposed clerical dignity of the opponent. The Church has taught clearly such things as: there ought not to be a Liberal-style “Separation of Church and State;” the State must recognize the rights of the Church (and vice-versa); there are no such things as “rights,” abstracted from the norms of objective morality, nor are they rooted in any important sense in “the dignity of man” (true rights are rooted in God’s dignity and the norms of objective morality and subsidiary dignities which flow thence); and there are many, other things one could cite. One could admire the nice motives, therefore, of the USCCB’s “fortnight for religious freedom;” its orthodoxy, less so.
And here is where Catholics must face up to the crisis in the Church. I apologize if this is difficult for some readers, and I imagine there will be questions. As some commenters at Citadel Foundations pointed out, it would be absurd, of course, to assert that the Magisterium could change teaching. Yet we see a constant tension now in Catholicism, and often even in Orthodox circles, where things that are manifestly contrary to prior teaching are routinely proffered to the faithful. This has resulted in immense confusion and a de facto schism in Catholicism. This schism is tripartite, not bipartite. On the one hand, there are the manifest heretics; on the other hand, there are well-meaning folk who wind up following these heretics into some of their heresies (but not all their heresies; normally they adhere to “theological” dogmas, but are unaware of how greatly they have departed from the Church’s “social” dogmas), with great consternation and much resort to strained “hermeneutics of continuity,” etc.; finally, there are the few that face up to the true horror and depth of the crisis, long since prophesied in Scripture and explicitly forewarned by our Lady at La Salette, at Fatima and at Akita (amongst others).
There is an immense difference between “private judgment,” and the always and necessarily personal act of choosing to adhere to the Magisterium as one best can. As soon as the dogmatic pronouncement is made, it is an article of the past which you must personally make the effort to understand in an authentic manner. And the Church protects those who do so in good faith, even if they make mistakes. The fact that this activity is personal, does not make it a “private judgment” (which, of course, is to make of one’s self, rather than the Magisterium, the authoritative interpreter and teacher). Nor are we living in primitive times, such as the times of the Arian crisis, where Magisterial pronouncements had not yet silenced all debate on the fine points of many questions (and where, therefore, orthodox persons could still debate them or be agnostic about them). We live with 2000 years of clear, unambiguous, Magisterial teaching behind us.
There is nothing ambiguous about the fact that “Religious Liberty” is an heresy; or that Communio in Sacris with heretics and schismatics is a mortal sin and an act of apostasy; or that merely affirming the possibility of composing entirely new rites for the Sacraments similarly incurs ipso facto excommunication; nor is there any ambiguity that the entire framework of modern, Western society is rooted in the condemned heresy of Liberalism/Modernism, and in a gravely immoral form of systematic impiety, and in illegitimate, abstract rights, etc. Thus, clergy who advance such ideas are unambiguously public heretics – either formally, because they reject the Magisterium, or materially, because their Modernist prejudices have blinded them to the need to learn and to adhere to the Magisterium.
There is no ambiguity in Church teaching about what happens to all manifest, public heretics, whether they are material or formal heretics. There is no ambiguity in Church doctrine about what happens to popes themselves, who espouse heresy; indeed, that specific question was asked by the Church when the Protestant apostasy began, and again when the fine points of Papal Infallibility were debated at Vatican I. The answer given, was that heretics cannot be members of the Church, let alone her head. Such men are invalidly elected and, if they were orthodox at the time of their election, they immediately lose their papacy *without judgment of the Church* (which is impossible against a pope, though a recognition of such a vacancy of the Holy See by the Church is highly desirable). These principles were ratified again and again in solemn papal encyclicals, which, as Pius XII reminded us (Human Generis 20), are doctrinally binding in themselves.
It is not “private judgment,” therefore, to acknowledge that such manifest heretics are not themselves members of the Magisterium, and so to adhere to the authentic Magisterium of the Church while rejecting the men who have abandoned – nay, trodden underfoot and exposed to universal contempt – her dogmas, rites and laws, and even the Divine Law. If Trent forbids the composition of new rites, and all of Holy Tradition insists on proper matter and form in a Sacrament, and then some manifest apostate comes and expresses his contempt for the mere notion of validity and Tradition, and composes a brand new rite, what Catholic would dare to acquiesce to this on the grounds that “I’m merely obeying; I’m just following orders!”
If a man claiming to be the pope receives the Eucharistic elements from bare-breasted women (and then has them read the epistle, similarly topless!), participates in pagan rites and blessings, invites idolaters to desecrate Catholic altars, kisses Korans and legislates that Sacraments must be given to non-Catholics, what Catholic will dare to say that such a man could possibly be, or remain, the pope? What Catholic will say “We must obey and respect the hierarchy?” Indeed we must! And that is why men who so abuse the hierarchy and its trappings, far from being obeyed, should be hunted down and punished severely! Catholic moral theology itself, offers us no such excuse. We are morally obliged to disobey all commands contrary to faith and morals, and we are commanded to avoid public heretics. Obviously the Church recognizes that this is not “private judgment,” being as she herself obliges the members of the faithful to take such actions even contrary to the commands of authority. And Church history bears this out.
So, in sum: yes, the Reactionary is bound to adhere to the Magisterium and should not exalt his personal views as dogma; his Reaction should cleave to the Church’s teaching, not erring to the right or the left of it. But if some manifestly heretical apostate puts on a miter and dares to arrogate the name of “Catholic” to himself, resisting authentically Magisterial Reaction by advancing the heresy of Liberalism at every turn, not only *must* a Reactionary disobey, but…
…if some Christian prince has the power to end such an acute crisis in the Church by applying the power of the sword to such abominable heretics, he should do it. He should do this because he adheres to the Magisterium. If I were a Christian prince with the power to do so, I tell you plainly that I would march on the Vatican and make a mountain of the corpses of so many sodomites and heretics who have devastated Holy Church and defamed the martyrs by decking themselves in albs and the cardinalitial purple. And I encourage any Reactionary regime that is able, to do the same. Some will hear this, and say that I am insane, a kook, an extremist. What I find in Church history is that good and great men have been motivated by similar sentiments, and they would have nothing but contempt for our modern antipathy to such “extremism” in the name of politeness, patience and tolerance.
Sometimes I wish I could get a letter to Putin or some worthy personage of the Russians. I was Russian Orthodox, and became a Catholic after I realized that the ambitions of Constantinople fueled a contempt for Latinity in the East, which forestalled their ability to understand the Latin Tradition on its own terms. Sadly, the Slavic peoples, who converted just as this tension reached its apex, were pulled into it by the regional dominance of Constantinople. But I am convinced that an objective examination of the entire Patristic Tradition, even in the Greek Fathers, vindicates the West.
Yet Liberalism has now overwhelmed the Latin Church. Our Lady of Fatima indicated that Russia has a role to play. A part of me imagines that Russia will be saving Europe from itself sometime soon, and I also imagine that Our Lady will throw off from them the yoke they inherited from the hubris of Constantinople, and bring about the conversion of that people to the pristine integrity of the ancient Faith, which the Catholic Church has continued to hold in its fullest, legitimate development. Perhaps we will see a real pope again soon, and perhaps he will be a Russian.
In any case: God have mercy on us all, remove blindness from our hearts, grant us true repentance and a zeal according to knowledge, that we may fulfill His perfect will, whatever it may be.