https://onepeterfive.com/exiting-squishychurch-a-reading-list-for-redpilled-catholics/ Exiting “SquishyChurch”: A Reading List for Redpilled Catholics Aaron Seng August 29, 2017 2 Comments Aaron Seng August 29, 2017 2 Comments I was born and raised Catholic. Baptized, Confessed, Communicated, and Confirmed, I owe an unpayable debt to a loving mother and father who were always involved at their Catholic parish. I went to Catholic schools from kindergarten through 12th grade. I discerned Catholic religious life before embracing the Catholic married state with a wonderful Catholic bride, with whom I am now raising Catholic children. I earned multiple degrees in Catholic theology from some of the more reputable Catholic institutions in the country. I have worked in Catholic parish, diocesan, education and healthcare settings throughout my career. I have long maintained that one may be Catholic or not, but that “Cafeteria Catholicism” is no Catholicism at all. We don’t determine the Truth – we profess it. There may be degrees of personal passion in so professing it (i.e. spiritual growth), but this sacred Deposit of Faith has been entrusted infallibly to the Church by Jesus Christ, and is unchanging in itself: inerrant, indestructible, the very Truth of God. Thus I never much cared for the idiom “more Catholic than the Pope.” Taken in the strict sense, the phrase seemed incoherent. Until 2013. Enter Pope Francis. It was not long after this that I began to hear (and have) questions to the effect of: “The Pope said x… is that really what Catholics believe?” I began a more earnest search into theological queries that I had left unanswered for years; old inklings that began clamoring for attention during Francis’ pontificate. These and a number of other questions are best summarized in the remark of one elderly Catholic, reflecting on his own parish experience since the Second Vatican Council: “Boy, this sure feels different from the Catholicism I grew up with, way back when. Sometimes it feels like a different religion.” Now, I know all the standard responses to mollify such sentiments – I’ve rehearsed them myself for over a decade. It’s only recently that I have fully recognized such responses as inadequate, and I hope to point a way into that same recognition for others by attempting a “simple sketch” of the issue here, and offering further resources for investigation (skip to the end for the reading list). Above all, it’s that general feeling of difference intuited by so many Catholics that remains inescapable: not only for those who can recall the “way back when” of the 1950’s and early 60’s, but for any good Catholic willing to read Church documents, history, or hagiography. I long searched for a good adjective to connote this feeling of difference – one that would best describe the contemporary Catholic experience as measured against what came before, say, 1960. I have concluded that the most apt descriptor is: Squishy. + Have you recently heard a statement from a Catholic clergyman in any setting – homily, interview, etc. – about some “Church teaching” that sounded a little… off? Perhaps it might be true (after a long list of qualifiers)? Squishy. + Is a nearby parish hosting yet another ecumenical, interreligious, interdenominational, interwhatever-type function to emphasize the things that we all have in common as “people of faith,” while ensuring that nothing offensive (like a call to conversion) is included? Squishy. + Has something been introduced or taken out of the Mass at your parish (the fourth time this month) in order to be more contemporary, accessible, welcoming, relatable, current, etc.? Squishy. + Have you recently (or ever) heard your local pastor clearly articulate in a mixed forum (even at your own parish) the Church’s moral teaching on any “sensitive issue,” particularly one touching upon human sexuality? No? Squishy. + Has the local Bishop reigned in that Catholic college still openly dissenting or hosting pro-abort politicians; or that Catholic parish still celebrating LGBT events; or that Catholic hospital still offering contraceptives; or that Catholic religious order still pinching incense to who-knows-who? No? Squishy. I have come to see that such experiences and others like it are interconnected, forming a single phenomenon. Knowing that many other and better minds have applied themselves similarly, I will attempt my own short outline of this phenomenon, here terming it: SquishyChurch. Apropos. (Image: Jello House from Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs) The Nature of SquishyChurch Evidencing my indebtedness to various “traditional Catholic” authors (as though Sacred Tradition were optional for a Catholic), I will define SquishyChurch as: that nebulous state or sensibility which, while claiming to be the Catholic Faith as lived in a contemporary mode, is in fact an obscuring facade constructed from theological error; one which conceals the true nature of the Church and impedes the faithful both from living righteously (giving God the glory He is due in his Church), and from receiving the full means of grace (as He intended in founding the Church). SquishyChurch can seriously trammel the efforts of those seeking to seek first the kingdom of God and his justice (Mt 6:33), and although frequently propagated by faultless ignorance, SquishyChurch can effect a lived state of heresy among Catholics, posing (at minimum) an obstacle to the fruitful reception of divine grace. However, as confusion among Catholics continues to grow in our time, many (our little family included) are applying themselves to a more diligent study of the Faith; and in so doing, some are discovering that they were never taught “the whole Truth” from the get-go. In many cases, they find that they were in fact taught false doctrines (or more commonly, squishy ones) rather than that divine Deposit revealed by God and entrusted to His Church for all ages. This article is therefore chiefly aimed to assist those who are only just beginning to wonder whether something may be amiss in the visible Church; but whether you are only lately questioning a Papal remark from an in-flight interview, or if you’ve already begun a serious inquiry after the fullness of the Faith, read on – and perhaps share with a friend. If nothing else, the additional resources may help. As our own family exits SquishyChurch to uncover the solid bedrock of authentic Catholicism, I have noticed a pattern, both in our own journey and in that of more and more friends and relatives. For many, this discovery seems to follow three distinct phases, which I will briefly treat below in the hopes of shedding some further light on SquishyChurch. The rest is in the reading list! 1. Surprised by Squishy Code Recent events have made this phase almost predominantly the “opening question” for many pew-sitting Catholics today. Priests, Bishops, and Cardinals across the globe are increasingly heard speaking of “adjusting the Church’s pastoral praxis” with regard to the “real, lived situations” of men and women today. One increasingly hears a great deal about “mercy” and “non-judgment,” with very little reference to unchanging moral truths or the ability (and requirement) through grace, to keep the commands of God. Read the rest at the link. See especially the recommended reading list at the end of the article.