Leftist Catholics’ Reign of Doubt Descends on Conservative Theologian Scott Hahn – The

One of the most distinct and basic — though sometimes contentious — tenets of Catholic doctrine is that of papal supremacy. Catholics are morally and theologically bound to accept the authority and supremacy of the pope, the bishop of Rome, as the visible head of the Holy Catholic Church. Failure to do so — schism — designates the schismatic as someone who willingly places himself outside the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, leftists within the Church’s ranks have isolated this basic tenet from all other basic tenets of Catholicism and weaponized it. The latest victim of this “hyperpapalism” is the prolific author and veteran Catholic theologian Scott Hahn.

Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, recently issued a pastoral letter to faithful Catholics, reminding them of the moral and spiritual teachings of the Holy Catholic Church and warning against the potential attacks on these perennial truths that may surface during the upcoming Synod on Synodality. Strickland concluded his letter by noting that leftist ideologues in the Church tend to erroneously smear faithful or conservative Catholics as schismatics, writing:

Regrettably, it may be that some will label as schismatics those who disagree with the changes being proposed.… [N]o one who remains firmly upon the plumb line of our Catholic faith is a schismatic. We must remain unabashedly and truly Catholic, regardless of what may be brought forth.

The letter attracted a lot of attention on social media, with many thanking the bishop for his courageous defense of the faith and others (predictably and even ironically, given Strickland’s warning against mudslinging) labeling him an enemy of the pope. One of those who thanked Strickland for his letter was Hahn, who wrote on Facebook, “I am grateful for Bishop Strickland’s inspiring words.”

In light of this innocuous Facebook post, the hyperpapalist blog “Where Peter Is” decided to train its guns on Hahn, publishing a “commentary” (which should, rightly, be called a “conjecture,” given its content) entitled “What Scott Hahn’s public support for Bishop Strickland signifies.” Blog editor and podcast co-host Mike Lewis wrote that “in the deeply-divided US Church, Scott Hahn has aligned himself with the dissident, anti-papal wing of the Church.” Never mind that nowhere in Strickland’s letter is the pope mentioned or even alluded to. Never mind that Hahn doesn’t mention or allude to the pope in his solitary Facebook post. Never mind that, as Lewis himself even notes, “Hahn has publicly avoided the controversies surrounding Pope Francis over the last decade.” Never mind that Hahn is a professor at one of the largest and most mainstream Catholic universities in America, Franciscan University of Steubenville. No — in Lewis’s estimation, this single Facebook post is a harbinger of doom, signifying, in answer to the article’s titular question, that “the prospect of a schism in the US Catholic Church — or at least that of an angry populist revolt against the pope — suddenly seems more realistic.”

Lewis glosses over Hahn’s decades-long career as a Protestant preacher, convert to Catholicism, and leading Catholic theologian, speaker, and author, responsible for more than 40 popular books explaining heady Catholic theology in terms palatable to the layman, as well as numerous scholarly works. In attacking Hahn’s scholarly work, Lewis cites Sean Swain Martin, a practically unknown assistant theology professor whose singular book is dedicated to smearing Hahn as an American usurper of the papal throne.

Lewis quotes Martin as saying, “[D]espite the fact that Scott Hahn was the loudest voice in shaping the minds of the faithful, as a doctoral student in Catholic theology, I had no idea what he taught.” A dig at Hahn, followed by Lewis’s own assessment: “Other than Martin’s book and dissertation, as well as a few Protestant apologetic challenges to Hahn’s work, it is difficult to find much scholarly engagement or debate over Hahn’s thought.” Lewis then warns of the dangerous stranglehold Hahn’s thinking holds over Catholicism in America, as a reported 35 percent to 40 percent of Catholic high schools and nearly every Catholic seminary list Hahn’s texts as required reading. So which is it? Is Hahn an isolated academic whom others disregard, or is he arguably the most-read, most-esteemed, and most-influential Catholic theologian in America? He can’t be both. (READ MORE: Catholic Political Realism is the Only Hope for America)

The conclusion penned by Lewis resembles a caricature of a kangaroo court, replete with surmising intentions, jumping to conclusions, and amplifying even potential fault:

I can already anticipate the backlash that I will receive for writing this article. But if you are planning to say something to the effect of “Respectful criticism of Pope Francis is not dissent” or “Just because he shows support for Bishop Strickland doesn’t mean he supports everything Strickland says,” please don’t. Scott Hahn is an intelligent man. He knows what he’s doing and he understands the significance of his timing. Just because he hasn’t spent the last ten years of his life publicly bashing Pope Francis doesn’t mean he disagrees with the attacks on the Holy Father.

In short, Lewis is presuming on the basis of one Facebook post in which Pope Francis is never mentioned or referenced that one of the most mainstream, most faithful American theologians — who has remained conspicuously silent despite the confusion, discord, and ambiguous infighting wrought during the Francis pontificate — is now party to a schismatic, sedevacantist plot against the pope.

Paul Kengor, editor of The American Spectator and a well-regarded Catholic author and professor, commented:

I’ve known Scott Hahn for years. He is not only a great Catholic thinker but a wonderful Catholic gentleman. And truly, no American Catholic in modern times, if ever, has brought so many Protestants into the Catholic Church. He deserves nothing but gratitude from his fellow Catholics.

Eric Sammons, a Catholic author and the editor-in-chief of Crisis Magazine, wrote a stringent defense of Hahn in the face of the ultramontanist onslaught:

All of the good Hahn has done in the past is considered worthless due to his lack of vocal and complete support for today’s Revolution. Note, of course, that Hahn has not criticized Pope Francis. He’s not called for schism. But he’s not joined the Revolutionary Forces and he’s dared to express gratitude to a bishop they deem unworthy of support. For this he must be denounced and declared an unCatholic.

Speaking to The American Spectator, Sammons added that leftist Catholics “refuse to allow even the slightest criticism of Pope Francis … but their hyperpapalism is a cover, as they happily attacked both John Paul II and Benedict XVI in the past, and even admit they would not follow Cardinal Burke if he became pope one day.” (READ MORE: What Do Young Catholics Need?: Controversy at World Youth Day)

This is certainly true of Lewis, whose hyperpapalism is only applicable to the present pontificate. The blogger has publicly stated that if an orthodox, faithful prelate (namely Cardinal Raymond Burke, former prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the Vatican’s supreme court, under the late Pope Benedict XVI) were elected pope, he would retire the site and cease to defend that pope, only defending a pontiff who advanced his modernist agenda.

In other words, leftist Catholics have learned from their ruinous ideological forebears, the French revolutionaries. Declaring themselves the arbiters of reason, they have formed a mob armed with blogs and Twitter accounts in lieu of the classic pitchforks and torches. Just as the French revolutionaries turned on their own countrymen for not wanting to enshrine a prostitute in the cathedral and call her the goddess of reason, so too have leftist Catholics turned on their fellow members of the Body of Christ who dare to question whether the ideologically charged Synod on Synodality is really what the Church needs at the present moment. Sammons summarized to The American Spectator the mob mentality of the hyperpapalists:

Leftist Catholics are hell-bent on purging any wrongthink from the Church, hurling accusations of schism to anyone who doesn’t pinch the incense to their bizarre form of Catholicism.… Through guilt by association they smear anyone who doesn’t enthusiastically endorse their program for revolutionizing the Church, which is how Scott Hahn became a target.

Where Hahn’s joyous exploration of Catholic truth has resulted in thousands of conversions and guided…

Read More: Leftist Catholics’ Reign of Doubt Descends on Conservative Theologian Scott Hahn – The

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy

Get more stuff like this
in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.